Friday, January 30, 2015

Austin City Limits Announces New Class of Hall of Fame Inductees

Breaking news of interest to...everybody who loves music!

Austin City Limits Announces New Class of Hall of Fame Inductees: Asleep at the Wheel, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez and Townes Van Zandt

Induction Ceremony To Be Held in June 2015

Loretta Lynn has appeared on Austin City Limits twice
Austin, TX—JANUARY 30, 2015—Austin City Limits (ACL) is proud to announce the newest class of Austin City Limits Hall of Fame inductees with five legendary artists being honored: Western swing institution Asleep at the Wheel, country trailblazer Loretta Lynn, songwriting legend Guy Clark, master Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jiménez and Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt. The announcement was made yesterday evening by ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona at Austin's Rattle Inn.  The 2015 ACL Hall of Fame inductees will be celebrated at a ceremony highlighted by all-star music performances to be held in June at ACL's studio home, Austin’s ACL Live at The Moody Theater. The event will be open to the public and ticket onsale information will be announced at a later date.

The newest class of inductees features artists who have all graced the ACL stage multiple times, setting the standard for excellence and contributing to four decades of incredible performances. This year's class also recognizes in the non-performer category the original ACL crew, who played an important role in the launch and continuing success of the influential series and some of whom are still part of the crew today.

I am truly honored to be included in this year’s ACL Hall of Fame,” said Asleep at the Wheel founder Ray Benson who was on hand for the announcement.  “After Willie did the pilot in 1974-5, Asleep at the Wheel was selected to do the first regular episode of ACL.  Joe Gracey and I were roommates then, and he was booking the show.  He asked who we wanted to share the bill with and I said, ‘The Texas Playboys, Bob Wills' great band!’  That episode is now housed at the Smithsonian.  Over the years I have appeared in numerous episodes both as a featured performer and a guest performer, and I cannot imagine our 45-year career without the exposure that ACL afforded us. Many thanks to the great staff who make the show what it is!”

ACL also announced the first round of new tapings for the series upcoming Season 41: breakout country rebel and Grammy-nominated Sturgill Simpson, acclaimed rock outfit The War on Drugs, and, in a special Bob Wills’ tribute, new Hall of Fame inductees Asleep at the Wheel, joined by guest stars including The Avett Brothers and Amos Lee.

New episodes of ACL are currently airing as part of the series’ milestone Season 40, with upcoming premieres featuring The Black Keys (Jan. 31) and Foo Fighters (Feb. 7). Foo Fighters recently immortalized ACL in an episode of their HBO series Sonic Highways, even recording a song, “What Did I Do?/God As My Witness,” in ACL's historic Studio 6A.  ACL closes out this triumphant season with a special installment premiering Feb. 14, featuring inductions and performance highlights from the first-ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation.

The Austin City Limits Hall of Fame was established in 2014 in conjunction with the iconic television series' 40th Anniversary to celebrate the legacy of legendary artists and key individuals who have been instrumental in the landmark series remarkable 40 years as an American music institution. The invitation-only inaugural induction ceremony took place April 26, 2014 at ACL’s original Studio 6A. Hosted by Oscar-winning actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey, the historic evening honored the first class of inductees, featuring American music icon Willie Nelson who starred on the original ACL pilot program, Austin blues rock giants Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and legendary steel guitarist and Grammy Award-winning music producer Lloyd Maines, in addition to non-performers who played a key role in the evolution of the program: original show creator Bill Arhos and longtime ACL supporter, Texas Longhorns football head coach Darrell Royal. A star-studded line-up paid tribute with incredible music performances, including: Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Doyle Bramhall IIand Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

About the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Honorees:

Asleep at the Wheel

Based in Austin, TX, Asleep at the Wheel formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia in 1970. Since their inception, the venerable Texas swing band lead by founder Ray Benson has won nine GRAMMY awards, released more than 20 studio albums and charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country charts. In 1972, the band signed their first record deal after Van Morrison mentioned they “play great country music” in an interview in Rolling Stone. They have appeared on Austin City Limits ten times, including the program’s first official episode in 1976 along with The Texas Playboys.  Asleep at the Wheel’s star-studded upcoming release Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys features guest appearances by ACL veterans Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, The Avett Brothers, George Strait, Kat Edmonson and Merle Haggard.

