Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jeff Beck & Paul Rodgers + Ann Wilson of Heart announce 'Stars Align Tour'

This tour sounds amazing!

-- North American Summer Run Kicks Off July 18 --

-- Tickets On Sale to General Public Starting February 2 at www.LiveNation.com --

Los Angeles, CA (January 30, 2018) – Today, iconic legendary rock musicians Jeff Beck and Paul Rodgers announced they will join forces for the “Stars Align Tour,” their co-headlining summer outing with Ann Wilson of Heart. Produced by Live Nation, the outing kicks off July 18th in West Valley City, Utah, and will stop in cities across the U.S. and Canada including Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Toronto, Tampa, and more. The full listing of tour dates can be found below.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public for the “Stars Align Tour” beginning Friday, February 2, 2018 at 10 a.m. through LiveNation.com. Citi® is the official presale credit card for the tour. As such, Citi® cardmembers will have access to purchase U.S. presale tickets beginning Wednesday, January 31 at 12:00pm local time until Thursday, February  1 at 10 p.m. local time through Citi’s Private Pass® program. For complete presale details visit www.citiprivatepass.com.

"I always enjoy touring the U.S. in the summer and joining with Paul, and Ann Wilson, should make for quite an exciting night,” said Jeff Beck.

Paul Rodgers / Photo credit: Christie Goodwin
“This is going to be a knock out combination of music and musicians,” said Paul Rodgers. “I've always been a Jeff Beck fan, who isn't? He is in a league of his own. Ann Wilson has an amazing voice and is a brilliant songwriter. 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of 'Free' and I hope we can touch your spirit with the 'Spirit of Free.’”

“I am thrilled to have been asked to perform on the Stars Align Tour with Jeff Beck and Paul Rodgers,” said Ann Wilson. “They are both long time favorites of mine! They are masters at their craft and it is an honor to share the stage this summer.”

Over the course of Jeff Beck’s distinguished 50+ music career, he has earned an incredible 8 GRAMMY Awards, been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – once as a member of the Yardbirds and again as a solo artist. In the summer of 2016, guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck celebrated 50 years of his musical career with an extraordinary concert at the famous Hollywood Bowl. Jeff Beck: Live At The Hollywood Bowl is available now.

Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Paul Rodgers has led 3 bands to global success: Free, Bad Company, & The Firm. Rodgers has been named the #3 “Greatest Voice in Rock” in Rolling Stone and the #2 “All Time Best Rock Singer” in Classic Rock Magazine. For his songwriting, he was awarded the prestigious Ivor Novello Award along with John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Elton John. 2018 celebrates his 50th anniversary as a recording artist who has sold 125 million records. For the first time in 50 years in North America Paul’s set will focus on his Free catalogue.

On this upcoming summer run, Ann Wilson fans can expect to hear an assortment of Heart hits along with tracks from her solo career.  Heart’s critically acclaimed Beautiful Broken album was released in 2016, the same year she toured with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick. 

Stars Align Tour Dates:
July 18, 2018
West Valley City, UT
USANA Amphitheatre
July 20, 2018
Los Angeles, CA
Five Point Amphitheatre
July 22, 2018
Chula Vista, CA
Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
July 24, 2018
Houston, TX
Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
July 25, 2018
Dallas, TX
The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
July 28, 2018
St. Louis, MO
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 29, 2018
Chicago, IL
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 31, 2018
Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre
August 1, 2018
Toronto, ON
Budweiser Stage
August 3, 2018
Boston, MA
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
August 4, 2018
Camden, NJ
BB&T Pavilion
August 8, 2018
Cincinnati, OH
Riverbend Music Center
August 10, 2018
Indianapolis, IN
Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
August 12, 2018
Holmdel, NJ
P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
August 14, 2018
Wantagh, NY
Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
August 17, 2018
Nashville, TN
Nashville Municipal Auditorium
August 19, 2018
Charlotte, NC
PNC Music Pavilion
August 25, 2018
West Palm Beach, FL
Coral Sky Amphitheatre
August 26, 2018
Tampa, FL
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

