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Introducing Nikki Lane! Gone, Gone, Gone EP Out July 19th

Nikki Lane’s Gone, Gone, Gone EP will be released July 19, 2011 on IAMSOUND. The EP will preview Lane’s full-length album out September 27, 2011 on IAMSOUND.

Nikki’s debut on IAMSOUND, the four-song EP titled Gone, Gone, Gone, features the title track (produced and co-written with Fool’s Gold’s Lewis Pesacov, who also produced the Best Coast album), “Western Bound” and “Down To The Wire,” two songs from an early self-released album titled No Room For Cowboys, and the alternate version of forthcoming album track, “Coming Home To You,” produced by David Cobb (Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson). On Gone, Gone, Gone, Nikki plays the rambler and sometimes drunkard with such an ardent aptitude she'd fit right in alongside those icons in whose songs she was able to find her own voice.

One glorious day some years back, teenage high school dropout Nikki Lane packed a trailer with her worldly possessions. With one hand firmly gripping a steering wheel and the other flipping the bird, she said so long to her home, Greenville, SC, the South and any sort of life it had suggested she should live. Western bound, she was headed to Los Angeles for no other reason than just because. After working various day-to-day jobs in fashion and the like, and living a life without clear direction, five years passed and Nikki started writing music, but soon forsook that path, after just two promising shows, for a job offer in New York.

But like the best country singers, shortly after moving to New York, heartbreak brought Nikki back to music. She started learning Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, John Prine and Merle Haggard tunes, trying her best to strum along and building her confidence along the way. Impressed with her bold vocal chops, classic, heartfelt country ballads, and wildly infectious personality, IAMSOUND found Nikki last year just before she relocated to Nashville to focus on her music career full time.

When not working on her music, Lane stays busy wearing various hats in fashion. She’ll be one of several artists featured in American Eagle's back to school ad campaign, and she owns a vintage boutique called High Class Hillbilly.

Listen to Nikki Lane’s “Gone, Gone, Gone” off of the Gone, Gone, Gone EP here.

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Gone, Gone, Gone EP Tracklisting:

1. Gone, Gone, Gone

2. Western Bound

3. Down To The Wire

4. Coming Home To You


Nikki Lane Tour Dates:

Fri. June 24 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement w/ Grayson Capps

Fri. July 1 – Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm and Brews w/ Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Sun. July 3 – Charleston, SC @ Pour House w/ Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

This Desert Rocks - Desert Rocks Music Festival

Besides a plethora of giant fiddle contests, I really have no festival experience to speak of. (Don’t get me wrong, fiddle participants can booze, substance-abuse, and play the shit out of acoustic instruments till the sun rises) But that's a different story.  Let's get back to Desert Rocks, and how I am so fulfilled with my first festival journey! It was a weekend of love and acceptance, filled with the young, the transient, the locals, and the Coloradoans (not all of them, but a lot).

Town Mountain at the Top of the Mountain

Town Mountain almost rocked the building strait off  the mountain side when they played at the Gold Hill Inn last night.  Before the show started I spoke t

They Might Be Giants Return To Rock, Advance Tracks Drop April 26!

They Might Be Giants new album, Join Us, is the recordings that their fans have been waiting 20 years for!  Impossibly catchy, sometimes strange and always original the album is a stunning return to form. As the band turns away from the family oriented projects that dominated their output in recent years (and garnered them two GRAMMY nominations and a win) on Join Us we find the band has returned to their singular sensibility that made them an instant phenomenon in the world of alternative rock.  Join Us is an electrifying mix of clever, maddeningly catchy songwriting and studio mastery.  The album was created in the brand new private studio of their long-time collaborator Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Mary J. Blige, Tegan and Sara, Doveman).

The advance track offering opens with “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”--a summer-perfect pop single that will get instantly stuck in your head and make you want to roll down the windows. The electronic ballad “Never Knew Love” puts a new and simple twist on the love song.  The pure folk-pop of “Old Pine Box” showcases the band's signature harmonies, handclaps and the always popular, never anticipated vocoder.

The advance tracks will be released digitally April 26 on iTunes through their “Complete My Album” program on April 26th, with the full album arriving in all digital and physical outlets later this year through Idlewild/Rounder Records. Flansburgh recently talked to AOL Spinner. Read his exclusive interview announcing the arrival of the album.

