Sunday, April 29, 2012

Stagecoach 2012: Americana artists shine

Chris Isaak led his band through a wonderful hour-long set at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Although I would encourage you to check out all my full-length posts (as well as those penned by Ben Wener and George A. Paul) on the Soundcheck blog, I wanted to provide a brief overview of all the acts I caught yesterday. I didn't get to review either singer-fiddler Sara Watkins, Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys or The Mavericks for The Register. But I did get to see them perform all (or part) of their respective sets on Saturday in Indio. It's impossible to catch all of the action on all three stages.

The winner for sure was the comeback concert from The Mavericks, the legendary band that kicked off their current North American tour at the festival. Raul Malo sounded terrific, his tenor soaring in that ethereal way it did when I first reviewed the band back in the 1990s. And the band was terrific (if bit mixed a bit loud through the P.A. system). "What a Crying Shame" (my favorite song from the band) was amazing to hear again, as was the Mavericks' progressive mix of traditional country music and rockabilly.

Earlier I enjoyed seeing the legendary Ralph Stanley, who is now in his mid eighties! He sounded great and everybody (thankfully) yelled out and cheered their appreciation for this bluegrass pioneer.

Saturday kicked off for me with the chance to see Carlsbad, California based fiddler-singer Sara Watkins warm up the crowd. I loved her new song (I think the title is "Lock and Key") off her forthcoming new album. She has a nice soprano voice and her touch on the fiddle was perfect.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sights and Sounds: Bruce Springsteen, Stagecoach bound

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band performed a hard-hitting, powerful show in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 26, 2012.
Photo courtesy of Kelly A. Swift

And here we go. Today I'll be out at the annual Stagecoach Festival as part of The Orange County Register's team of writers and photographers covering the annual country and Americana festival in Indio, California. Among the acts on the festival's 3-day bill are JD Souther, the Jayhawks, Chris Isaak and the Mavericks. Should be a hoot! To keep up with all my writings, as well as those from George A. Paul and Ben Wener, keep checking back at the newspaper's Soundcheck blog for reviews and photo slide shows.

I'm more than weary having gone to Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's terrific show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. I don't have a lot of time to say much other than it was an amazing show (loved the versions of "Promised Land" and "The Rising") despite my terrible seats in the last row up behind the stage (why does the Boss charge so much for lousy seats like that? I thought he cared about the ordinary folks? And why are T-shirts that cost $2 to make priced at $45!)...

Read Ben Wener's great review of the show here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Zac Brown Band to release 'Uncaged' on July 10

This just landed in my inbox. After hearing the Zac Brown Band perform several of the new songs from Uncaged, I can't wait to hear the new album when it arrives this summer. You can read my review of the band's recent show here.

With two GRAMMY wins and more than 50 award nominations under their belt, Zac Brown Band have returned to the studio for work on their forthcoming album Uncaged, which is set for release on July 10 on Atlantic Records/Southern Ground Artists. The album will also mark the official debut of ZBB's newest member world renowned percussionist Daniel de los Reyes. Influenced by guest performer Trombone Shorty and past appearances with Kings of Leon, Zac Brown tells AP that the line-up "creates a new kind of pulse within the band..." and the music is "really about making people dance." Read the full AP interview:

The band is currently nominated for Billboard Music Awards' Top Country Artist and for two CMT Awards, "Collaborative Video Of The Year" (Knee Deep f/ Jimmy Buffet) and "Best Group Video" (Keep Me In Mind). Zac Brown Band's double-platinum major label debut The Foundation (Atlantic Records/Home Grown/Big Picture) was named one of Billboard's Top 20 albums of 2009, and the platinum follow-up You Get What You Give (Atlantic/Southern Ground Artists) debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2010. Zac Brown Band is: singer/guitarist Zac Brown, violinist/singer Jimmy De Martini, bassist/singer John Driskell Hopkins, guitarist/organist Coy Bowles, multi-instrumentalist/singer Clay Cook, drummer Chris Fryar and percussionist Daniel de los Reyes. Zac Brown Band is represented by ROAR, a Beverly Hills-based talent and brand management company.


Photo of Zac Brown, taken at his show in Irvine on April 15, 2012, courtesy of photographer Kelly A. Swift

Music Worth Buying: Ringo Starr and Air

On the latest episode of Music Worth Buying, I highlight Ringo Starr’s latest studio album, Ringo 2012, while TJR champions Air‘s wonderful film score to the classic 1902 Georges Méliés masterpiece Le Voyage Dans La Lune (“A Trip to the Moon”). Enjoy everybody!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Zac Brown does it up right at Verizon Wireless

Photo courtesy of Kelly A. Swift

This review was originally published in Soundcheck on The Orange County Register site.

The Atlanta sextet, prepping for a new album, impressed once again in its return visit to the former Irvine Meadows

What would happen if, in some imaginary universe, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd started a band together?

That seemingly unlikely blend of Key West good times, powerful storytelling, Southern rock and virtuoso jam-band prowess only begins to sum up the secrets of the mighty Zac Brown Band.

Performing in front of a capacity crowd Sunday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, the sextet wore all its musical hats just fine, transforming from folk- rock into trad-country or one of the world’s best bar bands (that’s meant in a good way). Traces of reggae, Celtic music and even classical trickled into the sonic brew from time to time.

Before I caught ZBB for the first time at Verizon back in September 2010, I was beginning to think that so-called modern country’s artistic reach was mostly dead. The Atlanta group’s powerful show that night changed my mind, and this follow-up appearance has reaffirmed my belief that Brown and his band — Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Clay Cook (guitar, organ, mandolin, pedal steel, vocals) and Chris Fryar (drums) — are one of the best live bands on the planet.

Indeed, they inject into today’s country scene the same dynamic mix of songcraft and rousing performance that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band brought to rock in the ’70s.

In addition to the incredible musicianship that supports Brown’s wonderful blend of uptempo material and affecting ballads, there are his honed skills as a bandleader to consider. Knowing when to take the spotlight as a frontman and when to hand it over to the rest of his troupe made the show more entertaining. Not only do other members of ZBB shine as masters of whatever instrument they play, but Hopkins and Cook also were able to sing sterling lead vocals at times throughout the 130-minute concert.

For some in the audience, it was enough that the group played its already impressive list of hits, from the beautiful “As She’s Walking Away” and the tear-inducing “Highway 20 Ride” to the R&B-flavored “Free” (blended with Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic”) and a few party-minded Caribbean tunes (“Knee Deep,” “Toes”).

But the payoff for discerning fans was the dogged dedication to these songs’ arrangements. The amazing vocal harmonies, flawless solos that seldom veered into bombast, and Brown’s obvious emotion felt as though the band approaches each song as if it might be the final performance. Cuts like “Colder Weather” and “The Day That I Die” were charged with genuine emotion totally free from the cliches that are sadly the norm for many contemporary country artists.

With a new album on the way, Zac Brown Band generously offered a preview of at least four new songs, including the aforementioned “”The Day That I Die.” “Uncaged” rocked with the force of the Black Keys, with tandem lead guitars recalling vintage Thin Lizzy, while lush harmonies added depth to the song’s attack. Another new selection, “The Wind,” simply provided a great reason for the troupe (assisted by a touring percussionist) to display their country chops in spades.

With the crowd already in a party mood, the encore found the outfit doubling as a great cover band, tackling the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” and Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” before bringing it all to a fitting close with its pairing of “America the Beautiful” and “Chicken Fried.”

Opener Nic Cowan, one of several strong artists signed to Brown’s Southern Ground Artists label, displayed plenty of his boss’ freewheeling feel during his 40-minute set. Performing a mix of alt-country, reggae and Southern rock, the Atlantan shared his country-blues rocking spirit on “Wrong Side” and a more songwriter-minded approach on the beautiful “Illumination.” He closed his set with a nice version of “Hard Headed,” the title track on his new CD, mixing together funk, country-pop and reggae in cool fashion.

