Friday, September 30, 2011

Australia's Undercover Becomes Noise 11

At the end of 2010, VVN Music joined with in the U.K. and Undercover in Australia to form a global news network. Through the sharing of stories, each site has been able to provide timely news and information from around the music world.

Today, Undercover became Noise 11, a new portal into the world of music and entertainment. The site includes timely news, interviews, artist sessions, galleries and much more. We congratulate the folks at Noise 11 on kicking off their brand new venue.

Steve Martin is Bluegrass Music's Entertainer of the Year

Over the life of his career, Steve Martin has won an Emmy, two Best Actors from the National Society of Film Critics, three Grammys, two Writers Guild awards and has been nominated for five Golden Globes for acting. Add to that a win on Thursday night at the International Bluegrass Association Entertainer of the Year (with the Stone Canyon Rangers).

Martin and the band took the stage to accept the award, saying "I want to thank all the other nominees ... for losing." He then went on to thank the band, producers John McEuen and Tony Trischka and commented that he is always proud to say that half the people come to their concerts not knowing a thing about bluegrass but they hopefully leave as new fans of the genre.

Other big winners on the night were the Gibson Brothers who won Vocal Group and Album of the Year, the Boxcars for Emerging Artist and Instrumental Group and the combination of Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe and Paul Williams who won Collaboration and Gospel Performance.

Much of the night also revolved around celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Monroe.

The winners with veteran artists in bold:
  • Entertainer of the Year - Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
  • Vocal Group of the Year - The Gibson Brothers
  • Instrumental Group of the Year - The Boxcars
  • Male Vocalist of the Year - Russell Moore
  • Female Vocalist of the Year - Dale Ann Bradley
  • Emerging Artist of the Year - The Boxcars
  • Album of the Year - Help My Brother by The Gibson Brothers
  • Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year - Goin' Up Dry Branch by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
  • Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year - Prayer Bells of Heaven by J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, & Paul Williams
  • Song of the Year - Trains I Missed, recorded by Balsam Range, written by Walt Wilkins, Gilles Godard & Nicole Witt
  • Recorded Event of the Year - Prayer Bells of Heaven by J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson & Paul Williams
  • Banjo Player of the Year - Kristin Scott Benson and Ron Stewart (tie)
  • Guitar Player of the Year - Bryan Sutton
  • Fiddle Player of the Year - Michael Cleveland
  • Bass Player of the Year - Marshall Wilborn
  • Mandolin Player of the Year - Adam Steffey
  • Dobro Player of the Year - Rob Ickes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rolling Stones' Some Girls Live in Texas to Be Shown in Theaters Before DVD Release

NCM Fathom, More2Screen and Eagle Rock Entertainment are joining forces to present the Rolling Stones' Some Girls Live in Texas on over 300 screens in the U.S. on October 18 at 7:30 PM (local time). The presentation proceeds the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the concert on November 21.

This rare, never-before-seen concert was captured live in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 18, 1978. Digitally re-mastered to HD with Cinema Surround Sound, this legendary footage includes a mixture of classic Stones hits such as Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Tumbling Dice, paired with blues numbers and Chuck Berry covers, as well as songs from the then newly released Some Girls LP including fan favorites Beast of Burden and Miss You. This tour has never been released via broadcast, cable television or DVD before. The special event will also include an exclusive 20-minute interview with Mick Jagger filmed in August 2011 where he reflects on the fabled 1978 U.S. tour, which is widely believed among fans to be one of the band’s greatest and strongest musically.

“Fort Worth was an amazing night in a blistering hot July,” said Jagger. “Watching it now, the band was really intense and focused, but we were also having a blast with the fans who were really getting into the show and the new tracks from Some Girls. I think our fans will love the chance to see this concert movie for the first time on the big screen.”

The Rolling Stones: Some Girls Live From Texas will be broadcast to more than 300 theaters nationwide through NCM’s exclusive Digital Broadcast Network. Fathom and Eagle Rock also teamed up for the highly successful cinema presentation of Ladies & Gentlemen… The Rolling Stones in September 2010, which featured classic Stones performances from their 1972 tour.

“It simply doesn’t get any bigger than bringing The Rolling Stones to music fans across the country,” said Dan Diamond, senior vice president of NCM Fathom. “Well-preserved for more than 33 years, audiences will be spellbound by this incredibly rare concert footage as it flawlessly captures the band during one of its most musically riveting periods.”

Singer and Mother of Hip-Hop Sylvia Robinson Passes Away at 75

The woman that was know as the Mother of Hip-Hop for her involvement in Sugar Hill Records and the first rap hit, Rapper's Delight, has passed away at the age of 75. Sylvia Robinson died on Thursday in a New York hospital from congestive heart failure.