They Might Be Giants unlikely success story started nearly three decades ago with their Dial-A-Song service. High energy, low budget videos broke them into heavy rotation on MTV and the rest would soon become alternative rock history.  Along the way the band has become the recipients of two GRAMMYs and a platinum record (1990’s Flood). They recorded numerous themes including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, their GRAMMY-winning theme Malcolm In the Middle and many more. John Flansburgh is currently produced Jonathan Coulton’s upcoming studio release "Artificial Heart" which also features TMBG”s Marty Beller on drums.

Notorious for their energized live show, They Might Be Giants will launch the first  international tour in over a decade this Fall, hitting 6 countries and over 50 US cities.  Stay tuned for details!

Brian Setzer Gives Bluegrass a Rockabilly Spin

With its forays into bluegrass and traditional jazz, Brian Setzer's new album 'Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!' (out April 19 on Surfdog Records) has the guitar legend testing new waters and putting his signature Stray Cat stamp on a few instrumental favorites. Setzer didn't set out to create an all-instrumental affair but couldn't resist temptation when the music started heading in that direction.

"I didn’t start writing an instrumental record, per se," says Setzer. "I wrote 7 songs with lyrics, and then all of a sudden I just took a turn and started fooling around with 'Blue Moon of Kentucky,' except without any vocals. I started playing melody chords and thought, 'Wow, this is pretty cool!'  So the direction turned about halfway through my writing. I had never done an instrumental record, but I thought, well, now’s the time."

Setzer wrote six originals and revitalizes five jazz-bluegrass classics – “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” "Earl's Breakdown," "Cherokee," "Be-Bop-A-Lula," and "Lonesome Road." Recording each gave Setzer the chance to revisit old techniques and try new tricks, such as playing banjo on the Earl Scruggs' classic “Earl’s Breakdown,” or substituting jazz chords into traditional bluegrass on the Bluegrass Boys’ “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

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'Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!' Tracklist

(all songs written by Brian Setzer, unless otherwise noted)

1. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (written by Bill Monroe)

2. "Cherokee" (written by Ray Noble)

3. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (written by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent)

4. "Earl's Breakdown" (written by Earl Scruggs)

5. "Far Noir East"

6. "Intermission"

7. "Go-Go Godzilla"

8. "Lonesome Road" (written by Gene Austin, Nathaniel Shilkret)

9. "Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown"

10. "Hot Love"

11. "Pickpocket"

John Prine at the Boulder Theater - 03.25.11

97.3 KBCO & the Daily Camera are proud to present John Prine at the Boulder Theater on Friday, March 25th, 2011.

The first time he got onstage to perform – at a Chicago open mic night – there was absolute silence. Here comes a guy nobody had ever seen, a mailman from nearby Maywood, and the very first songs he ever sings are miracles, songs like “Hello In There” and “Angel from Montgomery.” But this stunned silence spelled disaster to Prine. “They just sat there,” he said. “They didn’t even applaud, they just looked at me. I thought, `Uh oh. This is pretty bad.’ I started shuffling my feet and looking around. And then they started applauding and it was a really great feeling. It was like I found out all of a sudden that I could communicate deep feelings and emotions. And to find that out all at once was amazing.”

That one night changed his life. The club-owner offered him a gig, and from that moment on he quickly became one of Chicago’s most beloved local heroes, a guy who would honor the Windy City with as much love and grace as Studs Terkel and Carl Sandburg. Prine soon befriended another local hero, Steve Goodman, and with Goodman he met the world. Kris Kristofferson heard his songs, helped him land a record deal, and soon everyone knew what Chicago already did, that Prine was the real deal. From that first album on, he came known as a genuine “songwriter’s songwriter,” one of the rare ones who writes the songs other songwriters would sell their souls for.  Evidence of this is the long list of songwriters who have recorded his songs, including Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, the Everly Brothers, John Denver, Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, Ben Harper, Joan Baez, and many others. Even Bob Dylan was stunned. “His stuff is pure Proustian existentialism,” said Bob Dylan.  . “He’s so good,” said Kristofferson, “we’re gonna have to break his fingers.”

Dylan and the rest were simply recognizing that which we have all come to know, that Prine’s songs are so hauntingly evocative of the laughter and tears inherent in the human condition, so purely precise and finely etched, that lines from them linger in our hearts and minds like dreams, separate from the songs. There’s the rodeo poster from “Angel from Montgomery,” the hole in daddy’s arm and the broken radio (from “Sam Stone”), the old trees that just grow stronger (from “Hello In There.”) The kinds of lines you carry around in your pocket, knowing they’re in there when you need them. With a staggering penchant for detail, a proclivity to be both hilarious and deeply serious (and often in the same song), and a visceral embrace  of roots music, he’s  made the kinds of songs nobody ever dreamed of before, or since.

