Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sights and Sounds: Stagecoach 2017, Status Quo, Moreland & Arbuckle

Back from a long and great weekend at Coachella, now seems like a great time to catch up and share a number of news items of definite interest...

Pandora Partners with Goldenvoice to Livestream Stagecoach 2017

Audio for more than 50 performances available only on Pandora
Kiefer Sutherland
Photo: Beth Elliott
OAKLAND, Calif.- April 25, 2017 - Pandora (NYSE: P) today announced its partnership with Goldenvoice to host an exclusive audio livestream of performances from the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, taking place April 28-30 at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Performances and artists interviews will be available throughout the festival at pandora.com/stagecoachfestival. The station will be co-hosted by Pandora's own country, rock and Americana curators, Rachel Whitney and Eric Shea.
"With over 60 million listeners every year, Country fans are one of the biggest, most engaged and loyal audiences on Pandora," said Nick Bartle, chief marketing officer at Pandora. "Partnering with Goldenvoice to livestream one of Country's biggest events allows us to connect our listeners with this year's amazing lineup of talent at Stagecoach for three days of exclusive live performances and content."
Pandora's audio livestream will feature the following performances:
Dierks Bentley, Cole Swindell, Randy Houser, Jon Pardi, Maddie & Tae, Elle King,  Randy Rogers Band, Son Volt, William Michael Morgan, Justin Townes Earl, Anderson East, Dylan Scott, Ryan Hurd, Quiet Life, Bailey Bryan
Brett Eldredge, Kip Moore, Willie Nelson and Family, Maren Morris, Dan + Shay, Jamey Johnson, Margo Price, Tucker Beathard, Nikki Lane, Robert Ellis, Brent Cobb,  John Doe, Traveller, Jonathan Tyler, Brooke Eden, The Walcotts, Ruston Kelly, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Black Pistol Fire, Jackie Lee
Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Cam, Cowboy Junkies, The Cadillac Three, Wynonna & The Big Noise, Terry Allen, Steep Canyon Rangers, Cody Johnson, Luke Combs, Kiefer Sutherland, LANco, Levi Hummon, Courtney Cole, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Dan Layus
You can tune in to Pandora's Stagecoach Station now for a road trip playlist inspired by the festival. If you miss the action or want to replay a few of your favorite sets, interactive playlists with select performances will be available from May 5 through June 30. Want to hear even more music from this year's Stagecoach lineup? On Pandora Premium, you can search and play specific tracks or albums from your favorite country artists. Premium is now available to all listeners via the App Store and Google Playor at www.pandora.com/premium.
Pandora is the world's most powerful music discovery platform - a place where artists find their fans and listeners find music they love. We are driven by a single purpose: unleashing the infinite power of music by connecting artists and fans, whether through earbuds, car speakers, live on stage or anywhere fans want to experience it. Our team of highly trained musicologists analyze hundreds of attributes for each recording which powers our proprietary Music Genome Project®, delivering billions of hours of personalized music tailored to the tastes of each music listener, full of discovery, making artist/fan connections at unprecedented scale. Founded by musicians, Pandora empowers artists with valuable data and tools to help grow their careers and connect with their fans.

Status Quo: Deluxe Editions
Blue For You, ‘Just Supposin’’ and ‘Never Too Late’

Status Quo are delighted to announce the release of deluxe expanded 2CD / 3CD versions of a trio of classic albums that were released on the revered Vertigo label, namely Blue For YouJust Supposin’ and Never Too Late. These special editions are to be issued by UMe, on May 26, 2017.  Offering 36 previously unreleased tracks/versions between them [see track-listing], these carefully curated special releases come with an enhanced booklet containing new notes by Classic Rock’s Dave Ling and also feature rare photos and memorabilia from the band’s personal collection.

Blue For You was originally released in 1976 and is one of Status Quo’s definitive albums. It was the last to feature the band’s classic 4-piece line up and reached No. 1 in the UK album charts.  It contains the classic “Rain” as well as live favorite “Is There A Better Way.”  This Deluxe version is released as a 2CD and has been re-mastered by Andy Pearce with the assistance of ‘unofficial 5th band member’ Bob Young from the original tapes and has a bonus disc of demos and live material from the band’s vault.

