Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Sights and Sounds: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Tommy Bolin, Cowboy Junkies, Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers

Have your ears on? A bunch of promising releases from the far-flung reaches of the rock universe are set to land soon! I've had a chance to listen to the forthcoming Tommy Bolin release 'Great Gypsy Soul' and fans of the late guitar great will want to get this as soon as it is released next month...

Here are details about all that and more courtesy of the most recent media updates to land in my inbox. We'll kick things off with details about Grace Potter's forthcoming release.




Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are nearing completion of their fourth studio album for Hollywood Records, which will bear the title The Lion The Beast The Beat. The envelope-pushing new LP plays with reoccurring themes and big ideas. “I think there's a Lion and a Beast within all of us - as humans. There's also true goodness, and the appearance of goodness…” says Grace. "Maybe I've watched too much Mad Men, but I'm in love with the idea of a story with no heroes and no villains and these themes just kept creeping into all the new songs and I didn't fight it. I decided to embrace it." Among the song titles are “Stars,” “The Divide,” “Steady,” “Parachute Heart,” “Never Go Back,” and “Loneliest Soul,” both co-written with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and the title track “The Lion The Beast The Beat.”

“Each song stands upright on its own, but these songs really belong to this album,” says Potter. “The way we've always made records is to put together a list of 30 or so songs, pick the best ones, throw them together and hope it congeals. I didn't want to do that this time. I came up with the track order before we recorded so we could really bring you in and out of these songs like scenes in a movie. I want to bring the listener into our weird fantasy and keep them there."

The Lion The Beast The Beat has the scale of rock, the intimacy of blues, the wistfulness of country, and the imagination of psychedelia all tied together by an indelible voice. Grace can take you to church or the roadhouse, Nashville or Los Angeles, the penthouse or the pavement (or the barn) all in one phrase, and the band has the power and finesse to compliment her at every turn.

Potter co-produced the album with renowned studio artist Jim Scott. The band tracked the album live at PLYRZ, Scott’s studio in Santa Clarita, CA, far from the distractions of Hollywood. “When I first met Jim, I knew I wanted to make this record with him. He totally gets us,” says Grace. “He brought the perfect balance of sonic integrity and laid-back finesse. He clearly knows the ‘Zen Dance’ from many years with Rick Rubin and the countless records that he’s been a part of. His knowledge of working with bands runs so deep, from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Wilco to Tedeschi-Trucks…Then we get to his studio, which is an F.A.O. Schwartz of vintage gear. I mean, the dude has enough drum sets for every single band member to play their own kit together, which we did—we’d go caveman apes**t every night before we left the studio.”

The Lion The Beast The Beat also contains the fruits of GPN’s collaboration with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Auerbach co-wrote and recorded with the band in his Nashville studio in the midst of the pre-production, resulting in the songs "Never Go Back" and “Loneliest Soul.” Firing up his plethora of vintage amps, analog drum loops and “crazy kaleidoscope percussion,” as Grace puts it. “Dan has really hit his stride as a musician and a producer, making epic music the whole world is loving,” she says. "It was great to jump on his train and just let-a-rip.”

In April, the band will make their first-ever appearance at Coachella. “It’s great that we got invited. I love that it’s the first year they’re doing two identical weekends! I mean, who doesn’t want more of something great? It’s so right-on that they’re letting the party continue on. Most of the people who are gonna be there have no idea who we are. We’re fearless onstage, and I think Coachella is will be the perfect setting for us to be just that. And we’ll definitely unveil enough of the new stuff. I'm so looking forward to giving these songs life onstage.”

Following Coachella, GPN will embark on the ‘Brothers of the Sun’ Tour with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, a pairing inspired by Grace’s duet with Chesney on their CMA Award-winning single and video “You and Tequila,” which is also up for multiple Grammy and ACM awards and was recently certified platinum for sales of over one million downloads. Grace is fully aware of the fact that a good number of those in attendance will think she’s a country artist, and she fully intends to disabuse them of that notion.

“I’m sure there will be some people who come to the show thinking they’ll see that blonde from the Kenny Chesney video and they get me,” she says with a laugh. “But I love taking people by surprise, and as much as we take things out into deep space onstage, elements of country and roots music have been in my songwriting since the very beginning. Besides, I think today’s country fans like to rock, and we’re gonna find a way to fulfill our dream of tastefully straddling rock ’n’ roll and country.

As if Potter didn’t already have enough good things happening in her career, Gibson is working with her on the Grace Potter Signature Flying V, which she designed herself in partnership with the guitar maker’s luthiers. “A rep from Gibson brought it to the studio last week and it was way better than any Christmas morning I’ve ever had. He told me that Gibson has only issued one other Signature electric guitar for a woman, and that was Joan Jett. I didn’t realize just how big a deal it was until I opened up the case and looked at it. It’s beautiful to look at – but more importantly, it sounds badass.”

