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Listen: Jazz Vocalist Patricia Barber Sings Sinatra’s ‘This Town’
Standards album out August 6!
Celebrated jazz vocalist Patricia Barber has announced her brand new album of well-known standards in high-end hi-fi. Recorded, mixed & mastered in Digital eXtreme Definition 2.0 and 5.1 with multi GRAMMY-winner and longtime creative partner Jim Anderson, Clique is out August 6th on Impex Records and is already deemed essential by the completist.
From Rodgers & Hammerstein to Stevie Wonder, Lerner & Loewe, Thelonious Monk and more, the release features a tracklist of tunes that Barber has performed as encores all throughout her career. With the album announcement comes Clique’s lead single, “This Town” — written by Lee Hazlewood and popularized by Frank Sinatra.
“The harmonic language of jazz, as well as that of the Great American Songbook, is certainly rich — look how much has come out of it — but it’s circumscribed. I started wanting to hear something else,” Barber said of recording an all-standards album.
Americana Duo Ida Mae Share New Song ‘Learn to Love You Better’
American Blues Scene Staff
New album ‘Click Click Domino’ out July 16th via Thirty Tigers
Today, the Nashville-via-London duo Ida Mae shared their new song “Learn To Love You Better” from their upcoming sophomore album Click Click Domino. Ida Mae writes, “’Learn To Love You Better’ was written for a friend of ours who was wildly and selflessly in love with a partner struggling with mental health issues and wanting to do everything right. It was written on a late 1800s Mandolinetto which we later combined with 70s analogue drum machines- inspired by JJ Cale and John Martyn. We just wanted it to be a lighter breath of fresh air on the record.”
Click Click Domino will be released on July 16th, through Thirty Tigers.
Ida Mae will stream a full-band live performance of their new record via Mandolin on June 24th at 8PM Eastern time. Along with a pre-show cocktail hour and Q&A with Christopher Turpin and Stephanie Jean, the performance will be interspersed with documentary tour footage and track-by-track insight into each of the songs, making the event a truly immersive cinematic experience. Filmed in a secret studio in the wilds of the English countryside, this will be the first opportunity for fans to see Ida Mae perform these songs, accompanied by Ethan Johns on Drums and Nick Pini on double bass and electric bass. Tickets are currently available for purchase here.
Ida Mae will be performing at the Newport Folk Festival, which will take place July 23 – 26 in Newport, RI. “It’s our great honor to announce we will be performing at the world renowned Newport Folk Festival this year in Rhode Island,” said Ida Mae. “Having studied the performances of John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan, Rev. Gary Davis and so many others at Newport it means a great deal to be included in this year’s lineup.”
For nearly two straight years following the release of their critically acclaimed debut, Chasing Lights, Ida Mae lived on the road, crisscrossing the US from coast to coast as they performed hundreds of dates with everyone from Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss to Marcus King and Greta Van Fleet. While those shows were electrifying for the duo, it was what happened in between – the countless hours spent driving through small towns and big cities, past sprawling suburbs and forgotten ghost towns, across deserts and mountains and forests and prairies – that truly laid the creative groundwork for Click Click Domino.
Written primarily in the backseat of a moving car, Click Click Domino embodies all the momentum and possibility of the great American unknown, offering up a series of cinematic vignettes full of hope and disappointment, promise and regret, connection and loneliness. The songs here are raw and direct, fueled by an innovative mix of vintage instruments and modern electronics, and the performances are loose and exhilarating to match, drawing on early rock and roll, classic country, British folk, and 50’s soul to forge a sound that’s equal parts Alan Lomax field recording and 21st century garage band.
When it came time to record, the band planned on working once again with legendary producer Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling, Kings of Leon), who’d helmed Chasing Lights back in England. With COVID-19 taking international travel off the table, though, Turpin and Jean decided to go ahead and make the record themselves, leaning on everything they’d learned working with Johns and other top shelf producers over the years like T Bone Burnett (Elvis Costello, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss), M. Ward, Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile), Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes), and Mike Crossey (The 1975, Arctic Monkeys).
Working out of their house in Nashville, they set up a series of bare bones recording stations and began cutting tracks together in one or two take performances, balancing the spontaneity of the moment with the energy and intuition of the live show they’d spent the past few years perfecting.
GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: ‘Try It…You Might Like It!’
American Blues Scene Staff
Heading into the recording session for ‘Try It…You Might Like It!,’ the plan was to keep everything as true to the way Hound Dog recorded as possible.
Blues music is revered for its timelessness. The best blues – no matter how old – sounds as fresh and visceral today as it did when first recorded. The high-energy electric blues trio GA-20 – guitarist Matt Stubbs, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, and drummer Tim Carman – know this well. Since first forming in 2018, GA-20 has drawn inspiration for their primal, original music from late 1950s/early 1960s blues, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll.
They use rare and vintage gear (including at times the famed Gibson GA-20 amplifier for which the band is named), creating powerfully raw, driving music that is at once traditional and refreshingly modern. The band’s dynamic self-penned songs sound and feel as fresh and real as the old blues they love and perform, including songs by Otis Rush, J.B. Lenoir, Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells and especially their favorite, Hound Dog Taylor. According to Stubbs, “Not enough people know just how cool Hound Dog Taylor was.”
Legendary six-fingered Chicago bluesman Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor always knew how he wanted to be remembered, declaring, “When I die they’ll say, ‘he couldn’t play shit, but he sure made it sound good!’” His first full length recording in 1971 was also the first album on now world-famous Alligator Records, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. In fact, label president Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator for the sole purpose of recording and releasing that album. Fifty years later, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers is considered a classic of the genre, and Alligator boasts a catalog of over 350 blues and roots rock releases. With Taylor on wild slide guitar, Brewer Phillips picking out the bass notes on his beat-up Telecaster guitar, and Ted Harvey driving the beat at breakneck speed, the band – playing their second-hand instruments through third-hand amps – made a loud, fast and joyful noise. Famed critic Robert Christgau referred to them as “the Ramones of the blues.” At the time, Iglauer figured, “If I love this band and this music so much, everyone else will love them too.”
Now, Colemine Records – working in partnership with Alligator Records – will release GA-20’s new full-length album, Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor, featuring 10 songs written or performed by the Chicago blues legend. From the fiery first single and album opener She’s Gone to the blistering Sadie to the all-time Hound Dog classic Give Me Back My Wig, GA-20 deliver one electrifying track after another. According to Stubbs, “We feel a strong connection to the unique setup of two guitars and drums with no bass, and we all have a massive appreciation of Hound Dog’s raw and no-frills sound. It’s essentially what we try to do as a band.”
With 2021 marking the 50th anniversary of both Alligator Records and Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers, the timing for GA-20 to record these songs seemed perfect. With the pandemic shutdown and tour dates postponed, the band was ready for something new. As fate would have it, Iglauer, not knowing the band was under exclusive contract, approached Stubbs about a potential project with Alligator. Since GA-20 was already committed to Colemine, the idea to work together with Alligator on this album was born. Alligator continues its 50th anniversary celebration by working with GA-20 and Colemine Records to present a new album of Hound Dog Taylor’s music, while the band gives their fans some of the most raw and honest performances imaginable with Try It…You Might Like It!
According to Colemine Records owner Terry Cole, Try It…You Might Like It! is a natural fit for both labels. “Teaming up with Alligator for this release feels like a perfect pairing! Alligator was created to give Hound Dog Taylor a home, and over the last 50 years, the label has established itself as a perennial winner in the blues world. With GA-20, we’re really excited about applying some of the old-school production techniques found on most of our soul records to the blues genre. Using just a few mics and recording live, all together in one room, is really what makes so many classic blues, soul, and R&B records so special!”
Alligator’s Iglauer is thrilled to be working with the band. “GA-20 absolutely glory in the rough-edged, unvarnished Chicago blues of Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. GA-20 are among the very few artists who have captured the band’s raw essence. Hound Dog would be proud that they are delivering his music so well. They rock the house!”
Heading into the recording session for Try It…You Might Like It!, the plan was to keep everything as true to the way Hound Dog recorded as possible. Stubbs spoke to Iglauer on several occasions to get info on those early sessions and for the details of the guitars and amps that Hound Dog and Brewer used. Stubbs explains, “Pat and I searched out four 1960’s Teisco/Kingston guitars to find the one with the closest tone to Hound Dog’s original, and Pat used a vintage 1960’s Silvertone amp – the same as Hound Dog. I used a vintage Telecaster and a vintage Fender amp like Brewer Phillips played.” They tracked the songs in under two days, live, all in one room, and in no more than three takes per song, just as Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers did. Stubbs continues, “Our essential goal was to capture the spirit and vibe of Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers and (Hound Dog’s second album) Natural Boogie, and I believe we did just that.”
According to Stubbs, “Some music is more than just music, it comes with a feeling. To me, Hound Dog was raw and visceral, and all of these things that really appeal to me and that I try to bring to my own approach on guitar. It was an exciting challenge to try to embody that on this record, in playing and production.” Guitarist Faherty agrees, saying, “Hound Dog is everything I want to be in blues. No one else today even comes close.” And Carman still can’t get enough of that drum sound. “In my opinion, Ted Harvey is one of the most underrated and underappreciated drummers of all time. I learned a lot from studying Harvey’s playing, especially the way he interacted with Brewer and Hound Dog while still maintaining a driving groove. His ride cymbal playing was one of a kind.”
Stubbs is a 12-year veteran (and still a member) of blues master Charlie Musselwhite’s touring band. He’s performed with James Cotton and John Hammond, among many others. Faherty played rock and metal guitar until he was bitten by the blues bug. The two met in Boston, and their mutual love of traditional electric blues, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll led them to write, perform and eventually record their modern vision of this life-altering music. Upon forming in 2018, GA-20 quickly began to draw a following, and the band soon signed with acclaimed soul/R&B label Colemine Records, releasing their debut, Lonely Soul, in 2019 to widespread critical and popular acclaim. The album premiered in the #2 position on the Billboard Blues Chart. Their EP Live Vol. 1 seemingly came out of nowhere to debut at #1 a year later. Medium.com declared, “This is the kind of music that travels through time while taking from the era where it was born and turning it into something fresh. Dirty and raw…timeless and modern.”
GA-20 hit the road hard, performing live at every opportunity, earning new fans at every club, concert hall and festival they played from coast to coast. Now with Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor, GA-20 unleashes this timeless, down and dirty music, making it breathe and live as forcefully today as it did back when Hound Dog Taylor was spitting fire. Alligator’s Iglauer says, “No one made a more wonderfully glorious racket than Hound Dog, Brewer Phillips and Ted Harvey.” GA-20 certainly comes close, as the racket made by Matt Stubbs, Pat Faherty and Tim Carman is also pretty damn glorious. “Ultimately,” says Stubbs, “we think Hound Dog fans and blues fans will love this record, and we’re proud to bring his sound to a new audience.”
Blues Veteran Eric Bibb Signs With Provogue and Announces ‘Dear America’
American Blues Scene Staff
Eric Bibb has known many different Americas, the good, the bad and the ugly. If you could call out to your country, what would you say?
When Eric Bibb embarked on the title song that would galvanise the Dear America album, the fiercely literate and historically informed songwriter found himself unpacking a seven-decade relationship with a partner of dramatic extremes. “It’s a love letter,” he explains of the record’s root concept, “because America, for all of its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism.”
With the release of a new single “Whole World’s Got The Blues,” the Grammy-nominated guitarist and troubadour Eric Bibb announced his signing to Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group on and the anticipated release of this new album on August 20th. “The title of ‘Whole World’s Got The Blues’ refers not only to the current global pandemic challenging us all but also to the fact that music-lovers around the world love the blues,” comments Bibb. “Recorded in New York City with ace producer Glen Scott, this track features legendary drummer Steve Jordan, world-renowned bass player Tommy Sims and the phenomenal Eric Gales on lead guitar. We can’t wait for you to hear it!”
It’s easy to point to Bibb’s accomplishments, which include a career spanning five decades, recording with folk and blues royalty, two Grammy nominations and multiple Blues Foundation awards, and a following that crosses borders and continents. To meet Eric is to be struck by both his humility and his warmth. He is remarkably centered, with convictions that are based on the values of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Eric’s music works in service of that dream, holding out hope for a new world. He challenges us to do better, to reach higher, and to strive harder. Like Mavis and Pops Staples, he wants to take us there.
Eric’s father, the late Leon Bibb, was an activist, actor, and folk singer who marched at Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King. Eric’s youth was spent immersed in the Village folk scene. Artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger were visitors to his home. He was deeply influenced by Odetta, Richie Havens, and Taj Mahal, and he has melded all of those influences into his very own style.
An artist who preserves the best traditions of pre-war blues while continually expanding his own oeuvre, Eric is often referred to as a “bluesman,” but troubadour is the word that describes him best. He slides neatly between genres as he builds bridges with musicians from the UK and Europe, pickers from North America, and Kora players from West Africa. His collaborations with the likes of Michael Jerome Browne, JJ Milteau, Danny Thompson, and Habib Koite have produced music that is both ecstatic and exquisite.
Ronnie Wood To Release ‘Mr. Luck – A Tribute To Jimmy Reed Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ September 3
Recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall on November 1, 2013
Ronnie Wood and the Ronnie Wood Band have announced the second installment of his live album trilogy – Mr. Luck – A Tribute to Jimmy Reed: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, released by BMG on September 3, 2021.
The 18-track album features The Ronnie Wood Band including Mick Taylor with special guests Bobby Womack, Mick Hucknall, Paul Weller, and pays tribute to one of Ronnie’s major influences: the Mississippi electric blues musician/songwriter Jimmy Reed.