She Rocks Awards 2018 Celebrates Outstanding Women in Music

Photo credit: Ron Lyon
NAMM 2018: The Sixth Annual She Rocks Awards Celebrates Outstanding Women in the Music Industry

Melissa Etheridge, members of The B-52s, and many other musicians and audio industry professionals honored at prestigious event

Melissa Etheridge on Jan. 26, 2018.
Photo credit: Brandon Daza
Exene Cervenka of the band X.
Photo credit: Kevin Graft
Anaheim, CA, January 29, 2018 ––The sixth annual She Rocks Awards rocked the House of Blues Anaheim on January 26, 2018. Hosted by the Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN), the gala celebration featured a star studded array of honorees that included Melissa EtheridgeKate Pierson & Cindy Wilson of The B-52sExene Cervenka of X and members of the pioneering all-female rock band Fanny, as well many other women from all corners of the music and audio industry.

Featured performers Command Sisters delivered an upbeat B-52s medley that had the house singing along. The evening also included the premiere of a new song by WiMN founder Laura B. Whitmore and recording artist Jenna Paone called, “Just a Girl,” along with a moving video that delivered a message encouraging girls to dream big. Laura B. Whitmore co-hosted along with Kat Corbett of LA radio station KROQ. 

Other highlights included a fantastic performance of the Etheridge hit “Come to My Window” by Laura Clapp, and Olivia Rox’s rendition of the Pat Benatar anthem “Invincible.” Alaska Reid of Alyeska interpreted X’s hit “Breathless” with sultry abandon. Members of the pioneering rock band Fanny shared their new project, Fanny Walked the Earth, with a preview of their upcoming 2018 release.

The rousing finale brought together members of Fanny, The B-52s, Melissa Etheridge and performers Olivia Rox, Jenna Paone, Laura Clapp and Sabrina Lentini to deliver an inspired performance of “Respect.” The song, made famous by Aretha Franklin, but written by Otis Redding (whose daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews, was also honored during the event), was an energetic ending to a moving evening. 

The full list of 2018 honorees includes:

•    Pat Benatar, four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning artist
•    Melissa Etheridge, Grammy® Award- and Academy® Award-winning artist
•    The B-52s Katie Pierson & Cindy Wilson, original members of one of the most
      beloved party rock bands of all time
•    Karla Redding-Andrews, Executive Director for The Otis Redding Foundation
•    Exene Cervenka, vocalist for the iconic punk band, X 
•    Amberly Crouse-Knox, Senior Director, Creative and Business Development, BMG Production Music
•    Jean Millington AdamianJune MillingtonBrie Howard DarlingPatti Quatro Ericson and         Alice de Buhr of the pioneering all-female American rock band, Fanny
•    Candace Stewart, Studio Manager, EastWest Studios in Hollywood
•    Dawn Birr, Channel Manager for the Americas, Sennheiser Business Solutions 
•    Fabi Reyna, Founder and Editor of She Shreds Media
•    Vanessa Mering, Marketing Manager, HARMAN Professional
•    Kristy Porter, Guitar Center’s Director of Merchandising, General Accessories & Media

Whitmore reflected, “We were proud to formally recognize all the 2018 honorees at the She Rocks Awards. From manufacturers to musicians, our honorees span all corners of our industry. I felt truly humbled to be able to acknowledge their leadership and accomplishments. It was such a pleasure to join with them in this year’s celebration of women in music.”

Find out more at sherocksawards.com.

Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 NAMM Show Roundup

The NAMM Show was held at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
Article by Robert Kinsler

Photography: Bob Steshetz and Robert Kinsler

Special concert events, under-the-radar on-site performances in merchant booths, the debut of countless new music making-related products and educational sessions make the NAMM Show an essential destination for music lovers.

This year's Winter NAMM Show was held at the Anaheim Convention Center from January 25-28, 2018, with this writer also attending the NAMM Media Preview Day on Jan. 24 to get an early and in-depth look at several highly-anticipated products. 