All signs suggest that 2012 will be the year Grace Potter & the Nocturnals take it to the next level, validating years of nonstop roadwork and fulfilling their immense promise, commercially and artistically. And The Beat goes on…




All Star Lineup Contributes To All New Recordings of “Teaser” Tracks Performing Alongside Bolin
Guests Include Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Nels Cline, Steve Morse, Steve Lukather, Brad Whitford, Joe Bonamassa and Others.

In the annals of rock history, Tommy Bolin occupied a brief, but shining stint as a brilliant guitarist who wowed those in the know with his mastery of many genres—rock, fusion , funk, reggae and heavy metal among others. Along with a much lauded solo career that, pushed the boundaries of rock/jazz fusion, Bolin played with The James Gang and Deep Purple which set him up for major solo guitar stardom which was cut short by his untimely death in 1976. Not to be overlooked, there’s been much written about the guitar wunderkind and now a top notch roster of players have signed on to pay tribute to Bolin on GREAT GYPSY SOUL. Produced by Greg Hampton and Warren Haynes, it’s a remarkable project that brings together major players who actually perform alongside Tommy Bolin’s playing and vocals from the recording outtakes to his solo debut album “Teaser.” Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes (a key supporter of the project), Nels Cline, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse, Brad Whitford, Joe Bonamassa, John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Glenn Hughes and Myles Kennedy all contribute to this amazing project. GREAT GYPSY SOUL will be released on 429 Records on March 27 in both a single CD format and double CD with bonus tracks. A series of promotional concerts are also in the works.

Tommy Bolin was the quintessential guitar prodigy who focused his talents within the burgeoning rock/metal scenes of the early 70’s as well as mastered a highly lauded jazz fusion technique catching the attention of rock tastemakers and guitar legend peers. It was just a matter of time before Bolin was making a name for himself playing on projects as diverse as Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum” project (considered one of the great jazz fusion recordings of all time), replacing Joe Walsh in the James Gang, playing session work on seminal fusion projects by Moxy and Alphonse Mouzon, to replacing Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. With the release of his second solo album Private Eyes, what should have been a red letter moment for Bolin, opening up for Jeff Beck in Miami, sadly turned tragic as Bolin was found dead of an overdose shortly after the gig.

Says Warren Haynes: “Many of the guests added after the fact have a close personal connection to Tommy—all share in acknowledging his place in rock history. Watching (and hearing) it all come to fruition some 35 years later was a journey of its own—well worth the travel.”

Track Listing:
Disc 1
1) The Grind w/ Peter Frampton
2) Teaser w/ Warren Haynes
3) Dreamer w/ Myles Kennedy and Nels Cline
4) Savannah Woman w/ John Scofield
5) Smooth Fandango w/ Derek Trucks
6) People People w/ Big Sugar and Gordie Johnson
7) Wild Dogs w/ Brad Whitford
8) Homeward Strut w/ Steve Lukather
9) Sugar Shack w/ Glenn Hughes and Sonny Landreth
10) Crazed Fandango w/ Steve Morse
11) Lotus w/ Joe Bonamassa, Glenn Huges and Nels Cline

Disc 2 Bonus CD
1) Flying Fingers w/ Oz Noy and Nels Cline
2) Marching Bag –Movement One w/ Nels Cline, Bolin, Greg Hampton, John Scofield, Sonny Landreth
3) Marching Bag—Movement Two w/ Nels Cline, Bolin, Steve Lukather, Derek Trucks, Peter Frampton
4) Marching Bag—Movement Three w/ Gordie Johnson, Bolin, Nels Cline, Oz Noy, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse, Joe Bonamassa
5) Marching Bag—Movement Four w/ Nels Cline, Bolin, Warren Haynes, Joe Bonamassa, Oz Noy, Brad Whitford, Peter Frampton

For more information visit:



With the March 2012 release of The Wilderness, Cowboy Junkies complete their four CD collection, “The Nomad Series.” The ambitious schedule of four new releases over an 18-month period will be punctuated by a full US tour - see dates below (more to follow). The latest collection of songs follows the critically acclaimed Renmin Park (2010), Demons (2011) and Sing In My Meadow (2011). Renmin Park was inspired by Timmins' two-month stay in China and was called “their most ambitious yet” by The Boston Herald. Demons, a collection of songs by the late Vic Chesnutt, was labeled “…a loving tribute” by NPR. Sing In My Meadow was hailed by Metromix as, “showing yet another side of one of the most versatile, underrated bands of the last 25 years.”