Just Supposin’ is another of Quo’s finest albums – released in 1980 it reached No. 4 in the UK album charts and spawned the singles “What You’re Proposing” and “Rock N Roll.” Again re-mastered by Andy Pearce with Bob Young from original tapes, this 2CD release has a bonus disc of B-Sides and Live recordings.

Released in 1981, Never Too Late was the last album to feature drummer John Coghlan and reached No. 2 in the UK LP charts. This 3CD Deluxe edition has been re-mastered by Andy Pearce and Bob Young from the original tapes and has a bonus disc of archive recordings as well as a concert from 1981.

These releases are fully supported and endorsed by the band members, past and present – and represent a triumphant revisiting one of the monumental periods of one of the world’s most important rock acts, Status Quo. 


Is There a Better Way?                                             
Mad About the Boy                                                  
Ring of A Change                                                    
Blue for You                                                           
Rolling Home                                                         
That's A Fact                                                          
Ease Your Mind                                                       
Mystery Song                                                          
CD TWO                                                                                               
You Lost the Love – B-Side                                                        
Mystery Song - Single Version
Wild Side of Life – B-Side
All Through the Night – B-Side                                                  
Wild Side of Life - Demo
Bye Bye Johnny – Osaka *
Caroline – Osaka *
Don't Waste My Time – Osaka *
In My Chair – Osaka *
Roll Over Lay Down – Osaka *
Is There a Better Way – Osaka *
Rain –Osaka *
Honky Tonk Angel – Demo

CD ONE                                                                                                
What You're Proposing                                             
Run to Mummy                                                       
Don't Drive My Car                                                  
Over the Edge                                                          
The Wild Ones                                                        
Name of The Game                                                   
Coming and Going                                                   
Rock 'N' Roll                                                          
CD TWO                                                                                               
AB Blues – B-Side                                                                    
Coming and Going - Writing 1980
Don't Drive My Car - Live - Le Mans 1981 *
Over the Edge - Live - Le Mans 1981 *
Rock N Roll - Live - Le Mans 1981 *
Something 'bout You Baby I Like - Live - Le Mans 1981 *
What Your Proposing - Live - Le Mans 1981 *

CD ONE                                                                                                
Never Too Late                                                        
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like                              
Take Me Away                                                        
Falling In Falling Out                                               
Long Ago                                                               
Mountain Lady                                                        
Don't Stop Me Now                                                 
Enough Is Enough                                                    
CD TWO                                                                                               
Rock 'N' Roll - Single Version
Don't Stop Me Now - Austrian Flexi Disc *
What You're Proposing - Austrian Flexi Disc *
LP Overview - Austrian Flexi Disc *
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like - Austrian Flexi Disc *
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like - demo acoustic instrumental
Caroline - St Austell 1981 *
Roll Over Lay Down - St Austell 1981*
Backwater - St Austell 1981*
Little Lady - St Austell 1981 *
Don't Drive My Car - St Austell 1981*
Whatever You Want - St Austell 1981*
Hold You Back - St Austell 1981*
Something 'Bout You Baby I Like - St Austell 1981*
Rockin All Over the World - St Austell 1981*
Over the Edge - St Austell 1981*
CD THREE                                                                                           
Rock N Roll - St Austell 1981*
Dirty Water - St Austell 1981*
4500 Times - St Austell 1981*
Big Fat Mama - St Austell 1981*
Don't Waste My Time - St Austell 1981*
Roadhouse Blues - St Austell 1981*
Rain - St Austell 1981*
Down Down - St Austell 1981*
Drum Solo - St Austell 1981*
Bye Bye Johnny - St Austell 1981*
*Previously unreleased

Electric Blues Band MORELAND & ARBUCKLE bring group to an end after current tour wraps

Alligator Records recording artists Moreland & Arbuckle, whose latest album Promised Land Or Bust recently received a 2016 Blues Music Award nomination for Rock Blues Album Of The Year, have decided to amicably dissolve the band. They will play the remaining booked dates on their tour calendar. Guitarist Aaron Moreland plans to spend more time at home with his family. Vocalist, harmonicist and songwriter Dustin Arbuckle plans to continue making music and touring. Drummer Kendall Newby, who joined the band in 2012, also intends to keep playing professionally.