Album artwork by Ronnie Wood
Of Mr. Luck, Ronnie notes, “Jimmy Reed was one of the premier influences on the Rolling Stones and all the bands that love American blues from that era until the present day. It is my honor to have the opportunity to celebrate his life and legacy with this tribute.”
This album marks the second iteration in a trilogy of personal albums by Wood and the band celebrating Ronnie’s musical heroes. Mad Lad, the first album, explored the work of Chuck Berry after Berry’s passing just over two years ago. Ronnie was a lifelong fan and had also toured with Berry.
Mr. Luck will be available digitally, on CD, as a vinyl release, and as a limited-edition dual-tone smoky blue vinyl.
Columbia Pike Blues Festival 2021 (June 18, 19, 20) ft. Vintage #18, Stacy Brooks, Sol Roots, and More
American Blues Scene Staff
The Columbia Pike Blues Festival, one of the D.C. area’s most highly-anticipated events, combines livestreaming concerts and outdoor performances
Columbia Pike Blues Festival is one of Arlington Virginia’s most highly-anticipated events. This year a hybrid three-day Columbia Pike Blues Festival Weekend (Friday to Sunday, June 18th, 19th and 20th, 2021) combines live-streaming concerts and ticketed outdoor performances designed to help get everyone back into a summer groove!
Three days of streaming and live concerts spotlight fantastic performers including:
A retro-soul sound, with whiskey-soaked vocals, Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage #18 deliver hard-driving blues rhythms. Vintage#18 has shared the stage with The Nighthawks, Billy Price Band, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Selwyn Birchwood, Roomful of Blues, Duke Robillard, Vanessa Collier, and more.
Stacy Brooks is a powerful vocalist & exciting performer who is internationally known as DC’s Queen of the Blues. Stacy is a multi-award winner and has shared the stage with blues legends such as Kenny Neal, Billy Branch, Sugar Blue and many more. Stacy performs nationally and overseas with her own groups as well as a featured performer.
Grammy-nominated Cheick Hamala Diabate is known as “The King of The Ngoni.” Cheick brings his traditional West African instruments to the stage to please audiences that have included world leaders and the U.S. Congress. Cheick also plays a mean banjo and guitar, and has recorded and toured with American folk musicians.
The Sol Roots band performs a mix of raw funk, deep blues, energetic rock, greasy soul and hypnotic grooves. Sol is a guitarist/vocalist who has toured around the world with many musical legends. The band has shared the stage with acts such as Jon Cleary, Shemekia Copeland, Cory Henry, Booker T. Jones, and many more. Sol is a “Next Generation” Music Maker Relief Foundation artist and a Home Grown Music Network artist.
The phenomenal vocalist Deletta Gillespie charms audiences with energetic stage performances and a voice that has been described as “soulfully beautiful.” Gillespie is a teacher and activist, a performing artist, and a singer/songwriter in the classic soul, neo-soul, jazz, blues, and R&B styles.
Based out of Washington, D.C., Carly Harvey combines Blues, Jazz, Soul, and Americana roots styles to create a unique sound that calls to mind Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Nina Simone, with a little Ella Fitzgerald thrown in for good measure.
For links to the streaming concerts and to purchase tickets to one of Saturday’s three live performances, visit the Columbia Pike website.
“I like records where you can hear the guys listening to each other and reacting and discovering the music in real time. There’s an immediacy and a freshness that comes with it that you just can’t fake.” – Ericson Holt
Ericson Holt is pleased to announce the release of 99 Degrees via Conch Town Records on August 20, 2021. Though his music is often steeped in the blues, it’s the gray areas that fascinate Ericson Holt the most. With his captivating new album, 99 Degrees, Holt explores the almosts and the in-betweens, the missed chances and the could-have-beens, the close calls and the never-quites. The characters here contain multitudes, walking a fine line between hope and desperation as they navigate a world that seems perpetually stacked against them.
The music is similarly rich and nuanced to match, drawing on everything from 70’s AM rock and soulful folk to raucous boogie-woogie and second-line funk. Although based in Key West, Holt cut the majority of the album in just two days with an all-star band of Nashville heavyweights (many of whom he knew from his work as a first-call session player and sideman) and finished it in Key West and London. The result is a collection of raw, spontaneous, organic performances that breathe life into everyday folks living on the margins, ordinary men and women struggling to get by, stay in love, and find a little bit of light in the darkness.
Holt’s story begins in Virginia, where he inherited a passion for literature and a wide-ranging musical appetite from his mother: songwriter, poet, and novelist A.H. Holt. He picked up the piano on his own at first, later studying classically, until songs, songs of all kinds, pop, folk, rock, blues, and country, captured his imagination. He added guitar to his repertoire with a bit of help from his cousin, a gifted Chet Atkins style player, who taught him the Nashville number system of writing out chord charts. Holt started his professional career singing harmony and playing harmonica with folk singers in coffee houses and playing piano in church basements, eventually touring up and down the East Coast with his band and solo artist. “My ambition was to be a singer-songwriter first and foremost, but I realized that if I was going to survive in a town so full of talent, then I was going to have to hunker down, hone my chops, and become the best player I could as well.”
Holt’s hard work paid off when he landed his first big gig touring with rising country star Lari White who was looking for someone who could play the New Orleans, and gospel style of piano. From there, his career as a sideman and studio musician began to snowball, and in the years to come, he would take the stage everywhere from Bonnaroo and ‘The Tonight Show’ to Royal Albert Hall and Red Rocks in Colorado, performing alongside the likes of The Mavericks, Allison Moorer, Mike Farris, Jim Lauderdale, Rodney Crowell, and Delbert McClinton, among others. He was also the music director for the late Billy Block’s “Western Beat” weekly radio show from Nashville club, The Exit Inn.
It also became a critical element of what Holt looked for when assembling the band for his acclaimed solo debut, The Blue Side. Praised by The Tennessean as merging “moments of barroom rock with Jackson Browne-esque brushes of cool,” the record established Holt as a formidable artist in his own right, with songs from the collection cracking the Top 30 on the Americana Radio Chart and reaching #4 on The Roots Rock Report. He followed it up with the similarly lauded Broken Beauty, written and recorded in Key West, Chicago and Nashville.
Holt knew that his next project needed to be something different, which captured the excitement and intensity of his live shows. So, when it came time to begin work on 99 Degrees, he assembled a core band that included multi-Grammy Award-winning engineer and organist Kevin McKendree (Delbert McClinton, Buddy Guy, Brian Setzer), guitarist Joe McMahan (Allison Moorer, Kevin Gordon, Hayes Carll, Webb Wilder), bassist Dave Santos (The Neville Brothers, John Fogerty, Bob Seger), and drummer Kenneth Blevins (John Prine, John Hiatt.) The album was produced at McKendree’s legendary studio, The Rock House, in Franklin, TN. The majority of the basic tracks on the album are first or second takes with Ericson on piano or acoustic guitar leading the band through the tunes. “I like records where you can hear the guys listening to each other and reacting and discovering the music in real time. There’s an immediacy and a freshness that comes with it that you just can’t fake.”
That immediacy is the heart and soul of 99 Degrees, which radiates gritty energy and passion at every turn. Lead single “Walkin’ on Bourbon Street” sets the stage, morphing from a bluesy musical history lesson into an ecstatic celebration fueled by punchy horns, intoxicating rhythms, and soulful backing vocals from gospel stalwarts The McCrary Sisters, who appear throughout the record. Like much of Holt’s catalog, the song is steeped in the sense of place and imbued with longing and desire; the narrator wants to party, but he is not just another carefree reveler. He’s on a musical pilgrimage. He sings, “I’ve got to get back down where my soul keeps goin’” and pleads with his lover to “come back with me one more time.” Such a need for human connection is a recurring theme on the album, and it’s one that Holt examines from several angles. In “Empty Without A Secret,” for instance, a suspicious lover admits that “I’m just a restless soul the same as you are.” In the bluesy, comical, Leon Russell influenced “Clever Girl,” Holt sings, “I’ve forgotten how to cry, but it’ll come back to me.”
Holt’s characters know where they stand on the social and economic ladder, and for some, the American Dream is more like a mirage. The brooding, prayerful “Help Us Now” inspired by the Judith Richards novel “Thelonius Rising”, looks at how the nation turned its back on New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of a young boy living in the 9th Ward. In the soaring “Beautiful World,” the narrator deals with nationalism and religion, promising that we “will never lead lives of quiet desperation, anger, hurt, and pride … longing for the other side …” The Warren Zevon-esque “Walking In Our Sleep” shouts “So high and so proud, you get to steal, we get to plow” … ”They told us a lie and called it history,” he sings. “They cheated us blind, but we just couldn’t see.”
Rather than allowing his characters to wallow in heartbreak or bitterness, Holt insists on celebrating their resilience, their unwavering ability to find hope, beauty, and meaning in their lives. Perhaps no song embodies that notion better than the sweltering title track, which feels more than just a little autobiographical given Holt’s journey. “I was freezing on those city streets chasing someone else’s hopes and dreams,” he sings, “while my soul was waiting in the sweet sunshine.” “So good to feel the sun on my face. Oh Lord, almost home.”
With 99 Degrees, Ericson Holt isn’t just chasing dreams; he’s living them.
Greensky Bluegrass Release Final Installment ‘The Leap Year Sessions: Volume 4’
American Blues Scene Staff
Live at Red Rocks 9/14/19 streaming exclusively on The Coda Collection (Amazon Prime)
Today, acclaimed roots/rock and alt-Americana act Greensky Bluegrass release the final installment in their Leap Year Sessions series. The Leap Year Sessions came to life in 2020 when the band was forced to halt everything. The band performed eight sessions in total, allowing the band to perform for fans in a safe way. This year, the band has been releasing the sessions as a way to give back to their fans, as well as a reminder to themselves of what 2020 was.
Also out this week is Live at Red Rocks 9/14/19, streaming exclusively via The Coda Collection on Amazon Prime (Watch). Captured in 4K UHD amid the gorgeous surroundings of Red Rocks Amphitheater, Greensky Bluegrass delivers an energetic performance as part of its three-night stand in September 2019. Geoffrey Himes examines the thoughtfulness and deep exploration of the band’s honest songwriting, saying:
In a genre where happy-go-lucky party invitations and pastoral escapism are the norm, things don’t always work out for the best in Greensky Bluegrass songs. More often than not, there’s a conflict between the singer’s hope for better times and his dread of the situation deteriorating even further. That tension seeps out of the lyrics and into the playing, which gives the music its drama.
Greensky Bluegrass is:
Anders Beck [dobro]
Michael Arlen Bont [banjo]
Dave Bruzza [guitar]
Mike Devol [upright bass]
Paul Hoffman [Mandolin]
The band will continue its extensive touring schedule this weekend at the famed Telluride Bluegrass Festival. All tour dates and up-to-date band information at greenskybluegrass.com.
June 11, 12, 13 @ Telluride Bluegrass Festival | Telluride, CO
June 18, 19 @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion | Gilford, NH
June 25, 26 @ Coolray Field | Lawrenceville, GA
July 2, 3 @ Great Lawn at Waterfront Park | Louisville, KY
July 16,17, 18 @ Shagbark Farm | Caledonia, MI*
July 27, 28 @ Horning’s Hideout | North Plains, OR
July 29, 30 @ Roaring Camp | Felton, CA
Aug 28 @ Hot August Music Festival | Cockeysville, MD
Aug 29 @ Backwoods Music Festival | Ozark, AR
Sept 3, 4 @ 4848 Festival | Snowshoe, WV
Sept 5 @ Bonnaroo | Manchester, TN
Sept 9 @ Summerfest | Milwaukee, WI
Sept 17, 18, 19 @ Red Rocks | Morrison, CO **
Dec 9 – 13 @ Strings & Sol | Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Jeff Slate & Friends: Bob Dylan 80th Birthday Concert
Jeff Slate & Friends live from Hill Country in NYC for the first show of 2021!
To celebrate Bob Dylan’s milestone birthday, award-winning singer-songwriter/journalist Jeff Slate & Friends will perform at Hill Country Live! in New York City June 11th at 8pm EDT.
Whether you’re a Dylan buff or neophyte, Slate and his band offer something special for every kind of fan, playing beloved classics and songs from the vault. If you can’t attend, of course you can stream tonight’s show, which will be up for a week.
Slate has been performing at Hill Country Live! since May 2014, when he made his debut with Dylan Obscura — exploring the Dylan songbook with Bowie/Lennon guitarist Earl Slick and Wings drummer Steve Holley. And prior to the 2020 lockdown, he returned to monthly shows which honored Tom Petty, David Bowie, and others — playing his own original music inspired by them.
His official site states that over the past decade Slate has been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He is the co-author of The Authorized Roy Orbison, written with the late legend’s sons, and has written liner notes for albums by Orbison, the Small Faces, Shawn Colvin, for the Stax Records 60th anniversary reissue series, and for The Beatles’ 50th anniversary edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
In 2018 Slate wrote the 10,000+ word essay included in Bob Dylan’s More Blood, More Tracks, the 14 edition of his long-running Bootleg Series. In 2019 Slate appeared onstage at the first World Of Bob Dylan conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, sponsored by the Bob Dylan Center there, where he interviewed and performed with The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn.
Nile Rodgers, Keb’ Mo’, Earth, Wind & Fire To Play Robert Randolph Foundation’s Juneteenth Unityfest
Jon Bleicher / Prospect PR
The Robert Randolph Foundation is the brainchild of celebrated bandleader/pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. Through the power of community, education, music and arts, the Robert Randolph Foundation is creating better possibilities for brighter futures.
