I'm still catching up after my long weekend away catching Radiohead in Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon, but here are a few things from the far-flung corners of my inbox.
Lisa Marie Presley Announces Release of New Album "Storm and Grace" on May 15
Produced by T Bone Burnett, album marks her Universal Republic/XIX Recordings debut
On May 15, Lisa Marie Presley will release Storm and Grace - her first album in five years and her Universal Republic/XIX Recordings debut. Presley is managed by Simon Fuller, CEO and Founder of XIX Entertainment. The album was produced by 12-time GRAMMY® winner T Bone Burnett and recorded at The Village in Los Angeles. See below for track listing.
Storm and Grace is a marked departure from the hard-edged sound of Presley's earlier albums - 2003's RIAA Gold-certified To Whom It May Concern and 2005's Now What, both of which debuted in the Top 10 of The Billboard 200. The organic instrumentation of Storm and Grace reflects her Southern roots, from the ominous, swampy vibe of lead single "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" and "Sticks And Stones" to "Soften The Blows" and the achingly beautiful title track, which evoke the ease of an impromptu back porch jam session.
Presley's smoldering alto is hypnotic in the rootsy opener "Over Me" as she reflects on being replaced in a lover's affections. While Storm and Grace offers an unflinching examination of life and love - beginning with her own shortcomings on "Un-Break" - there is a tender, consoling thread that runs throughout, pointing towards peace and reconciliation. "Weary" may concern a relationship that didn't work out, but it is suffused with a genuine warmth, as Presley sings: "I will always love you/you can move on, dear."
"Just over two years ago, I went to England to attempt to write another record after finding myself in a considerably disheartened and uninspired state creatively. Over an eight-month period, I wrote 30 songs. I was fortunate to be able to write with some incredible artists and singers such as Richard Hawley (from Pulp), Ed Harcourt, Sacha Skarbek and Fran Healy (from Travis), to name a few," recalls Lisa Marie Presley. "Nothing was planned or contrived in any way and out of it came a very organic record that was always inside of me and that I am incredibly proud of. It was a dream come true and such an honor when T Bone liked the songs and produced and played on the record."
"When songs from Lisa Marie Presley showed up at my door, I was curious. I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say. What I heard was honest, raw, unaffected and soulful. I thought her father would be proud of her. The more I listened to the songs, the deeper an artist I found her to be. Listening beyond the media static, Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American folk music artist of great value," says T Bone Burnett.
"Her rich, smoky vocals evoke Sheryl Crow and occasionally bear traces of Courtney Love's ragged disaffection," said Entertainment Weekly of Presley's debut album, To Whom It May Concern, while the Los Angeles Times called the lead single, "Lights Out," "one of the most hauntingly personal songs" of the year. AllMusic.com praised Now What as "genuine...due largely to her willingness to lay herself bare in her music and lyrics." While it may differ sonically, Storm and Grace is equally revealing. The track listing is as follows:
Track Listing - Storm and Grace
1. Over Me
2. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
4. Close To The Edge
5. So Long
7. Soften The Blows
8. Storm Of Nails
9. How Do You Fly This Plane?
10. Sticks And Stones
11. Storm and Grace
Zac Brown Band, Sonia Leigh, Wood Brothers bolster free Southern Ground Artist Compilation, Vol. 2
Southern Ground Artists, the record label of two-time GRAMMY Award-winner Zac Brown, is releasing its latest compilation in celebration of Record Store Day 2012 featuring songs by Sonia Leigh, The Wood Brothers, and Blackberry Smoke, among others. The album will also include a live version of "No Hurry," the latest single by Zac Brown Band, currently at #18 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.
1. One More Day (Live) – The Wood Brothers
2. Hard Headed – Nic Cowan
3. Another Day – Dugas
4. Wherever We Break Down – Levi Lowrey
5. Bar (Barroom Radio Mix) – Sonia Leigh
6. Leavin' – The Wheeler Boys
7. Everybody Knows She's Mine – Blackberry Smoke
8. No Hurry (Live) – Zac Brown Band
The compilation will also be distributed via Record Store Day at over 350 indie music stores on April 21, 2012 and at the ACM Awards Fan Jam in Las Vegas (hosted by Zac Brown Band).
