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Miles Davis, Albert King & Bill Evans get Definitive discs on Concord

Concord Music Group has assembled three new titles in its ongoing Definitive series, one of which marks the series’ initial foray into CMG’s vast blues catalog. The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige; The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy; and The Definitive Albert King on Stax span a total of 60 years and include the music of two monumental figures in jazz and an equally influential figure in the blues. Each of the two-CD collections is set for release on April 5, 2011.

The two dozen tracks of The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige follow the creative evolution of the most revered trumpeter in the annals of jazz. Spanning the first half of the 1950s, the collection captures Miles at the beginning of his breakthrough to mainstream appeal, according to the liner notes by music journalist and historian Ashley Kahn.

“The purpose of this collection is to deliver a full, definitive overview of that very special period in Miles’s career,” says Kahn. “Its focus covers the nearly six-year period when the trumpeter was signed exclusively to Prestige. Disc 1 offers the best of his 1951 to ’56 sessions primarily as a leader of various ad hoc all-star ensembles. Disc 2 provides a generous sampling of Miles the bandleader, in ’55 and ’56, at the helm of one of the most groundbreaking groups of the day.”

The collection also chronicles Miles’s dramatic artistic growth over a relatively short time, says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and the producer of the collection. “The years between 1951 and 1956 are not a huge amount of time, but the development by Miles — as a musician and as a bandleader — is pretty astonishing in this period,” says Phillips. “This culminates in what ended up being one of the most legendary groups in jazz, the Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane.”

The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy tracks more than two decades of recordings by a highly influential figure in jazz piano. “It would be difficult to think of a major jazz pianist emerging after 1960 who did not take Bill Evans as a model,” says jazz journalist Doug Ramsey, who wrote the liner notes for the 25-song collection that begins in the mid-1950s and ends in 1977. “Indeed, many seasoned pianists who preceded Evans altered their styles after hearing him.”

What’s more, “Evans had a profound effect on how musicians play jazz and how listeners hear it,” says Ramsey. “He is so much a part of the jazz atmosphere that many musicians — regardless of instrument — who came of age in the 21st century are not conscious that his concepts helped form them.”

The collection also gives proper attention on the second disc to Evans’s Fantasy-era recordings of the mid-1970s, says Phillips, who also produced the Evans collection. “Because the Riverside sessions are so acclaimed and so legendary, the Fantasy tracks are often overshadowed,” he says. “But in listening to this collection, you realize that Evans was still creating some amazing recordings throughout the Fantasy period with some high-caliber musicians, like Eddie Gomez, Kenny Burrell, Lee Konitz, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, and Philly Joe Jones.”

The Definitive Albert King on Stax follows 15 years worth of recordings — from 1961 to 1975, plus a final track from 1984 — by a bluesman who’d spent the early part of his career playing to an African-American fan base in the roadhouses and theaters of the chitlin’ circuit. But by the latter half of the 1960s, the genre “was now attracting the rapt interest of young white listeners, their sensibilities opened wide by the muscular, in-your-face blues rock of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, and Jimi Hendrix,” says roots music historian Bill Dahl in his liner notes for the collection. “These new converts were gravitating to the best the idiom had to offer. No single blues guitarist made a more stunning impact during that tumultuous timeframe than Albert King.”

“For as paradoxical as it might sound, you could make the case that Albert King was a cheery blues guy,” says Chris Clough, Concord’s manager of catalog development and producer of the Albert King collection. “He had that wry smile, and he often smoked a pipe. He was always well dressed and dapper. He was genuinely interested in putting on a show for his audience, and that sensibility comes through on these tracks.”

Dahl suggests that the years between 1966 and 1975 were a “Golden Decade” for King. “He was with Stax that entire time,” he says, “right up to the Memphis label’s unfortunate demise, cutting one enduring blues classic after another as he scaled the charts over and over again. In the process, King deeply influenced countless up-and-coming blues axemen, even though the ringing licks he coaxed out of his futuristic Gibson Flying V were all but impossible to accurately recreate.”

Michael Franti Receives the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award

The Rex Foundation is pleased to award the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award to Michael Franti. The $10,000 award is in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960s, including his being a long-time contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, a founding editor of Rolling Stone Magazine and cofounder of the Monterey Jazz Festival.   Mr. Gleason's openness to new music and ideas transcended differences between generations and styles.