With The Robert Randolph Foundation’s inaugural Juneteenth Unityfest only eight days away, organizers are pleased to announce a number of new additions to the already star-studded line-up, including performances by GRAMMY™ Award-winning artists India Arie and Ledisi. Newly confirmed guest appearances include Ms. Opal Lee, Craig Robinson, Adesola Osakalumi, Deesha Dyer, Gail Devers, Jason Wright, Krystal Mackie, Zina Garrison, LeVar Burton, and Lynn Nottage.
In addition, Unityfest will also now include airings of two performances from Jimi Hendrix’s historic 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival appearance, which saw Hendrix play to the biggest crowd of his career amid the civil rights unrest and the unrelenting toll of the Vietnam War. Experience Hendrix L.L.C. has licensed these performances so that the late legend could be part of this special celebration.
The virtual experience will be live streamed via the festival’s website on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 5:00pm EST/2:00 pm PST and will celebrate the breadth and depth of Black culture and Juneteenth as a uniquely American experience. The national event will feature musical performances, inspiring remarks, films, comedy, storytelling, and appearances by civic leaders and some of pop culture’s most influential names. Most importantly, it will provide an essential platform to unite a coalition of charitable grassroots organizations bringing together diverse voices in commemoration and celebration.
Hosted by actress and author Amanda Seales and comedian JB Smoove, Juneteenth Unityfest will include musical performances by: Robert Randolph, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Darius Rucker, Dave Matthews & Carter Beauford, Black Pumas, Aloe Blacc, Keb’ Mo’, Bebe Winans, Khruangbin, Phony Ppl, Michael Franti, Judith Hill, Jimmie Allen, Korean Soul, The Soul Rebels, and Greg Phillinganes, with additional musical guests to be announced in the coming days.
Wilson Cruz, Roger Guenveur Smith, LeVar Burton, Ms. Opal Lee, Adesola Osakalumi, Baratunde Thurston, and Jesse Williams will lend their voices to the program along with previously announced guest appearances by Phylicia Rashad, Billy Porter, Jon Hamm, Van Jones, Wayne Brady, Aisha Tyler, Craig Robinson, Zach Galifianakis, Deesha Dyer, Gail Devers, Jason Wright, Krystal Mackie, and Zina Garrison.
“With only a little over a week left before the festival, we could not be more excited to make this event come to life. We are beyond grateful to all of the artists, guests, and sponsors who have helped us create a space to celebrate and reflect on what it means to be Black in America. Juneteenth is an important day in not just Black, but American history; it serves as a reminder to remember the past, acknowledge our progression and take collective action towards creating a better future,” notes Robert Randolph.
Juneteenth Unityfest is made possible by phenomenal sponsors and partners like Heal America, and EBONY as the official media partner and LiveXLive as the official streaming partner. Through LiveXLive, the stream will also be accessible via LiveXLive’s distribution platform on STIRR, SLING, AppleTV, and its social media channels including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and TikTok. The festival is excited to welcome new sponsors Getty Images and the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.
The inaugural event has also aligned itself with incredible community partners to ensure historical accuracy and authenticity, including The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, We Are Family Foundation, The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, Unity Unlimited, Inc., Umoja Events Juneteenth NYC Festival, African American Museum in Philadelphia, Benedict College, Muhammad Ali Center and more. Many other community organizations have aligned with the event to further tell their stories of unity and progress. The full list of partner organizations can be viewed on their website at www.juneteenthunityfest.com/partners.
Juneteenth Unityfest is produced by Empire Entertainment in collaboration with Red Light Management with creative direction and head writing by Paul Oakley Stovall.
Pixies Return To The Road With Festival And Headline Performances
Happy birthday to Pixies’ Joey Santiago!
Pixies — Black Francis, Joey Santiago, David Lovering, and Paz Lenchantin — return to the road on Friday, September 10 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY to kick off an 11-date run, the band’s first U.S. shows since December 2019.
The tour consists of headline theatre dates, festival appearances, and multiple concerts with Nine Inch Nails. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday, June 11 at 10 AM ET; head to Pixies’ official site for all ticketing info.
The band will play gems from their entire catalogue, playing a different set at each show. That said, fans will assuredly hear staple songs “Here Comes Your Man,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Where is My Mind,” “Gouge Away,” “Hey,” “Debaser,” and “Gigantic.”
Said Pixies Joey Santiago in a statement, “Over the past year, it’s been wonderful to spend so much time with our families. I’ve been doing a lot of cycling and playing music, Paz has been working on art projects, music, film, and surfing, Charles has been raising chickens and doing a lot of painting, and Dave has been playing drums, doing magic, and investing time in metal detecting and mineral collecting. But we’re ready to get back to playing live shows, and are looking forward to seeing you all.”
Happy birthday to the incomparable, driving guitarist Joey Santiago!
*Feature image: Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Paz Lenchantin, David Lovering (Credit: Travis Shinn)
George Harrison’s Masterpiece, ‘All Things Must Pass,’ Celebrated With Suite Of 50th Anniversary Editions
American Blues Scene Staff
“Even before I started, I knew I was gonna make a good album because I had so many songs and I had so much energy. For me to do my own album after all that – it was joyous. Dream of dreams.” – George Harrison
Recorded and released in the wake of The Beatles’ April 1970 dissolution, George Harrison’s landmark solo album, All Things Must Pass, is a fully realized statement by a bold and audacious artist. Produced by Harrison and Phil Spector, the 23-track All Things Must Pass stands tall a half-century later as an epic, ambitious expression of Harrison’s remarkable gift for sheer songcraft, powerful spirituality, and a celebration of both his inimitable individuality and unique camaraderie with his fellow musicians.
All Things Must Pass was an overdue artistic release for George as a songwriter and musician. The first-ever triple studio album, All Things Must Pass overflows with a voluminous range of ideas, musical styles, and influences, spanning rock ‘n’ roll, country, gospel, blues, pop, folk, R&B, Indian classical music, and devotional songs. Despite the album being wildly successful and Harrison’s affection for it, he would write in the liner notes for the 30th anniversary remaster, released in 2001, “I still like the songs on the album and believe they can continue to outlive the style in which they were recorded,” adding, however, “it was difficult to resist re-mixing every track. All these years later I would like to liberate some of the songs from the big production that seemed appropriate at the time”.
Decades in the making and lovingly crafted by the Harrison family, All Things Must Pass has now been completely remixed from the original tapes for a stunning suite of 50th-anniversary releases that fulfills Harrison’s longtime desire. Executive produced by Dhani Harrison, a product produced by David Zonshine and mixed by triple GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon), the new mix transforms the album by sonically upgrading it – making it sound brighter, fuller, and better than ever before.
Releasing August 6 via Capitol/UMe, All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary Edition will be available in a variety of formats:
UBER DELUXE EDITION
Exclusive to GeorgeHarrison.com, uDiscover, and Sound of Vinyl, All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary Edition will be available as a very limited Uber Deluxe Edition box set, which includes the album on 8LP (180g) and 5CD + 1 Blu-ray audio disc housed in an artisan designed wooden crate (approx. 12.4” X 12.4” X 17.5”). The collection explores the 1970 album sessions through 47 (42 previously unreleased) demos and outtakes, offering an inside look into the creative process. The Blu-ray allows fans to experience the main album in a high-res stereo, enveloping 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos mixes.
The crate contains two books, an elaborate and expanded 96-page scrapbook curated by Olivia Harrison, with unseen imagery and memorabilia from the era, handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track, and more; while a second 44-page book chronicling the making of All Things Must Pass through extensive archival interviews with notes is also contained herein. The elegantly designed book pays homage to Harrison’s love of gardening and nature. The book also contains a wooden bookmark made from a felled Oak tree (Quercus Robur) in George’s Friar Park. This truly unique box will also contain 1/6 scale replica figurines of Harrison and the gnomes featured on the iconic album cover, a limited edition illustration by musician and artist Klaus Voormann, as well as a copy of Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Light from the Great Ones” and Rudraksha beads, contained in individual custom-made boxes.
SUPER DELUXE EDITION
The Super Deluxe Edition box set, presented on 8LP (180g) or 5CD + 1 Blu-ray audio disc, explores the 1970 album sessions through 47 (42 previously unreleased) demos and outtakes. The Blu-ray allows fans to experience the main album in a high-res stereo, enveloping 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos mixes. The collection contains a beautiful 60-page scrapbook curated by Olivia Harrison, with unseen imagery and memorabilia from the era, handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track, and more. It also includes a replica of the original album poster.
All Things Must Pass will be released in multiple physical and digital configurations, including as a 5LP or 3CD Deluxe Edition that pairs the main album with the session’s outtakes and jams. The main album will be available on its own as 2CD, 3LP, or limited edition 3LP color vinyl. All versions are available for pre-order now.
“Since the 50th-anniversary stereo mix release of the title track to my father’s legendary All Things Must Pass album in 2020, my dear pal Paul Hicks and I have continued to dig through mountains of tapes to restore and present the rest of this newly remixed and expanded edition of the album you now see and hear before you,” says Dhani Harrison. “Bringing greater sonic clarity to this record was always one of my father’s wishes and it was something we were working on together right up until he passed in 2001. Now, 20 years later, with the help of new technology and the extensive work of Paul Hicks we have realized this wish and present to you this very special 50th Anniversary release of perhaps his greatest work of art. Every wish will be fulfilled.”
The All Things Must Pass sessions began just six weeks after the April 1970 announcement of The Beatles’ break-up. Two days were spent recording thirty demos in Studio Three at EMI Studios, Abbey Road in St. John’s Wood, London. The first day, May 26, saw Harrison record fifteen songs backed by Ringo Starr and his longtime friend, bassist Klaus Voormann, beginning with “All Things Must Pass.” The next day, May 27, George played an additional fifteen songs for co-producer Phil Spector. The All Things Must Pass Uber and Super Deluxe Editions collect all 30 of these remarkable demo recordings, including 26 tracks never before officially released and several songs that didn’t make the album like “Cosmic Empire,” “Going Down To Golders Green,” “Dehra Dun,” “Sour Milk Sea,” and “Mother Divine.”
The scope of Harrison’s songwriting remains breathtaking – his deeply personal introspection and striking wit are matched by the album’s boldly extravagant production. With its densely orchestrated textures and eclectic embrace of myriad genres, Harrison and Phil Spector’s groundbreaking sonic approach set a grand blueprint for countless artists to follow.
George had been stockpiling material for nearly half a decade, with a number of songs – including “Isn’t It A Pity” and the title track – rehearsed with, but not recorded by, The Beatles. Further songs evinced Harrison’s growing frustration over those preceding years, including “Wah-Wah,” the dramatic “Beware of Darkness,” and “Run Of The Mill,” the latter named by both George and Olivia Harrison as one of their all-time favorites.
Written by George while producing Billy Preston’s 1969 Apple Records solo debut but saved for his own album a year later, the glorious “What Is Life” highlights the artist at his most exultant. At the album’s heart were songs like “My Sweet Lord,” “Awaiting On You All” and the impassioned “Hear Me Lord,” each of which epitomized Harrison’s lifelong inner journey.
An anthem weaving a chant of the Hare Krishna mantra and “hallelujah,” “My Sweet Lord” proved a worldwide smash upon its November 1970 single release, making history as the first solo single by a former Beatle to reach #1 in the UK or the US. Inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame in 2014, the indelible anthem of spiritual and religious unity has remained one of the world’s most beloved songs, named among the “Greatest Songs of All Time” by both Rolling Stone and NME. Last year saw a limited edition clear vinyl 7″ of “My Sweet Lord” released by the George Harrison Estate in partnership with Record Store Day‘s Black Friday event on November 27, 2020 – the official 50th anniversary of All Things Must Pass’ original release.
Harrison’s close friendship with Bob Dylan begat two songs: the album-opening “I’d Have You Anytime” was co-written with Dylan, while the classic “If Not For You” was at the time an unreleased Dylan composition. The All Things Must Pass Super Deluxe Edition includes previously unreleased demo recordings of both songs as well as “Nowhere To Go” and “I Don’t Want To Do It,” another original Dylan song later recorded by George for a 1985 soundtrack but remains unrecorded by Dylan himself.
George brought together a stunning roster of friends and fellow musicians to record All Things Must Pass, including Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, and Billy Preston, along with Eric Clapton and his new American bandmates, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, and Jim Gordon (soon to be known collectively as Derek and the Dominoes). Badfinger’s Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland, and Mike Gibbons contributed additional acoustics and percussion. Phil Spector’s desire for multiple pianos, layers of acoustic guitars, and more drums saw the addition of Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley from Humble Pie, Spooky Tooth’s Gary Wright, Plastic Ono Band veteran and future Yes drummer Alan White, Traffic’s Dave Mason, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, and the in-demand horn section of Bobby Keys and Jim Price. Pete Drake, legendary Nashville session musician provided pedal steel guitar on several tracks. Arrangements for strings and horns came from longtime collaborator John Barham.
The original release of All Things Must Pass collected 18 songs over two LPs alongside a third LP – dubbed “Apple Jam” – showcasing four improvised instrumentals including a pair recorded as part of Derek and the Dominoes’ first-ever official recording session in June 1970. In addition, the “Apple Jam” disc includes “It’s Johnny’s Birthday,” sung to the tune of Cliff Richard’s 1968 hit “Congratulations” and recorded as a gift from Harrison to mark John Lennon’s 30th birthday.
