Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gin Blossoms to perform on Fox News Channel's 'All American New Year' special

Platinum-selling hit-makers the Gin Blossoms will perform three songs on Fox News Channel's "All American New Year" special hosted by Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly. The band will perform three of their hit songs live including their new single "Miss Disarray." The Gin Blossoms returned to the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart this year with their highly anticipated new album on 429 Records, NO CHOCOLATE CAKE. With a fantastic first week debut at #73, the band is back and proving once again that their effortless brand of melodic pop rock is as vibrant and beloved as ever. The first single from the album, "Miss Disarray" (which Popmatters states "is easily the best slice of pure frosting..."), was a Top 50 Hot AC radio hit. Fox News Channel's "All American New Year" airs nationally on December 31, 2010 beginning at 11 p.m.

With total worldwide album sales topping 10 million units powered by their indelibly melodic, Grammy-nominated Top Ten singles, Gin Blossoms— Robin Wilson, Jesse Valenzuela, Scott Johnson and Bill Leen, are back and in peak form. Says the San Antonio Express-News of "NO CHOCOLATE CAKE": "Gin Blossoms tug at the heart strings like few pop bands... power pop nirvana." The eleven new tracks were written, produced and performed by the band with the help of John Richardson (drums) and Danny Wilde on keyboards and additional production (of The Rembrandts). The band will be touring extensively throughout 2010 and 2011.

For more information visit:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Year to Remember: Top 20 Albums of 2010

With the end of 2010 clearly in sight, it's time for me to post my favorite albums of the year. And what a year it has been, with many of my favorite bands and solo acts releasing some of their strongest discs in memory. When preparing my annual list of favorite releases, I always find myself struggling with the rankings. But ultimately, all of the albums of this list are great ones and truly my personal favorites of 2010. I never pretend to say my list includes the "Best" albums of the year; I have not heard everything released this year and any list is subjective at best.

20. Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter
Even the most dedicated fans of Jars of Clay were likely surprised by the release of the celebrated Nashville-based band's latest studio effort. With a number of songwriting and vocal guests, there is a true sense of community as Jars of Clay blends its distinctive style with the likes of Mac Powell, Matt Maher and Brandon Heath.

19. Raul Malo, Sinners & Saints
Sinners & Saints blends country, blues, Latin, rock 'n' roll and jazz with Malo's tenor voice, which draws natural comparisons to Roy Orbison's soaring vocals. Highlights include covers of Los Lobos' "Saint Behind the Glass" and Rodney Crowell's "Till I Gain Control Again," as well as Malo's own "Living For Today."

18. Michael & the Lonesome Playboys, Last of the Honky Tonks
Just when a fan of the singer-songwriter thinks they have Michael Ubaldini figured out, he releases yet another collection aimed in another area of the sonic universe. On Last of the Honky Tonks, Ubaldini revisits the territory explored by the likes of Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens via 14 original songs including the beautiful "Highway Ghost," Texas blues-anchored "True Love Denial Blues" and rousing "Shambles."

17. Eric Johnson, Up Close
Virtuoso guitarist Eric Johnson returned with his first new studio effort since 2005 with another stunning collection of material showcasing his amazing talents. The disc even boasts guest appearances from Steve Miller, Jonny Lang, Sonny Landreth and Jimmie Vaughan.

16. Third Day, Move
The well-known Christian rockers' 11th full-length album is outstanding, filled with upbeat rockers ("Lift Up Your Face," "Gone") and introspective material ("Children of God," "I'll Be Your Miracle") celebrating the group's faith and Southern rock roots.

15. Los Lobos, Tin Can Trust
From the midtempo roots rock of "I'll Burn It Down" to the infectious Spanish language gem "Yo Canto" and wonderful guitar-anchored Americana instrumental "Do The Murray," Tin Can Trust is another winning effort from the East L.A. rockers.

14. Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites
Jimmie Vaughan hadn't released a new studio album in nearly a decade before the release of Jimmie Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites. From the swing of “The Pleasure’s All Mine” to the Bill Haley-styled “How Can You Be So Mean,” it was great to hear the legendary guitarist remains at the top of his game.

13. Steve Miller, Bingo!
A tribute to harmonica great and long-time Steve Miller Band member Norton Buffalo (who died of cancer in October 2009), as well as to the classic blues genre that has influenced Miller throughout this career, Bingo! was definitely one of the great artistic comebacks of 2010.

12. Asia, Omega
There was a time when blending amazing virtuoso chops, big choruses and the moniker "supergroup" were cause of celebration. For discerning fans of the prog-rock foursome Asia, the good news is the band's 21st century comeback has resulted in another fantastic return-to-form.

11. The Gin Blossoms, No Chocolate Cake
One of the biggest sonic treats of 2010, power-pop proponents the Gin Blossoms displayed their skills aplenty across No Chocolate Cake. With the uptempo "Miss Disarray," reflective "I Don't Want to Lose You Now" and beautiful "Something Real," it was great to hear the band back and sounding better than ever.

10. BigBang, Edendale
My favorite discovery of 2010 was BigBang, a wonderful trio out of Oslo, Norway that mines the territory somewhere between the classic rock of Cream and '70s-era Neil Young & Crazy Horse and modern outfits like Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Øystein Greni delivers the goods on disc and in concert.

9. Elton John & Leon Russell, The Union
At a time when both piano men were widely regarded mostly as heritage acts came The Union. From the undeniable lead-off track "If It Wasn't for Bad" to the gospel-fueled "Hey Ahab," this is an achievement I never saw coming.

8. Bettye LaVette, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
Decades ago British rockers such as the Who, Rolling Stones, Elton John and the Beatles fused American blues and other styles into some of the greatest rock of all time. Now blues great Bettye LaVette returns the favor in a collection that celebrates the eternal power of rock 'n' roll and the blues.

7. Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song
A rich life is often filled with its share of joy and sadness. Country music hero Jamey Johnson showcased that the fullness of life can be translated into a song cycle courtesy of his stunning concept album The Guitar Song.

6. Neil Young, Le Noise
There is a beauty, grace and pioneering spirit to so much of Neil Young's body of work, it's easy to overlook his latest project. Don't. From the introspective and confessional acoustic gem "Love and War" to the aptly-titled "Angry World" where Young's distinctive tenor soars amidst his distorted electric guitar, few artists seem willing - or able - to explore the world with the timeless step of Young.

5. Jackie Greene, Till the Light Comes
Singer-songwriter Jackie Greene's latest collection of songs magically blends folk, blues, rock, neo-psychedelic and pop in ways that challenge and thrill with every listen.

4. Band of Horses, Infinite Arms
Hardly a week has gone by since the May release of the Benjamin Bridwell-led North Carolina outfit's latest disc where I haven't closed my eyes while listening to the alt-country kick of "Laredo," Americana ballad "Older" and the haunting title track.

3. John Mellencamp, No Better Than This
Although the T Bone Burnett-produced sessions were preserved using a single vintage microphone and a 55-year-old AMPEX 601 mono tape recorder, No Better Than This explodes with original Mellencamp songs incorporating country-blues, early folk and tinges of rockabilly and gospel. It isn’t music for the masses, but it is truly music that matters.

2. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
Occasionally commercial success and artistic achievement collide. Arcade Fire's third album is intelligent, epic and accessible.

1. Jónsi, go
How did the frontman of Iceland's groundbreaking Sigur Rós establish himself as a solo artist? Release the most astounding and beautiful set of songs I heard this year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Los Lobos to perform two shows this weekend

Los Lobos, touring in support of the band's Grammy-nominated album Tin Can Trust, will be performing at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, Dec. 18 and at the House of Blues Sunset Strip on Sunday, Dec. 19. The additional good news for fans of the quintet is that Los Lobos will perform the song "On Main Street" on "Conan" on Tuesday night, Dec. 21.

I've had a chance to play the album and it's fantastic. From the midtempo roots rock of "I'll Burn It Down" to the infectious Spanish language "Yo Canto" gem and wonderful guitar-anchored Americana instrumental "Do The Murray," Tin Can Trust is another winning effort from the East L.A. rockers.

Another note: if you can't catch Los Lobos this weekend, remember that the band will be opening for Eric Clapton on the West Coast leg of his tour in February and March of 2011.

For more information on Los Lobos, visit the band's official Web site at:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

She & Him perform "I Put a Spell on You" on Conan tonight & release new digital single

See She & Him play "I Put a Spell on You" live tonight (Dec. 9) on Conan. Conan airs at 11 p.m. EST on TBS. A live favorite throughout the tour in support of Volume Two, “I Put a Spell on You” is a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover.

She & Him’s cover of “I Put a Spell on You” along with a live version of “Lingering Still” from Volume Two recorded live at The Current in Minneapolis is available on iTunes, Amazon and the Merge digital store now.

She & Him released their sophomore album Volume Two to widespread acclaim this spring. The album, which has been one of the most lauded of 2010, is filled with infectious choruses and sunny harmonies that were written by Zooey and produced by M.Ward. The She & Him band have just wrapped up nearly a year of touring including shows at Coachella, Bonnaroo, the prestigious Hollywood Bowl, the Treasure Island festival and more.

"The new album proves again that she’s not a dabbler, just as it proves again that she and Mr. Ward, her producer, share similar ideals…It’s breezy but sturdy, impeccably styled.” – New York Times

Thursday, December 02, 2010

53rd Annual Grammy Awards: Nominations Announced

Rosanne Cash, seen here performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, 2010, is one of many deserving nominees who is up for honors at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Here is the news release from the from The Recording Academy about the upcoming 53rd Annual Grammy Awards that reached my inbox last night. Where yours truly has a strong opinion about the strongest candidate or release in a particular category, I have placed that in bold. So, for example, my favorite release in the General Field/Album of the Year race is Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Let me also note I am not a voting member of The Recording Academy. I have to say I was thrilled to see several more of my top albums of 2010 recognized with nominations, notably Rosanne Cash's The List and Jamey Johnson's The Guitar Song. And a special note about singer-songwriter-guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, whose comeback disc Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites received a nomination. Read on...







