Blues

Shawn Mullins readies new CD, 'Honeydew,' in March

Shawn Mullins new CD out in March- for the Grateful Web

Shawn Mullins will serve up a new set of vibrant, character-driven songs with his new Vanguard Records CD honeydew on March 11, 2008. honeydew teems with humanity: railroad workers, traveling salesman , homeless troubadours, and several generations of family members, living and dead. It is a richly interwoven work, the most panoramic album of Mullins' career as well as the most intensely personal. "These songs are character sketches of people I've come across and places I've traveled through," he says.
 
Produced by the artist, the recording took place at Creekside Station, the rural Georgia studio of Gerry Hansen, Mullins' longtime drummer, who engineered and mixed. Along with other regulars, including bassist Patrick Blanchard, multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook, B-3/Wurlitzer specialist Marty Kearns and mandolin player Kip Conner, Mullins managed to snag guitarist Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow) during a break in his touring schedule. Also making appearances are Atlanta blues and soul legend Francine Reed (Lyle Lovett) on "Homeless Joe" and the extremely catchy first single, "All in My Head," and Australian alt-country artist Kasey Chambers on "Cabbagetown."
 
Mullins is best known for his Top 10 hit "Lullaby," for which he received a Grammy® nomination that propelled the album Soul's Core to platinum-plus status. Exposed to music at an early age by his grandfather, who was a big band player, Mullins began writing songs and producing cassettes in grammar school. After attending North Georgia College and a stint in the military he launched his own label in 1991 and hit the singer-songwriter circuit, building a strong following in the Southeast. Seven independent albums later, he released Soul's Core on Sony Music in 1998. He signed with Vanguard Records in 2004 and shortly thereafter released 9th Ward Pickin' Parlour .  honeydew is his sophomore release for the label.

Early tour dates for 2008 have been announced:
 
January 9   NEW ORLEANS, LA   One Eyed Jacks
January 10  HOUSTON, TX  Mucky Duck
January 11 & 12 AUSTIN, TX   Cactus Cafe
January 13   DALLAS, TX   Poor David's
January 15   FAYETTEVILLE, AR   George's
January 17  CHATTANOOGA, TN   Rhythm & Brews
January 18   ASHEVILLE, NC Grey Eagle

"Chasin' Gus' Ghost" Featuring Chicago's Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite- for the Grateful Web

Among the luminary musicians featured in the acclaimed music documentary "Chasin' Gus' Ghost" is Chicago bluesman Charlie Musselwhite.  He is one of many to cite jug band music as a source of inspiration early in his musical career.  Says Musselwhite in the film, "I think jug bands is where the later electric blues came from.  It's an important part of American music."  

Musselwhite is an acclaimed blues harp player from Mississippi who made his way north on Highway 51 to Chicago looking for work.  In Chicago, he immersed himself in music and met legends such as Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters.  He has released over 20 albums, topped Billboard's blues charts, performed on Grammy-winning records and is synonymous with Chicago blues.  Musselwhite will perform at the Will Shade Gravestone Benefit Tribute Concert following the screening of "Chasin' Gus' Ghost."  

The bluesman's source of musical inspiration is echoed by legends like Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), John Sebastian (Lovin' Spoonful) and David Grisman throughout the film.  The Grateful Dead - one of the best-known bands in American music - started as a jug band, Mother McRee's Uptown Jug Champions.  Weir and Jerry Garcia created the band on one fateful New Year's Eve, a historic meeting that Weir discusses in the film.

"Chasin' Gus' Ghost" is entertaining and educational.  Full of archival video and concert footage featuring John Sebastian, Jim Kweskin and the beloved jug and washtub bass master Fritz Richmond, this film is a must-see for any music fan.  

What: Will Shade Gravestone Benefit featuring Charlie Musselwhite, Carolina Chocolate Drops and a screening of "Chasin' Gus' Ghost" at the Old Town School in Chicago

When: Sunday, Jaunary 27, 2008
2PM - SCREENING OF CHASIN' GUS' GHOST (FREE)
4-6PM - Jug Band Jam Session (FREE)
7PM - Benefit Concert featuring Charlie Musselwhite and Carolina Chocolate Drops
$20, $18 for Old Town School Members, $16 for seniors and kids

Where: Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL
http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/event.lasso?id=P6531 

JAKE LA BOTZ'S 2nd ANNUAL “TATTOO ACROSS AMERICA TOUR”

Photo By Markus Cuff- for the Grateful Web

Jake La Botz has stolen and lived in cars, learned to play blues from the last of the Delta greats (Robert Johnson protégé David "Honeyboy" Edwards), performed in a South Central L.A. church band, acted in indie films and even auditioned for the band Velvet Revolver. Author Jerry Stahl once said of the post-modern bluesman, "Not everybody will get [his music] because not everybody's ready for the truth."

And on September 15, La Botz will reprise his innovative "Tattoo Across America Tour," playing tattoo parlors in 21 cities. The tour starts in West Hollywood (Shamrock Social Club) on Saturday, September 15 and wends it way across 21 U.S. cities coast to coast until an October 15 closing date near Pueblo, Colorado. Among his destinations are Chicago, Austin, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Denver, Tampa, Phoenix and Orlando.