Long before rap, Robinson was a major music star. Born Sylvia Vanderpool, she made her first record at the age of 14 while a student at Washington Irving High School in New York. Columbia Records was the first to see her talent, pairing her with trumpeter Hot Lips Page on a series of blues records. She then moved to Savoy where she recorded as Little Syliva.

Later, while recording on Cat Records, Robinson met guitarist Mickey Baker. The two began playing together and, in 1956, were signed to RCA where they recorded Love is Strange as Mickey and Sylvia. The record went to number 1 on the R&B charts in early 1957 along with number 11 on the pop chart.

Mickey and Sylvia followed with There Oughta Be a Law (1957/#8 R&B/#47 Pop) but would wait four years before their final hit, Baby You're So Fine (1961/#27 R&B/#52 Pop). They were also the backing singers on the Ike and Tina Turner hit It's Gonna Work Out Fine (1961/#2 R&B/#14 Pop).

The next year, Mickey Baker moved to Paris and Sylvia was left without a musical partner until 1964 when she found one for life and music, marrying Joe Robinson. In 1968, the couple started All Platinum Records which not only released new material from Sylvia, but also had hits by the Moments (Love On a Two-Way Street), Donnie Elbert (Where Did Our Love Go) and Shirley & Company (Shame, Shame, Shame) among others.

Sylvia recorded the song Pillow Talk in 1971 after first offering it to Al Green who felt it was too risque for his religion. It took two years before the record was released, but it went on to become a major hit topping the R&B chart and reaching number 3 on the Hot 100. She continued to release new singles and albums throughout the 70's, reaching the R&B charts an additional ten times.

Even with two number 1 R&B hits on her resume, Robinson's most significant contribution to music was yet to come. In the late-70, Sylvia and Joe partnered with Milton Malden to form Sugar Hill Records. Robinson found three guys in the same town as the label which she renamed the Sugarhill Gang and their record, Rapper's Delight, became a major hit reaching number 4 on the R&B and 36 on the pop charts. Most significantly, the release is considered the first Rap record to have commercial success and ushered in a new genre of music.

The label released 26 records that went gold from artists like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (Sylvia produced their hit The Message), the Sequence, Funky Four Plus One and the West Street Mob. Joe Robinson provided new industry innovations using the label's music including the cassette single and producing syndicated programming to stations when MTV would not air the label's records.

Unfortunately, the label hit hard times in 1986 after litigation with MCA Records over a distribution deal drained the company funds and the ensuing problems led to the divorce of Sylvia and Joe. Sylvia went on to form Bon Ami Records and discovered the group The New Style who would later become Naughty by Nature.

Sylvia is survived by three children and a number of grand and great-grandchildren.

Leslie West Postpones Tour With Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth

Leslie West has been forced to postpone his 3 Guitar Heroes tour with Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth which was scheduled to start October 6 in Norfolk, CT.  He is still contending with the recovery from the partial leg amputation that he underwent in late-June.

In an official statement, West said:
To everyone involved on this tour. I am very sad today. I was so hoping this would happen. Everyone worked so hard, and it would have been FUN. Yeah, I wanted it to be fun.

Unfortunately it was not being able to climb stairs, go to a simple thing like a bathroom on a tour bus, which is tight for a normal person, let alone me. I start training with my new leg Wednesday, so I can get back to a normal life.

I do hope that everyone would consider doing West coast to East after NAMM. Bob and Wayne think this is possible. If you guys think you would want to do this, I will work that much harder to learn to walk, which I will do anyway, but thought I would throw this in there.
According to the site, the organizers are looking for a vehicle that would suitable for West while touring with an aim to reschedule for the beginning of the year and adding dates in Europe, Japan and South America next spring.

Short Takes: Kiss, Bret Michaels, Mick Jagger, Blues Brothers, Lou Reed, Metallica and William Shatner Does Black Sabbath

KISS have put their name on official wine and beer for the European market through Rewine. Available is Kiss Zin Fire, a 2010 California Zinfandale and Kiss Destroyer Beer.

Another rock entrepreneur, Bret Michaels, has partnered with PetSmart and will release a Pets Rock line of line of products. Company VP Matt McAdams said “Adding the Bret Michaels Pets Rock collection to PetSmart stores enables us to continue to meet our pet parents’ needs with a ‘cool’ line of products from an entertainer with a demonstrated passion for our four-legged family members.”

Mick Jagger has admitted to Britain's Daily Express that he's addicted to Facebook. "I spend way too much time on the computer and not enough time playing the guitar. There’s an underlying problem of this screen life taking over all of your life. It’s easy to keep in touch with people, some of whom I wish I’d never kept in touch with. But there they are on Facebook."

Panacea Entertainment, Dan Aykroyd and Judy Belushi (John's widow) are developing an hour-long live-action series based on the Blues Brothers. Judy and Anne Beatts are writing.