Flaco Jiménez

San Antonio, TX born Tex-Mex conjunto musician Flaco Jiménez has enjoyed a career that has spanned more than six decades, throughout which, he has collaborated with artists such as Willie Nelson, the Texas Tornados, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, Doug Sahm, and The Rolling Stones. Jiménez is a five-time ACL guest, first appearing in the program’s debut season. A five-time GRAMMY winner who is also a 2015 recipient of a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award, Jiménez maintains a huge influence on the Tex-Mex genre by continuing to record and tour, as he upholds his status as the definitive Tex-Mex accordionist.

Loretta Lynn

An American music treasure with a storied career, Loretta Lynn is a living legend with over seventy chart hits, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor. She appeared on two classic episodes of ACL in 1983 and 1998. As her most famous song says, she is a proud Kentucky-born coal miner’s daughter, who went on to become one of the most influential women in the history of American music.

Townes Van Zandt

One of the Lone Star state’s greatest songwriters, the Fort Worth native set the standard for legions of Texas troubadours and made two memorable appearances on ACL. Van Zandt appeared in the very first season in 1976, in addition to joining Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and David Halley for a renowned ACL songwriters special in 1983. ACL aired a tribute show in 1998 led by longtime friend Guy Clark and Townes' son J.T. that was so popular it encored in 2000 as an ACL Classic. Called “one of the best songwriters that ever lived” by many, Van Zandt left behind an inestimable legacy – a few of his classics include “Pancho & Lefty,” “To Live is To Fly,” “If I Needed You,” “Tecumseh Valley,” “Waitin’ Round to Die,” “Lungs” and “A Song For.”

Guy Clark

A West Texas native, Guy Clark has built a career of writing starkly honest story-songs. He's one of the finest living songwriters in American folk music, holding up the legacy of his late friend Townes Van Zandt. NPR raves “If you want to learn how to write a song — one that's built to last, with vivid characters and images that plant you squarely inside a scene — listen to Guy Clark.” Bob Dylan counts Clark among his handful of favorite songwriters. His first album Old No. 1 came out in 1975 and the revered songwriter has made seven stunning appearances on ACL.

About Austin City Limits

ACL offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. The program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL is the longest-running music series in American television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that's helped secure Austin's reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic KLRU Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.

ACL is produced by KLRU-TV and funding is provided in part by Budweiser, the Austin Convention Center Department, Dell and HomeAway. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at

About KLRU-TV, Austin PBS

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire and change our lives. KLRU highlights what makes Austin unique – whether music, arts or public issues – by creating and distributing award-winning original content. KLRU produces several series including Austin City Limits, Arts In Context, Central Texas Gardener, Civic Summit and Overheard with Evan Smith. As a nonprofit educational organization, KLRU also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all. Find out more at

Wild Honey presents The Beatles' 'White Album' live on stage

The Beatles, the ninth studio album released by the Fab Four and better known as the White Album, was one of the group's most unique titles. The two-disc release, issued in November 1968, spelled the beginning of the end of the group (Ringo Starr briefly quit the band during the recording sessions and missed recording drums on several tracks). Yet, there is no doubt that the White Album is filled with timeless and brilliant classics. Now 45 years after the album's release, a special performance of the entire album by a number of wonderful musicians will raise money for an important cause. Read the just-issued media release below...

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Benefit-concert producers the Wild Honey Foundation will present the classic Beatles self-titled album, better known as The White Album, performed in its entirety and in order by a star-studded house band and guest singers. The event, which will benefit the Autism Think Tank, will take place Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 8 p.m., at the historic Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd. in downtown Glendale, Calif.  
Current members of the Wild Honey Orchestra include a who’s who of respected L.A. recording artists: musical director Rob Laufer, guitar, vocals; Jim Laspesa (Dave Davies/Susanna Hoffs), drums; Derrick Anderson (The Bangles), bass; Rusty Squeezebox (Baby Lemonade, Love), guitar; Willie Aron, keyboards, vocals; Jordan Summers, keyboards; Darian Sahanaja (Wondermints, Brian Wilson Band), keyboards/vocals, Damon Fox (Big Elf), keyboards, Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson Band), percussion, vocals; multi-instrumentalist Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson Band); Sarah Kramer, horns; and Kaitlin Wolfberg, strings.

