Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Sights and Sounds: Dwight Yoakam, Timothy B. Schmit, Eric Johnson

Two of country/Americana's enduring stars are back in the limelight in the wake of celebrated new albums...More good news as guitar great Eric Johnson announces his first ever solo acoustic tour in support of his new album 'EJ,' that is set for release on Oct. 7, 2016.


Dwight Yoakam / Photo credit: Emily Joyce
Dwight Yoakam’s new album Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… is now #1 on Soundscan’s Bluegrass Chart and #6 on their Country Current Chart after its recent release on Sugar Hill RecordsNPR Music’s “First Listen” premiered the record proclaiming, “Not only is this album a chance for Yoakam to prove that his material does in fact work in a bluegrass context, but he also reinterprets his songs with some of the genre’s most celebrated pickers behind him.” Yoakam continues his North American tour this fall and winter throughout the U.S. and Canada—see below for a full list of dates.
For the making of Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…, Yoakam assembled a band of bluegrass luminaries to reinterpret favorites from his catalogue of gems featuring eleven Yoakam compositions and a new cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
The new album reflects the love for bluegrass music that Yoakam developed at an early age in Kentucky, and that has inspired him for many years thereafter. Yoakam’s choice to partner with Sugar Hill for this release speaks volumes about the seriousness of this endeavor; Sugar Hill and its sister label Rounder have long been at the forefront of bluegrass, roots and Americana music.
This project was produced by nine-time Grammy winner Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton),Jon Randall (Grammy winner, songwriter of “Whiskey Lullaby”) and Yoakam, recorded at both Southern Ground Studio in Tennessee and the legendary Capitol Records Studio B in Los Angeles, and mixed by multiple Grammy award winner Chris Lord Alge. For the recording, the production team gathered together a world-class band of bluegrass’ current greats including Grammy winner and nine-time international Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year Bryan Sutton, Grammy winner Stuart Duncan on fiddle and banjo, 14-time Grammy winner Barry Bales on bass,
Adam Steffey on mandolin (Alison Krauss), and Scott Vestal on banjo (Sam Bush). The LP also features harmony vocals by Jonathan ClarkBrian WhelanDavey Faragher and newcomer Bryan Joyce. Of the mixing Yoakam says “And then Chris Lord-Alge, who has mixed my last two studio albums, entered the picture in LA and agreed to add a further edge of Beggars Banquet-esque rock and roll mystique, completing the journey with a masterfully unique sonic framing of the entire project. I believe it was the first bluegrass album that Chris has ever mixed.”
Yoakam has recorded more than 22 albums and sold over 25 million copies worldwide with five reaching the #1 spot on Billboard. He is a 21-time nominated, multiple Grammy Award winner. In 2013 he was awarded The Americana Music Association Award for Artist of the Year. He has collaborated with everyone from Beck to Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack White. He has toured with the likes of Buck Owens, Johnny Cash and Hüsker Dü. His most recent album, 2015’s critically acclaimed Second Hand Heart, is included in NPR’s “Best of 2015,” which calls the album “as fresh as anything Yoakam has ever done.” It reached #2 on the Billboard Country chart withRolling Stone saying the album featured “his best songs in years.”
In 1977, Yoakam left Kentucky for Nashville to embark on a music career but found that the Music City was moving away from traditional country roots to more pop-country. He found himself better suited to the post-Bakersfield movement and became one of the founding fathers of the “L.A. Cowpunk Scene” influenced by second-wave rockabilly and punk alongside X, Los Lobos, The Knitters, Rank & File and The Blasters.
October 13—Abraham Chavez Theatre—El Paso, TX
October 14—La Hacienda Event Center—Midland, TX
October 20—EnCana Events Centre—Dawson Creek, BC
October 21 & 22—River Cree Resort & Casino, The Venue—Enoch, AB
October 24—Art Hauser Centre—Prince Albert, SK
October 25—Canalta Centre—Medicine Hat, AB
October 27—Prospera Place—Kelowna, BC
October 28—Hard Rock Casino Vancouver—Coquitlam, BC
October 29—Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre—Victoria, BC
November 3—The Majestic Ventura Theater—Ventura, CA
November 5—Silver Legacy Hotel Casino—Reno, NV
November 6—Pauma Casino Showroom—Pauma Valley, CA
November 10—Buffalo Run Casion—Miami, OK
November 11—Bluesville Showroom at Horseshoe Casino—Robinsonville, MS
November 12—Horseshoe Bossier City Riverdome—Bossier City, IA
December 8—The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan—Las Vegas, NV
December 29—Arena Theatre—Houston, TX
December 30—Global Event Center at Winstrar World Casino & Resort—Thackerville, OK
January 27 & 28—Island Resort & Casino—Harris, MI
May 27—Heritage Park, Tree Town Country Music Festival—Forest City, IA
June 23—Wild West Arena – Nebraskaland Days—North Platte, NE



TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT--the groundbreaking vocalist, songwriter and bass player from the legendary rock groups Eagles and Poco--is set to perform an acoustic set on KCSN 88.5FM in Los Angeles this Thursday, October 6 during the 3 p.m. hour. In addition to the acoustic performance, SCHMIT will sit down for an in-depth interview with host Sky Daniels.  Tune-in online, worldwide here: the October 6 airing,listen to the archived session here:
LEAP OF FAITHthe new 12-track solo album, is out nowon the indie label Benowen Records. Listen to LEAP OF FAITH in its entirety on Rolling Stone Country (here) and purchase the album via iTunes (hereand exclusive online store bundles (here).
Recorded at his Los Angeles studio and co-produced with engineer Hank LindermanLEAP OF FAITH is a strong mix of rock, country, Americana, R&B and even a bit of reggae.  LEAP OF FAITH marks the culmination ofSCHMIT's unhurried, yet inspired reflections of life. The album's first single"Red Dirt Road" is currently impacting Americana and AAA radio. "Like the rest of my new solo album Leap of Faith, 'Red Dirt Road' was recorded in my L.A. studio featuring Van Dyke Parks on accordion, John McFee (from The Doobie Brothers) on fiddle, and harmonies by Herb Pedersen," explainsTIMOTHY re the first single. "Upon hearing this song one might think the setting is from the deep south, but actually the image comes from the island of Kauai.  It's a tune about finally being able to let go."
"With the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance and a patch of state-protected Californian wilderness stretched outside the front door, Schmit created a soundtrack for that sort of pitch-perfect American landscape, mixing bluegrass, Cajun, rock, Seventies soul and California country into the same track list. Leap of Faith is an Americana album, in other words, delivered by an elder statesman who's been laying the brickwork for Americana's existence since the 1970s. Schmidt is no newcomer. No cosmic-cowboy wannabe. Rather than focus on proving his country credentials, he sticks to the Schmit-ian basics on Leap of Faith, singing the songs with a gentle, unhurried voice that's more tailored to peaceful easy feelings than life in the fast lane." 
Illuminated by an array of fine musicians and singers, LEAP OF FAITH plays like a multicolored corona around SCHMIT's distinctive artistry. From thejaunty opening track "My Hat" to the soaring harmonies and heartfelt reflections of "This Waltz," this is more than another album in a great artist's catalog. Writing and recording between touring with the Eagles, the songs on LEAP OF FAITH have a broad compass.  "Slow Down" is a note to self on escaping life's pressures coasting along on a reggae pulse sweetened by jazz giant Gary Burton's vibraphone, while  "What I Should Do" has a Muscle Shoals feel; steamy, funky, and sensual.  On "Goodbye, My Love," he takes us deep down into traditional country with Paul Franklin's glistening steel guitar layered over the changes.  And on "It's Alright," his most intimate song, SCHMIT needs only his own acoustic guitar to express profound love. 