“The title, The Wilderness, in some odd way seemed to define what these songs were actually “about”: fragility, emptiness, loneliness, beauty, chance, loss, desperation, the delicate balancing act that makes up a life,” explains Michael Timmins. “They are about being lost in the wilderness of age, the wilderness of parenthood, in the wilderness of just trying to find meaning and substance, happiness and truth in one's day to day life. They are about standing alone in middle of it all, breathing in the cold still air and wondering.”

Upon the release of the four volumes, plans call for a book that will delve into the character, nature, and inspiration behind each of the albums. It will be published by Whale and Star, the publishing house of the band's friend Enrique Martinez Celaya, a Cuban-American artist whose "Nomad" paintings helped inspire the series. The four CD's are available separately, will be released as a box set in April with a bonus disc, and will be included in the upcoming book.

Timmins sums up the band's motivation for taking on such a massive project quite simply. "The main reason for wanting to do it," he says, "is that, as we steam through our twenty-fifth year, we feel that we have the energy and inspiration to pull it off!"

Cowboy Junkies On Tour

Date City Venue

02/23 Ithaca, NY State Theatre
02/24 W Long Branch, NJ Pollak Theatre
02/25 Providence, RI Fete Ballroom
02/26 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
02/28 Annapolis, MD Rams Head Tavern
02/29 Annapolis, MD Rams Head Tavern
03/01 Alexandria, VA Birchmere
03/02 Norfolk, VA Attucks Theatre
03/03 Charlottesville, VA Jefferson Theater
03/04 Charleston, WV Mountain Stage
03/07 Harrisburg, PA Whitaker Center
03/08 Somerville, MA Somerville Theater
03/09 Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
03/10 Westhampton Beach, NY Performing Arts Center
04/13 Ann Arbor, MI The Ark

Follow the band at

Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers Kick Off 2012 "Home Is Wherever You Are" Tour on February 8th!!

On the heels of their ‘Boys Only (Plus Girls)’ national headline tour, road warriors Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers continue to celebrate the release of their new album Gift Horse with the 2012 "Home Is Wherever You Are" Tour. Stops include Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans, New York, and Vienna, VA where on June 22 and 23rd, the band will host the ‘Second Annual SK6ers Field Day Weekend.’ The event includes two shows at Jammin’ Java, and a day of BBQ and field games with The SK6ers. In addition to the headlining tour, the band will also be supporting O.A.R on select dates. For more information on SK6ers Field Day weekend event and all tour dates visit (Tour dates listed below).

SK6ERS - Stephen "Skunk" Kellogg, Kit "Goose" Karlson (keys, bass vocals), Brian "Boots" Factor (drums, vocals) and Sam "Steamer" Getz (guitars, vocals) - have been out on the road since September performing tracks off their October 11th release. Gift Horse, the band’s second album on Vanguard Records, brings the rich legacy of rock & roll into the present tense with 11 real-life narratives about love, family, and what it means to be an American today. By and large, the songs are directly relating to Kellogg’s personal experiences. The album’s debut was SK6ERS highest soundscan to date, reaching #1 on Amazon MP3’s Best Sellers, #14 on the Independent Current Albums chart, and #87 on Billboard’s Top 200.

Gift Horse is available now at iTunes and AmazonMP3.

Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers – "Home Is Wherever You Are" Tour
2-08 Columbus, OH - LC Pavilion w/OAR
2-09 Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom w/OAR
2-10 Milwaukee, WI - Eagle's Ballroom w/OAR
2-11 Minneapolis, MN - State Theater w/OAR
2-12 Fargo, ND – The Aquarium
2-14 Champaign, IL - Highdive
2-15 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note w/OAR
2-16 Memphis, TN - Minglewood Hall w/OAR
2-17 Nashville, TN - Marathon Music Works w/OAR
2-18 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle w/OAR
2-24 Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio
2-25 Ames, IA - The Maintenance Shop
2-26 Cedar Falls, IA - The Hub
3-01 New Orleans, LA - Sixth Man Presents - Rock the Boat XII
3-06 Tampa, FL – Ferguson Hall
3-07 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
3-08 Athens, GA - The Melting Point
3-09 Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle
3-10 Baltimore, MD - 8 x 10
3-11 York, PA – Capitol Theatre
3-13 Buffalo, NY - The Tralf
3-14 Killington, VT – Pickle Barrel
3-15 Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Bowl
3-16 Pawtucket, RI – The Met
3-17 Ogunquit, ME – Jonathan’s
3-18 Londonderry, NH – Tupelo Music Hall
6-22 & 6-23 – Vienna, VA - 2nd Annual SK6ers Field Day


1 comment:

Bill G. said...

Actually Tommy Bolin replaced Dominic Troiano In The James Gang. Troiano replaced Joe Walsh.