There will be a deluxe version of the Lou Reed/Metallica album Lulu which will come in a tube and include a 2-CD digipack, poster and three photos by Anton Corbijn.

Finally, here's a short video of William Shatner recording the Black Sabbath classic Iron Man for his album Seeking Major Tom, due on October 11 via Cleopatra Records.

Burt Bacharach & Hal David to Receive the Fourth Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

The Library of Congress has announced that Burt Bacharach and Hal David will be the fourth recipients of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The award "celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding." The three previous winners were Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said “The timeless hits by Burt Bacharach and Hal David have helped launch the careers of many of our nation’s most celebrated performers, and they continue to be played on iPods, radio, television, in movies, and performed in cabarets and on the Broadway stage. The success of their creative genius continues today as they each add new songs to what is without question one of the richest and most recognizable multi-generational playlists known to the world. Their creative talents have inspired songwriters for more than five decades, and their legacy is much in the tradition of George and Ira Gershwin, for whom this award is named.”

“I’ve been fortunate to receive a number of music-industry honors during my career,” said David, who in addition to his songwriting career has served as president and on the board of directors of the musicians’ intellectual property organization the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). “However, the news of being awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize was especially meaningful to me. I am humbled and excited at the same time to receive this prestigious award,” he said.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award and to follow the past recipients, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney – it doesn’t get any better than this,” said Bacharach, who has also enjoyed a solo career as a performer and has continued writing songs in collaboration with such talents as Carole Bayer Sager (with whom he wrote That’s What Friends are For) and Elvis Costello (with whom he won a Grammy for the song I Still Have That Other Girl).

The music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David forms a soundtrack for popular song during the 50's through the 70's. Some of their songs and a selection of the people who recorded them:
  • The Story of My Life (Marty Robbins)
  • Magic Moments (Perry Como)
  • (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance (Gene Pitney)
  • Only Love Can Break a Heart (Gene Pitney)
  • Any Day Now (Chuck Jackson, Ronnie Milsap)
  • Make It Easy On Yourself (Jerry Butler, Walker Brothers)
  • Don't Make Me Over (Dionne Warwick)
  • Blue on Blue (Bobby Vinton)
  • I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself (Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick)
  • Twenty Four Hours to Tulsa (Gene Pitney)
  • Wives and Lovers (Jack Jones)
  • Anyone Who Had a Heart (Dionne Warwick)
  • Walk on By (Dionne Warwick)
  • Wishin' and Hopin' (Dusty Springfield)
  • You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart) (Dionne Warwick, Stylistics)
  • Reach Out For Me (Dionne Warwick)
  • A House is Not a Home (Dionne Warwick)
  • (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me (Lou Johnson, Sandi Shaw)
  • Message to Michael (Dionne Warwick)
  • Trains and Boats and Planes (Dionne Warwick, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas)
  • What the World Needs Now is Love (Jackie DeShannon)
  • What's New Pussycat? (Tom Jones)
  • Alfie (Cher, Cilla Black, Dionne Warwick)
  • Casino Royale (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass)
  • The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield)
  • I Say a Little Prayer (Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin)
  • Do You Know the Way to San Jose? (Dionne Warwick)
  • This Guy's in Love With You (Herb Alpert)/This Girl's In Love With You (Dionne Warwick)
  • Promises, Promises (Dionne Warwick)
  • I'll Never Fall in Love Again (Dionne Warwick)
  • Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (B.J. Thomas)
  • (They Long to Be) Close to You (Carpenters)
  • One Less Bell to Answer (Fifth Dimension)
The two songwriters also wrote hits with others early in their career such as Baby It's You (Bacharach with Mack David), Johnny Get Angry (David) and Broken Hearted Melody (David). 

The men's biographies from the Library of Congress press release are after the cut.

Bob Dylan's Paintings Under Scrutiny for Plagiarism

Dylan's Opium
Bob Dylan may have been the victim of plagiarism in the past but he is now the one being looked at for plagiarizing in his paintings.

Dylan is exhibiting his works at the Gagosian Gallery in New York but was quickly discovered that the images appeared nowhere near original ideas.

One of the Dylan paintings, Opium, bares an almost exact resemblance to a 1915 photograph by Leon Busy titled Indochine.

The Dylan faux-paus is the equivalent of a musician covering another artist’s work and claiming their song to be their own. Led Zeppelin fell foul of this exact same thing on and were forced to declare, credit and reimburse the original artists.

Dylan is exhibiting 18 painting in his collection Asia Series. He describes the works as a “visual reflection’ of his travels.

Jesse Winchester Declared Cancer Free

Back in early July, Jesse Winchester announced that he was suffering from cancer of the esophagus and would be canceling his remaining dates for 2011.

Now, it has been announced by Jesse's wife Cindy that he has had surgery and is cancer free. Her postings have been on the Caring Bridge website (registration required).

