Watch: Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen Premiere Video for “There Are No Secrets Here”

Watch: Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen Premiere Video for “There Are No Secrets Here”


Mixtape Media

Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen to release ‘Come On Angels!’ on July 31

Vintage rock and roll/Ameripolitan rockabilly outfit Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen will release their debut LP, Come On Angels!, on July 31st.  The album was produced by Brian McTear (Sharon Van Etten, Dr. Dog, War on Drugs, Dead Milkmen) at Miner Street Recordings in the band’s hometown of Philadelphia.

Influenced by 50’s Rock and Roll and infused with post modern Easter eggs cribbed from old episodes of MTV’s 120 Minutes, Mighty Joe Castro (The Situation, The Lift Up) takes a modern, lyric driven approach to songwriting while The Gravamen layer on Jesus and Mary Chain-cover-Link Wray guitar atmosphere, booming doghouse bass and swinging beats to the ten songs that make up the album. The quartet lurks at a crossroads where Sun Records and Creation Records meet, ready to strike a bargain with Old Scratch and stake their eternal souls on a marvelous gem of a debut album, Come On Angels!


The majority of the songs on Come on Angels! were written by Castro, who after years of playing guitar in semi-successful alt rock bands became fed up with the business side of the industry and decided to give up music for good to focus on his blossoming visual art career.  That is, until his wife bought him an acoustic guitar in 2010 to play for their newborn daughter and unattached to a band, Castro started writing songs.

“I had no experience with singing and playing guitar at the same time, so I began teaching myself old rock-n-roll songs — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Bob Dylan, Dion, The Ramones, etc. — because the chords are so simple.  I fell back in love with playing music again, and, when I realized I could sing, that opened up a whole new world for me.  My taste in music started changing and I got really into songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nick Cave. I started to believe I could front my own band.”

Growing up, Castro’s parents played the classics in their home – Elvis, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry and old doo-wop records – and one of his earliest memories was his mother breaking down and crying when she heard the news of Elvis’ death.  These rock Gods were heroes in the Castro home. A teenage fascination with movies like La Bamba, Great Balls of Fire and The Outsiders cemented his passion for 1950s style and the mythology surrounding the origins of rock and roll.  “I love that whole mid-century aesthetic – the dress style, the sense of design, the beauty of old cars and appliances. I was obsessed with vintage diners and old movies. A lot of that carried over to my visual collage art as well”

“I wanted a band that, if needed, could play a whole show acoustic, without electricity, and still have that raw energy and excitement,” he says. Castro knew he had lightning in a bottle after his first rehearsal with bassist H00V3R and drummer Dallas – a seasoned, dynamic rhythm section, who spent years playing together in Philadelphia’s punk rock stalwarts, Thorazine. The final missing piece, hot shot lead guitarist Michael Stingle, was more serendipity at work. “He’s a really gifted technical player–much better than me honestly–but our guitar styles really compliment each other.” says Castro. “He plays to the light, I play to the shade.  Plus he brings a lot of energy to our live sound.”

“Our goal is to play original rock-n-roll, in the style of the pioneers, but update it lyrically and sonically,” says Castro.  “What if Buddy Holly had access to a stack of effects pedals and some Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds records?”

The album opens with “There Are No Secrets Here” and segues into the title track, “Come on Angels!” bringing the feel of a Ritchie Valens acoustic rocker and an instantly memorable chorus, “Come on Angels, Pour the whiskey, come on angel, sing it with me tonight…” They reinterpret Ted Hawkin’s classic “Cold and Bitter Tears” soul tune into the style of vintage Sun Records and “Whispering Hell (The Finish Line),” would be at home in any dance hall.  A lamenting waltz, “For Every Setting Sun” is then followed by “June (90 Degrees),” a bluesy southern gothic murder ballad. “Why Not Just Give In This Time” is upbeat and danceable, “I never wanted you to pack up and move on…why not just give in this time?”  The album winds down with the striped down, folky “Better Hold Tight” and the dark rumble of “Angeline” before closing with country rave up vibe of, “You’ve Got It All (So What Are You Looking For?)”

“I think that, by the end of the 1990s, rock had been pushed to every limit possible,” says Castro. “And when you get to the end of a road, sometimes you need to turn around and head back to the start to clear a new path. Take what we’ve learned, everything great that’s come after and go apply it to that original sound. That’s the ethos of the band.  But for me, it was about falling in love with music again.  Back to the roots.”

As soon as the world opens up again and live concerts happen, Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen will play select dates in support of “Come on Angels!”

Watch the video for their single, “There Are No Secrets Here,” below.

Mighty Joe Castro & The Gravamen

Watch: Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell Debut Mighty SONG Writers Video Series

Watch: Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell Debut Mighty SONG Writers Video Series


Lauren Leadingham

Highwoman Amanda Shires and husband Jason Isbell perform first episode of literary series

Today, education non-profit Mighty Writers launches a weekly video series of literary-minded musical performances called Mighty SONG Writers, produced in partnership with media platform Literary Hub. Kicking the series off is power couple Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell. Together they perform three songs and talk about the writing inspirations most near and dear to their hearts. 

The Mighty SONG Writers series will continue with a new video every Wednesday, aiming to raise money to support Mighty Writers, whose mission is to teach low-income and minority kids to think clearly and write with clarity. The organization offers free programs for students from elementary through high school at nine centers in diverse neighborhoods around Philadelphia and New Jersey, including several bilingual locations for Spanish-speaking students.

Mighty Writers offers daily after-school academies, long- and short-term writing classes nights and weekends, teen scholar programs, mentorships, College Prep courses and college essay writing classes. Over 400 of the city’s most creative minds (writers, teachers, journalists, etc.) teach 150 writing classes a year to 3,500 kids at Mighty Writers annually.

“There’s never been a more important time for kids to think clearly about the world they’re living in,” says Tim Whitaker, Executive Director of Mighty Writers. “At Mighty Writers, where we teach writing to over 3,000 kids annually in economically-challenged communities, we believe that writing has magical powers, chief among them the ability to think critically and express oneself with clarity. In light of Covid-19, and unprecedented social unrest, we are doubling our efforts at Mighty Writers to reach kids and provide both guidance and venues that allow them to express what they’re feeling through the written word and are thrilled to have the support of these world-class musicians.”

Literary Hub editor Jonny Diamond adds, “It’s almost impossible to define the border between literary songwriting and lyrical storytelling. Just ask any novelist and you’ll find a few unsung songs scrawled into the back of a notebook. Same thing goes for songwriters—take away the guitar and you’ll probably end up with a short story collection. And that’s what so important about Mighty Writers: whatever the medium, it’s a great thing to give kids the tools to tell their own stories.”

 Watch the debut episode with Amanda and Jason below.

Donate to Mighty Writers

Back To Paradise:  A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music

Back To Paradise:  A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music


Devious Planet

17 songs written by Leon Russell, JJ Cale, The Gap Band, Jesse Ed Davis & others performed by 20 Tulsa musicians

In February 2020, a group of notable Tulsa musicians traveled to Leon Russell’s famed Paradise Studio at Grand Lake in Oklahoma to record the first album tracked there since 1978. Some of the biggest names in the industry recorded at Paradise Studio; Leon Russell, Bob Seger, and Freddie King, while even more musicians and creatives escaped to fellowship at this Okie oasis.

Tulsan Rick Huskey spent the last 30 years preserving and restoring the space, honoring its history while preparing for a new chapter. Upon entering the studio for the first time, the new crop of musicians couldn’t help but feel that the vibe was still alive. Musician  Jesse Aycock felt that “Walking into the studio for the first time was like walking into a time capsule. The good energy that once filled the room was left floating in the air. All that we had to do was breathe it in. Historically, players from this part of Oklahoma seem to have a different approach to music, the same way that Muscle Shoals, Memphis Chicago, Detroit, Austin and Nashville are known for having a sound. I think Leon and J.J tapped into a unique pulse in this area and I would like to think that it’s still vibrating today.”

Seventeen tracks written by Tulsa’s finest were recorded over the course of four days – mostly live, with very few overdubs, and produced by Jason Weinheimer & Them Tulsa Boys. A total of 20 Tulsa musicians participated in the recording and the core band consisted of Paul Benjaman, Jesse Aycock, Grammy nominee John Fullbright, Paddy Ryan, and Aaron Boehler. About the process, Paul Benjaman stated that “Decisions on how to build the songs were quick and effortless. The language that these musicians have developed over the years from playing live together paid off in knowing what to do instinctively. Unpacking each song, finding the magic that made it work, and leaving space for each person to contribute was a natural process that led to 10+ hour days of music with friends.”