The All Things Must Pass session tapes created in 1970 include over twenty-five hours of music on forty-nine 1” eight-track tapes, four 2” sixteen-track tapes, and forty-four ¼” stereo tapes. Richard Radford, Archivist for the George Harrison Estate oversaw the preservation of the tape collection, with the original analog multi-track and stereo tapes transferred to 192 KHz/24bit digital preservation copies.
Hailed by Rolling Stone as “the War and Peace of rock and roll” and “an intensely personal statement and a grandiose gesture,” All Things Must Pass was met by unanimous critical acclaim and spectacular commercial success, spending seven weeks at #1 on Billboard’s “Top LPs” chart and eight weeks atop the UK’s official albums chart (though chart records until 2006 mistakenly stated that it had peaked at #4). Currently certified 6x platinum by the RIAA, All Things Must Pass later received a 1972 GRAMMY® Award nomination for “Album of the Year,” while “My Sweet Lord” earned a GRAMMY® nod for “Record of the Year.” “What Is Life,” the album’s second single, also became an international hit, reaching the top 10 in the US and Canada as well as #1 in Australia and Switzerland.
Today’s launch is heralded with the official video of the previously unreleased and remixed “Run Of The Mill” (Take 36).
ALL THINGS MUST PASS
SUPER DELUXE EDITION
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 6, 2021
Disc One (Main Album)
I’d Have You Anytime
My Sweet Lord
Isn’t It A Pity (Version One)
What Is Life
If Not For You
Behind That Locked Door
Let It Down
Run Of The Mill
Disc Two (Main Album Cont.)
Beware Of Darkness
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)
Awaiting On You All
All Things Must Pass
I Dig Love
Art Of Dying
Isn’t It A Pity (Version Two)
Hear Me Lord
Out Of The Blue *
It’s Johnny’s Birthday *
Plug Me In *
I Remember Jeep *
Thanks For The Pepperoni *
* Newly Remastered/Original Mix
Disc Three (Day 1 Demos – Tuesday 26 May 1970)
All Things Must Pass (Take 1) †
Behind That Locked Door (Take 2)
I Live For You (Take 1)
Apple Scruffs (Take 1)
What Is Life (Take 3)
Awaiting On You All (Take 1) †
Isn’t It A Pity (Take 2)
I’d Have You Anytime (Take 1)
I Dig Love (Take 1)
Going Down To Golders Green (Take 1)
Dehra Dun (Take 2)
Om Hare Om (Gopala Krishna) (Take 1)
Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) (Take 2)
My Sweet Lord (Take 1) †
Sour Milk Sea (Take 1)
Disc Four (Day 2 Demos – Tuesday 27 May 1970)
Run Of The Mill (Take 1) †
Art Of Dying (Take 1)
Everybody/Nobody (Take 1)
Wah-Wah (Take 1)
Window Window (Take 1)
Beautiful Girl (Take 1)
Beware Of Darkness (Take 1)
Let It Down (Take 1)
Tell Me What Has Happened To You (Take 1)
Hear Me Lord (Take 1)
Nowhere To Go (Take 1)
Cosmic Empire (Take 1)
Mother Divine (Take 1)
I Don’t Want To Do It (Take 1)
If Not For You (Take 1)
† Previously Released
Disc Five (Session Outtakes and Jams)
Isn’t It A Pity (Take 14)
Wah-Wah (Take 1)
I’d Have You Anytime (Take 5)
Art Of Dying (Take 1)
Isn’t It A Pity (Take 27)
If Not For You (Take 2)
Wedding Bells (Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine) (Take 1)
What Is Life (Take 1)
Beware Of Darkness (Take 8)
Hear Me Lord (Take 5)
Let It Down (Take 1)
Run Of The Mill (Take 36)
Down To the River (Rocking Chair Jam) (Take 1)
Get Back (Take 1)
Almost 12 Bar Honky Tonk (Take 1)
It’s Johnny’s Birthday (Take 1)
Woman Don’t You Cry For Me (Take 5)
Blu-ray Audio Disc (Main Album Only; Surround, Atmos, Hi-Res)
Out of Space Festival to Feature Patti Smith, Emmylou Harris, George Clinton, Los Lobos
American Blues Scene Staff
Out of Space announces 2021 lineups in August and September at Canal Shores and Temperance Beer Co. in Evanston
After the long, lost, lonely winter, the sun is out in Chicagoland and live music is on the way back. Evanston SPACE’s summer concert series, Out of Space, unveils the 2021 line-up at Canal Shores (Aug 5-8) and Temperance Beer Company (Sept 2-5).
Canal Shores kicks off on August 5th with Emmylou Harris and Los Lobos, followed by Patti Smith and her band on the 6th, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals on the 7th and closing out on August 8th with CAAMP.
Temperance Beer Company hosts Out of Space September 2nd – 5th, with Big Boi and Twista, Drive-By Truckers and JD McPherson, Neko Case with Son Litte and finally, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic supported by Liquid Soul.
The Canal Shores series begins with Emmylou Harris and Los Lobos, both giants of roots music. Emmylou Harris began her career collaborating with Graham Parsons, over the years she has been nominated for 48 Grammys, winning an astonishing 14 times, recording with Daniel Lanois, Willie Nelson, Buddy Miller and many more, establishing a legacy of gorgeous albums that run the gamut from mainstream country to more experimental roots sounds.
Los Lobos (pronounced [los ˈloβos], Spanish for “the Wolves”) is an American rock band from East Los Angeles, California. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, and traditional music such as cumbia, boleros and norteños. The band gained international stardom in 1987, when their version of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” topped the charts in the U.S., the UK and several other countries.
August 6th, singer-songwriter, musician, author, and poet Patti Smith and her band will take the stage. Called the “punk poet laureate,” Smith fuses rock and poetry in her work. On November 17, 2010, Smith won the National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. She placed 47th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Artists published and was also a recipient of the 2011 Polar Music Prize.
Ben Harper and his Innocent Criminals perform on August 7th. Harper plays an eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae, and rock music and is known for his incredible guitar playing and social activism. He has released twelve regular studio albums, for which he has won 3 Grammy Awards.
Sunday, August 8th, CAAMP will play the final day at Golf Shores. Started by boyhood friends Evan Westfall and Taylor Meier, CAAMP came to life in Athens, Ohio. Taylor began penning and playing original songs at coffee shops around Athens in 2013. Evan moved down a couple of years later and together in a hazy attic, enjoying light beers, they would find the heartfelt sound that became CAAMP. Since independently releasing their self-titled first record in 2016, they have climbed Spotify charts, headlined the US, purchased denim jackets and added a bass- playing buddy, Matt Vinson- who also enjoys light beers and denim.
Out of Space moves to Temperance Beer Company in September.
Thursday, September 2nd is headlined by the legendary BIG BOI. If the genre of hip-hop ever gets a “Rap Mount Rushmore,” a legacy as the region’s foremost wordsmith, funkiest gentleman, and resident ATLien certainly guarantees a place for the rapper, songwriter, record producer, actor, and philanthropist born Antwan André Patton. He made history as the preeminent spitter of the Dungeon Family and one-half of OutKast. The legendary duo sold 25 million albums and garnered seven GRAMMY® Awards, becoming the first and only hip-hop artist in history to win the GRAMMY® for “Album of the Year” upon release of the 2003 RIAA Diamond-certified Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
On Friday, September 3rd southern rock giants Drive-By Truckers headline, joined by JD McPherson. From their breakout album, Southern Rock Opera, to this year’s searing political manifesto, The Unraveling, the band, led by Patterson Hood, have articulated the ambivalence, rage and joy in the southern experience. Oklahoma rocker JD McPherson is one of the most exciting acts touring now, synthesizing rockabilly, blues and country.
Saturday, September 4th, the celebrated singer-songwriter Neko Case will take the stage to perform her eloquent, fiery songs.
Sunday, September 5th, Out of Space closes out when funk legend George Clinton brings Parliament Funkadelic to the stage. The Parliament/Funkadelic machine ruled black music during the ’70s, capturing over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and recording three platinum albums. In reviewing Clinton’s illustrious career and success as a producer/writer/performer, perhaps his greatest achievement stemmed from his relentless dedication to funk as a musical form, deeply rooted in the music traditions of New Orleans and the blues of the deep south.
In 2008, Evanston’s SPACE opened, offering a jewel box of a music venue with stellar production values and the opportunity to experience intimate performances from the finest musicians across a wide variety of genres: Dr. John, Lucinda Williams, Bob Mould, Sturgill Simpson, Gary Clark, Jr., Booker T. Jones and many more. Often recognized on the best venue lists of 93XRT, DownBeat and Chicago Tribune, SPACE is part of the 16 on Center development company, which oversees operations of more than 15 restaurants and venues, including Thalia Hall in Pilsen and The Empty Bottle in the Ukrainian Village.
But the organizers at SPACE recognized that operating a bantam locale prevented them from bringing larger acts to the community, and decided to start presenting a summer series that is both ambitious and reflective of the community at large. Thus, Out of Space was born, and now presents 8 diverse summer performances at 2 venues in the area, Temperance Beer Co. and Canal Shores. Out of Space works with charitable partners and other area vendors to produce a vibrant experience for music fans of all ages.
Chicago Mayor To Declare June 18, 2021 ‘Alligator Records Day’
American Blues Scene Staff
“We’re looking forward to our next 50 years bringing the blues of Sweet Home Chicago to the world. Thank you, Mayor Lightfoot.” – Bruce Iglauer
On Friday, June 18, Mayor Lori Lightfoot will declare “Alligator Records Day” throughout the City of Chicago. This same day, the label will release Alligator Records–50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music, both as a 58-song three-CD set (over 230 minutes) and a 24-song gatefold two-LP set (over 100 minutes of music), each clearly laying out label founder and president Bruce Iglauer’s wide-ranging, forward-looking vision. Alligator, like the blues itself, continues to break new ground while staying true to its roots.
In her official proclamation, Mayor Lightfoot states:
WHEREAS, for 50 years, Alligator Records has been dedicated to finding and signing artists with the talent and vision to create new music and reach new audiences while keeping up with technology and finding new and innovative ways to promote and foster the Chicago Blues, making Alligator Records one of the most successful blues labels in the world; and
WHEREAS, on June 18, 2021, Alligator Records will celebrate their 50th Anniversary with the release of a 58-song triple CD titled “Alligator Records–50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, LORI E. LIGHTFOOT, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, do hereby proclaim June 18, 2021 to be ALLIGATOR RECORDS DAY IN CHICAGO in celebration of 50 years producing, releasing, and celebrating the Chicago blues.
According to Iglauer, “We’re very proud to be honored by the mayor of Chicago, the world capital of the blues, and Alligator’s hometown for 50 years. The city has nurtured some of the greatest blues artists anywhere, and we’ve had the pleasure of recording many of them. We’re looking forward to our next 50 years bringing the blues of Sweet Home Chicago to the world. Thank you, Mayor Lightfoot.”
Alligator Records — 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music features songs from legendary artists like Hound Dog Taylor, Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Professor Longhair, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison and Michael “Iron Man” Burks, interspersed with cuts from current blues and roots icons Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Guitar Shorty, Billy Boy Arnold and Mavis Staples. Songs from today’s world-renowned stars like Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Marcia Ball, Billy Branch, JJ Grey & Mofro, Tinsley Ellis, Joe Louis Walker, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Curtis Salgado and Roomful Of Blues flow together seamlessly with music from newer voices, including Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Nick Moss, Toronzo Cannon and Selwyn Birchwood.
Fifty years ago, 23-year-old blues fan Bruce Iglauer spent his meager savings to record an LP by his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers, and founded Alligator Records to release it. Today, Alligator boasts a catalog of over 350 titles, many of which are renowned, award-winning, time-tested classics of the genre. Since releasing that first Hound Dog Taylor record, Alligator Records — with the invaluable input and guidance from the 14-person staff (many of whom have been with the label for more than 25 years) — has become the most successful blues label in the world.
Alligator Records — 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music highlights Alligator’s extraordinary past, headline-generating present, and a future dedicated to nurturing new generations of blues artists and fans. It is a must-hear collection for lifelong fans as well as for those who have just discovered the endlessly uplifting, life-affirming, deeply soulful, roots-rocking, healing power of the Genuine Houserockin’ Music on Alligator Records.
2021 Blues Music Award Winners Announced By The Blues Foundation
American Blues Scene Staff
Virtual show features performances by ”Kingfish” along with past BMA winners Bobby Rush, Watermelon Slim, Southern Avenue, Don Bryant, Shaun Murphy and John Németh & the Blue Dreamers
The irrepressible spirit of the blues was on full display during The Blues Foundation’s 42nd Blues Music Awards (BMAs) presented by Global Electronic Technology when winners across twenty-five (25) categories were announced. Broadcast virtually due to COVID precautions, the show’s highlights included heartfelt video statements from many of the winners as well as lively performances from several past BMA winning artists. Awarded by The Blues Foundation’s members, the BMAs are widely recognized as the highest honor given to blues musicians. The 42nd Blues Music Awards coincides with the 42nd annual celebration of Black Music Month which recognizes the immeasurable influence of Black artists and their music on America’s musical traditions.
Shemekia Copeland was the show’s big winner, snagging three awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award. Copeland was recognized with the Contemporary Blues Female Artist award as she was in 2020, and also took the prize for Contemporary Blues Album, with Uncivil War. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram continued his winning streak from 2020 when he won five awards with two 2021 awards, winning both Contemporary Blues Male Artist and Instrumentalist – Guitar. Blues fans tuning into the show were wowed by two stellar performances by “Kingfish” and heard his heartfelt personal acceptance speeches. Other multiple award winners were Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite, whose album, 100 Years of Blues, won awards for Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album, and Mike Zito, who won in the Blues Rock Artist category as well as the Blues Rock Album category for Mike Zito and Friends – Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry.