Over the course of their 15-year career, Moreland and Arbuckle have played hundreds of shows, performing in the United States, Canada, across Europe and in Australia, Iraq and Kuwait.They've shared stages with ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Los Lonely Boys. No Depression said, “These guys have kegs full of talent. Their songs will keep you driving fast and long.”

According to Moreland, “I’ve had extraordinary opportunities playing music my entire life. The best shows have been the highest of highs. After 15 years on the road, it’s time for me to focus on what’s most important—my family.”

Arbuckle says,"The last 15 years have been an incredible ride. I especially want to thank Aaron for being my partner in this endeavor. Creating and playing music with him has been one of the greatest parts of my life. I wish him nothing but happiness in the future. Playing and touring afforded us the opportunity to have so many great experiences and meet even more wonderful people. I want to express my tremendous gratitude to all the friends and fans who have supported us over the years. I plan to continue my career as a touring musician, so hopefully I will see all of them again in the future. In addition, I have to give my most heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been a part of this band and to all those who have helped build it. It's been great and I will always cherish the memories of the good times we've had." 

Moreland & Arbuckle brought fierce electric fury and unrelenting punk rock energy to their original songs, inspired by raw Delta and Mississippi Hill Country blues. With each of their six releases, the band grew musically and lyrically, creating a signature sound while earning a large and loyal worldwide fan base. Their legendary raw and raucous live shows were played with wild abandon. The New York Post said, "Moreland & Arbuckle have a raw juke joint exuberance with a dirt-under-the fingernails garage band attack.” 
From their 2005 self-released Caney Valley Blues to 2016's Promised Land Or Bust, Moreland & Arbuckle grew from a fiery, crowd-pleasing duo to a genre-smashing three-piece band. Together, Moreland’s simultaneous bass, rhythm and lead guitar work and Arbuckle’s emotionally-charged harmonica and edgy vocals—driven by Newby’s propulsive drumming—created a sound forceful enough to grab a listener’s attention and nuanced enough to hold it. American Songwriter said the group’s music was “swampy, sweaty and muggy...mixing a bluesy foundation with bits of country, folk and squawking American rock and roll.” WNYC’s Soundcheck said the band played “gritty blues with a thoroughly contemporary bite.”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Coachella 2017 - Weekend 2 Roundup

Coachella concertgoers were greeted by the Chiaozza Garden,
one of many stunning art exhibits at the two-weekend festival.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Among the countless joys of attending the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival are the diverse field of musical artists and one-of-a-kind art installations that inhabit the Empire Polo Club in Indio. Here are my highlights of attending Weekend 2 (April 21-23) of Coachella 2017.

Art - Sure the musical artists who appear at Coachella are the event's calling card (more on that follows), but there is little doubt that in an age of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the "selfie," the eclectic and visually-arresting art installations positioned around the festival are a tremendous part of the magic of Coachellafest. 

Take "Lamp Beside the Golden Door," the creation of Brazilian artist Gustavo Prado. The beautiful and enticing lighthouse was created using thousands of rounded mirrors. The title of the work comes from the last line of the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed at the Statue of Liberty. As you can see in the image on the right (which I took on Saturday night, April 22, 2017), the piece attracted notice even after nightfall. An even more dramatic work at Coachella 2017 was the colorful "Is this what brings things into focus" by United Kingdom-based artists Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan, a work resembling a herd of species-defying animals (some as high as 75 feet), That work, as well as the "Chiaozza Garden" courtesy of Brooklyn-based artists Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza, and "Crown Ether" by Olalekan Jeyifous also provided some welcome shady spots for sun-drenched concertgoers during the day.  

