Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sights and Sounds: Ten Years After, Rush, Woody Guthrie, Lee MacDougall

This past week I was pretty slammed prepping to conquer Carmageddon and cover the Monkees' show at the Greek Theatre, as well as sit down with Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen for a story that will run in The Orange County Register next month.

What follows are some of the standout releases that landed in my inbox over the past week or so. It is particularly exciting that Ten Years After's 'A Space in Time' is being honored on its 40th anniversary with a wonderful reissue.


Ten Years After's A Space in Time and Rush's Roll the Bones Are Latest
Limited-Edition Gold CDs from the Premier Audiophile Imprint

Another rock reissue bonanza for music collectors will take place on Tuesday, July 19 when Audio Fidelity, the premier audiophile label, delivers 24-Karat Gold CDs of Ten Years After's 1971 A SPACE IN TIME and Rush's 1991 ROLL THE BONES albums. Issued as numbered, limited editions, each title will be retired after its initial run has sold out, and will be available through both online and brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

A SPACE IN TIME was the most successful album by British guitarist Alvin Lee and his bandmates. Their seventh LP, it reached No. 17 on Billboard's chart (where it spent half a year) and was the stylistic breakthrough that liberated the group from its blues-boogie heritage. Fans who'd thrilled to Lee's blazing soloing on "I'm Going Home" in the Woodstock documentary found much to like on tracks like "One of These Days" and "Hard Monkeys," but a whole new legion of followers was attracted to Ten Years After by the more reflective "I'd Love to Change the World." The latter was a bonafide pop hit in the fall of 1971 and evolved into an enduring staple of FM classic-rock over the years. A SPACE IN TIME became a platinum-seller and garnered impressive nods from critics, including the Village Voice's reviewer, who found it to be Lee and company's "toughest, fullest, most coherent album yet."

ROLL THE BONES was the 19th album by Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush (vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, drummer Neal Peart). It was also the group's first in a decade to enter the Top 5 on Billboard's LP chart, thanks to the fact that it featured four mainstream-rock hits: "Dreamline," "Bravado," "Roll the Bones" and "Where's My Thing (Part 4, Gangster of Boats Trilogy)," which received a Grammy® nomination for Best Rock Instrumental of 1991.

Rush's reputation as rockers did not preclude the lyrically dark album from showcasing several tuneful tracks ("Bravado," the harmony-lightened "Neurotica," the synthesizer-driven "Heresy"). A platinum album, ROLL THE BONES was produced by Rupert Hine, whose credits include music by Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Howard Jones and the Thompson Twins. Hine also contributed keyboards and backup vocals to the album.

Founded in 2002 by entertainment-industry legend Marshall Blonstein, Audio Fidelity specializes in deluxe reissues of classic popular-music recordings for the audiophile and collector markets. The Camarillo, California-based label is best known for its 24-karat Gold CDs and its 180-gram virgin-vinyl album editions, though it also releases DVD titles as well. Audio Fidelity emerged out of the pioneering DCC Compact Classics label that Blonstein started in 1986, following stints as president of Island Records and co-founder of Ode Records (where he helped make Carole King's Tapestry one of the best-selling albums of all time and built the cult-film franchises The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke).

For more information, visit

Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration Plans Continue With Launch of

On Thursday, July 14, 2011, on what would be the 99th birthday of American folk music legend Woody Guthrie, The GRAMMY Museum, in conjunction with Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. and the Woody Guthrie Archives, has announced the launch of The site is designed to serve as the official home of the recently announced Woody Guthrie Centennial Tribute, taking place in 2012.

Born July 14, 1912 in Okemah , Oklahoma , Woody Guthrie is considered to be one the most influential folk singers of all time. Many of his songs have become folk song standards, and have been performed in many languages throughout the world. Pretty Boy Floyd, Pastures of Plenty, Hard Travelin’, Deportees, Roll on Columbia, Vigilante Man and This Land Is Your Land are among the hundreds of his songs that have become staples in the canon of American music and beyond.

The Woody Guthrie Centennial celebration will kick off in February 2012 and will celebrate Guthrie’s extraordinary body of work and impact on American music. Unique in scope, the year-long celebration will include a host of tribute concerts, educational curricula, lectures, conferences, a touring exhibition, new releases, grassroots hootenannies and more.

“The influence of Woody Guthrie and his music continues to be felt worldwide,” said GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. As we look forward to celebrating Guthrie’s 100th birthday throughout 2012, new events will be announced on a weekly basis. Fans everywhere will be able to utilize the Woody100 site as the official hub of all things Guthrie.”

British Singer-Songwriter Lee MacDougall Set for 2nd U.S. Tour This Year


Two-Month Multiple City "All The Right Places" Tour Kicks Off In New York on August 4

Capitalizing on the success of his debut tour of the U.S. earlier this year, which included a performance at the SxSW Festival in Austin in March, British singer-songwriter-guitarist Lee MacDougall, returns for his second tour of the U.S. beginning in August. Dubbed the All The Right Places tour, the schedule kicks off in New York City on August 4 and will cover multiple cities over a two-month period.

Since his initial appearances in the U.S., MacDougall has successfully toured in Germany, Austria and Italy as well as playing in his hometown of London, where, in addition to an intimate club date, he opened for headliner Bon Jovi at the massive Hard Rock Calling Festival in London's Hyde Park on June 25th. He will also be supporting Atlantic Records recording artist Rumer on her UK tour in November.

MacDougall has become known for mesmerizing audiences with emotionally-driven melodies and resonating vocals. Louisville's Backseat Sandbar says of MacDougall: "He has the type of voice that can fill every crevice of a room and every fiber in your body. Its clear perfection can play your heart strings as easily as his fingers strum his guitar."

Earlier this year, MacDougall released an self-produced 11-song CD called IF WALLS COULD TALK that is available from his website ( and at his live shows. The CD includes the standout tracks "The Star Hotel," "She" and "Joanna," among others. Additionally, noted producer Jim Lowe (who has worked with the Stereophonics, Taylor Swift and the Charlatans) produced several tracks with him, including the version of "She" that is part of a three-song EP he released via iTunes last year. An acoustic rendition of the song produced by Lee appears on IF WALLS COULD TALK.

With the expansion of his live repertoire, MacDougall is releasing a new self-produced CD (recorded in his bedroom) called FOR A FEW TALES MORE to coincide with the upcoming U.S. dates. This 10-song release includes a number of new songs, among them the affecting "Smile" and "Hindsight," which have become highlights of his live performances.

Originally from the fishing town of Grimsby in the north of England, MacDougall emerged from the open mic night circuit in London that has spawned new acoustic English artists in the last two years. His ability to couple a strong lyrical narrative with a memorable melody has enabled him to establish an international fan base that expanded when his music was embraced by the community of fans of the Twilight films.

But it is the strength of his songwriting that has earned him recognition on both sides of the Atlantic and support slots with artists such as Train, Starsailor, Paolo Nutini, The Feeling, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. The Independent Music Scene wrote: "This is an artist that allows his voice to be heard clearly without masking the pure talent of the song. The music is great for having a lonely listen, to a couple's dance, to a drive through the country side with nothing to care about. The songwriting is straight forward without being simplistic."

Following his U.S. tour dates, he will make a return visit to Germany, Austria, Italy and England. The U.K. leg will include shows supporting Rumer on her multi-city tour.

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Sitatara said...

Thanks for posting the article about Lee MacDougall! I was fortunate to see him perform live during his spring tour and was mesmerized by his lyrics and stage presence. He's very charming and witty. Can't wait for the summer tour to start next month so I can catch his performance again!

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting the article about Lee MacDougall! He has a very refreshing sound something that all new music listeners should be aware of. I am very much looking forward to seeing him live on his upcoming tour.