La Botz has engendered a loyal fan base of tattoo aficionados across the U.S., arising from last year's tour as well as from his acting role in Steve Buscemi's cult film Animal Factory. Although he has not ruled out playing traditional clubs, he says, "Musicians don't have to be tied down to the bar touring scenario any longer. There's another way to tour. I encourage artists to think about who their fans are, or will be, and find a new way to get to them."

"It's so much more interesting this way," he adds. "You can be who you really are and relate directly with your fans. At tattoo parlors, there are no dressing rooms, no backstage, nowhere to hide. You really get to know people. In a way, I developed this ethic playing in the streets and subways of [his native] Chicago. This approach to performing has a way of cutting through any sense of artistic hierarchy . . .keeps it real."

La Botz, who self-administered his first tattoo at age 14 ("street style . . . India ink with a sewing needle") and has since received dozens more through his friendships with tattoo artists over the years, has garnered a following in the body-art community. "I'd been getting emails from tattoo shops and tattooed fans for a while, which made me think, 'I should really pay attention to this connection'," he says. "I figured that me and the other tattoo people are somewhat on the fringe of the music and art worlds, so why not do a tour on the fringe?" A notice was fired over his MySpace site, and La Botz became flooded with emails.

In September 2006, he set out to play his first "Tattoo Across America Tour," and received ink in several cities, in more ways than one: "La Botz avoids the mainstream like a Dracula avoids the dawn," wrote the Macon Telegraph. The hometown Los Angeles Times added: "La Botz's music may be on the fringes, but that is only because the mainstream is so out of touch with art born from American roots. His tunes are plain and homespun, and often darkly humorous." The Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "La Botz is skilled at crafting talking-blues numbers that are pure poetry. His storytelling roots lie deep in the Delta and Piedmont, and his material is at once timeless and totally fresh." And, added the Nashville Scen e: "The songs pierce and scrape at the listener's skin like the needle of a tattoo gun, his harsh, grainy rasp — not unlike Tom Waits' — spewing forth blunt, morbid narratives about threadbare lives and the nearness of the grave."

In addition to his ever-mounting indie music following, La Botz is also known to indie film connoisseurs. Director/actor Steve Buscemi cast him in Animal Factory and his later film Lonesome Jim. More recently Jake starred in Joe D'Augustine's comedy, One Night With You, which is making the film festival circuit. He also appeared in the arthouse classic Ghost World (starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi) as a member of the blooze band from hell, Blues Hammer. And he just returned from 3 months in Thailand where he filmed John Rambo, fourth in the Rambo franchise, in which he plays a mercenary named Tombstone. After casting him in the role, director Sylvester Stallone heard Jake's CD Graveyard Jones and asked him to sing two original songs on camera. The Lions Gate film is slated for theatrical release in March 2008.

La Botz is also involved in the making of his own film about music and tattoos, which he and director Jeffry Gonzales will shoot during the 21-city "Tattoo Across America Tour," armed only with two guitars, camera equipment and a passenger car.

Dates:

Sat Sept. 15   HOLLYWOOD, CA Shamrock Social Club

Sun Sept. 16    SAN DIEGO, CA Absolute Tattoo

Mon Sept. 17 PHOENIX, AZ Incision Tattoo 

Wed Sept. 19   LONGVIEW, TX Garage Art Studio

Thur Sept. 20 DALLAS, TX Fine Line Tattoo

Fri Sept. 21    AUSTIN, TX Austin Ink Fest 

Sun Sept. 23  BEAUMONT, TX  Tattoomania

Mon Sept. 24   JACKSON, MS The Ink Spot Gallery 

Tue Sept. 25 MACON, GA Beyond Taboo Tattoo

Wed Sept. 26 TAMPA, FL Las Vegas Tattoo Co. 

Fri Sept. 28  ORLANDO, FL Cast Iron Tattoo 

Sun Sept. 30 ANNAPOLIS, MD (CHURCHTON) American Tattoo 

Mon Oct. 1 PHILADELPHIA, PA (SKIPPACK) Liberty Tattoo 

Tue Oct. 2   LONG ISLAND, NY (HOLBROOK) Electric Tiki Tattoo 

Thur Oct. 4 BOSTON, MA (JAMAICA PLAIN) The Brendan Behan Pub 

Fri Oct. 5   BOSTON, MA (WATERTOWN) 21 Nickels

Sat Oct. 6   SYRACUSE, NY Freaks and Geeks Tattoo

Mon Oct. 8 CLEVELAND, OH 252 Tattoo

Tue Oct. 9 CINCINNATI, OH One Shot Tattoo

Thur Oct. 11    CHICAGO, IL (UPTOWN) The Tattoo Factory

Fri Oct. 12   CHICAGO, IL (CRESTWOOD) Body By Design

Sun Oct. 14 DENVER, CO   Kitchens' Ink 

Mon Oct. 15 PUEBLO, CO (WESTCLIFFE) Jacque's Body Art

Nick Luca on tour w/John Doe!