Radiohead singer Thom Yorke on April 21, 2017 
Photo: Julian Bajsel courtesy of Goldenvoice
Radiohead was the unfortunate victim of two early-set power outages when they performed on Weekend 1, but the British quintet's headlining concert on April 21, 2017 was pure perfection. For two glorious hours, Tom Yorke led the band (guitarist-keyboardist Jonny Greenwood, guitarist Ed O'Brien, bassist Colin Greenwood, drummer Philip Selway and touring drummer Clive Deamer (of Portishead fame) through a powerfully-delivered set featuring classic cuts (including a beautifully-rendered "No Surprises" and gorgeous "Fake Plastic Trees," the latter bringing this writer to tears), cutting-edge electronica ("Identikit," "Bloom"), songs off the group's latest album "A Moon Shaped Pool" ("Daydreaming," "Desert Island Disk") and audience favorites (the haunting "Pyramid Song," a mind-blowing "Paranoid Android" with the band's formidable powers fully on display). Time has not dimmed the power and originality of Radiohead's approach to create songs that challenge and electrify on record or in concert.

Lady Gaga performing on April 22.
Photo: Greg Noire 
courtesy of Goldenvoice
Lady Gaga delivered the most high-profile set over the weekend and her 90-minute performance on the Coachella Stage showed why. She appealed to fans of all ages and even casual music lovers knew just about every song she performed. Several first-time Coachella-goers I spoke with prior to her set came primarily to see Lady Gaga, and one even admitted to being confused by Radiohead's challenging performance the night before. But just because Lady Gaga is a superstar who seemingly appeals principally to the masses, it would be foolish to dismiss her. Beyond the flashy costumes, choreographed dance routines, pyrotechnics and video interludes, Lady Gaga played piano and guitar, and used her incredible voice in the service of original dance-pop songs that easily outdistance those of her chart-topping contemporaries. Her set at Coachella touched on her biggest hits ("Just Dance," "Born This Way," "Poker Face") but also included more innovative material such as the bluesy dance rocker "A-YO" (where the artist traded electric guitar bursts with her band's lead guitarist) and a reworked "The Edge of Glory" (where she sat at a piano and dedicated the song to a friend named Sonya battling cancer). The night ended on a party-minded high note with the electropop hit "Bad Romance," fireworks shooting into the desert sky and the huge crowd turning the Empire Polo Club field into a big dance floor.  

A huge crowd took in Two Door Cinema Club's set at Coachella Weekend 2.
Photo: Greg Noire courtesy of Goldenvoice
Alex Trimble of Two Door
Cinema Club on April 22, 2017.
Photo: Greg Noire 
courtesy of Goldenvoice
Two Door Cinema Club was among the many outstanding artists that floored me on Saturday. The Northern Ireland-based group unleashed a dozen exhilarating dance-minded indie rock songs that undoubtedly helped the huge crowd gathered in front of the Coachella Stage forget about the heat on Saturday afternoon. Highlights included the urgent opener "Cigarettes in the Theatre," catchy "Undercover Martyn" and electronica-tinged "I Can Talk." Two songs from the group's latest album "Gameshow" came off particularly well; the disco-flavored "Bad Decisions," dashing "Are We Ready? (Wreck)" and set-ending "What You Know" were a blast. Singer-rhythm guitarist Alex Trimble was the perfect frontman, his soaring tenor voice and graceful stage presence in tune with the band's animated approach; ever the secret weapon, lead guitarist Sam Halliday's flawless technique and artful fret work dazzled everywhere. 

The Head and the Heart played in the perfect afternoon slot on the Coachella Stage on Saturday, bringing a joyful Americana sound that was ideally suited to the expansive outdoor setting. The Seattle-based collective performed nearly an hour, delivering wonderful sounding songs such as the spirited folk rocker "City of Angels," the inventive pop-rock gem "Ghosts" and utterly delightful "Lost in My Mind" that began as pure folk before the full band came in and transformed the song into a burgeoning sing-along.  