Born on October 10th, 1946 in Maywood, he grew up spinning Roy Acuff and Hank Williams 78s in his dad’s collection, as well as tuning into WJJD to hear Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizell and others “back to back, all night long.” And then a new kind of music arrived: “I was coming of age just as rock and roll was invented,” he said, and along with his country heroes he added Elvis, Little Richard, Fats Domino, and the one he loved the most, Chuck Berry: “Because he told a story in less than three minutes.”

At 14 he started playing guitar and never stopped, starting with old folk tunes taught to him by his brother Dave. After high school he enlisted in the army, and was happy to be stationed in Germany, far from Viet Nam. He spent most of his time in the barracks playing guitar and singing Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams songs with a friend.After the army, he became a mailman, which he loved because he could write songs while walking his familiar route. “It was like a library with no books,” he said.

He haunted the fringes of Chicago open mic nights, mostly at the old Fifth Peg on Armitage in Old Town. Once he summoned up the courage to perform, although terrified, he knew he was home. The rest is singer-songwriter history. It was 1971, the dream of the Sixties was over and Goodman and Prine emerged with a new kind of song, eschewing abstractions to write story songs about real people:  “Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree,” as Dylan put it. Songs with the concrete details and imagery of a novel, but compounded, like Prine’s hero Chuck Berry’s songs, into mini-masterpieces.

After landing his first gig, he went home and wrote more masterpieces that made up his first self-titled debut, released in 1971. It was received with near-unanimous raves: “… absolutely one of the greatest albums ever made,” wrote a hometown paper, “by one of the most creative and evocative songwriters of our time.” There was the recognition then, which has been confirmed by the passage of time, that even among the best, he stood out. “Good songwriters are on the rise,” wrote Rolling Stone, “but John is differently good.”

Fans hungry for meaningful new music discovered him, unconcerned if he was the “new Dylan” or not, as he was often labeled, but drawn to the complex simplicity of his songs, the heady amalgam of sorrow and whimsy. Always seeking to strike a balance in his work, Prine said he wrote funny songs so as to get back to the tragic ones.

He made eight albums on two major labels, including Sweet Revenge, Common Sense, and Bruised Orange. In 1980 he moved to Nashville, and with longtime manager Al Bunetta, formed his own label, Oh Boy Records in 1981. They’ve since released a chain of great records, including 1991’s Grammy-winning The Missing Years, which featured cameos by Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. In 2000 he recaptured his own legacy by recording Souvenirs, new recordings of many of his classic songs.

In 1998 he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer centered in his neck. The removal of a tumor and subsequent radiation seems to have eradicated it completely. Although his singing voice was lowered significantly, he faced his illness with the same blend of wistful humor he instills in his songs. In a post-surgery letter to his fans, he wrote, “Hopefully my neck is looking forward to its job of holding my head up above my shoulders.”

Now he’s back with a brand new live album, John Prine: In Person & On Stage, which contains both solo and duet renditions of some of early songs such as “Angel From Montgomery” (here in a breathtaking duet with Emmylou Harris) as well as later classics such as “Unwed Fathers” (with Iris DeMent) and one of the most poignant songs ever from a husband to a wife, “She Is My Everything.”

“If he’s this good this young,” wrote Rolling Stone in 1971, “time should be on his side.” Truer words have rarely been written. Some four decades since his remarkable debut, Prine has stayed at the top of his game, both as a performer and songwriter. Recently honored at the Library of Congress, he has been elevated from the annals of songwriters into the realm of bonafide American treasures.  Poet Laureate Ted Kooser introduced him at the Library of Congress by likening him to Raymond Carver for making “monuments of ordinary lives.” But the greatest testaments to his lasting legacy are the songs themselves. Unlike so many which belong only to the time in which they emerged, his, like the old trees in “Hello In There,” seem to just grow stronger with the passing years.

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Saturday, February 5th!

$40 GA / $48.50 Res / $65 Gold Circle

Scattered Trees Announce Sympathy

On April 5th, Chicago’s Scattered Trees will release their full-length record, Sympathy, via Roll Call Records/EMI. In honor of the album’s release, the band is making their track "A Conversation About Death on New Years Eve" available for free download. Download the track here. The band will also be performing in Chicago on January 21 at Schubas.

For Scattered Trees, Sympathy is a labor of love that almost didn’t happen. The band grew up together in the outskirts of Chicago, playing music together in various groups over the years. They became a family in more ways than one, with some of the members sharing last names — albeit for different reasons. Scattered Trees became a staple of Chicago clubs, but as time passed, the band’s members were drawn to various parts of the country. Scattered Trees as a band looked all but over. And then, tragedy struck. Lead singer Nate Eiesland’s father passed away, and while mourning, Nate picked up his guitar again and started penning a record dedicated to his memory. Those songs became Sympathy.

The album is a focused, deeply personal collection of songs that finds Scattered Trees experimenting with lush multi-part harmonies, constructing dynamic builds, and exploring the intricacies of love and loss. Opening with “Bury the Floors,” Nate sings “It’s the house that I built you to fall / We started to walk then we stood up to crawl / So bury the floors and burn down the walls / to find ourselves by morning.” Driving rock epics like “Four Days Straight” rub shoulders with melancholic elegies like “Where You Came From.” The album’s title track starts with a stripped-down plaintive mandolin, ultimately fading into a slow-burning orchestral groove. Melting into “Five Minutes,” Scattered Trees continues the build until the track bursts forth. The band rounds out the record with the mournful acoustic closer “On Your Side,” a fitting tribute for a deeply heartfelt and therapeutic album.

Old 97's @ Boulder Theater | 1/27/11

Since the Old 97's roared out of Dallas more than fifteen years ago, they have blazed a trail through alt-country and power-pop, led by the piercingly observant lyrics of lead singer Rhett Miller. Each new Old 97's record is hotly anticipated, and rightfully so: "Blame It On Gravity," from 2008, contained some of the band's most deeply felt and passionately played songs. But in a career full of high-water marks, "The Grand Theatre Volume 1″ is perhaps the most ambitious and accomplished set of recordings yet.

The album, the band's eighth, began to come together last year, when Miller was on a solo tour of Europe with Steve Earle. "When I started in this band, I wrote on the road constantly," Miller says. "But I was 23 then, so everything was new to me. Over the years, those strange and wonderful things have begun to feel more commonplace. On the familiar highways, in familiar hotels, it's pretty easy to turn into a zombie. But on this tour, I was in England and Ireland and Scandinavia, places where I haven't spent very much time in, and because of that things seemed somehow fresh. I felt recharged."

The result was a set of songs rooted in specific locations. "The title track, which I wrote in Leeds, is like a series of postcards that try to capture the moment of falling in love; it begins in the Grand Theatre, which is a historic venue there, on the elevator. There's another song, "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)," that I wrote, or at least started to write, while I was walking around in Soho. And a song like "The Dance Class" wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in Birmingham, trapped in a hotel, looking out at streets that were bleak and gray except for a dance studio across the way. I imagined an agoraphobic who sees a beautiful girl in that studio and fantasizes about being freed by her." Miller's portraits of love and loneliness are paired with some of the sharpest music the band has ever produced, from the propulsive celebration of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" to the manic (and almost panicked) energy of "The Dance Class."

More Info / Buy Tickets

Al Bell gets Grammy Trustees Award

The Memphis Music Foundation and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the original site of Stax Records, proudly congratulate Al Bell on receiving the highest honor the music industry offers, the 2011 Grammy Trustees Award, given by the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy. Bell now joins the pantheon of musical icons who have received the prestigious honor, including the Beatles, Walt Disney, George and Ira Gershwin, Berry Gordy, Duke Ellington, and Stax Records’ co-founder Estelle Axton.

For Bell, the honor represents a milestone in his lifetime love of music and work in the industry.

“The phone call I received from Neil Portnow, president of NARAS’ Grammy Foundation, letting me know that I was going to be a recipient of the Trustees Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Bell, “was both humbling and honoring. This is the most meaningful recognition I could have ever hoped to achieve from my industry. I sincerely thank NARAS and the Grammy Foundation for honoring me with their highest award.”

In 1965, a young radio disc jockey from Brinkley, Arkansas named Alvertis Isbell joined a fledging record company in Memphis, Tennessee to help promote the music it was churning out in an old converted movie theater. That small label was Stax Records and Al Bell became known to be one of the driving forces who helped change music history. Decades later, in 2009, he became the chairman of the board of directors of the Memphis Music Foundation (MMF), the main organization charged with promoting the city’s musical legacy, current artists, and future plans.

“This is great news for Al Bell and Memphis Music,” said Dean Deyo, president of the Memphis Music Foundation. “Al started developing young artists during his Stax days over 40 years ago and continues to nurture artist development as chairman of the Memphis Music Foundation.  Memphis music is something very special and one of the main reasons for its success has been Al Bell.  It just may be a bit early to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award, because he is not done yet.  Al Bell is just getting started.”

Kirk Whalum, internationally renowned musician and 12-time Grammy nominee, now CEO for the Soulsville Foundation in Memphis, which includes the Stax Museum, Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School, explains, “There's a very good reason that the name Al Bell is mentioned, the voice of Al Bell is heard, and the handsome and distinguished face of Al Bell is seen more than any other name, voice, and face in the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. It's because of his body of work. Yes he remains a creative, viable, and avant-garde force in the industry. But who wouldn't give a limb to have all his ‘firsts’ and accomplishments in one’s rearview mirror?”

From 1965 until the company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 1975, Bell helped build Stax Records into one of the most influential labels in the world, working with artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, the Bar Kays, Richard Pryor, and a host of others. He also produced and wrote such hits as the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”  When Bell owned Stax in the 1970s, it was the second-largest African-American owned business in the United States. After the company’s demise, he went on to serve as president of Motown Records Group, and later started his own Bellmark Records label, releasing Prince’s top-selling song ever, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” and Tag Team’s multi-platinum hit “Whoomp! (There It is),” one of the best-selling rap singles in history. Bell now operates his own web-based music channel, AlBellPresents.com.

For Isbell, given the name Al Bell in 1957 as radio announcer in Little Rock, Arkansas,  whose famous radio sign-on was “This is your 6-feet-4 bundle of joy, 212 pounds of Mrs. Bell’s baby boy, soft as medicated cotton, rich as double-X cream, the women’s pet, the men’s threat, the play boys pride and joy, the baby boy Al Bell,” — the Grammy Award not only marks his lifetime of work in the music industry, but also gives more fuel to what he plans to do now and in the future.

“When Mr. Portnow said ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,” Bell continues, “I didn’t think about my past. It sounded prophetic. Because what has happened to me is that I’ve begun to pursue that which I have learned in life and I’m about the business of achieving it. It’s a beginning for me. With this award and through my role with the Memphis Music Foundation, I am beginning my lifetime evolvement and development in the recorded music industry.”

Old 97's w/ Langhorne Slim @ Boulder Theater

Since the Old 97's roared out of Dallas more than fifteen years ago, they have blazed a trail through alt-country and power-pop, led by the piercingly observant lyrics of lead singer Rhett Miller. Each new Old 97's record is hotly anticipated, and rightfully so: "Blame It On Gravity," from 2008, contained some of the band's most deeply felt and passionately played songs. But in a career full of high-water marks, "The Grand Theatre Volume 1″ is perhaps the most ambitious and accomplished set of recordings yet.

The album, the band's eighth, began to come together last year, when Miller was on a solo tour of Europe with Steve Earle. "When I started in this band, I wrote on the road constantly," Miller says. "But I was 23 then, so everything was new to me. Over the years, those strange and wonderful things have begun to feel more commonplace. On the familiar highways, in familiar hotels, it's pretty easy to turn into a zombie. But on this tour, I was in England and Ireland and Scandinavia, places where I haven't spent very much time in, and because of that things seemed somehow fresh. I felt recharged."

The result was a set of songs rooted in specific locations. "The title track, which I wrote in Leeds, is like a series of postcards that try to capture the moment of falling in love; it begins in the Grand Theatre, which is a historic venue there, on the elevator. There's another song, "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)," that I wrote, or at least started to write, while I was walking around in Soho. And a song like "The Dance Class" wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in Birmingham, trapped in a hotel, looking out at streets that were bleak and gray except for a dance studio across the way. I imagined an agoraphobic who sees a beautiful girl in that studio and fantasizes about being freed by her." Miller's portraits of love and loneliness are paired with some of the sharpest music the band has ever produced, from the propulsive celebration of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" to the manic (and almost panicked) energy of "The Dance Class."

More Info / Buy Tickets