Weekend 2 brings a myriad of musical riches to Coachella

Singer Thom Yorke of the band Radiohead appears to be peering into the night as seen on one of the gigantic screens positioned over the Coachella Stage where the acclaimed British band headlined on Saturday, April 21.
Everyone has a different Coachella experience. Many brave impossible elements or fatigue to catch as many performances as possible while others are fanatic about a specific artist and trek out to Indio for a single performance. Still others come to view the fantastic artwork installations, watch out for celebrities, party with friends or for no other reason than to say "I was at Coachella" (even if that means they attended a party in far-off Palm Springs and never actually set foot on the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio). For the record I have always come to Coachella to catch some of my favorite artists in the most thrilling of settings and for the joy of discovering great artists for the first time. After catching all or part of eight sets on Friday, nine on Saturday and another nine on Sunday, here are some highlights of my sonic journey through Weekend 2 (April 20-22, 2012) of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
I'm glad I arrived at the Coachellafest first thing because Friday's finest moments came early in the day. Don't get me wrong; I did enjoy seeing Pulp, Mazzy Star and the Black Keys in their respective turns that would come after dark. But a string of incredible performances following the kickoff from Mea (seen in the image on the left) came via Los Angeles Americana outfit honeyhoney, the eclectic Oklahoma-based Other Lives, singer-songwriter-guitar virtuoso Gary Clark Jr., country-folk rockers Dawes (whose "Time Spent in Los Angeles" and "Fire Away" simply rocked live) and genre-defying singer-songwriter-guitarist M. Ward set the perfect pace for me over the fast-paced day. With the exception of the experimental rock of the Jesse Tabish-led Other Lives, the wealth of roots music artists who were featured on Friday really was terrific. Dawes recalled classic Crosby, Stills and Nash, while Clark Jr. floored a packed Gobi tent over the course of 55 magical minutes with potent blues rockers like "When My Train Pulls In" and "Don't Owe You a Thang." Anyone who loves blues rock needs to discover this amazing Austin, Texas based artist (do yourself a favor and pick up his newly-released Bright Lights EP). Saturday's wide-ranging schedule yielded similarly-thrilling sets from early performers as well, although Coachella-goers had to contend with some of the highest fest temperatures in memory. Indeed, while checking weather conditions just prior to Grace Potter and the Nocturnals' 3:40 p.m. set time I saw 106 listed as the current temp for Indio. A far cry from the cold and rain that had marked Weekend 1 of the festival a week earlier. But baking in the sun was made a bit easier thanks to staff hosing down those positioned near the front of the Outdoor Theatre, the spot where I caught three solid performances. Orange County-based Suedehead's hard-charging sound recalled Paul Weller's The Jam while We Were Promised Jetpacks blended post-punk and '80's alt rock into a rousing mix. The aforementioned Potter and company opened with the infectious singalong "Paris (Ooh La La)." Potter strummed away on her electric guitar while nailing high notes with her amazing soprano on the way through a 40-minute performance that boasted the depth and range of a full-length concert set. Highlights included the blues-rock of "Stop the Bus" and a musical tribute to the recently-deceased Band drummer Levon Helm.
While the weather (thankfully) cooled a bit as the sun began to set, the intensity of the music making side of things never let up. From the energetic Kaiser Chiefs and U.K. power pop masters Squeeze, to Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (seen rocking on a mega-screen in the image on the left) and Portland-based the Shins, the day and evening brought one breathtaking set after another. Squeeze performed with a fire and intensity of an up-and-coming band, unleashing versions of timeless favorites including "Black Coffee in Bed," "Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)" and "Is That Love" on the Mojave stage. Not long after, James Mercer led the Shins through a set that was the perfect setup for what was to come on the main stage throughout the rest of the night. Along with the delight of hearing the Shins perform a winning version of Neil Young's gem "Helpless," additional standouts came via the group's terrific new album Port of Morrow (notably the infectious upbeat "Simple Song" and decidedly sad tune "It's Only Life"). Following the Shins, Bon Iver played a 55-minute set that showcased the group's blend of folk, alt-country and indie sensibilities as the faithful cheered. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Justin Vernon displayed a musical style that often would find a quiet folk song grow into a neo-grunge roar. The stunning Bon Iver opener "Perth" (with its amazing guitar line and hushed intro layered with Vernon's falsetto vocals) was my favorite track of his set, but "Holocene" reached an almost similar depth. Radiohead performed a marvelous two-hour concert to finish off Saturday in grand fashion, featuring mostly-recent material off the troupe's last two studio albums (2007's In Rainbows and 2011's The King of Limbs) and some classic favorites, notably "Karma Police" and the night-ending "Paranoid Android." The English quintet, led by its charismatic front man Thom Yorke, utilized their experimental musical instincts and technology to enhance - rather than detract - from their concert show. With dazzling lights and a multitude of revolving projection screens, Radiohead immersed the crowd in an experience that was as much art as music. Weighty stuff that felt just right at Coachella. I got to the festival far earlier than I thought on day three so I was able to catch most of Gardens & Villa's set inside the Mojave tent. Until Sunday I never heard a group combine Thomas Dolby-styled '80s electronica with traditional Native American flute music. "Black Hills" mixed up a goth soundscape with a driving rhythm that got early birds moving to the music out on the grassy dance floor. Few who had gathered to watch Gardens & Villa left the Mohave tent once Brooklyn-based Oberhofer arrived on the scene with their own high-energy approach. The quartet's direction was mostly set on fun. Lead singer Brad Oberhofer injected some real life drama when he climbed high on the stage frame to throw flowers down into the enthusiastic crowd. Even frustrating technical woes resulting in First Aid Kit's keyboards not working properly did not dampen enthusiasm for the Swedish duo. Performing songs from both their The Big Black & the Blue debut and new sophomore effort The Lion's Roar, the siblings' shining harmonies and authentic '70s country folk was a joy. I predict very big things for these young sisters from Stockholm. The wide-range of styles of artists who perform at Coachella is an obvious attraction for music lovers. Sunday's finale summed that up clearly. I caught the indie R&B-flavored pop ensemble Fitz and the Tantrums (who shared a splendid reworking of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams"), the high-powered attack of Sweden's The Hives (I loved the band's new single "Go Right Ahead"), and the perfect set from Florence + the Machine (featuring singer Florence Welch) with dramatic crowd pleasers like "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)." Welch finally ended a seemingly-flawless hour-long set with the beautiful and involving "No Light, No Light."
Another Coachella to remember.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MUSIC WORTH BUYING: Band of Skulls and Please, Please, Please: a tribute to The Smiths

On the latest episode of Music Worth Buying, TJR celebrates Band of Skulls’ epic Sweet Sour while I champion the ambitious 2-disc Please Please Please: a tribute to The Smiths. For any of you heading out to Coachella this weekend, make sure you check out Band of Skulls when they perform on Sunday afternoon (April 22) on the Coachella Stage.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Inbox Update: Michael Ubaldini, Shooter Jennings, The Brophy Dale Band, The 44's

With my crazy schedule including the coverage of both Coachella and Stagecoach this month, I am way behind in my daily dose of posting. Here are some important releases that have landed in my inbox this week that relate to things happening outside of the chaos of Coachella...

Six years ago, Michael Ubaldini, one of Southern California's premier independent singer-songwriters, released Lost American Nights: Lyrics & Poems, a selection of his poems, song lyrics and photographs. Since then, Ubaldini has recorded half a dozen more albums, won Orange County Music Awards and recorded at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis — and accumulated so much material that we had no choice but to put out a second edition of his book.

The new, revamped Lost American Nights will launch this Wednesday (April 18, 2012) at Two Idiots Peddling Poetry at the Ugly Mug, located around the block from Chapman University in Orange. The show starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $3.


Shooter Jennings' Family Man' to see its release on Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Country artist Shooter Jennings will release his highly anticipated fifth studio album, Family Man, April 17 through One Entertainment Group. The acclaimed country star has also announced additional tour dates throughout April in support of the new album. The tour, which he will co-headline with Cody Canada & The Departed, features special guest Uncle Lucius and kicks off on March 19th in Austin, TX and includes a show here in Orange County, CA at the Coach House on May 10 (full routing below).

Jennings premiered the video for the first single off of FAMILY MAN, “The Deed and the Dollar,” on CMT where it instantly became the #1 viewed video on the country channel. The video features home shot footage of Shooter with his girls, fiancé Drea de Matteo and daughter, Alabama Gypsy Rose. “The Deed and the Dollar,” released on iTunes on December 20th, 2011, is quickly gaining traction at Country radio with nearly 1200 spins weekly and is considered by Shooter to be “the perfect love song.” As the title suggests, FAMILY MAN is Shooter's most personal and introspective album to date, focusing on his home life, the endless temptations of life on the road, his Southern heritage and upbringing, and his unique position among today's country musicians. Produced by Jennings, FAMILY MAN features appearances by Tom Morello and Eleanor Whitmore.