Nick Luca- for the Grateful Web

Funzalo Records band Luca is putting out a new studio release in the Fall of 2007.  In the meantime, they've recorded a live CD, Coming In For A Landing, that will be available digitally at various outlets such as Emusic, HearMusic, AudioLunchbox, Apple I-Tunes, and all kinds of places that work with CD Baby. More information below.

The band's frontman, multi-instrumentalist and singer Nick Luca will also be selling it when he's on tour with John Doe.  Here's a list of the dates:

Thurs June 14, Sam Bond's Garage, Eugene OR
Fri June 15, Dante's, Portland OR
Sat June 16, Tractor Tavern, Seattle WA
Sun June 17, Nightlight, Bellingham WA
Wed June 20, Neurolux, Boise ID
Fri June 22, Lion's Lair, Denver CO
Sat June 23, Trilogy, Boulder CO
Sun June 24, Steve's Guitar Shop, Carbondale CO
Tues June 26, Blue Lamp, Sacramento CA
Wed June 27, 12 Galaxies, San Francisco CA
Thurs June 28, The Attic, Santa Cruz CA
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sat, July 7, Hootenanny Fest, Fullerton CA
Sun July 8, The Casbah, San Diego CA
Mon July 9, Plush, Tucson AZ
Wed July 11, Cactus Cafe, Austin TX
Thurs July 12, Granada Theater, Dallas TX
Sun July 15, The Abbey Pub, Chicago IL
Mon July 16, High Noon Saloon, Madison WI
Tues July 17, Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines IA
Wed July 18, 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis MN
Thur July 19, The Mill, Iowa City IA
Fri July 20, The Reverb, Cedar Falls IA
Mon July 23, Club Café, Pittsburgh PA

 

Luca's last CD, Sick of Love, moved the band's sound into rock territory and away from the jazzier stylings of their earlier incarnation as the Nick Luca Trio.  Since that last release, with the addition of guitarist Joey Unger and drummer Ryan Janac (both from Tucson sonic-popsters Sunday Afternoon), the band's sporting a more driving, guitar-based sound. (And yes, Nick Luca's longtime bandmate, bassist Chris Giambelluca, is still here.)

We thought it would be fun to capture Luca's evolution with a live CD, Coming In For A Landing, recorded this spring at a show at Tucson's beloved Club Congress. The set will be available digitally and sold at Luca shows.

Meantime, the brand new Luca studio full-length, Fractions, is looking at a tentative release date of October 2007.  Producer Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole, Dinosaur Jr, the Pixies) spent a couple weeks in Tucson recording the new CD with Nick and the guys at Wavelab.

Cover songs on the new record include a Luca-ized version of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" and Jonathan Richman's quirky "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar."  The band's been performing both songs during gigs, and you can preview them on the live CD, Coming In For A Landing.
 
Over & out - Lee Gutowski, publicist - Funzalo Records / Mike's Artist Management / PO Box 35880 / Tucson AZ 85740 - (520) 628 8655

ON DECK:

Luca COMING IN FOR A LANDING - live CD, limited release Recorded during a show at Tucson's beloved bastion of bacchanalia, Club Congress, this fun, well-attended romp gives a healthy taste of the band's latest incarnations with more guitar power present than ever before.  Check out the funked-up cover of Jonathan Richman's "Lesbian Bar."

Mostly Bears ONLY CHILD - EP out soon
Newest Funzalo signing Mostly Bears are a smokin' three-piece outta (yes) Tucson with indie chops to spare.  With seemingly boundless energy, they're busting outta the gate with this 4-song debut, channeling some weirdness with howling, other-worldly vocals, a metal guitar-bass- drums attack and a roofie's worth of psychedelia that'll
pique your interest for the upcoming full-length.

NEW IN '07:

The Breakers.dk HERE FOR A LAUGH - May 8 2007
Yah, the Danes are bringing that crazy American ROCK.  And what more could you ask for in your rock band than a lead singer by the name of Toke?!  Stay tuned for glam-ass punk vocals that conjure Rod the Mod in full Faces glory, backed by a band that can kick it old school a la the Stones, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy ... It's a gasgasGAS!

Green Pitch ACE OF HEARTS - March 6
What do you get when you mix fragile Bjorkish vocals, music box twinkle keyboard and melodica sounds, dreamy steel guitar string washes and cryptic yet full-fledged emotive lyrics?  All the way from Copenhagen, Green Pitch show how strong quiet can be.

Tony Furtado THIRTEEN - January 23
This guitar playin man is a force to be reckoned with.  His last outing, the live Bare Bones, took him into uncharted territory when he did a solo tour and recorded it himself.  On Thirteen, he's put his own stamp on some unexpected cover tunes, as well as written new songs that surpass his previous work in depth as well as rock.  The title track is an affecting memorial of the Sago Mine explosion that trapped thirteen men and eventually relinquished a lone survivor.

Blues Cruise Sets Sail October 2007 & January 2008

Taj Mahal- for the Grateful Web

The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise is recognized as one of the top blues festivals on the planet. It is also the world's only chartered blues cruise.  In addition to their annual Caribbean cruise that sets sail from Florida each January, this year the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise offers their West Coast cruise to the Mexican Riviera.

