first

Old 97's Murry Hammond's first solo album due August 18

Murry Hammond- for the Grateful Web

On August 18, 2008, Old 97's bass player and co-frontman Murry Hammond will celebrate the national release of his first full-length album outside of the Old 97's.

For two months prior to this street date, the album – I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm On My Way – was made available exclusively at Old 97's shows and through special mail-order. Hammond wished to capitalize on fan anticipation of the album's release in order to raise funds for the non-profit organization Project Mercy. Project Mercy builds basic housing in the poorest sections around Tijuana, Mexico (similar in mission to Habitat for Humanity) using volunteer labor provided by area churches. A group of men and women from Hammond's home church in Burbank, Calif. (where he performs roots gospel music weekly when he's not traveling) have adopted the organization as a primary mission. Hammond was in a unique position to raise funds quickly, and in time to fund fall building before the 2008 winter sets in. The strategy has already paid off, for as of July 1st generous fans purchased enough CDs to pay for one house.  The album will always be made available at Old 97's shows, with 100% going to charitable groups such as Project Mercy.

Hammond has played many memorable solo shows over the years, but it was certain events in his life, including the death of both parents, leaving Texas to start a family in California, and a renewed spiritual sense, that inspired him to record I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm On My Way. Hammond has been given the credit — and to some, the blame — for the persistent roots influence found in the 97's songwriting and sound, and that sound is found here in its distilled form. "Both in my own contributions and in co-writing with Rhett [Miller], I've always tended to push the chug of train songs, the soul of old-time songs and spirituals, the high-lonesome wail of mountain music, and the pure tuneful fun of singing cowboy music."  Hammond's contributions have been some of the group's most engaging, including the lament "Valentine" and "Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue," and with Miller he co-wrote some of the group's best-known songs, among them "Timebomb," "Indefinitely" and "The New Kid."

Hammond completed I Don't Know Where I'm Going but I'm on My Way over the course of 2007 in San Diego, California with producer Mark Neill, with whom Hammond worked on the Old 97's 2004 release Drag It Up. The album uses all acoustic instruments (six- and twelve-string guitars, a harmonium pump-organ), cowboy poetry-style spoken word and instrumentals, and lots of "period" reverb to paint a psychological journey through a world of spiritual trouble and triumph, restlessness, hope, loss, longing, regret, and wonder. Train songs and spirituals abound as Hammond displays his love of all things Carter Family, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, but with the twist of incorporating the moody approach of ambient artists such as Brian Eno. Like that of his heroes, the music has a minimalist heart, at once serene and severe.

Inspired by the grass-roots ethic of early punk record labels such as Dischord and Touch & Go, Hammond decided to operate DIY. He funded all facets of the CD from recording to manufacturing, and he distributes by dealing directly with independent music stores and mail-order houses. Although he also sells on Amazon.com, Hammond wants you to know, "I fill all my own orders personally. It gives me a chance to occasionally write something thoughtful or joke-y on the mailing box."

Hammond is also excited to have contributed a new track, "Bound for Canaan," to a compilation of Sacred Harp music (also known as "shaped note singing") that was produced by the filmmakers of Awake My Soul, a documentary film about the 200-year history of Sacred Harp worship singing in the U.S. The film was shown in 2007 and 2008 on 120 PBS stations, and was released this year on DVD.  The compilation also features Innocence Mission, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, Jim Lauderdale, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Woven Hand (ex-16 Horsepower), among others. The Awake My Soul audio CD is due later this year. More information on Awake My Soul film and audio CD can be found here.

For the rest of 2008 Hammond will be performing solo dates between Old 97's touring, and has also begun work on a follow-up project with producer Mark Neill.

Scott Kempner Finishes First Solo Album in 16 Years

Scott Kempner- for the Grateful Web

This is a rock 'n 'roll album . . . if that means anything to anyone anymore," says Scott Kempner of his forthcoming album Saving Grace (00:02:59 Records, street date June 10, 2008). "It sure as hell means something to me !" Kempner's rock 'n' roll career dates back 30 years to his stint as co-founder of The Dictators (when he was known as "Top 10") and later the Del-Lords, who in turn inspired the comeback of Dion, with whom Kempner recorded as the Little Kings. That's a lot to look back on — and Kempner can reminisce with the best of 'em — but he is squarely focused on the present and the future.
 