Date City- Venue

March 16th Austin, TX- Saxton Pub (SXSW)

March 18th Longview, TX - The Levee

March 22nd Denton, TX - Rockin Rodeo

March 23rd Tulsa, OK - Cains

March 24th Wichita, KS - Cotillion

March 26th St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House

March 28th Minneapolis, MN-The Cabooze

March 30th Chicago, IL -Joe's

March 31st Dubuque, IA -Miss Moon Bar

April 1st Bloomington, IL - Miss Moon Bar

April 4th Lexington, KY - Buster's

April 5th Lancaster, PA - The Chameleon

April 6th Baltimore, MD - Recher Theatre

April 12th New York, NY - The Gramercy Theatre

April 13th Williamsville, NY - Club Infinity

April 14th Rochester, NY - Water Street Music Hall

April 21st Spring, TX - Texas Crawfish Fest

April 26th Lubbock, TX - Blue Light Live

April 27th Stillwater, OK - Tumbleweed Dance Hall & Concert Arena

April 28th Kansas City, MO - Crossroads

May 10th San Juan Capistrano, CA – The Coach House Concert Hall

Son of legendary country singers, Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter, Shooter Jennings is an acclaimed country artist in his own right. He has been active in both country music and southern rock genres and has produced 3 top 20 country albums since his debut, PUT THE “O” BACK IN COUNTRY in 2005. In 2010, Shooter made his first foray into psychedelic rock with the critically acclaimed BLACK RIBBONS. FAMILY MAN will mark Shooter's long anticipated return to the country genre.

Brophy Dale Band to open for The 44's on April 22

Well, this post is all about Americana, roots, blues and traditional country music so why not wrap up with news that the Brophy Dale Band is going to open up for The 44's at the Tiki Bar, 1700 Placentia Avenue, Costa Mesa at a special afternoon show on Sunday, April 22. The concert is set to begin at 2 p.m.

The 44's are celebrating the release of their new Rip Cat Records release Americana (officially available on Tuesday, April 17, 2012).

Admission is $15 at the door.

Inbox Update: Record Store Day coming Saturday, April 21

You didn't think I'd forget about Record Store Day, did you?

Although it seems I'm always at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Record Store Day every April, I get to celebrate since there is usually an indie music retailer who has a great tent stocked with Record Store Day exclusives. I shop there every year, usually making that Zia Record Exchange tent my first stop when I get inside the Empire Polo Club grounds and before the live music starts.

This coming weekend - the second and final weekend of Coachella - there will be artist signings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 20-22, 2012). And, of course, on Saturday there will be great music exclusives. Read on to see news on a number of Record Store Day-related releases likely to be available there or at your favorite neighborhood indie music record shop. I'm going to kick things off with a release that I've actually got in my hot little hands. I am excited to say if you are a fan of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (one of many great acts who are appearing at Coachella this month), you will want to pick this one up on April 21 if you can.

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals: Live from the Legendary Sun Studios recorded at Memphis' Sun Studio, created specifically for Record Store Day

GPN aficionados and other hardcore fans will be delighted to learn that Grace and the band have prepared a special limited-edition piece for Record Store Day. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: Live From The Legendary Sun Studio, which will be available on vinyl and CD, contains seven original songs recorded in 2008 and 2009. “Night Rolls On,” “Outta My Tree,” “Sugar,” and “Put Your Head Down” (which comprise Side One of the vinyl release) were recorded in January 2008 for the Live From Sun Studio TV show that airs nationally on PBS. GPN was the very first band to be featured on that program. “One Short Night,” “Can’t See Through,” and “Fooling Myself” were cut in June 2009. Except “One Short Night” and “Fooling Myself,” these songs have not been previously released, though the band has broken out some of the others on occasion in concert.

“We wanted the songs to be unfamiliar,” Grace explains. “We didn’t want to give people different versions of songs they already knew. So we went with a bunch of B-sides and forgotten tunes. I wanted to call the record Bastard Songs From Sun Studio, but that got shot down, not surprisingly.”

GPN made a pilgrimage to Sun when they played Memphis during their very first tour outside the Northeast. “I was obsessed with the place, so I paid the 30 bucks to go into the vocal booth and sing ‘Love Me Tender,’” Grace recalls. “It was only two or three years later that they called us to ask if we wanted to come in and record—we were the first band invited to perform there for the PBS series. When we got there, the guy behind the counter recognized me. He said, ‘This is crazy, because I was telling everyone about this girl that came in and sang a crazy-good “Love Me Tender”!’ So Sun has a lot of history for us.”

As previously announced, The Lion The Beast The Beat, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals’ fourth studio album for Hollywood Records, will be released June 12. The musically powerful and conceptually dazzling work was produced by Potter and veteran producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco, the Tedeschi Trucks Band). Adding to the firepower of the project is Dan Auerbach who produced and co-wrote the track “Loneliest Soul” and also produced and co-wrote the band’s first single “Never Go Back,” and “Runaway,” both of which were co-produced by Scott. David Campbell (Beck, My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne) arranged and conducted the strings on the album. The LP was mixed by fellow Vermonter and Grammy award winner Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, TV on the Radio, Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball).

The first single from The Lion The Beast The Beat is “Never Go Back,” written by Dan Auerbach and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. GPN’s debuted “Never Go Back” April 5 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. A companion video for the track will be shot in Los Angeles in April. Go to here for an exclusive first listen of “Never Go Back.”

On April 14, GPN made their first-ever appearance at Coachella, which has expanded to two weekends this year. They will be back in Indio on Record Store Day, April 21. On June 2, the band will embark on the “Brothers of the Sun” Tour with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. GPN’s inclusion on the tour was a result of Grace’s duet with Chesney on their Grammy® and CMA Award-winning single and video “You and Tequila,” which was certified platinum for sales of over one million downloads.

Pepperland Music in Orange to celebrate Record Store Day

My neighborhood record store is the beloved Pepperland Music, located in Orange (in Orange County, California).

Pepperland Music is opening at 10 a.m. and will have a bunch of one-day exclusives. The store is also going to host several live performances, including sets from Midnight Screening and The Ghosts.

The great thing about Pepperland Music is it has a big selection of Beatles-related memorabilia, vinyl albums, CDs, DVD and - of course - musical instruments and related gear. And don't worry if you can't play an instrument, the store also offers music lessons too!

Pepperland Music is located at 850 N. Tustin Avenue, Orange, CA. You can call the store at 714-639-0909. You can visit the Pepperland Music Web site here.

Caitlin Rose set to release "Piledriver Waltz" / "Love Is A Laserquest" (Arctic Monkeys covers) 7 Inch on Record Store Day

In honor of Record Store Day, Domino Records has commissioned two very special Arctic Monkeys covers from Caitlin Rose (seen here in a photo courtesy of Josh Anderson), one of Nashville’s brightest young singer/songwriters. When Alex Turner’s "Piledriver Waltz" first appeared in the British film Submarine as a bittersweet acoustic love song, and then later as a fleshed out Arctic Monkeys song from their most recent album Suck It and See, it was evident that the production and arrangement could change, but the soaring timelessness of the song’s lyrics and melody never would.

Caitlin Rose’s cover transforms the song into a country rock ballad complete with slide guitar and powerful vocals remencesnt of the Nashville greats from yesteryear like Loretta Lynn & Emmylou Harris. Her take of Suck It and See’s standout ballad "Love Is A Laserquest" is as heartbreaking a country song as you’ll ever hear. Both songs will be pressed on a super limited edition 7 inch for Record Store Day only.

Rose is currently in the studio recording the followup to her critically acclaimed debut, Own Side Now.

Zac Brown Band, Sonia Leigh, Wood Brothers Bolster Free Southern Ground Artists Compilation, Vol. 2

Southern Ground Artists, the record label of two-time GRAMMY Award-winner Zac Brown, is releasing its latest compilation in celebration of Record Store Day 2012 featuring songs by Sonia Leigh, The Wood Brothers, and Blackberry Smoke, among others. The album will also include a live version of "No Hurry," the latest single by Zac Brown Band, currently at #18 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.