A Bay Area native, Michael Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music under a variety of names and in a wide range of genres for twenty years, from the intense punk rock of the Beatnigs, to the deeply political rap he made with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, to his joyful and meaningful modern soul music with Spearhead, and now as Michael Franti & Spearhead.

As Rosalie Howarth, Rex Board member and KFOG Show Host and Director of Special Programming, explains, "The Ralph J. Gleason award honors people who strive to bring fresh cultural ideas and music to the mainstream public. Through his positive, inclusive lyrics, and his personal visits to strife-ridden areas such as Iraq, Palestine and Israel, Michael has seen first-hand the effects of war. He has taken his music to the people on the street, and absorbed their cultural influences in return, bringing them back to share at his annual free 'Power to the Peaceful' festival in Golden Gate Park, and on the silver screen with his powerful documentary 'I Know I'm Not Alone'.  Michael's unfailing optimism toward the human spirit and his tireless effort to spread peace and multiculturalism make him a world citizen and highly deserving recipient of the Rex Foundation Ralph Gleason Award."

Learn more about Michael Franti and his contributions from the following links:

Michael Franti CARE Soles4Souls Power to the Peaceful Stay Human

Franti states, "It's a huge honor to be recognized by the Rex Foundation for this award.  Being a fan of the Grateful Dead I know the diversity of its community and share the vision of creating togetherness and acceptance through music.  My musical message is much the same: If we can bring people together through the one-ness of music, it gives a starting point to address the larger needs of our communities and the world.  I am excited that music plays a greater role in the lives of all of us than ever before and the encouragement of this award reaffirms my faith that my journey has been worth every precious step!"

Furthering what the Grateful Dead started 27 years ago, the Rex Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, endeavors to fund grassroots programs that are often under the radar of larger funding entities, yet work in bold, innovative ways to carry out essential work toward a healthy environment, promotion of the arts, protection of indigenous cultures, assisting others less fortunate, building strong communities, and educating children and adults.  The Rex Foundation has distributed $8.6 million in grants to over 1,000 programs across the U.S. and internationally, while also carrying out fundraising initiatives that foster creativity and positive community connections.  Visit www.rexfoundation.org for a complete list of grantees and information about current initiatives.

Jethro Tull Returns to Red Rocks!

Jethro Tull and Kansas will be performing at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkways, in Morrison, CO on June 8.  The show starts at 7:30 PM.  Tickets are $49.50 and $84.50, plus applicable service fees.  The venue phone is 800-745-3000, and the website.

In celebration of the park bench, dribbly-nosed voyeur's 40th Anniversary, Ian Anderson returns to the USA with his band Jethro Tull, starting June 8 in Denver, CO and ending on the 26 in Chicago, IL.

The group features longtime members Ian Anderson (flute, vocals, acoustic guitar) and Martin Barre (guitars), Doane Perry (drums), as well as David Goodier (bass) and pianist John O'Hara.  The latter two joined in 2006 after working with Ian on some of his solo projects.

The group will be performing the Aqualung album in its entirety plus a range of their other favorites from the lat 42 years.  Critics dubbed AQUALUNG “a concept album,” particularly for Ian's critical, skeptical views of organized religion, mostly on side B ("My God," "Hymn 43"). Anderson has disputed - almost resented - the assessment seeing the record as "just a bunch of songs." This led the band to give the critics a full-blown concept album with the following studio release THICK AS A BRICK which topped the Billboard charts in 1972.

On AQUALUNG, the group explores the struggles of the less fortunate in our society (e.g., "Aqualung," "Cross-Eyed Mary," "Up to Me"). Teenage angst and formal education difficulties (e.g., "Wind Up") are explored, and Ian returns to his parental themes with "Cheap Day Return," a tune encompassing Anderson's feelings while traveling North on the train to visit his sick father. "Locomotive Breath" touches on the issues of globalization, population expansion and runaway economics. Sound familiar?

Formed in 1968, Jethro Tull released its first album THIS WAS late in that year and followed up in 1969 with STAND UP.  In the 1970s, the group was one of the most successful live performing acts on the world stage, rivaling Zeppelin, Elton John and even the Rolling Stones. Surprising, really, for a group whose more sophisticated and evolved stylistic extravagance was far from the Pop and Rock norm of that era.