The musicians who participated in the project chose the songs for the album. The tracks that will be singles and made into videos are: “I’ll Make Love To You Anytime” (J.J. Cale), “If The Shoe Fits” (Leon Russell), “I Yike It” (The Gap Band), and “Rock n Roll Gypsies” (Jesse Ed Davis). John Fullbright states “One of the coolest things about driving there was thinking that Bob Dylan did the  exact same drive, George Harrison did the exact same drive. That was really neat. Tulsa’s music scene is very talented and eclectic, and we are a city that does not forget its roots and past, and celebrates it and builds on it.”

Executive Producer Brian Horton weighs in; “This is a project that we’ve all wanted to do for more than a decade. We think we’ve captured some of the spirit and energy that happens around town when you go to a live show.  These musicians love our regional history so much. This is a document of them paying tribute. We want people to check out today’s musicians, but we also want them to appreciate the Oklahoma musicians that have made it possible to have a relevant music scene today.”

Check out Paul Benjamin’s cover of JJ Cale’s “I’ll Make Love to You Anytime.” Paul Benjaman – guitar/vocals, Jesse Aycock – guitar/lap steel, Paddy Ryan – drums, Aaron Boehler – bass. Video by Clay Flores. Shot on location at The Colony in Tulsa, OK and the surrounding area. JJ Cale painting in the video by Paddy Ryan.

This song was written by JJ Cale and was originally released in 1979 on the album 5 on Shelter Records. 5 was the first album to feature Cale’s wife, Christine Lakeland. Eric Clapton also recorded this song on his album Backless. The definition of cool, Cale is one of the most influential Tulsa musicians to have ever lived. His music continues to inspire musicians and fans alike.

Back to Paradise will be released by Horton Records on August 28th. Available for sale through Bandcamp

The Georgia Thunderbolts Conjure a Tried-And-True Spirit

The Georgia Thunderbolts Conjure a Tried-And-True Spirit


Jon Bleicher Publicity

Their Debut EP, Out August 21st via Mascot Records

Whether it be on the banks of the Mississippi River or deep in the heart of the English countryside, rock ‘n’ roll lives, breathes, and burns on the outskirts. Hailing from Rome, GA at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, The Georgia Thunderbolts rise up with a scorching signature style steeped in soulful southern swagger, blistering blues, and raw rock. Out August 21st via Mascot Records, the quintet’s self-titled debut EP conjures a tried-and-true spirit through a fresh fire.

“We’re going for that timeless and classic sound with a modern twist and newer attitude,” exclaims TJ Lyle, the lead vocalist for the group that also features Riley Couzzourt [guitar], Logan Tolbert [guitar], Zach Everett [bass, harmony vocals, keys], and Bristol Perry [drums]. “We all grew up on rock music,” Riley adds. “If I could think of three words to describe us, they would be ‘Hardworking, Determined, and Humble’.” Bristol grins, “If I could think of three words, they would be ‘Rock And Roll’.”

With a wide swath of inspirations, ranging from southern gospel and Hank Williams to Merle Haggard, Neil Young, Little Feat, Ozzy Osbourne, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band cut their teeth performing with everyone from The Kentucky Headhunters to Blackberry Smoke . Shortly after, they hit the iconic Barrick Recording Studio in Glasgow, KY to record with producer Richard Young. The resulting EP comprises undeniable anthems steeped in anthemic riffs, wild harmonica, and pulse-pounding drums.

From the bluesy blend of “So You Wanna Change The World,” to “the first song we ever wrote,” the dynamic “Looking For An Old Friend,” The Georgia Thunderbolts rustle up a new era of rock ‘n’ roll on their dynamic five song EP. The seven minute-plus “Set Me Free” rolls from a hummable riff towards evocative soloing and an epic final crescendo, while “Lend A Hand” stomps along on a wild lick before a sweeping and soaring refrain.

In many ways, “Spirit Of A Workin’ Man” doubles as a calling card for the band. “That’s our anthem,” smiles TJ. “It’s got a deep lesson to it. You can’t knock down the little man. Everybody has a say-so. You strive to do better, persevere, and pull through hard times, if you have a strong faith and spirit.” “I relate the song to our band as a whole,” Riley elaborates. “We all grew up humble. We’re still humble. We’ll always be humble to the end. We were raised right to be five working men. It’s who we are.”

“In Georgia, you hear Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, and all of the greats everywhere,” Riley and Logan conclude. “Rock and roll is something that comes naturally for us. We love it and are in it for the long haul. We feel like we can bring it back.”

The Georgia Thunderbolts Pre-Order The Georgia Thunderbolts

ALA.NI’s Lament: A Virtual Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Emmett Till

ALA.NI’s Lament: A Virtual Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Emmett Till


Lauren Leadingham

“I thought about Emmett Till, and I couldn’t go back [to the back of the bus].” – Martin Luther King Jr.

On August 28th 1955, at the age of just 14, Emmett Louis Till was kidnapped, brutally beaten and murdered after being wrongfully accused of making sexual advances towards a white female clerk, Carolyn Bryant, at a Mississippi grocery store. His murderers were acquitted. And when they knew they couldn’t be retried, they confessed in a paid magazine interview months later.

Decades before the age of using social media to raise social awareness, Till’s brave mother awakened Americans to the true extent of racism by having an open-casket funeral. She laid bare her son’s mutilated and unrecognizable body, forcing the public to witness the inexorable trends of the Jim Crow era. After his body was there for all to see for five days, with over 100,000 people visiting the casket, Till posthumously became a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. His death proved instrumental in impelling what would become a decades-long struggle for African-Americans to live free of discrimination and state-sanctioned violence. Unfortunately, a struggle that continues to resemble that of two swords clashing hilt to hilt.

Although the FBI may have reopened the case and ‘The Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act’ (which seeks to make lynching a federal crime) is currently making its way through the US judiciary system, justice for Till still seems way out of reach, not least because Republican Senator Rand Paul is blocking the bill. Carolyn Bryant herself admitted in a 2007 interview that she had lied about the events that led to Till’s murder.

There is no better time than now for Carolyn Bryant to stand guilty as charged for her lies and role in the capture, beating, lynching, and murder of Emmett Till. If the name of the person after which the act is called hasn’t been provided justice, the ‘Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act’ cannot be addressed with a proper outcome in congress. There has been no apology or compensation.

Tomorrow, On the eve of what would have been Emmett Till’s 79th birthday, the Paris-based R&B/soul singer ALA.NI will be playing the Music For Emmett virtual tribute to the life and legacy of Emmett Till. She will be sharing the new song “Lament for Emmett Till,” a painfully beautiful requiem reciting a poem of the same name, written in 1955 by activist, journalist and organizer Claudia Jones. A second Adrian Younge-produced version of ALA.NI’s “Lament For Emmett Till” will be released August 28th on Amazon Music via their Amazon Originals program, memorializing the 65th anniversary of Till’s death.

The campaign is supported by the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, of which ALA.NI is an official ambassador. The foundation is urging the public to sign a petition demanding justice for Till and, specifically, that the FBI release findings of their recent reinvestigation into his murder. All proceeds from the “Lament for Emmett Till” will be donated to the foundation. 

“We find ourselves at a pivotal point in world history, where we must act now and fast, before all is too late. This is our last chance to fight for rightful equalities before the fascists take over,” ALA.NI writes: “I’m reaching out to the people to seek justice for Emmett Till. Knowing the power of music, I hope it can be used as an effective tool to bring the much needed awareness to this long-overdue murder case. Justice for Emmett Till will set a president for the systematic reform that must take place, that we can no longer afford to ignore and wait patiently for.”

On the genesis of the new single, ALA.NI recalls, “Six years ago, I was studying the works and activism of Ms. Claudia Jones and came across a poem that she had written for Emmett Till in December 1955. This poetry moved me to write a song. I then went to the studio to record a demo version of the ‘Lament for Emmett Till’ and I could only sing it once. It was too painful to sing again. The version released is the first take, the one and only recording. The studio tape was lost. Six years later, I have no choice but to sing it, shout it, scream it.”

ALA.NI
Music for Emmett Virtual Event Registration/Info
Sign Petition to Charge Only Surviving Accomplice

Who the Heck are the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers?

Who the Heck are the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers?


Stony Plain Records

The first 10 tracks will be available finally on September 4, 2020 on Stony Plain Records, with the next 11 songs coming in spring 2021 on volume 2

The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers originated back in January 2008 when musician brothers Luther & Cody Dickinson sat down for a guitar jam with ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers leader Jimbo Mathus along with Blues Greats Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart and the late Memphis pianist, producer and all around musical stylist Jim Dickinson gathered for a self-described “hardcore blues” recording under the group name of the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers.