Guest performers include: Dave Gregory (XTC), Vicki & Debbi Peterson (The Bangles), Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Susan Cowsill, John Cowsill, Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age), Dream Weaver Gary Wright (Spooky Tooth), Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention, Matthews’ Southern Comfort), The Muffs, Paisley Underground legendsThe Three O'Clock, Christine Collister (Richard Thompson band), Cindy Lee Berry Hill, Steven McDonald (Redd Kross) stellar 1960s sideman Keith Allison (Paul Revere & the Raiders), Cosmo Topper (Just Imagine Show), Anna Warnakor & Rachel Haden (That Dog), Nick Guzman,  Thomas Walsh (Pugwash), Skylar Gudasz, Brett Harris, Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Lyle Workman(Todd Rundgren, etc.), Dirk Hamilton, John Wicks (The Records), John Easdale (Dramarama), Steve Stanley (The Now People), Translator, Morty Coyle (All Day Sucker), and the always-possible Very Special Guests. 
As with last year’s sold-out Revolver/Abbey Road show at the Big Star Third shows at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, this event will benefit the Autism Think Tank. The non-profit organization brings together a team of top autism specialists, via an Internet medical conference, to tackle the seemingly intractable and painful medical/psychological problems faced by kids like Wild Honey co-organizer Paul Rock’s ten-year-old son Jake, whose own issues have improved since his involvement with the group.

Dating back to 1994, the 501(3)(c), non-profit Wild Honey’s numerous grassroots benefit/tribute events have featured appearances by Brian Wilson, Dave Davies from the Kinks, the late Alex Chilton, the Bangles, Al Stewart, Denny Laine, Danny Hutton from Three Dog Night, Chuck Negron, Matthew Sweet, Colin Hay, Dan Wilson, P.F. Sloan, John Brion, Peter Case, The Plimsouls, Victoria Williams, The Williams Brothers, Dave Alvin, The Blue Shadows, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Scott Miller from the Loud FamilyAnn Magnuson, and so many more. The shows have been produced at various Los Angeles-area locations including the Morgan-Wixson Theater in Santa Monica, the Roxy, the Knitting Factory (Hollywood) and the El Rey Theatre.  
Over the years, Wild Honey shows have raised funds and awareness for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Habitat for Humanity, the Liberty Hill Foundation, USC Norris Cancer Center, and the Coalition to End Gun Violence while paying tribute to musical idols: Brian Wilson, The Kinks, Big Star, The Byrds, The Everly Brothers, The Hollies, Harry Nilsson, Pete Townshend, solo Paul McCartney, and Elvis Costello.

For more information about the Autism Think Tank, please go to 

For more information on the Wild Honey Foundation, please go to:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Universal Music Enterprises announces Ringo Starr's March 31, 2015 LP release, 'Postcards From Paradise'

Photo credit: Rob Shanahan
Breaking news...

Los Angeles – January 29, 2015 - Universal Music Enterprises proudly announces Ringo Starr's 18th studio release, POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE.  With 11 original tracks, the solo album is due out March 31, 2015 and is the first to include a song written and recorded by Ringo Starr and his current All Starr Band - Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette. POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE was produced by Ringo and recorded at his home studio in Los Angeles and, as always, features friends and family. As Ringo often says, "If I am recording and you're in town and drop by, you're going to be on the record!"  The album’s guest artists include: Joe Walsh, Benmont Tench, Dave Stewart, Ann Marie Simpson, Richard Marx, Amy Keys, Peter Frampton, Nathan East, and Glen Ballard (among others, complete details and track by track to follow in coming weeks). 
Here is the POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE track list: 
1.      Rory And The Hurricanes
2.      You Bring The Party Down
3.      Bridges
4.      Postcards From Paradise
5.      Right Side Of The Road
6.      Not Looking Back
7.      Bamboula
8.      Island In The Sun
9.      Touch And Go
10.    Confirmation
11.    Let Love Lead
POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE will be released just after Ringo returns from the road with the All Starrs, who go back out on the road on February 13th with dates in the U.S. and Latin America (see link to tour press release below).
On April 18, 2015 Ringo will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, where he will receive the Award for Musical Excellence.
Link to tour announcement:
For more information please visit:

Brian Wilson's 11th solo studio album, titled "No Pier Pressure," to be released April 7 by Capitol Records

Exciting breaking news of interest to fans of Brian Wilson, as well as lovers of the great duo She & Him, country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves and other modern-day sonic heroes. I love the album title too!