With now some 30-odd albums to their credit and sales totaling more than 50 million, the apparently un-commercial Tull continues to perform over a 100 concerts per year with its rich variety and depth of expression, wherever fans, young and old, want to hear Rock, Folk, Jazz and Classical-inspired music. Music for boys in long trousers and girls with brains.

In 2011, Tull will tour in Australia, Ireland, and Germany.  And Ian will perform solo shows in Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Czech Republic, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and Finland finishing with his customary charity Christmas concerts at three UK cathedrals.

In 2006, Ian was awarded a Doctorate in Literature from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement in Music and, in the New Years Honours List 2008, an MBE for services to music. In 2012, he expects to be awarded the Smithsonian Medal of Honor for smelling OK for someone his age and having ears still in proportion to the rest of his head. His bladder remains elastic and his prostate the size of a pinhead.

Read Grateful Web's interview with Ian Anderson.

Ice Cube @ The Boulder Theatre | 2/26/11

As his popularity continues to grow through movies and television, Ice Cube remains committed to the foundation of his career: Hip-Hop music. Quick to emphasize that he is and always will be a B-Boy, dedicated to writing vivid rhymes, delivering stellar stage performances and making dope hip-hop records. I Am The West is poised to be another high point in that mission. Very few can make as bold a statement as I Am The West and even fewer can dispute Ice Cube's right to stake the claim. His hall of fame resume alone would be enough to own the title, but this album is an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.

The hallmark of Ice Cube's best known work is ever present on I Am The West: Lyrics from a realistic perspective, giving voice to those usually ignored or shunned by the power base, rhymes that make you think and songs that set the party off. All supported with outstanding production that makes your head nod. And Ice Cube accomplishes this while thoroughly representing his unwavering commitment to the west coast hip-hop movement that he helped to start over twenty years ago. I Am The West is a celebration of summertime on the west coast. So it's only right to introduce the album with the first single "I Rep That West." A song on which Ice Cube makes it very clear where he stands in hip-hop. An up tempo record, that's hard enough for the hard core, "I Rep That West" boasts an infectious hook that knows no geographic or demographic boundaries, saturating everyone from the club and radio DJ to those of us singing along in the car. "I Rep That west" is one of several songs on the album that will gain the attention of music fans around the globe. And maybe that's why Ice Cube says he's "too west coast for the west coast."

More Info / Buy Tickets

Thomas Dolby's 'Oceana' breaks 20-year silence

Reclusive solo artist Thomas Dolby is preparing to break his 20-year silence with a brand new studio album, A Map of the Floating City, due out this summer. But first, on March 28, Thomas is releasing Oceanea, a three-track EP filled with soaring melodies, intriguing storytelling and vividly cinematic textures. Featuring guest vocals by Eddi Reader, Oceanea sees a return to Dolby’s melodic and atmospheric roots. “The new songs are organic and very personal,” explains Dolby. “The songs on Oceanea are a reflection of my natural home on the windswept English coastline.” These days he writes and records aboard a solar and wind-powered 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house in East Anglia.

Now living back in his native U.K. after 25 successful years in the U.S., Dolby is busy completing A Map of the Floating City, which features appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Eddi Reader, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap. Says Thomas, “This album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. What I do best is write songs, tell stories.”

Thomas Dolby’s impressive recording and production career now stretches over 30 years. His commercial breakthrough came with the 1982 release of his very first album, The Golden Age of Wireless, which featured the hit “She Blinded Me With Science.” Go back a year and Dolby’s innovative synthesizer work was already making its mark: Foreigner’s massive hit single “Waiting for a Girl Like You” with its weaving synth intro — Dolby’s work. Cue 1983 and Thomas Dolby is guesting on Def Leppard’s Pyromania album. In the same year he appears as producer for U.S. rap wonders Whodini, who release an absolute B Boy classic with “Magic’s Wand.” 1984 saw the release of Dolby’s second album, the expansive masterwork The Flat Earth, which alongside Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring (1986) raised the artistic bar considerably. The Flat Earth featured Dolby’s biggest single success, “Hyperactive!,” a fine piece of pop-art funk that was originally written for Michael Jackson. (It still sounds like the eccentric English cousin of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.”) The 12” released in the U.K. on the collectable Parlophone Odeon label is treasured amongst beat-head DJs.

