Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: The Duke - Joe Jackson

by Roger Wink

Let me just say up front that I'm a big fan of Joe Jackson. I think that his genre hopping albums have been at times brilliant and I rarely dislike anything he has released.

Until now.

I won't say The Duke is a terrible album as there are a few tracks that stand out but, overall, the mixed bag left me pretty disappointed, longing for a clever and eclectic Jackson versus this mishmash.

The Duke is Jackson's reimagining of the music of Duke Ellington, covering fifteen of his better known songs over ten tracks. The opener, Isfahan, has been dismissed by some as "elevator music" but, to me, is probably the best instrumental on the album, very atmospheric and with Jackson's signature piano playing.

On the other hand, the second cut (Caravan) is a mess, taking one of Ellington's most recognizable songs and giving it an unnecessary rhythm and instrumentation that, at times, makes it almost unrecognizable.

The best cuts on the album are handled by guest vocalists, including a marvelous Sharon Jones (I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues) and Lilian Vieira of the group Zuco 103 on Perdido. Unfortunately, Jackson himself doesn't fare as well. He's great on I'm Beginning to See the Light but falls far short on a Mood Indigo that sounds, at times, like a New Orleans funeral dirge.

The worst of the tracks is left for the end with Jackson and Iggy Pop trading vocals on It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). It's not the vocals that are bad, it's the constant sampling that makes it sound like a close cousin to Falco's Puttin' on the Ritz.

Outside of a couple of standout tracks, this is a real mess. One of the big disappointments of 2012.

Listen: George Michael's New Dance Single "White Light"

George Michael has released his new song White Light, exactly 30 years to the day after Wham released Wham Rap.

Announcing the song, in a letter George writes:
Hi everyone. On the 29th of June this year it will be thirty years to the day that Wham Rap, my first single, written with Andrew Ridgeley, (on an afternoon that the two of us should have been at school!), entered the British charts. To celebrate and commemorate those thirty wonderful years I am releasing my most recent song, White Light, to radio on the exact anniversary of that chart date.

Although I know the music industry tradition on such occasions is to list the hundreds of millions of albums sold, the number of records broken and awards received over all those years, I would simply like to say thank you.

Most of my fans realise that I dreamed of a career as a singer/songwriter from an early age, but never in my wildest imaginings could I have known that I would still be here thirty years later, healthy, happy, and feeling that I still have so much more music to give. It is miraculous in so many ways. Fate has been so kind to me, as have the millions of people that that have bought records and come to see me play year after year since 1982.

I am truly blessed, and White Light is my thank you to everybody who has been a part of my success. And I mean everybody, including the press!! Long may it continue.

All my love,
George Michael xxx
George’s last album was Patience 8 years. The new album is due later this year. He will tour Australia with the Symphonica tour in November.

Single Tracklisting:
  • White Light
  • Song To The Siren
  • White Light – Voodoo Sonics Remix
  • White Light – Kinky Roland Remix

Watch & Listen: Australian Duo Pnau Reinvents the Music of Elton John

The next Elton John album is with Australian act PNAU.

The album Good Morning To The Night is about to be released through Universal. Elton gave full licence to PNAU to reinvent this music for today with the record.

Sir Elton John “discovered” PNAU back in 2007 and bought up their album to hand out to his friends. He then invited Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes to tea in London and offered his support for whatever they needed to do.

Their last album Soft Universe featured co-writes with Elton John.

PNAU have just uploaded the video for Sad.

They have also made available the track Good Morning to the Night.

PNAU went back to the early catalogue for this album and added loops, samples and their own music to create the album.

The tracks are:

1. Good Morning To The Night
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Philadelphia Freedom
  • Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
  • Funeral for a Friend
  • Tonight
  • Gulliver/It’s Hay Chewed
  • Sixty Years On (Live in Australia)
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • Someone Saved my Life Tonight

2. Sad
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Nice and Slow
  • Crazy Water
  • Curtains
  • Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word
  • Friends

3. Black Icy Stare
(Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Cold Highway
  • You’re So Static
  • Solar Prestige a Gammon

4. Foreign Fields
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Pinky
  • Someone Saved My Life Tonight
  • High Flying Bird
  • Sweet Painted Lady
  • Cage the Songbird
  • Chameleon

5. Telegraph to the Afterlife
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Harmony
  • We All Fall in Love Sometimes
  • Funeral for a Friend
  • Sweet Painted Lady
  • I’ve Seen That Movie Too
  • Love Song
  • Indian Sunset

6. Phoenix
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Grey Seal
  • Are You Ready for Love
  • Benny and the Jets
  • Someone Saved My Life Tonight
  • Where to Now St Peter?
  • Love Lies Bleeding
  • Border Song
  • Country Love Song
  • Three Way Love Affair

7. Karmatron
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Madman Across The Water
  • Funeral for a Friend
  • Stinker
  • The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-1934)
  • Tonight
  • One Horse Town
  • Screw You

8. Sixty
Includes Elements from the following original Elton John Sound Recordings:
  • Sixty Years On
  • Sixty Years On (Live in Australia)
  • Sixty Years On (Live 17-11-70)
  • Indian Sunset

Mick Jones to Close Strummer of Love Festival

Former lead guitarist and vocalist of The ClashMick Jones, has been announced as the final act at this year's Strummer of Love festival.

The punk rock icon's Justice Tonight band will feature musical provocateur Pete Wylie, as well as members of The Farm, and will be closing proceedings on the Clash City Rockers stage on Sunday 19th August.

Fresh off the back of a successful tour and support slots at the recent Stone Roses reunion concerts, the Justice Tonight band will bring their critically-acclaimed show to Somerset in what will be a momentous and poignant occasion.

