Friday, April 24, 2020

Sights and Sounds: The Rolling Stones, Dion, Larkin Poe, Chatham County Line, more!

Lots of exciting music-minded news to share going into the weekend! Robert Kinsler

There continues to be well-deserved excitement about The Rolling Stones' new track "Living In A Ghost Town" (released yesterday, it is the first new original song we've heard from the band since 2012!). Here it is, enjoy!

 New album coming June 5, 2020


Blues With Friends is available for Pre-Order worldwide at:
Stream “Blues Comin’ On” Now HERE 
More information at  
Dion’s Blues With Friends, CD out June 5, represents the fulfillment of a lifelong vision. Dion explains the album’s impetus, “I wanted an album of songs that were strong and memorable and told stories that were worth telling.” His songwriting efforts were supported by a cadre of great players, each of whom jumped at the chance to collaborate with a music legend they think of in heroic terms. He’s quick to point out just how enduring this creative relationship has been, “The blues have been at the heart of my music since the early 1960s. ‘The Wanderer’ is a twelve-bar blues and I was covering Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed in my early years at Columbia — much to the dismay of my corporate masters.”  That’s the way it’s long been for the man Lou Reed inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than thirty years ago. That night the normally taciturn Reed exalted, “And then there was Dion — whose voice was unlike any other I had heard before — a voice that stood on its own, remarkable and unmistakably from New York. Bronx soul.”
As one of the very few first-generation rock ‘n’ rollers still seriously pursing new avenues of expression, Dion’s Bronx soul is very much in evidence on this new album, a full-tilt blues offering. The blues songs therein are not “covers” nor Dion’s versions of blues standards. These compositions are, in fact, blues originals, destined to become classics in their own right.  He came up with the music and words for twelve of them and finished those with co-writer Mike Aquilina. The two exceptions are “Hymn To Him” which Dion wrote with Bill Tuohy and “Kickin’ Child,” written with Buddy Lucas.
To tell those stories, Dion recruited help from a few notable friends and admirers.  He thought, “I needed to round up the best guitarists and musicians alive and pick them from every generation, every variation of blues.” And that’s just what he did, surrounding himself with those who feel the blues spirit as he does.
The album’s guests include the cream of the contemporary scene’s blues-rooted slingers including Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Brian Setzer, Sonny Landreth, Samantha Fish, John Hammond Jr., Joe Louis Walker, Rory Block , Jimmy and Jerry Vivino, vintage guitar guru Joe Menza as well as icons Stevie Van Zandt, Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison and Paul Simon.  Yes, that’s a whole lot of star power but each participated not because of his or her marquee appeal but because of what each could add musically. The result is one reflective of nuanced devotion to the blues rather than a gratuitous display of individual virtuosity. It’s very much Dion’s album and those bold face names participating are most convincingly there for him.
For this outing, Dion worked with producer Wayne Hood in whose Florida studio the basic tracks were recorded. “From the first day, I was at home. We hit it off like brothers on a mission. We caught the same vision and sound and off we went.” Over the course of the last part of 2019 and the first part of 2020, the album began to take shape.  Dion had the songs and the collaborators began to reveal themselves. As Dion tells it, he ran the album’s first track, “Blues Comin’ On,” past Joe Bonamassa. He noted, “It’s funny how a song evolves. For me it usually starts with a few words. In this case it was “If I didn’t know better" I wanted to sing those words, so I wrote a song around them. Joe Bonamassa is a monster and took the song to a whole new level.” Joe would be the first of many of Dion’s Blues With Friends co-conspirators.
Ever the no-nonsense sage, Dion bottom lined just what makes Blues With Friends a project for the ages: “Great songs, great guitarists. What more do you need?” he asks.   
Dion’s Blues With Friends will be released on June 5th through Keeping The Blues Alive Records, a new label started by Joe Bonamassa and his manager Roy Weisman and is an offshoot of Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, Bonamassa’s non-profit that aims to conserve the art of music and the rich culture and history of the blues.  The label’s objective is to provide a platform for musical talent in blues and blues-rock based music and to help encourage the careers of extraordinary musical talent. 10% of all profits from the label will be donated back to the Non-Profit for promoting music education to students and schools in need.  The album will be preceded by a staggered release of album singles as follows:
April 24 – “Blues Comin’ On” with Joe Bonamassa
May 1 – “Hymn To Him” with Patti Scialfa & Bruce Springsteen
May 8 – “Bam Bang Boom” with Billy Gibbons
May 15 – “I Got Nothin’” with Van Morrison & Joe Louis Walker
May 22 – “Can’t Start Over Again” with Jeff Beck
May 29 – “Song For Sam Cooke (Here In America)” with Paul Simon