Glass Animals singer Dave Bayley in action.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Glass Animals took advantage of their 50-minute set to throw a party. From the time they tore into the aptly-titled "Life Itself," the English band performed one catchy electro-dance hit after another to the delight of a big crowd that couldn't get enough of it. Despite the face that lead singer-rhythm guitarist Dave Bayley broke an ankle two weeks earlier, he was running around the stage and led the Oxford, England quartet through energetic takes of the electronic "Season 2 Episode 3," rock-oriented Poplar St." (with Bayley and Drew MacFarlane playing some tandem guitar lines), the alt hip hop "Gooey" and plenty of other fun tunes.

Bruce Hornsby performing with Bon Iver.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Bon Iver may have performed on the Coachella Stage immediately before Lady Gaga's turn, but singer-songwriter Justin Vernon and company's set couldn't have been more different. Dressed in a simple T-shirt with the word PEOPLE dramatically visible, this was an hour-long presentation that immersed the listeners with layers of Americana, ambient, folk, electronica and R&B sounds woven into a unique soundscape. The icing on the sonic cake came when Vernon welcomed Bruce Hornsby and Jenny Lewis to join Bon Iver on stage to perform a moving take on Don Henley's 1989 hit "The End of the Innocence" (which Hornsby co-wrote). Following that, Vernon welcomed Francis and the Lights to the stage to perform that ensemble's "Friends," complete with the two artists recreating some cool dance moves from the song's memorable 2016 video.  

Blossoms lead singer Tom Ogden.
Photo: Erik Voake 
courtesy of Goldenvoice
Klangstof was one of several young artists I caught for the first time in concert. An indie band with roots in both the Netherlands and Norway, the Koen van de Wardt-led quartet impressed me big time during an early afternoon show inside the Gobi Tent on Friday. Recalling groundbreaking bands including Other Lives and Radiohead, the band's experimental whims never failed to suppress the good songs. 

Blossoms are a young band whose five members were all born in Stepping Hill Hospital and lived within walking distance of each other while growing up in Stockport, England. For the past few years, they have been earning high marks in their native U.K. and their performance on the Outdoor Theatre Stage during Weekend 2 was a revelation. The band's self-titled 2016 album is full of great songs, many of which were performed for an enthusiastic crowd that was swept up in the band's artful indie rock approach. "Blown Rose" (the intricate guitar work recalls Johnny Marr's best),  melodic rocker "Blow" with some outstanding guitar play from Josh Dewhurst and the glorious "Charlemagne" were among the fantastic tracks featured in a fast-moving 10-song set. I look forward to hearing more great music from Blossoms in the near future. 

The XX. Photo: Erik Voake courtesy of Goldenvoice
The XX was more than just another great British band to appear at Coachella 2017. The trio, opening for Radiohead on the Coachella Stage, revealed their dream pop is a unique sound that has only been more refined since the trio won the prestigious Mercury Prize for their debut album in 2010. The trio's sublime turn at Coachella included an opening with guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim sharing exquisite vocals on the lush "Say Something Loving" and otherworldly "Angels." Not necessarily a loud or bombastic act, it was great to see the Weekend 2 "get" the XX and take in the magic of their performance.

Tycho offered up a mostly-instrumental set of ambient compositions that were ready made for twilight. The expansive sound created by synthesizers and guitars layered atop the rhythm section was enhanced by video projections of everything from crashing waters and people burning brush in the snow to dreamy images of surfers moving through golden waters. 

Robert Kinsler

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Matthew Sweet announces new double album via Billboard, "Tomorrow Forever" out June 16 (Sony/RED)

So glad to hear the great Matthew Sweet is set to return with a double dose of new tunes later this spring!

