Monday, December 12, 2011

Sights and Sounds: Styx, Blind Boys of Alabama with Daryl Hall, The Twilight Sad

Although the holidays are not quite here yet, announcements about new music releases slated to hit in 2012 are coming fast and furious. Here are some highlights of announcements that have landed in my inbox this week...



Two of the most beloved albums in the Styx catalog are 1977's The Grand Illusion and 1978's Pieces Of Eight. Now, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live on DVD, Blu-Ray, and DVD/2CD on January 31 [Pre-book Order Date January 6, MSRP $29.98 for DVD/2CD, $14.98 for DVD, and $19.98 for Blu-ray]. This show was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, Tennessee, on the tour that saw them perform both these albums in their entirety for the first time.

This 20-song two-hour and 11-minute presentation features stunning high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo. The staging of these two multi-platinum albums and the fevered response makes this concert a must for all Styx fans. The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Live also includes the bonus feature "Putting On The Show," an inside look at the people and equipment needed to stage such a massive spectacle.

Selling millions of records worldwide since their 1972 Chicago inception, Styx have branded themselves as one of the greatest American progressive rock bands. The current line-up consists of James "J.Y." Young (vocals, guitars, keyboards); Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars); Todd Sucherman (drums); Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards); Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals) and Chuck Panozzo (bass guitar). Eagle Rock Entertainment has also released their Regeneration, Volume I & II 2CD set, a newly recorded retrospective (release date October 4, 2011).

Track Listing:
1) Intro/1978
2) The Grand Illusion
3) Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
4) Superstars
5) Come Sail Away
6) Miss America
7) Man In The Wilderness
8) Castle Walls
9) The Grand Finale
10) Great White Hope
11) I'm Okay
12) Sing For The Day
13) The Message
14) Lords Of The Ring
15) Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
16) Queen Of Spades
17) Renegade
18) Keyboard Interlude
19) Pieces Of Eight
20) Aku-Aku


Legendary, Grammy-winning gospel group will join Daryl Hall for a six-song set that includes seasonal classics “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” “Born in Bethlehem”

What better way to celebrate this time of year than a visit from legendary, Grammy-winning gospel group, The Blind Boys of Alabama, who join Daryl Hall for a very special 49th edition of Live From Daryl’s House, premiering Dec. 15 exclusively at

“This was a very special show for me, as I have been a fan of The Blind Boys of Alabama since I was about 14 years old,” enthused Daryl about their appearance. “I used to listen to them and groups like them after church on WDAS radio in Philly.”

Daryl joins the group, whose career spans over 70 years, with no signs of diminishing, for a six-song set of seasonal classics which includes “Born in Bethlehem,” “Can You Give Me a Drink,” “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “Last Month of the Year” and “Take the High Road.”

Since forming at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind at Talladega, Alabama, in 1939, The Blind Boys continue to tour nationally and internationally with founding member Jimmy Carter singing lead vocals. The group took home the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album four straight years from 2002 to 2005, then were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2009, they were awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The group’s appearance on this month’s installment of the Webby and MTV O Music award-winning Internet series, with Daryl marks a return to Hall’s own foundation in Gospel music.

“They were a big influence on how I approach harmony,” he says. “I can’t believe I got to sing bass with them! They represent my REAL roots!”

The Blind Boys have earned praise for their interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material, and now country, by acclaimed songwriters as varied as Curtis Mayfield, Prince and Tom Waits. They’ve appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, the Grammy Awards telecast, 60 Minutes and their own PBS special as well as big-screen appearances in The Fighting Temptations and this year’s HOP. They also have recorded and toured with such diverse acts as Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt and Lou Reed. They also sport a daily Twitter message #BBwisdom. The group will wrap up an extensive U.S. concert tour, many of them with Nickel Creek’s Sara and Sean Watkins as opening act. Their critically acclaimed May 2011 release, Take the High Road, marked the Blind Boys’ first foray into country gospel, co-produced by Jamey Johnson, featuring guest vocalists Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr., Lee Ann Womack and the Oak Ridge Boys.

The past five years have marked a steady stream of superlatives and recognition for Live from Daryl’s House, with Hall receiving a Webby Award for Best Variety series from more than 10,000 entries at the 14th annual ceremony two years ago at N.Y.’s Cipriani Wall Street before garnering an O Music Award from MTV earlier this year.

Live from Daryl’s House is syndicated on TV nationally by Good Cop Bad Cop Productions in association with Scott Sternberg Productions and distributor Trifecta Entertainment & Media. Executive producers for the show include Hall and Scott Sternberg along with Daryl Hall manager Jonathan Wolfson.

Live from Daryl’s House is being shown weekly in over 80% of U.S. homes in the nation’s top 200 media markets, as well as all of the top 10, including New York (WPIX), L.A. (KTLA), Chicago (WGN), Dallas (KDAF) and Houston (KIAH). The show has also cleared in such key markets as Philadelphia (CBS-owned KYW), Boston (KBIN) and Atlanta (WATL), as well as a number of NBC, Fox and CBS-owned affiliates across the country. Most stations are airing a full hour with two original shows back to back on Saturday nights. The first week of the show did a .2 in national Nielsens, with the second week increasing 50% and several stations adding airings.

The 48 previous episodes of Live From Daryl’s House have featured a mix of well-known performers like Booker T and the MGs, Rob Thomas, Train, Smokey Robinson, The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Toots Hibbert, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Dave Stewart, Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump along with newcomers such as Nikki Jean, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Mayer Hawthorne, Eric Hutchinson, Chromeo, Matt Nathanson, Parachute, Plain White T’s, soul diva Sharon Jones, Diane Birch, L.A. neo-R&B party band Fitz & the Tantrums, hot new alternative band Neon Trees and veteran alternative mainstays Guster.


The Twilight Sad will be embarking on a North American tour following the release of their forthcoming full-length, No One Can Ever Know. The album was produced by Andrew Weatherall and will be available February 7, 2012 via Fat Cat Records.

Freshly inspired by a listening diet of Cabaret Voltaire, Can, Liars, Magazine, Autechre, and Public Image Limited, the band turn to a dark, synth-heavy sound for No One Can Ever Know; the resulting LP shares thematic and sonic space with the most innovative offerings from Depeche Mode, The Cure, or even Nine Inch Nails.

As made clear already by widely-spread preview track "Kill It In The Morning" (dubbed "slightly evil-sounding" by Pitchfork) and first single "Sick" (which, according to Stereogum "ticks with post-Radiohead guitar and dread") The Twilight Sad's third full-length, No One Can Ever Know, marks a sonic shift for the band.


Feb 23 Washington DC – Rock and Roll Hotel

Feb 24 Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brenda's

Feb 25 Brooklyn NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg

Feb 26 Allston MA – Brighton Music Hall

Feb 28 Montreal QC – Il Motore

Feb 29 Toronto ON – Lee’s Palace

Mar 01 Grand Rapids MI – Pyramid Scheme

Mar 02 Chicago IL – Empty Bottle

Mar 03 Minneapolis MN – 7th Street Entry

Mar 05 San Diego CA – Casbah

Mar 06 Los Angeles CA – The Echo

Mar 07 San Jose CA – The Blank Club

Mar 08 San Francisco CA – The Independent

Mar 10 Seattle WA – Tractor Tavern

Mar 11 Portland OR – Doug Fir Lounge

Mar 14 – Mar 18 Austin TX – SXSW

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