In addition to the aforementioned “Blues Comin’ On,” Dion provided some analytical introspection for the album’s other thirteen tracks, all guests on guitar unless otherwise indicated.
“Kickin’ Child” (with Joe Menza) “I was the first rock-and-roll artist signed to Columbia Records, but they thought rock was a passing fad and wanted me to be the next crooner of standards from the Great American Songbook, but I wasn’t going there.  I recorded what I wanted, and it mostly stayed in the vault. I first wrote and recorded this song in 1965; Tom Wilson produced a version of it. In 2017 I released an album with “Kickin'’ Child” as the title track but it wasn’t where I wanted it, so I re-recorded in here.  Joe Menza knew where I wanted it to go.”
 “Uptown Number 7” (with Brian Setzer) “I wanted to write an old-fashioned gospel number in the style of the Golden Gate Quartet. I wanted this one to be about moving forward in the spiritual life… having a goal... facing temptations along the way. So, I put it all on a train, because that’s what New Yorkers do if they want to get anywhere: they take the train. I can never leave well enough alone, so one day I tried the melody in a minor key.  I loved the way it turned out and that’s what you’re hearing.”
“Can’t Start Over Again” (with Jeff Beck) “My earliest influences were country blues, especially Hank Williams. Any money I earned I took to the neighborhood record store, where the owner used to razz me about my “hillbilly” tastes. I guess I still have that hillbilly inside. For my last album I wrote a song called ‘I Can’t Go Back to Memphis,’ but I go back there with this number. It’s about love and loss and heartache, the classic themes. I believe it's a true blues song. I asked Jeff Beck to play something on it, he said yes! What can I say, it's Jeff Beck.”
“My Baby Loves to Boogie” (with John Hammond Jr., harmonica) John Hammond and I go back to the ’60s at the Gaslight coffee house in Greenwich Village. I’ve always admired John. He’s a dear friend. I played him this song and he said he heard harp on it. Well, friends, now you could hear exactly what he was talking’ about. It sounds like “Boogie Beyond.”
“I Got Nothin’” (with Van Morrison, vocals, and Joe Louis Walker, guitar) “You know when you sit down and you want to write a song, but nothing comes to mind? I was having one of those days. So, I went with the feeling and this is what I got. I got nothin’, and nothing is enough! It’s more than enough, actually, when you’re singing it with Van Morrison and Joe Louis Walker complemented us perfectly.”
“Stumbling Blues” (with Jimmy Vivino and Jerry Vivino, sax) “This is one of those melodies that came out of nowhere and it feels like it’s been drifting on the wind since the beginning of time. It’s built on a classic blues progression. I didn’t really hear it till I was sitting in Van Morrison’s dressing room and he asked me to play something new. For whatever reason, I knew while I was singing it that it was something extraordinary.”
“Bam Bang Boom” (with Billy Gibbons) “This is another song that started as phrases I wanted to sing. ‘I stepped into love.’ The lyric does a good job of describing what happened when I first met Susan. We were both teenagers. She was new to my very Italian neighborhood in the Bronx and she was a redheaded transplant from Vermont. Bam bang boom! Billy Gibbons was a joy to work with on this.  There’s nobody like him.”
 “I Got the Cure” (with Sonny Landreth) “The blues aren’t always about being down and out. When you aren’t crying, you’re bragging about what you can do. It’s what I did in songs from ‘The Wanderer’ to ‘King of the New York Streets’ to “Gangster of Love.’ Here I go again.”
“Song for Sam Cooke (Here in America)” (with Paul Simon, vocals) “I wrote this tune back many years ago. At first I just had the melody and the refrain ‘Here in America.’ A friend suggested I use an episode from my memoir about walking southern streets with Sam Cooke in 1962.  I finished the song, but it felt too personal, so I put it aside. Then in 2019 I saw the movie Green Book and after that I couldn’t shake the song.  My friend Paul Simon wanted to record it what he was hearing on the tune; it’s a story we both share. Thank you Paul. Rest in peace, Sam.
“What If I Told You” (with Samantha Fish) “Same old story: suspicion. The challenge is to make it new and fresh and I think I did. If I put out the same amount of energy and emotion that Samantha Fish put into this song, I wouldn’t be able to walk for three weeks. EPIC!!!”
“Told You Once in August” (with John Hammond, slide guitar on right, Rory Block, slide guitar on left and vocals) “One of my favorite guitars is a little Cordova travel model that I bought for practically nothing. One day I was fooling around on it and I got this sound that reminded me of those old backwoods Appalachian blues recordings. I tried to capture the slow anger of a man who gradually realizes he’s been done wrong by his woman.”