From 1985-1992, Thomas Dolby released two more albums — collaborating with George Clinton on the bold Aliens Ate My Buick and 1991’s Astronauts and Heretics, which featured Grateful Dead supremo Jerry Garcia alongside Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Budgie. In addition to his solo output, Dolby produced Prefab Sprout (the classic Prefab albums Steve McQueen and Jordan: The Comeback), Joni Mitchell (Dog Eat Dog), appeared with David Bowie at Live Aid, was part of the all-star cast in Roger Waters’ 1990 “The Wall: Live in Berlin” concert, and performed at the Grammys® with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock.

Dolby quit the music business in the early ’90s and spent many years in Silicon Valley, where he founded tech company Beatnik Inc. and co-invented the polyphonic ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than two billion Nokia mobile phones. In 2001 he became Musical Director of the TED Conference, an annual event in Long Beach, California that attracts some of the world’s foremost thinkers, inventors, and speakers. In this capacity he provides live musical introductions to sessions, sometimes with an eclectic TED House Band, as well as helping secure guest musicians and entertainers for the event. At last year’s conference, Dolby was joined onstage by David Byrne for an inspiring performance of Talking Heads’ “(Nothing But) Flowers.”

Following his involvement in Beatnik Inc., Dolby returned to his musical career and the live arena in 2006. Dates in the U.S., an appearance at O2 in Hyde Park, and a triumphant night at London’s Scala reaffirmed this performer’s importance on the big stage. A 2007 appearance at America’s SXSW festival was followed by a string of further U.K. shows and in 2009 EMI released The Singular Thomas Dolby, which brought together all of Thomas’s great singles on one ace compilation. In 2010 Dolby released Amerikana, a download-only EP exclusive to his online community, The Flat Earth Society. A particular highlight is the richly atmospheric “17 Hills” featuring some virtuoso guitar from Mark Knopfler. Along with Oceanea, these EPs help consolidate Dolby’s fanatical online fan base while previewing music from his upcoming album.

Thomas Dolby has created a further way for fans to get early access to his new material in the shape of an extraordinary social network-based game, The Floating City, to be launched this spring via Facebook, Twitter, and The Flat Earth Society. By building a post-apocalyptic, barter-based trading culture around the objects and places named in Dolby’s songs, solving puzzles related to his lyrics, and discovering clues embedded in unique remixes, players will be able to win a sneak peek of other new songs from the album, as well tickets for a private one-off concert this Summer at which he will perform the new album in its entirety.

The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band Release Joint Album

American music fans have an unprecedented opportunity to hear two masterful groups explore the common ground where bluegrass and jazz meet when the Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band release their collaborative American Legacies project on April 12th via McCoury Music and Preservation Hall Recordings.  Inspired by the success of the Del McCoury’s participation on 2010’s PRESERVATION, a PHJB project made with multiple artists to benefit New Orleans’ unique Preservation Hall venue and its Music Outreach Program, the set offers a dozen songs filled with deep respect and joyful virtuosity.  Complementing the release, the two groups have announced a joint tour that will feature them performing on their own and together in a groundbreaking concert experience.

With common roots in the rich musical gumbo of the American south in the 19th and early 20th centuries, bluegrass and jazz have sat alongside one another with a myriad of common influences and musical vocabularies that have nevertheless remained largely unexplored until now. American Legaciesis a no-holds-barred tour of songs and sounds that sum up the simultaneous (and often intersecting) histories of two distinctively American musical forms—the jazz that has drawn music lovers from around the world to New Orleans for more than a century, and the “hillbilly jazz” of bluegrass, created more than 60 years ago by Del McCoury’s one-time employer, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.

Known as one of the premiere ambassadors of bluegrass, the Del McCoury Band is fronted by veteran Del McCoury,  A hero to east coast bluegrass audiences through the 1970s and 1980s, he stepped onto the national stage with a move to Nashville in the early 1990s that started the Del McCoury Band on an unprecedented streak of International Bluegrass Music Association awards and international acclaim.  Today, McCoury, along with a band that includes his sons Ron and Rob, are admired by hard-core bluegrass traditionalists and eclectic music fans and stars alike as they make appearances everywhere from the Bonnaroo Music Festival to late night network TV shows to their own popular Delfest.  For millions of fans across the US and around the world, the Del McCoury Band is simply the face of bluegrass.