"This album is the first record in my career that I feel 100% about," says the South Bronx native, who was born the year Elvis Presley recorded his first Sun Records single. "It's who I am, for better or worse." The album, his first solo work since 1992's Tenement Angels (which featured Springfield, Mo.'s mighty Skeletons), includes no other guitarists — Kempner plays all parts. However, he did surround himself with an array of kindred musicians: Del-Lords drummer Frank Funaro, Smithereens bassist Mike Mesaros, Chris and Mike Russo, Chris Amplo, and last but not least Dion, with whom he sings "Heartbeat of Time." Recorded mainly at Coyote Studios in Brooklyn's Williamsburg district, Saving Grace was co-produced by Kempner and Mike Caiati.
 
For two tracks — "Heartbeat of Time" and "Here Come My Love" — Kempner headed to Nashville's Java Jive to work with producer and friend Ed Pettersen (Song of America ) and Bob Olhsson (former Motown engineer). These sessions featured Motown and Nashville session stalwarts Bob Babbitt, bass, and Ed Greene, drums. Kempner ended up with three albums' worth of material, the best of which he selected for Saving Grace .
 
The road to Saving Grace was a rough one. While making the record, Kempner went through a terrible breakup and a life-changing long-term illness. Now, clarity, health and happiness have been restored. Kempner has a band he's pleased with. And he's headed to the road this summer and fall.
 
A few other reasons to be cheerful found Kempner along the way. He's the subject of a documentary film now in progress; The Del-Lords' EMI/Enigma albums are soon to be reissued on the American Beat label; and the legendary Norton Records label is about to release Every Day Is Saturday — an anthology of The Dictators' unreleased odds and sods.
 
"Rock 'n' roll is a living history and I feel connected to this music," says Kempner, "I feel connected to Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie and Elvis Presley, to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Otis and Aretha, to the Stooges and Bruce Springsteen. I have staked out a claim to the music's past, present and future. This is where I find my voice, my own expression, my little shout-out to the world.
 
"Hopefully the ghosts of all my heroes will come dancing right in your living room when you hear the new record. American guitar music. Rock 'n' roll. Don't tread on me!"

First-Ever All-Women's Snow Team Film, “Labor of Love”

Roxy.com''s

Roxy, the only brand with an all-women's unified snow team of freeskiers and snowboarders, is pleased to announce the first-ever all-women's ski and snowboard team film, "Labor of Love."  The feature action sports film will be released this November.

"We're so proud to sponsor the first unified snow team, and a movie featuring the girls is such a great way to show our support," said Randy Hild, Executive Vice President at Roxy Global Marketing.  "Our athletes are among the best in the world and their creativity and skill couldn't be showcased in a better way."

Over the past year, Roxy's snow athletes have toured the world together, dropping pillows in Japan, snowmobiling into the midnight sun of Sweden and riding their way through the southern hemisphere, in addition to Switzerland, Norway, Canada and the States.  From language barriers and red-eye flights, to sledding through remote, snow-locked locations, the project has been a true "Labor of Love."

The film's stars include 2007 X Games gold medalist freeskier Sarah Burke, 2007 Women's TTR World Champion and X Games gold medalist snowboarder Torah Bright, 2006 Olympic bronze medalist snowboarder Kjersti Buaas and freeskiers Jess Cumming, Mille Windfeldt, Vanessa Coletta, along with snowboarders Tania Detomas, Erin Comstock, Amber Stackhouse and Alexis Waite.

The film was produced and co-directed by Roxy team-rider Amber Stackhouse of Misschief Films ("As If" and "Ro Sham Bo") along with co-director and cinematographer Per-Hampus Stalhandske.

"After eight months spent following the snow around the world, with the whole team working hard together, we have a movie that I am incredibly excited about and proud of," said Amber Stackhouse.  "Pulling this together with one filmer and one team had me worried at the start, but I knew only Roxy could pull this off and have fun doing it!"