Blues’ inter-generational traditions were underscored when Blues Hall of Famers Bettye LaVette won for Soul Blues Female Artist and Bobby Rush took the prize for Acoustic Blues Album with Rawer than Raw. Rush, who performed during the show, appeared onstage to accept his award. Kenny “Beady Eyes” Smith, Instrumentalist – Drum winner, continued the blues legacy of his father, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who won 16 BMAs. Newcomer King Solomon Hicks was awarded Best Emerging Artist Album for Harlem. Other standouts included Rick Estrin & the Nightcats’ win for Band of the Year and Walter Trout’s win for Song of the Year, “All Out of Tears.”
The show’s host, perennial favorite, Big Llou, kept the show moving with his trademark spirited banter. In addition to the tremendous performances by Bobby Rush and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, viewers were treated to outstanding performances by past BMA winners John Németh & the Blue Dreamers, Shaun Murphy, Don Bryant, Watermelon Slim, and Southern Avenue. Memphis’ heritage as “The Home of the Blues” was showcased when Rodd Bland, son of Blues Hall of Famer Bobby “Blue” Bland, and the famed Royal Studio family, Boo, Yvonne, and Lorraine Mitchell appeared to announce the BMA winners.
The Blues Foundation’s President Patricia Wilson Aden stated, “We are proud to continue the Blues Music Awards’ time-honored tradition in 2021. Although we were not able to gather for a live performance, the global blues community came together virtually for an awesome celebration of the best of the blues. We applaud all of this year’s winners and are grateful for the support of everyone who made the 42nd Blues Music Awards a one-of-a-kind experience.”
2021 Blues Music Awards Winners
B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Photo Credit: Joseph A. Rosen
Album of the Year
100 Years of Blues – Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite
Band of the Year
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
Photo Credit: Jay Skolnick
Song of the Year
“All Out of Tears” – written by Walter Trout, Marie Trout, and Teeny Tucker
(performed by Walter Trout)
Photo Credit: Jay Skolnick
Best Emerging Artist Album
Harlem, King Solomon Hicks
Acoustic Blues Album
Rawer Than Raw, Bobby Rush
Blues Rock Album
Mike Zito and Friends – Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Tribute to Chuck Berry, Mike Zito
Contemporary Blues Album
Uncivil War, Shemekia Copeland
Soul Blues Album
That’s What I Heard, Robert Cray Band
Traditional Blues Album
100 Years of Blues, Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite
Acoustic Blues Artist
Photo Credit: James Wessels
Blues Rock Artist
Photo Credit: Arnie Goodman
Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Photo Credit: Joseph A. Rosen
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Soul Blues Female Artist
Photo Credit: Marilyn Stringer
Soul Blues Male Artist
Photo Credit: Jessica Keaveny
Traditional Blues Female Artist (Koko Taylor Award)
Instrumentalist – Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Award)
Photo Credit: Jay Skolnick
Instrumentalist – Vocals
Photo Credit: Roger Stephenson
Fans who missed the original June 6, 2021 airing of the 42nd Blues Music Awards presented by Global Electronic Technology will be able catch the show for 48 hours through June 8, 2021 by going to Mandolin.com.
The Blues Foundation is grateful for the support of the generous sponsors of the 2021 virtual Blues Music Awards: Global Electronic Technology, Memphis Tourism, the Renasant Convention Center, Alligator Records, B.B. King’s Club, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, BMI, Boyle Insurance, Bruce & Barbara Newman, Endless Blues Records, Hohner Harmonicas, the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Sherry & Tim May, Stony Plain/True North Records, and Ted Reed Productions. Major funders of The Blues Foundation include Arts Memphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Watch: Artist/Activist Rachel Garlin’s Video For Title Track ‘The State That We Are In’
‘The State That We Are In’ out June 25
Artist, athlete and activist Rachel Garlin will release The State That We Are In on June 25th. Produced by Jonny Flaugher (The Weepies, Dan Bern, Joshua Radin), the EP includes four originals and a singular version of Clapton’s classic “Layla.” Garlin recorded The State That We Are In in remote collaboration with producer and bassist Flaugher, drummer Michael Jermone (Better than Ezra), and flute player David Ralicke (Beck) among others; the EP was mixed remotely with Veronica Ferarro (Emily Saliers) in Paris.
The State That We Are In is the follow up to Garlin’s 2020 LP, Mondegreens. Garlin wrote the title track for The State That We Are In in the weeks leading up to the election when her songwriting naturally flowed toward topics like voting justice and climate change. “I wrote it in solidarity with everyone who’s been pushing for change while trying to stay balanced during the difficulty of the pandemic,” says Garlin.
“Toward the end of the song, there’s a reference to Vice President Kamala Harris’s ‘I’m speaking’ refrain from the debate: ‘we’re not tired, we’re not despairing, not resigned / we’re not counting on the roof to fix the leak… and we are, we are, we are gonna speak.’ The song is a reminder that we’re not stuck in the state that we’re in. It’s temporary, and we can actively affect the next state that we create. Music can be a part of that.”
Bay Area filmmaker Dan Foldes directed the video for the title track, which follows Garlin through urban and rustic landscapes in her hometown of San Francisco.
A lifelong athlete and former Division 1 basketball player at Harvard, Garlin stepped up to a new challenge this year by competing in Season 13 of the NBC sports show American Ninja Warrior. The obstacle course show asks athletes to perform various stunts while activating strength, agility and a sense of balance. Learning the sport for the first time this season, Garlin realized it requires a lot of the same skills needed to be an indie musician — flexibility, improvisation, resilience and a sense of adventure.
These same skills also apply to Garlin’s activist work in San Francisco where she spent the quarantine cultivating poetry, social action, and compassion in her community. Mentoring young songwriters at Sunset Youth Services and performing regular Sidewalk Sessions (playing music from the edge of her garage alongside neighbors, friends and her own wife and three kids) she caught the attention of the Chronicle and former Rolling Stone editor, Ben Fong-Torres on his MoonAlice radio station.
With her vintage Gibson J50 guitar, Rachel devoted the month of February to writing a new song each day and sharing the creative process–spontaneous and vulnerable—during an interactive process with fans across the country. She now hosts a weekly livestream concert called Swing & Release (Wednesdays at 4pm PT) where she weaves together songs and stories related to her work as an artist, athlete and activist in her own community and beyond.
Don’t miss Rachel:
June 20th – Burren Pub – Sommerville, MA
July 2nd – Blueberry Hill – Goshen, VT
July 29th – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 – New York, NY
Brooklyn Soul/Rocker Bette Smith Releases ‘I’m a Sinner’ Video
American Blues Scene Staff
Patton and Smith hit the nail directly on the head with “I’m a Sinner.” It’s hard to decide if she’s the next big thing, or if this an unearthed 70s Sacred Soul track.
Wild rock & soul singer Bette Smith traces elements of her life-affirming new album The Good, The Bad and The Bette to her childhood in the rough Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Musically, it connects to the gospel music she heard in church and the soul music on the corners. No party host would regret putting on this platter!
She remembers, “My father was a church choir director. I was singing since I was five years old. I take it to church. I just break out, start speaking in tongues.” She also heard gospel around the house every weekend. “My mother listened to nothing but gospel,” she recalls, citing Mahalia Jackson and Reverend James Cleveland. “Every Sunday morning, she would get up and put on these records while dressing and praising the Lord,” she says. Bed-Stuy block parties would also have revivalist-style gospel acts. “I’m steeped in it!,” she adds.
This injection of soul music and gospel into rock & roll powered a breakout in 2017’s Jetlagger. Not just a critics’ darling, the album rose to #1 on the Roots Music Report chart and topped off a banner year with a celebrated appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
For The Good, The Bad and The Bette, Smith enlisted Drive-By Truckers’ Matt Patton and engineer/drummer Bronson Tew as producers at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, MS; Patton has previously helmed projects by Jimbo Mathus and the Dexateens as well as contributed to albums with Dom Flemons, Seratones, and Candi Staton. He played bass on Jetlagger, which was produced by Jimbo Mathus and the two found a kinship and shared vision. She says, “When I called on my producer Matthew Robert Patton, I told him that I wanted a southern rock soul/Aretha Franklin/’I once was lost but now I’m found’ theme.”
Patton and Smith hit the nail directly on the head with “I’m a Sinner.” It’s hard to decide if she’s the next big thing, or if this an unearthed 70s Sacred Soul track. The vibe she wanted mixed with her powerhouse vocals and a beautiful video shot all over the US and Europe, “I’m a Sinner” is a great cut off an even greater album.
The Good, The Bad and The Bette hit the streets in September of 2020 via Ruf Records, but with confirmation of Bette Smith opening for Drive-By Truckers and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on upcoming tours, as well as her own appearances, she’s sure to wow even more people and win over a huge fan base.
‘Rip It Up: The Best Of Specialty Records’ Celebrates 75th Anniversary Of Pioneering Label
American Blues Scene Staff
18-track collection includes hits by foundational R&B and rock ’n’ roll artists including Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Lloyd Price, and Roy Milton
Craft Recordings is pleased to launch its 75th anniversary celebrations of Specialty Records with a brand-new compilation, Rip It Up: The Best of Specialty Records. Available for pre-order, the album collects 18 rock ’n’ roll, R&B, soul, and blues hits from such pioneering artists as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and Lloyd Price, and includes liner notes from the GRAMMY®-winning writer and musician Billy Vera. Rip It Up: The Best of Specialty Records arrives on August 6th on CD, vinyl, and across digital platforms. Additionally, a limited-edition pressing on yellow vinyl, as well as new Specialty Records merchandise will be offered exclusively through the Craft Recordings webstore. Throughout the next few months, meanwhile, Craft will honor Specialty’s contributions to popular music with exclusive content and more special reissues.
Fans who want a deeper dive into Specialty Records’ catalog will also be able to stream or download the acclaimed, 1994 collection, The Specialty Story, now available digitally. Originally released as a 5-CD box set, The Specialty Story offers 130 tracks from the artists noted above, plus Percy Mayfield, Camille Howard, Joe Liggins, Jesse Belvin, Eugene Church, Lil Greenwood, the Swan Silvertones, John Lee Hooker, and more.
In the 1940s, Los Angeles reigned as the entertainment capital of the world. But while the postwar movie business was booming, the recording industry was just finding its footing in the city. It was at this time that a young impresario named Art Rupe arrived in Hollywood and was eager to get involved in the growing scene. As an avid fan of gospel, blues, and the burgeoning sounds of R&B, Rupe noticed that many of the bigger labels weren’t focusing their efforts on Black artists. Instead, they were signing acts that would appeal to white audiences.
Rupe sought to change this with his label, Juke Box (soon to be re-named Specialty Records). Among his earliest signings was a local bandleader named Roy Milton. In 1945, Milton scored a major hit with “R.M. Blues.” As Vera explains in his notes, Milton was laying the groundwork for a fresh new sound. “The fact that Roy was both the drummer and singer gave his records another unexpected attraction. Roy’s vocal mic picked up leakage from the snare drum, emphasizing the backbeat [that] would later become the core sound of rock ’n’ roll.”
One of Specialty’s most reliable stars, Milton would go on to score 19 Top Ten R&B singles during his time with the label. His success also attracted new artists to the imprint, including Jimmy Liggins, whose uptempo boogies like 1953’s “Drunk” were also precursors to rock. Liggins’ brother Joe, a popular blues pianist, joined the label as well, releasing hits like the swinging “Pink Champagne” (1953).
Other signings included the prolific blues singer-songwriter Percy Mayfield, who famously penned Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road Jack.” A decade earlier, he launched his career at Specialty, releasing his first No.1 R&B hit, “Please Send Me Someone to Love.” A teenage Lloyd Price (who later crossed over to the pop charts with “Personality” and “Stagger Lee”) also got his start at Specialty, scoring a chart-topping R&B hit with his oft-covered debut, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” Additionally, Rupe jumped on the rising popularity of doo-wop, signing the vocal duo Jesse & Marvin (comprised of Jesse Belvin and Marvin Phillips).
Rupe certainly proved that he had a keen ear for talent, but one of his signings—a young, flamboyant performer named Richard Penniman—would forever change the landscape of pop music. Bursting onto the scene with 1955’s “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard, as he was known, became an instant crossover sensation and a rock ’n’ roll pioneer. Over the next two years, Richard dominated the charts with hits like “Long Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up,” “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “Lucille,” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly.”
“Richard Penniman is the artist who made Specialty and rock ’n’ roll synonymous,” argues Vera, who adds that more than 60 years later, his songs “sound [just] as wild and out of control.” Under Specialty, Richard released three albums (including his 1957 debut, Here’s Little Richard) and scored more than a dozen Top Ten R&B hits—many of which also landed in the Billboard Hot 100’s Top Ten. Along the way, the charismatic artist appeared in several top-grossing films, including 1956’s The Girl Can’t Help It and Don’t Knock the Rock. In 1958, however, Richard abandoned stardom to devote his life to the gospel.
Rupe scrambled to replace his biggest star with the similarly flashy Larry Williams—a favorite of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He also poured his energies into a promising young singer named Sam Cooke, who fronted The Soul Stirrers—a long-running gospel group that had released several records with Specialty. Cooke’s “I’ll Come Running Back to You” followed the success of his debut “You Send Me” (via Keen Records), and earned the singer his second chart-topping R&B hit.