Winchester had surgery on Tuesday, September 20 with Cindy saying that the doctor and pathologist were both confident that all the cancer was removed, but that it would be about a week for the pathology report. Three days later, she reported that Jesse was doing "remarkably well" in his recovery even though he was still in the ICU.

Then, last Saturday brought this post:
the best news possible

Jesse is cancer free!!!!! The surgeon just received the pathology report--Jesse had a complete pathologic response. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

They moved him out of ICU in the middle of the night and into the post-surgery recovery unit. Jesse is way ahead on the recovery schedule. Thank you, thank you, thank you. With deep love and gratitude, Cindy
Today brought even better news.
Jesse is breaking all sorts of records

Jesse's recovery is profound -- he came home from the hospital this afternoon. Surgery was just a week ago. He did some of his famous dance moves in the hallway yesterday, maybe that is why he was discharged today! It was a sight to behold, let me tell you, with his hospital gown flapping behind. . .

He is comfortable, or rather I should say that his pain is minimal. He does tend to overdo things. But he is able to eat small meals and get around. And his voice is superb, simply superb.

I am still trying to wrap my head around all that has happened. The idea that he is cancer free is astonishing. The doctors have great poker faces, but everyone is in agreement--this is simply remarkable news. Dare I say miracle? The power of all of your support has had a great impact on our attitudes and ultimately, the outcome of this. I am at a loss as to how to say thank you sincerely enough.

Next time I will regale you with photos of Jolene. She was happy to have "Unka Jess" home. I tell Jesse that she calls him "Hunka Jess" behind his back. Love always, Cindy
There is still a long road ahead for Winchester to be fully recovered, but the news is excellent and it seems we may have many more year of his music with which to look forward.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chances of Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour Goes Up

A 50th Anniversary Tour for the Beach Boys seems a bit more certain today after a Rolling Stone article on the group.

According to the magazine, the surviving members of the group (Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston) got together at Capitol Records Studio A in Los Angeles over the summer and recorded a new version of their 1968 hit Do It Again. Jardine told them "Even the veteran sound engineers were moved. Not all of us are left, but there are still enough of us for that vibration to come through."

The big news is that the recording session may be used as a promotional video for the group's 50th anniversary world tour. According to Jardine, "We'll do maybe 50 amphitheaters here and 50 or 60 overseas. It'll be whenever the buyers think is the best time for us. We're wide open for that."

The question becomes who is "us?" Others have talked about a 2012 tour but Brian Wilson always quickly chimed in with no knowledge or plans for going on the road with the rest of the members.

What's more certain is that there will be a series of archive releases over the next year, kicking off with the November 1 release of The Smile Sessions.

Watch: Roger Waters & the Foo Fighters Perform Pink Floyd's In the Flesh

It's Pink Floyd week on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Tuesday night edition featured Roger Waters and the Foo Fighters performing In the Flesh from The Wall.

In addition, here's the interview with Roger Waters.

Steve Howe Making Classical Album

Steve Howe, guitarist for Yes and Asia, is saluting his roots in classical music with the new album Time, out in early November.

Time has been five years in the making for Howe. It is a collaboration with film and TV composer Paul K Joyce.

Time is Steve’s take on the works of the great classical composers like Bach and Vivaldi. It will also be his first album ever without drums.

Steve Howe was voted Best Overall Guitarist by Guitar Player magazine five years in a row from 1977-1981. Rolling Stone ranked him no.69 of the Top 100 guitarists of all time.

In the late 60s, Howe declined offers from The Nice and Jethro Tull but in 1970 said yes to Yes. He stayed with Yes until 1980, and played on the classic albums Close To The Edge, Fragile and The Yes Album.

In 1982, he formed supergroup Asia with John Wetton of King Crimson, Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Geoff Downes of The Buggles. Their big hit was Heat of the Moment.

In 1985, he was part of GTR with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.

In 2007, he formed a jazz band, the Steve Howe Trio, with his son Dylan.

Short Takes: Sly Stone, Mick Jagger, Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Mick Fleetwood, Joey Ramone, Sun Records

It appears that Sly Stone is NOT homeless, at least according to Roger Friedman at Showbiz 411. He says that a source close to Stone told him that the New York Post writer who did the story had previously made a documentary on the singer and was trying to relaunch it using the story, for which he paid Sly $5,000, as publicity.

Meanwhile, members of the original band have reacted to the original story with drummer Greg Errico telling TMZ "He knows if he ever wants to make music with us again, the door is always open."

Mick Jagger is considering acting again in the movie Tabloid which his Jagged Films is producing. His part would be a media mogul patterned after Rupert Murdoch.

Steven Tyler has told Rolling Stone that the new Aerosmith album is "almost there" with a final month of work in L.A. set for the near future. Hopes are that it will be out in March.