The ship will hit the high seas on October 13, 2007 from San Diego, California, destined for the Mexican Riviera.  The five-star Holland America ms Oosterdam ship will sail for seven days, all the while hosting intimate and electrifying performances by the world's best rhythm and blues talent: over 70 live performances by 22 acts!  Cruisers have the option to temporarily get their feet back on the ground by indulging in the attractions and beaches of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta , and Manzanillo.

Cruisers will bask to the perpetual rhythms of Blues Cruise "Captain" Taj Mahal & The International Rhythm Band, Elvin Bishop, Bobby Rush, Lowrider Band (Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, BB Dickerson & Harold Brown), Tommy Castro, Marcia Ball, Rod Piazza, Bernard Allison, Curtis Salgado, Janiva Magness, Eric Sardinas, John Lee Hooker, Jr, Sista Monica Parker, Doug MacLeod, Chico Banks, Eric Bibb, Earl Thomas, Eric Lindell, and Nathan James & Ben Hernandez.  Also on board are Piano Bar hosts Eden Brent and Leon Blue, plus invited special guests Ron Thompson, Lynwood Slim, Roy Gaines, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, and a host of unannounced surprise guests who will be onboard to share the excitement and join in Artist Spotlights and Jam Sessions.

Cruisers will witness many rare combinations of talent sharing the same stage and rub elbows with the stars by participating in artist workshops and autograph sessions.  Regular cruise headliner Taj Mahal exclaims, "It's a Blues Festival where everyone has a Backstage Pass!"

The testimonials are abundant: "Life-changing." "Magical." "The time of my life."

An ever growing family of dedicated fans are counting the days, hours, and minutes until the LRBC sets sail each year.  The cruise's menu of daily themes, contests, no-holds barred fun and sense of community are what really keep this ship afloat.

Letter from the Captain: http://www.bluescruise.com/experience.html
Artist & Cruiser Quotes: http://www.bluescruise.com/raves.html
Artist info page: http://www.bluescruise.com/mexicanriviera07.html

For more information visit www.BluesCruise.com or call 1-888-BLUESIN (258-3746).

The Vagrants

The Vagrants- for the Grateful Web

You don't learn 5 Languages from sitting at home on your arse watching TV! We did that by traveling. The whole idea of a journey should be NOT having a plan that gets in the way of fun, music, and potential. We never let the original plan keep us from learning and opportunity. Why bother booking a return flight?

This is a live band that knows how to rock. They don't work an audience, they work them out! Everyone leaves with a hand in the air, feet hurting, sweating, and smiling.

The Vagrants got their name from the obvious, life on the road with no home. The good times and the bad give their music its diversity, raw energy, edge and sweet tones. Happier on the road than at home they have been gigging constantly in separate projects and have all come together as one on stage to launch the Vagrants.  Getting compared to Ben Harper, Black Crows, The Allman Brothers, Baby Animals, Stray Cats, The Stones and Jack Johnson says a lot about how hard it is to categorize the music.

Have played major Australian festivals including Frankston Guitar Festival, Monbulk Jazz and Blues Festival, Williamstown Festival, PBS Concert Series, and the Mt Hotham October Fest.

Our members have played in Australia, US, Germany, Denmark, England, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and are always looking to expand their experiences.

ROKY ERICKSON TO MAKE OUTSIDE-AUSTIN APPEARANCE AT PONDEROSA

- for the Grateful Web

Roky Erickson's biggest hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me," with his band the 13th Floor Elevators, only reached No. 56 on the national pop chart, yet the lyrics and music composed by this reclusive — and at times mysterious — musician still reverberate today. And this spring, Erickson will make a very rare foray outside of his hometown of Austin, Texas to play a concert-length set at the Sixth Annual Ponderosa Stomp, set for New Orleans' House of Blues on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 . Backing him will be The Explosives (Freddie Krc, Waller Collie and Cam King ) who played with Roky in the '80s.

Roky Erickson's biggest hit, "You're Gonna Miss Me," with his band the 13th Floor Elevators, only reached No. 56 on the national pop chart, yet the lyrics and music composed by this reclusive — and at times mysterious — musician still reverberate today. And this spring, Erickson will make a very rare foray outside of his hometown of Austin, Texas to play a concert-length set at the Sixth Annual Ponderosa Stomp, set for New Orleans' House of Blues on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 . Backing him will be The Explosives (Freddie Krc, Waller Collie and Cam King ) who played with Roky in the '80s.

At the Ponderosa Stomp, Roky Erickson will be surrounded by legendary performers, including master arranger Wardell Quezergue and the New Orleans Rhythm & Blues Revue , soul songwriter supreme Dan Penn, rockabilly wild man Dale Hawkins, R&B soprano Little Jimmy Scott, Texas Tornado co-founder Augie Meyers, Stax sessions guitarist Skip Pitts, Gulf Coast guitar empress Barbara Lynn, Mardi Gras king Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Excello harp master Lazy Lester, keyboardist extraordinaire Willie Tee, President of soul Rockie Charles, hillbilly bopper Jay Chevalier, tough Texas shouter Roy Head, and rockabilly wailer Joe Clay, with more to come.