Bolstering Rupe’s efforts along the way was Robert “Bumps” Blackwell—a bandleader who shaped the sound of the label as an A&R man, producer, and arranger. At Specialty, Blackwell steered the early careers of Little Richard, Larry Williams, Sam Cooke, and Lloyd Price. In the following years, he went on to work with the likes of Sly and the Family Stone and Bob Dylan.
Despite the label’s overwhelming success, Rupe found himself disenchanted with the music industry and effectively shut down Specialty in 1959. What he accomplished in a decade and a half, however, was extraordinary. While his impact on popular music was immeasurable, one of Rupe’s most important contributions was his effort to champion Black artists and break down the racial barriers that pervaded the music industry.
Rupe, who turns 104 in September, was honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 with the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which celebrates non-performing industry professionals who have had a significant influence on “the creative development and growth of rock ’n’ roll and music that has impacted youth culture.” To that end, Vera simply declares, “the name Art Rupe should be spoken with the same reverence as any of the giants: Sam Phillips, Ahmet Ertegun, Jerry Wexler, or Leonard Chess.”
Tracklist – Rip It Up: The Best of Specialty Records (LP edition):
Lloyd Price: Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Little Richard: Long Tall Sally
Roy Milton: R.M. Blues
Sam Cooke: I’ll Come Running Back to You
Joe Liggins: Pink Champagne
Little Richard: Tutti Frutti
Percy Mayfield: Please Send Me Someone to Love
Roy Milton: Information Blues
Larry Williams: Bony Moronie
Little Richard: Lucille
Jesse & Marvin: Dream Girl
Jimmy Liggins: Drunk
Lloyd Price: Ain’t It a Shame?
Larry Williams: Short Fat Fannie
Percy Mayfield: Lost Love (Baby, Please)
Lloyd Price: Oooh-Oooh-Oooh
Roy Milton: Best Wishes
Little Richard: Rip It Up
Tracklist – Rip It Up: The Best of Specialty Records (CD/digital editions):
Gulf Coast Records/Hillside Global Signs Pop, Soul and Blues Legend Tito Jackson
American Blues Scene Staff
Special Guests Include George Benson, Joe Bonamassa, Marlon Jackson, Kenny Neal, Bobby Rush and Stevie Wonder
Gulf Coast Records and Hillside Global announce the signing of pop, soul and blues legend Tito Jackson and will release the singer/guitarist’s label debut album, Under Your Spell, on August 6. Under Your Spell will be available for pre-order on July 9, which is also the date the album’s first single, “Love One Another,” will be released.
The California-based Jackson is supported on the new disc by an array of superlative special guests, including George Benson, Joe Bonamassa, Marlon Jackson, Kenny Neal, Bobby Rush and Stevie Wonder, who all add their special talents to the proceedings. Above it all though, Tito Jackson’s innate abilities as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and arranger shine through brilliantly, creating a special recording that is destined for airplay and rave reviews in a number of formats.
The debut single off the album, “Love One Another,” is the perfect antidote for today’s times of doubt and trepidation, as the vocals of Tito, along with Marlon Jackson, Michael K. Jackson and others soar above the musical bed of melodies that feature the sweet sound of Stevie Wonder’s signature harmonic style.
Continuing on the path set for Jackson when he broke into the music business as a member of the legendary Jackson 5, Tito continues to grow as a musician and performer, with Under Your Spell as the extraordinary present he has bestowed on the listening public.
42nd Blues Music Awards – Virtual Celebration – June 6, 2021
American Blues Scene Staff
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Bobby Rush, Shemekia Copeland, Cristone “Kingfish” Ingram, and Keb’ Mo’ are among the masterful musicians vying for honors at virtual program presented by The Blues Foundation
The Blues Foundation will bring an elevated viewing experience to blues fans worldwide with the 2021 Blues Music Awards. Presented by Global Electronic Technology, the 42nd Annual Blues Music Awards (BMAs) will be broadcast Sunday, June 6 at 4:00 pm CT on Mandolin, the streaming platform chosen by blues musicians and blues fans everywhere. The 42nd Blues Music Awards coincides with the 42nd annual celebration of African-American Music Appreciation Month, which recognizes the immeasurable influence of Black artists and their music on America’s musical traditions.
Big Llou will host blues music’s most acclaimed awards program with announcements of award winners across 25 categories. Program highlights will include surprise performances and special guest appearances and performances.
Widely recognized as the highest honor bestowed by the blues community, the BMAs applaud the past year’s exceptional achievements in blues music recording, performance, and songwriting. The expansive list of nominees reflect the widening influence of blues music and blues artists. Topping the nomination chart this year again is Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Shemekia Copeland, and John Németh. Nominees include many well-known acts, both in and out of the blues world. Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famers Dion and Elvin Bishop, rising Americana star Rhiannon Giddens, and Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette are each BMA nominees this year.
The complete list of Blues Music Award nominees can be found on The Blues Foundation’s website here and listen to the BMA Nominee Spotify Playlist here.
Fans can purchase general admission tickets or VIP tickets that include admission to the pre-show virtual Blues Lounge sponsored by Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise featuring Art Tipaldi’s lively backstage conversation with Elvin Bishop, Thornetta Davis, Dion DiMucci, Harrison Kennedy, and Sugaray Rayford.
This online experience will give viewers a chance to share their enthusiasm and comments with fellow blues fans watching worldwide as they celebrate blues’ biggest night together.
Only members of The Blues Foundation are eligible to vote for the BMAs. Voting closed on March 12, 2021, at 11:59 pm CT. Blues Foundation membership costs as little as $25 per year. Visit BLUES.org and click on “Join” to learn about membership, donations and to help keep the blues thriving around the world.
The Blues Foundation is a world-renowned Memphis-based organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 180 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals worldwide. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame inductions, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards – make it the international hub of blues music. The Blues Foundation’s COVID – 19 Blues Musician Relief Fund and HART Fund provide financial and medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, located in Downtown Memphis, adds the opportunity for blues lovers of all ages to interact with blues music and history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.
Before enjoying an exciting evening hosted by Big Llou and performances by Blues Music Award nominees and other special guests, revel in a special happy hour: Backstage with Art Tipaldi and Friends.
The Blues Foundation is excited to have Big Llou host this year’s Blues Music Awards. Enjoy performances by this year’s nominees and other special guests. Some of the friends stopping by the LRBC VIP Blues Lounge are Elvin Bishop, Thornetta Davis, Dion DiMucci, Harrison Kennedy, and Sugaray Rayford.
Buy Livestream ticket here
Buy VIP ticket here
$20 | Livestream Ticket Includes:
One (1) entry to the livestream event
$50 | VIP Ticket Includes:
One (1) entry to the livestream event
One (1) entry to the exclusive pre-show VIP Blues Lounge Livestream of Backstage with Art Tipaldi and Friends sponsored by The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise.
One (1) official 2021 Blues Music Award poster. An extra shipping fee of $5 for the US and $15 everywhere else will be charged at checkout.*
Be among the first 100 to purchase a VIP ticket to be eligible to receive a curated “Taste of Memphis” VIP Blues Box. Add a delicious dimension to your Blues Music Awards watching experience. Ten lucky VIP ticket holders will receive a “Taste of Memphis” Blues Box containing Four Roses Bourbon, POP-A-ROOS BBQ Flavored Popcorn, Beale Sweets Sugar Shack Fudge, Blues City Café Rub, Dinstuhl’s Fine Candy Chocolate, and other tasty gift items.
Patty Griffin and Gregory Alan Isakov Join Forces For Co-Headline Tour
American Blues Scene Staff
Tickets go on sale this Friday, June 4th at 11am ET
Patty Griffin and Gregory Alan Isakov have announced plans for a co-headline tour. “An Evening with Patty Griffin and Gregory Alan Isakov” will see the two acclaimed American voices performing their own individual sets, marking the first live, in-person concert performances for both artists since early 2020. The 14-date tour gets underway October 5 in Knoxville, TN, and then continues through the month. Tickets for all announced dates will go on sale this Friday, June 4 at 11 am ET. For complete details and ticket information, visit pattygriffin.com/tour and gregoryalanisakov.com/tour.
Patty Griffin is among the most consequential singer-songwriters of her generation, a quintessentially American artist whose wide-ranging canon incisively explores the intimate moments and universal emotions that bind us together. Over the course of two decades, the 2x GRAMMY® Award winner – and 7x nominee – has crafted a remarkable body of work in progress. 2019 saw the acclaimed release of the renowned artist’s GRAMMY® Award-winning 10th studio recording, Patty Griffin, available now via her own PGM Recordings label via Thirty Tigers HERE.
One of the most deeply personal recordings of Griffin’s remarkable two-decade career and first-ever eponymous LP, Patty Griffin made a top 5 debut on Billboard’s “Independent Albums” chart amidst unprecedented worldwide acclaim, and later, a prestigious GRAMMY® Award for “Best Folk Album.” In addition to her creative career, Griffin has also devoted considerable energy and focus towards the wellbeing of the planet as well as showing compassion for the less fortunate among us via personal and public acts of charity. Having crafted a rich catalog that chronicles love and death, heartache and joy, connection and detachment, Patty Griffin continues to push her art forward, always imbuing every effort with compassion and craft, uncanny perception, and ever-increasing ingenuity.
Gregory Alan Isakov is a GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter, and performer, beloved by his devoted community of fans and critics alike. Since his debut, Isakov has released five full-length albums including his most recent, 2019’s Evening Machines, which was nominated for “Best Folk Album” at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards.
Most recently, Isakov and The Lumineers covered each other’s songs to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Dualtone Music Group. Listen to Isakov perform “Salt And The Sea” and The Lumineers perform “Caves” here. Isakov will also join The Lumineers on their 2022 winter European tour. Moreover, earlier this spring, Isakov released a rare live video performance of his song “She Always Takes It Black” from 2013’s The Weatherman (watch here). Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, raised in Philadelphia, Isakov now calls Colorado home. When he isn’t on the road, he spends much of his time on his farm in Boulder County, which provides produce to the farm’s CSA members and local restaurants.
PATTY GRIFFIN & GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV
“AN EVENING WITH PATTY GRIFFIN & GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV”
‘It’s An Often Underestimated Component Of The Arts’: Tomás Doncker On ‘World Environment Day’ Festival Ft. Patti Smith, Michael Stipe, Ben Harper
The virtual festival for restoration and recovery in honor of World Environment Day features global performances by Patti Smith, Michael Stipe, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews, Tomás Doncker, and more!
On Friday, June 4, 2021 at 3pm EST, Pathway to Paris, 350.org, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) North America Region will come together for a virtual festival to celebrate our planet in honor of World Environment Day — the United Nation’s flagship day for the environment. As we move into a new era of global recovery, this year’s central theme is the protection of our ecosystems and restoring our relationship with nature.
“It is critical that we consider the urgent needs of our planet as we transition back into living our lives and performing concerts again after a year of global quarantining and isolation,” Jesse Paris Smith, co-founder of Pathway toParis, said in a statement. “We simply cannot go back to the way things were before. So much has been lost due to Covid, an immeasurable amount, and all the while, the climate crisis did not go away; it has always been there underneath the surface, existing every day amongst all of the other destruction and suffering. As we rebuild our world, we must make changes greater than ever before, and transition into a new era which favors our natural and wild places, and focuses deeply on protection and preservation. Global collaborations like this event provide healing and communication during such a challenging time, and these new connections must continue and lead to great change, new ideas, ambitious action, and true global renewal.”
Patti Smith adding,“It’s important for us to work together to continuously draw attention to the needs of our suffering planet.”
World Environment Day will include presentations from environmentalists such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben, Pennie Opal Plant, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The concert will feature international performances from Patti Smith, Ben Harper, Michael Stipe, Dave Matthews, Rocky Dawuni, Jack Johnson, Yury Revich, Priya Darshini, Jordan Sanchez, Rima Fujita, Tenzin Choegyal, Patrick Watson, Jackson Smith, and words and music from Pathway to Paris founders Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon.
Last but certainly not least, singer-songwriter/guitarist and pioneer of the Global Soul movement Tomás Doncker will be performing his rendering of the iconic Patti-penned tune “People Have The Power” — premiered on ABS. Recorded and filmed at Electric Lady Studios, Doncker will be joined by Jesse and Jackson Smith on the song and introduced by Patti herself.
“I was invited by Pathway to Paris co-founder Jesse Smith,” Doncker tells me. “As things unfolded, I was told that I was to perform a stripped down acoustic version of my arrangement of ‘People Have The Power’ with her and her brother (killer guitarist Jackson Smith), live at Electric Lady Studios. Without question one of the greatest experiences (musically, or otherwise), in my life. I am honored, humbled, and eternally grateful to be in service of our Mother Earth with these beautiful people.”
L to R: Jackson Smith, Tomás Doncker, Jesse Smith, Patti Smith
As a lifelong fan of Patti’s work, Doncker recalls catching her at CBGB way back when. But he never thought to do an arrangement of any of her songs until last year, in light of certain events. He heard “People Have The Power” in more of a soulful context, so while he was trying to work out his own version he got stuck by the second verse. He set it aside, until mid-November when he was introduced to Patti’s daughter, Jesse, who he shared his story with. Before he knew it, he was on FaceTime with Patti, who told him to write his own words so that he could sing it in his own voice.
The song’s meaning broadens and intensifies throughout every season of life, serving as what Doncker also considers a rallying cry to all of us to step up in support of this planet we call home. “I mean it’s one of the ‘All-Time Great Tunes,’ isn’t it? To me it’s the perfect all-purpose anthem for our times, a reminder that the core commonality we share beyond socio-political barriers is this planet. As James Brown once said: ‘Get up, get into it, get involved.’
