Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekend preview: The Zombies and Blur concerts; Don Henley comes to 'Austin City Limits'; Ted Hawkins tribute out today

The Zombies perform two shows in California this
weekend. Photo credit: 
Andrew Eccles
This promises to be a great weekend for music fans. If you are in California, you should already have your tickets for The Zombies' performance at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on Saturday or Crest Theatre in Sacramento on Sunday. The show will feature the entire original line-up of the band performing their 1968 masterwork Odessey & Oracle in its entirety, and then the modern-day line-up (which also features original singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent) performing other material including songs from 2015's outstanding Still Got That Hunger. Visit the band's official Web site here to get information on music and tour news and details.

Also, if you are in or near New York City, don't miss Blur when they perform at Madison Square Garden tonight (Friday, Oct. 23). I caught the British band's amazing performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday and it ranks as one of the best concerts I've seen this year (and I go to plenty!). Here is my review of Blur's headlining performance, as well as impressive opener Courtney Barnett (who also open's tonight's concert in the Big Apple). 

Check out the band's official Web site for more information.

Here are a couple of media releases highlighting music coming our way this Rocktober weekend...


Joined By Special Guests Ashley Monroe, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Jamey Johnson, and Emily Robison Strayer & Martie Maguire

New Episode Airs October 24th on PBS

Capitol recording artist Don Henley makes his first-ever appearance on Austin City Limits (ACL) showcasing Cass County, Henley’s first solo release in fifteen years and first No. 1 album of his 33-year solo career.  The iconic singer-songwriter and founding member of the Eagles performs a mix of solo hits and future classics in a special hour, joined by many of the all-star guest vocalists featured on this acclaimed record. The episode premieres Saturday, October 24th at 8pm CT/9pm ET as part of ACL’s new Season 41 on PBS.  ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings for times) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at immediately following the initial broadcast.  The show's official hashtag is #acltv.
Named for the East Texas region where Henley grew up, the country-leaning Cass County debuted at No. 1 on both Billboard’s top albums and country albums charts and features new originals written by the music superstar and longtime collaborators Stan Lynch and Steuart Smith.  Rolling Stone raves in a four-star review, “Henley has made an album of quietly defiant pure-country modernism…Everything in the music serves the sting and solace in the tales.”  USA Today notes, “the emotional but unsentimental album draws on the music and the land of Henley’s youth, but it doesn't dwell there.”

Henley opens the masterful eleven-song ACL set with the radio classic “Dirty Laundry,” before taking viewers on a journey through Cass County, a musical return to his roots.  He shines in an immaculate performance filled with highlights and duet partners featuring a parade of special guests: breakout country star Ashley Monroe, chart-toppers Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood, country rebel Jamey Johnson and sisters Emily Robison Strayerand Martie Maguire of Dixie Chicks and Court Yard Hounds fame.  Henley makes a few detours to perform select fan-favorites including “The Heart Of The Matter” before the entire cast returns to the ACL stage  for the powerfully evocative new ballad, “Praying for Rain”.  Familiar opening chords signal his smash “The Boys of Summer” as Henley and his band launch into the signature tune for a sublime set-closer.

"Don Henley has been on my wish list for 40 years, and I always knew he would come when he was ready,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona.  “He's one of the best songwriters of his generation, and these new songs are some of the best he's ever written. He's at the top of his game right now, and it's an honor to have him showcase his new songs and classics on the ACL stage.

Episode Setlist:
Dirty Laundry
When I Stop Dreaming (ft. Ashley Monroe)
The Cost Of Living (ft. Jamey Johnson)
That Old Flame (ft. Martina McBride)
Train In The Distance
The Heart Of The Matter
Where I Am Now (ft. Trisha Yearwood)
Take A Picture Of This
She Sang Hymns Out Of Tune (ft. Emily Robison Strayer & Martie Maguire)
Praying for Rain (ensemble)
The Boys of Summer

The complete line-up for the full 14-week season, including seven new episodes to air beginning January 2016, will be announced at a later date.  Viewers can visit for news regarding future tapings, episode schedules and live stream updates.