Jimbo Mathus


Alvin Youngblood Hart


Charlie Musselwhite


Jim Dickinson


Luther Dickinson


Cody Dickinson
For more than 12 years that recording’s existence was mentioned only obscurely in interviews, and referenced as a great old-school recording by those few witnesses. It was done in one take off the floor over a couple of late nights, where they all sat in one big circle in the studio and played quietly amongst the microphones, taking turns singing out in the room and improvising on the spot.

Despite the fact that Jim Dickinson finished production before his death in summer 2009, that album just hung out in the archives, waiting. It is a testament to the great experience and talent of these esteemed performers that they could casually conjure a recording of this quality out of the ether this way. Sounding as if you are right there in the room with them with between-song banter and commentary, the classic structures of the Blues, being pulled together and teased apart by some of the most award-decorated members of the Blues Elite. This album crosses the generations of new Blues-Rockers and Classic Blues Statesmen.

Listen to “Blues Why You Worry Me?”

Pre-order Vol. 1

Asleep At The Wheel Turns Your Living Room Into a Ballroom This Saturday Night

Asleep At The Wheel Turns Your Living Room Into a Ballroom This Saturday Night


Bob Merlis

Western swing is still the thing at AATW’s At Home Dance Live From Star Hill Ranch

With a half century of experience providing the the most swingin’ Western Swing music for dancing, Asleep At The Wheel is set to swing the quarantine this Saturday night, July 25. The legendary band, fronted by COVID survivor Ray Benson, is throwing an at home dance party live from the Star Hill Ranch in Austin, TX starting at 7PM/Central. The event is a ticketed livestream virtual dance with AATW performing all of your favorite Western Swing classics. 

Ray Benson commented, “We know that dancing is a part of life for our community. Although we’re unfortunately unable to gather together in our favorite dance hall or ballroom, we want you to find your dancing partner and boogie along with us virtually.” Ticket bundles include VIP Zoom meet and greets with Ray Benson and AATW co-conspirator Katie Shore as well as discounted rates on Asleep At the Wheel gear and apparel. The show will be available up to 7 days after the performance for on demand streaming.

Asleep At The Wheel have earned 10 GRAMMY® Awards, ACM Touring Band of the Year and received the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A revolving cast of topflight musicians has powered AATW over the past 50 years with the band’s alumni now numbering over 100. These include players who have gone on to work with such notables as Bob Dylan, George Strait, Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett and Merle Haggard.  From inception, the band has been modeled and inspired by the eclectic Western Swing format pioneered by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.  The band has released three Bob Wills tribute albums, A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills, Ride with Bob and Still the King. Benson’s authoritative commentary on Wills and Western Swing was a key component of the Ken Burns PBS Country Music series. It’s noteworthy that, as of now, Asleep At The Wheel has actually been active eleven years longer than Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.

In late March the peripatetic Benson had begun to experience flu-like symptoms that laid him low.  Because there were no COVID tests available it was not until early April that he was actually diagnosed as having the virus from which he eventually recovered after several weeks of convalescence.  He urges, “Please take this virus seriously! It’s for real. Please follow the safety guidelines out there.  If you think or subscribe to those folks whose opinion is that this virus isn’t that big of a deal, please consider otherwise. Please use your voice to demand getting testing out to everyone NOW! Please send your thoughts and prayers out there to all the wonderful people putting their health and their families at risk defending ours. We all know someone or somebody who has lost their life to this virus and we have lots of folks currently fighting the virus and their families need your thoughts and prayers as well.”

Tickets Asleep At The Wheel

Muddy Waters’ Former Chicago Home to Become Museum

Muddy Waters’ Former Chicago Home to Become Museum


JD Nash

In addition to exhibits with a focus on Waters and the blues, the space will include a small venue, a recording studio, and a community garden.

Muddy Waters‘ former house in Chicago will be renovated into a museum and community center, the Hyde Park Herald reported on Tuesday.

Muddy Waters’ former home at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. Photo courtesy of Muddy Waters MOJO Museum.

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has given a $50,000 grant to transform the six-time Grammy-winning blues musician’s brick house — situated on 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. in the North Kenwood neighborhood of the city — into the Muddy Waters MOJO Museum. The grant arrives through the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

The home of Waters, who passed in 1983, was once a vibrant source of blues music and community, with many of the greatest players in Chicago Blues history taking part in long jams, extended stays, and southern cooking.

Led by Waters’ great-granddaughter, Chandra Cooper, the MOJO renovation project will include a neighborhood museum attached to a community center. In addition to exhibits with a focus on Waters and the blues, the space will include a small venue, a recording studio, and a community garden.

“We want to be able to support older artists as well and as a small venue where people can go in the basement and do a little recording,” Cooper told the Hyde Park Herald, “because while it wasn’t a recording studio downstairs — it was a rehearsal studio — we’d like to incorporate that into the overall experience.”

Waters purchased the house in 1954 and used it for the next two decades as a rehearsal space. In 2013, the Department of Buildings deemed the Chicago property unsafe, and the building was threatened with demolition.

“The city of Liverpool would recognize the historic, cultural and tourism value of John Lennon’s house and never allow it to be torn down,” Alligator Records boss Bruce Iglauer told the Chicago Tribune in 2013. “Muddy Waters was every bit as important to the blues and to Chicago as the Beatles were to rock ‘n’ roll and Liverpool.”

“It was so significant to get this grant money from the trust because it’s really saving this house from any more deterioration,” Cooper, who has owned the building since 2002 said.

The Muddy Waters MOJO Museum project is expected to be complete within two years.

Muddy Waters MOJO Museum

*Feature image L-R Bob Margolin and Muddy Waters – Paris, 1976 Photo: Lionel DeCoster

Chicago Powerhouse Rocker Bethany Thomas to Release Debut Album 8/28

Chicago Powerhouse Rocker Bethany Thomas to Release Debut Album 8/28


Press Release

Though the musical styles range from folk to soul to rock and back again, Bethany’s colorful, fiercely deployed vocals create a unified sound with an undeniably palpable emotional edge.

You may have heard Chicago singer/actor/songwriter Bethany Thomas somewhere… but was it on college rock radio or the classical music station? Was she singing with Robbie Fulks or Syl Johnson? With Tawny Newsome? The Mekons? Was it in a Gershwin opera? Was she fronting a Lou Reed tribute band? How bout playing Billie Holiday at a Midwestern dinner theater? Perhaps it was with the Bloodshot Records via Muscle Shoals project Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls? Or maybe some drag show you ended up at one night.

Yes. These are all correct. And you remember that drag show now, don’tcha.

Point is- Bethany Thomas is a motherf**king shapeshifter and she’s ready to unleash some sounds that only she can make.

In hopes to combine and amplify her seemingly boundless instrument, penchant for theatricality, and pure love of rock ‘n’ roll, BT started writing and performing her own music about a decade ago after getting tired of feeling relegated to singing the supporting or sassy parts of other people’s songs. 2017 saw the self release of her ​First​ EP- a catchy but unassuming collection of torch songs written and arranged with producer John Szymanski.

Though the musical styles range from folk to soul to rock and back again, Bethany’s colorful, fiercely deployed vocals create a unified sound with an undeniably palpable emotional edge. Recorded last year between theatre gigs, then mixed and fully realized during a global pandemic, Bethany’s debut album ​BT/She/Her​ is personal, focused and defiant- set to rooted and melodic yet continually surprising arrangements she co-produced with longtime collaborator Packy Lundholm. “​On ​BT/SHE/HER​, I have proclamations and questions- for myself as much as anyone- about moving through the world in this bi-racial, fat, queer, wonderful body.” Her trusted backing band of multi-instrumentalists- Szymanski (Even In Blackouts, Jon Langford), Lundholm (I Fight Dragons), Andrew Green (Twin Talk), and Patrick Martin were enlisted to help translate her manic guitar dreams into actual music. The nine tracks explore moments with Bethany as the woman she is and the woman she wants to be… or maybe just wants.

The scorching, screlting opener, “I’m Not Sorry And I’m Not Scared” kinda says it all. “I no longer feel beholden to apologize for my body,” BT expounds. “My color, my size, the places I go or the space I occupy. If there’s a problem- it is surely yours.” She even got the homie, Lindsey Charles (The Cell Phones) to help her shout it out over Packy Lundholm and Patrick Martin’s meticulously contrasting guitar grooves.

Written on ukulele in a hotel room while watching the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, “DE-ESCALATOR” is a dark, broken carousel waltz that questions the motives of one who always takes it upon themselves to Calm Down The Situation. The Heart-shaped strut-rocker “I’ll Keep Walkin’” mixes anxiety and isolation with a crunchy synth bassline to give you THE iconic moody bop for our times.