Track listing:
1. One More Day (Live) – The Wood Brothers
2. Hard Headed – Nic Cowan
3. Another Day – Dugas
4. Wherever We Break Down – Levi Lowrey
5. Bar (Barroom Radio Mix) – Sonia Leigh
6. Leavin' – The Wheeler Boys
7. Everybody Knows She's Mine – Blackberry Smoke
8. No Hurry (Live) – Zac Brown Band

The compilation will be distributed via Record Store Day at over 350 indie music stores on April 21, 2012.

Dierks Bentley signs up to support Record Store Day at Easy Street Records in Seattle, WA

Country music singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley has been added to the list of artists taking part in the fifth annual Record Store Day on April 21 with a special acoustic performance at independent record store Easy Street Records’ Queen Anne location in downtown Seattle, WA at 1 p.m. (Pacific Time Zone).

“Record Store Day is such a great event that has hardly had any attention in country music,” said Bentley. “Some of the coolest exclusive product comes out on this day at indy retailers, and I wanted country fans to be able to get in on the action. I may have a few surprise special guests up my sleeve too. I'm really excited to take over Easy Street for an hour that afternoon…Seattle is such a great music town."

Across the country and globe for one day only, artists including Coldplay, Foster the People, Ryan Adams and The Black Keys will be releasing Record Store Day exclusives, making special appearances or performing at brick and mortar record stores to celebrate the art of music. For a full list of artists participating in the special event, visit

For more information on Bentley, visit

Norah Jones to release exclusive 7 Inch featuring tracks from Little Broken Hearts

Norah Jones will be releasing an exclusive 7” single for Record Store Day featuring two tracks from Little Broken Hearts that were remixed by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek. This limited edition release will be sold on the Record Store Day Web site on Saturday, April 21, with proceeds benefitting ART from the ashes (AFTA) in their efforts to aid the recovery and restoration process in Bastrop County, Texas, which was devastated by wildfires in September 2011. AFTA is a non-profit arts organization that supports communities devastated by natural disaster through the creation of art.

Visit for more information.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Inbox Update: Titanic Guitars, Sigur Rós, PiL, Lindsey Buckingham

April 15, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and the tragic loss of more than 1,500 lives on the British liner's maiden voyage. With the recent re-release of James Cameron's Titanic in 3D, new soundtracks released in relation to that 1997 film and an endless number of television specials airing this month you might have assumed that might be the extent of Titanic mania. Think again...

Welcome to Titanic Guitars

100 years after the launch of the Titanic, a Belfast company has designed a range of limited edition guitars to celebrate this milestone. Welcome to the launch of Titanic Guitars (1912-2012).

Steeped in history, Belfast represents the home of the Titanic and town where some of the best shipbuilders and craftsmen spent hours of blood, sweat and tears to create a true masterpiece.

Now, a small group of luthiers in Ireland have used the same tradition and skills to develop a unique line of guitars that proudly pay homage to the Titanic. Using some of the best woods in the industry, combined with excellent tonal qualities, these new masterpieces are truly a collector's item.


Sigur Rós announces North American tour dates

Sigur Rós has just announced its North American tour dates. Visit this site for more details! The Iceland-based troupe is set to tour in support of its forthcoming album, Valtari, set for release on May 28 (and likely May 29 in the U.S.).

Sigur Rós' upcoming concert dates include a mix of festival appearances and headlining shows. Highlights of the schedule includes dates at Lollapalooza in Chicago and at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


PiL Announce Album Details And Track Listing For ‘This Is Pil’ Released May 28, 2012

PUBLIC IMAGE LTD can confirm that their first new album in 20 years--THIS IS PiL, to be released May 28--will contain 12 tracks (see the track listing below).The album is self-funded by PiL and will be released on PiL’s own label ‘PiL Official’ via Cargo UK Distribution. All the new material was recorded in the UK last year at Steve Winwood’s studio in the Cotswolds.
John Lydon: “This Is PiL, PiL Official Ltd.”

Track listing
1. This Is PiL
2. One Drop
3. Deeper Water
4. Terra-Gate
5. Human
6. I Must Be Dreaming
7. It Said That
8. The Room I Am In
9. Lollipop Opera
10. Fool
11. Reggie Song
12. Out Of The Woods

The album is preceded by the release of a 4-track EP entitled One Drop. It will be issued for ‘Record Store Day’ on April 21. The EP is comprised of 4 songs—“One Drop,” “I Must Be Dreaming,” “The Room I Am In” and “Lollipop Opera”—that will also be available on THIS IS PiL.

John Lydon talks about THIS IS PiL: “Well, 12 songs, where do I begin? Everything and anything that attracts my attention. ‘One Drop’ is about my early youth in Finsbury Park. Fantastic! Hello, we’re all teenagers don’t you forget it! At any age, stay young. ‘Lollipop Opera’ is basically a beautiful bunch of background noise and music to sum up Britain and all its wonderful ambidextrousness! ‘The Room I Am In’ well that’s about drugs and council flats. And there’s a tragedy that still continues. ‘I Must Be Dreaming’ well, you know, I must be to put up with these governments.”

Following on from their monumental live performance at BBC Radio 6 Birthday Celebrations at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday March 16 which saw PiL include and baptize two new songs: “Deeper Water” and “One Drop." PiL also played two very special shows at London’s Heaven showcasing more tracks from the new album with The Times (London) commenting “This was an evening of uncompromising art music, worthy of the total concentration of the audience.” The track “One Drop” has now also received airplay from BBC Radio 6, XFM and Absolute Radio.

Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential bands of all time, PiL's music and vision earned them 5 UK Top 20 Singles and 5 UK Top 20 Albums. With a shifting line-up and unique sound, John Lydon guided the band from their debut album First Issue in 1978 through 1992's That What Is Not, before a 17-year hiatus. John then resurrected PiL in 2009 playing live worldwide. Now after 20 years, yet another new and unique chapter is set to unfold in the shape of new PiL material.

Public Image Ltd live line up / wrote and recorded the new material
John Lydon: After fronting the Sex Pistols, John Lydon formed PUBLIC IMAGE LTD in 1978. Outside of PiL, John has released several solo records and collaborations. He also brings quality TV to the masses.
Lu Edmonds: Multi-instrumentalist and former guitarist in The Damned Lu joined PiL in 1986 recording and playing on the album Happy? and co-writing the album 9 adding yet another dimension to the PiL sound.
Bruce Smith: Former drummer in The Pop Group and The Slits became percussionist for PiL also in 1986 playing and recording on the albums Happy? and 9. Seen as a drumming virtuoso, Bruce Smith brought his unique style into the fold.
Scott Firth: A bass player/multi-instrumentalist that has collaborated and played with a variety of top musicians and bands including Steve Winwood, John Martyn, and Elvis Costello.

For more PiL information, see

Lindsey Buckingham heeds the call of his East Coast fans demanding their share of his forthcoming U.S. tour; more dates now added as trek begins May 3, 2012

Due to overwhelming demand, Lindsey Buckingham will now be sharing his highly anticipated U.S. tour with his fans on the East coast. The six-week trek begins May 3 in Solana Beach, CA and now lasts through June 16 in Columbus, OH. As for the rest of the country, they need not worry either, because even more tour dates are in the works and will be announced in the coming weeks.

In his intimate-one-man show, Lindsey will showcase his distinctive guitar picking style and instantly recognizable voice in his usual awe-inspiring form, captivating his audience with songs from his recent album, SEEDS WE SOW, as well as performing a combination of favorites from his previous solo albums, along with a variety of Fleetwood Mac classics.

Regarding the new tour he says, "As I've grown as an artist, I've gotten more and more in touch with my center, and that center is voice and guitar. Over time it has become increasingly vital to express more with less; that is my touchstone now, and the embodiment of that philosophy is what will be largely represented in the new show. I've been thinking of doing this kind of tour for a while, and am quite excited to be doing something new, something outside my comfort zone."