New Album Features Collaborations with Beach Boys Bandmates,
Kacey Musgraves, fun.'s Nate Ruess, She & Him's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward,
Peter Hollens, and Capital Cities' Sebu Simonian

Hollywood, California - January 29, 2015- He is one of popular music's most deeply revered figures, a legendary writer, producer, arranger and performer of some of the most cherished music in pop music history. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to call Brian Wilson one of the most gifted and influential composers of the past 50 years. For the release of his 11th solo studio album, titled No Pier Pressure, Wilson has returned to Capitol Records, his original label home with The Beach Boys.  The album will be released April 7 in standard 13-track and deluxe 16-track editions, each available on CD and digitally, as well as a 16-track 2LP edition on 180-gram vinyl.

For the No Pier Pressure sessions, Brian Wilson reunited with longtime collaborator Joe Thomas, with whom he co-produced The Beach Boys' No. 3 Billboard album That's Why God Made The Radio for the iconic band's 50th anniversary reunion in 2012.  In addition, Wilson was  joined at Hollywood's Ocean Way Studios by talented musicians he personally invited to record with him, including his former Beach Boys bandmates Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin, as well as Kacey Musgraves, fun.'s Nate Ruess, She & Him's Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, Peter Hollens, Capital Cities' Sebu Simonian, and trumpet master Mark Isham.  Wilson has also brought in session all-stars Don Was, drummer Jim Keltner, Dean Parks, and Kenny Aronoff.  Members of Wilson's longtime touring band, including Scott Bennett, Paul Mertens, Darian Sahanaja, and Probyn Gregory also participated in the sessions, along with Matt Jardine, son of Al Jardine, and former bandmate Jeffrey Foskett
Wilson and Thomas began collaborating on the new songs during The Beach Boys' whirlwind 50th anniversary activities throughout 2012, a banner year for the band which also included a GRAMMY® Award win for Brian for The Beach Boys' long-awaited SMiLE Sessions release.  He told family, friends, and journalists around the world that he looked forward to returning to the studio when he got back home to California.  

Always most inspired when creativity is given time and space to freely flow, Wilson initially envisioned the sessions for his new album with The Beach Boys in mind, but that was not to be.  Wanting to find the right voices to complete his vision, Wilson saw an opportunity to finally become hip with his kids and recruited some amazing young vocalists who have been inspired by his music to do the job. 
Throughout his iconic career, Wilson has brought ingenious vision to his own compositions, as well as to those for which he has collaborated, weaving a lush, vibrant tapestry of intricately nuanced vocal harmonies and instrumental arrangements for himself, his bandmates and others.  For more than 50 years, fans have marveled at the sheer beauty of the music that springs forth from Wilson's imagination into glorious song.
Camped out at Ocean Way, Wilson took a fluid, woodshedding approach to the recording process, deftly tailoring the vocal and instrumental parts and arrangements to each participant.  Wilson worked to hone the arrangements, often assembling pieces from various takes, a signature style of recording he has enjoyed since his earliest sessions with The Beach Boys.  In fact, several of the songs were written during the recording process.
Brian Wilson began his career as a teenaged founding member of The Beach Boys, who signed with Capitol Records in July 1962 and released their first album, Surfin' Safari, that same year. The band's initial surf-rock focus was soon broadened to include other themes, and 1966's Pet Sounds is universally hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time.  Wilson's innovative vocal and instrumental arrangements for major hits including "I Get Around," "California Girls," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows," and the No. 1 smash "Good Vibrations" made The Beach Boys America's preeminent band of the 1960s.
Brian Wilson has also achieved great solo success with 10of his own albums released to date, including his acclaimed 2004 completion of an album he first began recording in the '60s, Brian Wilson Presents... SMiLE, which reached Billboard's Top 20 and earned him his first GRAMMY® Award for a recording.  Wilson won his second GRAMMY Award® for producing The Beach Boys' acclaimed 2011 release, The SMiLE Sessions.  Wilson has also performed major, sold-out SMiLE and Pet Sounds tours in recent years with his own band.  Wilson is a Kennedy Center Honors recipient, a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, and a UK Music Hall of Fame inductee.  As a member of The Beach Boys, Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and honored with The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement GRAMMY® Award in 2001.