Rolling Stone also talked to Peter Gabriel recently about the possibility of a Genesis reunion.
I get on pretty well with everybody – it wasn't personal issues – I just didn't want to lose that sort of light-footedness that I enjoy now. And I don't know what the others would want to do. Phil [Collins] has had a lot of physical troubles recently, back problems that have restricted his drum playing, so there may be other reasons that would make it difficult now. So I assume we won't lose any sleep if we don't do more. You know, we had a great run. They did way better after I left anyway. So I don't think anyone has anything to complain about.

I won't say never ever, but it's in the outside department of the betting shop.

Mick Fleetwood is becoming a restaurateur. He plans on opening Fleetwood's in Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui sometime after the first of the year.

This Saturday is the annual Johnny Ramone tribute concert at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This is the shows seventh year (Ramone died in 2004) and will feature the Misfits, JuiceheaD and the only surviving member of the Ramones, drummer Tommy.

Grooveshark has become the only streaming service so far to include music from the Sun label in their catalog. Colin Brace, VP of Sun Entertainment, said of the agreement "We are eager to give our audience and fans around the world streaming access to our iconic artists. Grooveshark's platform and structure allow us to give our core fans what they want, while exponentially serving as a discovery engine to new listeners around the world. In a landscape where majors are fighting the inevitable reality of a new era, I'm proud Sun fosters a forward thinking direction."

Sirius/XM Adding "Live From the BBC Vaults" Series of Historic Performances

The BBC has amassed one of the largest libraries in the world of performances from an immense array of talent and they are opening that archive for use by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Live from the BBC Vault will feature two different performances each week on various SiriusXM channels. SiriusXM listeners will hear classic performances recorded over the past 40 years by artists such as Led Zeppelin, U2, Lady Gaga, AC/DC, Duran Duran, Queen, The Cure and other music legends.

The series will debut on SiriusXM's Deep Tracks, channel 27, on Monday, October 3 at 10:00 pm ET with a vintage BBC performance by Pink Floyd, recorded in 1973; and SiriusXMU, channel 35, on Wednesday, October 5 at 9:00 pm ET, which will broadcast a classic performance by Radiohead, recorded in 1997. Both performances will be rebroadcast throughout the week.

The following week First Wave, channel 33, will air a vintage BBC concert from R.E.M., recorded in 1985, in honor of the Hall of Fame inducted Athens, GA band who recently announced their separation after 31 years.

"The BBC In Concert catalogue is a deep archive of incredible performances recorded by BBC Radio over many years. We're really pleased that by working with long-standing partner SiriusXM we're able to make a wonderful selection of highly acclaimed concerts available to North American music fans," said Salim Mukaddam, Head of Radio, BBC Worldwide.

"The BBC archives are rich with some of the best performances of our generation from legendary artists to the rising stars of today, and we are delighted to deliver these performances to SiriusXM subscribers," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM. "We know the fans of BBC are passionate and loyal, and as we promised, we will deliver these special concert performances across several of our channels. This is a valuable part of our continued relationship with BBC Worldwide."

BBC Radio 1 is available on SiriusXM Internet Radio and on smartphones and mobile devices. In addition to being available online, BBC Radio 1 programming is broadcast on satellite radio at various times throughout the year coinciding with major events in BBC Radio 1's programming schedule.

Johnnie Wright, Country Star & Husband of Kitty Wells, Passes Away at 97

Long-time country singer Johnnie Wright, who scored number 1 hits in 1954 with (Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely and in1965 with Hello Vietnam and was married to country queen Kitty Wells for 73 years, passed away on Tuesday morning at the couple's home in Madison, TN. He was 97.

Wright broke into country music when he formed Johnnie Wright & the Harmony Girls with his sister Louise and his new wife, Kitty Wells (then going by her birth name of Muriel Deason). During this time, Johnnie became friends with Jack Anglin, who would eventually marry Louise and, in 1939, they formed Johnnie Wright and the Happy Roving Cowboys with Jack Anglin, changing the name a year later to Johnnie and Jack.

Anglin served overseas during World War II but, once he returned, the duo made music a full-time pursuit, scoring their first hit in 1951 with Poison Love. Over the next eleven years, Johnnie and Jack would have fifteen top 20 country hits including the number 1 (Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely.

In March of 1963, Anglin was driving to a memorial service for Patsy Cline when he was killed rounding a turn at a high speed. Wright, without his musical partner of 24 years, decided to strike out on his own returning to the country charts in 1964 with Walkin', Talkin', Cryin', Barely Beatin' Broken Heart. A year later, he made it to the top with one of Tom T. Hall's earliest songs, Hello Vietnam, a record that would see the light of day again in the 80's over the opening of the movie Full Metal Jacket.

In 1968, Wright placed his last record on the Country charts and began touring regularly with Wells. In 1983, they opened the Family Country Junction Museum and Studio in Madison which they ran until 2000. It was at the end of that year that they also performed their last show.