Check out Lindsey Buckingham at any of the following tour stops:


Thur 5/3 Solana Beach, CA Belly up Tavern
Fri 5/4 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
Sat 5/5 San Juan Capistrano, CA Coach House
Sun 5/6 Thousand Oaks, CA Fred Kavli Theatre/Thousand Oaks Civic Arts
Tues 5/8 San Luis Obispo. CA Fremont Theatre
Wed 5/9 Fresno, CA Tower Theatre
Thur 5/10 Carmel, CA Sunset Central Center
Fri 5/11 Santa Cruz, CA Rio Theatre
Sun 5/13 Sacramento, CA Crest Theatre
Mon 5/14 San Francisco. CA The Fillmore
Tues 5/15 Redding, CA The Cascade Theatre
Thur 5/17 Bend, OR Tower Theatre
Fri 5/18 Portland, OR Aladdin Theatre
Sat 5/19 Seattle, WA The Neptune
Mon 5/21 Spokane, WA Bing Crosby Theatre
Tue 5/29 Boston, MA Wilbur Theatre
Wed 5/30 Providence, RI Lupo’s
Thu 5/31 Hampton Beach, NH Hampton Beach Casino
Fri 6/1 Lebanon, NH Lebanon Opera House
Sat 6/2 Northampton, MA Calvin Theatre
Mon 6/4 New York, NY BB King’s Blues Club
Tue 6/5 New York, NY BB King’s Blues Club
Wed 6/6 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
Fri 6/8 Ithaca, NY State Theatre
Sat 6/9 Tarrytown, NY Music Hall
Sun 6/10 Bethlehem, PA ArtsQuest Center
Mon 6/11 Wilmington, DE World Café
Tue 6/12 Washington, DC Howard Theatre
Thu 6/14 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Soundstage
Fri 6/15 Munhall, PA Carnegie Library Music Hall
Sat 6/16 Columbus, OH Southern Theatre


Squeeze dazzles at sold-out Coach House

Photos taken by Bob Steshetz

When a band as great and adored as Squeeze plays a venue as intimate as The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, it's best to make plans to be there.

Hundreds of other fans were overcome with the same mindset and it was definitely a packed house that greeted the legendary U.K. power pop troupe when they took the stage at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday night (April 11, 2012). After busting out with a rousing version of "Take Me," Squeeze proceeded to perform nearly two dozen songs over the next 90 minutes. Singer-songwriter-guitarists Chris Difford (seen at left) and Glenn Tilbrook (below and to the right) unleashed their well-constructed set at an admittedly break-neck pace, with one epic favorite after another greeting fans who cheered, sang along or moved in time to the music while dancing in their seats.

Nobody seated around me left early, even during the encore, and for good reason. This was a fantastic concert with grand versions of many of the band's greatest songs.

Watching Squeeze (which also includes bassist John Bentley, drummer Simon Hanson and keyboardist Stephen Large), it was clear that while the cache of incredible tunes may serve as the band's hole-in-one, the sterling musicianship and infectious spirit the members bring to the concert stage also serves them well. Tilbrook's wonderful tenor remains fully intact (as does Difford's distinctive baritone voice) and their harmonies layered atop cascading and intricate melodies are much more than ear candy. They simply add dimension to songs whose power have stood the test of time like few others.

Tilbrook's fiery and well-executed lead guitar solos added additional power to the songs as well. His work on "If I Didn't Love You," "Model," "Another Nail In My Heart" and elsewhere was truly impressive. And it was a blast to watch Hanson play his drums with might from start to finish.

This show may have served as a warm-up of sorts for Squeeze's upcoming performances at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 14 and 21, but truth be told it's hard to believe the band could top the epic performance they delivered to the enthusiastic faithful who came to San Juan Capistrano last night.

Opening the show was Orange County's own Davis Fetter, who surprised the full house with a 25-minute set of infectious and accessible originals. Backed by a drummer and keyboardist, the singer-guitarist brought his '80s meets '50s-styled alt rock to the '00s with the genre-defying rocker "I Loved You So" and the beautiful ballad "Euphoria." A new artist I hadn't caught before, Fetter (seen here) is definitely on my radar and likewise for many who enjoyed his energetic set at the Coach House.

Squeeze setlist at The Coach House on April 11, 2012:
Take Me / If I Didn't Love You / Tough Love / In Quint / Revue / Model / The Knack / Who's That / Is That Love / Points of View / Melody Motel / Heaven / Bang Bang / Cool For Cats / Junction / Annie Get Your Gun / Hourglass / Goodbye Girl / Another Nail In My Heart / Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)
ENCORE: Slap and Tickle / Tempted / Black Coffee in Bed

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Squeeze set to rock The Coach House and Coachella 2012

My concert preview on Squeeze was originally published on The Orange County Register Web site on April 6, 2012.

Catching up with Squeeze as they head to Indio

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook began writing songs together as teenage friends in South London in the mid-’70s. The duo would later be dubbed the “new Lennon and McCartney” and, aided by a rotating roster of talented players, would go on to craft some of the most timeless power pop of the New Wave era as Squeeze.

The band stood apart in the ’80s by delivering energetic shows anchored by a seemingly endless supply of marvelous songs – “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Tempted,” “Another Nail for My Heart” and “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),” to name a few – most of which outdistanced the work of their contemporaries by leaps and bounds.

Now, Squeeze is returning to its deserved position in the limelight. Not only is the legendary U.K. troupe set to perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio this month, the current lineup will release Live at the Fillmore (Anchor and Hope Music) on limited edition white vinyl on April 14, the first of two dates they will play at the desert festival.

In addition, Squeeze is set to perform April 17 on The Ellen Degeneres Show and the group will play a series of club dates to warm up for Coachella, including April 11 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and April 10 at House of Blues San Diego. (Also look for their return June 30 alongside the B-52′s at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, on sale April 14.)

During a recent phone interview, Difford discussed everything from Squeeze making its first appearance at the renowned event to the band’s growing legacy and influence on modern-day artists such as Kasabian, Lily Allen and Razorlite. But the discussion led off with the subject of Squeeze coming to Coachella.

“We’ve been asking to be in the festival for quite some time, really, because we’ve played lots of festivals in the U.K. So this year we’ve managed to find a billing where we can fit in,” he said. “Obviously I am very pleased that we are there; it’s gonna be good.”
But Difford says the band doesn’t consider its club dates as mere warm-ups for the massive bash.
“The Coach House is just as important as any of the shows that we are going to do. So we have to make sure that we have all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak. When we rehearse this week for the tour we will be doing, we’ll be rehearsing for the Coach House (too).”

Given how many groundbreaking artists perform at Coachella – Squeeze shares consecutive Saturday bills with Radiohead, Bon Iver, Feist, Gary Clark Jr., the aforementioned Kasabian and scores more – Difford admitted to feeling honored that he and Tilbrook are praised by name by many of the group’s musical descendents.
“It can only be something that makes you proud when people tip their hat to you,” he says. “I can hear it (the sound of his band in those artists). I can hear Squeeze in Crowded House, but then I can hear the Beatles in Squeeze. So every band is like a magpie; we all copy from each other, really.”

Since re-forming in 2007 following an eight-year hiatus, Squeeze has captured the attention of a new generation of fans on both sides of the Atlantic, as evidenced by not only the group’s Coachella appearances but other winning tours in recent years. More than three decades after the release of Squeeze’s debut EP, Difford says he’s better able to reflect on the group’s place in rock ‘n’ roll history.

“I’m always rewarded when people say that (Squeeze has a growing legacy over time) because you spend your entire life – almost – being in a rock ‘n’ roll band and you never know what the outcome is going to be, and then you get to my age (he’s 57) and people really respect what you’ve done. It’s a beautiful feeling; it’s a feeling of coming home, and when people come to the shows and they hear ‘Black Coffee’ and ‘Tempted’ and songs like that, their feedback is very rewarding.”

But as large as the band’s legacy looms, Difford said Squeeze’s story is not yet complete: “I don’t think our history is something we should chase,” he said of new songs he’s been working on with Tilbrook for a future studio set.
“We only live in the now – most of the time, anyway – so we can only really change ourselves by exploring what we have in front of us, rather than what we have behind us.”

Squeeze plays April 11 at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, in San Juan Capistrano. Davis Fetter, formerly of O.C. band Venus Infers, will open. Tickets are $55. Also catch Squeeze at House of Blues San Diego on April 10, $20-$30, and look for them alongside the B-52′s at the Greek Theatre on June 30, $35-$65, on sale April 14 at 10 a.m.