“If we all were just a little bit more considerate, and respectful of the environment (and each other), just think of how much better our collective existence could be. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a huge honor and privilege to be of service in raising awareness. I feel it’s an often underestimated component of the arts in general to shake folks up, to motivate them towards positive change.”
Doncker’s mind was both influenced and expanded early on by the crew of brilliant artists and writer with whom Patti associated: William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Sam Shepard. “The real New York culture gang. In fact, my partner at True Groove Records Marla Mase’s ‘Go to monologue’ for her acting auditions was a monologue from Cowboy Mouth, which Patti co-wrote with Sam Shepard. I can remember a summer job I had selling t-shirts at the Dr. Pepper Music Festival (held in Central Park), during my senior year of high school. I made sure to bring a red rose to try and give her in-between songs. Needless to say I wasn’t the only person who thought to bring a rose for Patti. I could go on, but in short, she is made of Love, Light, and Positive Power. All of our lives are better because of her presence.
“It is said that you can really see who a person is through their children. That’s absolutely true in this case. Both of Patti’s children — her brilliant and beautiful daughter Jesse (who of course is spearheading this event) and her badass guitar-slinging son Jackson — are two of the finest, most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, and become friends with. It was like we had been on the road playing together for years, AND at Jimi Hendrix’s legendary Electric Lady Studios, no less!”
American Blues Scene has come on board as a streaming partner for this important event. Please join us live on June 4th at 3pm EST as we collaborate together to build a better world. You can stream via ABS’s Facebook, Pathway to Paris, 350.org, or UNEP.
‘The Brothers’ At Madison Square Garden Coming Out On DVD, CD
American Blues Scene Staff
“We barely got in under the wire and then the next couple of days, they basically started shutting down everything and cancelling shows everywhere. It’s very bizarre that we turned out to be the last big show like that, and very strange in hindsight that we were probably all exposed much more than we realized.” – Warren Haynes
The Brothers – celebrating 50 Years of the music of The Allman Brothers Band that performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City for one night only March 10, 2020 will be issued widely July 23. The Brothers — Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quinones – were joined by Duane Trucks and Reese Wynans and special guest Chuck Leavell.
This one-time concert event was a celebration of The Allman Brothers Band’s illustrious career. It notably marks the first time in more than five years that these legendary players were together on stage to perform their iconic hits, and the first time since the passing of founding members Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks. The Brothers / March 10, 2020 / Madison Square Garden / New York, NY is being released on Peach Records, distributed by The Orchard, in conjunction with co-producers Nugs.net, who broadcast the show. It will be available physically (4 CDs, 3 DVDs, 2 Blu-Rays) and the audio will be available digitally. The video will be available for streaming on Nugs and CODA, Amazon Prime’s streaming service.
In a live review of the show, held at the very outset of the pandemic, Rolling Stone’s David Browne said, “Did I really want to risk my life for an Allman Brothers Band 50th-anniversary tribute show?… Arriving at the Garden, I didn’t know what to expect, but all systems seemed standard at first. Ticket-holders milled outside on the street and in the inside lobby. No one wore a mask, since those weren’t yet mandated. As I made my way to my seat, the arena was starting to fill up, there was weed in the air, and it was easy to forget what was starting to happen around the world…There was something glorious and uplifting about hearing those songs played with such care and such fire; it felt as if the music was not just being saluted but preserved for a future generation. At various times, like when Trucks and Haynes played the simultaneous leads in ‘Jessica,’ the show was surprisingly emotional. In retrospect, it’s hard to say how much was due to the performance and how much to the circumstances. I joked to the friend next to me that this would be ‘the last concert ever.’ But as Derek Trucks told me in the days that followed, the show ‘felt like one of the last moments for a long time when people would be able to suspend reality and let go.’ One of these days, we’ll let go again.”
Shortly after the show, guitarist/singer Warren Haynes told American Songwriter, “It was a very surreal night I think for all of us. It would have been under normal circumstances. But as we got closer and closer to show date, we were all wondering if we’re going to be allowed to play. We barely got in under the wire and then the next couple of days, they basically started shutting down everything and cancelling shows everywhere. It’s very bizarre that we turned out to be the last big show like that, and very strange in hindsight that we were probably all exposed much more than we realized.” Guitarist Derek Trucks spoke to Rolling Stone, adding “It was a one-off celebration of 50 years of the band and it was sold out. But I know a bunch of people who had tickets who didn’t come. My parents were unable to make it. They were worried about traveling and their doctor told them not to hop on a plane to New York. So that was bittersweet in a lot of ways. You wish it had been slammed to the rafters and everyone wouldn’t have had that in the back of their mind.”
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group formed in 1969 and quickly became one of the most popular live bands in American rock music history, selling millions of records along the way. Hailed for their live improvisation and marathon performances, the group released the At Fillmore East album in 1971, and it’s still hailed as one of the best live albums ever.
Joining The Brothers for the 3/10/20 event was keyboardist Reese Wynans (who played in the Second Coming with future ABB founding members Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley, and was a part of the early 1969 jam sessions which led to the formation of ABB) and Duane Trucks, Derek’s brother (and current drummer for Widespread Panic). Chuck Leavell joined ABB in 1972 (following Duane Allman’s passing) and played with the group until a hiatus in 1976; he’s been with the Rolling Stones since 1981.
A portion of the proceeds of the live show benefited The Big House in Macon, GA which was the band’s home from 1970-1973 and now serves as their official museum.
Don’t Want You No More
It’s Not My Cross To Bear
Trouble No More
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
Black Hearted Woman
Come And Go Blues
Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
Every Hungry Woman
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
No One To Run With
One Way Out
Jaimoe & Warren Greetings
Larkin Poe to Headline Monster Energy Outbreak Tour
American Blues Scene Staff
Larkin Poe are singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of Roots Rock n Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage.
Larkin Poe, the GRAMMY® Award-nominated sister duo comprised of Atlanta-bred, Nashville-based multi-instrumentalists Rebecca and MeganLovell, are hitting the road with the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour. Kicking off on September 15, 2021, The Monster Energy Outbreak Tour featuring Larkin Poe will see the band hitting major cities across the U.S.
The pair will join previous alumni of the tastemaker concert series, including Lindsay Ell, Bones UK, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, The Chainsmokers, Mike Shinoda, Cole Swindell, and many others. Since its inception in 2011, the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour has grown into the largest national touring brand in the club and theater space, showcasing the hottest breakthrough artists on groundbreaking nationwide tours. It is recognized as the ultimate tastemaker in the live arena, and currently consists of five annual music tours (Hip Hop, EDM, Rock, Country, College) and one annual comedy tour.
Larkin Poe are singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of Roots Rock n Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage. Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allan Poe. In 2020, Larkin Poe ascended to #1 on an array of Billboard charts with their widely-acclaimed fifth studio album, Self Made Man, available via the band’s own Tricki-Woo Records. The COVID-19 lockdown didn’t keep the Lovells from reaching their fans; the duo performed a number of “Home Sweet Home” livestream concerts and added to their much-loved YouTube covers series. Last summer, they released their second full-length of the year, Kindred Spirits, a self-produced collection of stripped-back covers both classic and new, including songs by the Allman Brothers Band, Robert Johnson, Elton John, Post Malone, Ozzy Osbourne, and more.
This spring, the band launched LPTV, a subscription-based livestreaming and video-on-demand platform offering exclusive concerts and original content. The duo also joined Dierks Bentley and The War and Treaty to perform “Pride (In the Name of Love)” at the 2021 ACM Awards. They will also be featured on the track “Stackin’ Bones,” on ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbon’s forthcoming solo album, Hardware.
As all of the music for Self Made Man was originally written with live performance in mind, Larkin Poe is truly excited to finally let the songs breathe.
“Live music is our life blood,” the sisters told American Blues Scene. “We can’t wait to get back on the road with the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour this fall to play shows in support of our album, Self Made Man. It’s gonna be a big, music-loving, family reunion!”
Based in Corona, California, Monster Energy is the leading marketer of energy drinks and alternative beverages. Refusing to acknowledge the traditional, Monster Energy supports the scene and sport. Whether motocross, off-road, NASCAR, MMA, BMX, surf, snowboard, ski, skateboard, or the rock and roll lifestyle, Monster Energy is a brand that believes in authenticity and the core of what its sports, athletes and musicians represent. More than a drink, it’s the way of life lived by athletes, sports, bands, believers and fans.
Launched in 2011, the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour showcases the biggest new names in music each year amidst their culture-impacting, breakthrough moment. The Monster Energy Outbreak Tour featuring Larkin Poe launches on September 15, 2021. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 4th, at 10:00 AM (EDT). Ticket purchasing and additional information at www.outbreakpresents.com.
Monster Energy Outbreak Tour Presents: Larkin Poe:
September 15 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
September 16 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
September 17 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
September 26 – Prestonburg, KY – Mountain Arts Center
October 7 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
October 8 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
October 9 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
October 10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Roxian Theatre
October 12 – Buffalo, NY – Forbes Theatre
October 14 – Albany, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
October 15 – Tarrytown, NY – Tarrytown Music Hall
October 16 – Baltimore, MD – The Recher
October 19 – Norfolk, VA – The NorVA
October 21 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
October 22 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
October 28 – Louisville, KY – Mercury Ballroom
October 29 – Bloomington, IL – Castle Theatre
October 30 – Grand Rapids, MI – Fountain Street Church
October 31 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
November 5 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford
November 6 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
November 7 – Jackson, MS – Duling Hall
November 10 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theatre
November 11 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
November 13 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
December 3 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
December 4 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis to Stream Conversation About Album ‘Carnage’
‘Carnage’ vinyl and CD, out June 18, available now for pre-order
To mark the global CD and vinyl release of Carnage, join Nick Cave and Warren Ellis as they answer questions from fans about their new album in a special streamed conversation. The audio conversation will be broadcast via YouTube Premiere on June 18th at 7pm BST and will be available online following the streaming event.
To submit a question use #talkcarnage on social media, or comment on the official Nick Cave Instagram or Facebook posts by midnight BST on June 5th.
Although Cave and Ellis have composed and recorded many soundtracks together, and Ellis is a longtime member of The Bad Seeds, this is their first offering as a duo — an album that Cave considers to be “a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe.” According to Ellis, “Making Carnage was an accelerated process of intense creativity; the eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days.”
The pair began their music-making back in ‘93, when Ellis played violin on multiple songs for the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Let Love In, joining the band as a full-time member soon after. Their creative chemistry and history are reflected on Carnage — an unexpected and alluring product of the pandemic, recorded in a period of weeks. Cave and Ellis have also recorded as Grinderman, and have composed and recorded numerous, film, TV and theatre soundtracks together.
Leah Shaw’s Debut Full Length Album, ‘Play Beautifully,’ Set for Release July 30
Following the passing of her mother from Alzheimer’s disease, Shaw explores love, grief, loss and healing in a series of ethereal and personal songs
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer Leah Shaw, will release her debut full length album, Play Beautifully on July 30th. The eight-song LP is a sonic exploration of love, grief, loss, healing and self-exploration dedicated to her mother’s memory. Composed on piano and guitar and recorded with the addition of orchestral and electronic elements, Play Beautifully was co-produced by Shaw and Teo Blake. Released in a moment of global grief towards the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the duo met in a graduate program for audio production, began sessions for the LP in September of 2017 and finished the final touches on the songs on March 12, 2020 – the last day that their college was open before the pandemic hit. The album’s title is a phrase that Shaw’s mother would say to her children when they were dropped off for their music lessons. “Play beautifully,” she would call to them as they left the car. Shaw’s songs and perspective will resonate with a world recovering from a tumultuous moment in time.
“The album, I hope, will be seen as an affirmation of our capacity to transcend loss,” says Shaw. “I also hope it strongly pushes back against the idea that grief’s objective is either acceptance or ‘moving on.’ I want the record to make space for the listener’s right to hold onto the people, alive or no longer living [here], who make us who we are.”
Shaw’s mother lived with early onset Alzheimer’s for almost a decade and passed away when the songwriter was thirty years old. Throughout those years, Shaw returned from Brooklyn to regularly spend time with her mother in North Carolina. The two spent time playing and singing together, a favorite activity that seemed to have magical powers in drawing her mother out the withdrawal, confusion and agitation that her medical condition would often bring. Shaw learned an ever-expanding catalogue of the songs her mother had loved as a teenager: Paul Simon, Carole King, Ray Charles and The Beatles. She also played her own music with her mother, who had memorized it from listening to Shaw’s recordings on repeat, and her mom would lean in close, singing along note for note.
“For much of the time when I was caring for my mom and writing this music, I felt alone,” expresses Shaw. “But after witnessing such an enormous amount of loss because of the pandemic, the widespread protests and calls for equity and justice in response to racial violence, I no longer feel isolated. There’s a connection between everything that is happening, and I feel empowered to add my own voice and story to the litany of artists who are doing work to process grief.”
Play Beautifully opens with “Leaving in the Morning,” an ethereal declaration that sets the stage with its sonic palette for the rest of the album. “It’s the idea that there’s kind of this person–or me–who’s gonna make a change, or leave, go out, make a transition, and things are gonna be different, says Shaw. “And that’s definitely reflected in the lyrics, but even more than that it’s reflected sonically in the way the song is arranged, so the instruments come in gradually and the song opens up.”