For more information on TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT, visit:
For LEAP OF FAITH links, visit:
Online store exclusive bundles -

Tour Kicks Off At Jackson, MS’ Duling Hall on October 5 And Wraps In His
Hometown of Austin, TX At The Paramount Theatre on November 19
Austin, TX – Eric Johnson will hit the road next week in support of his first acoustic solo album titled EJ.  Thirty years after his breakthrough solo release 'Tones' brought him national recognition, the new release showcases nine original compositions and four covers.  Johnson shares, "Ever since I was young, I've played piano and acoustic guitar in my private life.  This type of music has always been a part of me, but I never showcased it on any kind of bigger level, like a full acoustic record. With EJ, I just decided to be more honest with myself and everybody, and show more of my personal side."  
Johnson, long known for his painstaking approach to making records, used a much more immediate attack for the self-produced EJ. "Almost all of that material was cut live," Johnson explains. "Some of the songs I actually sang and played at the same time - just live in the studio. Recording this way gave it more of an honest realism and organic emotion. Especially on the acoustic, you just have to get in there and play."
On the original compositions "Wonder," "Fatherly Downs," and "All Things You Are," Johnson frames his voice with his prized 1980 Martin D-45, a gift from his late father. He plays the steel-string on his superlative instrumentals "Once Upon a Time in Texas," "All Things You Are," and "Song for Irene." He conjures the beautiful, pensive tones of "Serinidad," another original instrumental, on a Ramirez nylon-string guitar. A spirited steel-string arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" rounds out the solo guitar tracks.
Johnson recasts another Simon and Garfunkel favorite, "Scarborough Fair," for voice and piano, and plays piano on the originals "Water Under the Bridge," "November," and "Wrapped in a Cloud," an ensemble track with acoustic bass, cello, drums, and percussion. In a move that's sure to surprise his fans, Johnson rearranged Jimi Hendrix' "One Rainy Wish" for guitar and piano, capping the performance with a jazz-inflected piano solo. Rounding out the record is Johnson and guest guitarist Doyle Dykes' superlative cover of Les Paul and Mary Ford's 1951 classic, "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise."
Throughout his career, Johnson has approached music as a healing force, a way to enhance a listener's consciousness and conjure joy and inspiration. "That's what I've always appreciated most about other artists," he says. "Some artists inspire us to wake up and get back to the clarity of consciousness. With this record, I'm trying to do that too, because I appreciate it so much in other people."
Confirmed appearances include:
10/05   Jackson, MS                                                   Duling Hall
10/06   Atlanta, GA                                                     Center Stage
10/07   Rocky Mount, VA                                          Harvester Performance Center
10/08   Elkins, WV                                                     Mountain Stage
10/09   Cleveland, OH                                                Music Box Supper Club
10/11   Oakmont, PA                                                  The Oaks Theater
10/12   Annapolis, MD                                               Rams Head On Stage
10/13   Richmond, VA                                                Tin Pan
10/14   Sellersville, PA                                               Sellersville Theater
10/15   Westbury, NY                                                 The Space At Westbury
10/16   Washington DC                                              The Hamilton
10/18   Fairfield, CT                                                    StageOne
10/19   Fall River, MA                                                Narrows Center For The Arts
10/20   New Brunswick, NJ                                       State Theatre
10/21   Beverly, MA                                                   Cabot Theatre
10/22   Cohoe, NY                                                      Cohoes Music Hall
10/23   Shirley, MA                                                    Bull Run Restaurant
10/25   New York, NY                                               Highline Ballroom
10/26   Londonberry, NH                                           Tupelo Music Hall
10/27   Norfolk, CT                                                    Infinity Hall
10/28   Brownfield, ME                                              Stone Mountain Arts Center
10/29   Londonderry, NH                                           Tupelo Music Hall
10/30   Pawling, NY                                                   Daryl’s House
11/01   Ferndale, MI                                                   The Magic Bag
11/02   St. Louis, MO                                                 Old Rock House
11/03   Minneapolis, MN                                            Dakota Jazz Club
11/04   Milwaukee, WI                                               Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee
11/05   Chicago, IL                                                     City Winery
11/06   Nashville, TN                                                  City Winery
11/09   Charlotte, NC                                                  McGlohan Theatre
11/10   Durham, NC                                                   Carolina Theatre
11/11   Charleston, SC                                                Charleston Music Hall
11/13   Asheville, NC                                                 Diane Worham Theatre
11/15   Clearwater, FL                                                Capitol Theatre
11/16   Ponte Vedra Beach, FL                                   Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
11/18   New Orleans, LA                                            House of Blues
11/19   Austin, TX                                                      Paramount Theatre

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