lucky

Austin City Limits 2010 part III

The last day of a festival is always bittersweet.  You get excited for the festival headliner but also deep down you wish you could replay the weekend over and over again and perhaps catch some of those bands, that due to scheduling conflicts, you painstakingly missed in the days before.

Lucky Peterson interprets Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Ray LaMontagne, Robert Johnson & Blind Willie McTell

Lucky Peterson was discovered by blues legend Willie Dixon when he was three years old, released his first record at five and soon after appeared on The Tonight Show. Trained by keyboardists Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, Peterson went on to play behind Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Kenny Neal. On return from the “Young Blues Giants” tour of Europe, he signed first with Alligator, then Verve, Blue Thumb and Birdology/Dreyfus, where he recorded what Amazon.com called “his finest album,” Black Midnight Sun, in 2003. The New Yorker called him “a master of the guitar, organ and microphone.”

But Lucky’s journey was not a smooth one, and Peterson spent the next few years in transition, working to free himself of drug troubles that had affected his health, family life and professional life. He spent time in treatment, making one-off records for small European labels, but never a proper follow-up to Black Midnight Sun.

But you can always turn around. These words took on special meaning for the 45-year-old Peterson, which is why the first album since his rehabilitation is titled You Can Always Turn Around. It is an uplifting collection of songs that speak of struggles and salvation, using the gritty clarity of acoustic roots-blues (with modern touches) as its main musical vehicle.

The album, scheduled for September 28, 2010 release on Dreyfus Records, was made in the Catskills with master Woodstock musicians Larry Campbell, guitar (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm); Scott Petito, bass (The Fugs, Mercury Rev, Rick Danko Band); and Gary Burke, drums (Joe Jackson, Shania Twain). Peterson as usual plays a mix of instruments: duolian resonator, piano and acoustic and electric guitars. Also prevalent is the acoustic piano on which Lucky sounds like a bluesy Elton John. “He’s something of a genius — his piano playing reminds me of Aretha Franklin,” says drummer Burke, who has played behind Franklin on the road.

But it’s Peterson’s vocal instrument that some might find most arresting. Peterson wraps his voice around an eclectic selection of blues-based materials including songs by original Delta bluesmen Robert Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Willie McTell up through the music of today’s top songwriters including Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits and Ray LaMontagne. The album closes with a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Think.”

“This album is very different for me — it’s more from the heart,” says Peterson.  “The songs were picked by (co-producer) Doug Yoel, and he knew my heart. I feel like all these songs were for me.”  The album would be the last co-production of Francis Dreyfus, who passed away on June 24, before the album’s release.

One standout on the album is the civil-rights era anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” written by Billy Taylor and popularized by Nina Simone. The new recording introduces Tamara Peterson, Lucky’s wife, a worthy blues singer in her own right. The chemistry between Lucky and Tamara on that session was so exciting that Larry Campbell was prompted to invite the pair to appear with the Levon Helm Band at the Midnight Ramble concert the following night.

Peterson creates something brand new on “Trampled Rose,” turning a wordless hook into a seductive Arabian-flavored line. The band responded to and fed the creativity of the newly awakened Lucky Peterson, and the results are truly special.

Peterson continues to tour, doing dates big and small. This new album should increase awareness of and demand for this one-of-a-kind musician.

And when off the road, he’ll be at his church in Dallas, Texas with his family, holding on, and playing for one very lucky congregation.

TRACK LIST:

1. I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom (Robert Johnson)
2. I'm New Here (Bill Callahan)
3. Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie McTell)
4. Trouble (Ray LaMontagne)
5. Trampled Rose (Tom Waits / Kathleen Brennan)
6. Atonement (Lucinda Williams)
7. Why Are People Like That (Bobby Charles)
8. Four Little Boys (James Peterson / Judge Peterson)
9. Death Don't Have No Mercy (Rev. Gary Davis)
10. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas)
11. Think (Curtis Mayfield)

DOUG KEITH: "The Lucky Ones"

Doug Keith, an exceptional artist and performer, is set to release his new full-length, The Lucky Ones, in March, 2010 (exact date tbc).  The Lucky Ones, an 11-song collection on indie imprint The Village Label, vividly showcases Keith’s strengths as a guitarist and songwriter, capturing significant emotional truths in every song.

The material on The Lucky Ones ranges from the acoustic starkness of "We Left Everything," to the surging electricity of "The Lucky Ones," to the buoyant textures of "Skip James Radio." His simple-yet-poignant lyrics are layered over soaring instrumental arrangements that are expertly tailored to create distinct aural atmospheres. The link connecting each track is Keith’s weathered, knowing voice, and the results are nothing short of breathtaking.

Although The Lucky Ones is only his second full-length solo album, Keith is no stranger to the studio or the life of a touring musician.  Music has been his passion for years, and it shows in the beauty and intimacy of his current work. Keith started his career playing bass with punk trio The Gods Hate Kansas, and went on to play with several other punk/avant-garde bands, including noted noise-rock combo Up the Empire.  But Keith always worked on his own material, releasing a four-song EP and half of a split 7" single under the name The First Person to See an Elephant.  Here’s to Outliving Me, his official solo debut in January of 2009, was the first release under his own name and his introduction to international audiences. With The Lucky Ones, Keith delivers a moving batch of songs that are a worthy follow-up – and natural progression – to his stunning debut.

Keith’s songs are honest and the emotions are pure, and this comes across in his raw beautiful live performances. 

Catch Doug Keith on tour:
02/10: Pittsburgh, PA @ Howler's Coyote
02/11: Columbus, OH @ The Treehouse
02/12: Ann Arbor, MI @ Hathaway Hideaway
02/16: Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
02/20: Louisville, KY @ Sunergos Cofee
02/22: Winston-Salem @ Wake Forest Radio in studio session
02/22: Winston-Salem @ The Garage
02/26: Greensboro, NC @ The Green Bean
02/27: Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave

Raul Malo's new CD, 'Lucky One,' Streets 3/3/09

Raul Malo- for the Grateful Web

Raul Malo's Fantasy Records label debut album, Lucky One, finds him fully shedding his musical shackles. "I have been fighting my whole life against people who want to pigeonhole music. I feel like I've got no restrictions anymore." Malo is known for his work as the frontman of the Grammy Award-winning, globally platinum- and gold-certified band the Mavericks. Following two albums of covers, Lucky One is Malo's first album original material in seven years.
 
The CD will hit the streets on March 3rd, fronted by the lead single "Hello Again."
 
Malo has earned much critical respect over the years. USA Today applauded "a voice that seems to have no limits of range or versatility." The New York Times said, "Malo has an exceptional voice, a burnished tenor that harks back to Roy Orbison and the great Cuban singer Beny Moré." Rolling Stone added, "Raul Malo has a voice on par with the best of 'em: Sinatra, George Jones and Orbison." And The Wall Street Journal opined: "Malo's superb voice is big and melodic with a natural vibrato. Exquisite."
 
Malo wrote Lucky One over a two-year period at his Nashville home and was so happy with the results that several of his home demos appear as final versions on the CD. For the balance of the album, he once again enlisted Steve Berlin, best known for his work with Los Lobos and who worked on Malo's 2001 Today album, as co-producer. "I trust Steve musically," Malo says. "Art comes first with him. That's the most important quality of all. Nothing gets in the way of that."
 
Lucky One follows You're Only Lonely and After Hours, two CDs of cover songs written by Malo's favorite tunesmiths including Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson and Roger Miller.
 
"How could that not influence my songwriting on Lucky One?" Malo asks. "It certainly had an effect on how I wrote for this. There's an appreciation for song structure, melody and lyric that these guys certainly had."

Songs on Lucky One range from the upbeat "Moonlight Kisses," to songs like "One More Angel" and "Rosalie," which take on mortality and the loss of life. "Hello Again" is a deceptively upbeat, swinging tale of heartbreak, and the closing track "So Beautiful" is an ultimately uplifting benediction influenced by events in and outside Malo's home.
 
While fans wait the March 3 release of Lucky One, Malo will travel to several cities in December to preview the songs live, perform solo and Mavericks classics while sprinkling in some holiday cheer. Tour cities are as follows:
 
December 2 – NEWPORT, KY – The Southgate House
December 3 – CHICAGO, IL – Joe's Bar
December 4 – LEXINGTON, MI – Lexington Music Theater
December 6 – SPARTANBURG, SC – Twichell Auditorium
December 9 – ALEXANDRIA, VA (DC METRO) – Birchmere
December 10 – ANNAPOLIS, MD – Ram's Head Onstage
December 12 – NEW YORK, NY – Highline Ballroom
December 13 – COLLINGSWOOD, NJ – Scottish Rite Auditorium
December 14 – FOXBOROUGH, MA – Showcase Live
December 17 – HOUSTON, TX – House of Blues
December 19-20 – AUSTIN, TX – Antone's
January 17-24 – SAN DIEGO, CA – embark on Delbert McClinton Sandy Beaches Cruise