No Pier Pressure [CD, digital]

1. This Beautiful Day
2. Runaway Dancer [featuring Sebu Simonian]
3. What Ever Happened [featuring Al Jardine and David Marks]
4. On The Island [featuring She & Him]
5. Our Special Love [featuring Peter Hollens]
6. The Right Time [featuring Al Jardine and David Marks]
7. Guess You Had To Be There [featuring Kacey Musgraves]
8. Tell Me Why [featuring Al Jardine]
9. Sail Away [featuring Blondie Chaplin and Al Jardine]
10. One Kind Of Love
11. Saturday Night [featuring Nate Ruess]
12. The Last Song13. Half Moon Bay
BRIAN WILSON:  No Pier Pressure (Deluxe Edition) [CD, digital]
(added tracks in bold)
1. This Beautiful Day
2. Runaway Dancer [featuring Sebu Simonian]
3. What Ever Happened [featuring Al Jardine and David Marks]
4. On The Island [featuring She & Him]
5. Our Special Love [featuring Peter Hollens]
6. The Right Time [featuring Al Jardine and David Marks]
7. Guess You Had To Be There [featuring Kacey Musgraves]
8. Don't Worry
9. Somewhere Quiet
10. I'm Feeling Sad
11. Tell Me Why [featuring Al Jardine]
12. Sail Away [featuring Blondie Chaplin and Al Jardine]
13. One Kind Of Love
14. Saturday Night [featuring Nate Ruess]
15. The Last Song
16. Half Moon Bay

BRIAN WILSON:  No Pier Pressure [2LP 180g vinyl]
Side A
1. This Beautiful Day
2. Runaway Dancer [featuring Sebu Simonian]
3. What Ever Happened [featuring Al Jardine and David Marks]
4. On The Island [featuring She & Him]
Side B
1. Our Special Love [featuring Peter Hollens]
2. The Right Time [featuring Al Jardine and David Marks]
3. Guess You Had To Be There [featuring Kacey Musgraves]
4. Tell Me Why [featuring Al Jardine]
Side C
1. Sail Away [featuring Blondie Chaplin and Al Jardine]
2. One Kind Of Love
3. Saturday Night [featuring Nate Ruess]
4. The Last Song
Side D
1. Half Moon Bay
2. Don't Worry
3. I'm Feeling Sad
4. Somewhere Quiet

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

57th Annual Grammy Awards update: performances set



Music's Biggest Night® — Hosted By LL COOL J — Airs Live On CBS, Feb. 8, 2015

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2015) — The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards® continues its tradition of producing standout musical collaborations, universally known as "GRAMMY® Moments." This year's series of unique pairings includes current nominees Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, a musical couple whose respective songbooks have entertained audiences for a combined 70-plus years; nominees Hozier and Annie Lennox; nominee Jessie J and vocal legend Tom Jones; and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine with singer/songwriter Gwen Stefani in a never-before-seen performance. They join previously announced performers AC/DCEric Church, Common with John LegendAriana GrandeMiranda Lambert, MadonnaEd Sheeran, Sam Smith, Usher, and Pharrell Williams. Entertainment icon and two-time GRAMMY winner LL COOL J returns as host. Taking place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Music's Biggest Night® will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television NetworkSunday, Feb. 8, 2015, from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT)

"Throughout the years, the GRAMMY Awards has paired musical icons with new, upcoming artists to give fans remarkable performances that can only be seen on our stage," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "This year is no different and, once again, promises to bring together unique musical worlds in innovative ways that blend genres and create new artistic boundaries."

"Musical collaborations have become a GRAMMY staple, and the best part is that artists now suggest many of these duets themselves," said executive producer Ken Ehrlich of AEG Ehrlich Ventures. "I'm very excited about this year's special segments, and believe they'll be talked about for a long time to come."

Sixteen-time GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Tony Bennett and five-time GRAMMY winner Lady Gaga are nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Cheek To Cheek.

Hozier is up for Song Of The Year for "Take Me To Church."

Jessie J is up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Bang Bang" (with Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj).

Four-time GRAMMY winner Annie Lennox is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Nostalgia.

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer, Louis J. Horvitz is director, and David Wild and Ken Ehrlich are the writers.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy® is an organization of musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYs on Twitter, like "The GRAMMYs" on Facebook, and join The GRAMMYs' social communities on Google+Instagram,Tumblr and YouTube.

2015 She Rocks Awards Honoring Women in Music Rocks the NAMM Show

Good morning, here is an update and recap of the 2015 She Rocks Awards held at NAMM last weekend...