 
One of the first artists to refer to his music as "psychedelic," Roky Erickson eclipsed Sun Ra as a legal resident of Outer Space. Since charting that Top 100 hit in 1966, Roky has become famous, and infamous, for drug use and mental health issues.  These fits and stops have punctuated his career.  Still, Roky has managed to emerge from the murk time and time again, producing classics like "Two Headed Dog" and "Don't Slander Me."

Now, thanks to diligent work both on his part and that of his legal custodian, younger brother Sumner Erickson, Roky is back in full force, as witnessed by the lucky fans who attended the 2006 Austin Music Awards or Roky's Ice Cream Social during SXSW and got a taste of his revived energy and spirit.

 
 
Says Dr. Ike, executive director and founder of the Ponderosa Stomp, "Roky's appearance . . . is a truly special occasion. It is only the fourth gig he has played out of Austin since his stupendous comeback. It is his first gig in New Orleans in more than 20 years. It will truly be a night to walk with the zombies under starry eyes."

 
Born Roger Kynard Erickson in 1947, Roky Erickson has exerted influence on such diverse artists as ZZ Top, Television, Zakary Thaks, R.E.M., Jesus & Mary Chain, the Butthole Surfers, the Cramps, Radio Birdman, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Mike Watt, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the White Stripes, Witchcraft and Primal Scream. Roky began playing guitar with The Spades when he was 12 years old — and it is with them that he first recorded "You're Gonna Miss Me," of which only 100-200 copies were minted. That rare slab of wax is the Holy Grail among collectors of garage rock records.

 
The Austin-based 13th Floor Elevators were formed in 1965 by electric-jug player Tommy Hall, who wanted to set his LSD-inspired lyrics to outer-space sounds. He recruited a rhythm section, but the missing piece was Roky. When the band recorded "You're Gonna Miss Me" for the Contact label, Lelan Rogers of International Artists caught wind and picked up the record. It charted No. 56 on the Billboard pop singles chart, and spawned an album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, prompting the group to leave Austin and play the Fillmore and Avalon in San Francisco, and appear on TV's American Bandstand and Where the Action Is. When asked by Dick Clark who was the head of the band, Roky replied, "We're all heads."

 
A second long-player, 1967's Easter Everywhere, was widely regarded as the watershed psychedelic album. Says Dr. Ike, " it's truly a record for Martians fueled by LSD-coated sugar cubes." However, love of marijuana and LSD were not just the stuff of lyrics — police constantly harassed the band, and the Elevators were busted twice. Roky pleaded insanity to avoid a ten-year jail sentence for one joint. He found himself sentenced for five years to Rusk State Hospital, a mental institution. While at Rusk, he wrote more than 100 songs, and after his 1972 release, he attempted to reform the 13th Floor Elevators. However, a feud between Erickson and Hall stalled the Elevators on the ground floor.

 
Roky soon formed a new band, Blieb Alien ("blieb" being an anagram of bible and the German word for "remain") which was heavier in sound, with lyrics more steeped in sci-fi imagery. From a 15-song session produced by Creedence Clearwater Revival member Stu Cook came such nuggets as "Creature With The Atom Brain" and the extraordinary "Two Headed Dog." An original version of the song had been produced by Doug Sahm. During this episode of his career, Roky also declared that he was a space alien and not a human being. A combination of encroaching mental illness and unscrupulous managers sidelined him once again.

 
Emerging briefly in 1986 to record the critically acclaimed Don't Slander Me album for Pink Dust Records, Roky seemed closer to success than ever, but again, his demons would haunt him. In 1990, then-Warner Bros. Records executive and native Texan Bill Bentley organized a tribute album to Roky titled When The Pyramid Meets The Eye , featuring ZZ Top, Bongwater, R.E.M. Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream and Doug Sahm.

 
His appearance at the 1993 Austin Music Awards was hotly anticipated though ultimately disappointing — Roky seemed distracted. Yet 13 years later, in March 2006, Roky played the Austin Music Awards once again — this time an incredible six song set that brought the house down. He played about 10 shows later that year, including the Intonation Music Festival in Chicago, which was his first out-of-town gig in more than two decades. Once Little Steven featured him on his "Underground Garage" Halloween special broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio, the world had good reason to suspect that Roky is back for good — all of which brings us to the Ponderosa Stomp, the world's premiere roots romp festival, which has always reserved a space for psychedelic and garage rock pioneers among its celebration of true and unique American music.

 
Since its inception in 2000, the Ponderosa Stomp has featured killer performances by world-renowned garage veterans the Fabulous Wailers and Ventures guitarist Nokie Edwards, mind-slaying reunions of Gulf Coast-based garage rock groups like the Bad Roads and Zakary Thaks, and appearances by head pharaoh Sam the Sham , Midwest rockers the Alarm Clocks, and more. In 2004, Dr. Ike presented the two-night Tryin' To Mess My Mind garage and R&B festival, which included performances from ? and the Mysterians, Sky Saxon and the New Seeds, the Better Half Dozen, and New Orleans cult favorites Dr. Spec's Optical Illusion.