Here are some of the highlights of my four-day experience at NAMM last weekend.

Concerts and Special Appearances
A couple of decades ago, on-site performances at NAMM were not a focus of the event held every January. But once again this year performances were front-and-center throughout the show.

Andy Grammer performs at NAMM.
The Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage hosted three special high-profile concerts during NAMM. OK Go performed on Jan. 25; an all-star event featuring Michael McDonald, Melissa Etheridge, Marc Broussard, Nathan EastDave Koz, Butch WalkerLindsey Stirling, Shelea and others on Jan. 26, and Andy Grammer performed on Jan. 27. 

Brandon "Taz" Niederauer
Those looking for more intimate concert experiences could catch established and up-and-coming artists in booths throughout the show. My favorite event may well have been the mind-blowing performance featuring 14-year-old Brandon "Taz" Niederauer and his excellent four-member band. Performing on Friday afternoon at the D'Angelico GuitarsNiederauer displayed the flashy speed of the late Ten Years After guitar great Alvin Lee with the emotional touch of modern-day bluesman Gary Clark Jr. I have seen young guitarists impress before but Niderauer's virtuoso licks, burgeoning talents as singer and songwriter as well as bona fide stage presence rival many of his considerably-older contemporaries. His wonderful songs included "I Can't Live" (a moody, textured blues rock gem) and "Tell Me Now."

I was lucky enough to catch singer-songwriter/guitar greats Shawn Jones and Stephen Inglis performing together at the Lowden Guitars booth on Saturday. Their short and fiery instrumental set ended with a freewheeling instrumental version of the Jimi Hendrix classic "Little Wing." While at the Lowden booth, I also got to check out and was truly impressed with the Northern Ireland-based company's new GL-10 Electric Guitar. Information: www.lowdenguitars.com.

Miyavi tearing it up at Taylor
Guitars on Jan. 27, 2018.
Taylor Guitars offered a number of must-see concerts. On Thursday, the El Cajon, California-based guitar manufacturer celebrated three emerging Japanese artists. Ai Fujimori, CJ Li and Natsumi Miki showcased the diversity of Japan's burgeoning original music scene and the audience packed into the intimate concert space embraced the three artists and the terrific backing trio of young players who added depth to the material. 

Fast forward to Saturday and I caught three outstanding acts at Taylor Guitars. Country music songstress Brennley Brown, who just turned 16, and Nolan Neal (both one-time contestants on NBC-TV's "The Voice") delivered strong sets in the early afternoon, while genre-defying Japanese singer-songwriter-guitarist Miyavi wowed a packed room with his finger-slapping style of guitar and intoxicating songs, especially the driving rocker "The Others." Information: www.TaylorGuitars.com.

Carl Tosten with FG-TA Yamaha.

NEW PRODUCTS: Guitars aplenty

Yamaha TransAcoustic FG and FS Guitar Series
Yamaha introduced approximately 90 new products at Winter NAMM this year. The Buena Park, California-based company's TransAcoustic guitar series definitely offers something to get acoustic players excited. Building on the success of the company's earlier models, the new FG-TA and FS-TA puts cutting edge technology into the guitar for an affordable price (the FG-TA is priced at $599). "The guitar is able to create reverb and chorus without any external devices," explained Yamaha's Carl Tosten. "It is designed to inspire people to want to play longer." 

Yamaha introduced approximately 90 new products at Winter NAMM, and the new TansAcoustic models were getting plenty of attention throughout the show. My MUSIC WORTH BUYING co-host TJR and I videotaped several segments at the Yamaha booth and will be posting those on this website soon. 