During ACM Week, Blackberry Smoke will perform in Las Vegas at Lynyrd Skynyrd's BBQ & Beer (March 31). Blackberry Smoke, Sonia Leigh, and Levi Lowrey will all perform as part of the ACM Experience at the Mandalay Bay Fan Jam (March 30-April 1).
Bear Creek, Brandi Carlile's fourth studio album, set for June 5 release by Columbia Records
On June 5, Columbia Records will release singer-songwriter-guitarist Brandi Carlile's fourth studio album, Bear Creek. Carlile, hailed as "the best voice in indie rock" by Paste Magazine, will tour extensively in support of the record. She'll kick off a series of six dates with Dave Matthews Band on June 26 at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ and headline the 9,450-seat Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on July 14. Additional tour dates will be announced soon. For further details, visit http://www.brandicarlile.com/events.
Carlile will also perform at "We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash" at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theatre on April 20. The event will also feature such artists as Carolina Chocolate Drops, Kenny Chesney, Chris Cornell, Ronnie Dunn, Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, Ray LaMontagne, Amy Lee and Lucinda Williams.
"That Wasn't Me," the first single from Bear Creek, will go to radio in early April. The soulful piano-based track showcases the warmth and subtle power of Carlile's vocals. It is the cornerstone of an earthy collection that embraces all of hermusical influences - folk, pop, country, rock, gospel and blues. From the spirited "Hard Way Home" and chilling country blues of "Raise Hell" to the poignant "Rise Again" and ethereal "Just Kids," Carlile manages to be at once plainspoken and poetic. The rich imagery of "Keep Your Heart Young" evokes childhood dreams with such unerring accuracy it is apt to elicit renewed vows to never grow up while "Save Part Of Yourself" and "100" wistfully underscore the lifetime impact of a lost love.
Named for the studio where most of the album was recorded - Bear Creek Studios, which is housed in a converted early 20th century barn near Carlile's hometown of Seattle - it features her longtime band mates: Tim and Phil Hanseroth ("The Twins," who co-wrote many of the songs with Carlile and play guitar and bass respectively), drummer/percussionist Allison Miller and cellist Josh Neumann plus Dave Palmer on keyboards and Jeb Bows on violin and mandolin. Drummer Matt Chamberlain guests on several tracks.
GRAMMY® winning engineer/producer/mixer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Queens of the Stone Age) and Brandi and The Twins produced the Bear Creek Studios sessions. Frank Liddell (Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack) and Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Emmylou Harris) produced three tracks at Tragedy/Tragedy Studios in Nashville, TN.
Bear Creek follows Carlile's 2011 live album, Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony, which the Seattle Times called "breathtaking." It was recorded during the band's sold-out two-night stand at the prestigious venue in November 2010. To date, Carlile has sold over 800,000 albums and has played
over 700 live shows.
Her self-titled debut landed her on Rolling Stone's Top 10 list of artists to watch and she has steadily built a loyal fanbase. Her sophomore album, The Story, was produced by multiple GRAMMY® winner T Bone Burnett and led to a new fan in Elton John. Elton John then appeared on a track on her 2009 album, Give Up the Ghost, which was produced by the legendary Rick Rubin.
Carlile has toured with the likes of Ray LaMontagne, Chris Isaak, The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow and long time fan Dave Matthews Band. Her songs have been heard in such television shows as "Grey's Anatomy," "The Good Wife," "American Idol," and "Parenthood," and in advertising campaigns by General Motors (2008 U.S. Olympic ad), Hilton Hotels and JC Penney for Ralph Lauren. In 2008, Carlile established The Looking Out Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports such causes as the Fight The Fear campaign, Honor the Earth, Reverb, the United Nations World Food Programme and the American Diabetes Association.
Track Listing - Bear Creek:
1 - Hard Way Home
2 - Raise Hell
3 - Save Part Of Yourself
4 - That Wasn't Me
5 - Keep Your Heart Young
6 - 100
7 - A Promise To Keep
8 - I'll Still Be There
9 - What Did I Ever Come Here For
10 - Heart's Content
11 - Rise Again
12 - In The Morrow
13 - Just Kids