Founded just a few years before McCoury joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been carrying the distinctive sound of New Orleans jazz around the world on behalf of Preservation Hall, a unique venue that embodies the city’s musical legacy.  With a cast of musicians schooled through first-hand experience and apprenticeship into the music’s historic traditions, the PHJB has served as an irreplaceable, vital link to the earliest days of one of America’s most beloved forms of popular music, evoking the spirits of times past in an ever-evolving modern context that has found them traveling around the world.

Wayne Shorter at Town Hall Wednesday

It was announced today that Wayne Shorter is due to perform at the Barbican Centre in London and at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in South Africa. How cool is that? Real. So get out your credit card, make your plans and have fun getting stripped-searched at JFK. OR - walk over to Town Hall on West 43rd Street, or just go to ticketmaster.com from the chair you're in, and get tickets for the band's first NYC appearance in over two years. The guys will be playing on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 8pm (two weeks from tonight.) They'll do "An Evening With" with no opening group and play a straight 90+ min set. You'll be home by 10, can still watch "Top Chef," and will have a musical and spiritual experience you can cherish forever. Just ask anyone who was at Carnegie Hall in Dec. '08.

Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 800-745-3000. They are also available at the Town Hall Box Office, 123 West 43rd St.

Regarded as one of the most significant and prolific performers and composers in jazz and modern music, National Endowment for the Arts' "American Jazz Master" Wayne Shorter has an outstanding record of professional achievement in his historic career as a musician and composer. He has received substantial recognition from his peers, including 9 Grammy® Awards and 13 Grammy® nominations to date.

Shorter was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1958 through 1962.  In 1964 Miles Davis invited Shorter to go on the road with his band, which also included Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Ron Carter. Shorter stayed with Davis for six years, recording a dozen albums with him, and creating a new sound with a bandleader who changed the face of music.

In 1970, Shorter co-founded the group Weather Report with keyboardist and Miles Davis alum, Joe Zawinul. Weather Report was the premier fusion group through the '70s and into the early '80s.  Shorter then formed his own group in 1986.

In the summer of 2001 Shorter began touring as the leader of a talented young lineup featuring pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, each a celebrated recording artist and bandleader in his own right. The ensemble features one of the finest rhythm sections in jazz.

Danilo Pérez' distinctive blend of Pan-American jazz, covering the music of the Americas, folkloric and world music, has attracted critical acclaim and loyal audiences. Perez recently released a Grammy®-nominated album entitled Providencia, his "most ambitious album since Motherland," notes the Wall Street Journal.

Drummer Brian Blade recently collaborated with Daniel Lanois on his Black Dub CD and tour project. In between Wayne Shorter Quartet concerts and recording and touring with Lanois, Blade also performs with his own Fellowship Band.

A Grammy®-winning acoustic and electric bassist, John Patitucci is not only known for his work with Shorter, but has attracted worldwide acclaim as one of today's most influential musicians and composers. In 2009, Patitucci, released a project for Concord Jazz, Remembrance, a remarkable Grammy® nominated outing.

This concert celebrates the Quartet's 10th anniversary and is their first NYC performance since 2008

Celebrating "100 Years of Robert Johnson" -Streets 3/1/11

How do you throw a 100th birthday bash for the most influential bluesman that ever lived? If you’re Big Head Todd and The Monsters, you gather some of the greatest living blues musicians and record 100 Years of Robert Johnson (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records), a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

Big Head Blues Club, as the ad hoc ensemble is calling itself, features, in addition to the Colorado-based quartet—guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevin and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton—special guests, blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.

Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011, and supported by a national tour (“Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts”) featuring many of the participants in the sessions. A complete list of the tour dates is included below.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Squires and Nevin nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.

