Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sights and Sounds: Neil Finn, Paul Rodgers, Roy Orbison

It has to be a pretty great day when there is news to share about Neil Finn, Paul Rodgers and the late Roy Orbison! Read on for the latest...

Neil Finn                                                                                      




Neil Finn is set to embark on a spring tour in support of his new album Dizzy Heights, due February 10 through Lester Records via Kobalt Label Services (KLS).
Finn’s Dizzy Heights Tour will open in Vancouver on March 29, ahead of a string of dates across North America including stops in San Francisco, Washington and New York before finishing up at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington DC on April 12.
The follow up to Finn's last solo outing One AllDizzy Heights was announced during a live webcast which aired on Brooklyn Vegan featuring 3 new tracks: http://bit.ly/18059JK. The album was lead by a short film created by Finn for the song “Divebomber” which is now streaming on his official YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/neilfinnofficial. A second track “Flying in the Face of Love” is available on iTunes now: http://smarturl.it/nlfndzhf and the full album can be pre-ordered here: http://smarturl.it/dizzyheights.
Later this month Finn will perform sold-out shows in Los Angeles at Largo on November 19, in New York City at Le Poisson Rouge on November 21, and in London at St. James’s Church on Piccadilly on November 27.
The 11-track album was recorded between Finn’s Auckland studio, Roundhead, and Tarbox Road, the upstate New York studio of Dizzy Heights co-producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala). Of his latest effort, Finn notes, “I didn’t want to make it a solo record in a stripped back singer-songwriter sort of way…I had a feeling Dave would be good at adding some odd shapes to the music, which I always welcome—making things a little more expansive. He is good at subverting things, and making things sound a bit messed up and not as obvious, rather than being too tasteful, which is always a temptation.”
1. Impressions
2. Dizzy Heights
3. Flying In The Face of Love
4. Divebomber
5. Better Than TV
6. Pony Ride
7. White Lies and Alibis
8. Recluse
9. Strangest Friends
10. In My Blood
11. Lights of New York
November 19                                             Los Angeles, CA                                                      Largo
November 21                                               New York, NY                                    Le Poisson Rouge
March 29                                                     Vancouver, BC                                         Vogue Theatre
March 30                                                       Seattle, WA                                         Neptune Theatre
April 1                                                      San Francisco, CA                   Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
April 2                                                       Los Angeles, CA                                   Orpheum Theatre
April 5                                                           Toronto, ON                            Queen Elizabeth Theatre
April 7                                                           Boston, MA                                          Shubert Theatre
April 8                                                         New York, NY                                                Town Hall
April 10                                                      New Haven, CT                                       Shubert Theater
April 11                                                        Glenside, PA                                        Keswick Theatre
April 12                                                     Washington, DC                                      Lincoln Theatre

Bad Company’s Founding Singer, Songwriter And Multi-Instrumentalist
Records Versions Of Classic Songs At Memphis’ Royal Studios With Original Session Musicians

Paul Rodgers, longtime singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with Bad Company, has partnered with 429 Records and is gearing up for the release of “The Royal Sessions”—a lovingly crafted collection of classic R&B and soul songs re-imagined by the iconic rock singer recorded at Memphis’ Royal Studios, historic home of Willie Mitchell and Hi Records, with many of the musicians who played on the original tracks.  Truly a lifetime in the making, Rodgers has come full circle with “The Royal Sessions” as he pays homage to the legendary hits he collected on 45s released on Stax/Volt, Goldwax and Hi Records—recordings by Otis Redding, Albert King and Ann Peebles which made such an indelible impression on the young Rodgers inspiring him to pursue a career as a singer. 
Produced by Perry Margouleff, “The Royal Sessions” is an extraordinary recording which captures the music in its pure form—live band and vocal takes as performed together at Royal Studios by Rodgers and an all-star roster of legendary musicians.  The band is a dream lineup of those who played on the original hits dating back to the 60’s.  The classic rhythm section includes Reverend Charles Hodges (Hammond B3), Michael Tolls (guitar), LeRoy Hodges Jr. (bass), “Hubby” Archie Turner (Wurlitzer), Steve Potts and James Robertson Sr. (drums), The Royal Horns and the Royal Singers.  “The Royal Sessions” will be released on 429 Records in the U.S. (international release dates below).
“The Royal Sessions” is a remarkable project that came together as Rodgers was working on a solo record and producer Margouleff had just discovered that Royal Studios was still up and running under the auspices of Willie “Pops” Mitchell’s son Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell.  The opportunity to record in such a hallowed place with musicians he considered personal heroes was a dream come true.  The Memphis players forged an immediate bond when presented with his formidable talent and sincere love of the songs.  Deeply felt, powerfully sung and expertly played, it features a cross-section of material hand-picked by Rodgers, songs of great historical significance and personal meaning.   
Says Rodgers: “I really felt I had to get deeper inside myself than I ever had in my life. The end result is that recording these songs left me recharged as a singer and also as a songwriter. My favorite part was the love we could feel in the room throughout all the sessions. We all spoke the same language.”
Says Margouleff: “I wanted to make the most of this incredible opportunity so I recorded Paul and the band live in the studio.  We captured the pure energy of their performance. Recording in an all analogue format the sonic quality is unparalleled and the listener can experience the music on a deeper level.”
All of the proceeds from “The Royal Sessions” will be donated to local Memphis music education programs.  Special showcase performances by Paul Rogers with the musicians on “The Royal Sessions” will be announced.
“The Royal Sessions” track listing:
1)     Thank You
2)     Down Don’t Bother Me
3)     I Can’t Stand The Rain
4)     I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
5)     That’s How Strong My Love Is
6)     Walk On By
7)     Any Old Way
8)     It’s Growing
9)     Born Under A Bad Sign
10)   Dreams To Remember
“The Royal Sessions” will be released worldwide on the following dates:
Europe—January 27th
Canada—January 28th
Japan—January 29th
United States February 4th
Australia—February 7th
For more information, visit:
To preorder “The Royal Sessions” go to:
429 Records is a unit of The Savoy Label Group (SLG).  SLG is the North American based division of Nippon Columbia the oldest music company in Japan.  The Savoy Label Group has evolved into a Grammy Award winning and chart topping independent music company consistently outperforming competitors in key music categories as monitored by Billboard Magazine. The Savoy Label Group is led by Steve Vining and is based in Los Angeles, CA.

Photo from The Last Concert, December 4, 1988, by Janet Macoska (higher resolution version available on request)

On January 28, 2014, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum (MHOF), located in Nashville, TN, will posthumously honor music legend Roy Orbison by granting him the Iconic Riff Award for his 1964 number one hit single “Oh, Pretty Woman.”  Orbison will have the distinction of being the first ever recipient of this bestowal.  MHOF honors musicians from all genres and eras of recorded music, and inductees are nominated by current members of the American Federation of Musicians and by other music industry professionals.

Roy Orbison began making his mark on the music world in 1956 while recording for Sun Records, which boasted a roster of unparalleled talent that also included Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash.  However, it was during his years on Monument Records in the early-to-mid 1960s when Orbison’s commercial success reached stratospheric levels, the apex of which was “Oh, Pretty Woman,” a song co-written by Orbison and Bill Dees.  It went on to sell 7 million copies, spend three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also topped the British charts for three weeks.  It was unprecedented for any American to have this kind of chart-topping power simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic in the Beatles-dominated year of 1964. 
While Roy Orbison, who is already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, is acknowledged to have one of the most uniquely beautiful and haunting voices in popular music, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is focusing on the unmistakable riff that kicks off “Oh, Pretty Woman.”  It remains a truly iconic and timeless refrain, evidenced by the innumerable cover versions of the song by artists as diverse as Al Green, a young John Mellencamp, Johnny Rivers, Bon Jovi, Green Day, and Van Halen, the latter of which achieved a sizeable hit with their own 1982 version, showcasing the splendiferous guitar theatrics of group leader Eddie Van Halen.  The song inspired the title of and is heard on the soundtrack from Pretty Woman, the blockbuster film starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

Although Roy Orbison passed away in 1988, his presence endures.  This is due, in large measure, to the ongoing effort to preserve his legacy by sons Alex, Roy Kelton, and Wesley Orbison, whose Roy’s Boys LLC manages their father’s name, likeness, image, and musical output, offering a series of audio and DVD reissues, as well as newly curated releases.  November 26 (the Tuesday before “Black Friday”) will mark the release of The Monument Boxset, a vinyl-only package that includes three classic Monument-era Orbison studio albums (Lonely and Blue, Crying, In Dreams) as well as a fourth album, centered around the track “Oh, Pretty Woman” that had never previously existed. Entitled Oh! Pretty Woman, the LP consists of tracks reflective of the period and, as determined by the team at Roy’s Boys, to be the songs that would have comprised a fourth Monument studio album. 
“Oh, Pretty Woman,” a staple of Roy Orbison’s live performances, is also featured as an encore in the Black & White Night DVD, just released through Sony’s Legacy Recordings this week.  The concert, filmed in September of 1987, features an all-star line up that includes outspoken Roy admirers Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, JD Souther and Tom Waits, among others, joining Orbison on the show’s closer, “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
The time-honored tune was, in fact, the last song Roy Orbison ever recorded. On December 4, 1988, just two days before his sudden passing, he performed at a Cleveland-area venue, that concert performance was taped and is set for release this December 3rd as The Last Concert – 25th Anniversary Edition through Legacy Recordings.  Orbison, typically, closed his shows with “Running Scared,” but the engineer ran out of tape that night almost 25 years ago, thus making his penultimate number, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” the final document of his melodious brilliance.

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