Speaking recently of his relationship with his much-missed friend and Clash cohort, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones said: "Joe is with me all the time. I can feel him in so many ways. It's something that's with me a lot of the time."

Taking place on the weekend of August 17-19, Strummer of Love will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of iconic Clash frontman Joe Strummer. The Justice Tonight set will see fans given the rare opportunity to experience some of the Clash's most legendary songs in a live setting.

Festival Director, Trish Whelan, said: "Mick has relentlessly been a huge supporter of the Strummerville mission, and we couldn't be more honoured to have him close Strummer of Love. We think it will mean a lot to all of Joe's fans and will obviously be an incredibly fitting tribute."

Other recent additions to the festival include a very special 'Art Barter' which will be presented on iconic British artist Sir Peter Blake's Art Bus. Art Barter will exhibit works inspired by the late Joe Strummer and visitors will be invited to bid on pieces using anything except money.

Situated on a double-decker bus designed by the infamous pop artist, featured exhibits will include work from Bob Gruen, Mick Jones, Claude Simonon, Gaye Black, Martin Glover, Paul Fryer, Rodney Graham, Gordon McHarg, Akiko Comenachi, Kitty Finer, John McLean and James Putnam.

Strummer of Love will also be displaying a selection of items from Mick Jones' outstanding personal collection. A presentation from the Mick Jones Rock & Roll Public Library will sit inside 'Strummer School', the museum housing some amazing and unique articles from the Joe Strummer archive.

'Speaking Suppers' is yet another addition to the event's activities. Created by Dubliners Victoria Mary Clarke and Sarah Leahy, the suppers are an inclusive opportunity to practice the art of speech in front of an audience of diners, in a relaxed, fun, informal setting. Friends, family and fans of Joe are being invited to share their thoughts, feelings, memories and stories about Joe, in a way that allows everybody to enjoy them.

Brothers, the infamous cider people from Somerset and long time Strummerville supporters will also be bringing their original and legendary 1995 Glastonbury bar to Strummer of Love.

In honour of Strummer's worldviews, proceeds from the festival will benefit the work of the charity Strummerville: The Joe Strummer New Music Foundation, which was set up in the singer's memory by his friends and family following his untimely death.

Since its 2003 inception, Strummerville has stayed true to Joe's reputation as a rallying point and motivational icon by driving a host of projects that provide invaluable opportunities for musical creativity to thrive.

Eddie Van Halen Says This Version of the Band is "Here to Stay" After Getting Rid of Those That "Don't Belong"

Here's a quote that won't be making Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony's days.

Eddie Van Halen has told Guitar World that earlier versions of Van Halen "wasn’t really us, it was people around us. When you’re doing drugs, drinking and partying, you start believing the s–t people tell you. Those days are gone. We’ve gotten rid of people who don’t belong here."

He went on to say that the current band, brother Alex, son Wolfgang and lead David Lee Roth, "feels more like a band and a family than it ever has – and not just because three quarters of it is family. Working with Dave has been very productive. We’re all very opinionated about things, but it’s all for the benefit of the music."

According to Eddie, look for another album from the group sometime after the current tour is complete.

Man Arrested for Burglarizing Bob Seger's Home

Last August, the daughter of Bob Seger had a party at the family home. When all was done, cash and other items were missing, including the 1978 Les Paul guitar that Seger is holding on the cover of his Greatest Hits album.

On Tuesday, 20-year-old Andrew D. Thompson, a close friend of the family, was arrested and charged with the burglary. According to police sources, it is believed that Thompson attended the small gathering and broke back into the house after it was over to take the items.

Darrell Betts of the Orchard Lake Police said of the guitar "It mysteriously showed up right after I talked to him, but he denied he took it. That was my main goal, getting that guitar back. ... It’s priceless."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Preview: We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash - Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Label: Sony/Legacy
Format(s): CD/DVD, Blu-Ray

On April 20, 2012, a host of artists came together at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas to salute the legendary Johnny Cash.

Included for the evening were ex-Cash cohorts Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Brandi Carlile, Amy Lee of Evanescense and many more, each taking on a song from throughout Cash's career. Musical director for the evening was Don Was with the house band consisting of Buddy Miller, Kenny Aronoff, Ian McLagan and Greg Leisz.

Among the performances are remarkable pairings such as Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow performing If I Were A Carpenter, one of several duets recorded by Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash; Train's Pat Monahan and Shelby Lynne trading verses on It Ain't Me Babe; Kris Kristofferson joining Jamey Johnson for Sunday Morning Comin' Down, both returning with Willie Nelson and Shooter Jennings for The Highwayman.

Solo highlights on We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash include Folsom Prison Blues by Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams' stunning reinterpretation of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt (performed by Johnny Cash on American IV: The Man Comes Around, the last album released during the artist's lifetime); and Long Black Veil by the acclaimed American singer-songwriter Iron & Wine.

We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash crescendos with more than two-dozen musicians on-stage capping a once-in-a-lifetime concert with an ecstatic rendition of I Walk The Line.

The deluxe CD/DVD package includes live concert shots and portrait photography in addition to feature interviews with all the performers from the concert.

A broadcast television version of We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash premieres nationally on Friday, August 10 as part of PBS Pledge.