The couple had three children, Ruby, Carol Sue and Bobby. Each achieved their own success on the charts, Carol Sue with her mother in 1956 with How Far is Heaven (#11), Ruby in 1964 with Darn Ya (#13) and Bobby in 1971 with Here I Go Again (#13).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Preview: The Bridge School Benefit Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition - Various Artists (2-CD or 3-DVD Sets)

Artist: Various Artists
Title: The Bridge School Benefit Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: October 24, 2011
Label: Reprise
Format(s): 2-CDs, 3-DVDs, DD

On October 24th, Reprise Records will release two very special and highly anticipated packages: a three-DVD set and a two-CD collection that feature unique live performances from many of the phenomenal artists who've performed at the beloved Annual Bridge School Benefit Concerts over the past 25 years. Some of the biggest names in music are included on The Bridge School Benefit Concerts - 25th Anniversary Edition, performing rare, acoustic versions of songs, never heard anywhere else, to benefit The Bridge School, a non-profit, innovative organization educating children with severe speech and physical impairments through the use of augmentative and alternative communication systems and assistive technology. This once-in-a-lifetime collection is sure to become a treasured artifact for generations to come. View the trailer here.

Artists featured on the three-DVD set include Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Who, Tom Petty, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and much more. Neil Young organizes the event each year with his wife Pegi Young. A documentary DVD includes The Bridge School Story, which gives a special look into this wonderful school and the truly phenomenal services they provide children with advanced physical and communication challenges. Another documentary on the DVD, Backstage At The Bridge School Benefit Concert, offers a bird's-eye view of the event itself, along with special features that include heartfelt interviews with the students and the artists themselves. The two- CD set features exclusive performances from Sheryl Crow, Thom Yorke, Norah Jones, No Doubt, Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Sonic Youth, and more.

The cover art has been designed by renowned artist Shepard Fairey.

Bridge School co-founder Pegi Young and Executive Director Dr. Vicki Casella explain: "The success of The Bridge School has been ensured over these many years through the extraordinary generosity of performers, artists and musicians. The funds raised by this benefit have allowed us to have a positive impact on children, families and professionals throughout the world."

The DVD and CD packages will be released just after this year's Bridge School Benefit Concerts, which will held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, on October 22nd and 23rd. The Bridge School Benefit is an annual concert that directs all proceeds to The Bridge School. The first concert was held in October 1986, and, with the exception of 1987, the concert has been held every year since. As a practice, the performers use acoustic instruments. Young also personally performs every year.

This pair of must-own packages memorializes the artists' passion and commitment to a worthy cause that links us all together. The Bridge School Benefit Concerts - 25th Anniversary Edition will entertain, enlighten, and inform you on how to become a member of The Bridge School family.

Track List:

DVD Edition

Disc 1
  • Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
  • People Have the Power - Patti Smith
  • Better Man - Pearl Jam
  • Heroes - David Bowie
  • The Will Be a Light - Ben Harper
  • Girl From the North Country - Bob Dylan
  • Country Feedback - R.E.M.
  • Love Hurts - Emmylou Harris & Buddy Miller
  • Blue Ridge Mountains - Fleet Foxes
  • At the Hop - Devendra Banhart
  • The Road is My Middle Name - Bonnie Raitt
  • Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
Disc 2
  • Surfin' U.S.A. - Brian Wilson
  • The Way It Will Be - Gillian Welch
  • Sense of Purpose - Pretenders
  • Fire and Rain - James Taylor
  • America - Simon & Garfunkel
  • Shadow of a Doubt - Tom Petty
  • Too Much - Dave Matthews
  • Crime in the City - Neil Young
  • 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six - Tom Waits
  • A Dream Come True - Elton John & Leon Russell
  • Get Back - Paul McCartney
  • Disposable Heroes - Metallica
  • Won't Get Fooled Again - Who
Disc 3 (Bridge School Documentaries)
  • Backstage at the Bridge School Benefit Concerts
  • The Bridge School Story
  • Student/Artist Interviews

CD Edition

Disc 1
  • Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
  • Too Much - Dave Matthews
  • Magic's in the Makeup - No Doubt
  • Gone - Jack Johnson
  • Blue Ridge Mountains - Fleet Foxes
  • Love and Only Love - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  • Rain on Tin - Sonic Youth
  • Better Man - Pearl Jam
  • The Way It Will Be - Gillian Welch
  • Country Feedback - R.E.M. and Neil Young
  • The Great Divide - Willie Nelson
  • Cry Just a Little - Nils Lofgren
Disc 2
  • Elsewhere - Sarah McLachlan
  • Get Back - Paul McCartney
  • A Dream Come True - Elton John & Leon Russell
  • Marry Song - Band of Horses
  • Disposable Heroes - Metallica
  • After the Gold Rush - Thom Yorke
  • The Difficult Kind - Sheryl Crow
  • Maybe This Time - Tony Bennett
  • Deja Vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Jesus, Etc. - Norah Jones
  • I Was Dancing In the Lesbian Bar - Jonathan Richman
  • Surfin' U.S.A. - Brian Wilson
  • Won't Get Fooled Again - Who

Listen: Back in the Crowd by Tom Waits

Tom Waits is back with the second single from his forthcoming album Bad As Me.

