big

Hit by a Train -- the Old 97’s in Boulder

I left the Boulder Theater with both ears ringing thoroughly and my head in a satiated state of buzz, and in fact I was bone sober (as far as intoxicants are concerned).

Big Head Todd & The Monsters headline Red Rocks

Big Head Todd and The Monsters today announce their annual Red Rocks Amphitheater play for June 11, 2011. Guster will open the show. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 4 at 10am MST at Ticketmaster.com. Ticket and show details are listed below.



Big Head Todd and The Monsters will host an online auction featuring exclusive Red Rocks ticket packages including premium show seats and once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as lunch with the band, a “harmonica-handoff” during the show, the opportunity to be a crew member for the day, and so much more. 100% of the proceeds will go to support the Colorado Homeless Coalition. Bidding will happen in two rounds - beginning March 1 and May 1. Visit www.bigheadtodd.com for all the details.



Big Head Todd and The Monsters have been busy – first celebrating the release of their new studio album, Rocksteady (July 20, 2010/Big Records), and now preparing to hit the road with some of blues music’s biggest legends in support of 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 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.

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Big Head Todd and The Monsters’ Red Rocks show info is as follows:

Saturday, June 11 @ 7:30PM (Doors @ 6:00PM)
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
with Guster supporting
18300 West Alameda Parkway Morrison, CO
Tickets $39.50 GA, $49.50 - $59.50 reserved / All Ages Welcome
Tickets on sale Friday, February 4 at 10am at Ticketmaster.com

For more information, please contact 1-800-745-3000 or visit www.redrocksonline.com

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BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm, tour stops are as follows:

Monday, January 31 University of California - Santa Barbara, Campbell Hall Santa Barbara CA
Friday, February 4 Paramount Theatre Austin TX
Saturday, February 5 Lakewood Theater Dallas TX
Thursday, February 10 University Of Michigan, Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor MI
Friday, February 11 Orchestra Hall Chicago IL
Saturday, February 12 Uptown Theater Kansas City MO
Sunday, February 13 Mississippi State University Riley Center Meridian MS
Wednesday, February 16 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Memorial Hall Chapel Hill NC
Thursday, February 17 The Music Center at Strathmore North Bethesda MD
Friday, February 18 Berklee Performance Center Boston MA
Thursday, February 24 Ridgefield Playhouse Ridgefield CT
Friday, February 25 McCarter Theatre Center Princeton NJ
Saturday, February 26 Montgomery County Community College, The Science Center Theater Blue Bell PA
Sunday, February 27 Zeiterion Performing Arts Center New Bedford MA
Friday, March 4 Northern Light Theater at Potawatomi Bingo Casino Milwaukee WI
Saturday, March 5 Holland Performing Arts Center Omaha NE
Sunday, March 6 Orchestra Hall Minneapolis MN
Tuesday, March 8 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Krannert Center - Tryon Festival Theatre Urbana IL

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BIG HEAD TODD AND THE MONSTERS TOURDATES INCLUDE:

Saturday, February 19 The Fiillmore at Irving Plaza New York NY

Friday, April 15 - Saturday, April 16 Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center St. Cloud MN

Saturday, June 11 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison CO

Sunday, October 23 Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise San Diego CA

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.

Roy GAINES “Tuxedo Blues” Blues Award Academie' Best Blues Album

Roy Gaines & His Orchestra recorded their first CD “Tuxedo Blues” (Black Gold Records) in 2009 at Capitol Records, and has performed at local venues and events in 2010 including the Central Ave Jazz Festival, The Typhoon Restaurant and the Catalina Jazz Club.  The motto of this 17-piece orchestra is “Dress the blues up”.

Tuxedo Blues has been aired on KKJZ 88.1 FM by Helen Borgers, who also wrote the liner notes.  The blues we hear on this disc have been arranged for a swingin’ big band that could be performing at the elegant ballrooms of the most prestigious hotels.

The music harkens back to the days when Roy was part of a touring program, on the same bill with Count Basie’s Orchestra and Jimmy Rushing, under the influence of impresario John Hammond.  But the music transcends any one era.   Roy puts everything he has into everything he does.  And he is a visionary.  His plans for the evolution of this music – where it will be heard, played and grown – are exiciting.  Today a homage to Count Basie, tomorrow Duke Ellington.  Beyond – who knows?   One thing is for sure, it will be a class act!

Todd Snider & Great American Taxi @ Boulder Theater

Mark Vann's spirit parted company with his body on March 4, 2002. Mark consistently lived by the motto of "Go Big!". He applied this motto to both playing music and his unending willingness to offer his time and knowledge to teach anybody who wanted to learn. He encouraged others to "Dream Big", "Go Big", and "Pick Big", and personally supported their efforts to do so. The sun rose on March 5th to the task of shining light into a newly empty space in our many worlds.

The Mark Vann Foundation was created to continue the spirit of joy, gratitude, and generosity that Mark brought to our collective communities through his life and music.

Our primary mission is to serve community based non-profit organizations bringing light, love and laughter into the lives of those in need through nature, music and the arts; and to provide a conduit for kindhearted people with similar values to nurture impactful positive change within their own communities.

The Mark Vann Foundation is supported entirely by volunteer efforts and has no paid employees. It is managed in such a way as to maximize our ability to support beneficiaries by keeping operating costs to a minimum. We warmly welcome all who would like to participate, volunteer, or contribute, and kindly thank the many of you throughout the music community who already have.

Marching forth to help dreams "Go Big!"

More Info / Buy Tickets

Legendary Blues Collaboration to Celebrate 100 Years of Robert Johnson

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 (February 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 Nevins 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 Nevins 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.

100 Years of Robert Johnson Track List:

1. Come On In My Kitchen (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
2. Ramblin' On My Mind
3. When You Got A Good Friend (w. Hubert Sumlin on guitar and Ruthie Foster)
4. Cross Road Blues (w. B.B. King)
5. Preachin' Blues
6. Kind Hearted Woman (w. Ruthie Foster)
7. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
8. Last Fair Deal Gone Done (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
9. All My Love Is Love In Vain (Todd solo vocal and acoustic guitar)
10. Sweet Home Chicago (just Honeyboy and Musselwhite)

Cedric Burnside plays drums on “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and “Preachin Blues,” and acoustic guitar on “Ramblin On My Mind”

Lightin’ Malcolm plays electric guitar on “Ramblin on my Mind,” “Gotta Good Friend,” and “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and plays acoustic guitar on “Preachin Blues” and “Kind Hearted Woman”

BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm 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 New 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

John McLaughlin @ The Boulder Theater

Available through Abstract Logix in USA on April 20, 2010, To The One is the result of a burst of inspiration that struck the legendary English guitarist and composer in summer of 2009. "This music started to come to me," McLaughlin explains, "without any call from my part. The sound and feel of this new music took me back to 1965, to when I first heard A Love Supreme. I was 23 years old at that time, and struggling with questions of existence that we all confront sooner or later. Some of us discard them or don't bother to delve deeper, but that's not my nature. I was asking big questions: What is the meaning of life? What is this word "god"? What is this spirit? It was then that Coltrane came along and single-handedly brought this dimension of spirituality into jazz"it was a pivotal experience to me. It was so encouraging to me in both my musical and spiritual quests. To The One, as an album, is about those two aspects of my life - music and spirituality - crystallized by this recording of Coltrane's, and how A Love Supreme coincided with my search for meaning in life.

Check out John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension at the Boulder Theater on December 4th, 2010.

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More Info | Buy Tickets.

Phish: Alpine Valley 2-DVD Preview

On August 14th and 15th, 2010 Phish played their 12th and 13th shows at Alpine Valley Music Theater - all 2-night stands since 2003. "Alpine" as it is affectionately known, is a steeply-sloping amphitheater with a big lawn and raucous crowd perpetually bursting with energy right in the band's faces due to the angles of the place. The angles all aligned on Saturday August 14th - the focus of the Alpine Valley DVD, which will be released in stores and for audio only download nationwide on December 14th.

This box set features the complete August 14th, 2010 performance on 2-DVDs, as well as 2-CDs, and bonus video featuring highlights from the following night, August 15th, 2010, including AC/DC Bag, Divided Sky and Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan. The three-song combination that opened set two of the 15th rounds out the bonus material with Ghost > Theme From The Bottom > Big Black Furry Creature From Mars. Alpine Valley 2010 combines into a four-hour DVD-CD collection of must-see and must-hear release from Phish at their current top form.

The nearly three hours of music was recorded that night using 57 channels of digital multitrack and carefully mixed and mastered in 5.1 Dolby surround and PCM stereo. The video was a 7-camera shoot (16:9 widescreen), recorded and post-edited in High Definition.

The box set is available for pre-order today at order from Phish Dry Goods.

If you order from Phish Dry Goods you'll receive "Phish: Wisconsin Edition" a free bonus CD compilation from Phish Archives, of past Alpine Valley highlights spanning fourteen years of Phish performances at this venue. In addition, Dry Goods is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $70, which can be applied to the new Alpine DVD.

Click here to watch Reba and/or Bug from Alpine Valley.

Also, be sure to read some previous Phish at Alpine Valley coverage.

Stars to Headline the Fillmore | 11/10

Stars, a Canadian Indie act, will be headline the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on November 10th.  Henry Hauser, will be on-hand to cover their show.  Read what Henry had to say had to say from a previous write-up for the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Storming the florally adorned set of the State Theatre Friday evening, Toronto based indie pop group Stars immediately brought four fifths of the crowd to their feet. Building a swirling hurricane with golden organ and tin-laced percussion; the velvety vocal of Amy Millan weaved the band's inaugural track. In "The Night Starts Here," we are advised to "forget your name, forget your fear," as the tumbling, externalized vocal melody of male bandleader Torquil Campbell refocused our energies on "the ecstasy, the being free, the big black cloud over you and me." Reminiscent of the Baroque style chamber pop that propelled The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible onto countless "Best of 2007" manifestos, the Stars' esoteric instrumentation melted with deep harmonies, creating an explosive, reverberating fortress of sound.”

Stars is currently on-tour now, so check out their website for dates, news, etc.