Track List:

  • Folsom Prison Blues - Brandi Carlile
  • Get Rhythm - Andy Grammer
  • I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Amy Lee
  • Hey Porter - Buddy Miller
  • Why Me Lord - Shelby Lynne
  • Help Me Make It Through the Night - Pat Monahan
  • It Ain't Me Babe - Shelby Lynne and Pat Monahan
  • Sunday Morning Coming Down - Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson
  • Jackson - Carolina Chocolate Drops
  • Wreck Of The Old 97 - Rhett Miller
  • Ring Of Fire - Ronnie Dunn
  • Cocaine Blues - Shooter Jennings
  • Hurt - Lucinda Williams
  • The Long Black Veil - Iron & Wine
  • Big River - Kris Kristofferson
  • Cry, Cry, Cry - Sheryl Crow
  • If I Were A Carpenter - Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow
  • Highwayman - Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson
  • I Walk The Line - Full Ensemble
  • I Still Miss Someone - rehearsal performance by Willie Nelson (bonus)
  • The Man Comes Around - Matthew McConaughey (bonus)
  • Johnny Cash, His Life and Music – Artist interviews, Johnny Cash archival footage, more (bonus)
  • Walking The Line: The Making of a Celebration - behind-the-scenes of the historic Johnny Cash 80th Birthday Concert Celebration (bonus)
  • Folsom Prison Blues - Brandi Carlile
  • Ring Of Fire - Ronnie Dunn
  • Hey Porter - Buddy Miller
  • Hurt - Lucinda Williams
  • Wreck Of The Old 97 - Rhett Miller
  • Jackson - Carolina Chocolate Drops
  • The Long Black Veil - Iron & Wine
  • Big River - Kris Kristofferson
  • Why Me Lord - Shelby Lynne
  • Help Me Make It Through the Night - Pat Monahan
  • It Ain't Me Babe - Shelby Lynne and Pat Monahan
  • Sunday Morning Coming Down - Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson
  • Get Rhythm - Andy Grammer
  • Cocaine Blues - Shooter Jennings
  • I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Amy Lee
  • Cry, Cry, Cry - Sheryl Crow
  • I Still Miss Someone - Willie Nelson
  • If I Were A Carpenter - Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow
  • Highwayman - Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson
  • I Walk The Line - Full Ensemble

Watch: Official Video for Celebrate by Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston

The official video has just been released for the song Celebrate by Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston from the upcoming movie Sparkle.

While Houston only appears in the video in scenes from the movie (the video was shot after her death), her voice is heard on the track.

Sparkle, a remake of the 1970's motion picture, will be released on August 17. Houston plays the mother of the title character who is portrayed by Sparks who won the sixth season of American Idol.

George Michael and Boy George Contribute to Album in Tribute to Late Singer-Songwriter

Natasha Antoinette Anastasiades, a promising singer-songwriter on the verge of stardom, was killed on March 6 2005 in a car crash. She left a body of work which her music producer father Mario has spent an astonishing 7 years completing.

"I made a promise, after she died, that it would be released," says Mario Anastasiades. "And I have spent 7 years trying to keep this promise. It's to encourage other parents to do something positive, become a spokesperson."

The Natasha Tribute album is released June 25 on Rise International Music, and has been produced by Mario and Chaz Dabat for The Natasha Foundation and the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital. Crossing styles and genres, from R'n'B to ballads, dance tracks to cover versions, it's an unprecedented combination of original compositions, collaborations, vocal donations and inclusions from a galaxy of stars. Mario coordinated the production of the album with the help of his friend Chaz Dabat who produced it.

Standout tracks include the hook-laden mid-tempo ballad and future single, Yell Cut (featuring Marcella Detroit and Antony Costa), the slinky eastern-tinged hip hop of Follow My Lead (Marc Nelson), and the sprightly In 2 U, which features Natasha's ex band mate Lara Copcutt. Elsewhere, there's a heartfelt cover of the Cat Stevens classic Can't Keep It In, and two tracks produced by the Berman Brothers (Who Let The Dogs Out?) the ballad Without You and smash hit Britney-esque anthem Breaking All The Rules . Almost all the tracks contain Natasha's vocals, but some, such as George Michael's Edith & The Kingpin and the fantastic Natasha's American Heart (Boy George),) were gifts from the artists themselves. The album ends with Heavenly Star, a moving paean to his daughter written and performed by Mario himself.

Mario is a former singer-songwriter who scored a hit in the early 90s with the Top 5 EMI-signed dance act Hyper Go Go, as well as going on to be signed to BMG as part of Latin Touch. He managed his daughter Natasha and three times they came close to a deal, before her untimely death.

Bruce Springsteen to Be MusiCares Person of the Year

The Recording Academy and the MusiCares Foundation have announced that Bruce Springsteen has been selected to be the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year. He is being honored for his "extraordinary creative accomplishments as well as his significant charitable work, which has included an impressive range of philanthropic activities over the years."

Springsteen will receive his award at a major gala on Friday, February 8, two days before the Grammy Awards. Traditionally, the evening includes a dinner, silent auction and concert featuring a wide array of artists performing the songs of that year's honoree.

"Bruce Springsteen is a truly gifted and Renaissance artist of our time, a national treasure, and an exemplary humanitarian," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy. "His career is a testament to the power of creative excellence, and his contributions as a philanthropist speak to the tenacity of the human spirit. We are privileged and honored to pay tribute to Bruce this year as our MusiCares Person of the Year."

"Bruce is synonymous with artistic independence and a passion for causes that are close to his heart," said Scott Pascucci, Chair of the MusiCares Foundation Board. "His career seamlessly combines inspiration and charity, and it's a reminder that we can all do our part to make the world a better place."

The MusiCares Foundation offers programs and services to members of the music community including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities and car payments; medical expenses including doctor, dentist and hospital bills; psychotherapy; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hepatitis C, and other critical illnesses.

Previous winners include last years recipient, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin and Don Henley.

Songwriter & Painter Susanna Clark Passes Away at 73

Nashville based songwriter and painter Susanna Clark passed away on Wednesday at the age of 73. According to sources, she was in poor health for some time.

Clark, who was the wife of Guy Clark, had been an active member of the Nashville community since the early-70's. As a songwriter, she penned I'll Be Your San Antonio Rose (Recorded by Dottsy/1976/#12 Country), Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, Easy From Now On (both Emmylou Harris) and Come From the Heart (Kathy Mattea/1989/#1 Country) among others.