Bad As Me is the first album of all-new material in seven years, and he has already released the title track, which is a jerky Southern blues nightmare with Waits’ trademark psychotic yelp.

Business as usual, then.

He put together the 13 tracks with his longtime co-writer and producer Kathleen Brennan, spanning his skills from smoky balladeer to junkyard maniac.

Back In The Crowd hits radio today and Bad As Me will be released on October 24 in regular and deluxe edition CD and LP through ANTI-.

While we’re at it, have a listen to the title track below, and below that get another taste or two, as introduced by Waits, during his “Private Listening Party”.

Tom Waits - Bad As Me by antirecords

Debbie Harry Thinks She Might Be a Good Talent Show Judge

She was once a rebel but now thinks it might be time to go a little mainstream.

Debbie Harry has previously expressed doubts about programs such as The X Factor and American Idol. While she recognizes they are a great way for unsigned artists to get exposure, Debbie worries the eventual winners don't have enough control over their careers.

That said, she enjoys watching the series and has even started to wonder whether she'd be a good addition to one of the panels.

"I don't know. I guess it's time! Those shows are sort of magnetic. People really get entranced watching them," she said.

Debbie's band Blondie shot to fame in the 70s and are still going strong. Singer Debbie believes it's her love of music which has made her want to continue performing even though she's 66.

She also enjoys working with guitarist Chris Stein and revealed being part of a group is something which has always appealed to her.

"The core of it is the music. I love performing and writing lyrics and being in a band. Being part of an ensemble has always been a preference of mine. I never really envisioned myself as a solo artist, although I have done solo work," she told Parade. "But I really enjoy working with Chris and I enjoy working with the other guys in the band. It's a comfort zone for me."

The group's latest record, Panic of Girls, hit stores in America earlier this month and it's one Debbie is particularly proud of. It's the band's first release since 2003 and they were keen to ensure it went down well with fans.

"Since we haven't had an album out in a long time - seven or eight years - we wanted to make a really strong Blondie album. Our legacy has always been a blend of a lot of different styles of music, so we incorporated some reggae, pop, world music and rock," Debbie explained.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Announces Fifteen Nominees for the Class of 2012

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have announced the fifteen nominees for possible induction as their class of 2012. Among the group are nine first-time nominees along with six who are making another attempt at getting in.

Those nominated for the first time:
  • Cure (eligible since 2003)
  • Eric B. & Rakim (first year of eligibility)
  • Guns N' Roses (first year of eligibility)
  • Heart (eligible since 2001)
  • Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (eligible since 2005)
  • Freddie King (eligible since 1981)
  • Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (eligible since 1999)
  • Small Faces/Faces (eligible since 1991)
  • Spinners (eligible since 1986)
Only two of the first-timers have been nominated in their first year of eligibility, Guns N' Roses and Erik B. & Rakim. Artists can be nominated 25 years after the release of their first commercial record. Others who began their recording careers in 1986 but were passed over include Bob Geldof, Bobby Brown, Bruce Hornsby, Crowded House, Guided by Voices, Poison, Salt N Pepa, Soundgarden, They Might Be Giants and Yo La Tengo.
Those that have been previously nominated:
  • Beastie Boys (previously nominated for class of 2008, 2011)
  • Donovan (2011)
  • Laura Nyro (2010, 2011)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers (2010)
  • Donna Summer (2008, 2010, 2011)
  • War (2009)
Once again, some major acts that have been touted for many years by the fans as deserving members have been left out including Rush, KISS, the Moody Blues, Chicago, Emerson Lake & Palmer and the Monkees.

"The 2012 Nominees embody the broad scope of what ‘rock and roll’ means," said Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. "From vocal groups to hip hop, from singer-songwriters to hard rocking artists, this group represents the spirit of what we celebrate at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

The ballots listing the fifteen names will be sent out to over 500 voters from which the top five vote receivers will be named and inducted on Saturday, April 14 in Cleveland.

After the cut are the biographies for each of the fifteen nominees as released by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Short Takes: INXS, Robert Plant, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper, Neil Bogart, Jessy Dixon, Randy Travis

INXS has a new lead singer, announcing that Ciaran Gribbin will be taking the reigns. Gribbin has experience behind the scenes in the business, writing Madonna's Celebration, for which he was nominated for a Grammy, singing backup on Snow Patrol's Eyes Open and producing the music for the recent film Killing Bono.

The band will tour in November and Gribbin told Rolling Stone "A baptism of fire is the best way to describe the live shows, I think. In a way I’m slightly nervous, and in another way I’m unbelievably excited. It’s a wonderful, proud moment for me. It’s a real feeling of achievement to have a band of INXS’ stature believe in me as a performer and a singer. It’s genuine dream-come-true, fairy-tale stuff for me. I’m still waking up in the morning here in Australia going, ‘How did I get here?’"

Robert Plant will appear on the next album from West End star Alfie Boe (Les Misérables) which is due on October 31. The pair have recorded a duet on Tim Buckley's Song of the Siren, which Plant had previously recorded on his 2002 album Dreamland.

Clear Lake, Iowa, the location of the final performance by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper before their death in a plane crash, is continuing to find ways to salute the three stars. They already had a Buddy Holly Place and are now adding Ritchie Valens Drive and J.P. Richardson Avenue onto their map, along with the new Three Stars Plaza.

Justin Timberlake has singed to play Neil Bogart, the man who started Casablanca Records, home to such stars as Donna Summer, Parliament and the Village People. Spinning Gold is being written by Tim Bogart and is being made by Boardwalk Films which just happens to be a partnership between Bogart's son and Timberlake.

Gospel singer and songwriter Jessy Dixon passed away on Monday in his Chicago home at the age of 73. 

Dixon gained a large following after recording and touring with Paul Simon, most notably on the hit Loves Me Like a Rock. His songs were performed by the likes of Diana Ross, Cher, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.

Country star Randy Travis passed out mid-song during a show in front of a room of doctors over the weekend. He was performing at the Crystal Heart Gala in Nashville when he went down on the stage from what is being described as over-the-counter medications that he was taking for laryngitis.

Doctors came to his rescue and he was able to walk off the stage to be examined. He is now at home resting. A statement on the incident said "Mr. Travis was overcome by a combination of dehydration, over-the-counter allergy medications, and caffeine use. This, combined with the heat of the stage lights, caused him to pass out."

It's Pink Floyd Week on Jimmy Fallon

Late night host Jimmy Fallon is set to salute Pink Floyd over the next week on his NBC show. It's all to celebrate the reissue of the Floyd catalog with the remastered original albums plus special editions of some of their classics.

The schedule:
  • Monday, September 26 - Drummer Nick Mason will talk with Fallon and the Shins will perform Breathe from Dark Side of the Moon.
  • Tuesday, September 27 - Roger Waters will talk with Fallon and will join the Foo Fighters to perform In the Flesh from The Wall.
  • Wednesday, September 28 - MGMT will perform Lucifer Sam from 1967's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
  • Thursday, September 29 - Dierks Bentley will perform Wish You Were Here.
  • Friday, September 30 - Pearl Jam will perform Mother from The Wall.
Fallon had previously had week long tributes to the Rolling Stones and Bob Marley.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Unusual Suspects - Leslie West

by Andy Snipper

Leslie West is a genuine legend of the guitar. He was part of Mountain and then West Bruce & Laing and his playing has been held up as a perfect example to years of young players starting out.

Somehow he has never got the accolades amongst the public that he deserves but the line-up of musicians on this album suggests that his contemporaries know what he is about – Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Zack Wylde and Steve Lukather: not a shabby bunch.

The playing on this album is, frankly, streets ahead of the rest. Classic power Blues, hard riffs and screaming solos all tied up with West’s growling vocals.

Right from the off – One More Drink For The Road – the song cooks and Steve Lukather puts in some screaming guitar while track two brings Slash in for the down and dirty Mud Flap Momma and the combination of West and Slash is a mixture made in heaven.

Apparently Billy Gibbons hadn’t finished Standing On Higher Ground before bringing in to the session with West but it is reasonable to say that they nailed it. Anything written by Gibbons is going to have elements of ZZ Top about it but it sounds damn fine here as well.

Third Degree is massive, huge power riffs and desperately needing to be played loud and then louder – Joe Bonamassa is ubiquitous at the moment but this is one of the best collaborations he has done recently. West can even do a great job on a ballad like Legend – strings and piano against his heartfelt and belting vocals and just enough guitar – this is the way to do it.

At first sight I'm not sure I'd have picked the Beatles I Feel Fine for a rock number but this is so much fun - why doesn't everyone play it this way?

As you work through the album you are really lifted by just how good old-fashioned power rock can be when it is played right. Leslie West always was capable of playing just enough and no more but when he has sidemen like these and still comes out as the star of the show you can see just how important and just how bloody good a guitarist he really is.

This is one album that you really should own if you claim to be into rock - West is a legend but he is still relevant and truly great today.

Get your free membership to Mog to listen to this album in full:

New Releases by Veteran Artists for September 27, 2011

The full list of new releases by veteran artists is after the cut.