“Way Down (I Won’t Cry No More)” (with Stevie Van Zandt) “It started with a rhythm. It got me and wouldn’t let go. My dear friend Stevie Van Zandt just rocked it with his grit and nasty grunge guitar. We had a lot of fun in the studio and then we went out to eat to celebrate.”

“Hymn to Him” (with Patti Scialfa, vocals, and Bruce Springsteen, guitar) “I first recorded this song for my 1987 gospel album Velvet & Steel. But songs are never finished... I kept hearing this with Patti’s voice, so I asked her to help me remake the song. When she started singing and layering her vocals down, I got a big surprise. Bruce walked into the studio with his guitar and asked to play a solo. They made it something sublime.”
Follow Dion on Social Media: 
Facebook @officialdion / Instagram @diondimucciofficial  / Twitter @thewandererdion 

About Keeping The Blues Alive Records:
Joe Bonamassa along with his long-time manager, Roy Weisman, have taken the next step by creating a new record label, Keeping The Blues Alive (KTBA) Records.  The label is an offshoot of Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation, Joe Bonamassa’s non-profit that aims to conserve the art of music and the rich culture and history of the blues, recognized as a true American art form. KTBA Records’ objective is to provide a platform for musical talent in blues and blues-rock based music and to help promote the careers of extra ordinary musical talent. The label works synergistically with the non-profit’s mission of supporting musicians to continue the legacy of the blues. 10% of all profits from KTBA Records will be donated to the non-profit. The label is an important step in the co-evolution of the music and the business of making it. It represents another of Bonamassa’s continuing efforts over the last 25 years in supporting the artistic community. It reflects the philosophy of paying it forward just as so many others did for Joe in the hope of paving the way for blues-rock stars in the future.


Larkin Poe "Keep Diggin’” with new single




Larkin Poe
photo credit: Aloysius Lim
GRAMMY® Award-nominated sister duo Larkin Poe have announced today’s premiere of “Keep Diggin’,” the latest track from their much anticipated new album, SELF MADE MAN. The track is available now at all DSPs and streaming services. 
Some songs feel like they want to be written; they almost seem to spin together of their own accord like a tornado and move with their own momentum — “Keep Diggin’” was one of those songs,” explain Rebecca and Megan. “The taste for gossip comes standard issue for most folks and especially for those of us born and raised in the south - as our aunt Stella May used to say: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me”. ‘Keep Diggin’ is a playful warning to those with loose lips: don’t always believe everything you hear."


SELF MADE MAN arrives Friday, June 12 via the band’s own Tricki-Woo Records; pre-orders are available now, with all pre-orders joined by instant grat downloads of “Keep Diggin’” and the album’s previously released singles, “Holy Ghost Fire” and “She’s A Self Made Man.” 


SELF MADE MAN sees the multi-instrumentalist sister duo, comprised of the Atlanta-bred, Nashville-based Rebecca and Megan Lovell, pushing their music and message towards hitherto unexplored terrain, inspired by their epic world travels yet still powerfully rooted in the creative heritage of their beloved American South. Songs like the gothic gospel “Holy Ghost Fire” manifest a key aspect of the southern tradition, presenting a sense of celebration and renewal amid the common struggles of existence, offering a way to move through trying circumstances.