100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that, as a young man, Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

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The complete list of “Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts” tour stops is as follows:

Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom

Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center

Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology

Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB

Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre

Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre

Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M

Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall

Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre

Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU

Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill

Feb. 17 North Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore

Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music

Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse

Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre

Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College

Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater

March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

Amy Speace's new CD 'Land Like a Bird' announced

Amy Speace wrote her new album, Land Like a Bird, with her life in a state of transition. Having spent many years in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey, surrounded by concrete, taxi horns and rushing trains, Speace suddenly found herself in the South. She’d done quite well as a New Yorker: she was signed by Judy Collins — who called Speace “one of the best young songwriters” — to Wildflower Records; she was awarded an NPR “Song of the Day”; and she toured with Collins, Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin. The city’s WFUV-FM named her song “Weight of the World” the #4 Folk Song of the Decade in its 2010 year-end Top 10 list.

“But life takes its twists and turns and as much as I loved Manhattan, I felt the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. Relief and anticipation went hand in hand with the grieving,” she says of the change.

Space began writing Land Like a Bird as she bade farewell her Jersey City apartment with the view of the Statute of Liberty and lower Manhattan (inspiration for the song “Manila Street”). Many of the songs were goodbyes to people and places (“Had to Lose,” “Ghost,” Ron Sexsmith’s beautiful “Galbraith Street”). She brought these songs and unpacked them in her new East Nashville home.

Land Like a Bird follows Speace’s 2006 Songs for Bright Street on Collins’ Wildflower Records and 2009’s The Killer in Me. The latter, her “breakup album” which featured guest vocals by Ian Hunter, earned much critical praise. “Amy Speace is a rising star,” opined USA Today. NPR said, “Her velvety, achy voice recalls an early Lucinda Williams. Sounding grounded but wounded, Speace exudes the vulnerability of someone who’s loved and lost.” The Washington Post advised, “If you bemoan the lack of solid singer-songwriters in the world who can bridge inner turmoil with universal experience, Speace is just what you need to hear.”

The new album was produced by Neilson Hubbard (Kim Richey, Matthew Ryan, Glen Phillips, Garrison Starr) at Mr. Lemons studio in Nashville. Hubbard played bass, keyboards and vibes. Speace and Hubbard first met seven years ago while performing on an Arizona TV show and discovered their simpatico musical directions. However, they did not remain in touch. When Speace moved to Nashville last year, they were reintroduced, immediately co-wrote a song, and decided to collaborate on what would become Land Like a Bird. Kim Richey sang background vocals on “Land Like A Bird,” “Half Asleep & Wide Awake” and “Real Love Song.”

“As the fall became winter and the winter became spring, Neilson Hubbard and I would meet and write or record and snippets became songs became demos became a sound we both were chasing,” Speace says of the making of the album. “And by early fall 2010 we were inside the record we both knew we wanted to make together, a full turn of the seasons from my arrival.”

In other news, Speace will be seen on the forthcoming Big Star documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story http://vimeo.com/11881695 which includes her performance of “Try Again” with the surviving Big Star members, the Posies and Evan Dando at the Alex Chilton tribute at SXSW in March 2010. Speace and charter Big Star member Jody Stephens had met at the Folk Alliance a few years back in the band’s home of Memphis. Speace was a huge fan of Big Star and was pleasantly surprised that Stephens, in turn, as a fan of hers.

Jason Aldean's Party Goes PLATINUM!

Just eleven weeks after its release, Billboard’s 2010 Top Male Country Artist Jason Aldean is celebrating PLATINUM certification for sales of one million copies for his fourth studio album MY KINDA PARTY.  The 15 track disc becomes Aldean’s third career PLATINUM album and brings the country rocker to five million total albums sold since his debut five years ago.

"I just can't say enough about country music fans and the amount of loyalty they have for their favorite artists," said Aldean. "To think that a million people already bought this record is hard for me to get my head around. And five million since I started?  No way!  I am so grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to play music every night."


MY KINDA PARTY opened big in Nov. with an impressive first week moving over 193,000 units and earning the biggest first week debut by a male vocalist in over three years. The album’s lead and title track recently earned GOLD certification for digital downloads and took the No. one spot on Mediabase’s country chart. Aldean’s powerful duet with Kelly Clarkson “Don’t You Wanna Stay” follows closely behind, jumping into the Top 15 this week. Both singles also remain in the Top 10 on iTunes’ Country Songs Chart.

Aldean will kick off the sold out first weekend of arena dates on his MY KINDA PARTY TOUR this Friday in Little Rock, AR.  The 30 city run through May features special guests Eric Church and the JaneDear girls.

For more information and additional tour dates as they are announced, visit www.jasonaldean.com.