FEB. 13, 2011, LIVE ON CBS

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 1, 2010) — Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® ( were announced tonight by The Recording Academy® and reflected an eclectic mix of the best and brightest in music over the past year, as determined by the voting members of The Academy. For the third year, nominations for the annual GRAMMY Awards were announced on primetime television as part of "The GRAMMY® Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night®," a one-hour special broadcast live on CBS from Club Nokia at L.A. Live. The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on "GRAMMY Sunday," Feb. 13, 2011, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live in high definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook:, For a complete nominations list, please visit

Eminem tops the nominations with 10; Bruno Mars garners seven; and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga each earn six nods. Jeff Beck, B.o.B, David Frost, Philip Lawrence, and John Legend receive five each; and Alex Da Kid, the Black Keys, Drake, Cee Lo Green, Ari Levine, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the Roots, Dirk Sobotka, and Zac Brown each have four nominations.

"This year's nominations are a true reflection of an exceptional and talented community of music makers that embody some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry in their respective fields," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "It is most gratifying to see the GRAMMY Awards process once again produce a broad cross-section of diverse and impressive nominees across multiple genres. Coupled with the third year of our primetime nominations special, the road to Music's Biggest Night, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in February, is off to an exciting start."

Following is a sampling of nominations in 108 categories from the GRAMMY Awards' 30 Fields:


Album Of The Year:

The Suburbs — Arcade Fire

Recovery — Eminem

Need You Now — Lady Antebellum

The Fame Monster — Lady Gaga

Teenage Dream — Katy Perry

Record Of The Year:

"Nothin' On You" — B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars

"Love The Way You Lie" — Eminem Featuring Rihanna

"F*** You" — Cee Lo Green

"Empire State Of Mind" — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

"Need You Now" — Lady Antebellum

Best New Artist:

Justin Bieber


Florence & The Machine

Mumford & Sons

Esperanza Spalding

Song Of The Year:

"Beg Steal Or Borrow" — Ray LaMontagne, songwriter (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)

"F*** You" — Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Cee Lo Green)

"The House That Built Me" —Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

"Love The Way You Lie" — Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters

(Eminem Featuring Rihanna)

"Need You Now" — Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)


Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

"Don't Stop Believin' (Regionals Version)" — "Glee" Cast

"Misery" — Maroon 5

"The Only Exception" — Paramore

"Babyfather" — Sade

"Hey, Soul Sister (Live)" — Train

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals:

"Airplanes II" — B.o.B, Eminem & Hayley Williams

"Imagine" — Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangare

"If It Wasn't For Bad" — Elton John & Leon Russell

"Telephone" — Lady Gaga & Beyoncé

"California Gurls" — Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg


Best Dance Recording:

"Rocket" — Goldfrapp

"In For The Kill" — La Roux

"Dance In The Dark" — Lady Gaga

"Only Girl (In The World)" — Rihanna

"Dancing On My Own" — Robyn


Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

"Ready To Start" — Arcade Fire

"I Put A Spell On You" — Jeff Beck & Joss Stone

"Tighten Up" — The Black Keys

"Radioactive" — Kings Of Leon

"Resistance" — Muse

Best Hard Rock Performance:

"A Looking In View" — Alice In Chains

"Let Me Hear You Scream" — Ozzy Osbourne

"Black Rain" — Soundgarden

"Between The Lines" — Stone Temple Pilots

"New Fang" — Them Crooked Vultures

Best Rock Song:

"Angry World" — Neil Young, songwriter (Neil Young)

"Little Lion Man" — Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters

(Mumford & Sons)

"Radioactive" — Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill, songwriters

(Kings Of Leon)

"Resistance" — Matthew Bellamy, songwriter (Muse)

"Tighten Up" — Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney, songwriter (The Black Keys)


Best Alternative Music Album

The Suburbs — Arcade Fire

Infinite Arms — Band Of Horses

Brothers — The Black Keys

Broken Bells — Broken Bells

Contra — Vampire Weekend


Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

"Take My Time" — Chris Brown & Tank

"Love" — Chuck Brown, Jill Scott & Marcus Miller

"You've Got A Friend" — Ronald Isley & Aretha Franklin

"Shine" — John Legend & The Roots

"Soldier Of Love" — Sade

Best Contemporary R&B Album:

Graffiti — Chris Brown

Untitled — R. Kelly

Transition — Ryan Leslie

The ArchAndroid — Janelle Monáe

Raymond V Raymond — Usher


Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:

"Nothin' On You" — B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars

"Deuces" — Chris Brown, Tyga & Kevin McCall

"Love The Way You Lie" — Eminem & Rihanna

"Empire State Of Mind" — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

"Wake Up! Everybody" — John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona & Common

Best Rap Song:

"Empire State Of Mind" — Shawn Carter, Angela Hunte, Burt Keyes, Alicia Keys, Jane't "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic &

Alexander Shuckburgh, songwriters (Sylvia Robinson, songwriter) (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys)

"Love The Way You Lie" — Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters

(Eminem & Rihanna)

"Not Afraid" — M. Burnett, J. Evans, Marshall Mathers, L. Resto & M. Samuels, songwriters (Eminem)

"Nothin' On You" — Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars & Bobby Simmons Jr., songwriters

(B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars)

"On To The Next One" — Shawn Carter, J. Chaton & K. Dean, songwriters (G. Auge & X. De Rosnay,

songwriters) (Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz)

Best Rap Album:

The Adventures Of Bobby Ray — B.o.B

Thank Me Later — Drake

Recovery — Eminem

The Blueprint 3 — Jay-Z

How I Got Over — The Roots


Best Country Collaboration With Vocals:

"Bad Angel" — Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert & Jamey Johnson

"Pride (In The Name Of Love)" — Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury & The Punch Brothers

"As She's Walking Away" — Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson

"Hillbilly Bone" — Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins

"I Run To You" — Marty Stuart & Connie Smith

Best Country Song:

"The Breath You Take" — Casey Beathard, Dean Dillon & Jessie Jo Dillon, songwriters (George Strait)

"Free" — Zac Brown, songwriter (Zac Brown Band)

"The House That Built Me" — Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

"I'd Love To Be Your Last" — Rivers Rutherford, Annie Tate & Sam Tate, songwriters (Gretchen Wilson)

"If I Die Young" — Kimberly Perry, songwriter (The Band Perry)

"Need You Now" — Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)

Best Country Album:

Up On The Ridge — Dierks Bentley

You Get What You Give — Zac Brown Band

The Guitar Song — Jamey Johnson

Need You Now — Lady Antebellum

Revolution — Miranda Lambert


Best Americana Album:

The List — Rosanne Cash

Tin Can Trust — Los Lobos

Country Music — Willie Nelson

Band Of Joy — Robert Plant

You Are Not Alone — Mavis Staples

Best Traditional Blues Album:

Giant — James Cotton

Memphis Blues — Cyndi Lauper

The Well — Charlie Musselwhite

Joined At The Hip — Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites — Jimmie Vaughan

This year's Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominations go to: Rob Cavallo, Danger Mouse, Dr. Luke, RedOne, and The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine).

This year's GRAMMY Awards process registered the highest number of submissions ever with nearly 20,000 entries. However, due to low entries in Category 60 — Best Regional Mexican Album — submissions in this category were sorted into other categories for consideration. As a result, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will feature 108 out of 109 categories.

GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Dec. 15 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm of Deloitte by Jan. 12, 2011, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the GRAMMY telecast.

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich and John Cossette are executive producers, and Louis J. Horvitz is director.

"The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," hosted by two-time GRAMMY-winner LL Cool J, featured the announcement of nominations in several categories as well as performances by pop star Justin Bieber, rapper B.o.B, country artist Miranda Lambert,singer/songwriter/producer Bruno Mars, singer/songwriter Katy Perry, and GRAMMY-winning band Train.

Presenters included actor and late-night TV host Craig Ferguson, singer/actor Selena Gomez, seven-time GRAMMY winner Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), singer/songwriter Hayley Williams (Paramore), and 25-time GRAMMY winner Stevie Wonder.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, join the organization's social networks as a Twitter follower at, a Facebook fan at, and a YouTube channel subscriber at

Monday, November 29, 2010

'LennoNYC' DVD set for release on Dec. 7


'LennoNYC' – Produced with Complete Support of Yoko Ono – Features Rare Recordings of Lennon’s Greatest Hits: “Mind Games,” “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” “I'm Losing You,” “Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out,” and “Imagine,” Plus Never-Before-Seen Footage and New Exclusive Interviews

Historic DVD ($24.95 suggested retail price) from A&E Home Entertainment Follows Sold-Out Screenings at the New York Film Festival and the Highly Anticipated Television Premiere on PBS’ AMERICAN MASTERS Series



NEW YORK, NY – This fall marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s tragic death and what would have been his 70th birthday. As the world remembers the iconic musician and his entire solo album catalog is, is re-released, A&E Home Entertainment presents the DVD premiere of LENNONYC, a singular documentary telling the definitive story of Lennon’s post Beatles’ career. Produced with complete support from Yoko Ono and featuring never-before-heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions, never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert, as well as home movies that have only recently been transferred to video, LENNONYC is a highly personal journey into the soul of the musical legend during a pivotal time in his post-Beatles life. The immersive LENNONYC will premiere on television November 22nd on the PBS AMERICAN MASTERS series, and will make its DVD debut on December 7th (originally 11/23) from A&E Home Entertainment for $24.95srp.

LENNONYC takes an intimate look at the time Lennon, Ono and their son, Sean, spent living in New York City during the 1970’s. Following the breakup of the Beatles, the film follows the family as they move to Manhattan in 1971, where Lennon sought to escape the mayhem of the Beatles era and focus on his family and private life. And, as much as New York made an impact on Lennon and Ono by offering them an oasis of personal and creative freedom, so too did they shape the city. At a time when New York faced record high crime, economic fallout and seemed to be on the verge of collapse, Lennon and Ono became beloved fixtures in neighborhood restaurants, at Central Park, at sports events and at political demonstrations. Lennon and Ono also bonded with millions of their fellow New Yorkers in their experience as immigrants.

At the same time, Lennon created some of the most acclaimed songs and albums of his career – most of them written at his apartment at The Dakota on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. And, LENNONYC boasts rare recordings of the solo hits: “Mind Games,” “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” “I’m Losing You,” “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out,” and, of course, “Imagine.”

Featuring newly-recorded exclusive interviews with Ono, who cooperated extensively with this production, LENNONYC offers unprecedented access to Lennon’s life, access to never-before-seen material from the Lennon archives and conversations with those closest to him including Elton John, David Geffen, photographer Bob Gruen (who took the iconic photograph of Lennon in front of the skyline wearing a “New York City” t-shirt) and many others, LENNONYC is singularly poised to portray the story of Lennon’s life as it has never been told before – and as it will never be told again.

A&E Home Entertainment, part of the Consumer Products Division of A&E Television Networks (AETN) is a video distributor of non-theatrical programming , featuring collectible DVD editions of the high quality programming from A&E Network and HISTORY, as well as acquired classic programming. A&E Home Entertainment brings the best of critically acclaimed entertainment presented in award-winning packaging to the special interest category. For more information about ordering these and other titles from the A&E Home Entertainment Collection , call 1-800-933-6249 (A&E). In addition to placing orders by phone, A&E Home Entertainment products may be purchased online at

Def Leppard's Phil Collen to perform at Guitar Center's 'Sessions'

What: Phil Collen, lead guitarist for Def Leppard, one of the most recognized rock bands in the last 30 years, will make a special appearance and performance at the Hollywood Guitar Center as part of their “Sessions” series.

Collen is the axeman responsible for those unforgettable riffs on the bands multi-platinum albums Hysteria and Pyromania, in addition to the many albums that followed. Together, he and his bandmates in Def Leppard have sold over 65 million albums world-wide and continue to perform in sold-out arenas all over the world.

Join Phil for a special “Sessions” event as he discusses his 28 + year career with Def Leppard, his side-project Manraze (with Simon Laffy and Sex PistolsPaul Cook), his extensive PC1 Jackson guitar line and his recent ventures into Nashville songwriting. Learn how Collen’s personal health and fitness regime helps him to stay energized and keep his creative center. The evening will also include an ending jam session with his writing partner, CJ Vanston on keyboards and Leland Sklar on bass.

When: Friday, December 3rd

Performance: 7 – 9 PM

Where: Guitar Center Hollywood

7425 West Sunset Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90046

(323) 874-1060

Please note while the event is free to the public, the venue has "Limited Capacity."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Curt Smith set to release 'This Is Christmas' on Nov. 29

Curt Smith set to release 'This Is Christmas'

Tears For Fears co-founder's first original holiday song

Curt Smith, co-founder of seminal music group Tears for Fears, will release “This Is Christmas,” his first original holiday song, on November 29, 2010. Smith is releasing “This Is Christmas” via his KOOK Media label as a standalone single, which will be available in digital format from iTunes, Amazon MP3, and other online retailers. It will also be available as a signed, limited edition CD single, sold only at concerts and via Smith’s website.

“This Is Christmas” tells the story, Smith says, “of an adult visiting his parents at Christmas and lamenting how he’s always made to feel like a child when he returns home. It culminates in his realization and acceptance that they’re family after all, and nothing will (or even should) change that.” Fittingly, backing vocalists on the track include Smith’s daughters Diva and Wilder, along with Charlton Pettus (Smith’s longtime friend and collaborator) and his children Georgica and Harry, Jason Joseph, Simon Steadman, and a chorus comprised of local school children.

“This Is Christmas” will be featured in the December 15 episode of the USA Network series “Psych.” “I’d been attempting to write a holiday song for years,” Smith says, “but always found them a bit trite and forced. I was trying again when Psych’s James Roday approached me about licensing a song for the holiday episode of “Psych.” Once he sent me a clip of the scene he had in mind, it all made sense and the song came together naturally.”

Like Smith’s previous solo efforts, he’s releasing “This Is Christmas” under a Creative Commons license. The license Smith uses allows others to freely share, perform, and remix his work, so long as the uses are non-commercial, Smith is credited, and any derivative works carry the same license. Smith shares production credits on the song with Charlton Pettus.

Smith will play several Los Angeles-area solo gigs in 2011, along with planned Tears For Fears tours in South America and the U.S. West Coast.

Curt Smith Official Website:

Record Store Day's Black Friday Sale

I received this email from Pepperland Music in Orange, CA. Sadly, the number of indie music stores continues to dip. So I wanted to share this and hope many of you will join me in heading out to a favorite record store this coming Friday.

They are doing it again.

We will be receiving some cool limited edition LP and 45 rpm records by
U2, George Harrison, Drive by Truckers, Metallica and so many other
artists for sale November 26th, the Friday that follows Thanksgiving.

Many people are unaware of Record Store day. When they found out that
major lables issued only 1000 Rolling Stones 45's or limited Beatles
records and only for this event, they asked to be signed up on our mailing
list so we could let them know.

There is not a major push on this November event, since usually Record
Store day usually happens in the Spring.

This is from record store day and below a link for the titles. Just
remember, not every indie store will get everything!

So, get here on Friday and stock up. We remember one record that is now so
rare it went from $5.99 to $200 in just a few days. Word is out that your
local indie record store may just be the place to be this
Post-Thanksgiving-Shopping-Melee-Day, also known as Black Friday. And
that’s because indie stores across the country will be the place to get
special releases created just for you, for giving and getting this holiday
season, and they’re scheduled for release on Black Friday.

Now, this is not Record Store Day, Jr. or RSD 11 or Son of the Return of Record Store
Day. This is just a group of special releases that you can only find at
record stores. Some of them are uber-limited, some of them are available
at record stores before they’re available anywhere else. But they’re all
special, and they kind of fly in the face of what Black Friday has become,
which is “I have to shop, let’s see how fast and cheap I can get it over
with”. The magic of these pieces is that every one of them is something
someone will really LOVE to get, and you’ll really ENJOY giving. And
you’ll have the extra nice feeling of supporting a local independently
owned business during the holidays. So check out the list of titles (link
below), and keep in mind that not all stores on this page will carry
everything, so start a conversation with your local store. Or print this
out as a Wish List and hide it where your gift-giving loved ones are sure
to find it.

Link to titles:

Give the Gift of Music this year, by shopping at your favorite local
record store.

Pepperland Music
850 N. Tustin St.
Orange, California 92867

Monday, November 22, 2010

Upcoming releases aplenty: David Gray, Duran Duran, Maroon 5, Depeche Mode


I've been listening to tons of new music and watching a slew of the latest music DVDs getting ready to post an in-depth gift guide and a holiday music roundup in the next week or so, but I did want to get a jump on those posts and share some news on a number of new upcoming releases with all of you music lovers out there.

Duran Duran 'All You Need Is Now' is set for release on Dec. 21 as a digital LP exclusively on iTunes Store

Having sold 80 million albums worldwide, Duran Duran are back with their newly announced 13th studio album entitiled All You Need Is Now. The four original members of Duran Duran - John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon - will release the record first in the form of a 9-track digital LP, due out exclusively on the iTunes Store on December 21st. An expanded physical package will be available for purchase on CD and vinyl with special deluxe options in February 2011. The first single from the record, title track “All You Need Is Now,” will be available worldwide on December 14th exclusively on the iTunes Store. Produced by the Grammy Award-winning Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Adele, Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen) and mixed by Spike Stent (Madonna, Björk, No Doubt), the record is a return-to-roots homage to Duran Duran’s most celebrated musical panache.

David Gray ‘Live from the Artists Den’ Limited Edition DVD

With the heart of folk music at his core, David Gray showcases his signature mix of acoustic instrumentation and electronic samples on his new limited edition DVD Live from the Artists Den. Filmed in high-definition, the singer/songwriter recorded this once-in-a-lifetime performance at the Broad Street Ballroom in New York City playing songs from his album, Draw the Line as well as classic hits like “Please Forgive Me,” “Sail Away,” and“Babylon." This limited edition DVD includes 14 songs – including 4 songs not shown in the TV broadcast, a full 20-minute interview with music journalist Alan Light, a 34-page hardbound book package and a collectible print of a handwritten card from David Gray.

The limited Edition DVD can be purchased exclusively at Barnes & Noble on November 30, 2010.

Depeche Mode ‘Tour Of The Universe - Live In Barcelona’ (Capitol Records) Available in DVD, Deluxe Box Set and Blu-ray

Depeche Mode has unveiled their extensive 21 track DVD, Deluxe Box Set & Blu-Ray package, Tour Of The Universe - Live In Barcelona, just in time for the holiday season. A spectacular and extensive live DVD, the release features two recent sold out nights at the Palau St Jordi in Barcelona, Spain on November 20 and 21, 2009. These concerts were part of Depeche Mode's acclaimed Tour Of The Universe, which saw Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andrew 'Fletch' Fletcher playing 102 shows across 40 countries to over 2.7 million people. Their epic trip across the globe was one of the most successful tours of recent history and saw the group performing an array of stunning material, spanning their impressive 30 year history.

The deluxe edition and the blu-ray available exclusively at For a sneak peek of the DVD fans can log on to

Maroon 5 ‘Hands All Over’ Limited Edition 3D Box Set

GRAMMY award winning recording artist Maroon 5 is giving fans more than just the music with this limited edition 3D box set of their highly anticipated third studio album, Hands All Over. Featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the record, this box set gives the ultimate fan a 360 degree view of how Hands All Over came to be.

The ‘Hands All Over’ Limited Edition 3D Box Set contains:
3D Hands All Over box design
140-gram standard vinyl
Deluxe CD
Deluxe digital
Making-of album DVD
Photo book
3D glasses
Exclusive promotional items including stickers and a keychain

The ‘Hands All Over’ Limited Edition 3D box set can be purchased exclusively on the band’s website:

Curt Smith delights crowd at McCabe's Guitar Shop

Photo cutline: From left, singer Curt Smith with "Psych" cast members Kirsten Nelson, James Roday and Timothy Omundson at McCabe's in Santa Monica on Nov. 19. Smith's forthcoming holiday single "This Is Christmas" will be featured on the Dec. 15 episode of "Psych."

Photo credit: Richard Glasband

Whenever I have previously seen an established artist play large sold-out venues and then get the chance to see them in an intimate setting where the vibe is decidedly more casual, it always seems surreal.
Such was the case when one half of Tears for Fears, Curt Smith, performed a full-length showcase at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on Friday night, Nov. 19, 2010.

Fans began lining up several hours before the doors opened to get a seat up front, but even those who arrived just prior to showtime were rewarded with chairs that equal those within the first dozen rows at Verizon Wireless or Honda Center.
But it wasn't simply the intimacy of the famed guitar shop that made the show so unique. Smith himself used the opportunity to perform a number of artful covers of songs he admittedly wished he had penned, as well as hits from Tears For Fears and material from his burgeoning solo career.

The release of Smith's full-length solo effort Halfway Pleased in 2007 seemed to initiate a new direction for the artist, with songs tackling the complex relationships he has forged with family, friends and the world around him.
"Seven of Sundays," "Coming Out," "Aeroplane" and "Snow Hill" were among the introspective and memorable songs from that disc he performed over the course of his show at McCabe's.

Among his most recently-penned tracks unveiled was "Perfectly...Still," a song he noted that had only been performed live once. "We have yet to perform it successfully," he mused before playing a seemingly-perfect take. The song details how a man has a wonderful wife and children, but is tempted to throw it away for a romantic encounter in an exotic country far from home. As performed on Friday, complete with sparse layers and excellent harmonies from several members of his band recalling the sound of Zero 7, it was a powerful song that earned him some of the loudest cheers of the night.

Smith noted that he used rare solo shows like this to perform versions of favorite songs from other artists. This night, he opened the proceedings up with an emotive version of the Cars' "Drive," here delivered to the accompaniment of his lone guitar. Later in the night, backed by all three members of his excellent band, Smith delivered a one-two punch with an astonishing cover of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees" and a reworking of Coldplay's "Yellow."

Both of those covers showcased Smith's unique tenor able to mine new emotions out of oft-heard Brit rock staples.
Smith also featured his far-reaching vocals with sparse, stripped down versions of favorites such as "Mad World" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

The night ended in true big-time fashion with Smith noting that he had recently guest starred on an episode of the USA series "Psych" and invited several members of that series' cast on stage to perform with him. Actors James Roday, Timothy Omundson and Kirsten Nelson provided well-sung vocals on a gigantic version of "Shout" to the delight of the fans.

A wonderful performance from start to finish. And the performance was a strong reminder that Tears For Fears fans hope that outfit issues another album soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

“LENNONYC” on PBS on November 22


Film explores Lennon’s life in New York City during the 1970s as a father, husband, activist and artist.

(November 11, 2010) – New York City, NY – 20,000 people showed up in NYC’s Central Park to watch an early screening of “LENNONYC” on October 9th, what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday.

The much acclaimed American Masters film will now air on PBS on Monday, Nov. 22, 2010 at 9 p.m. (check local listings). (December 8th will mark the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.)

For clips and podcasts, visit,

LENNONYC features never-before heard studio recordings from the Double Fantasy sessions and never-before-seen outtakes from Lennon in concert and home movies that have only recently been transferred to video. It also features exclusive interviews with Ms. Ono, who cooperated extensively with the production and offers an unprecedented level of access, as well as with artists who worked closely with Lennon during this period, including Elton John and photographer Bob Gruen (who took the iconic photograph of Lennon in front of the skyline wearing a “ New York City ” t-shirt).

PBS will also celebrate Lennon’s life by launching a new website video exhibition, "Remembering Lennon," tied to the airing of LennoNYC on PBS. Starting Nov. 18, user-generated videos will be accepted through the PBS Arts website (, which was launched earlier this year to help Americans experience the arts and explore the creative process through virtual exhibits, videos, and original interactive features. Viewers' Lennon videos will join those from "Double Fantasy" guitarist Earl Slick, photographer Bob Gruen, PBS President Paula Kerger, fans who attended screenings of the film, and more.


New York public media company WNET.ORG is a pioneering provider of television and web content. The parent of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and Creative News Group, WNET.ORG brings such acclaimed broadcast series and websites as Need To Know, Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Secrets of the Dead, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Visions, Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, Miffy and Friends, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps and Cyberchase to national and international audiences. Through its wide range of channels and platforms, WNET.ORG serves the entire New York City metro area with unique local productions, broadcasts and innovative educational and cultural projects. In all that it does, WNET.ORG pursues a single, overarching goal – to create media experiences of lasting significance for New York , America and the world. For more information, visit

Paul McCartney to perform at the Apollo Theater

Paul McCartney to play at the World Famous Apollo Theater for the first time

Exclusive concert for SIRIUS XM listeners to air live across six channels on SIRIUS XM

SIRIUS XM to launch month-long "Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Radio" channel devoted to the music of Paul McCartney

NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2010 -- SIRIUS XM Radio announced today that Paul McCartney will perform at Harlem's world famous Apollo Theater for the first time at an exclusive, invitation-only concert for SIRIUS XM listeners. The concert will celebrate SIRIUS XM reaching 20 million subscribers, a milestone the company expects to achieve shortly.

The concert, which will be held on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET, will feature McCartney performing songs from his unrivalled back catalog, including many Beatles, Wings and solo classics, for SIRIUS XM subscribers. As a thank you to its loyal subscribers, SIRIUS XM will broadcast the concert live nationwide as well as offer lucky subscribers the opportunity to attend the unprecedented event.

SIRIUS XM will also launch "Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Radio," a month-long 24/7 commercial-free music channel devoted to McCartney's legendary and expansive music catalog, including music from his solo records, tracks from every Wings album as well as the iconic songs he recorded with The Beatles. "Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Radio" will launch on Monday, November 29 at 3 p.m. ET and air through Sunday, December 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET on SIRIUS channel 33 and XM channel 27 and SIRIUS XM Bootlegs, SIRIUS Internet Radio, SIR channel 812, and XM Radio Online, XMRO channel 90.

The channel's launch coincides with the recent re-issue of Paul McCartney & Wings' number one album from 1973, Band on the Run, the first title to be released as part of an extensive overhaul of McCartney's complete catalog of solo recordings. The month-long channel will also feature a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this landmark album, hosted by McCartney himself, as well as newly discovered live performances of Wings tracks recorded at Abbey Road Studios from The Paul McCartney Archive.

"Reaching 20 million satellite radio subscribers is an important milestone for SIRIUS XM," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SIRIUS XM Radio. "Sir Paul's performance at the Apollo Theater is our way of thanking our subscribers; we are thrilled to offer them an opportunity to attend the event and listen live to this once-in-a-lifetime concert on SIRIUS XM."

Currently celebrating its 75th anniversary season, the legendary non-profit Apollo Theater is known for launching the careers of countless legendary performers, and has been a catalyst for artistic excellence and innovation since it opened its doors in 1934.

Subscribers may enter to win tickets to the event through various call-in promotions across SIRIUS XM's diverse music, talk and sports on-air channels. SIRIUS XM subscribers can also enter for the chance to win tickets by going to or for Official Rules and complete details. One grand prize winner will be awarded four tickets to the exclusive concert, a paid trip to New York City, two nights lodging, an "Everything Plus The Best Of" SIRIUS or XM subscription for the lifetime of the subscriber's radio, an opportunity to be a guest DJ on "Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Radio" and an autographed copy of the Band on the Run deluxe edition box set. All opportunities to win tickets to the concert are limited to listeners who have been an active SIRIUS or XM subscriber continuously since November 15, 2010.

The concert will air nationwide live on six channels including "Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Radio," Howard 101, one of Howard Stern's two exclusive SIRIUS XM channels, Underground Garage, Classic Vinyl, The Coffee House and '70s on 7.

"Paul McCartney's Band on the Run Radio" is the latest example of SIRIUS XM's original, limited-run, artist-branded channels dedicated to iconic musicians. In addition to its current lineup of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Radio, Elvis Radio and Radio Margaritaville, SIRIUS XM has previously offered limited-run channels such as "Elton!," "The Who Channel," "Mandatory Metallica," "Rolling Stones Radio," "AC/DC Radio," "Led Zeppelin Radio," "Miles Davis Radio," "The Spectrum of John Mellencamp," "Radio R.E.M.," "Coldplay Nation," "ABBA Radio," "Neil Diamond Radio," "Jay-Z Nation," "Garth Brooks Radio" and "Duran Duran's Red Carpet Radio," among many others.

For more information, please visit or

Monday, November 08, 2010

'Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In' to feature tracks from Devo, Goo Goo Dolls, Oasis & many more for the holidays


NOVEMBER 8, 2010 — Burbank, CA — Warner Bros. Records’ 2009 digital holiday album Gift Wrapped: 20 Songs That Keep on Giving was such a smashing success that the label has created a new collection for this year’s holiday season. Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In, which features 11 brand-new recordings and five highly coveted and previously unavailable tracks, will be released digitally during Thanksgiving week. Extra-special bonus content will also be announced soon. Furthermore, a limited-edition two-LP vinyl pressing will be available as a gift only from surprise locations, and not available for sale.

Here’s what you need to know about the Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In:

· BRAND NEW ORIGINAL SONGS : Devo’s quirky and warming “Merry Something To You,” Cavo’s stunning "Home For Christmas" (also with exclusive Song Mixer), Kara DioGuardi and Jason Reeves’ original smash "New York in Wintertime,” American Bang’s heartfelt "Christmas Song,” and Rachael Yamagata’s melodic "Baby Come Find Me At Christmas,” amongst others originals by The Goo Goo Dolls who deliver a trembling acoustic version of “Better Days,” and Regina Spektor, who contributes a somber and eye-opening “December.”

· COVERS: The holiday cover songs run the gamut in ambition and diversity. Foxy Shazam take on the risqué and controversial "Heaven on Their Minds" from Jesus Christ Superstar. The Ready Set bring a modern and anthemic sensibility to Paul McCartney's classic “Wonderful Christmastime,” Oasis cover their fellow U.K. rocker's Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody," The Dirt Drifters bring country to the U2 version smash "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” Everest dusts off the Marvin Gaye deep-cut “Christmas in the City,” Stardeath and White Dwarfs shed a whole new light on Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” and Tegan and Sara master a lovingly harmonious version of The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late), which features their mom on guest vocals.

· STANDARDS: Warner Bros. Records is honored to include the late Ben Keith’s “Les Trois Cloches,” featuring vocals by Neil Young and Pegi Young (Neil’s only vocal holiday track), the Hitman David Foster also delivers a captivating arrangement of “Carol of the Bells,” The Spill Canvas bring a true-to-form rendition of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” WMG newcomers House of Heroes capture an incredible "O Come, O Come O Emmanuel," and The Flaming Lips contribute a live and crowd-involved version of “Little Drummer Boy.”

Happy holidays everyone!

The track-listing for Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In is as follows:

Cavo “Home For Christmas”

Ben Keith (Feat Neil Young and Pegi Young): “Les Trois Cloches”

Oasis “Merry Christmas Everybody”

American Bang “Christmas Song”

Jason Reeves and Kara DioGuardi “New York in Wintertime”

Tegan and Sara “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”

Regina Spektor “December”

Devo “Merry Something To You”

David Foster “Carol of the Bells” [Instrumental]

The Ready Set “Wonderful Christmastime”

Foxy Shazam “Heaven On Their Minds”

The Goo Goo Dolls “Better Days” [Acoustic Version]

Rachael Yamagata “Baby Come Find Me At Christmas”

Everest “Christmas in the City”

The Dirt Drifters “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

The Spill Canvas “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”

Stardeath and White Dwarfs “Last Christmas”

House of Heroes “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

The Flaming Lips “Little Drummer Boy” (Live)

Franklin “Hanukkah, Oh Channukah” (Bonus track)

The Red Elephant “Brooklyn Sleigh Ride (Bonus Track)

Also look out for exclusively sequenced Gift Wrapped CDs at Hot Topic (Gift Wrapped: Stocking Stuffer) and at independent music retailers (Gift Wrapped: A Change In Season) on November 22nd, 2010.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Queensrÿche set to reissue deluxe 'Empire' on Nov. 9


Digital Packages Feature Remastered Original Album Plus 13 Bonus Tracks, Including 10 Previously Unreleased Live Recordings

Hollywood, California – Queensrÿche has partnered with Capitol/EMI for the Nov. 9 release of an expanded 20th Anniversary Edition of the band’s triple platinum-certified breakout album, Empire. The new 2-CD and digital packages both include the remastered album, featuring six hit singles, including the #1 smash “Silent Lucidity,” as well as 13 bonus tracks, among them 10 previously unreleased live performances recorded in 1990 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The 2-CD package is presented in a lift-top box with five postcards, a fold-out poster and a booklet featuring photos from the band’s personal archive.

After building a devoted fan base with album and EP releases throughout the 1980s, including 1988’s critically acclaimed Operation: Mindcrime, Queensrÿche broke into the mainstream across North America and abroad with the 1990 release of Empire. In the U.S., the album peaked at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and its hit ballad “Silent Lucidity” quickly became a heavy rotation staple at rock radio and on MTV, topping Billboard’s Modern Rock singles chart and earning Queensrÿche the coveted MTV Viewers Choice Award for the song’s music video. Empire also made the U.K.’s Top 10, and the album’s international success led to Queensrÿche’s 18-month headlining “Building Empires” world tour, the band’s longest trek to date.

Empire also features the Billboard Top 10 Modern Rock hits “Jet City Woman” and “Another Rainy Night,” the Top 20 single, “Anybody Listening?,” and the Top 30 singles “Best I Can” and Empire.” In addition to the aforementioned live recordings, Empire (20th Anniversary Edition)’s bonus tracks include “Last Time in Paris” from the Ford Forlaine soundtrack, “Dirty Lil’ Secret,” and the band’s cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.”

Since forming in Bellevue, Washington in 1981, Queensrÿche has sold more than twenty million albums around the world. For more information, visit Queensrÿche’s official web site:

(20th Anniversary Edition)
[2CD, digital]


1.Best I Can
2.The Thin Line
3.Jet City Woman
4.Della Brown
5.Another Rainy Night (Without You)
8.Silent Lucidity
9.Hand On Heart
10.One And Only
11.Anybody Listening?
12.Last Time In Paris [Bonus Track]
13.Scarborough Fair [Bonus Track]
14.Dirty Lil’ Secret [Bonus Track]
DISC 2 (previously unreleased: all tracks recorded live 11/15/90 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon)

2.Walk in the Shadows
3.Best I Can
5.The Thin Line
6.Jet City Woman
7.Roads To Madness
8.Silent Lucidity
9.Hand On Heart
10.Take Hold Of The Flame

Thursday, November 04, 2010

NPR Music streams 15 new Bruce Springsteen songs from 'The Promise'

Photo credit: Frank Stefanko


From Nov. 1 to 16, 2010, NPR Music will stream songs from Bruce Springsteen's new 2-CD set The Promise (The Lost Sessions: Darkness On The Edge of Town). Songs include superb alternate renditions of 'Racing In The Street,' and 'Candy's Room,' Springsteen's own versions of hits he penned for others including 'Because The Night' and 'Fire,' as well as never-before-heard songs from the 'Darkness?' sessions with the E Street Band.

NPR First Listen: Bruce Springsteen's 'The Promise':

In addition, go to the New York Times' Arts Beats blog to watch the music video for the song 'Save My Love' featured on 'The Promise' 2-CD set. The video includes contemporary footage as well as footage from the Sessions.

New York Times Arts Beat: Bruce Springsteen's 'Save My Love' video:

On Nov. 16 two new Bruce Springsteen releases will become available from Columbia Records. The first is The Promise the 2-CD set with 21 never-before-released tracks from the 'Darkness' sessions. The second The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge of Town Story is a six-disc deluxe package (three CDs and three DVDs) featuring internationally celebrated documentary 'The Promise: The Making Of Darkness on the Edge of Town.'

For more information, visit:

BMI honors Paul Rodgers with 'Million Air' Award



Los Angeles, CA – November 4, 2010 – BMI has presented Paul Rodgers, singer songwriter and founding member of Free with a new “Million Air” award to acknowledge four million performances of Free’s hit song "All Right Now." Million Air awards are presented to songwriters in recognition of songs that receive two million or more U.S. radio and television performances. A radio staple for 40 years, the song has also surpassed a massive 2,000,000 radio plays in the UK (as of 2000). “All Right Now” appeared on the band’s “Fire and Water” album in mid-1970. The single was an international #1 hit in over 20 territories and landed at #2 on the UK charts and #4 on Billboard Hot 100.

“When I started writing ‘All Right Now’ the lyrics and the melody flowed easily. It felt special and it’s still special to me and the fans. It’s a ‘must play’ in my solo set,” said Paul Rodgers.

Recently, “All Right Now” topped the UK’s Planet Rock radio fan poll as the “Greatest Rock Single,” in “one of the most decisive polls” they’ve ever run beating out 39 international chart-topping hit songs from artists such as Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, AC/DC, The Eagles, Queen and Guns and Roses. Previous Planet Rock polls placed “All Right Now” on the “Best Summer Rock Song,” “Greatest Rock Riff of All Time” and “Ultimate Driving Songs” charts.

After a five-year skyrocketing run of success, Free would disband in 1973 and Paul Rodgers would go on to form and front another legendary rock band, Bad Company. Earlier this year, “The Very Best of Free and Bad Company featuring Paul Rodgers” greatest hits collection, featuring Rodgers’ greatest works during the legendary ’68-’73 era of Free and ’73-’82 era of Bad Company, became Bad Company's first top 10 chart appearance since 1979, Free's first since 1991 and was Rodgers’ return to the charts following his 2007 certified Gold debut solo DVD “Live in Glasgow” which charted at #1 in Canada, #2 in Japan, #3 in the US and #4 in the UK.

Following a U.S. summer tour run, Paul Rodgers and Bad Company recently wrapped their first concert tour of Japan in over 30 years culminating with a three night stand in Tokyo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Depeche Mode's 'Tour of the Universe - Live in Barcelona' set for Nov. 9 release

Anytime there is a concert-related release featuring Depeche Mode, that is cause for celebration among fans of the electro-rock pioneers.
This arrived in my inbox today and it is only fair I share the news...

‘Tour of the Universe – Live In Barcelona’

DVD, Blu-ray & Deluxe Edition to be released Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Extensive DVD package to feature a host of content including bonus tracks recorded at the group’s concerts in Barcelona, a tour documentary ‘Inside The Universe,’ performances filmed at rehearsals in New York & Anton Corbijn's specially created 'screen films'

On November 9, 2010, Depeche Mode will release Tour Of The Universe - Live In Barcelona (Capitol), a live DVD of two recent performances in Spain from their most recent world tour. This spectacular and extensive DVD package will feature 21 tracks recorded over two sold out nights at the Palau St Jordi in Barcelona, Spain on November 20th and 21st 2009. These concerts were part of Depeche Mode's acclaimed Tour Of The Universe, which saw Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andrew 'Fletch' Fletcher playing 102 shows across 40 countries to over 2.7 million people. Their epic trip across the globe was one of the most successful tours of recent history and saw the group performing an array of stunning material, spanning their impressive 30 year history. In addition to the DVD package, the deluxe and blu-ray editions will be released the same day. Both the deluxe edition and the blu-ray will be available exclusively at

The Tour of the Universe – Live In Barcelona collection comes with a host of exclusive content, including four bonus tracks recorded across the band’s two nights in Barcelona, a tour documentary entitled Inside The Universe, two live tracks filmed at tour rehearsals in New York, as well as Anton Corbijn's specially created 'screen films' for seven tracks plus further bonus montages created from the on-stage screens. The package also includes the four music videos released by the group off of their acclaimed Sounds Of The Universe album, including the GRAMMY nominated video “Wrong,” directed by Patrick Daughters. For a sneak peek of the DVD fans can log on to

’Tour of the Universe – Live In Barcelona’ comes in three formats:

Super deluxe 4-disc version (2xDVD, 2xCD):
DVD1 (a 21 track live performance plus four bonus tracks)

DVD2 (extra bonus content including documentary and promo videos)

2 x CD (audio of the 21 tracks from DVD1)

Deluxe version (1 x DVD, 2 x CD):

Contains DVD1 and the two audio CDs

Blu-ray (2x Blu-ray discs)

Depeche Mode

Tour Of The Universe Barcelona

November 20 & 21, 2009

1. In Chains
2. Wrong
3. Hole To Feed
4. Walking In My Shoes
5. It's No Good
6. A Question Of Time
7. Precious
8. Fly On The Windscreen
9. Jezebel
10. Home
11. Come Back
12. Policy Of Truth
13. In Your Room
14. I Feel You
15. Enjoy The Silence
16. Never Let Me Down Again
17. Dressed In Black
18. Stripped
19. Behind The Wheel
20. Personal Jesus
21. Waiting For The Night

Bonus tracks
World In My Eyes
Sister Of Night
Miles Away / The Truth Is
One Caress

Inside The Universe
Tour documentary
Tour Of The Universe / Screens
In Chains
Walking In My Shoes
Come Back
Policy Of Truth
Enjoy The Silence
Personal Jesus
Tour Of The Universe / Rehearsals
Walking In My Shoes

Bonus tracks
Hole To Feed
Behind The Wheel
Never Let Me Down Again

Sounds Of The Universe - Videos
Hole To Feed
Fragile Tension

Depeche Mode belongs to a select premiere league of super groups who have survived from the early 1980s with their ideals, creative vision and core members intact. Formed in 1981, Depeche Mode – Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher – continue to win critical and commercial acclaim across the world both in the studio and on the road. All of the band’s 11 studio albums have reached the Top Ten in not only the UK and USA but 20 plus countries around the world including Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Belgium. All told the band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

For more information please go to

Monday, October 25, 2010

Glen Campbell shines in performance at The Grove of Anaheim

Photo credit: Kelly A. Swift took this photo of Glen Campbell when he performed at the Grove of Anaheim in 2009.

This review first appeared on the Soundcheck blog on the Orange County Register Web site on Oct. 25, 2010.

Glen Campbell has carved out the kind of career that just doesn’t happen anymore.

A strong singer and virtuoso guitarist, the Arkansas native was a member of the fabled Wrecking Crew group of studio musicians who helped cut some of the most seminal recordings of the ’60s. He even served as a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson in 1964-65, and the next year played guitar on the band’s landmark Pet Sounds.

But Campbell’s greatest fame, of course, came later that decade and on into the next, when he scored hits on both the country and pop charts while simultaneously garnering notice as an actor (most notably co-starring with John Wayne in 1969’s True Grit) and as the host of the popular Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran on CBS from 1969 to 1972. Even when the crossover hits ended in the late ’70s, Campbell continued to score a number of singles on the country charts.

Sunday night (Oct. 24, 2010), in a return engagement at the Grove of Anaheim, the 74-year-old icon brought this wealth of music and memories to an enthusiastic crowd, interlacing his best-known songs with heartfelt stories and playful jousting with members of his band.

Although Campbell only performed for roughly 70 minutes, his fast-paced show made up for such brevity with plenty of big-time audience favorites. Opening with “Gentle on my Mind,” he followed with “Galveston,” both selections bolstered by plenty of impressive and mostly flawless fretwork from the master. Before the night was through, he had offered up equally effective takes on the uptempo “Try a Little Kindness” and “Southern Nights” (complete with a 12-string guitar solo) as well as the achingly beautiful “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Where’s the Playground, Susie?” He also shared the thrill of working with the Duke as an introduction before singing the Oscar-nominated theme song from True Grit.

But the highlight of Campbell’s set in Anaheim, as it is most anywhere he performs, was “Wichita Lineman,” the Jimmy Webb classic, featuring some of his most emotive singing of the night and still more impressive guitar skills. Other standout moments came when Campbell’s voice effortlessly blended with the sopranos of one or both of his daughters, Debby and Ashley (who also plays banjo, guitar and keyboards). Campbell’s band is rounded out by one more of his eight children, Cal Campbell on drums and vocals, along with rhythm guitarist Ryan Jarred, bassist Siggy Sjursen and Campbell’s musical director, keyboardist T.J. Kuenster.

The set ended with several songs likely to be included on Campbell’s next disc, tentatively titled Ghost on the Canvas and set for release in spring. The final song he played at the Grove, “A Better Place,” allowed him to powerfully reflect on a life well-lived, from the perspective of someone who has learned the limits of human endurance.

Looking around at the enthusiastic reaction to every staple he played and the palpable affection that remains for the man performing them, it was clear that even if he hadn’t delivered these memories in full, the crowd would have loved him simply for showing up. Yet the fact that Campbell still delivers the musical goods with obvious passion is worth celebrating no matter how many times he chronicles the tales of Rhinestone Cowboys, Wichita Linemen and those sweet Southern Nights.

Opening for Campbell was Instant People, a quartet featuring the aforementioned Jarred (on lead vocals), Ashley Campbell (banjo, guitar, keyboards), Cal Campbell (percussion) and Sjursen (bass). Befitting the twentysomething age of its members, the group boasted a contemporary indie rock sound somewhere between Travis and She & Him. The group’s five original songs featured here were mostly dazzling, particularly the country-tinged folk-rock of “Abbot Waits” and artful pop of “Home.”

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Week Ahead: Norah Jones, Elvis Costello

Looking to get an early listen to material from Norah Jones' forthcoming ...Featuring collection, which isn't set for release until Nov. 16?

You can catch Norah Jones and The Roots performing the song "Chasing Pirates" on NBC-TV's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" on Monday, Oct. 25.

Blues Notes Records will release ...Featuring, a star-studded collection of the multi-platinum selling, multi-Grammy Award winning singer Norah Jones' musical collaborations from the past decade. The 18 songs on the album include duets with such legends as Ray Charles, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, and with 21st Century icons from OutKast to the Foo Fighters.

The tracks span Jones's entire career, and reveal her astonishing musical versatility, from jazz to country, hip-hop to rock. The result serves as a kind of parallel history to her own four albums, which have sold over 40 million copies worldwide.

Elvis Costello takes 'National Ransom' to the people via Web, TV and Radio

Release week includes WNYC, Ustream, Letterman, Fallon, Colbert, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, WFUV, SiriusXM and more

ColbertNation hosts week-long album stream kicking off Oct. 25

Elvis Costello will spend release week for National Ransom (November 2 by Hear Music/Concord Music Group) in NYC with a mix of intimate appearances and major special performances that will reach fans worldwide, across every media platform conceivable.

Stay tuned for more details on tickets to these shows, links to the streaming content and other updates. Watch for National Ransom at these and other locations. Read on:

Monday, October 25 - For those who just can't wait a minute longer, check out, where Elvis Costello's National Ransom premieres and will be featured as a full week-long stream.

Monday, November 1
"The Greene Space" at WNYC - On the eve of release, Elvis Costello brings in his six-piece band the Sugarcanes with Pete Thomas on drums to WNYC's innovative performance venue for a unique concert that marks the first New York City performance of this line-up. The concert streams live at 8:30 pm ET on and is powered by Ustream, the leading live interactive broadcast platform. will also link visitors to the performance.
CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman" - Later that night, Costello and band take on domestic broadcast with an interview and performance of "National Ransom."

Tuesday, November 2
AOL Sessions - Costello and band will tape an in-studio performance to stream on AOL this November.
Costello tapes a full set in front of a live audience at a stately, unconventional venue (TBA) for PBS' "Live from the Artists Den," which will air in early 2011. Costello will release several pairs of tickets via an NYC-based Foursquare scavenger hunt.

Wednesday, November 3
Costello appears for an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as part of a special episode, shot live in front of a studio audience.
WFUV Presents "Words & Music with Elvis Costello" - Costello will be the featured artist of the day, all day on 90.7fm / At 7pm, WFUV presents: "Words & Music: A Conversation and Live Performance with Elvis Costello." With an encore on November 5th at 7pm on WFUV's "The Whole Wide World."
WNYC's "The Leonard Lopate Show" airs a four-song excerpt from Costello's Monday night WNYC/Ustream concert at 12pm on WNYC 93.9 FM / AM 820 /
Sirius/XM Satellite Radio will air multiple interviews and a live in studio performance featuring a four-song excerpt from Costello's recent visit to the outlet's world class NYC studio. Listen for Elvis on Willie's Place, Outlaw Country, Spectrum, The Bob Edwards Show and more.

Thursday, November 4th
Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" - Elvis Costello makes a solo appearance performing "Slow Drag with Josephine" and speaks with Stephen Colbert.

Friday, November 5
NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" - Costello joins Fallon for an interview and collaborates with The Roots on "Stations of the Cross."

Saturday, November 6 & Sunday, November 7
"Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!" - NPR listeners across the U.S. will hear Costello play "Not My Job" on November 6 and 7.
All band performances are with the Sugarcanes and Pete Thomas. The Sugarcanes, who appear on 'National Ransom,' are: Jerry Douglas (dobro, lap steel), Stuart Duncan (violin), Mike Compton (mandolin), Jim Lauderdale (guitar and vocals), Jeff Taylor (accordion), Dennis Crouch (double bass). Pete Thomas (drums) has played with Costello since 1977.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Live At Blair' featuring Alison Brown Quartet, Roger McGuinn's 'Thunderbyrd' DVDs coming next week

Two exciting and highly-anticipated DVD releases are set for next week. I wanted to share the news since these under-the-radar collections may not be in stores forever. Indeed, I recently had a pal complain he could no longer get an out-of-circulation DVD title that featured the Beatles and it had been issued everywhere a few years ago...

Alison Brown Quartet 'Live At Blair' DVD set to arrive in stores on Tuesday, Oct. 26

Forthcoming DVD to also feature Joe Craven (David Grisman Quintet alum)

Filmed at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, Live At Blair showcases the virtuosic Alison Brown Quartet on a riveting set of the group’s best-loved compositions. Filmed in HD, recorded in high-end audio and featuring a guest appearance from multi-instrumentalist and David Grisman Quintet alum Joe Craven, this is the GRAMMY-award winning artist’s first live DVD recording in a 15-year career that spans eight albums, countless tours, appearances on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in the Wall Street Journal.

RELIX.COM HOSTING PREMIERE OF ROGER MCGUINN'S THUNDERBYRD ARCHIVAL ROCKPALAST PERFORMANCE the online home of Relix Magazine is hosting an exclusive premiere of ROGER MCGUINN'S THUNDERBYRD performing "Eight Miles High". This video was taken from the forthcoming DVD ROGER MCGUINN'S THUNDERBYRD ROCKPALAST Westcoast Legends Volume 4.

You can view it on the homepage.

This performance which took place at Grugahalle in Essen, Germany on July 23 and 24 of 1977 is finally being released from the ROCKPALAST archives and will be in stores on October 25, 2010 from MIG Music.

With his band THUNDERBYRD (a tribute to Bob Dylans's Rolling Thunder Review) that included Rick Vito on guitar, Greg Thomas on drums and Charlie Harrison on bass and vocals, MCGUINN celebrated his musical history, including BYRD'S classics such as: "Turn Turn Turn", "Mr. Tambourine Man", and "Eight Miles High".

ROCKPALAST is a world renowned German television series that began airing in 1974 on the German television station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). Translated into English as "Rock Palace" the television series still airs today. Over the years countless artists and bands have appeared on the show and now MIG is pleased to present four memorable performances from some of Rock's most iconic bands and musicians. All of the recordings will be available in CD and DVD format, with the exception of the JOHN CALE release which has a Double CD, Double DVD and an LP version and the ROGER MCGUINN release which is available only on DVD.

Other ROCKPALAST releases from MIG on October 25th include:


Recorded at Grugahalle in Essen, Germany on October 13, 1984 JOHN CALE starts off his set with the classic "Autobiography" this concert features CALE at his very best. The performance includes songs such as "Caribbean Sunset", "Fear is a Man's Best Friend", "Paris 1919" and a breathtaking version of the Velvet Underground classic "Waiting for the Man"

Supported by David Lichtenstein on drums, Andy Heermans on bass, and David Young on guitar, this performance remains to this day one of the most spectacular concerts in the history of ROCKPALAST


In sharp contrast to the first performance, you can see and hear CALE'S solo performance recorded the year before on March 6th at the Zeche Bochum. Here you will find the more introverted JOHN CALE: A man with his guitar and piano performing his all-time classics.

MICHAEL SCHENKER has always been an artist who never made false compromises. Even when he was the guitarist in world famous bands such as The Scorpions and UFO his unique style soon became the trademark sound at the time for each of these bands. By the end of the Seventies, the typical confines of being in a band began to limit Schenker more and more. So he took the next logistical step in his career and left UFO to form his own band, THE MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP.

Filmed on January 24, 1981 at the Markthalle in Hamburg, Germany, this concert presents the first MSG album almost in its entirety (and almost in the same running order) including the two greatest songs SCHENKER created with UFO: "Doctor Doctor" and "Rock Bottom" After more than 20 years this intense hard rock document finally is available to all fans in perfect quality.

From the first notes of "Lettin' Go" you can hear an experienced band celebrating a compact, homogenic, and straight forward performance. UFO took to the stage on November 29, 1980 at Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany. During this show they tore through their hits including: "Lights Out", "Too Hot to Handle", "Only You Can Rock Me", "Cherry" as well as a magnificent cover of Elvis Presely's "Mystery Train". Ending the night with a breathtaking encore which included "Rock Bottom" and "Doctor Doctor", this concert remains a stunning document of the power and perfection of one of the greatest hard rock bands that have ever existed

For more information be sure to visit:

Concert recap: Rosanne Cash, Maroon 5, Jónsi, Macy Gray

Jónsi photo credit: Kim Kinsler

Have I been missing in action? Of course not. I've been busy covering shows for The Orange County Register and even writing a couple of concert previews as well as shooting new episode of "Music Worth Buying" with TJR so I haven't posted in a bit. Sorry. But while I think of something interesting to share, why don't you check out my four latest concert reviews posted in the Soundcheck blog at the Orange County Register site. They are re-published below for your daytime or evening reading pleasure...

Macy Gray eclectic as ever at the Mouse House
Originally posted on Soundcheck on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010

Few singers have a voice as distinctive as Macy Gray’s. But that raspy instrument wouldn’t mean much if the celebrated singer didn’t have solid material to put those pipes to good use.

Throughout a strong 100-minute concert Tuesday night at House of Blues Anaheim, the 43-year- old Ohio native delivered songs incorporating every far-flung influence in her past, from pop and alt-rock to blues and soul, R&B and jazz, even reggae. The power of her voice, a solid backing group (five musicians and two backing singers) and an easygoing rapport with fans made the mix of styles flow together exceptionally well.

Evidence of that came early on, when Gray and her band offered up a rocking yet nuanced take on Radiohead’s “Creep.” Her idiosyncratic personality and gruff vocal resonance couldn’t be more different than Thom Yorke’s, but the version offered up at the Mouse House was no gimmick; there was a sense of power and emotion that really made the remake memorable.

Better news was that the bulk of this set came from Gray’s new disc The Sellout, her fifth full-length effort (and first for Concord Records), an outstanding collection full of authentic material written or co-written by the singer. It proves how after a decade of consistently interesting work — built on the emotion inherit in the very sound of her voice as well as the wealth of influences she has amassed — Gray has become a master at mixing together the classic with the contemporary.

On “Kissed It” Tuesday night, she wrapped her straightforward lyrics of romantic rejection around a ’70s-styled rocker anchored by a heavy drum beat. Elsewhere she used slow soulful grooves (“Stalker”) or modern dance styles (notably during “On and On”) quite effectively.

And throughout the night, she and her band would blend her own songs with bits of classic rock that added texture to her performance, while simultaneously exciting the crowd as well. Yes‘ “I’ve Seen All Good People,” Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” (which morphed into a hearty version of her own “Oblivion”) and Queen’s “We Are the Champions” were all infused into Gray’s wide-ranging set in Anaheim, before she brought things to a convincing close with a rousing rendition of her breakthrough hit “I Try,” followed by her latest single, the shimmering feel-good anthem “Beauty in the World.”

Jónsi captivates at tour kickoff in San Diego
Originally posted on Soundcheck on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010

Jón Thór Birgisson — better known to an ever-increasing number of devotees as Jónsi – kicked off his second tour of the U.S. this year with a dazzling, adventurous performance Friday night in San Diego. The Icelandic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who normally fronts the ensemble Sigur Rós performed with all the zeal he showcased at Coachella six months ago, yet this time his songs and singular, indie-rock-meets-world-music style were bundled with a theatricality that impressed throughout a 90-minute show delivered before a capacity crowd at 4th & B. (He plays again Sunday at the Wiltern in Los Angeles and Monday at the Fox Theater in Pomona.)

As ambitious as it was artistic, Jónsi’s concert included emotional reworkings of most of the material on his wonderful solo debut, Go, along with many new songs. Whereas the two Sigur Rós performances I’ve seen played out like a perfect fusion of rock and symphonic music, Friday night’s set, backed by an outstanding four-man group that includes his partner Alex Somers, offered an equally ideal blend of modern alt-rock and musical theater.

After opening with a new solo acoustic song (“Stars in Still Water”), things moved quickly with a nature-minded storyline showing a conflagration destroying a taxidermy shop during the emotive “Hengilas.” High-tech projections of animation, 3-D artwork positioned on stage and dancing lights all around resulted in birds and butterflies taking flight, a deer and wolf battling in a forest, ants marching, rain falling and a storm raging. All the while, the buoyant “Boy Lilikoi,” the exuberant “Animal Arithmetic,” the joyous “Grow Till Tall” and the contemplative one-two punch of “Kolnidur” morphing into “Tornado” challenged the traditions of what a rock ‘n’ roll concert should look and sound like.

Whether seated at a piano, playing his acoustic guitar or simply standing in front of a microphone, Jónsi’s soaring tenor and falsetto were used to bring depth and power to every moment. The show didn’t reach its zenith, however, until Jónsi held the last note of the show-closing “Grow Till Tall,” the echos of his far-reaching voice and vision resonating in the collective crowd as people slowly made their way out of the music hall. It was truly a concert free from cliche: no band introductions, no pleas for fans to get on their feet and participate, no frivolous sing-longs. Indeed, Jónsi said very little, preferring instead to let the power of the concert, the lights and this celebration of nature challenge and excite the audience. It worked.

Opening these shows is Mountain Man, a female trio spotlighting original songs from its recently released debut, Made the Harbor, each track constructed around their unique vocals. At times, MM’s sound evoked Americana and Celtic folk, notably on the set-ending “Sewee Sewee,” but other original songs, like “How’m I Doin,” showcased their blended voices alone or, as on “Follow the Tracks,” against the backdrop of a lone acoustic guitar. All of it defied easy categorization, yet the performance from Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath was an ideal way to kick off a night of unique music-making.

Jónsi, with Mountain Man opening, plays again Sunday (Oct. 17) at the Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles ($47.20-$62.45) and Monday (Oct. 18) at the Fox Theater, 301 S. Garey Ave. in Pomona ($32.65-$43.65). All prices include fees.

Maroon 5 fires up a party night at the Greek
Originally posted on Soundcheck on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010

Anybody who has caught nostalgic acts at Pacific Amphitheatre during the OC Fair can attest that no matter how talented the performers, no matter how good the show, music-making ultimately takes a backseat to nonstop crowd chatter, bumping and shoving as people head out for frequent beer runs, and a general lack of interest in anything beyond a simple singalong.

It was sad to see that same vibe at the near-capacity Maroon 5 concert at the Greek Theatre on Saturday night (Oct. 9, 2010), the second of two shows from the popular L.A. quintet staged there this weekend.

Whereas bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, Styx and Duran Duran enjoyed their biggest successes decades ago, and thus largely attract party people who talk and talk until they hear a hit they love, Maroon 5 is one of the most popular mainstream groups right now; its newly released third disc, Hands All Over, was one of the biggest-selling albums the week of its release late last month, and a new single from it, “Misery,” currently sits atop the Hot AC (adult contemporary) chart. You’d think these guys would get more respect.

It was an energetic version of “Misery” that kicked off M5’s 90-minute set, with the outfit’s talented frontman Adam Levine on a mission to lead these hometown tour stops via an energetic stew of funk, rock, soul and R&B. To its credit, no matter how many distractions took place in the crowd, the band was determined to reward longtime fans with a solid and memorable concert.

Maroon 5 struck successfully with a mix of its best-known hits (“Harder to Breathe,” “This Love,” “Makes Me Wonder”), slices of sublime pop-rock (the infectious “Won’t Go Home Without You”), expressive ballads (“Secret,” “She Will Be Loved”) and perhaps most remarkably a wonderful cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

Although Levine’s impressive vocals, notably his pleasing tenor falsetto, have become the most obvious part of M5’s sound, this show also spotlighted tight and reworked arrangements from the rest of the group, often bolstered by the strong guitar work of Levine and James Valentine. Of the newer material played on Saturday, the upbeat “Stutter” and “Give a Little More” were standouts.

It would be a stretch to credit Maroon 5 as having reached the artistic heights of an Arcade Fire (another band that just delivered two shows in L.A.), but there’s nothing wrong with a group that can write and perform commercial material that is both accessible and well-crafted. But by the end of the band’s energetic show, I had grown weary of trying to listen amid the ceaseless commotion and banter around me, and was happy the show was over. I don’t often say that about a perfectly solid concert on a beautiful night under the stars in Griffith Park.

In a brief but obviously crowd-pleasing cameo, actor-musician Jason Segel performed a couple songs before Maroon 5 took the stage, playing his “Dracula’s Lament” (from Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and adding his humor and piano-pounding talents the night’s party atmosphere. I’m pretty sure he was kidding when he screamed out about “bringing on the greatest band (Maroon 5) in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” but on a date when most of the world was recalling the 70th birthday of the late John Lennon (who was definitely a member of the world’s greatest rock band), that was definitely pushing the envelope of his comedy.

Even for casual fans of modern music, OneRepublic’s familiar material was a solid fit here as another opener. Singer-keyboardist Ryan Tedder led his L.A. band through its best-known material (especially “Apologize” and “Stop and Stare”) along with more forceful rock stuff like “Marchin On” and “Waking Up,” all delivered with zeal. But the real ace in the band’s arsenal is the cello playing of Brent Kutzle, whose work added real substance to the introspective “Good Life,” among other songs.

Those wondering if any of the artists on the bill would pay tribute to Lennon hopefully arrived early. When first opener Ry Cuming took the stage at 7 p.m. the Australian noted that he wanted to dedicate his first song, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” to the Beatle. His sparse version, his vocals accompanied by his own guitar and his band’s keyboardist, ultimately proved to be one of his best selections across a half-hour set of mostly original material.

Rosanne Cash gets deep at the Grammy Museum
Originally posted on Soundcheck on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010

It has taken Rosanne Cash most of her adult life to both escape and embrace comparisons with other members of one of country music’s most celebrated families.

The eldest child of Johnny Cash, now 55, has released a dozen albums over the last three decades while more recently establishing herself as a talented author, thanks to her compelling short stories and essays, plus a popular book for children, Penelope Jane: A Fairy’s Tale, from 2000. A decade later, her profile has risen once more via both her deeply affecting memoir Composed, which arrived in August, and her latest disc, The List, a selection of reworked Americana gems taken off a list her father hand-wrote for her in 1973.

Tuesday night (Oct. 5, 2010) at a packed Clive Davis Theater at the Grammy Museum, Cash showcased that two-tiered attack with an hour-long discussion, conducted by the museum’s executive director Robert Santelli and including a reading from her new book, before performing a poignant acoustic set with her husband, acclaimed guitarist John Leventhal.

Cash may well have been content to just remain a songwriter, if not for the loss of her singing voice for two years while suffering with vocal polyps. But it’s the deaths of June Carter Cash and her father in 2003 and then her mother Vivian Liberto two years later — as well as her own life-threatening brain surgery in late 2007 — that provided the dramatic events to help her complete Composed and come to grips with being a member of such an esteemed family.

“I feel sorry for my daughter, who is a musician,” she said when asked about performing in the shadow of her late father, one of the most beloved American artists of the 20th century. “It’s a challenge and requires a lot of grace. I didn’t have that until I was 50 years old. At the same time it is my family.” She’s been recording since the late ’70s, of course, but here she pointed out that “I don’t think I could have done it fully until after (her dad) died.”

Before performing a set focused on her two most recent releases, Black Cadillac (featuring original material) and The List (which tackles seminal songs by Bob Dylan, the Carter Family, Hank Williams and more), Cash recalled how her latest project germinated, starting when she was 18 and on the road with her father. One day Johnny Cash asked his daughter about one song; she said she hadn’t heard of it. He asked her about another one; her reply was the same.

“Off the top of his head — no Google,” he said of how her father immediately sat down and devised a list of 100 essential songs she should hear. “I saved that list all these years,” noting that it included country music, Delta blues, soul, folk and gospel selections. Whittling it down to the dozen she covers on The List, however, wasn’t as difficult as it sounds: “Some didn’t make sense for me to sing, like (Johnny Horton’s) ‘Battle of New Orleans.’”

But Cash’s biggest confession of the evening had nothing to do with her musical ancestry or the big names who duet with her on The List, which include Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Rufus Wainwright. A member of the audience asked what she thought of country music today: “Don’t know anything about it,” she said as many in the audience erupted in laughter. “I still love old country music — still love my old Merle Haggard.”

Noting there are no quality country music stations in New York City where she has long lived, Cash quipped: “I hadn’t heard Taylor Swift until this year.” Of course, when she and Leventhal began to perform, it was clear that Cash continues to have much more in common with her late father and the Hag than the prefab and mass-marketed modern country brandished by Swift.

The six-song set was a blend of her own choices (including the beautiful “Sleeping in Paris” and the autobiographical “House on the Lake”) plus several reworkings featured on The List, among them a haunting “Motherless Children” and the more traditional “Sea of Heartbreak,” with her husband handling Springsteen’s sparse harmony effectively. They closed the night with a beautiful “Good Intent,” an original named after the ship that brought her ancestors from Scotland to America in the early 1600s.

Throughout her set, Cash reminded how she has the depth of emotion and range as a singer to fully carry forward the musical birthright of the Cash name. If Tuesday night was any indication, the best may be yet to come.