Tribute album OUT TODAY features James McMurtry, Kasey Chambers, Mary Gauthier, Tim Easton, Shinyribs and an unheard Hawkins original hidden track

AUSTIN, TX – Cold and Bitter Tears: The Song of Ted Hawkins, due today (Friday, October 23) on Austin-based Eight 30 Recordsmarks the first tribute album to the soulful Venice Beach street performer, a legend overseas later in his lifetime but a songwriter largely overlooked in the States. Hawkins simply sang like songs were stamped on his heart at birth. Evidence: High watermarks on the new record such as “Big Things” (James McMurtry), “Cold and Bitter Tears” (Kasey Chambers), “Sorry You're Sick” (Mary Gauthier), “Who Got My Natural Comb” (Shinyribs) and several other classics. Hawkins himself backs the point with the album's hidden track, the moving unreleased demo “Great New Year.”

The Mississippi native, who died January 1, 1995 after a hardscrabble life and brief autumnal rise in popularity, might be gone but he's clearly not forgotten. Local Americana power trio including singer-songwriter Kevin Russell (Shinyribs, The Gourds), artist manager Jenni Finlay (James McMurtry) and writer Brian T. Atkinson (author of I'll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt) have lovingly co-produced Cold and Bitter Tearsover the past year with sessions mostly at Austin's Wire Recording. Russell has been particularly enthusiastic about the endeavor.

“Ted Hawkins' songs and his voice were infectiously uplifting to me upon first listen twenty years ago,” he says. “His unique style, both soulful and folkie, has haunted me and taught me – so much that I have been on a personal mission to tell the world about this national musical treasure. The opportunity to steward this tribute record is a 'go tell it on the mountain' moment for me that I hope can bring greater attention to the songs and recordings of Mr. Hawkins himself.”

Hawkins earned a following as a longtime busker on the Venice Beach boardwalk but his unpredictable lifestyle prevented widespread notice. He made minor critical waves with his debut Watch Your Step (1982), an album that failed commercially but earned a five-star review in Rolling Stone. Hawkins scarcely recorded between Watch Your Step and his major label debut The Next Hundred Years (1994).

Boardwalk passersby always noticed the singular singer belting his songs. They stopped cold. Listened. Amazed. “A lot of street musicians are really good, but there was something about him that was just pure presence,” says Jon Dee Graham, who witnessed Hawkins on the beachfront while recording in Los Angeles three decades ago. “Also, his songs aren't like anybody else's. He's singing in this huge, soulful voice, 'What do you want from the liquor store? Something sweet? Something sour?' What? So wholly original.” Imagine blues and country and folk having no dividing lines.

He died at 58 years old the following New Year's Day as his star finally threatened to rise. “At the time of his death, Hawkins remained the greatest singer you've never heard,” the Los Angeles Times obituary read. “Hawkins clearly was transported somewhere else as he sang, and when he ecame aware of the audience, he seemed dazed: [Everyone] applauding wildly, some in tears from the sheer, sad beauty of his songs.” “When somebody plays in a way you've never heard anybody else, that's singularity,” echoes Dave Marsh, the iconic author and rock critic. “You might be able to imitate it, but you couldn't copy it. It would be like trying to sing like Ray Charles. You can't do that.”

See below for full track listing on Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins.

“Big Things” • James McMurtry
“Cold and Bitter Tears” • Kasey Chambers and Bill Chambers
“One Hundred Miles” • Tim Easton
“Sorry You're Sick” • Mary Gauthier
“Strange Conversation” • Jon Dee Graham
“Happy Hour” • Sunny Sweeney
“I Got What I Wanted” • Randy Weeks
“Baby” • Tina-Michelle Fowler with Elizabeth Hawkins
“I Gave Up All I Had” • Gurf Morlix
“Bad Dog” • Danny Barnes
“Bring It on Home Daddy” • The Damnations
“My Last Goodbye” • Ramsay Midwood
“Who Got My Natural Comb” • Shinyribs
“Whole Lotta Women” • Steve James
“Peace and Happiness” • Even Felker

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