Power pop icon Matthew Sweet returns with "Tomorrow Forever" 
His first new studio album since 2011

A 17-track CD/double LP out June 16 on his new Honeycomb Hideout 
label distributed through Sony/RED

US Tour dates announced - May NYC dates on sale now

Omaha, NE: Matthew Sweet returns after a six-year hiatus to speak with Billboard about his new album, Tomorrow Forever. The expansive 17-song work, available in CD, double 180-gram-vinyl LP and digital configurations, will be released on June 16 via Sweet's own newly launched Honeycomb Hideout label through Sony's RED DistributionThe album is an introspective collection inspired by Matthew's move to his native Omaha and the tragic loss of his mother. From that loss, Matthew overcame writer's block with a burst of creative spirit, recording 38 songs in his newly built full production home studio. 

As Billboard describes, "from the crunchy opening riff of "Trick," Tomorrow Forever is another of Sweet's power pop-leaning gems, with plenty of garage and psychedelic flavors in the mix." It's the sound fans have come to expect while still pushing these familiar elements into previously unexplored territory, reflecting the profound changes in his life over the past six years.  Essentially, the album contemplates the question: Does what is real extend beyond what the consciousness can readily grasp?

Though Matthew plays and sings on every track, he's joined by a talented group of guest artists including guitarists Jason Victor (Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3, Dream Syndicate), Val McCallum (Jackson Browne), John Moremen (The Orange Peels) and Gary Louris (The Jayhawks). His longtime rhythm section of Paul Chastain (Velvet Crush) and Ric Menck (Chastain's partner in Velvet Crush) are joined by the Bangles' Debbi Peterson and there's a keyboard cameo from The Zombies' Rod Argent.

"I just wrote songs, and then it became clear what they might be about," says Sweet. "I was dealing with moving for the first time in 20 years, and with the loss of my mom, just the shock of it all." 

When an uncommonly gifted artist trusts and follows the lead of his intuition, the results can be magical. In terms of its musical density, thematic depth, emotional immediacy and sheer scale, Tomorrow Forever could be described as Matthew Sweet's All Things Must Pass. That wasn't the plan -- there was no plan. The music just turned out that way.
"Right after we moved here," says Matthew, "I made this video for Kickstarter, and in it, if anything, I was promising myself that I was going to make a really heartfelt record."
Mission accomplished.

Track Listing



MO 5/15 City Vineyard - New York, NY - City Vineyard - tickets
TU 5/16 City Vineyard - New York, NY - City Vineyard - tickets
SA 7/08  Omaha NE - The Waiting Room
SU 7/09  Omaha NE - The Waiting Room
TU 7/11  Minneapolis, MN - Turf Club
WE 7/12  Des Moines, IA - Wooly's
TH 7/13  Chicago, IL - City Winery  
FR 7/14  Chicago, IL - City Winery
SA 7/15  Springfield, IL - Bedrock 66 Music Fest
SU 7/16  St. Louis, MO - Blueberry Hill Duck Room
TU 7/18  Kansas City, MO - Knuckleheads
TH 7/20  Dallas, TX - Kessler Theater
FR 7/21  Austin, TX - 3TEN Austin City Limits Live
SA 7/22  Austin, TX - 3TEN Austin City Limits Live
SU 7/23  Houston TX - Heights Theatre
TU 7/25  Jackson MS - Duling Hall
WE 7/26  Atlanta, GA - City Winery
TH 7/27  Atlanta, GA - City Winery
FR 7/28  Nashville, TN - City Winery
SA 7/29  Louisville KY - Headliners 
TH 9/07  Alexandria, VA - Birchmere
FR 9/08  Annapolis, MD - Rams Head On Stage
WE 9/13  Northampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
TH 9/14  Derry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall
FR 9/15  Brownfield, ME - Stone Mountain
SA 9/16  Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
SU 9/17  Norfolk, CT - Infinity Hall
MO 9/19  Fall River, MA - Narrows Center for the Arts
WE 9/20  Hudson, NY - Club Helsinki
TH 9/21  Wilmington, DE - The Queen
FR 9/22  Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall
SA 9/23  Port Washington, NY - Landmark on Main Street
SU 9/24  South Orange, NJ - SOPAC

- additional dates to be announced soon