A select number of limited edition copies of "Labor of Love" will be available at Roxy stores, and will include a 24-page book of photos and first-hand stories from the year. "Labor of Love" will also be shown on the big screen with special premieres in North America, Australia and Europe.

The film will be available at Roxy.com and through VAS Entertainment. For more information, go to Roxy.com, and see the teaser for the film at roxy.com/laboroflove.

About Roxy

Roxy is a brand of Quiksilver, Inc. (NYSE:ZQK), the world's leading outdoor sports lifestyle company, which designs, produces and distributes a diversified mix of branded apparel, wintersports and golf equipment, footwear, accessories and related products. The Company's apparel and footwear brands represent a casual lifestyle for young-minded people that connect with its boardriding culture and heritage, while its wintersports and golf brands symbolize a long standing commitment to technical expertise and competitive success on the mountains and on the links.

The reputation of the Company's brands is based on different outdoor sports. The Company's Quiksilver, Roxy, DC and Hawk brands are synonymous with the heritage and culture of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding, and its beach and water oriented swimwear brands include Raisins, Radio Fiji and Leilani. The Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange, Look and Kerma brands are leaders in the alpine ski market, and the Company makes snowboarding equipment under its Rossignol, Dynastar, DC Shoes, Roxy, Lib Technologies, Gnu and Bent Metal labels. The Company's golf business includes Cleveland Golf, as well as Never Compromise putters and Fidra apparel. Gotcha is the Company's surf-based European brand addressing street fashion.

The Company's products are sold in over 90 countries in a wide range of distribution, including surf shops, ski shops, skateboard shops, snowboard shops, proprietary Boardriders Club shops, other specialty stores and select department stores.  Quiksilver's corporate and Americas' headquarters are in Huntington Beach, California, while its European headquarters are in St. Jean de Luz and St. Jean de Moirans, France, and its Asia/Pacific headquarters are in Torquay, Australia.

Dylan Wins First Grammy in Contemporary Folk/Americana

dylanOn Sunday night Bob Dylan won the first GRAMMY Award in the genre of Contemporary Folk/Americana, with his album, Modern Times (Columbia).

Other nominees for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album (vocal or instrumental) were Solo Acoustic Vol. 1 by Jackson Browne (Inside Recordings), Black Cadillac by Rosanne Cash (Capitol), Workbench Songs by Guy Clark (Dualtone Music Group) and All The Roadrunning by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris (Warner Bros./Nonesuch).

"Bob Dylan set the stage for the current Americana genre as a folk pioneer in the 60s. His GRAMMY win for Modern Times as Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album is just another example of his continuing vitality as an artist," said Americana Music Association President Tamara Saviano. "We're excited to celebrate Dylan as Americana's first GRAMMY win."

Americana is American roots music based on the traditions of country with influences ranging from hillbilly and R&B to folk and bluegrass and blues. The radio format developed during the 1990s to counter the highly polished mainstream music sound of the decade. Dylan's Modern Times spent six weeks at #1 on the national Americana/R&R chart.

Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album was among the awards that were presented Sunday night during the 49th GRAMMY Awards. The GRAMMY Awards honor recordings in 108 categories across 31 fields, from rap to classical.

The Americana Music Association is a professional trade organization that provides a forum for the advocacy of Americana music and promotes public awareness of the genre to support the creative and economic viability of professionals in the field. Upcoming is its 8th Annual Americana Music Conference Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2007 in Nashville.

LODO's First Annual BASS BASH!

Go see some great bass guitar players in Denver!- for the Grateful Web

The Lodo Bass Bash is a non-profit event centered around educational workshops and performaces for bassist of all levels. It is a great opportunity to meet and learn from some of the best bassists in the world, check out some of the latest equipment, and see some of the most amazing performances by the masters of the instrument. There is also the opportunity for registered attendees to win thousands of dollars in giveaways from the sponsors of the event. There will be drawings, free-bee giveaways, and a silent auction!!!

2006 is the First Annual Lodo Bass Bash, and features some of the most amazing bassists from around the world, including, but not limited to: