Sunday, June 05, 2011

Sights & Sounds: TV, DVD and online specials satisfy rock fans

Eric Clapton joins forces with fellow “guitar gods” (including Jeff Beck, seen in the image here) for a third Crossroads Guitar Festival

If you caught Eric Clapton and a bunch of great artists at the third Crossroads Guitar Festival on PBS over the weekend (some stations around the nation air the special on Monday, June 6, including WNET/THIRTEEN in New York), then you know how great it was.
I was sent an advance copy of the concert and was impressed by the range of artists and material featured on the television special.

And while Clapton's name immediately brings the distinctive blend of British blues-rock to mind, the festival captured a diverse blend of talents together. Host Bill Murray welcomed Louisiana-based slide guitar virtuoso Sonny Landreth, acoustic blues songsmith Keb' Mo', Texas trio ZZ Top, guitar slinger Joe Bonamassa and more than a dozen other names to the stage.

Some of the most memorable performances come via Clapton, who joined with Landreth on "Promise Land," and with Steve Winwood on "Dear Mr. Fantasy."

You can get more information on the special (available as a DVD/CD combo) at THIRTEEN's Web site.

A MusiCares Tribute To Neil Young released on DVD

Another new DVD has found itself into my permanent library. Shout! Factory's A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young finds some of rock and country music's biggest names celebrating one of the best artists of our time.

Things kick off with a bang, as John Fogerty and Keith Urban join with Booker T. Jones for a rollicking version of "Rockin' in the Free World." What is most interesting about the tribute is how so few of the artists refuse to offer up faithful versions of Young's material as it was originally recorded; rather in an extra tribute to the always genre-defying and independent-leaning Young, these artists please the composer (seen sitting with his wife and children, obviously enjoying the show) with their reworked versions of the material.

Jason Mraz/Shawn Colvin team for a jazz-tinged "Lotta Love," John Mellencamp/T Bone Burnett team up for a sparse (and grunge-free) "Down by the River" and Dave Matthews uses the upper reaches of his baritone to warn of the dangers of drugs in "The Needle and the Damage Done." Although Josh Groban's "Harvest Moon" simply does not work (perhaps a version of "Maid" where the tenor was accompanied by a string section would have worked), most of the performances prove the point that a strong song can work beyond the talents of its gifted creator.

Track Listing & Performer(s)

1 "Rockin’ In The Free World" Keith Urban/John Fogerty/Booker T. Jones
2 "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" Lady Antebellum
3 "The Needle & The Damage Done" Dave Matthews
4 "Tell Me Why" Norah Jones
5 "Cinnamon Girl" Dierks Bentley/Booker T. Jones
6 "Harvest Moon" Josh Groban
7 "Ohio" Ben Harper
8 "Don’t Let It Bring You Down" Jackson Browne
9 "Broken Arrow" Wilco
10 "Lotta Love" Jason Mraz/Shawn Colvin
11 "(When You’re On) The Losing End" Elvis Costello
12 "Heart Of Gold" James Taylor
13 "Down By The River" John Mellencamp/T Bone Burnett
14 "Human Highway" Crosby, Stills & Nash
15 "Helpless Elton" John/Leon Russell/Neko Case/Sheryl Crow
16 "Mr. Soul" - Bonus Performance Ozomatli
17 "Revolution Blues" - Bonus Performance Everest

Please note that while I have a DVD copy of the release, the tribute concert is also available on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.

You can watch a video clip from the tribute concert and purchase the new DVD directly from Shout! Factory at the company's official Web site.


"New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A." Spotlighted In Worldwide Bacardi Campaign; On Tour This Summer With Panic! At The Disco

Debut Album, The Golden Age Of Knowhere, Available Now

June 1, 2011 - Funeral Party have been chosen as the next artist to watch by VEVO, the world's leading all-premium music and entertainment platform, and will be featured on their emerging artist platform, LIFT.

Kicking off June 9 and for the next eight weeks, the world will have the chance to get to know Funeral Party through exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, video premieres and intimate live concerts, all exclusive to the VEVO platform. THE LIFT gives fans the opportunity to break new artists like Funeral Party through social media interaction, including a new Facebook application. Using the app, fans can be a part of the Funeral Party team and directly help spread the word on their music. Access Funeral Party on VEVO at

"Being born into Generation Why, there was nowhere I could watch videos from bands I love, let alone discover new music and specialty shows like Generation X had before us," says Funeral Party lead singer Chad Elliott. "VEVO is an awesome place for music video lovers to come home to, That's why I'm so excited Funeral Party is part of LIFT. Our fans can stay up all night watching our videos and live shows at the same time sift through music and playlists to discover new bands. "

"RCA Music Group and Funeral Party are thrilled to partner with VEVO for their LIFT program. The LIFT partnership empowers us to reach a diverse and passionate music consumer looking to discover remarkable new talent like Funeral Party," says Tom Corson, EVP/GM of RCA Music Group. "The LIFT platform provides unparalleled marketing and social tools to aggressively position Funeral Party as a band you should know and love."

"We believe strongly in Funeral Party and the support of RCA Music Group. We're excited to make Funeral Party the first rock band we've chosen for VEVO LIFT," said Doug McVehil, Senior Vice President of Music Programming, Talent and Operations of VEVO. "Since launching in January, LIFT has exposed new artists like Tinie Tempah, Jessie J and Oh Land to huge mainstream audiences, directly impacting and growing their video views, radio airplay, sales and social media engagement. Our current LIFT artist, Tinie Tempah, has already seen his video streams quadruple and his online fans surpass the two million mark - and that's only halfway through his LIFT cycle. We look forward to adding Funeral Party to the list of LIFT successes."

Funeral Party has also been chosen for a worldwide Bacardi campaign for their anthem "New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A." The band will start a cross-country tour alongside indie rockers Panic! At The Disco in Chicago on June 8. Funeral Party also just wrapped a string of dates with the Deftones. The New York Post proclaimed that they "couldn't have been more impressed by the rocking foursome" and the Los Angeles Times declared the band a "technically precise and impossibly fun live act."

Produced by Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim, The Mars Volta) and mixed by Dave Sardy (Band of Horses, LCD Soundsystem, Oasis), Funeral Party's debut album has received rave reviews from the UK. The legendary Q Magazine gave The Golden Age Of Knowhere four stars calling it "thrilling"; while Mojo says: "each track spills out with fist-in-the-air energy." The first single off the album "Finale" recently won MtvU's Freshman and is also a part of this month's Fuse/MySpace Introducing series.

For tour dates and more:

About VEVO

VEVO is the world's leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform.

VEVO is available in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, which includes, Mobile Apps (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android), Connected Television (Google TV, Boxee) and user embeddable video players. VEVO powers music videos on over 200 artist pages across Facebook, as well as syndicates to dozens of online sites, including AOL, BET, CBS Interactive Music Group (including and Univision. Additionally, through a special partnership with YouTube, VEVO is accessible in over 200 countries, expanding the platform's reach around the globe.

Ranked by comScore as the #1 Music platform on the web, VEVO was named by Billboard as one of the top startups of 2010 and received the prestigious Advertising Age Media Vanguard Award for Online Video Platform Launch of the Year. Turning online music programming on its heels just one year into launch, VEVO's "meteoric rise" (Mediapost) has been applauded by the Associated Press as a "striking example of the music video's dramatic comeback" while its mobile launch was called "stellar" by Mashable.

VEVO was created in partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and the Abu Dhabi Media Company. It is operated independently by a dedicated management team with offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco.

Explore VEVO at

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