As a painter, she was responsible for such album covers as Willie Nelson's Stardust, Emmylou Harris' Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, Nancy Griffith's Dust Bowl Symphony and Guy Clark's Old No. 1.

Slash Adds New Dates For Fall

Slash will continue his summer tour well into the fall in support of his new album Apocalyptic Love. Playing with the guitarist is Myles Kennedy and the Conspirator. Tickets for the September through November shows go on sale on July 13.

Here are the remaining summer dates along with the new ones for the fall:
  • 07/10 - Hollywood Walk of Fame - Los Angeles, CA
  • 07/12 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
  • 07/13 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
  • 07/14 - Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
  • 07/16 - Edmonton, AB - Northern Alberta Jubilee
  • 07/17 - Calgary, AB - Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
  • 07/19 - Medicine Hat, AB - Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre
  • 07/20 - Saskatoon, SK - TCU Place
  • 07/21 - Winnipeg, MB - Burton Cummings Theatre
  • 07/23 - Thunder Bay, ON - Thunder Bay Community Auditorium
  • 07/25 - Belleville, ON - Empire Square Live
  • 07/26 - London, ON - Harris Park
  • 07/27 - Montreal, QB - Olympia Theater
  • 07/29 - Quebec City, QB - Salle Albert Rosseau
  • 07/30 - Moncton, NB - Centre-Casino Moncton
  • 07/31 - Halifax, NS - Cunard Events Centre
  • 08/02 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
  • 08/03 - Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre
  • 08/04 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount
  • 08/07 - Dubuque, IA - Diamond Jo Casino
  • 08/08 - St Louis, MO - The Pageant
  • 08/10 - Sturgis, SD - Buffalo Chip Campground
  • 08/17 - Auckland Central, New Zealand - Vector Arena
  • 08/19 - Christchurch, New Zealand - CBS Arena
  • 08/23 - Brisbane Qld, Australia - Riverstage
  • 08/25 - Sydney, Australia - Entertainment Centre
  • 08/26 - Melbourne Vic, Australia - Hisense Arena
  • 08/28 - Adelaide, Australia - Thebarton Theatre
  • 08/30 - Perth, Australia - Metro City
  • 09/04 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
  • 09/05 - Phoenix, AZ - Celebrity Theatre
  • 09/07 - Austin, TX - Stubb's
  • 09/08 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
  • 09/09 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
  • 09/11 - New Orleans, LA - House Of Blues
  • 09/12 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
  • 09/16 - Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
  • 09/18 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom
  • 09/19 - Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
  • 09/21 - Cincinnati, OH - Bogart's
  • 09/22 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore
  • 09/23 - Toronto, Canada - Sound Academy
  • 09/25 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room
  • 09/28 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theater
  • 09/29 - Springfield, MO - O'Reilly Family Events Center
  • 10/02 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
  • 10/03 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
  • 11/02 - Manaus, Brazil - Studio 5
  • 11/04 - Brasilia, Brazil - Opera Hall
  • 11/06 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Espaço das Américas
  • 11/07 - Curitiba, Brazil - Master Hall RSVP
  • 11/09 - Porto Alegre, Brazil - Pepsi On Stage RSVP

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Preview: Live in Paris - The A,B,C & D of Boogie Woogie (Charlie Watts)

Artist: The A,B,C & D of Boogie Woogie
Title: Live in Paris
Release Date: Available Now
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Format(s): CD, DD

Charlie Watts, the drummer for The Rolling Stones, has a new band called The A, B, C & D Of Boogie Woogie. The name is a reference to the first names of the guys in the band, Axel Zwingenberger, Ben Waters, Charlie Watts & Dave Green.

The A,B,C & D of Boogie Woogie released their album Live In Paris on Eagle Records this week.

One of the tracks, the classic (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66, was written by Bobby Troup in 1946. It was first recorded by Nat King Cole. The Rolling Stones recorded it in 1964. Glenn Frey recorded it recently for his After Hours album.

Live In Paris is the first album release by Charlie’s “other” band. It was recorded over several nights in September 2010 at the Duc Des Lombards jazz club in Paris. The setlist is their regular mix of originals, improvisations and blues and boogie woogie standards all played with their trademark virtuosity and love for the genre.

Track List:
  • Bonsoir Boogie!
  • Evolution Blues
  • (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
  • Somebody Changed The Lock On My Door
  • Roll ‘Em Pete
  • Duc De Woogie Boogie
  • Street Market Drag
  • Struttin’ At Sebastopol
  • More Sympathy For The Drummer
  • Blues Des Lombards
  • Down The Road A Piece
  • St Louis Blues
  • Low Down Dog
  • Encore Stomp

Rod Stewart Signs Long-Term Deal With Universal; Records Christmas Album

Rod Stewart has signed a long-term worldwide recording deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) and has teamed with David Foster to record his first album of Christmas music. The new LP will be released in the fall through UMG's Verve label and will include duets with a number of other artists.

"I've known Rod and Arnold for many years and have been wanting to work with them for some time," stated Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG. "Rod possesses one of pop music's most inventive and memorable voices; and we're delighted to be part of the next great chapter in his already storied career."

"UMG remains committed to artistic creativity and expanding opportunities for artists in the marketplace," continued Mr. Grainge. "And nowhere is this more evident than in our new partnership with an artist of Rod's caliber."

Stewart commented, "I'm confident that by partnering with my fellow CBE, Lucian, and his cracking, top-notch company, we have the best team in the business. And the chance to work again with David Foster makes it that much sweeter."

"This is a match made in heaven," Arnold Stiefel, Stewart's manager declared. "Rod's writing spirit has been rekindled and Universal is the perfect keeper of the flame."

