Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sights and Sounds: Mavis Staples, John Doe, 'Decline of Western Civilization' trilogy, Alabama Shakes

Here is a round-up of what's happening in the music world...

Pitchfork is premiering Mavis Staples' new Nick Cave-penned track "Jesus Lay Down Beside Me." The track is off the M. Ward-produced album Livin' On A High Note, due out this Friday, Feb. 19. You can hear the track now care of Pitchfork .

With the release of her new album Livin’ On A High Note, Staples continues to gain momentum.  Referencing and drawing from her past while taking the music to fresh places, Staples and her team recruited a unique dozen of today’s heralded and up-and-coming artists to write songs for the record. The names gathered here impress and excite: Neko Case, Justin Vernon, Nick Cave, Ben Harper, Tune-Yards, Aloe Blacc, Benjamin Booker, The Head and the Heart, and M. Ward.

 Livin’ On A High Note Songwriting Credits
Take Us Back (Benjamin Booker)
Love And Trust (Ben Harper)
If It’s A Light (The Head & The Heart)
Action (Tune-Yards)
High Note (Valerie June)
Don’t Cry (M Ward)
Tomorrow (Aloe Blacc/John Batiste)
Dedicated (Justin Vernon/M Ward)
History Now (Neko Case)
One Love (Son Little)
Jesus Lay Down Beside Me (Nick Cave)
MLK Song (M Ward/ Martin Luther King)

One of the highlights at the "Celebration for Ray Manzarek" event I caught in Hollywood on Feb. 12 was the appearance by John Doe for several selections, including toward the end of the night when he was featured singing a version of "Riders on the Storm." Now comes word that the co-leader of legendary Los Angeles band X is set to release a new 11-track solo album in 2016 titled The Westerner (due April 29 via Cool Rock Records/Thirty Tigers). As if any new music from the talented Doe wasn't enough, word is that Cat Power (Chan Marshall) and Blondie songstress Debbie Harry will also provide guest vocals on the new album. On his official Web site, Doe says: "The Westerner is my psychedelic, soul record from the Arizona desert." Read more on John Doe's official Web site here.

Coming on Friday, March 4, 2016 from Shout! Factory are the first two films of The Decline of Western Civilization trilogy, to be released on both Blu-ray and DVD. The Decline of Western Civilization (1980) and The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988) will be available for the first time as stand-alone sets with this release. Read more on George A. Paul's Music Minded site by clicking here.

Finally, Alabama Shakes took home three Grammy Awards on Sunday night, including "Best Alternative Music Album" for 2015's Sound & Color. The band has announced a number of summer North American tour dates, and a pre-sale begins today (Feb. 17, 2016). Tickets go on sale to the public beginning Friday, Feb. 19.

Dates includes stops at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (with one of my favorite bands Dawes set to open) on Aug. 9 and 10, 2016. View Alabama Shakes performing "Don't Wanna Fight" from the Feb. 15 Grammy Awards telecast HERE.

For more information on upcoming tour dates and other information about Alabama Shakes, visit the band's official Web site here.

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