SELF MADE MAN – which follows 2018’s chart-topping, GRAMMY® Award-nominated fourth studio album, VENOM & FAITH – was self-produced by Larkin Poe, like its predecessor, with “our good buddy and engineer” Roger Alan Nichols at his Nashville studio, Bell Tone Recording. From the thunderous power of the album-opening “She’s A Self Made Man,” through the nostalgic “Tears of Blue to Gold” and fierce Chicago blues of “Scorpion,” to the front porch jubilation of “Easy Street,” the album is ambitious in both its eclectic, energetic sound and its resolutely welcoming mission, its universal lyrical approach fueled by tradition, invention, and Larkin Poe’s remarkable ability to touch the hearts and souls of their fellow humans worldwide.

“This is, in a lot of ways, is the first lyrically uplifting record we’ve made,” Megan Lowell says. “People can go through terrible things. People can weather immeasurable sorrow and hard times, and yet we can still come out on the other side, pull ourselves together, and thrive. This record reflects some of the joy and positivity that we ourselves feel and appreciate.”

 “She’s A Self Made Man“ first arrived last month and is available now at all DSPs and streaming services. With its playfully pointed gender twist, the track both gives the LP its title and serves as an anthem for Larkin Poe, kicking off the proceedings with a big riffed assertion of their current intent and amplified artistic power. An official companion video, directed by Robbie Klein (Florida Georgia Line, Justin Timberlake, Maren Morris), is streaming now via YouTube.

The premiere of “She’s A Self Made Man” was met by immediate critical acclaim, with American Songwriter writing, “Murky blues ooze off chunky riffs, delivering something ominous on ‘She’s a Self Made Man.’ It goes deep. It’s melodious and mucky. It’s a punch to the gut.” CLASH named the “biting, fantastically emphatic new single” as its “Track of the Day,” noting, “Its crunching guitar palette is augmented by flashes of sterling Americana, hearkening to their Nashville base.” “She’s A Self Made Man” “kicks all kinds of ass,” raved Classic Rock. “If delta blues had a baby with punk, and raised it on beefy rock ‘n’ roll, it might have turned out like this. Tune in, get involved...”



“Holy Ghost Fire” followed and like its predecessor, was greeted with worldwide applause from the likes of Classic Rock, which named it among their “Tracks of the Week,” writing, “This one’s got a subtle gospel-y hoodoo to it – with its early blues flavours and harmonised chorus cries of ‘testify’ and ‘smoke risin’ higher’ – but make no mistake, it rocks hard. The sound of people who’ve clearly listened to their share of Son House and Zeppelin, Aerosmith and the like.” A special lockdown performance video, directed, shot, and edited by Rebecca and Megan with assistance from Tyler Bryant, is streaming now via YouTube.



Larkin Poe recently initiated their “Home Sweet Home” Live Stream Series of online concerts. Single show tickets and discounted “Home Sweet Home Tour Passes” for all shows are available now exclusively via A portion of all proceeds will benefit United Way Nashville to assist the community with the double effects of the recent tornado and current pandemic. “Home Sweet Home” kicked off earlier this month with “Best of Tip o’ The Hat,“ and continues on May 2 at 4:00 pm ET with “The Hits,” an hour-long event featuring the best-loved and most enduring Larkin Poe songs. Upcoming concerts include “Blues Classics“ (May 16), unique “Happy Hour Shows” for both Europe and North America (May 30) and a special “Requests Show“ (June 6).


2 – The Hits – 4:00 pm ET
16 – Blues Classics – 4:00 pm ET
30 – Happy Hour Show 1 (Europe) – 1:00 pm ET
30 – Happy Hour Show 2 (North America) – 7:00 pm ET

6 – Requests Show – 4:00 pm ET

# # #

Meanwhile, Larkin Poe still hope to celebrate SELF MADE MAN with an array of North American and European live dates, currently scheduled to begin August 14 at Whimmydiddle in Hamilton, OH, followed by select headline shows and festival shows into October. 