With his soulful and singular voice, narrative songwriting and passionate live performances, Rod Stewart has paved one of the most iconic and successful musical careers of all time. In July, he will reunite with Stevie Nicks to reprise their acclaimed Heart & Soul tour and in September he will return to his Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. All on the heels of his hotly anticipated first memoir and Christmas album, which are both, scheduled for U.S. release this fall.

Concord to Release Remastered & Expanded Version of Green Onions by Booker T. & the MGs

Concord Music Group has announced that its next release in the Stax Remasters Series will be Booker T. and the MGs' classic 1962 album, Green Onions.

The new release, which will be out July 24, will be remastered at 24-bits, new liner notes by Stax historian Rob Bowman and two previously unreleased live tracks.

Underscoring the historical significance of this 1962 recording is the recent decision by the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, to add the album’s widely recognized title track to the National Recording Registry. The song was selected for preservation because it is “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” according to a Library of Congress announcement at the end of May 2012.

Green Onions, the leadoff track to the album of the same name, was a number one single on the Billboard R&B chart, a rare accomplishment for an instrumental track, and eventually climbed to number three on the Billboard Hot 100. But the title track is just one song on a watershed album by the instrumental R&B combo that served as the house band for the Stax label and the backup unit for some of the most iconic soul and R&B artists to record there in the 1960s, says Nick Phillips, Concord’s Vice President of Catalog A&R and a producer of the Stax Remasters series.

“Beyond Green Onions, which was their biggest hit single,” says Phillips, “there are so many other great songs on this album which Booker T. & the MGs transformed into timeless R&B instrumental classics, like Comin’ Home Baby, Twist and Shout, and Ray Charles’s I Got a Woman. No matter what song they started with, by the time they were done with it, it was uniquely and unmistakably their own.”

The album’s original 12 tracks are executed by the lean but formidable roster of organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Lewis Steinberg, and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. The reissue also includes two bonus tracks — live renditions of Green Onions and Can’t Sit Down, both recorded at the 5/4 Ballroom in Los Angeles in August 1965. These extra tracks — which Bowman describes in his liner notes as “turbo-charged, extended, uber-muscular versions” — include Donald “Duck” Dunn replacing Steinberg on bass and joined by Packy Axton on saxophone on Can't Sit Down.

“In the annals of American music, there have been only a handful of rhythm sections that have all but single-handedly set the course for a whole genre of music,” says Bowman. “In the case of Booker T. & the MGs, the genre in question is Southern soul music. Although Southern soul has its roots in select 1950s recordings by James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles, the genre coalesced in the early and mid-’60s at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, where Booker T. & the MGs served as the ‘house band.’”

He concludes: “Together, Green Onions and the live cuts from the 5/4 Ballroom provide a good sense of the very early days of the incomparable Booker T. & the MGs . . . Soul simply doesn’t get much better.”

Adam Lambert Says Queen a Class Act; "No, I'm Not Going to Be Freddie Mercury"

Adam Lambert has thanked the remaining members of Queen for being "class acts" who haven't "intimidated" him.

The American singer is joining the British rock band for a series of shows across Europe, where he will be the frontman in place of the late Freddie Mercury.

Adam is thrilled to be performing with the iconic group and admits it was initially a nerve-wracking prospect.

"It's such a great challenge, I'm so excited. We've been rehearsing for the last few weeks and it's actually surprisingly comfortable. It could have been a very intimidating situation but Brian May and Roger Taylor are total class acts, very down to earth and we're having a good time playing great music," he said.

"No, I'm not going to be Freddie Mercury. Freddie Mercury is one of a kind, there is no chance of even trying. I'm just there to sing the music he helped create, pay respect and bring it to life."

While Queen are known for their guitar-heavy rock tunes, Adam's signature style of music is more dance led. He's excited about bringing the two genres together.

"One of the exciting things about fronting Queen next month is that we're crashing two worlds together. I love the music of Queen and classic rock but right now I'm creating music that is a little more dance/pop hopefully with a rock 'n' roll spirit. as long as I'm getting the green light from Queen I'm doing something right," he laughed to BBC Breakfast.

John Taylor of Duran Duran to Release His Autobiorgrapy

Duran Duran founder John Taylor will tell all in his first book In The Pleasure Groove.

"Here is my journey and where it took me; into fantastic success, more than a little decadence, darkness and finally, I like to think, a little enlightenment."

John promises the book will feature humour and wisdom as the Duran Duran bass player tells his story of a career that has generated over 80 million record sales.

He talks about meeting Andy Warhol, David Bowie and the occasional James Bond and accounts his life dating Vogue models and driving fast cars.

In The Pleasure Groove – Love Death & Duran Duran will be published by Little Brown in October.

Rolling Stones Updates Their Tongue & Lips Logo For 50th Anniversary

It looks like the Rolling Stones are finally gearing up for their 50th anniversary. While, based on their original formation, 2012 would mark their 50th year, the group prefers to consider the point where Charlie Watts joined in January of 1963 as the anniversary.

John Pasche designed the original logo in 1971 while Shepard Fairey has done the update.

Robert Plant Part of the Number One Classical Album

It isn't a Robert Plant album but the ex-Led Zeppelin lead duets on a track on Alfie Boe's Clasical Albums chart number one, Alfie.

Plant is better known for Classic Rock than Classical, but the Alfie album features a duet with the former Led Zeppelin singer on Song To The Siren.

This is how it came about. “I was sitting in this bar in London checking out the room, seeing who was there in the middle of Soho,” Alfie Boe tells “The doors opened, smoke through the door, bright lights and Robert Plant walked in and it was (sings) Dream Weaver. He walked to the bar and I thought ‘I can’t miss this opportunity. I can’t miss this guy and not speak to him’. He is one of my heroes”.

Continuing the ‘a rock star walks into a bar story’ Alfie says, “I went up to him and told him I was a big fan of his work. We happened to be with the same label. What I thought would be a 5-minute conversation turned into an hour talking about his days in Led Zep and his days with the other guys with Jimmy PageJohn Bonham and John Paul Jones.”

It became a surreal moment for Alfie. “He was telling me all these fantastic stories of being on tour and all that was going through my mind was “hey hey mama see the way you move gonna make you sweat gonna make you groove”.

After that the two became friends. “We kept in touch and I took some courage to phone him and we started talking about football and I’m like ‘I can’t believe I’m talking to Robert Plant about football’. Then we got onto the real reason that I phoned and that was for him to duet with me on Song To The Siren because its on one of his albums. He said ‘send me a demo’. Cutting a long story short, Plant liked it and they recorded it for Alfie’s album.

Alfie debuted at number one on the Billboard Classical Chart last week.

Preview: Tales From The Mothership: Roswell UFO Festival 3 July 2009 - Jefferson Starship

Artist: Tales From The Mothership: Roswell UFO Festival 3 July 2009
Title: Jefferson Starship
Release Date: July 2, 2012
Label: Gonzo MultiMedia
Format(s): 4-CDs

“Roswell UFO Parade & Festival Hosts Jefferson Starship Sci-Fi Extravaganza” read the headlines for the annual July 3rd event that took place in Roswell, New Mexico in 2009. Jefferson Airplane founder Paul Kantner and his legendary band Jefferson Starship and special guests, which included original Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten, performed a one-of-a-kind sci-fi concert at Pearson Auditorium in Roswell in honor of the town's famed annual parade. The group was also bestowed the honor of being the parade's 'Grand Martians' that year and rode atop a special float especially built for them. The entire concert was filmed and recorded, and in addition to such iconic hits as White Rabbit, Somebody To Love, Volunteers, Wooden Ships recorded by its forebear Jefferson Airplane (the last two penned by Kantner), a special programme of science fiction themed compositions and select recordings were performed, some for the first time ever! Now, much to the excitement of Jefferson Starship fans across the globe UK's Gonzo MultiMedia is releasing the the entire concert in an extravagant 4-CD box set.

In 1971 the band's first album (Paul Kantner's first solo album actually), Blows Against The Empire was also the first rock music recording ever nominated for literary science fiction's prestigious Hugo Award. In addition to Kantner, Blows featured a 'Who's Who' of Bay Area musicians including David Freiberg from Quicksilver Messenger Service. Freiberg and Kantner, later launched the ongoing Jefferson Starship, eventually writing the hit Jane. David rejoined the band full time in 2005.

In 1991 the late great rock impresario Bill Graham signed on to produce Blows from a 'scripted stage play concept' co-written bu Paul Kantner and his (then) new manager Michael Gaiman, a lifelong fan. Sadly, Bill was killed in a helicopter crash and the idea was shelved until Sony Pictures pitched an 'option' for a Blows motion picture in 1996. “That was a big year for sci-fi,” recalls Gaiman. Stemming from a shared interest in 1950s science fiction film and literature, Paul and Michael have worked together for nearly 25 years. In 2008 they co-produced (along with David Freiberg), Jefferson's Tree of Liberty, Jefferson Starship's first studio recording in a decade. The album garnered stellar reviews worldwide. In 2009 Jefferson Starship headlined 'The Heroes of Woodstock', the authorized touring commemorative of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.

“On July 3rd, 2009, thanks to the Roswell UFO Festival Committee and Cool 94.9 Radio, we got to scratch that itch and assuage a long time desire to stage a mosh of rock music and science fiction,” says Gaiman.

Along with Paul Kantner and David Frieberg, Jefferson Starship also features lead singer Cathy Richardson (who played Janis Joplin on Broadway in Love, Janis) and longtime band members Slick Aguilar, Chris Smith and Donny Baldwin. In addition to Grateful Dead's Tom Constanten, special guests include Pete Sears (the band's former bass & keyboard player on all their hits), Barry Sless (guitar & pedal steel with Phil Lesh & Friends), former lead vocalist Darby Gould and legendary folk artist Jack Taylor, one of Paul Kantner's early musical influences.

Renegade Productions, the band's frequent collaborator (Jefferson's Tree of Liberty was the first album ever recorded in their new studio at the time) staged the production and provided custom sound, lighting and image projection. Karl Anderson of Global Recording Artists filmed the event dubbed Tales From The Mothership, a joint production of The Roswell UFO Festival Committee and Jefferson Starship. “It's not a documentary, not a 'rockumentary', not a 'mockumentary''s a 'Spockumentary,” Gaiman quips.

Along with the entire concert from July 3, 2009, the 4-CD set also includes rehearsals from 6/27/2009 and the band's soundcheck before the show.

Track List:

Disc One
  • Rehearsals - July 27, 2009
    • Space Oddity
    • All Fly Away
    • Your Mind Has Left Your Body
    • Brain Damage > Eclipse
    • Your Mind Has Left Your Body (Reprise)
    • Hyperdrive
    • Genesis Hall
    • Genesis Hall
    • White Rabbit
    • Somebody To Love
    • (Paul Kantner's) Science Fiction Movie
  • Rehearsals - July 28, 2009
    • Galaxy of E 'Jam'
Disc Two - July 3, 2009 - Set One
  • Urban Space
  • The Eggplant That Ate Chicago
  • Mountains of The Moon
  • This Land Is Your Land
  • Me & My Uncle
  • Billy The Kid
  • Crown of Creation
  • Wasn't That A Time
  • Get Together
  • Chimes Of Freedom
  • Cowboy On The Run
  • I Can't Forgive You
  • Genesis Hall
  • Earth Mother
  • Flowers Of The Night
  • Lawman
  • Wooden Ships
Disc Three - July 3, 2009 - Set Two
  • Sunrise
  • Have You Seen The Saucers?
  • Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?
  • Starship
  • Follow The Drinking Gourd
  • Dark Star
  • Space Oddity
  • Hyperdrive
  • (Paul Kantner's) Science Fiction Movie
  • Your Mind Has Left Your Body
  • Brain Damage > Eclipse
  • Your Mind Has Left Your Body (Reprise)
  • Somebody To Love
  • White Rabbit
  • Volunteers
Disc Four - Soundcheck
  • Space Oddity
  • Space Oddity
  • This Land Is Your Land
  • (Paul Kantner's) Science Fiction Movie
  • Me & My Uncle
  • Cathy's soundcheck medley: Woodstock/Oh Darlin'/For What It's Worth

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Could Van Halen Be Playing the Next Super Bowl?

It doesn't usually start until after the first kick-off of the season but, this year, the Super Bowl Halftime Show rumors are starting before we even get to training camp.

The Super Bowl is over six months away, but NBC Sports have already started rumours that the reunited Van Halen will be providing the entertainment during the next Halftime show.

Writer Mike Florio picked out a line from a recent interview with Eddie Van Halen on USA Today, where he said, “[I]n November, we’ll hit Japan, and in the new year, we’ll possibly do something special, but I can’t talk about it.”

Florio concludes that in a list of all things “special” happening early in the New Year that reunited rock legends couldn’t talk about, a Super Bowl halftime appearance “would be at or near the top”.

They should be in Australia around the time of their Japanese tour in November, if we can interpret earlier comments from Dave freely.

Van Halen have just played a show in New Orleans, with 30 dates of their US tour still to be rescheduled.

Brian Wilson Having a "Blast" on Beach Boys Tour; Mike Love Booking Shows Minus Original Members

The betting lines on how long it takes for the reunited Beach Boys to melt down are falling on a weekly basis. There has been no discord of note between members of the group and the tour appears to be going extremely well; however, Rolling Stone revealed today that Mike Love has been booking shows for the fall for his version of the Beach Boys without the other original members.

One might think that this is just self-preservation on Love's part, but it seems that there may be a bit of a lack of communications between members. For his own part, Brian Wilson told the magazine that "the tour is going great. I'm having a blast. I love watching the Boys on stage. That's Why God Made the Radio charted at Number Three! Can you believe a Number Three album?

"There has been talk of doing more shows with the Boys and possibly a new record, which I would love to do. This reunion is blowing my mind."

So, Wilson, the most reluctant member to the assembling of a reunion, seems to want it to go on but it appears he has not made that a known fact to Mike Love and Bruce Johnston who are part of the October date in Peru.

To see the whole story, go to Rolling Stone.

Preview: Van Morrison Returns to Blue Note For Born to Sing: No Plan B

Artist: Van Morrison
Title: Born to Sing: No Plan B
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Label: Blue Note
Format(s): CD, DD
Van Morrison is returning to Blue Note Records (a part of the EMI Group) for his album Born to Sing: No Plan B. Due October 2, the album is his first since 2008's Keep it Simple and his first for Blue Note since 2003's What's Wrong With This Picture?

Morrison said of his new alliance "With most record companies being so corporate I am happy to be working with Don Was and the team at Blue Note. To have such a creative music person as the head of my recording label assures me that all the effort taken to write and record this new album will be rewarded with a music-based focus and marketing approach. I look forward to many recording projects with Don and Blue Note."
Was added "Over a career that spans decades, Van Morrison has developed a body of work that is unparalleled in its consistent excellence. He is one of the greatest singer/songwriter/musicians of all time. We are incredibly honored that he has chosen to record for the Blue Note label and look forward to many fruitful years together."
Morrison also produced the album, which was recorded in Belfast.
Track List:
  • Open The Door (To Your Heart)
  • Going Down To Monte Carlo
  • Born To Sing
  • End Of The Rainbow
  • Close Enough For Jazz
  • Mystic Of The East
  • Retreat And View
  • If In Money We Trust
  • Pagan Heart
  • Educating Archie

Aerosmith Pushes New Album From August to November

Aerosmith's new album, Music From Another Dimension, has been pushed from August 28 to November 6.

Steven Tyler told Cleveland's WMMS "Too many [other notable recording artists] are releasing [new albums] those weeks [in late summer]. We don't wanna step on their release dates. So we said, 'You know what?! We've got the goods. [There] ain't no doubt about it. We'll wait another couple of months.'"

Here's the major and semi-major rock albums scheduled for the surrounding weeks:
  • August 14
    • The Story of Light - Steve Vai
  • August 21
    • Last of a Dying Breed - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • August 28
    • Havoc and Bright Light - Alanis Morissette
  • September 4
    • Sun - Cat Power
    • Privateering - Mark Knopfler
    • Sounds That Can't Be Maid - Marillion
    • North - Matchbox Twenty
  • September 11
    • Theatre is Evil - Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra
    • Observator - XX
There is nothing in the two weeks on either side of the release of the album that we can see as a threat to Aerosmith. Some sites are reporting that Tyler and Joe Perry are not done with mixing but, if that was the case, why wouldn't Tyler have just said that. This all leads one to wonder if there is a problem with the quality of the album or new infighting in the group.

No matter, Aerosmith fans have an extra two-plus months to wait for the band's first new music in eleven years. 

Jose Feliciano to Pay Tribute to Elvis Presley on The King

Jose Feliciano will finally have the chance to salute his boyhood idol, Elvis Presley, on his new album The Jose Feliciano, out August 7 on Feliciano Enterprise/Select-O-Hit.

Not only did Jose sing the twelve handpicked songs on the album, but he also arranged, played all the instruments and performed all the background vocals. The effort took the singer/guitarist over a year of work in his private studio.

The record came to fruition after Jose made a pilgrimage to Memphis in January 2012, to join in the annual remembrance of Elvis' birth at Graceland. It wasn't his first visit; but it was remarkable. Jose was asked to lead Elvis fans in singing Happy Birthday at the Birthday Cake Celebration.

While at Graceland, Jose was fortunate to meet Elvis' long time friend and confidant, George Klein. George broadcasts his radio program from Graceland and is the Executive Producer of The Jose Feliciano. Jose also met Johnny Phillips, the nephew of the man who first recorded Elvis in 1954.

He now co-owns the company his uncle founded, the legendary Select-O-Hits. He quickly signed Jose and will release the project throughout North America on August 7th. Mr. Phillips adds, "It's an honor to be working with one of the greatest singers, musicians and performers of our time!!"

This CD is the most personally satisfying genre album to date. The King... By Jose Feliciano not only showcases the magic of Feliciano but his genuine appreciation and affection for the undisputed King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

The first single from the album, Always on My Mind, is now available on iTunes.

Geoff Tate Doesn't Look Back, Ex-Queensryche Singer Signs Album Deal

Geoff Tate has only officially been out of Queensryche for less than a week, but he's already moving forward with his professional career by signing a multi-album deal with InsideOut Music.

Tate "left" the band after clashing with the other members over the last couple of months along with a couple of bizarre performances. He was replaced by Todd LaTorre of Crimson Glory.

Tate said in a statement "I'm very excited to join forces with InsideOut Music. They are very committed to progressive music and care deeply for their artists, working together with them to bring music lovers worldwide some of the most compelling rock music available."

InsideOut Music is the home of Kansas and Steve Hackett along with such modern artists as King's X, Fates Warning and James LaBrie of Dream Theater.

Thomas Waber, founder of InsideOut, said "Obviously, we at the label have been fans of Geoff for a long time. We are looking forward to working with such a renowned musician -- welcome to the InsideOut Music family!"

Look for Geoff's first album on the label this fall.

The Return of Martika

Martika is back but not because she has to. It is because she wants to.

Martika was only 22 when she “retired” from the music business and by that time she had already been doing it for 10 years. She says she made a lot of money and just wanted a break. That ended up being a 20-year break.

“I spent several years just being a professional slacker,” Martika tells “I guess I had a delayed childhood. It wasn’t meant to be too long but a month turned into two years and then I just stopped wanting the pressure. I didn’t want to have the next year of my life mapped out ahead of time”.

She understands a lot of people crave to be stars but it didn’t work for her. “The jet-set lifestyle of what we do is quite a pace and it didn’t really feel right,” she said. “I don’t even know how all these stars can do it year in year after year after year but hats off to them. I just wanted to chill”.

Well before her 1988 hit Toy Soldiers made her a global star she had been working in the business. “I had worked since I was 12 and made really good money,” she said. “I could afford not to have to go and work everyday. I was able to enjoy time with people in my life and explore some of the things that interested me personally not having anything to do with being in the spotlight. It was kind of like a personal journey of self-discovery that took me on”.

After time though, it felt right to get back into it and her upcoming tour will be the first time Marta has become Martika in over 20 years. “I came to find that music was in my blood. So I was always finding myself writing songs and the next thing I was back in the studio and then everyone was asking if I would put out another album. As soon as I started thinking about all it entails I would think “I don’t have to put this record out”. There’s enough people making music. But in the last few years I started to work on other projects behind the scenes and musical things but nothing related to the Martika catalogue. This is really the first time that I am reawakening that past catalogue of songs and putting myself out in the world”.

Listen: Amnesia - First New Studio Music in 16 Years From Dead Can Dance

Even though Dead Can Dance (Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry) have released solo work and both live albums and compilations for the duo, it has been 16 years since they released new studio tracks. Later this year, we'll get a whole new album called Anastasis but, for now, we can revel in the first track, Amnesia.

Preview: Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live at The Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 1981

Artist: Muddy Waters & the Rolling Stones
Title: Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live at The Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 1981
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Label: Eagle Rock
Format(s): DVD, DVD/CD, DVD/2-LPs, DD

On November 22, 1981, Muddy Waters was playing at his club in Chicago, The Checkerboard Lounge, when the Rolling Stones stopped in. Soon, Waters had them on the stage (along with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Lefty Dizz) with him for a lengthy set of blues numbers. That show was captured on both audio and video but was never released, even though it has a big hit on the bootleg market. On July 10, Eagle Rock will remedy that situation with an official release of the show.

The original tape has been cleaned up with the release in DTS Surround Sound, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Stereo, mixed and mastered by Bob Clearmountain.

Track List:

  • Sweet Little Angel
  • Flip Flop And Fly
  • Muddy Waters Introduction
  • You Don’t Have To Go
  • Country Boy
  • Baby Please Don’t Go
  • Hoochie Coochie Man
  • Long Distance Call
  • Mannish Boy
  • Got My Mojo Working
  • Next Time You See Me
  • One Eyed Woman
  • Baby Please Don’t Go (Instrumental)
  • Blow Wind Blow
  • Champagne & Reefer
  • Introduction Instrumental
  • You Don’t Have To Go
  • Baby Please Don’t’ Go
  • Hoochie Coochie Man
  • Long Distance Call
  • Mannish Boy
  • Got My Mojo Working
  • Next Time You See Me
  • One Eyed Woman
  • Blow Wind Blow
  • Champagne & Reefer

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Releases By Veteran Artists For the Week of June 24, 2012

Jerry Douglas
Little Feat
Joe Jackson
Flaming Lips

The rest of the new releases by veteran artists for the week are after the cut.