2015 She Rocks Awards Honoring Women in Music
Rocks the NAMM Show

Awards featured performances by multi-platinum artist Colbie Caillat, rock icons The Bangles, Grammy nominated saxophonist Mindi Abair, guitarists Orianthi and Richie Sambora, and more

From left: She Rocks Awards winners Debbie Cavalier, Craigie Zildjian, Amani Duncan, Katie Kailus, and Gayle Beacock; She Rocks Awards Founder and Co-Host Laura B. Whitmore; Zepparella drummer Clementine; She Rocks Awards winner and performer Vicki Peterson of The Bangles; guest keyboardist Jenna Paone; She Rocks Awards winner and performer, saxophonist Mindi Abair; Eva Holbrook of SHEL; She Rocks Awards winners and performers Susanna Hoffs and Debbi Peterson of The Bangles; Zepparella bassist Angeline Saris; and Zepparella guitarist Gretchen Menn attend the She Rocks Awards during NAMM at the Anaheim Hilton on January 23, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevin Graft)
A who's who of music industry execs, celebrities, luminaries and supporters of women in music, gathered on Fri., Jan. 23 in the Anaheim Hilton hotel’s Pacific Ballroom to celebrate the 2015 She Rocks Awards, an event paying tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry.  
Named one of Billboard magazine's "7 must-see events at NAMM," the sold-out She Rocks Awards were held by parent organization the Women's International Music Network (the WiMN), and were co-hosted by WiMN Founder Laura B. Whitmore and guitarist, solo artist and 2013 She Rocks Awards winner Orianthi.  
Honorees included Music Inc. editor, Katie Kailus; Vice President of Brand Marketing at Martin Guitar, Amani Duncan; multi-platinum artist, Colbie Caillat; Grammy Award nominated sax player, Mindi Abair; legendary band The Bangles; Vice President for Online Learning and Continuing Education/CEO for Berklee College of Music’s award-winning online continuing education program, Berklee Online, Debbie Cavalier; Vice President of iconic Capitol Studios, Paula Salvatore; Avedis Zildjian CEO, Craigie Zildjian; Beacock Music Co-Owner, Gayle Beacock; and owner of Robo Records, Rob Christie, the first-ever male to receive a She Rocks Awards.  
“The 2015 She Rocks Awards brought together hundreds of powerful men and women in the music industry who filled the venue with a level of energy and excitement unlike any other She Rocks Awards we’ve held in the past. To know that this many people support our mission of advancing women in the music industry is extremely uplifting and reassuring. We set the bar high this year,” said WiMN Founder Laura B. Whitmore.  
The event featured electrifying performances by Orianthi with a surprise cameo by Richie Sambora; Mindi Abair; The Bangles; Colbie Caillat; SHEL; and the house band comprised of Zepparella members Gretchen Menn on guitar, Angeline Saris on bass, Clementine on drums, and guest keyboardist Jenna Paone 
Highlights of the event include a stellar performance of Mindi Abair’s song “Kick Ass” with Orianthi stepping in for the guitar duties. A moving speech by Craigie Zildjian reflected on the company’s 400-year past and her role as the first female CEO in its history. And a grand finale closing performance of The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian,” as current and past award winners joined the rock icons on stage with Cleopatra-like poses.  
The She Rocks Awards was sponsored by The Gretsch Company, Guitar Center, Seymour Duncan, The Avedis Zildjian Company, Martin Guitar, Weber Mandolins, Fishman, 108 Rock Star Guitars, Casio, PRS Guitars, Yamaha, Berklee Online, Roland, Kind, LAWIM, International Musician, Making Music Magazine, 95.5 KLOS, OC Weekly, as well as NewBay Media, and their publications Guitar World, Guitar Player, Acoustic Nation, Bass Player, Electronic Musician and Keyboard Magazine.
For more information, visit

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Concerts shine at 2015 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim

The talented and genre-be-damned singer-pianist Jamie Callum headlined the
Yahama Entertainment Group's Dealer Concert on Jan. 23, 2015 at NAMM.
Photo: Shalon Goss
Now that I recovered a bit from the 40 or so hours I spent at the 2015 Winter NAMM Show (Jan. 21-25) in Anaheim, I want to look back at some of my favorite concert moments of the event.