Cal Campbell holding Ovation's
the Glen Campbell 2018
American Artist Model guitar.
Ovation Guitars / Two Glen Campbell Signature Guitar Models
While country music legend Glen Campbell passed away in August 2017, his legacy lives on in ways that stretch beyond his notable recordings. Fans of the late artist's legendary skills on the fret board got an early look at two special signature guitar models released by Ovation Guitars that made their debut at NAMM this year. Campbell's son Cal Campbell was at NAMM to share the release of the Glen Campbell 2018 American Artist Model, an acoustic guitar crafted in the Ovation Custom Shop in New Hartford, CT. 

"This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the creative relationship between Ovation's founder, Bill Kaman, and my dad," said Cal Campbell in a statement released by Ovation. "Growing up, his guitars were a fixture in our lives and it has been a pleasure to work with the artisans at Ovation to ensure the look and the sound of his original gars was faithfully recreated and it's our family's hope that they will inspire future generations of artists to play, write and create for another half century and beyond."

Perhaps even more prized than Glen Campbell's acoustic instrument was the elusive "Bluebird" model. Designed and hand-crafted exclusively for Campbell in the late 1970s, the Bluebird's design was based on the Ovation Viper solid body and was produced in both 6-string and 12-string models. The Campbell family loaned Ovation Guitars Glen's original Bluebird to the guitar maker in order to create the extremely limited run of Bluebird replicas (only 10 of the 6-string models and five of the 12-string models will ever be produced!).

Information: www.ovationguitars.com.

Eric Johnson at the Fender booth at NAMM.
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation 
Eric Johnson Stratocaster® Thinline
Virtuoso guitarist Eric Johnson was at NAMM on Jan. 26 to showcase the latest edition of his Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Thinline. At an afternoon press conference, Johnson explained he began working with Fender in 2015 to co-create a new guitar that combined the tones of his favorite semi-hollowbody guitars and his Stratocaster. "To me, my go-to instrument is a Strat. But I've always loved hollow body guitars," Johnson explained. "I used it (the new Thinline guitar) last night (at the City National Grove of Anaheim) and I used it all night." Johnson's new guitar will officially be available on Feb. 20, 2018 and will retail for approximately $1,999.99.

Paul Waller: Prestige 9-Neck Guitar
No overview of new guitars spotted at NAMM would be complete without a mention of Paul Waller's Prestige 9-Neck Guitar featuring nine popular pre-CBS models and scales Fender produced before 1965. Necks featured include those from a four-string mandolin, Mustang, Jaguar, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Bass VI, Jass Bass and Precision Bass. It retails for $96,000 (yikes!). See the photo I snapped on the left; in this case, seeing is believing.

Information: www.fender.com.

In addition to the impressive guitars I checked out at NAMM, several other products caught my attention. Stillwater, MN-based Portastand has a line of music stands that are the most impressive I've ever seen. They are not only portable and collapse into small sizes, but are durable and have the ability to serve a variety of roles on stage, in the studio or even around the office. Visit Portastand.com for more information.

Studio engineers and audiophiles should check out the Tascam DA-6400 Recorder. I met with Eric Larsen, director of marketing for Montebello, CA-based TEAC America, Inc., and I was simply blown away at the relatively small size and impressive power of the unit. It can record 64 channels of audio at 24-bit/48kHz, or 32 channels at 24-bit/96kHz! For more information visit www.teac.com or www.tascam.com.

Jim Stern, of Phoenix-based Earful Mastering, at
the Tascam booth at 2018 NAMM Show.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Jim Stern, with Phoenix-based Earful Mastering, was at the Tascam booth and explained the many wonders of how the Tascam equipment enhances the dynamic range of recordings and reduces the compression that diminishes many modern-day recordings.

"I built a 1bit mastering lab (in Arizona). I can go 1bit to analog and back to 1bit," he explained. "1bit is as close to analog as we have come in digital...I'm an old audiophile and I love it. I love Tascam equipment."

For more information on NAMM, visit www.namm.org.

A very special "thank you" to Bob Steshetz for the use of his wonderful photography

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Laurence Juber releases debut album 'Standard Time' on Friday, January 26, 2018

Here is a media release on a special release set for this Friday...

Laurence Juber Releases Debut Album Standard Time
First Commercial Digital Release Of Archival Recording
Out January 26th

Includes Original Tune Featuring Paul McCartney And
Denny Laine 

"....the notes spin out of the songs with such finesse and musical agility, it's hard to believe he has only 10 fingers and six strings."- San Francisco Chronicle”

Los Angeles, CA, January 24th, 2018: Grammy®-winning acoustic guitarist Laurence Juber will release digital debut of his first album, Standard Time on Friday, January 26th, with distribution by A-Train Entertainment. Standard Time was produced in 1979 when Paul McCartney asked his Wings guitarist to record songs from the former Beatles’ own music publishing catalog.

This instrumental collection includes two tracks written by Juber. One of these songs, the first of many fingerstyle originals, composed sitting on the steps of a cottage in the rustic Scottish farm environment being “Maisie”. “Maisie” was recorded during the sessions for Wings’ final album Back To The Egg, and features McCartney on bass, Denny Laine on harmonica, and Steve Holley on drums. It was also debuted on “Breakfast With the Beatles” on Q104 with New York’s Ken Dashow, and on Los Angeles’ KLOS with Chris Carter.

Other highlights on Standard Time include the orchestral swing of the Harold Arlen classic “Stormy Weather”, the late-night smooth groove of “There Will Be Another You”, the all-guitar big-band of “Four Brothers”, the semi-classical “After You’ve Gone” and the impressionistic “Autumn Leaves.”

Co-produced by ace arranger Richard Niles (Pat Metheny, Ray Charles), Standard Time draws on the versatility on electric and acoustic guitar that made Laurence Juber a first-call studio musician in London, prior to his stint with McCartney. It was also recorded and mixed to an audiophile standard with state-of-the-art facilities, Standard Time was mastered by Joe Gastwirt from a high-resolution transfer taken from the original analog mix tapes at Abbey Road. 

Pre-order Standard Time on iTunes
“Juber scores high marks for the clarion precision of his playing and
for his tasteful arrangements” - Downbeat

“A Master!“- Pete Townshend, The Who

“The melodies, textures and harmonies he coaxes out of an acoustic guitar are absolutely spellbinding." Guitar Player Magazine


1. You’re No Good
2. Dinah
3. Don’t Let Go
4. Maisie
5. There Will Never Be Another You
6. Stormy Weather
7. Autumn Leaves
8. Four Brothers
9. After You’ve Gone
10. The Christmas Song

About Laurence Juber:

GRAMMY® winning guitarist Laurence Juber is a solo performer, recording artist, composer and arranger. His playing fuses folk, jazz, blues, pop and classical styles, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument.

A music graduate of London’s Goldsmith’s College, he was featured guitar soloist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra before becoming established as a studio musician in the mid-1970’s. First internationally recognized as lead guitarist in Beatle Paul McCartney's Wings, with whom he won a Grammy, Juber has since established himself as world-renowned guitar virtuoso and entertainer.

Juber, known to his fans as LJ, has released 25 solo albums which spotlight his unique touch and tone on acoustic guitar. His LJ Plays The Beatles was voted one of Acoustic Guitar Magazine's all-time Top Ten albums. His solo arrangement of The Pink Panther Theme earned him a second Grammy, while his arrangement of Stand By Me was heard nationally in a Diamonds Are Forever commercial. Juber’s DVD-Audio project Guitar Noir (AIX Records) won a CES Demmy award for best audio.

His 'photo memoir' Guitar With Wings was recently published by Dalton Watson Fine Books.
As a studio musician, he can be heard on recordings from artists as diverse as Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Seal and the French chanteuse Sylvie Vartin, plus he is featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows such as Home Improvement and movies including the academy award-winning Dirty DancingGood Will Hunting and Pocahontas.
Juber co-composed the soundtrack of the award-winning video game Diablo III and scored the NBC Dateline Documentary Children Of The Harvest. His music is also featured in the Ken Burns’ documentary The Tenth Inning