 
 
Ticket information for the 2007 Ponderosa Stomp, which will feature a very special performance from Roky Erickson and The Explosives, may be gleaned at http://www.ponderosastomp.com. Tickets will go on sale at Ticketmaster on Thursday, February 15.

STAX RECORDS/CONCORD MUSIC GROUP TO ISSUE STAX 50

Deluxe 2-CD set, out March 13, 2007- for the Grateful Web

The 50th anniversary of the legendary soul label Stax Records will kick off with the release of a deluxe edition 50-song, 2-CD box set titled Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration. The most comprehensive Stax hits collection ever — featuring for the first time all major Stax hit singles — Stax 50 will formally inaugurate Concord Music's re-launch of Stax. The set is packaged in a hardcover box with lenticular cover art of the famous snapping finger logo. Street date is set for March 13, 2007.

Last month, Concord Music Group announced a year of activity that will include deluxe reissues, special events and the reactivation of the legendary label with a slate of new artist signings.

Stax 50 features hits from the Memphis label's heyday of the 1960s and '70s, including the many legendary artists who jointly created the "Stax sound," among them Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, The Dramatics, Little Milton, The Mar-Keys, Mel & Tim, Jean Knight, and The Emotions.

 
Stax Records holds a critical place in American music history as one of the most popular soul music record labels of all time — second only to Motown in sales and influence, but first in gritty, raw, Southern-steeped soul music. Stax placed more than 167 hit songs in Billboard's Hot 100 pop charts as well as a staggering 243 hits on the R&B charts. In addition to the "core" artists who appear on Stax 50, the label was also home to recordings by Albert King, Big Star, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley and even the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

 
As noted in Stax historian Rob Bowman's extensive liner notes for the box, "The story of Stax Records is about as improbable and unforeseeable as any tale could possibly be." The label was launched in Memphis by a white country fiddler named Jim Stewart and his sister, Estelle Axton. The name came from combining the first two letters of each of their last names. Originally known as Satellite Records, with a roster that spanned pop to blues to rockabilly, the label's 1960 name change to Stax cemented the label's commitment to R&B and soul, commencing with Rufus & Carla Thomas' "'Cause I Love You." Within a short time, Stax, based in a former movie theater on Memphis' McLemore Avenue, grew into a self-contained indie powerhouse with its own studio, A&R staff, writers, producers and house band.

 
Concord Music Group, which acquired the legendary Memphis label as part of its purchase of Fantasy Records in 2004, will also honor Stax's 50th year by releasing definitive collections, rare performances, unreleased tracks and more from the Memphis R&B imprint in deluxe new packages. Plans for digital releases, remixes and other projects are also in the works; the anniversary year's releases are slated to include more than 20 CDs and DVDs.

 
In addition, Concord Music Group will reactivate Stax this year as a dynamic new force in contemporary R&B music committed to the power and legacy of their forbearers. The first new Stax signings are Isaac Hayes and Angie Stone.

 
TRACK LIST

DISC ONE

1.  CARLA THOMAS – "Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)"
2.  THE MAR-KEYS – "Last Night"
3.  WILLIAM BELL – "You Don't Miss Your Water"         
4.  BOOKER T. & THE MGs – "Green Onions"                  
5.  RUFUS THOMAS – "Walking the Dog"         
6.  OTIS REDDING – "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)"
7.  THE ASTORS – "Candy"
8.  OTIS REDDING – "Respect"
9.  SAM & DAVE – "You Don't Know Like I Know"
10. THE MAD LADS – "I Want Someone"
11. SAM & DAVE – "Hold On I'm Comin'"
12. CARLA THOMAS – "Let Me Be Good To You"         
13. MABLE JOHN – "Your Good Thing (Is About To End)"
14. EDDIE FLOYD – "Knock on Wood"         
15. CARLA THOMAS – "B-A-B-Y"
16. OTIS & CARLA – "Tramp"         
17. THE BAR-KEYS – "Soul Finger"
18. ALBERT KING – "Born Under a Bad Sign"
19. SAM & DAVE – "Soul Man"
20. OTIS REDDING – "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay"
21. OLLIE & THE NIGHTINGALES – "I Got a Sure Thing"
22. BOOKER T. & THE MGs – "Soul Limbo"
23. EDDIE FLOYD – "I've Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)"
24. LINDA LYNDELL – "What a Man"
25. WILLIAM BELL & JUDY CLAY – "Private Number"
26. JOHNNIE TAYLOR – "Who's Making Love"
27. WILLIAM BELL – "I Forgot To Be Your Lover"
28. CARLA THOMAS – "I Like What You're Doing (To Me)"
 