Chase Bryant, right, led his three-man band through
a solid set at Taylor Guitars. Photo: Robert Kinsler
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
While waiting to cover the much-anticipated Peavey Electronics 50th Anniversary Concert at the Hilton, I decided to go check out rising young Nashville-based country artist Chase Bryant at Taylor Guitars. Although I wasn't there to specifically cover the show and didn't take notes, I was immediately impressed by Bryant's confidence as a performer as well as his strong vocals and fluid guitar playing throughout his 35-minute set. From the upbeat opener "Wayfarer Weather" (with its artful segue into Bryan Adams' "Run To You") and equally-infectious follow-up "Little Bit of You" to the tender ballad "Change Your Name" with its a cappella close, the 22-year-old Texas-spawned singer-guitarist is an artist to watch. I am looking forward to catching up on Bryant and listening to his self-titled 2014 Red Bow Records debut soon. Information: You can watch Bryant's performance at Taylor Guitars here.

A number of musicians performed at the aforementioned Peavey event held at the Anaheim Hilton on Thursday night, but my single favorite performance was Blue Öyster Cult's opening set. Although the classic rockers performed a short four-song set, it was high on energy and boasted the band's most beloved rock classics. You can read my full review of the concert event on The Orange County Register site here.

Vintage Trouble, from left, guitarist Nalle Colt, singer Ty Taylor,
drummer Richard Danielson and bassist Rick Barrio Dill at
Taylor Guitars. Photo: Bob Steshetz
Friday, Jan. 23, 2015
Vintage Trouble turned in my favorite single set of the long weekend, and based on the energy of the large audience crowded into Taylor Guitars, no surprise there. The Los Angeles quartet has impressed every time I have caught them live (including at both Coachella in 2013 and Doheny Blues Festival last year).

The band's 36-minute set at NAMM was mostly acoustic, but boasted the energy of just about any other group's electric set. 
"It's Christmas for musicians," singer Ty Taylor said before the set in talking about the thrill of being at NAMM. "Merry Christmas everybody."

Opening with "Lo and Behold," Vintage Trouble's R&B groove was the perfect sonic backdrop for Taylor's Sam Cooke-styled vocals. Even though he armed an acoustic guitar for the opener, master guitarist Nalle Colt unleashed the first of what would be a number of strong solos, this one with a definite blues feel.

Another five involving and energetic tracks followed, with the infectious rock 'n' soul gem "Never Mind" (complete with attendees pumping their hands in the air), James Brown-minded "Strike Your Light" (with all four members positioned at the front of the stage, and Taylor ultimately wading into the crowd) and set-ending rocker "Blues Hand Me Down" thrilling those lucky enough to get into the intimate Taylor Guitars showcase. 

You can watch Vintage Trouble's amazing performance at Taylor Guitars here.

Colbie Caillat performing at the Yamaha Dealer Concert on
Friday night, Jan. 23. Photo: Shalon Goss
My next stop was the annual Yamaha Entertainment Group Dealer Concert being staged at the Hyperion Theater at Disney's California Adventure. The line-up was impressive:

The Piano Guys
Tom Scott
Nathan East
Toto featuring Mr. Talkbox
Colbie Caillat
Bob James
Jonathan Butler
James Blunt
and Jamie Cullum 
It was all hosted by Sinbad

There was a wide range of musical styles showcased at the event, including folk, pop, rock, jazz and more. Highlights included Toto teaming with bassist Nathan East for a celebrative "Africa,"  Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat singing "Bubbly" and then sitting at a piano for an uplifting "Try" (the lead single from her most recent studio album Gypsy Heart).

The highlight of the night came with Jamie Cullum's headlining performance, where he truly mixed up jazz, blue-eyed soul, jazz pop and other styles expertly. A skilled pianist, singer and dynamic showman, his "These Are the Days" and rousing "I Feel Fine" were the perfect way to introduce the British artist to many who undoubtedly were not familiar with him. Those who prefer a traditional approach likely loved his joining forces with smooth jazz pianist Bob James to perform Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things." He ended his set with the swirling "Mixtape,' an indie pop song that morphed magically into a jazz piece in its instrumental section. A fantastic set to be sure. 

Hit Dog Hollar performing on the GoPro Stage at NAMM.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015
I caught two noteworthy performances on Sunday afternoon. Moonville Collective was an eight-member band true to its name, playing thrilling bluegrass-styled Americana on the GoPro Stage for 40 fast-paced minutes. 

Following on the same large outdoor stage was San Diego-based rockers Hit Dog Hollar. The band somehow blended a heavy neo-grunge sound with blues and roots rock via winning rockers such as the Southern rock-styled "Battle of San Pasqual" and banjo-adorned "Barnstormers." The band closed with a Coachella-worthy "Chairman," which included hard rock and nuanced textures along the way.

Robert Kinsler