Of course there are some not-quite-there love songs- the Szymanski-composed, soulful, steel-full ballad “Run” reconciles with loving a restless soul, “70th Love Song” is a do-you-like-me tale as old as time, hung up on a Spector wall of sound with strident bursts of Summerteeth, and “Only Mine” is basically the Angelo Badalamenti/Otis Redding collaboration we never knew we needed.

Bethany contributes some lead guitar on the room to room to room sonic journey that is “Walls+Ceilings”- where she matter-of-factly muses about so often being the “other” in the room, then politely but firmly lets you know SHE HAS THE RANGE. The third act crescendos into a rally cry buoyed by Andrew Green’s steadfast march and a fierce little choir of pals who get it: JC Brooks (JC Brooks Band), Robin Da Silva, Gilbert Domally and Nicole Haskins.

“The Air Is Smoke” and “The Waves” bring us back down to earth with some thoughtful, lived-in jams- the former a stormy rock duet between Bethany and Packy Lundholm’s stabbing, swirling guitar lead- challenging her riff for riff; the latter, a mushroom trip-inspired aria that has her splashing around under John Szymanski’s soaring counter-melody with the plea that we be open and ready to change and rebuild if we are to survive.

Engineered, recorded and mixed by Packy Lundholm at Sound Vault Studios in Chicago, IL Mastered by Blaise Barton at JoyRide Studio in Chicago, IL

Bethany Thomas · I’m Not Sorry And I’m Not Scared

BT/She/Her comes out 8/28/20
Bethany Thomas: vocals, guitar
Packy Lundholm: guitars, bass, keys, percussion, effects
John Szymanski: guitars, bass, keys, percussion, effects
Patrick Martin: guitars
Andrew Green: drums, percussion
Additional vocals: Lindsey Charles, JC Brooks, Robin Da Silva, Gilbert Domally and Nicole Haskins
Produced by Bethany Thomas and Packy Lundholm
Engineered and mixed by Packy Lundholm at Sound Vault Studios in Chicago, IL
Mastered by Blaise Barton at JoyRide Studios in Chicago, IL
Album photo by Ryan Bach

Bethany Thomas

*Feature image courtesy of Bandcamp

Walter Trout and Provogue Records Present Lyric Video For “All Out Of Tears”

Walter Trout and Provogue Records Present Lyric Video For “All Out Of Tears”


Steve Karas

For Trout, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Across his five-decade career, the great U.S. bluesman’ s music has always been a lifeline and call-to-arms, reminding listeners they are not alone.

Walter Trout and Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group have released a second lyric video in front of his upcoming new studio album Ordinary Madness out globally on August 28.  The song, “All Out Of Tears,” was co-written with Teeny Tucker and Marie Trout.  Trout shares, “In January, I was walking around at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and ran into my friend (Blues singer), Teeny Tucker. I asked her how she’s doing and she told me of recently losing her son, Boston. She said ‘my heart is crying but my eyes are dry. I guess I’ve just run out of tears to cry.’ I felt so bad for her and asked her if she’d like to write a song with me to honor her son’s memory using those words – and my wife and I worked with her to turn it into a song about the loss and grief one feels when losing a loved one.”

For Trout, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Across his five-decade career, the great U.S. bluesman’ s music has always been a lifeline and call-to-arms, reminding listeners they are not alone. Now, as the world seeks solace from a tragedy that has touched us all, he comes armed with a boundary-exploring new studio album and eleven searingly honest songs that bring his fans even closer. “There’s a lot of extraordinary madness going on right now,” considers Trout, of the COVID-19 crisis. “This album started because I was dealing with the flaws and weakness inside me. But it ended up being about everyone.”

Ordinary Madness was completed mere days before the U.S. shutdown, its cathartic songcraft and themes of shared troubles couldn’t chime better with a period in which our souls and spirits are under fire from tumultuous global events.

Admirably open about his troubled youth, and his own ongoing struggles with mental health, the bluesman had spent recent tours soothing himself by scribbling down his thoughts and feelings. It was only later he realized he’d just written the most honest lyric-sheet of his career – and felt he had an opportunity to let fans share and identify with him. “Everybody is dealing with something,” he says. “And I’m no different from anybody else. Ordinary Madness doesn’t mean you’re gonna end up in a mental institution. It’s just being human. It’s common humanity.”

Trout’s formative blues influences are well-documented, spanning from Paul Butterfield’s 1965 self-titled debut alongside Mike Bloomfield to John Mayall’s seminal 1966 ‘Beano’ LP with Eric Clapton. But as he cut his teeth in New Jersey, the young guitarist was also drawn to the maverick songwriters, taking in The Beatles, Dylan and Neil Young’s Crazy Horse. At every step of his career – moving to California in ’74 to back up giants like John Lee Hooker, joining Canned Heat and Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in the ’80s, then flying solo in 1989 – the stockpile of songs kept growing.

This time around, Trout is doing things a little differently. Led in by an electronic intro created by eldest son Jon Trout, the song sets off on a hypnotic groove with a gloriously languid guitar break that’s anything but autopilot blues. “I’ve broken the pinkie on my left hand three times in the past year,” remembers Trout, “so the guitar playing on this album took a little work, and there’s some anger and frustration in some of the solos. I really like that solo on the title track. It took two or three re-takes. But I think I nailed it.”

From that jump-off, a career-best album spilled out, as Trout convened his band of Michael Leasure (drums), Johnny Griparic (bass) and Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ Andreadis (keys) – along with long-time producer Eric Corne, plus special guests Skip Edwards, Drake ‘Munkihaid’ Shining and Anthony Grisham. The backdrop, once again, was the private LA studio of Doors legend Robby Krieger.  “The whole place is full of vintage gear, and it’s all there for you, whatever you want. The keyboard that Ray Manzarek used in The Doors – it’s just fucking sitting there. I remember, on the rhythm track for ‘OK Boomer,’ Michael Dumas, who runs the studio, comes walking in and says: ‘Here’s the SG that Robby used in The Doors – wanna try this?’ Then, for the rhythm guitar on ‘Heartland,’ he says: ‘Here’s one of James Burton’s Paisley Telecasters…’”

Musically, Trout’s antennae are up, as he pushes the envelope on the psychedelic layered vocal harmonies of “The Sun Is Going Down,” a song about dealing with ageing. Trout shares, “Lyrically, it’s about running out of time. You gotta look at death, deal with it, accept it. That’s a condition of being alive.”  The blissed-out anthemics of “Up Above My Sky,” nods to peak-period Pink Floyd and Trout worked with the U.S. Blues singer Teeny Tucker on the bereft “All Out Of Tears – a tribute to her late son. On the haunting “Heaven In Your Eyes,” Walter was stunned by Marie Trout’s lyrics about the desperation of trying to find ways to reach the person you love but being unable to find the words.

“As the lyric says in ‘Up Above My Sky,’ he reflects, “sometimes you have to see through the darkness to find the light. I can’t wait get back out there again, meet the people at shows, hug them and pose for a photo. And I’m really looking forward to playing these songs live. Because I think this album speaks to these times…”

Touring plans will be announced in the coming months as The World returns to some level of normalcy enabling all artists to return to staging appearances.

Walter Trout Pre-Order Ordinary Madness

*Feature image Allesandro Solca

Previously Unreleased Version of Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”

Previously Unreleased Version of Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”


JD Nash

More than any other release in his four-decade-long recording career, Prince’s iconic double album Sign O’ The Times captured the artist in a period of complete reinvention.

The Prince Estate has shared a previously unreleased recording of the song “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.” Recorded in 1979 at Hollywood Sound Recorders, this version is taken from the forthcoming Super Deluxe Edition of the Purple One’s 1987 double album Sign o’ the Times.

More than any other release in his four-decade-long recording career, Prince‘s iconic double album Sign O’ The Times captured the artist in a period of complete reinvention.

Primarily recorded between the end of 1985 and beginning of 1987, the era saw the dissolution of his band The Revolution, the end of his engagement to Susannah Melvoin, and the creation (and ultimate abandonment) of the albums Dream Factory, Camille, and Crystal Ball. By the end of that period of transformation, Prince emerged with one of his most urgent and wide-ranging releases to date — an epochal double album that would be hailed as a creative, critical, and commercial triumph.

The Super Deluxe Edition includes all the audio material that Prince officially released in 1987, as well as 45 previously unissued studio songs recorded between May 1979 and July 1987, and a complete live audio performance from the June 20, 1987 stop on the Sign O’ The Times Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

But wait. There’s more!

Also included is a brand-new DVD containing the complete, previously unreleased New Year’s Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park on December 31, 1987, which was Prince’s final performance of the Sign O’ The Times Tour stage show and his only on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis.

The Super Deluxe Edition set also features a 120-page hardcover book containing Prince’s previously unseen handwritten lyrics for many of the songs from the era, including the hits “U Got The Look,” “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man,” and “Hot Thing,” iconic unseen images from the era taken by Prince’s primary photographer in the mid-1980s to early 90s, Jeff Katz, plus images of archive assets including original analog tape reels and studio tracking sheets.

That’s a total of 8 CDs, 1 DVD and the book. The release date is September 25th, 2020 and pre-orders can be made here.

Prince

*Feature image Prince (© The Prince Estate | Jeff Katz)

The Waterboys Release New Single, ‘The Soul Singer’

The Waterboys Release New Single, ‘The Soul Singer’


Chart Room Media

Taken from the forthcoming album, ‘Good Luck, Seeker’

The Waterboys have released their brand new single, “The Soul Singer,” accompanied by a vibrantly psychedelic video. The single premiered via BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show and is the second taste of their highly anticipated new album following the dramatic epic “My Wanderings In The Weary Land,” which was released last month to great acclaim.

“The Soul Singer” comes roaring out of the blocks with beefy horns and sassy vocals by frontman Mike Scott and acclaimed Dublin singer Jess Kav, providing a sharp yet affectionate portrait of a legendary frontman who has “Seen it all, made every move / Dude’s got next to nothing left to prove.” It’s an exuberant blast of uptempo pop’n’roll which opens Good Luck, Seeker – the remarkable 14th studio album from The Waterboys, one of the most creative, loved and literate bands of the last four decades.

Good Luck, Seeker draws together many glistening strands of The Waterboys’ weird, wondrous journey. Its 14 songs are populated by unrepentant freaks, soul legends, outlaw film stars and 20th Century mystics, drawing inspiration from The Stones, Kate Bush, Sly and Kendrick as well as Mike Scott’s very own musical past.

Waterboys fans will delight in unraveling threads from the big music of A Pagan Place, the raggle taggle thrum of Fisherman’s Blues, the epic visions of Dream Harder and dark dramas of A Rock In A Weary Land, while new listeners will discover a magical world of joy and wonder from a musical wizard that is without doubt a very fine addition to one of the great canons of contemporary British music

Part song diary, part epic spoken word adventure, Good Luck, Seeker is both the final record in a recent triptych of albums and a new departure for the restless sonic magician and his merry band of fellow travelers. It’s an album that is here to lift our spirits, rock our worlds, and perhaps offer listeners some spiritual succor on their own wanderings through the weary land.

Good Luck, Seeker Tracklist

The Soul Singer
You’ve Got To Kiss A Frog Or Two
Low Down In The Broom
Dennis Hopper
Freak Street
Sticky Fingers
Why Should I Love You
The Golden Work
My Wanderings In The Weary Land
Postcard From The Celtic Dreamtime
Good Luck, Seeker
Beauty In Repetition
Everchanging
The Land Of Sunset

‘GOOD LUCK, SEEKER’ is released on August 21st  via Cooking Vinyl
on CD, Deluxe CD, Standard Vinyl, Deluxe Vinyl and digital formats

Pre-order
The Waterboys

 

Ross Bellenoit’s ‘Where Does the Light Go?’ Out Now

Ross Bellenoit’s ‘Where Does the Light Go?’ Out Now


Mixtape Media

Bellenoit has racked up a considerable amount of touring experience, most notably touring with Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello as a member of Amos Lee’s band

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and bandleader, Ross Bellenoit’s latest full length offering, Where Does The Light Go?, is out now.  The eleven Americana-tinged songs on the LP were written and produced by Bellenoit, and the album is a meditation on love, loss, secrets and the ways our interpersonal relationships affect our understanding of the world around us. It poses the question, what happens when you stay on a path when you feel that the odds are against you?

This spring, Bellenoit embarked on a solo, acoustic fourteen-date tour of Germany to celebrate the release of Where Does The Light Go? However, his trip overseas was cut short at the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic and he quickly decided to cancel the remaining dates in March to return to the United States rather than run the risk of being stuck in Europe and unable to fly home.  “There was a harrowing moment when I had to cancel the last three dates of the solo tour, says Bellenoit. “I woke up in Dortmund at 6:00 AM on March 12th to the news that a travel ban was happening and I had to cancel rest of tour and race back to Berlin. I spent four hours on hold with my airline trying to get on an earlier flight. My thinking was anything could happen between now and when the ban starts, so I need to get home ASAP.”

The LP begins with the title track, “Where Does The Light Go” and it serves as the thesis statement for the album. Bellenoit asks, “where does the light go when love runs away?” and begins his album-long exploration of attempting to reconcile relationships – both romantic and platonic – that end abruptly and painfully.  Though dark in subject matter, the song itself is uplifting and driven by a melody that beckons the listener to sing along and nod their head in time and agreement.

“For Friends,” the second song on the LP, is a celebratory ode to the community of Bellenoit’s friends. It features deft guitar work and a lead vocal that is lifted up by Sonja Sofya’s harmonies – “we’ve laughed at the worst and cried at the best of us and every day we’re working hard at raising up the rest of us.”  “You Don’t Have It In You” leans into its Americana-style slide guitar riffs and lyrically calls out the subject, “you can paint me in the darkest corner of your mind and you can keep telling stories ‘til you friends are blind, but none of that shit is true and I never should have trusted you…”

“Seventy two” is a soft lament on long distance love, while “Let Me Love Be Free” features Bellenoit’s falsetto and admittance of “all my life I never wanted more than to hear you call my name…” “Secret” has a swelling string section and the promise that, “one day my love won’t be a secret.” “Credence,” “Marigold” and “Forgiveness” all showcase Bellenoit’s distinctive arrangements, memorable melodies, and signature guitar work.

The album wraps up with “The Perfect Parade,” written on July 4, 2016 in the wake of the numerous shootings of unarmed black civilians happening that year.  Bellenoit reflects on the two hundred year old American Independence Day and what it means in contemporary times.

Where Does The Light Go? was recorded at Bellenoit’s collective, Turtle Studios, where the artist has established himself as a vital component to the vibrant music community in Philadelphia.  In addition to singing, playing guitar and producing, Bellenoit enlisted keyboardist Jaron Olevsky (Amos Lee), drummer Chuck Staab (Melody Gardot’s musical director), Upright bassist Charlie Muench (The Stray Birds), Jonathan Colman on electric bass and the aforementioned Sonja Sofya on backing vocals.

Ross Bellenoit’s tour of the Northeast corridor in celebration of the release of Where Does The Light Go? has been postponed.  He will resume his tour as soon as humanly possible.

Ross Bellenoit

 

Lady A ‘Live in New Orleans’ Drops July 18

Lady A ‘Live in New Orleans’ Drops July 18


JD Nash

‘Lady A Live in New Orleans’ will be available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and Lady A’s website. Support REAL talent. Support the REAL Lady A!

Lady A and her Baby Blues Funk band took her style of Blues & Funk down to Naw’lins in June of 2019 for some fun at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

A first time live concert was a dream come true with its challenges and its rewards.

This album is fun and hosts some of the bands favorites tunes sung by Lady A and her collaboration with artists such as Producer/Vocalist/Drummer John Oliver III; Vocalist/Songwriter – Roz Royster McCommon; Pianist – Paul Richardson; and Producer/Vocalist/Guitarist – Dexter Allen.

Thank you for sharing in this 1st with us.

Lady A Live in New Orleans will be available on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and Lady A’s website. Support REAL talent. Support the REAL Lady A!

#TheRealLadyAEveryday

This song, “Doin’ Fine,” is one of the 13 tracks on Live in New Orleans. On the new album she intros the song with, “This song I wrote because I am blessed every day I wake up 6 feet above ground. I wake up and say, ‘Lord, thank ya! Cuz I’m doin’ fine.’ ”

The REAL Lady A

*Feature image Lady A holding her brand new release Live in New Orleans – photo from Facebook.

 

NY Guitar Festival Honors Blues Rev. Gary Davis – July 13-19

NY Guitar Festival Honors Blues Rev. Gary Davis – July 13-19


Press Release

Set Two of Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer will premiere one video performance each day (July 13-19) at 4pm EDT via the New York Guitar Festival YouTube channel.

New York Guitar Festival (NYGF) announces Set Two of the festival’s 2020 online performance series Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer. Presented live on YouTube beginning July 13, 2020, Set 2 hosts musical performances by Jim James, Chris Thile, David Bromberg, Piedmont Blūz, Jontavious Willis, and more––to explore the music of blind blues musician Rev. Gary Davis. In addition, DJ Spooky will launch the festival on July 13 with a very special discourse constructing the historical and social context of Rev. Gary Davis’ life, and his cultural and musical influences that remain salient today. 

Set Two of Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer will premiere one video performance each day (July 13-19) at 4pm EDT via the New York Guitar Festival YouTube channel.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

 Daily at 4PM EDT at https://www.youtube.com/guitarfestival

 Discourse by DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller)  – Monday, July 13

Jontavious Willis – Tuesday, July 14

Chris Thile – Wednesday, July 15

Jim James – Thursday, July 16

Dave Bromberg – Friday, July 17

Piedmont Blūz  – Saturday, July 18

TBA – Sunday, July 19

Rev. Gary Davis performed on the streets of Harlem from the late 1940s until his death in 1972. Overcoming poverty, racial discrimination and blindness, Davis made numerous influential recordings and festival appearances, and also taught students including David Bromberg, Stefan Grossman, Dave Van Ronk, and Bob Weir. His songs have been covered by The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Bob Dylan.

The New York Guitar Festival first moved its distinguished musical curation online in May, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioning a diverse group of stellar musicians to participate.  View Set One of Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer––featuring performances by Bill Frisell, Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal, Warren Haynes, Fantastic Negrito, Amythyst Kiah and many more––HERE

Today, only 10 weeks since NYGF2020’s Set One premiere, sharing Rev. Gary Davis’ story is even more important and relevant than ever.

“We are incredibly grateful to the artists who have collaborated with NYGF to help shine a light on the authentic soul and humanity of Rev. Gary Davis’ music, and taken inspiration from his resilient life,” explains New York Guitar Festival’s Artistic Director David Spelman. “Heartfelt thanks, too, for the continued support of the Augustine Foundation, and for a special gift from the John and Joan D’Addario Foundation – for helping make Set Two of Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer possible.”

Access to Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer is free. The New York Guitar Festival and performing artists are asking viewers to make donations to MusiCares. Learn more about charitable foundation of The Recording Academy’s MusicCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, and donate to help the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, here:  www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/musicares-coronavirus-relief-fund

New York Guitar Festival

Marcus King Announces “Four Of A Kind” Live Stream Event

Marcus King Announces “Four Of A Kind” Live Stream Event


Press Release

Four special livestream shows to air weekly July 13 – August 3, each episode with a different performance concept – including a unique tribute to The Band’s Last Waltz.

24 year old phenom singer and songwriter, Marcus King, has announced Four of a Kind, Live From Nashville. The four night full production livestream series, benefiting MusiCares airs every Monday at 8p CT July 13th through August 3rd. Filmed in Nashville, each show has a unique performance concept and will feature guests including Brent Hinds (of Mastodon,) Billy Strings, Jennifer Hartswick, Devon Gilfillian, and more.

Putting on “Four of a Kind” is a welcomed challenge for the band and I. After a few months off the road and some time to recuperate, we want to get together and make some music. It is all very new to us, performing with no audience and still trying to bring the same energy as a full live show. With some help from some of our closest friends and new ones too, a lovely crew of masked, socially distanced AND socially conscious people, we’re excited to have something we can all feel proud of and share with you all!

We chose MusicCares as our charity for the event based on the amount of love and effort they have poured into the music community in times of need. They continue to help those that need it the most and we are thrilled to partner with them.

The first episode will feature The Marcus King Band, performing King’s critically acclaimed record El Dorado in full.  Episode two will see King joined by friends Billy Strings and Maggie Rose for an all-night jam. Episode three features Brent Hinds from Mastodon who joins The Marcus King Trio for a full blown rock show. The fourth and final episode features a star studded lineup with The Marcus King Band, performing The Last Waltz, alongside guests, Jennnifer Hartswick, Devon Gilfillian, and more.

All net ticket proceeds will be donated to MusiCares, with tickets priced from $10 to $40 for all four nights of entertainment, as well as a “Full House” promotion – all 4 nights and a poster for $50. In addition, through the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project, Spotify will match the proceeds donated to MusiCares up to a collective total of $10 million.

Add-on packages including Ante Up (where single night tickets can be upgraded to all 4 nights), discount codes for T Shirts and promotions include a free signed poster for the first 100 people who purchase tickets.

Marcus King’s recent album El Dorado, is a contemporary exploration of southern R&B, country-soul, classic rock and blues and established the 24 year old phenom as one of the most soulful voices of his generation. With an arresting voice that featured as lead instrument, King’s vocal took center stage alongside a genre bending blend of subtle acoustics, bright pedal steel, raucous electric guitars and blistering solos.

Full Schedule:

  • July 13 –  8pm CT – “The Marcus King Band Performs El Dorado”
  • July 20 – 8pm CT – “Marcus King & Friends” Featuring special guests Billy Strings and Maggie Rose
  • July 27 – 8pm CT – “The Marcus King Trio” Featuring special guest Brent Hinds (of Mastodon)
  • August 3 – 8pm CT – “The Marcus King Band performs The Last Waltz” Featuring Jennifer Hartswick, Devon Gilfillian, Early James, Elizabeth Cook, Ida Mae, Maggie Rose, Nicki Bluhm, Sierra Ferrell

Ticket Pricing

  • High Card (1 Night Ticket): $10
  • Two of a Kind (Pick 2 nights): $15
  • Four of a Kind (All 4 nights): $30
  • Full House (All 4 nights + poster): $50
    • First 100 that buy get a signed poster

MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly influence the health and welfare of the music community.

Tickets and more info on how to stream are available at marcuskingband.com

Newport Folk Festival Announces ‘Folk On Revival Weekend’

Newport Folk Festival Announces ‘Folk On Revival Weekend’


Press Release

A WEEKEND WORTH OF FOLK FESTIVAL PROGRAMMING JUL 31-AUG 2. TUNE IN TO AUDIO ARCHIVES, ATTEND TICKETED WEBCAST EVENTS AND WATCH A VERY SPECIAL ORIGINAL FILM

This year’s Newport Folk Festival – one of the oldest and longest running music festivals in the world, will not happen in person. Since fans can’t be together at the Fort, Newport Folk is bringing the music to you with radio broadcasts from over 60 years of archived sets, webcast concerts, and a very special film to close the weekend. The ticketed events will feature never-before seen live performances from artists such as Mavis Staples, Deer Tick, Leon Bridges, Roger Waters, Lucius, Sharon Van Etten, Jim James, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Tom Morello, Phoebe Bridgers, Trombone Shorty, Langhorne Slim, Molly Tuttle, Ben Harper, Joe Henry and more! Fans can also tune in via WFUV, WMVY and WEXT all weekend long to listen to broadcasts of archived sets.

The Revival Weekend is Newport’s way of celebrating all of the work we’ve done together, bringing music to our communities any way we can. “In the history of this festival, there has never been a time like we’re in now,” says Executive Producer Jay Sweet. “A global pandemic shuttering our plans to congregate before quickly shifting into the biggest civil rights movement in over 50 years. Many of our lives have drastically changed, financially, emotionally, and/or irrevocably. It has been painful for many of us, on the front lines fighting the pandemic, on the front lines fighting social injustice and especially for those losing loved ones along the way. While it was an emotional gut punch to cancel the festival in a year where it is so clearly needed, we felt it was imperative to our community to do something. Music has always brought our family together, even when we’re divided. The Newport stage has always been a sanctuary for artists to speak their minds on the times in front of us, not with merely one voice alone, but many in unison. This year’s Newport is no exception, collectively representing what it feels like to be human in today’s world by amplifying our convictions. For 2020 these voices will be our megaphone, these events our stage.”

Created by George Wein (now 94) in 1954 and 1959 respectively, The Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals are some of the longest running music festivals in history. Newport Jazz has been home to legendary performances by Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock while Newport Folk has had its stages graced by its co-founder Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash and of course Bob Dylan. Widely considered two of the most treasured cultural institutions in American history, they are known for their once-in-a-lifetime collaborations and more for what’s not announced than what is last year’s folk festival alone saw surprise performances from Dolly Parton, Jim James, James Taylor and even Kermit The Frog.

The impact of this year’s cancellation has been felt deeply throughout the community as Newport Festivals Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3, relies on the money it makes each year at the festivals in order to carry out its work.Thanks to the support of our Newport Folk and Jazz fans, the foundation has been able to support music programs in our own backyard of Newport and all across America. In addition to its year round work, the foundation also created the Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund to help mitigate financial hardship for musicians with over six figures in donations to date. We encourage fans to consider making a tax-deductible donation (newportfestivals.org/donate). Help us continue the festivals, support year-round music education initiatives, and provide grants to artists in need.

Join the Newport Folk family for some or all of the Newport Folk Revival Weekend festivities. To learn more visit https://newportfolk.org/revival.

The Samantha Fish International Cigar Box Guitar Video Playoffs

The Samantha Fish International Cigar Box Guitar Video Playoffs


Press Release

Rounder Recording Artist Samantha Fish And Leading Cigar Box Supplier C.B. Gitty Proudly Announce An Exciting Musical Contest

As a preliminary to next January’s Second Annual Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar Festival – New Orleans, the producers are rolling out a worldwide open call for musicians — amateur or professional; solo, duo or group — to participate in a contest based on video performances utilizing handmade stringed instruments: cigar box guitars, canjoes, pocket fiddles, washtub basses, diddley bows, etc., with cash prizes totaling $1,000.

Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar photo by Jean Frank

 

“Cigar Box Guitar” is a phrase broadly descriptive of unique, homemade stringed instruments created from found objects.  Historically, these musical devices have existed due to a lack of access to commercial products, and were present during the birth and early development of most, if not all, of the American music traditions. Modern interest in Cigar Box Guitars centers on the uniqueness and authenticity of the sound and the rich personal connection with a well-crafted, one-of-a-kind creation.

The Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar Festival, successor to the New Orleans Cigar Box Guitar Festival, has established itself among the best alternative instrument events in the world today. Each year since 2016, talented musicians and dedicated music fans from far and wide have come together in New Orleans to celebrate the creativity and versatility of these handmade instruments. Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar Festival website has increased by an average of 60% per year since its inception.  The 2019 event won OffBeat Magazine’s Neighborhood Festival of the Year award.

The International Cigar Box Guitar Video Playoffs is accepting submissions now through November 30. Videos must be created in accordance with contest guidelines, and must be posted on YouTube for consideration. Essential entry details are available at SamanthaFishCigarBoxGuitarFestival.com.

A combination of selection by an expert panel and voting by a viewing audience will determine the first, second, and third place winners, who will be announced on January 16 at the Festival. The contest also includes a Junior Champion award for participants 15 and under.

The cash prizes are being provided by C. B. Gitty Crafter Supply, the event’s primary sponsor. Bonus prizes will also be awarded to each winner. The Second Annual Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar Festival – New Orleans takes place January 13- January 16, 2021. Details will be regularly updated on the website.

Samantha Fish has added the cigar box guitar to her sets since 2014. This video from her performance at 2019’s New Orleans Cigar Box Guitar Festival has garnered more than a million views:

“Samantha, C. B. Gitty, and the entire Cigar Box Guitar Festival team are extremely excited to launch the Playoffs, and we’re looking forward to viewing the entries from CBG players everywhere.  So, look at the guidelines on the website and make a video!” Festival Co-Producer Paige Davis

Samantha Fish

*Feature image John Richardson

Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels Dead at 83

Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels Dead at 83


JD Nash

Daniels died Monday morning (July 6) at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. Doctors determined the cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke.

A legend in country music, Southern rock, & bluegrass, multi-instrumentalist Charlie Daniels has died. Daniels’ death was confirmed by his publicist Don Murry Grubbs. He was 83.

Charlie Daniels. Photo: Erick Anderson

 

Born Charles Edward Daniels on October 28th, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina, he was raised on a musical diet that included Pentecostal gospel, local bluegrass bands, and the rhythm & blues and country music from Nashville’s 50,000-watt radio stations WLAC and WSM (AM). Already skilled on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin, he formed a rock ‘n’ roll band and hit the road after his high school graduation in 1955.

Daniels was a successful songwriter and session musician, playing on recordings by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Marshall Tucker Band, Hank Williams, Jr. and others. His first hit song was 1973’s “Uneasy Rider” from his 3rd studio album, Honey in the Rock.

In 1979, Daniels won a Grammy Award for what would be his biggest hit, the cross-over song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

My first introduction to Daniels was from acquiring his second album, Te John, Grease, & Wolfman, which didn’t garner any hits, but had a couple great blues covers by way of Mose Allison’s “Parchmont Farm,” and Stick McGee’s “Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee.” My all-time favorite from his was Million Mile Reflections, but not because of the “Devil” song. It was because of the song “Reflections,” which paid homage to Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, and Ronnie Van Zant. A couple other noteworthy, but underappreciated songs from the album are “Blind Man,” and the 7-minute-long jam song, “Rainbow Ride.”

Other singles of his are on my mental play list and pop on from time to time. “Trudy,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” (with Dickey Betts on dobro), “Wichita Jail,” “Billy the Kid,” “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye,” and, of course, his epic version of the “Orange Blossom Special.”

I was privileged to see him live nearly a dozen times all across the country, including a very up-close-and-personal performance at the Crystal River Manatee Festival in 1985. Although that concert actually lost money due to poor attendance, I was one of the fortunate few who actually sat awestruck on the edge of the stage.

Charlie made no bones about his politics, although they tended to lean from left to right over time. He spoke his mind in his songs, winning fans, and sometimes gaining adversaries. He was an outdoorsman, an NRA member, and a staunch supporter of the military. He was married to his wife Hazel for over 55 years, and made comebacks after suffering a badly broken arm, prostate cancer, pneumonia, a stroke, and the implementation of a pacemaker.

In all, Charlie Daniels released 36 studio albums, 19 live and compilation albums, and 36 charting singles. He was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels died Monday morning (July 6) at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee. Doctors determined the cause of death was a hemorrhagic stroke.

It’ll be a little quieter, a bit less rambunctious in Tennessee and around the world, but we only need drop a needle and relive this Long Haired Country Boy’s life and legacy.

Charlie Daniels Band

New Single From Dani Wilde – “Masters of War”

New Single From Dani Wilde – “Masters of War”


JD Nash

Dani Wilde steps out of the blue light, into a world of almost operatic jazz, and the results are phenomenal.

Dani Wilde‘s series of new singles continues with this stirring interpretation of Bob Dylan’s classic “Masters of War.”

Back in March, we premiered Wilde’s single, Howling at the Moon which she both composed and produced herself. On both songs Dani steps out of the blue light, into a world of almost operatic jazz, and the results are phenomenal. Her vocal range, reaching near whistle register notes, takes off in all directions on “Masters of War.” She ventures from virtually whispered lyrics to soaring, passionate, improvisational scat, pouring her heart out the entire way.

Dani explains: “I feel this song is as relevant today as when Dylan wrote it — When I became a Mum, I felt more than ever ‘the fear to bring children into the world’ – the world is a scary place. Here in the UK we are the 2nd largest arms exporter; arming and supporting repressive regimes. When I sing Dylan’s words my heart is going out to those in war torn countries – the innocent victims of the international arms trade.”

Wilde burst onto the International blues scene in 2007, opening for Jools Holland at London’s Royal Albert Hall and signing to prestigious blues record label Ruf Records. Since then she has toured extensively (playing up to 250 concerts a year) across the UK, Europe, America, Canada and Africa, charting in the blues and country charts in Europe. She signed to VizzTone Label Group in 2017. Her relationship with VizzTone continues as she reaches for new heights with this interpretation.

Get “Masters of War” here.

Dani Wilde

Allman Brothers Band Tribute at Madison Square Garden Re-Broadcast

Allman Brothers Band Tribute at Madison Square Garden Re-Broadcast


Press Release

The March 10 show is the last major concert to have taken place in New York before being shut down because of Covid-19.

Surviving members of the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND came together Tuesday, March 10 as THE BROTHERS for an acclaimed, sold-out, one-night-only show celebrating 50 years of the iconic American band’s legacy at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In partnership with nugs.net–the leading live music platform for concert recordings and live streams–the “50th Anniversary Celebration of The Allman Brothers Band” is now available for purchase on nugs.tv in HD or stunning 4K, and will be rebroadcast beginning this Friday (July 3) at 8PM EST – Sunday (July 5) Those who purchase the webcast will also be able to enjoy the show on demand for 48 hours upon first viewing. Both the video and audio have been re-edited and remixed, respectively to give home viewers the best seat in the house for this historic concert. Experience the music of The Allman Brothers in an entirely new way. Now available in Sony’s 360 Reality Audio via nugs.net Hi-Fi. Listen to The Brothers’ nearly four-hour show as if you were there.

The Brothers consists of founding Allman Brothers Band (ABB) drummer Jaimoe as well as longtime ABB guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones, along with Widespread Panic drummer Duane Trucks and keyboardist Reese Wynans. Former ABB keyboardist (and longtime touring member of the Rolling Stones) Chuck Leavell joined as a special guest for many of the jams he helped create with the ABB.

The March 10 show is the last major concert to have taken place in New York before being shut down because of Covid-19. In a post-show interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jaimoe said, “It just felt like no BS, and all about music and love…I wanted to play music with my brothers. Everyone else is paying homage to the Allman Brothers music-and some of us are still here.” American Songwriter, (which described the show as a “massive success”) talked to Warren Haynes who said, “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 starting shutting down everything and canceling shows everywhere. It’s very bizarre that we turned out to be the last big show like that…I’m really glad that we were able to celebrate the 50th. When (original band member) Jaimoe called everybody and said that he thought that we should do something for the 50th, we all instantly agreed and thought, yeah, let’s do this. In a lot of ways, it was a show that we had talked about doing as the Allman Brothers Band but it never came to fruition. From the first moment of rehearsal it felt wonderful, and it just got better and better. I was very proud of everyone. From a musical standpoint, the band sounded wonderful. But there was so much more at play.”

Speaking with RollingStone.com, Derek Trucks recalled, “When we first got to New York about a week before, there were no restrictions and no one was really thinking about [the virus] too much. I was being OCD with Purell, but you eat out; you’re on the road and that’s what you do. But now a thousand things go through your head…So that felt a little weird. But information was rolling out at such a trickle that it was hard to make sense of anything…We were doing four days of rehearsals and everyone was playing that music for the first time in a while and telling stories and remembering people we’d lost. You’re kind of in two different worlds. You’re of two minds. If you postpone six or eight months, you never know how it’s going to be between now and then. But it also felt like one of the last moments for a long time when people would be able to suspend reality and let go.” As for the concert itself, Derek said, “I was really proud of everyone onstage. I thought everyone’s head was in the right place. That’s hard to do. There’s a lot of history with everyone on that stage, and you never know how that’s going to shake out. But it felt good. The spirit felt right.”

The Allman Brothers Band played their first show on March 26, 1969 and went on to embark on a Hall Of Fame career, which came to a close with their final performance on October 28, 2014 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Brad Serling, nugs.net Founder and CEO, added, “We could not be more thrilled about the opportunity to work with The Brothers on this PPV from MSG. The music that these performers helped to create is so incredibly special. We are very thankful to be able to help share this performance with ABB fans around the planet.”

The Brothers’ March 10, 2020 set list:
Don’t Want You No More/ It’s Not My Cross To Bear
Statesboro Blues
Revival
Trouble No More
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
Black Hearted Woman
Dreams
Hot’Lanta
Come and Go Blues
Soulshine
Stand Back
Jessica

Mountain Jam
Blue Sky
Desdemona
Ain’t Wasting Time No More
Every Hungry Woman
Melissa
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
No One to Run With
One Way Out
Midnight Rider
Whipping Post

nugs.net nugs.tv More information about the Pay-Per-View

*Feature image: Promotional photo courtesy of Madison Square Garden

John Prine Selected as Illinois’ First Honorary Poet Laureate

John Prine Selected as Illinois’ First Honorary Poet Laureate


Lauren Leadingham

The Mark Twain of folk music gets home state honor

When I’m writing a lyric, things can only get so serious before they start becoming humorous. – John Prine

Since we lost John Prine earlier in the year, there has been a tangible void in the music world. And clearly, that void is felt by the literary world as well. On Tuesday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the Windy City mailman turned folk hero has been posthumously named Illinois’ first honorary poet laureate.

Pritzker states, “He leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” quoting Prine’s “Paradise.”

 

Fiona Whelan Prine, his wife and manager, said in a statement, “I have no doubt that John would be proud and delighted to receive this recognition from his home state of Illinois. Although he had moved to Nashville in the early Eighties, he continued to visit Chicago, and Maywood in particular, to spend time with his family.”

 She continued, “John continued to follow Chicago sports teams and had never found a hot dog, pizza or Italian beef sandwich to rival the originals. Watching John, as I did many times, play to an Illinois audience was always thrilling. A home boy delighting in the love and approval of his loyal fans—some of them family, long-time friends, old school buddies and neighbors.”

 

 

Multi-BMA Nominee Al Basile Comes Up Aces With ‘Last Hand’

Multi-BMA Nominee Al Basile Comes Up Aces With ‘Last Hand’


Press Release

Basile describes the even-dozen tracks on Last Hand as telling the story of a May/December romance – which ends too soon – from the man’s point of view.

Eight-time Blues Music Award-nominated singer/songwriter/cornetist Al Basile announces an August 21 release date for his new album, Last Hand, on Sweetspot Records. Basile (vocals and cornet) is joined on the new disc by a sparse trio of Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass and Mark Teixeira on drums, that give the album a late-night, after-hours groove falling comfortably between blues and jazz. Last Hand was produced by Al Basile and recorded by Jack Gauthier at Lakewest Studios in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.

Basile describes the even-dozen tracks on Last Hand as telling the story of a May/December romance – which ends too soon – from the man’s point of view. It’s also his initial stab at producing himself. All of his previous albums had been produced by his long-time friend and fellow Roomful of Blues alumnus Duke Robillard.

“For my first producing effort, I wanted to keep it relatively simple on the engineering side,” Basile says. “So it’s piano and organ, bass, drums and vocals. I play only two short horn solos. The focus is on the songs and my vocals, because the songs tell a story. Not like one of my earlier albums, Me & the Originator, where there were spoken sections between the songs – this time the songs tell the story by themselves, and the listener can follow along and connect the dots. Like the Stations of the Cross (for you Catholics out there) – you get the highlights of the story and you follow where it’s going. The story is about an older man who meets a younger woman but can’t believe that she’s attracted to him. Eventually, he overcomes his mistrust, and they have an up and down relationship that ends in a surprising way. The songs are stylistically exactly like my other recent stuff – half blues, half other roots forms. The arrangements just don’t have guitar parts or horns. It sounds like an Al Basile record in every other way. I think people will realize from it how much of an influence I had on the production side of my earlier projects, especially those of the last five years.”

Since the current pandemic has cut back drastically on many options for a live album release showcase in a music venue, Basile is exploring the idea of creating his own “virtual” album release show performance with an audio play, complete with actors complementing him as the main characters in the story, which he hopes to announce soon as a livestream.

Basile provides some background on audio plays (they used to be called radio plays). “I ran a radio theater at Brown University in the ‘70s where I wrote, directed, produced and acted in radio drama,” he states. “A few years ago, I wrote Flash Blind, a neo-noir thriller as an audio play, and recorded it with some actors last fall. I entered it into the national audio theater competition, HEARnow, which normally meets for three days in Kansas City in June. It was chosen to be featured at the silver level in this year’s festival, but the virus forced the event to be shifted from a live one to a website which showcased podcasts of the featured plays. It’s currently featured from Mid-June to mid-August.

“With the national competition happening each year, I started thinking about something for me to submit for next year. Since I already had the story of Last Hand in the songs on the CD, I decided to fill it out with dramatic scenes which set up the songs the way the book does in a musical play. That would make the CD of Last Hand like an original cast album from a show, where you don’t get the scenes but do get the songs. By making an audio drama version of the scenes with the songs in place, I’d have an audio musical which I could submit to the HEARnow festival as a special drama with songs. With the release date in August, I have enough time to record the scenes and create Last Hand: the Musical, which can be released as a special version of the story told in the CD. I’ve already started working with the actors and will get in the studio later on, probably in July.

“So this project builds on what I did on Me & the Originator by combining music and poetry, and adds drama, like Flash Blind combined drama and poetry. I’m just going to keep on doing things that take all my diverse skills: singing, songwriting, horn playing, playwriting, verse writing, acting, editing and directing to bring it off.”

Basile’s previous album releases have consistently made the top 20 on the Living Blues charts. He’s been nominated eight times for a BMA as Best Horn Player, and his 2016 release, Mid Century Modern, was nominated as Best Contemporary Blues Album. His songs have been covered by Ruth Brown, Johnny Rawls, and the Knickerbocker All Stars. Guests on his own releases have included the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sista Monica Parker, Sugar Ray Norcia, Jerry Portnoy, and jazz great Scott Hamilton.

Celebrated for his mastery of lyric writing as well as music, Al’s skill with words extends to his other career as a poet: he is published regularly in leading journals, has won prizes, and has two books in print collecting his work from the Seventies until the present day. For the last three years he has taught lyric writing, led panels, and performed at poetry conferences.

Born in Haverhill, Mass., on the north shore of Boston, Al was the first to receive a Master’s degree from Brown University’s writing program. He was the first trumpet player for Roomful of Blues in the mid-Seventies, and he’s enjoyed a long relationship as a co-writer and sideman during Robillard’s solo career since the Eighties, garnering credits as songwriter and trumpet player on a dozen of Duke’s CDs and DVDs. In 1998, he released his first solo CD on his own Sweetspot label. He also taught English, music, and physics in a private Rhode Island high school for 25 years before devoting himself to music and poetry full time in 2005.

Al Basile

*Feature image by Meghan Sepe