In addition, Larkin Poe has announced rescheduled dates for their eagerly anticipated tour of Europe and the United Kingdom, with shows now slated to begin February 3 at Dublin, Ireland’s Vicar Street and then travel through mid-March. Previously purchased tickets are still valid at the rescheduled dates. Complete details and ticket information can be found at

ON TOUR 2020

14 – Hamilton, OH – Whimmydiddle #
15 – Cockeysville, MD – Hot August Music Festival #
16 – Thornton, NH – White Mountain Boogie N Blues Festival #
27 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
28 – Boston, MA – Royale
29 – New York, NY – Webster Hall

8 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
10 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
19 – Telluride, CO – Telluride Blues & Brews Festival #
21 – Jackson, WY – Center for the Arts
23 – Boise, ID – Treefort Music Fest #
24 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo #
26 – Ketchum, ID – Argyros Performing Arts Center

9 – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl Nashville



3 – Dublin, IE – Vicar Street *
4 – Glasgow, UK – SWG3 Galvanizers *
5 – Birmingham, UK – O2 Institute
6 – Brighton, UK – Chalk *
8 – Bristol, UK – SWX
9 – Oxford, UK – O2 Academy *
10 – London, UK – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
11 – Manchester, UK – O2 Ritz
13 – Paris, FR – Le Trianon
14 – Luxembourg, LU – den Atelier *
15 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso Main Hall
18 – Madrid, ES – Sala But
19 – Santander ES – Escenario Santander *
20 – Barcelona ES – Sala Apolo
21 – Valencia ES – Sala Jerusalem *
23 – Zurich, CH – Kaufleuten *
24 – Milan, IT – Santeria
25 – Munich, DE – Muffathalle *
27 – Vienna, AT – WUK
28 – Krakow, PL – Kwadrat *

MARCH 2021
1 – Warsaw, PL – Proxima *
2 – Prague, CZ – Lucerna Music Bar
4 – Berlin, DE – Huxley’s Neue Welt
6 – Stockholm, SE – Berns
8 – Oslo, NO – Rockefeller
9 – Gothenburg, SE – Tradgarn
10 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
12 – Hamburg DE – Markthalle
13 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
14 – Cologne DE – Live Music Hall


She’s A Self Made Man
Holy Ghost Fire
Keep Diggin’
Back Down South (Feat. Tyler Bryant)
Tears of Blue to Gold
God Moves on the Water
Every Bird That Flies
Easy Street

# # #


Chatham County Line’s Strange Fascination Out Today

Watch//Share: Station to Station
Chatham County Line’s ninth studio album, Strange Fascinationis out today on Yep Roc Records; listen here.
In celebration of the release, the band released the video for “Station to Station (featuring Animal on drums), which No Depression notes “is a classic ramblin’ man song,” and further remarks, “They knew we needed this music now, and they unwittingly gave us what could perhaps be a theme song for these times in closing track “Nothing.”
Of the title track, INDY Week touts that “It finds the bluegrass band in a Wilco mood, with a melting acoustic arrangement and a caressing vocal line evocative of “Jesus, Etc.,” and it’s altogether lovely.”
Produced by Dave Wilson and the band, Strange Fascination was recorded at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium Recordings in Kernersville, NC, and marks a turning point in their 20-year career that “has organically grown and blossomed into one of the most distinct and progressive acts in the realms of modern traditional string and acoustic music” (Garret Woodward). The album was mixed and engineered by Chris Boerner (Hiss Golden Messenger, The Foreign Exchange).
For the first time in the band’s recording history, Strange Fascination features drums on every track, a notion that they will translate to the live stage with the addition of drums to their live shows. “You know the banjo is a drum in and of itself, “say Dave Wilson, “we thought what better way to greet the next decade than to add drums to the stage.”
A staple of the Raleigh, North Carolina music scene for two decades, the band is comprised of Dave Wilson (guitar/vocals/songwriter), John Teer (mandolin/fiddle/vocals), and Greg Readling (bass/pedal steel/piano).

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