DISC TWO

1.  BOOKER T. & THE MGS – "Time Is Tight"
2.  THE EMOTIONS – "So I Can Love You"
3.  ISAAC HAYES – "Walk on By"
4.  RUFUS THOMAS – "Do the Funky Chicken"
5.  JOHNNIE TAYLOR – "Jody's Got Your Girl and Gone"
6.  JEAN KNIGHT – "Mr. Big Stuff"
7.  ISAAC HAYES – "Never Can Say Goodbye"
8.  THE DRAMATICS – "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get"
9.  THE STAPLE SINGERS  – "Respect Yourself"
10. ISAAC HAYES – "Theme From Shaft"
11. THE BAR-KAYS – "Son of Shaft"
12. LITTLE MILTON – "That's What Love Will Make You Do"
13. FREDERICK KNIGHT – "I've Been Lonely for So Long"
14. SOUL CHILDREN – "Hearsay"
15. THE DRAMATICS – "In the Rain"
16. THE STAPLE SINGERS – "I'll Take You There"
17. MEL & TIM STARTING – "All Over Again"
18. THE TEMPREES – "Dedicated to the One I Love"
19. THE STAPLE SINGERS – "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)"         
20. JOHNNIE TAYLOR – "Cheaper To Keep Her"
21. SOUL CHILDREN – "I'll Be the Other Woman"
22. SHIRLEY BROWN – "Woman to Woman"

Luca 'YOU WIN AGAIN'

Luca- for the Grateful Web

Formed in August of 2001, Tucson, AZ based band, LUCA has been steadily performing, recording and gaining momentum in the music world. Along with drummer, Jim Kober, and bassist, Chris Giambelluca, singer/songwriter Nick Luca creates a music tapestry both familiar and indefinable, playing guitars, keyboards and harmonica along with original samples.

The band released two albums under the name "The Nick Luca Trio"- "You Win Again" is the first album under the name LUCA. Along with a new moniker, the album marks a more up tempo, rock approach, while still maintaining the influence of the southwest soundscapes and late night overtones. The band successfully fuses elements of rock, jazz, soul and country.

Tour Dates

Ladell McLin's 'Stand Out'

Ladell McLin''s ''Stand Out''- for the Grateful Web

The Greatest guitar players come from Chicago..

Now we're not saying they actually have to be born and raised on the South Side, where the music blaring from the bars and clubs is as tough as life. But to be the best of the best, guys like Hendrix, Stevie Ray, and some of those British cats had to find something inside that could trace back to those streets.

So what happens when someone comes along who plays with that kind of intensity, whose command of the guitar goes beyond chops to something deeper in the soul, who is so tied to his beloved instrument that he's been known to sleep with it and cover it in roses - and on top of all that, he's from Chicago too?

Here's what should happen: Everyone should stop whatever they're doing and listen to Ladell McLin, an astonishing and soulful guitarist, singer, and songwriter who plays with a conviction that's become all too rare since guitar gods walked the earth. 

Every note of every track on his studio debut, Stand Out, sounds like it's been conceived and nurtured over time in McLin's heart, then moved to somewhere deep in his gut to simmer and boil and finally be unleashed like demons and angels, screaming or singing toward the sky. 

You don't learn to play like this in school; the lessons of Stand Out were learned from hard times, undimmed dreams, and a raw, wild love for the guitar. When you're a sensitive kid, raised in a landscape of gangs and drugs, a guitar can be your best friend. And when you're born with talent, it can also be your shelter from the storm and your ticket to better places.

That's the story behind the music on Stand Out. As you listen to the first track, "Rich Man's Lounge," it's easy to imagine McLin pumping these volcanic rhythms and searing solos through some overdriven amp on a street-corner gig or in a club no bigger than your living room. It's just as easy to imagine him onstage before packed houses anywhere in the world or in major concert venues, sweeping tens of thousands of listeners into the ecstasy of his artistry. 

But for the truest picture of where this amazing music comes from, you have to turn back the clock a little, back to when McLin used to plug in and play for hours each day in his bedroom. At 12 years old he was familiar with the world of music: His father and older brother were drummers, Ladell grew up in a world of rehearsals, jazz and blues jammers hanging out, and gigs that would take members of his family away until dawn. 

In those days McLin assumed he would wind up playing drums too: He loved the rhythm and once even fell asleep with his head nestled into his father's bass drum during a band practice. But as his brother began spending more time on the road, backing Willie Dixon, Phil Guy, Sly Johnson, and other blues greats, his drums were around less and less. With nothing to play, Ladell wandered down into his aunt's basement one day, looking for something to do.

There he found an old guitar that used to belong to his father. "It was some weird kind of electric," he remembers, "with just three strings. One of the guys in my brother's band had left this amplifier down there, and my auntie kept all these old Chuck Berry records there too. So I found a cord, plugged in, and started playing along. That was it: Just like that, I fell in love with the guitar."

All his friends in those days were into hip-hop, which Ladell also dug. "But the blues stole my heart," he says. "That's what I practiced all day. I was deep in the 'hood, my window was open, my amplifier was blasting, and all these people were hanging out in the alley. I'm playing Chuck Berry, Hendrix, or even Van Halen, and they're going, 'What the hell is going on up there?'"