The overtly joyful “Love Comes” is an Americana-infused, guitar-based song that deals with Shaw’s anxiety and depression around her mother’s diagnosis and the heaviness of balancing her life in NYC while returning to North Carolina as often as possible to be with her mother.“I remember sitting down and the main lyrics I remember writing was, ‘you try to talk too much, you try to plan too much,’ recalls Shaw. “Because me fighting against depression was just like thrashing around, like trying to make plans and booking airlines tickets. And I was really trying to get to my mom. When I was home, I’d wake up in the morning and feel like I needed to go engage with my mom, I wanted to figure out how to make it good for her and for me. I was telling myself to calm down, you’re trying to control this thing–just wait.”
“Intentions” finds Shaw alone at the piano grappling with the loss of her mother and the unconditional love of her best friend who was with her for the two weeks leading to her mother’s passing. Written during the 2016 presidential election, the singer expresses that “who we are is what we actually do. Not what we say we believe. The kind of person we are is proven by who we actually are and our character. We see your intentions and how you act on them. All you can do is try to do the best thing that you can do. And in this case, that was me receiving unconditional love from my best friend.”
“Where Are You” is a raw, angry declaration — “I don’t need to get over it, I don’t need to feel better,” Shaw sings. “It was written after my mom died,” she says. “Stop with this whole idea that I have to be over this. Ever. I don’t have to accept this. Why would I accept this? This thing that happened, it’s not acceptable.”
Written in New Orleans, the driving “Look at Me,” is Shaw struggling with losing her mother in real time. “This was a very specific point — which everyone who’s been on the Alzheimer’s Journey has been on this point — where the person you’re taking care of transitions into not knowing who you are. I realized my mom wasn’t recognizing me and I couldn’t kind of meet her eyes, she asked me who I was. I told her my name and she was like, ‘I know a Leah. She sings.’”
The title track is a recording of Shaw and her mother playing the piano together shortly before her mother’s passing. “My mom took piano lessons when she was little, and she was having some memory — you could see, she was sitting there and she was focused on the song, and she was like picking out keys. And I was sitting there and trying to [play along to] encourage her to keep going [playing at the moment].”
The penultimate song on the album, “You Knew Me,” was the first song Shaw recorded at the beginning of the sessions for the album in 2017. The songwriter created the lush orchestration with help from professor and mentor Sonny Kompaneck (orchestrator for many of the Coen Brothers’ films among other big hits) and who has a special credit on the album along with Grammy-nominated recording engineer Angela Piva (Run DMC, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Naughty By Nature) who also advised Shaw and Blake throughout the album’s production process. “This one has a lot of the emotion of the journey in it and I think of it as a celebration, says Shaw. “When I sing, ‘I walked you home,’ that’s sort of speaking to us being with my mom at the end and getting her there safely. And that’s what we tried to do and we did it. It’s a celebration of that journey.”
The album ends with the guitar, harmonica and fiddle-based song, “Pretty Mama.” “It’s a song that I wrote right before mom died, looking at a picture of her, and I was just imagining how I would feel [after she died], says Shaw. “Feeling like I’m a little bit of a mess, of course and hopefully I would be able to make my mother proud. That my life would be worth all of the effort she put into raising us and being there for us.”
Leah Shaw has released two EPs, I’m Just the Same (2013) and Home (2016), and several singles including “Growing” (2013), “One Shot” (2014), “Merry Christmas Darling” (2015), “Same Road” (2018), as well as two singles from Play Beautifully, “Pretty Mama” (2019) and “Love Comes” (2020). From an early age, she studied classical music, memorized old musicals and sang and played in the church. The aspiring musician was encouraged in her pursuits by her mother, who told her, “music is a language for you.” She took up piano at age 5, bassoon at age 12, clarinet at 15, and percussion at 16, and learned arranging, improvisation and songwriting. A graduate of James Madison University, Shaw studied orchestral music in college alongside composition and music technology. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College.
“By learning not only how to be a more skilled musician but also how to record and produce, I’ve expanded my view of what a song means, what stories I can tell; as audio producers we get to tell our own stories and we get to be there to midwife the stories and songs of others,” says Shaw. “It’s really exciting. I can’t wait to share my album and continue on to the next.”
Leah Shaw will play select shows in support of Play Beautifully including a virtual event on July 1st presented via YouTube Live by Iredell Arts Council in Statesville, NC and in person on September 25th at Carolina Jubilee in Harmony, NC.
Shaw continues to compose music for a variety of media from film and podcast to virtual reality and interactive digital exhibitions. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and their seven synthesizers.
Yola Releases Video For New Single ‘Stand For Myself’
American Blues Scene Staff
‘Stand For Myself,’ to be released via Easy Eye Sound on July 30
Yola has released the video for the title track of her anthemic new album, Stand For Myself, which will be released via Easy Eye Sound on July 30, 2021. The single debuted Wednesday with a powerful new video, directed by Allister Ann. The clip features Yola escaping from a world that has entrapped her, on a vintage motorcycle whilst depicting a nuanced definition of Black female strength and drawing on visual references from the music videos from her childhood.
“My school years were during the 90s and 00s, and Missy Elliott’s videos were always aesthetically superior to me.” Yola stated, adding “I feel that the video is set in the antechamber to freedom. The feeling of escaping something truly oppressive and heading towards an unknown with a sense of hope and choice you haven’t felt in a long time. We all have the capacity to go through this process in our own minds, I kinda look like a superhero at times, but I’m not. I’m just a person trying to be free.”
Yola co-wrote the song with Dan Auerbach, Hannah V and Natalie Hemby and it features The McCrary Sisters on background vocals. The track reflects on Yola’s belief in the possibility of paradigm shift beyond the mental programming that creates tokenism and bigotry, which have deeply impacted her personal life and professional career. “The song’s protagonist ‘token,’ has been shrinking themselves to fit into the narrative of another’s making, but it becomes clear that shrinking is pointless.”
Yola added, “This song is about a celebration of being awake from the nightmare supremacist paradigm. Truly alive, awake and eyes finally wide open and trained on your path to self actualization. You are thinking freely and working on undoing the mental programming that has made you live in fear. It is about standing for ourselves throughout our lives and real change coming when we challenge our thinking. This is who I’ve always been in music and in life. There was a little hiatus where I got brainwashed out of my own majesty, but a bitch is back.”
Stand For Myself traces a musical thread to Yola’s most eclectic musical inspirations. From the seminal albums Yola discovered via her Mother’s 70s record collection, to her love of eclectic British radio, which featured a fluid mix of 90s neo soul, R&B and britpop—all which soundtracked her childhood and teenage years in Bristol, England. Yola experienced prejudice throughout her childhood and career and navigated these experiences, as well as homelessness in London and stress-induced voice loss to launch her solo career in 2016. She achieved breakout success with her debut album, Walk Through Fire, which landed her four GRAMMY® nominations including Best New Artist, critical acclaim and fans from Elton John to Mavis Staples.
Yola will be one of few artists to perform at both Newport Folk and Newport Jazz in the same year, when she joins the lineup of both events this summer. She will also be performing dates with Chris Stapleton on his rescheduled tour in 2021 and will headline The Ryman Auditorium in 2022.
Blues Belter Lauren Anderson to Release ‘Love on the Rocks’ August 6
Lauren Anderson has announced the release of her new album, ‘Love on the Rocks,’ available for pre-order now!
Lauren Anderson isn’t shy about sharing her influences. Indeed, there have been any number of classic and contemporary artists that have left an indelible impression on the musical mantra she’s pursued over the course of her career — Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Eva Cassidy, Nina Simone, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, and the Pointer Sisters, among them. Yet, at the same time, Anderson isn’t bound to any particular parameters. Instead she’s managed to incorporate those influences into a pursuit of her own passion. It’s a musical journey that continues to flourish, bringing her growing recognition as a celebrated singer and songwriter with her own contemporary credence.
That trajectory has accelerated rapidly over the course of the past seven years with the release of three EPs — Do & Hope, The Game and Won’t Stay Down — and her first full-length album, 2015’s Truly Me. In the meantime, the accolades have kept coming. She was named the 2015 Female Vocalist of the Year by the Midwest Music Awards, took a first-place finish in the 2018 Wing Dang Doodle Competition and watched with pride as The Game became entrenched in the Top 50 of the Billboard Blues chart five weeks in a row.
Meanwhile, Anderson’s expanded her following while continuing to reap that critical acclaim. A determined dynamo of a performer adept at both blues and ballads, she’s ready to add to those accolades with her upcoming album Love On the Rocks, her most fully realized effort to date.
Album cover courtesy of Pati DeVries
Self-produced and due for independent release this summer, it will be preceded by four singles slated to appear each month prior to the entire album’s appearance in August — “Stand Still” (April), “Back to Chicago” (May), “Keep On” (June), and “Love On the Rocks” (July). Each offering finds her expounding on the soulful, seductive style that allows her to break down the boundaries between rock, blues and classic R&B. Not surprisingly then, the new album fully reflects her own singular sound, courtesy of a varied set of songs that mostly draw from her own experience. Seven of the nine tracks were written during the pandemic, when Anderson claims she wrote a song a day for three weeks in a row.
It’s hardly surprising then that music has been a vital part of Anderson’s life since early on. Born in Chicago, her interests were nourished by a family where music played an important part. She first delved into it at the age of eight when she began taking classical piano lessons. That, in turn, led her to sing in a choir and eventually undertake classical voice training while still in high school. After attaining a Bachelors Degree in music, she earned a Masters Degree in Music Therapy from the University of Kansas.
Following her graduation in 2012, she became a music therapist, working with children and at-risk youth. Yet while she relished the experience, she began to realize that live performance was her true calling. She briefly considered becoming an opera singer, but quickly decided that the world of popular music was more suited to her style. At first she performed solo, but later she shared her talents with a band. Then, after recording a pair of singles at the iconic Ocean Way Studio on Nashville’s famed Music Row, she decided to make a permanent move from Kansas City to Music City in 2017. She now tours full time and continues to make music with an energy and enthusiasm that’s fully invested in the new album.
Blues-Rock Prodigy Clay Melton Ready to Release Powerful New EP ‘Back to Blue’
American Blues Scene Staff
“I set out to write and arrange tunes that put my favorite styles of rock and blues front and center and possibly turn younger listeners onto the blues.” – Clay Melton
Blues-rock prodigies are a special breed. They live and breathe the fiery swagger of electric guitars and the irresistible allure of rhythm-soaked songs. That’s Clay Melton’s musical calling in a nutshell. At only 26, the Louisiana-born and Texas-based bluesy rocker has already spent 13 years performing live. His powerfully raspy voice and wicked guitar licks leave no doubt he’s grown up in the school of barroom blues-rock.
Back to Blue, a 5-song EP coming July 23, is Melton’s follow-up to 2017’s critically acclaimed, full-length debut Burn the Ships. Back to Blue, which Melton began recording November 2020 in Austin and finished May 2021 in Houston, boasts production and engineering credits by Grammy-winner Danny Jones (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Patti LaBelle, Etta James) as well as Clay himself.
“This is where my heart’s been from the beginning,” says Melton of the songs on Back to Blue. “I want to continue to release music that gives our fans an insight into where I am musically and emotionally. I set out to write and arrange tunes that put my favorite styles of rock and blues front and center and possibly turn younger listeners onto the blues.”
Producer and engineer Jones agrees. In fact, the music industry veteran has nothing but praise for the blues-rock virtuoso. “Clay has been great to work with,” he says. “It’s encouraging and inspiring to see someone so dedicated to their craft of writing and performing. I see a bright future for this young man!”
At the center of Back to Blue is “Say That You Love Me,” a scorching blues-rocker that immediately positions Melton as the future of the genre. The song and its accompanying live gig video are proof positive that Melton is a blues-rock dynamo, an artist with an incendiary soul. Oh, and that video for “Say That You Love Me” already has nearly 17,000 views.
Another standout on Back to Blue is the title track, a modern blues ballad dashed with rock and R&B seasoning. The song is also Melton’s emotional manifesto written during a worldwide pandemic that further validated the potent pull of creating music. Also of note on Back to Blue is Melton’s spirited cover of ZZ Top’s chestnut, “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”
“Music has always been the answer, especially at times when I didn’t even know the right questions to ask myself,” he says. “Through adolescent frustrations, love’s ups and downs, and more recently through this pandemic, my love for music and the massive impact and comfort it can bring really anchored the intention of this record.”
Get ready to hear more from Clay Melton as he takes the stage in a series of upcoming concerts to promote Back to Blue. Details on those shows are forthcoming. No doubt those performances will be red hot, as Melton sharpened every guitar lick and lived every lyric on the road as a headliner and opening act for such superstars as blues guitar legend Robert Cray and multi-million-selling modern rocker Chris Daughtry.
Ann Wilson Opens The Vault To Pre-Heart Era Recordings, ‘The Daybreaks’ EP
American Blues Scene Staff
Rite of June tour starts in Ft. Myers, Florida on June 22!
Legendary vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ann Wilson has unveiled a collection of unreleased archival songs made with the band that she was in before Heart. The Daybreaks were a short-lived hard rock group fronted by Wilson in the late ’60s.
They performed in various small venues, recorded a handful of songs and released a 7” single in 1969 before she left the band to form Heart with sister Nancy. The Daybreaks EP is out now at all streaming platforms.
Ann Wilson is jumping right back into live performances with the “Rite of June: An Evening with Ann Wilson” Florida tour set for June. A complete list of tour dates is available below. For more information and ticket availability, please visit www.annwilson.com.
RITE OF JUNE: AN EVENING WITH ANN WILSON
22 – Fort Myers FL – Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hal
24 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live Orlando
27 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre