Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Radiohead to kick off new season of 'Austin City Limits' on Oct. 6

Having seen Radiohead at Coachella, in Arizona and Washington, DC this year, how excited do you think I am to see the band when they kick off the new season of Austin City Limits next month? Having also caught Bon Iver and The Shins in Indio, the new season of ACL looks really strong. Here is the official press release that landed in my inbox this morning...

Preview Radiohead on Austin City Limits season premiere; Click here
August 28, 2012-- Austin City Limits (ACL), the groundbreaking PBS television series, returns for an unprecedented 38th Season this fall with a stellar line-up of performers. The first episode will premiere Saturday, October 6th, showcasing the iconic British band Radiohead in a rare full-hour television performance. Check local listings for times.

The upcoming season features a roster of the best in popular music, including Bon Iver (2012 Best New Artist Grammy Award winner), Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples, The Shins, and The Civil Wars. Audiences have unparalleled access to featured artists in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver their most inspired and memorable performances. The program is taped live before a concert audience from its new home at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin.

“We’re proud to continue the tradition of presenting a diverse, eclectic mix of some of the most original music being made today,” says ACL Executive Producer Terry Lickona. “One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 38 years is that ACL has a way of bringing out the best in an artist’s performance – whether it’s a rising new star or a legend. This year is no exception.”

Austin City Limits’ legacy continues to grow. This year, ACL received a rare Institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in television. In June, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum announced that nearly 40 years of ACL footage will be digitally archived in perpetuity at the Museum's new Library and Archives in Cleveland. In 2009, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame declared ACL a historic rock & roll landmark. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in American television history and remains the only television program to ever receive the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest award for artistic excellence, which it was awarded in 2003.

The season premiere marks Radiohead's long-awaited and unforgettable debut appearance, taking to the ACL stage for the first time. Viewers can tune-in to their local PBS station for the season premiere on October 6; check local listings for times. For the second consecutive year, Austin City Limits will travel to Nashville to capture highlights from performances at the 2012 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards ceremony. Held at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, this special presentation of Austin City Limits will showcase Americana music, which is American roots music based on the traditions of country and other musical styles.

Season 38 Current Broadcast Schedule (seven additional episodes/artists to be announced)

October 6, 2012

October 13, 2012
Bon Iver

October 20, 2012
Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples

October 27, 2012
The Shins
Dr. Dog

November 3, 2012
The Civil Wars
Punch Brothers

November 10, 2012
ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2012 (Hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featuring performances by Carolina Chocolate Drops, Richard Thompson, Patty Griffin, Alabama Shakes, Lifetime Achievement Honoree Bonnie Raitt and more)

The complete line-up for the full 13-week season, including seven episodes to air beginning January 2013, will be announced at a later date. Check in with the ACL blog for additional episode updates.

About Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits (ACL) is a television series on PBS that records and broadcasts original musical performances from exciting new talent and legendary artists of all genres.

Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in American television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2012, ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement. The historic KLRU Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. 

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Inbox Update: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan

With 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, there is big news surrounding both of these seminal artists to share.

The Rolling Stones' 'Charlie is my Darling - Ireland 1965' to see world premiere at the 50th New York Film Festival at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29

ABKCO FIlms and the 50th New York Film Festival are proud to join in the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Rolling Stones by announcing the World Premiere of The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling - Ireland 1965 on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 7 p.m. An encore screening of the film will take place on Wednesday, October 3 at 8:30 p.m.  Both screenings are scheduled for the Walter Reade Theatre.

What was once rumor is now fact as ABKCO Films presents a meticulously restored and fully-realized version of this first-ever, legendary but never released film.  Shot on a quick tour of Ireland just weeks after the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” hit # 1 on the charts and became the international anthem for a generation, The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling - Ireland 1965 is an intimate, behind-the-scenes diary of life on the road with the young Stones. It features the first professionally filmed concert performances of the band and documents the early frenzy of their fans and the riots the band’s appearances inspired.

Charlie is my Darling is a rediscovered letter from a lost world. It has long been a holy grail of rock fans, surfacing in bits and pieces and tantalizing but frustratingly un-synched fragments. The band is shown traveling through the Irish countryside by train; dashing from cabs to cramped, basement dressing rooms through screaming hordes of fans.  Motel rooms host impromptu songwriting sessions and familiar classics are heard in their infancy as riff and lyric are united.  

This new 2012 version of the film with added never-before-seen footage was directed and restored by director Mick Gochanour and producer Robin Klein, the GRAMMY® Award winning team that brought the classic The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus to the screen.  Charlie is my Darling’s dramatic and stunning concert footage – including electrifying performances of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “The Last Time” and “Time Is On My Side” – shows the band developing its­­­­­­­ musical style by blending blues, R&B and rock-n-roll riffs, and captures the spark about to combust into The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. Candid, off-the-cuff interviews are juxtaposed with revealing, comical scenes of the band goofing on one another as well as unsuspecting outsiders, and offers an unmatched look inside the day-to-day life of the Stones. 

Originally directed by pioneering filmmaker Peter Whitehead and produced by Rolling Stones manager and producer Andrew Loog OldhamCharlie is my Darling is the lost preamble to a life captured on screen. Like no other band, the Rolling Stones repeatedly put themselves under the microscope, allowing the greatest filmmakers of our era – including Jean-Luc Godard, the Maysles, Robert Frank, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Hal Ashby and Martin Scorsese – inside their world. Charlie is my Darling is the invaluable frame: the unseen story of the band becoming the legend. 

ABKCO Films will be making a major announcement regarding a nationally televised Broadcast Premiere in the next few weeks and has set Tuesday, Nov. 6 as the commercial retail release date for The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling – Ireland 1965, the director’s cut, the producer’s cut and this new 2012 version will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and as part of a Super Deluxe Box Set.

Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam, upper level)
Monday – Friday: 12:30 p.m. – 15 minutes after the start of the last screening of the day.
Saturday and Sunday: 30 minutes prior to start of first screening of the day - 15 minutes after start of last screening of the day.
Click here for more information.

Highly anticipated release of Bob Dylan's 'Tempest' album to be celebrated around the globe

World premiere of "Duquesne Whistle" single and video, sound graffiti and pop-up stores highlight exciting array of worldwide events marking release of forthcoming album 

Leading up to the highly anticipated worldwide release of Bob Dylan's 35th studio album, Tempest, Columbia Records is announcing an international lineup of events that will enable fans to experience the album in advance of its September 11 release date and celebrate with their fellow Bob Dylan enthusiasts around the globe.

On Monday, August 27, the opening track from Tempest, "Duquesne Whistle" will have its world premiere on NPR Online (NPR.org/music).  The song was recently described by the Los Angeles Times as, "the folky sound of old-time country blues guitar licks quietly unfurling before the full band explodes into a driving big-beat rhythm as rollicking as the train ride the song explores."
Two days later, at 9 a.m. GMT (4 a.m. EDT), the brand new video for "Duquesne Whistle," featuring Bob Dylan, will have its world premiere on the website of The Guardian (guardiannews.com).  The video was directed by Nash Edgerton, who also directed the clip for "Beyond Here Lies Nothing" from Dylan's 2009 release, Together Through Life.
On Friday, August 31, fans who visit listentobobdylan.com will find a map of locations in the U.S. and nine other countries where selected songs from Tempest will be streamed to mobile devices. The tracks will be randomly streamed only when users are within the Tempest-tagged geographic areas, utilizing the free web-based Sound Graffiti app (which can be accessed directly through listentobobdylan.com). In addition to the U.S., other countries in which Sound Graffiti locations will be found include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Fans who stream the song will also be given an opportunity to pre-order Tempest from iTunes while they listen.
On Monday, September 10, dedicated Bob Dylan Tempest "pop-up" stores will open for a seven day period in New York City, Los Angeles and London.  At these stores, fans can purchase the new album, as well as other Bob Dylan releases and exclusive merchandise commemorating these week-long events, including a limited quantity of CDs hand-signed by Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan Tempest stores will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, September 10 so that fans can buy Tempest a full day in advance of its official release, and will remain open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday, September 16.  Stores will be located at the following U.S. locations:
  • 819 Washington Street, New York, NY  10014
  • 7763 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046
A Bob Dylan Tempest store will also open in London on Monday, September 10 and remain open through Monday, September 17 at the following location:
  • 47 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SE
Additionally, the well-known Dussmann store in Berlin will be dedicated to Tempest and feature special promotions and other activities beginning September 7.  Its hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.:
  • Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus GmbH,  Friedrichstrasse 90, 10117 Berlin
While detailed reviews of Tempest will not be published by media outlets until next week, early notices have hailed Bob Dylan's 35th studio album as one of his finest works.  Neil McCormick of The Telegraph wrote, "It is fantastic to be able to report that popular music's greatest troubadour is still as brilliant and bewildering as ever…. This is an album I can't wait to hear again, the sound of a great artist approaching the twilight of his career with fearless creativity."   Author and pop music critic Robert Hilburn wrote, "Dylan set the bar high for himself with the series of rich, engaging albums that began with Time Out of Mind, and he clears the hurdle again gloriously with Tempest.  A stunning work."  Michael Simmons of Mojo Online wrote, "Tempest is astonishing."
Earlier this year, Bob Dylan was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor.  He was awarded a special Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power."  He was also the recipient of the French Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1990, Sweden's Polar Music Award in 2000 and numerous other honors.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

News and notes: Los Lobos, The Beatles, KISS, Stryper

Los Lobos
In my latest Kinslerscope column published in Desert Star Weekly, I look at the 20th anniversary release of Los Lobos' 1992 masterpiece Kiko. You can read my review of that special re-release, as well as several related collections from Shout! Factory released earlier this week that are available on audio CD, DVD and Blu-ray and feature Los Lobos performing that seminal album live in concert.

On a related note, Los Lobos will perform Kiko in its entirety on public radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) on the Morning Becomes Eclectic program at 11:15 a.m. (Pacific Time) on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012.

Now fans of the Fab Four and comic books have something in common. A recently-published book titled The Beatles in Comic Strips (Skira, $39.95) features approximately 200 strips featuring - you guessed it - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

USA Today columnist Whitney Matheson has penned a great overview on the collection, and her Pop Candy blog also features some of the colorful strips from the new book you can view here. Good to know that now the next time you take a ride on a Yellow Submarine or go on that special Magical Mystery Tour, you have the perfect book to take along!

On the latest episode of Music Worth Buying, my trusty co-host TJR goes solo this week with a special in-depth look at the 35th anniversary re-release of KISS' Destroyer, aptly titled Destroyer - Resurrected. You can watch the episode, which is embedded below.

Speaking of hard rock, Stryper is celebrating 30 years of rocking with the forthcoming DVD Live In Indonesia at Java Rockin' Land, set for release on Oct. 23, 2012. Filmed in 2010, a media release describes "the definitive Stryper DVD" as featuring a wealth of the Christian band's greatest material.

"This show was an unexpected, but welcomed addition to our tour schedule," said singer-guitarist-songwriter Michael Sweet. "It was added last minute but we scrambled to make it happen, but I'm glad it worked out. It was an opportunity to go to a primarily Muslim country and share our faith."

Here is the track listing for the DVD: Sing Along Song / Murder By Pride / Loud 'N Clear / Rock That Makes Me Roll / Reach Out / Calling On You / More Than A Man / Honestly / Open Your Eyes / All For One / To Hell With The Devil / Soldiers Under Command

You can click here to learn more and purchase the Stryper DVD.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inbox Update: The Who, Mindy Smith, Craig Chaquico

Classic rockers The Who, singer-songwriter Mindy Smith and guitar great Craig Chaquico are all the focus of upcoming October releases.

The Who 'Live In Texas '75' - coming to DVD on Oct. 9, 2012

New York, NY (August 23, 2012)—Eagle Rock Entertainment is thrilled to present one of the greatest live bands in rock’n’roll history: The Who Live In Texas ’75 on DVD October 9, 2012.

Pete Townshend. Roger Daltrey. Keith Moon. John Entwistle. Filmed in Houston, Texas on Nov. 20, 1975, it was right at the start of a massive tour of the U.S. to promote The Who By Numbers, their seventh album in their 10th year of existence. With Dolby Digital Stereo sound, this 117-minute 25-song bomb blast—previously only available as a muddled bootleg—has been pridefully restored to its rightful visual and sonic superiority by longtime Who collaborator Jon Astley.

Filmed only five years after what arguably is the greatest live album in rock, Live At Leeds, The Who Live In Texas ’75, lives up to and in some ways actually surpasses its predecessor’s greatness. The Who, at that particular point in time, had achieved an unerring almost magical mystical chemistry. Between the windmilling antics of guitarist Townshend, the mic wire lasso of lead singer Daltrey, the crazed bombastic danger of drummer Moon (1946-1978) and, of course, their secret weapon, genius bassist John Entwistle (1944-2002), this was a truly revolutionary band who changed all the hard rock rules. Even the punks, in the anti-rock star era of the late ‘70s, loved The Who.

The extensive Tommy section…the savage recreations of early hits such as “My Generation” (with its iconic “hope I die before I get old” line delivered in all its lusty nihilistic truth)…the celebrated cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”…plus “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” make this a Who fan’s delight.

Track Listing

1) Substitute

2) I Can’t Explain

3) Squeeze Box

4) Baba O’Riley

5) Boris The Spider

6) Drowned

7) However Much I Booze

8) Dreaming From The Waist

9) Behind Blue Eyes

10) Amazing Journey

11) Sparks

12) Acid Queen

13) Fiddle About

14) Pinball Wizard

15) I’m Free

16) Tommy’s Holiday Camp

17) We’re Not Going To Take It / See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You

18) Summertime Blues

19) My Generation

20) Join Together

21) Naked Eye

22) Roadrunner

23) Won’t Get Fooled Again

24) Magic Bus

25) My Generation Blues

'The Essential Mindy Smith' to be released on Oct. 9, 2012

A retrospective of Smith’s most indelible recordings including the songs “Come to Jesus,” “Out Loud,” “One Moment More,” and “Jolene”

August 23, 2012 -- Vanguard Records is proud to announce the release of The Essential Mindy Smith– a thirteen track collection featuring songs from the highly acclaimed singer-songwriter’s three Vanguard Records studio albums: One Moment More, Long Island Shores and Stupid Love. This compilation also includes Mindy’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies,” previously available only as an iTunes bonus track. The Essential Mindy Smith will be released October 9 via CD, LP, and Digital formats and documents a distinct era in the career of a remarkable artist. Full track listing below.

The world first discovered Mindy Smith in 2003 when she was featured as the only new artist (amongst such luminaries as Emmylou Harris and Melissa Ethridge) on the Dolly Parton tribute album Just Because I’m a Woman with her impeccable version of ‘Jolene’. (Parton later sang with Smith on The Tonight Show and appeared in a music video for the song.)

In 2004, Smith released her auspicious debut One Moment More. With such provocative and compelling songs such as “Come to Jesus” and the title track, an avalanche of critical raves quickly followed. The New Yorker quipped “In the great post-Norah Jones sweepstakes, the smart money is on Smith,” while USA Today hailed Smith’s debut as “one of the most buzzed-about albums of the new year.” As such, Smith established herself as a leader among her generation of musicians.

In 2006, Smith released her second album, Long Island Shores – paying homage to the town where she was raised – featuring the songs “Out Loud,” and “Please Stay.” Smith again earned praise far and wide, with the New York Times hailing, “Her voice carves melodies so sharp and fine you can almost see them.” The Associated Press likewise dubbed Long Island Shores “intoxicating.”

Stupid Love, which followed in 2009, found Mindy exploring pop songcraft and featured the gems “Please Stay,” “Highs and Lows,” and the Fleetwood Mac cover “Little Lies” as an iTunes bonus track. Stupid Love became Smith’s highest-charting album to date, reaching Number One on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.

Mindy Smith is currently on tour in support of her new self-titled fifth studio album and first independent recording on Giant Leap/TVX Records. Tour dates listed below.

The Essential Mindy Smith track listing:

1. Come to Jesus

2. Out Loud

3. It’s Amazing

4. Highs and Lows

5. Please Stay

6. Jolene

7. Hard To Know

8. Tennessee

9. Love Lost

10. Little Lies

11. Fighting For It All

12. Peace of Mind

13. One Moment More

2012 Fall tour dates:

9/14/2012 Nashville, TN - The Rutledge (Americana Music Festival)

9/19/2012 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room

9/20/2012 San Diego, CA -The Griffin

9/21/2012 Santa Monica, CA - McCabe's Guitar Shop

9/23/2012 Pleasanton, CA - Firehouse Arts Center

9/25/2012 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios

9/26/2012 Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern

9/28/2012 Boise, ID - Boise Cont. Theater

9/29/2012 Salt Lake City, UT -The State Room

9/30/2012 Denver, CO - Swallow Hill

10/2/2012 Santa Fe, NM - Sol Santa Fe

10/4/2012 Woodlands, TX - Dosey Doe CoffeeHouse

10/5/2012 Austin, TX - Cactus Cafe

10/6/2012 San Antonio, TX -Sam's Burger Joint

10/7/2012 Dallas, TX - Kessler Theater

New Craig Chaquico album set for release on Oct. 16, 2012

Craig Chaquico, platinum-selling lead guitarist and songwriter with Jefferson Starship as well as a chart-topping smooth jazz solo artist, takes a walk on the bluesier side of the street with his Blind Pig debut, Fire Red Moon. The American roots music label has announced an October 16, 2012 release date for the recording.

From the radio-friendly opening tracks, "Lie To Me" (with vocal by Noah Hunt of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band) and "Devil's Daughter" to the thunderous conclusion of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads," Chaquico explores the thoroughfares and back alleys where blues and rock intersect. There's an instrumental version of Albert King's signature tune, "Born Under A Bad Sign," a rousing cover of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' And Tumblin'," and sterling originals that echo the stylings of blues/rock forerunners such as Cream, Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top, and Steely Dan. There's even an instrumental tune entitled "Blue On Blue" that would appeal to Craig's many smooth jazz fans.

As a teenager, Chaquico (pronounced Cha-KEY-so) was invited by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick to join Jefferson Starship and played a seminal role in making that group (later re-named Starship) one of the top selling bands in history, earning twenty platinum and gold albums. On the best-selling album of their career, Red Octopus, Rolling Stone remarked that "the emergence of guitarist Craig Chaquico resulted in the finest San Francisco music since the heyday of the Haight."

Chaquico became a central figure in the band, playing lead guitar on all their hits from 1973 to 1990 including "Miracles," "We Built This City," "Sara" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," and developing into one of their main songwriters. He wrote or co-wrote some of Starship's most memorable songs such as "Find Your Way Back," "Jane," "Layin' It On The Line," and "Rock and Roll Is Good Time Music." While others came and went, Craig is the only person in the band to appear on every recording, tour, MTV video, album, and hit song during that time.

Then, after finding himself at the top of the national charts in each of three consecutive decades, Craig left the fast-paced pop world of arena rock and reinvented himself as a top-selling contemporary jazz/New Age guitarist, once again topping the Billboard and radio charts. Altogether, the acclaimed guitarist has sold over a million albums as a soloist. He was also voted the "Best Pop Instrumental Guitarist" by the readers of Guitar Player while Jazziz magazine listed him as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Guitarists of All Time."

Now entering the fifth decade of his illustrious career, with the release of Fire Red Moon Chaquico continues his improbable journey from the boy-wonder of 70's rock to genre-defying success as a top jazz and new age guitarist, returning now to the roots blues he listened to in his early teens.

Says Chaquico, "The multi-platinum stadium rock period in my musical life was as rewarding as it was fun, and part of my higher musical education. And as much as I still love instrumental smooth jazz, which for me was always blues-based anyway, I sometimes missed the edge that I could experience with blues-based rock and roll."

Blind Pig's signing of Chaquico continues something of a trend for the label, and the music business in general it seems - the release of roots blues albums from well-established rock stars. In recent years Blind Pig has released titles by two members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Ray Manzarek of The Doors and Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac. Meanwhile, the market has seen very successful blues releases from pop star Cyndi Lauper and even well known TV actor Hugh Laurie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jon Lord's legacy celebrated on 'Concerto for Group & Orchestra'

Countless music fans were saddened when Jon Lord lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and died on July 16, 2012. Now comes word of a forthcoming project from the legendary keyboard player that was completed shortly before his death. Here is the media release I received earlier today...

Eagle Rock Entertainment/earMUSIC releases Concerto For Group And Orchestra on September 25, 2012 
~The first studio recording of Jon Lord's groundbreaking meeting of rock and classical music~ 
On September 25, 2012, earMUSIC, the Hamburg-based rock label part of Edel Group, and Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the first studio recording of Jon Lord's groundbreaking meeting of rock and classical music - Concerto For Group And Orchestra. This will be released as a CD, CD/DVD (audio DVD in 5.1 Dolby Digital Sound), and digitally. 
“Over these last years since leaving Deep Purple, I’ve played it over 30 times with different orchestras and conductors all over the world, and, of course, in 2000 I did it well over 30 times with Purple on the Concerto tour, so I’ve been honing the piece live on stage, and I’ve had the opportunity to change things in the score that weren’t sounding quite right. It is therefore a marvellous and exciting prospect to have the definitive recording of the definitive version of the score.” - Jon Lord, May 2012
Jon Lord recorded the rhythm section - Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, Madonna) & Brett Morgan (Jon Anderson, Sting) and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (with whom Jon had recorded twice before) in June 2011 in Liverpool, under conductor Paul Mann. The production then moved to Abbey Road Studios in London to record additions from such noted artists as Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson  (on vocals with Steve Balsamo and Kasia Laska) and Joe BonamassaDarin Vasilev and Steve Morse.
Happily, Jon got to hear and approve the final mixes a few weeks before he passed away. 
The family and earMUSIC decided to proceed with the release of the album in September as scheduled, as this seemed the best way to celebrate and pay tribute to Jon and his beautiful music. Thus this superb studio recording of Concerto For Group And Orchestra is exactly the way Jon wanted us to hear it and will now hopefully become part of Jon's legacy for generations to come.

With his legendary blues-rock sound, Deep Purple’s founder/organist Jon Lord has influenced decades of rock musicians. He is with no doubt the pioneer of fusing rock and classical/baroque forms and became one of the most important composers of the last few decades.
Jon Lord co-wrote many of Deep Purple’s legendary songs including “Smoke On The Water” and played with many bands and musicians throughout his career (Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, George Harrison). Best known for his orchestral work Concerto For Group And Orchestra first performed and recorded at Royal Albert Hall with Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969, conducted by the renowned Malcolm Arnold - a feat repeated in 1999 when it was again performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra and Deep Purple.
Jon’s solo work was universally acclaimed when he eventually retired from Deep Purple in 2002 but he continued to tour the Concerto around the world to sell-out crowds and standing ovations.
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.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Neil Diamond delivers 'Hot August Night' magic at Greek Theatre

Neil Diamond on Aug. 18, 2012.
On the most perfect of summer evenings, Neil Diamond performed a solid and satisfying concert before a capacity crowd at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Aug. 18, 2012. The latest in a string of five shows the 71-year-old icon is performing at the Greek this month commemorating his seminal Hot August Night live album recorded at the same venue on August 24, 1972, his energetic and emotive two-hour concert on Saturday captured all the magic of the past while very much celebrating how his classic material continues to resonate with fans of all ages in the here and now.

Before catching his concert last night, Diamond was on my short list of living artists I had not yet caught live. My initial thought is that Diamond - backed by an outstanding 11-man band and a trio of female backing vocalists - offered up an involving show that came off as an artful mix of a rousing Springsteen outing with the E Street Band and an entertaining Las Vegas-era Elvis Presley set.

But beyond that veneer is Diamond's incredible skills as an entertainer, still-mighty vocal talents and his vast catalog of wonderful songs.

Among the most powerful moments of the concert were the acoustic-flavored ballads and folk-rock songs. Diamond's vocals were emotional and authentic in "Morningside," as well as "Hello Again" and "Solitary Man." And "I'm a Believer" was at first delivered as a potent love song, sung for his wife Katie, before the song was repeated with the full force of the band in its traditional uptempo version.

At times Diamond's vocals were delivered almost as if spoken before a defining bridge or chorus would provide his clear baritone the chance to soar. Across the wide range of material - much of it pulled from his Hot August Night collection - Diamond seemed to effortlessly tap into the emotions and feelings that gave rise to the songs. Indeed, "Holly Holy" and "I Am...I Said" resonated with the vibrancy of new compositions (as opposed to the classics they are now).

Many in the crowd seemed content to wait for the show's bigger moments (clap-alongs or singsongs in the likes of "Forever in Blue Jeans," "Cracklin' Rosie" or "Sweet Caroline"), and ultimately missed out on the richness of Diamond's complete performance. It was a bit depressing to see so many aging Baby Boomers making repeated trips to get beers while missing out on Diamond's nuanced performance.

His "America" served as the first selection in the encore, and proved to be one of those perfect moments where the right song, rousing showmanship and the night itself worked together to create something magical. A Hot August Night indeed.

Setlist: Neil Diamond at Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012

Main set: Soolaimon / Beautiful Noise / Forever in Blue Jeans / Hello Again / Love on the Rocks / Play Me / Shilo / Red Red Wine / Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon / Cherry, Cherry / Solitary Man / Glory Road / I'm a Believer (slow version) / I'm a Believer (original, rocking version) / And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind / Porcupine Pie / You Don't Bring Me Flowers / Crunchy Granola Suite / Morningside / Holly Holy / Happy Birthday (sung to Neil Diamond's mother) / Cracklin' Rosie / Sweet Caroline / I Am...I Said
Encore: America / Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inbox Update: Freddie Mercury, Skyline Drive, Velvet Underground

It's Friday, right? Here are some new releases I wanted to post going into the weekend.

There is a little bit of everything today, so enjoy!

Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender Is a Fascinating and Touching Tribute to the Iconic Performer

Iconic singer and celebrated showman Freddie Mercury was hugely popular throughout his brilliant music career as the lead singer of Queen and as a solo artist. The world mourned his untimely death in 1991, but he was incredibly prolific and left behind a stunning legacy of groundbreaking recordings.Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender gives fans unprecedented access to one of the world's greatest performers.  

This officially sanctioned book is a loving and intimate tribute to one of rock's most enduring legends. It's an all-access pass to Freddie Mercury's epic life, with cherished childhood pictures from his parents, formative snapshots of his first singing efforts, and revelatory images of his early days with Queen, courtesy of guitarist Brian May. In addition to this treasured private collection of images, the book features myth making live and studio shots by esteemed photographers such as Snowdon, Mick Rock, and Neal Preston. This ambitious portrait, lovingly and painstakingly recounted in pictures and insightful text, celebrates the electric showman through the many stages of his extraordinary life.

Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender is a poignant commendation of the mythic entertainer. The book's release also coincides with a reissue of the landmark recording he made with Montserrat Caballé. Packaged with a fascinating one-hour bonus CD of Mercury interviews, this is a must-have keepsake for Queen aficionados and rock buffs alike.

Seán O'Hagan was named British Interviewer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2003 for his work with footballer Roy Keane and the musician Brian Wilson. In 2011, O'Hagan won the J Dudley Johnston award from the Royal Photographic Society for what they described as "major achievement in the field of photographic criticism." Information: www.insighteditions.com.

 Derek Thomas’ new project, Skyline Drive weaves a mix California canyon rock and a bit of Southern Soul with the upcoming release Topanga Ranch Motel

Skyline Drive is the moniker used by songsmith, Derek Thomas for his folk-Americana music project based out of Topanga Canyon, CA. Formerly a member of the CA band, 60 Watt Kid (a band that garnered rave reviews including 4 stars from Rolling Stone)--Thomas has moved from psychedelic art rock to more accessible ‘heart on the sleeve’ singer-songwriter numbers that sit side-by-side with lush filled-out ballads on his yet-to-be released record, Topanga Ranch Motel (due out on October 16th, 2012).

The core sound of Skyline Drive is collaboration between Thomas and former Ryan Adams sideman and multi-instrumentalist, Erik Kristiansen (Kristiansen recorded with Adams on the mythical 'SnowKobra' record). Thomas lends himself to lyrics, vocals, guitar and harmonica while Kristiansen focuses on pedal steel. After meeting at a show, the musicians formed a two-piece in 2011 and eventually gathered friends together to record the self-produced, Topanga Ranch Motel in Thomas’ cabin in the canyon.
Derek Thomas’ thoughtful, evocative lyrics and smoky vocals are at the forefront of the music with Kristiansen’s pedal steel weaving in and out of the stories created. The end result is a record that is heartbreakingly melancholic and brimming with soul, prompting the indie zine LA Record to claim, “Derek (Thomas) is making some awfully sad-sounding barroom folk songs that could shake the paint off your Chevy…”

The songs on the record move from introspective solo of “The Switch” to the upbeat good vibe of “Nothing Like You” and another catchy song “Bartering Line” and then to the dusty ballad of “Sam’s Saloon”. Topanga Ranch Motel is rounded out with help from Jerry Zacarias on drums, Mike Derricote (who has a co-producing credit) on bass, Carl Byron on piano Dave Bouillette on stand up bass, Jeff Young on hammond, Michael Guglielmo on drums and percussion and Leslie Stevens helping out with harmonies.

Thomas and Derricote self produced, recorded and mixed most of the album at Thomas's cabin home in Topanga Canyon using only one microphone. Thomas and Derricote self produced, recorded and mixed most of the album at Thomas's cabin home in Topanga Canyon using only one microphone.

Skyline Drive is already creating a buzz winning the title of “Best of-Los Angeles based Americana Music” from the popular blog, Turnstyled Junkpiled while emerging onto the Los Angeles live music scene as a band that must be heard. Topanga Ranch Motel is the vehicle for this gifted singer-songwriter who promises to make his mark not only in California, but also on the music scene as a whole.

Super Deluxe six-CD collection features previously unreleased recordings from Factory rehearsals, Scepter Studios acetate, live performances

“Modern music begins with The Velvets.” --Lester Bangs

When The Velvet Underground & Nico album was released in March 1967 on Verve Records, with its Andy Warhol-designed, peel-off banana cover, it was far from a chart-topper. In fact, as the famed quote attributed to Brian Eno famously put it, the album may not have sold many copies, “but everyone who bought it formed a band.” And its reputation as a groundbreaker has only increased over the four-and-a-half decades since its original release.

Universal Music / Polydor  will celebrate the now-iconic album’s 45th anniversary on October 30, 2012, with a multi-format, worldwide release October 29th and 30th that includes stereo and mono versions remastered from the original tapes, as well as previously unreleased recordings of the band’s rehearsals in Warhol’s Factory and the subsequent rare April 1966 Scepter Studios recordings captured on acetate featuring early, alternate versions of songs later issued on The Velvet Underground & Nico.

A limited-edition, Super Deluxe six-CD box set will also feature a previously unavailable November ’66 live concert performed by the Velvets’ original, five-person lineup—Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker and Nico—at the Valleydale Ballroom in Columbus, Ohio, and Nico’s Chelsea Girl, an album released in October 1967 (seven months after the Velvets’ disc) which included all the members of the band as well as a teenage folksinger named Jackson Browne. It also includes an 88-page booklet featuring a new essay by band biographer Richie Unterberger. All remastering, tape transfers and digital assembly at the prestigious Sterling Sound Studios in New York were overseen by veteran A&R producer Bill Levenson, who has been involved for more than 30 years in previous Velvet Underground reissues like VU and Another VU in the ’80s, the banana-covered box set in the ’90s and UMG’s first expanded, deluxe edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico in 2002.

The six-CD set captures the Velvets in a crucial period in their development, starting with the band’s Factory rehearsals in January ’66, covering the original Scepter recording sessions that April, then a live show in November, leading up to the March ’67 release, almost a year after the album was finished. Nico’s Chelsea Girl, which came out in October seven months later, completes the set’s almost two-year arc, chronicling the band both before and directly after its historic debut. 

The Super Deluxe set allows fans to compare the mono and stereo versions of the album. Longtime Velvets aficionados have touted the mono mix because of its lo-fi quality, with the music coming off even tougher as a result of its compression.

The Velvet Underground & Nico album has achieved many honours since its release;. The Observer placed it number 1 in 50 Albums that Changed the World Uncut placed it a number 1 of 100 Greatest Debut Albums and was placed in the top 10 of Mojo’s 100 Greatest albums Ever Made and it continues to consistently top UK polls.

The Velvet Underground and Nico is considered the holy grail around the world. The release earned the original band a slot in the Rock and Roll Hall of FameRolling Stone placed it No. 13 on the list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in November 2003, dubbing it “the most prophetic rock album ever made.” Spin magazine placed it atop its list of the “Top 15 Most Influential Albums of All Time” that same year and the album is one of 225 recordings in the prestigious Library of Congress National Recording Registry..  In Czechoslovakia, the band gave its name to the Velvet Revolution, which overthrew the Communist regime in that country. Globally, the album is seen just like Sgt. Pepper’s and Pet Sounds, as a seminal, influential high-water mark in rock music history.

Universal will release the album worldwide simultaneously in six different physical and digital versions. Aside from the Super Deluxe edition, The Velvet Underground & Nico will be available in a brand-new two-CD Deluxe Edition which includes a stereo version of the album along with a separate disc of the Factory rehearsals and Scepter Studios sessions. There will also be a digital exclusive and a one-CD original stereo album remaster in both physical and digital form. Alongside a re-mastered vinyl edition

The deluxe edition and digital reissue of The Velvet Underground & Nico is not only for hard-core fans, but for anyone who wishes to trace the two-year development of a world-class band in the process of creating one of the greatest rock albums in history through rare and previously unreleased recordings.

John Cale's new album Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood is scheduled for release on October 2nd on Domino imprint Double Six and will be available on gatefold heavyweight vinyl, CD and digital formats.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

News and notes: Muse, Deep Purple, RiffTrax live

Here are a few items to kick off the day on a high note...

"Madness," the debut singe from Muse's new album The 2nd Law is set for release on Aug. 20, 2012. The new track will impact radio around the globe on Monday, and is set to be available the same day via digital retailers.

Muse will release their sixth studio album The 2nd Law on Warner Bros. Records on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and a short film previewing the album is also available and can be viewed at the band's official Web site.

Eagle Records has just announced the release of Re-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head album on September 25, 2012.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of this landmark album and in recognition of the influence of the band, and of Machine Head in particular. Some of rock music’s biggest names have each contributed a version of their favorite track on the album to create Re-Machined – A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head.

Re-Machined features specially recorded tracks from Jimmy Barnes & Joe Bonamassa, Black Label Society, Chickenfoot, former Deep Purple Mk III member Glenn Hughes with Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden, the “supergroup” Kings Of Chaos (featuring Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum), Metallica, Carlos Santana & Jacoby Shaddix and Steve Vai.

There are two wildly differing versions of the album’s most famous track “Smoke On The Water”, one from guitar hero Carlos Santana with vocals by Jacoby Shaddix and one from alternative rockers Flaming Lips, and Metallica have contributed their own special take on “When A Blind Man Cries”, a track recorded at the “Machine Head” sessions but originally released as the B-side to “Never Before”.

Iron Maiden’s “Space Truckin’” cover was actually recorded back in 2006. Lead singer Bruce Dickinson explains, “Initially we didn’t think we’d be able to contribute anything due to our touring commitments. Then we remembered ‘Space Truckin’ which we’d recorded as a single B-side during our A Matter Of Life And Death album session, but never used. However now, thanks to Kevin Shirley’s remixing skills, we’re able to include it on Re-Machined”


1) Smoke On The Water – Carlos Santana & Jacoby Shaddix

2) Highway Star – Chickenfoot

3) Maybe I’m A Leo – Glenn Hughes & Chad Smith

4) Pictures Of Home – Black Label Society

5) Never Before – Kings Of Chaos (Joe Elliott, Steve Stevens, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum)

6) Smoke On The Water – The Flaming Lips

7) Lazy – Jimmy Barnes with Joe Bonamassa

8) Space Truckin’ – Iron Maiden

9) When A Blind Man Cries – Metallica

10) Highway Star – Glenn Hughes / Steve Vai / Chad Smith

RiffTrax, left to right, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy and Michael J. Nelson.
I know where I'll be tonight.   The comedians of Mystery Science Theater 3000 are coming back to select movie theaters nationwide, as they take on one of the worst films of all time with RiffTrax Live: ‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate on Thursday, August 16 at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT (and tape delayed 7 p.m. MT / 8 p.m. PT). Audiences will enjoy the wise-cracking commentary of Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of RiffTrax.com, and be treated to the abysmal acting, outdated effects and seemingly endless cat fights featuring The Master’s many girdle-clad wives featured in “Manos.” As an added bonus, fans will also receive a selection of free digital goodies.

Tickets for RiffTrax Live: ‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com. Hope to see all of you (laughing) there!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dead Can Dance displays magic at Gibson Amphitheatre

Dead Can Dance: Lisa Gerrard, left, and Brendan Perry on Aug. 14, 2012.
  The triumphant return of Dead Can Dance displayed itself over the course of 19 magical and magnificent songs on Tuesday night (Aug. 14, 2012) in Universal City. More than 30 years after DCD was formed Down Under by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, the duo have reunited to tour in support of a fantastic just-released album titled Anastasis. Backed by a fantastic five-member group, Gerrard and Perry showcased their genre-defying blend of art rock, ambient, Gregorian chant, Middle Eastern, Celtic, African and world folk music before an enthusiastic crowd at Gibson Amphitheatre. What the faithful heard - and I marveled at with every note - was a sound so beautiful and unique that time has not diminished its power and glory.

Opening with the first song on Anastasis, "Children of the Sun," Perry's mighty baritone rose above the haunting rhythm in what would be the first of many potent versions of new songs. With Anastasis being DCD's first new full-length studio album in more than 15 years, it was great to see that the duo's artistic powers remain flawless. Other highlights from the new disc included the hypnotic "Amnesia" and "All In Good Time," the latter featuring Perry' rich voice in a spectacular if somewhat melancholy tone.

Lovers of classic Dead Can Dance marveled at the brilliant version of "The Host of Seraphim," which is truly as powerful as any music recorded in the 20th century. Gerrard's voice filled the concert hall with the affecting song further adorned by Perry's low notes.

Later on the Renaissance-flavored "Dreams Made Flesh," Perry stood and intensely played a hammered dulcimer while Gerrard - standing to his left - sang using the full range of her emotive soprano. At times her voice used spoken word-like diction, while at other times it soared in wondrous flight.

Gerrard's otherworldly vocals impressed throughout the show.
Dead Can Dance ended their second encore with another new gem, the Celtic-styled "Return of the She-King," featuring Gerrard's vocals immersed in a symphonic sea of keyboards and gentle percussion. Then, to add depth and range, Perry sang solo before their voices joined in a joyous and lush finale.

Setlist: Dead Can Dance at the Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

Main set: Children of the Sun / Anabasis / Rakim / Kiko / Lamma Bada / Agape / Amnesia / Sanvean / Nierika / Opium / The Host of Seraphim / Ime Prezakias / Now We Are Free / All In Good Time

Encore: The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove / Dreams Made Flesh

Encore 2: Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley cover) / Return of the She-King

Encore 3: Rising of the Moon