Ladell had already been working for several years - since he was ten - as a roadie for his brother on local gigs. This got him into Chicago's top blues clubs long before he was of age; their atmosphere, and the sound of giants like Buddy Guy and Junior Wells performing live, felt familiar to him as he built up his own playing. Inevitably he would make his mark in this world. He was 16 when the opportunity came, on one of his brother's jobs, as the guitar player decided to slip away with a girlfriend for a few minutes.

He asked me if I wanted to come up and play," Ladell recalls. "My brother said it was okay. The bass player got upset; he didn't think I'd know what to play. But I held my own. Then the other guitar player came back and said, 'You sound good. Keep playing.' And that was cool."

Encouraged, Ladell began to stretch out more often around town. On another of his brother's jobs he sat in with blues guitar master, playwright, and educator Fernando Jones and his brother Foree Superstar; his performance earned him a place in their band. He began to jam at Buddy Guy's Legends, the city's and arguably the world's top spot for blues; once Lefty Dizz, a legendary player and showman, handed Ladell his axe, which had been strung for southpaws, and invited him to play. Undeterred, the right-handed guitar whiz met the challenge, and word spread further...

Then came the big night, when Ladell took his first turn as a soloist at Legends. He had showed up at the club with his friend Greg Guy, one of Buddy's sons, to jam for a while. But then Greg spotted his father and left McLin alone on the stage. Undeterred, McLin turned up and tore through "Red House." Buddy beckoned him over when he had finished.

He said, 'Hey, you sound good,'" McLin says, smiling. "And I was shaking, man. That was the first time I'd ever gotten up by myself and played and sung at the same time."

Initiated into the house band at Legends, McLin learned onstage from the best in the business: Koko Taylor, Johnny "Guitar Watson," and Buddy Guy himself. He even got to play at the prestigious Chicago Blues Festival while still in his teens, sharing the stage with Fernando Jones, Derek Trucks, and Pine Top Perkins.

Though obviously on his way up in one of the most competitive guitar markets on the planet, that wasn't enough to make ends meet each day. Away from the bandstand he studied electronics in trade school, but until he could turn that education into income he earned money through, as he puts it, "hustling in the streets. This wasn't nothing new to me; when I was 13 I was running a one-mile strip in Chicago. It was harsh, but the music kept me safe and I made it through alive."

After a couple of encounters with the law - one of which left him briefly in jail, handcuffed yet still able to practice his guitar - McLin left to find brighter opportunities away from his home town. He worked for AT&T in Michigan, where during free time he traded guitar licks with one of his colleagues, Wayne Petty - Tom Petty's cousin. From there he went to Wisconsin and formed a band, the Lazy Americans, which played rock & roll gigs around Madison. He spent time in Texas too, but when he hit the road with Eddie Burks for an engagement at Tramp's in New York, his life took a permanent turn.

Chicago is a huge city, but when I got to New York I was amazed, like a deer in front of a car," he laughs. "I said to myself, 'I think I can live here.' And a couple of years later I just woke up one day and said, 'That's it. I'm moving to New York.

It was rough. Though clearly a great player, McLin had no connections and had to scuffle from the bottom for work. When nightlife dried up in the wake of the 911 disaster, he was forced to pawn his guitars to pay rent at flat until the money ran out and he was forced, briefly, to crash at other people's homes.

Fortune finally came in the form of an audition to tour with James "Blood" Ulmer. McLin got the gig, along with hip-hop drum virtuoso Swiss Chris, whom he had met previously, and bass monster Jeremiah Hogea Landess. The three formed a bond that would endure through their jaunt with Ulmer through and after their return to New York.

As the core band behind Stand Out, Chris and Landess don't just connect with McLin's with his sound: They also illuminate his way with a lyric, nurtured years before in the poetic notes he'd write for girlfriends: Writing alone or with collaborators like David Johansen of the legendary New York Dolls, Ladell conjures dreamy imagery in the ballad "House I Built," teases with the playful seduction of "Mona Lisa," and delivers a bitter commentary on "Rich Man's Lounge." But when the music speaks for itself they're there too, as in the closing track, "Universe," in which McLin and Vernon Reid of Living Colour join in one of the most hair-raising guitar dialogs on record - period.

Produced by fast-rising studio ace Brian Devine (Seedy Gonzales, Spanish Speaking Psychics), Stand Out brings McLin to the highest level of guitar. From lightning runs and razor-sharp hooks to siren-like wails that shatter into eruptions of passionate dissonance, he draws inspiration from his heroes and blasts it back with a furious, personal eloquence. His time is now...

...and yet it is in the past too. No matter where his music takes him, whether on new recording adventures or on the road with a killer band that includes Letterman Show guitarist Rebecca Collins' rhythm section, McLin is forever tied to the town that helped him find meaning as a person and as a musician. In June this year he made the trek home once more, to open for Buddy Guy at Legends, just as he had done as a teenager who was yet to shake the world.

On "Play the Blues 4 U," from normal Stand Out, McLin sings, "I ain't got no big name, I ain't no big star, but I'll play the blues for you on my guitar." Soon he may need to rewrite that first line, but he'll definitely be around for years to come, playing - the blues and much more - for all who would chase their music with a shot of truth.