Coachella 2012: Sweden’s First Aid Kit preps its brand of Americana for desert sets

My concert preview was originally published on The Orange County Register Web site on Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

Leave it to a couple of young sisters from Stockholm to capture the beauty and mystery of Americana music with authenticity rarely heard these days even in Nashville.
Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the duo known as First Aid Kit, have issued one of the most striking albums of early 2012. The Lion’s Roar is a collection of original material that captures the spirit of Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and June Carter without coming off as merely a retro experiment or well-timed trend exploit.

“When we were kids we didn’t listen to Americana at all,” Johanna (right) admitted during a phone chat with the Söderbergs shortly before a gig in Chicago. They arrive this weekend for the first of two high-profile turns at the 13th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio. (They’re on Saturdays, April 15 and 22.) Also catch them opening for Wild Flag (another Coachella attraction) at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on April 19.

“Our parents are more into New Wave and stuff … but through a friend, who told us to listen to Bright Eyes … we kind of fell in love with that music instantly. We just felt at home.”
Klara, 19, picked up her three-years-older sister’s response without missing a beat: “We felt at home; it was so simple and honest. It spoke to us in a different way than music ever had before.”
She added that after being drawn into Bright Eyes‘ catalog, they immediately set about listening to artists who had influenced Conor Oberst and his ilk from Nebraska: “We found Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Gram Parsons and all their influences as well, like the Louvin Brothers. We were totally in love with this music.”

Produced by famed indie producer and Bright Eyes multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis (also one of the four Monsters of Folk), The Lion’s Roar, from Wichita Records, is no one-trick pony. Songs range from the haunting folk-rock of the title track to the tender “Emmylou” and bittersweet “In the Hearts of Men.”

The disc is First Aid Kit’s first to be recorded in the U.S., but it follows the release of their wonderful 2010 debut Big Black & the Blue. That album was more intimate and sparse, yet already showcased the Söderbergs’ emotive vocals and honest songwriting.

Their dedication to Americana’s roots runs deep. Last fall they made a trek to the California high desert to shoot the “Emmylou” video on what would have been Parsons’ 65th birthday (Nov. 5, 1973). They even stayed at the Joshua Tree Inn, the legendary hotel where Parsons died of a drug overdose Sept. 19 of that year. The so-called father of “Cosmic American Music” was only 26.

“That was like a pilgrimage for us,” Johanna recalled, “but it’s been a dream to go there because we are so obsessed with Gram Parsons’ music and it was a very emotional experience for us to go there.
“I think our lyrics are based on our emotions and what we’re going through,” she continued, noting they owe their command of the English language to having studied it from 8 until 12. (They also grew up watching American television shows and hearing English-language music.) “But we always sing about things that we feel. A lot of the songs on this new album are a lot more autobiographical (than material off their first).”

Klara added that the process for each track varies: “The songs sort of grow by themselves. Sometimes we have lyrics (first) and we sit down with a guitar and come up with a melody for them; sometimes it’s the melody first.”
One thing that’s consistent is their obvious passion for a lasting career in this field: “We’re definitely in for the long run,” Johanna says. “I feel like we could really be doing this for a very long time. It’s going in the right direction … and goals? Playing Coachella is definitely one of our goals.”

Photo by Neil Krug.

Music Worth Buying episode: Esperanza Spaulding & The Chieftains

Check out episode 85 of Music Worth Buying. We feature the latest albums from Esperanza Spaulding ("Radio Music Society") and The Chieftains ("Voice of Ages").

Monday, April 09, 2012

Inbox Update: Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, Dean Martin Variety Show, Fiona Apple

This is a busy time with me prepping to attend both the Coachella and Stagecoach music fests out in Indio, California this month. But there are some pretty significant announcements, so I wanted to quickly get those posted for you here...

Former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr's David Lynch Foundation Benefit, Airing on THIRTEEN on Sunday, April 29, 2012

Former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited on an American stage for the first time in 17 years during this historic April 2009 Radio City Music Hall benefit concert, which will be broadcast in New York on THIRTEEN on Sunday, April 29, at 10:30 pm (check local listings for broadcast dates and times in your area).

The Beatle reunion highlights the 90-minute "Change Begins Within" concert to benefit the David Lynch Foundation, a charity set up in 2005 by the iconic filmmaker David Lynch to fund Transcendental Meditation programs for at-risk youth, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and women who suffer from domestic abuse and violence.

McCartney performs a set of Beatles, Wings and solo classics; Starr sings his own set of Beatle and solo hits. McCartney and Starr join together on stage for "With A Little Help from My Friends," Paul’s rarely performed "Cosmically Conscious,” and Beatle fan favorite "I Saw Her Standing There.”

Also appearing on the broadcast are comedian Jerry Seinfeld as well as musicians Sheryl Crow (“My Sweet Lord”), Eddie Vedder and Ben Harper (“Under Pressure”), Moby and Betty LaVette (“Natural Blues”), Paul Horn, newly-elected Rock-and-Roll-Hall of Famer Donovan and Jim James (“Hurdy Gurdy Man”).

The concert was co-produced by Hoosick Falls Productions and David Lynch Foundation Television with executive producers George Verschoor, David Lynch, and Bob Roth.





NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group and TIME LIFE have announced the release of a new 3-DVD set featuring The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show, available at all major retailers on May 22nd. The Dean Martin Variety Show--UNCUT features 6 entire episodes from the series, digitally re-mastered and restored for this special collection. UNCUT captures the spirit of the show like no other DVD has before. Previous collections have featured clips from the program, but none offered fans the chance to view the show as it originally aired during its nine-year run on NBC from 1965 to 1974. Hosted by Dean Martin, the acclaimed variety and comedy show was one of the highest-rated in television history, garnering 12 Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe award (Dean Martin “Best Actor in a Comedy Television Series” 1967), and frequented by hundreds of guests from across the world of entertainment including legendary actors and actresses from the stage and screen, pop and jazz singers, dancers and comedians.

The Dean Martin Variety Show--UNCUT boasts six classic episodes of The Dean Martin Variety Show, featuring Dean and an impressive array of guests. The variety and comedy show was like no other at the time. There were no rehearsals, no re-takes, and Martin simply just wasn’t a host behind a desk and a microphone – he took part in virtually all the segments and created a freewheeling setting that became a rare and exciting element for viewers. Whether talking and singing with guests or performing a comedy sketch, Martin put every guest at ease and was able to coax even the most serious actors to indulge in their comedic and musical sides. The show was as fun to be a part of as it was to watch, and no other DVD conveys that atmosphere better than UNCUT. Two 6 DVD collections of The Dean Martin Variety Show were released last year, featuring clips from 38 episodes, and have already sold over 5 million copies.

Among the comedians and actors featured in UNCUT are: Sid Caesar and Marguerite Piazza, who at the time were co-stars of the popular series Your Show of Shows; comic legends Allen & Rossi and Jackie Mason, together in one side-splitting episode; country-music legend Buck Owens, who duets with Dean, reminding fans that Dean loved country music; plus Broadway legends Zero Mostel and Tommy Tune.

A famed star of the silver screen, television icon, Grammy® Award-winning singing sensation and member of the renowned “Rat Pack,” Dean Martin’s show business legacy is legendary. His musical career features such classics as “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head,” “That’s Amore,” “Mambo Italiano,” “Everybody Loves Somebody,” “Sway,” “Volare,” and more, releasing dozens of album recordings over his lifetime. Starring in dozens of well-known movies including Ocean’s Eleven, Rio Bravo, The Caddy, and Who Was That Lady?,for which Martin received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, coupled with a highly popular television career, Dean Martin certainly earned his nickname as the “King of Cool.”

Visit the official Dean Martin website:

Become a fan on Facebook:


New Track "Every Single Night" is set for April 24 release in conjunction with album pre-order launch

June 19, 2012 Release Date Confirmed For

The Idler Wheel is wiser
than the Driver of the Screw
and Whipping Cords will serve you more
than Ropes will ever do.

On June 19, Clean Slate/Epic Records will release Fiona Apple's first album in seven years.The GRAMMY®-winning artist will launch a summer headline tour that evening at the State Theatre in Ithaca, NY. The run, which will include performances at The Governors Ball Music Festival on New York City's Randall's Island (June 24) and Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium (July 13), will conclude at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, CA on July 29.

Like Apple's 1999 record, When the Pawn..., the new album's title is a poem:

The Idler Wheel is wiser
than the Driver of the Screw
and Whipping Cords will serve you more
than Ropes will ever do.

"Every Single Night," the collection's first single, will be available beginning Tuesday, April 24, on the iTunes Store, where fans will also be able to pre-order the album. The cover for THE IDLER WHEEL... will feature an illustration by Apple.

"Whet your appetite for a new Fiona LP (yes!) with this tasty, arresting new ballad, which she busted out during a SXSW show," said Rolling Stone, placing "Every Single Night" on the "RS Playlist" while The New York Times marveled at how it "seesawed between lullaby and vehement chantey."

"Every Single Night" was one of three new songs Apple introduced on her recent sold-out spring tour - her first outing in five years. New York Magazine's hailed her performances as "mind-blowing" while the Village Voice called her "a lightning-rod presence" and the Philadelphia Inquirer observed: "the word performance doesn't seem apt. There's nothing pat about what she does."

"Fiona Apple has control. That's clear from the moment she took the stage," said The New York Times. "She has always been part blues woman, part dark cabaret singer, part illicit rock confessor. Her songs limn the erotics of danger and also the pains of disappointment, drawing equal strength from both."

You can check out Apple performing "Every Single Night" and "Anything We Want," another track from her upcoming album, at:

Apple made her debut at age 19 with 1996's Tidal, which is certified triple Platinum. Rolling Stone named her Artist of the Year in 1997 and in 1998 she won a GRAMMY for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for one of the album's singles, "Criminal." When the Pawn...followed in 1999, and was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "the work of an original." Extraordinary Machine debuted in the Top 10 of The Billboard 200 and appeared on numerous critics' best-of-2005 lists.

Fiona Apple - Summer Tour

Date City/State/Province Venue On Sale Date/Time 6/19 Ithaca, NY State Theatre 4/20, 10 AM

6/20 Baltimore, MD Lyric Opera House 4/20, 10 AM

6/22 Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods 4/20, 10 AM

6/23 Holyoke, MA Mountain Park 4/20, 10 AM

6/24 New York, NY Randall's Island on sale now

The Governors Ball Music Festival

6/26 Washington, DC Warner Theatre 4/13, 10 AM

6/27 Upper Darby, PA Tower Theatre 4/13, 10 AM

6/29 Danbury, CT Ives Concert Park 4/20, 10 AM

6/30 Boston, MA Citi Performing Arts Center 4/14, 10 AM

7/1 Portland, ME State Theatre 4/20, 10 AM

7/3 Montreal, QC Olympia Theatre 4/21, 12 PM

7/4 Toronto, ON The Sound Academy 4/20, 10 AM

7/6 Cleveland Hts., OH Cain Park 4/21, 10 AM

7/7 Detroit, MI The Fillmore Detroit 4/27, 10 AM

7/10 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre 4/21, 10 AM

7/11 Indianapolis, IN Murat Theatre 4/20, 10 AM

7/13 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium 4/21, 10 AM

7/14 St. Louis, MO Peabody Opera House 4/20, 10 AM

7/16 Minneapolis, MN Orpheum Theatre 4/14, 12 PM

7/17 Kansas City, MO The Midland by AMC 4/20, 10 AM

7/20 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre 4/20, 10 AM

7/21 Salt Lake City, UT Kingsbury Hall - University of Utah 4/21, 10 AM

7/24 Vancouver, BC Orpheum 4/20, 10 AM

7/25 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre 4/20, 10 AM

7/26 Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall 4/20, 10 AM

7/28 Oakland, CA Fox Theater 4/15, 10 AM

7/29 Hollywood, CA Hollywood Palladium 4/27, 10 AM

Tracklisting for:

The Idler Wheel is wiser
than the Driver of the Screw
and Whipping Cords will serve you more
than Ropes will ever do.

1. Every Single Night
2. Daredevil
3. Valentine
4. Jonathan
5. Left Alone
6. Werewolf
7. Periphery
8. Regret
9. Anything We Want
10. Hot Knife

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Eve 6 thrills at intimate In Store performance at Century City Sony Store

Although Record Store Day is still a few weeks away, a special In Store featuring Fearless Records artist Eve 6 was held at the Sony Store in Century City yesterday (April 3, 2012) capturing the excitement and spirit of what happens when great music is showcased in a cool retail setting.

Eve 6 rose to sudden fame in the late 1990s, selling millions of albums before disbanding in 2004. Fast forward to 2012 to the low-key, fun-filled event at the new-concept Sony Store marking the punk-pop-rock band's return; the Southern California-based Eve 6 (Max Collins, John Siebels, Tony Fagenson) performed a 25-minute set of original songs, including several new tracks off the band's forthcoming album Speak in Code, set for release on April 24, 2012.

Although Eve 6 was known for straight-forward rocking approach, this was an acoustic-styled performance and actually showcased the group's bona fide melodic instincts and solid songwriting. The first single off Speak in Code, the winning "Victoria," was enhanced by effective vocal harmonies. That proved to be the case with a subsequent performance of the contagious "Think Twice."

Eve 6 wrapped up their well-received set with an Americana-tinged "Lost and Found" (another strong new song) and their big hit "Here's To The Night" off their 2000 sophomore album Horrorscope. The band also stuck around and signed autographs and chatted with every fan who waited in line. Nice.

With the event being sponsored by Sony and held, in part, to celebrate the company's new Sony Bloggie Live, this was an event that was a rousing mix of music and technology. The latest Sony Bloggie, has all kinds of features, many of interest to musicians and those who like to capture live performances. It has 8GB of storage, and allows users to post video to social media sites (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) wirelessly. When connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, videos can be streamed live to (a video hosting service).

In addition, the palm-sized high-def video camera can take 12.8MP still images and boasts 4x digital zoom and Auto-Macro for versatile shooting far away or up-close.

Another great product that caught my eye while waiting for the show to begin was a pair of Sony DEV-5 Digital Recording Binoculars (I caught a customer checking them out, as seen on the right). The Sony binoculars are capable of capturing full AVCHD (1920x1080) video in 2D or 3D. And I was blown away by the clarity of the 20x total zoom.

Eve 6 Setlist at Sony Store:
At Least We're Dreaming / Victoria / Think Twice / Lost and Found / Here's To The Night

For more information on Eve 6, visit the band's official Web site.

Inbox Update: John Fogerty, Pink Floyd, The Cult

What do upcoming releases featuring John Fogerty, Pink Floyd and the Cult have in common? All are featured in the releases I have re-posted here...

John Fogerty set to release Wrote a Song for Everyone on Vanguard Records

New album finds Foo Fighters, Bob Seger, Keith Urban, My Morning Jacket and others teaming with Fogerty

Legendary rocker John Fogerty has announced that he will be releasing a new record, titled WROTE A SONG FOR EVERYONE in the fall – his first on Vanguard Records. The album is a celebration of Fogerty’s iconic songbook -- it is a collection of classics and deep tracks from his remarkable canon of hits as well as some brand new songs, performed alongside an array of today’s biggest superstars, including Foo Fighters (“Fortunate Son”), Bob Seger (“Who’ll Stop The Rain”), Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, My Morning Jacket, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and more. In addition, besides as-yet-unannounced contributors from the upper echelons of the country, pop and rock worlds, the album will also see Fogerty teaming with acclaimed new bands like Dawes, all of whom are eager to acknowledge the groundbreaking songwriter/guitarist’s titanic influence. WROTE A SONG FOR EVERYONE will be released on Vanguard Records in the fall. Full details, including a complete artist list and tracklisting, will be announced shortly.

Fogerty – whose latest song, “Swamp Water,” recently debuted in its role as theme to the new Fox series, The Finder – spent much of last year touring with his crack backing band, including an unprecedented two-night-stand at New York City’s famed Beacon Theatre. The sold out shows saw Fogerty performing two classic Creedence Clearwater Revival albums in their entirety, along with an electrifying bonus set spanning the incredible CCR catalog to his ongoing solo career.

Broadcast live on SiriusXM’s Classic Vinyl, the two Beacon concerts earned rapturous critical applause, with MOJO noting that “(Fogerty’s) voice sounds so vibrant and full, it could be cryogenically preserved. His guitar solos bite and quaver with finer definition than ever…(The) songs establish their endurance through the star’s canny infusion of the deepest blues emotion in the most polished pop form. That’s their genius – to raise ‘singles band’ effervescence to the level of album art.”

John Fogerty is a true American treasure, one of popular music’s all-time greatest singers, guitar players, and songwriters. His remarkable career began in his hometown of El Cerrito, California, soon earning massive popular and critical success with the one and only Creedence Clearwater Revival. As leader of CCR, Fogerty forged a distinctive, groundbreaking sound all his own, equal parts blues, country, pop, rockabilly, R&B, swamp boogie, and Southern fried rock ‘n’ roll, all united by his uniquely evocative lyrical perspective.

From 1968 to 1971, Creedence Clearwater Revival unleashed an incredible succession of hit singles and platinum certified albums that remain unparalleled in the annals of rock ‘n’ roll history. Their expansive cover of “Suzie Q” was followed by a stunning series of Fogerty-penned favorites that dominated rock and pop radio, including “Proud Mary,” “Down on the Corner,” “Born On The Bayou,” “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” and what remains the definitive anti-war anthem, “Fortunate Son.”
“GREEN RIVER,” the second of three CCR albums released in 1969, proved their first out-and-out blockbuster. Fuelled by the smash singles, “Bad Moon Rising” and “Green River,” not to mention the immortal “Lodi,” the album spent three weeks atop the Billboard 200, confirming Fogerty’s status among American rock ‘n’ roll’s preeminent artists.

About Vanguard Records
Vanguard Records, part of the Welk Music Group, is owned by the Welk Family and one of the world’s leading independent record labels. Its selected roster of quality artists includes Matt Nathanson, Merle Haggard, Chris Isaak, Greg Laswell, Trevor Hall, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, The Gourds and the legendary Levon Helm. Further expanding the roster are distributed artists such as The Indigo Girls, Chely Wright, Robert Cray Band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and the great George Jones.

Eagle Rock set to release Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here on June 26

Set for release on DVD and Blu-ray

Eagle Rock Entertainment is proud to announce the simultaneous release on June 26 of Pink Floyd The Story Of Wish You Were Here on DVD and Blu-ray. This is the authorized story of the album made with the full involvement and approval of the members of Pink Floyd.

Wish You Were Here, released in September 1975, was the follow up album to the globally successful The Dark Side Of The Moon and is cited by many fans, as well as band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour, as their favorite Pink Floyd album. On release it went straight to Number One in both the UK and the US and topped the charts in many other countries around the world. This program tells the story of the making of this landmark release through new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason and archive interviews with the late Richard Wright. Also featured are sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson, guest vocalist Roy Harper, front cover “burning man” Ronnie Rondell and others involved in the creation of the album. In addition, original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisits the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios to illustrate aspects of the songs’ construction.

The band members discuss the album’s themes of absence, the greed of the music business and former band member Syd Barrett, who is famously celebrated in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, which both opens and closes the album. The program also covers the unexpected visit Barrett paid to Abbey Road during the recording, the difficulties of the early recording sessions and how the decision to split “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” into two sections was the catalyst for the album’s successful completion.

The DVD and Blu-ray releases contain additional bonus material not featured in the TV broadcast version, including further interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason plus Roger Waters and David Gilmour performing excerpts from the Wish You Were Here album.

The Story Of Wish You Were Here is a fascinating document and fitting tribute to Pink Floyd’s outstanding achievement in the creation of this masterpiece.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is the largest producer and distributor of music programming for DVD, Blu-Ray, TV, Audio and Digital Media in the world. Eagle works directly alongside talent to produce top quality, High Definition and 3D programs, both concerts and documentaries, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, The Doors, Jeff Beck, U2, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney and Ozzy Osbourne. Eagle is a Grammy Award winning company and has received over 30 multi-platinum, over 50 platinum and over 90 gold discs, worldwide. Eagle Rock Entertainment has offices in London, New York, Toronto, Paris and Hamburg.

The Cult set to tour North America in tandem with release of 'Choice of Weapon'

Against Me! and the Icarus Line to support

The Cult, from left, features Billy Duffy, Chris Wyse, Ian Astbury and John Tempesta.

Venerable rock band The Cult will hit the pavement hard this summer with the first leg of its 2012 North American tour. The 20-date trek is set to kick off on Friday, May 25 in San Diego, CA bringing the band's incendiary rock energy to major and secondary markets across the continent. In addition, the tour will include headline dates at the Great Canadian Beaverfest in Windsor, ON, and at Buffalo, NY's Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf Concert Series (see itinerary below). For most of the dates, The Cult will be supported by Against Me! and The Icarus Line. Ticket on-sales begin later this week; log onto for all details and to purchase tickets.

"This is going to be a very intense, high-energy tour," said The Cult's vocalist, Ian Astbury. "We are really looking forward to the time we spend on stage connected to our music and our audience. That's our purpose."

The Cult - Astbury, Billy Duffy, called one of the post-punk era's greatest guitarists, Chris Wyse on bass, drummer John Tempesta, and touring member Mike Dimkich on rhythm guitar - is touring in support of Choice of Weapon, the band's first new studio album in five years, due out May 22 (Cooking Vinyl). Featuring The Cult's signature sounds of Astbury's vocals and Duffy's guitar, the album was produced by Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, U.N.K.L.E. Masters of Reality) and Bob Rock (Metallica, Bush, The Cult's Sonic Temple), recorded in New York City, Los Angeles, the California high desert and the band's Witch Mountain studio between July and December 2011, and written by Astbury and Duffy.

Early praise for the record came from the Toronto Star's Ben Rayner who wrote that Choice of Weapon "feels like the work of the cosmically inclined outfit responsible for such durable records as 1985's Love, 1987's Electric and 1989's smash hit Sonic Temple than anything the band has done in years." And, from Rock's Back Pages: "...a sea

ring blend of cleanly distorted guitars, pummeling rhythm, and lyrics that channel an inner landscape reflective of a personal journey and descriptive of the state of the world, simultaneously."

"When we were writing and recording 'Choice of Weapon,'" explained Astbury, "we had no agenda, there was no particular destination, no place to be, and no chart position to aim for. We took our time, we went in, we grabbed the jewels, and stayed focused on keeping everything as fresh and as raw as possible. The new songs are a sharpened and heightened extension of everything we have ever done."

Choice of Weapon reflects the survival in today's volatile world where the sense of entitlement is growing, where we are constantly bombarded by "ones and zeros," and where the "have-nots" increase on a daily basis. The album poses the questions, "how do we survive and still keep our integrity and humanity? What weapons do we choose to insure a sane future for ourselves and our children, and not de-evolve into a 'Hunger Games' scenario?"

On these North American dates, The Cult will play many of their classics as well as introduce fans to some of their new songs, including "Lucifer" - not a song about the devil, but a reference to the morning star, the idea of a journey through darkness and decadence to find the road to wisdom - "Honey From a Knife" - based on the Buddhist teaching about the seductiveness of addiction - and "For The Animals," the first official single from Choice of Weapon. "For The Animals" asserts the rising tensions, the rage and hostility of the growing group of disenfranchised youth in our society.

"Again, we find ourselves with our backs against the wall," Astbury continued, "and we like that, we like being outside the perimeter. We're the long shot, so place your bet on us."

Confirmed dates for The Cult's 2012 North American tour are as follows:


25 San Diego, CA - Humphreys By the Bay

26 Las Vegas, NV - M Resort

27 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore

30 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre


1 Chicago, IL - Congress Theatre

2 Windsor, ON - Great Canadian Beaverfest, Riverfront Festival Plaza

3 Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE - Indoor Stage

5 Boston, MA - House of Blues

7 Buffalo, NY - Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf

8 New York, NY - Terminal 5

9 Hampton Beach, NH - Ballroom

10 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory

12 Washington, D.C. - The Fillmore

13 Norfolk, VA - The Norva

15 Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues

16 Orlando, FL - House of Blues

17 Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle

19 Houston, TX - House of Blues

20 Dallas, TX - House of Blues

22 Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre