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Grace Jones To Release "Hurricane" Album & Dub Version

Acclaimed singer, songwriter and actress, Grace Jones is preparing to release Hurricane, a new album of original material, in the U.S. on September 6 via [PIAS] America. Produced by Jones and Ivor Guest, Hurricane has received widespread praise in the U.K. and Europe where it was released in 2009. The band that plays on the album includes luminaries Brian Eno, Sly & Robbie, and Tricky. The tracks “Williams’ Blood” and “Corporate Cannibal” have emerged as hits overseas as has the video for “Corporate Cannibal” directed by Nick Hooker. The release will also include a brand new bonus disc dub version of the entire album. Download the MP3 of the track “Sunset Sunrisehere.

In July 2009, Jones performed in a new show at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Collaborating with acclaimed Academy Award-winning costume and production designer Eiko Ishioka, Jones debuted songs from the new album for U.S. audiences.

The shows received overwhelming praise from audiences and critics alike.  Daily Variety wrote “...a commanding Grace Jones provided a finely tuned display of humanity” and “...the return of Jones was warm and uplifting”. The LA Times ran the headline “Grace Jones bowls over the Bowl” and the New York Times reported that Jones was “lithe, fierce and solid”. Rolling Stone wrote “So many performers are said to be larger than life, but the show biz cliché has never been truer than it is for Grace Jones…the crowd roared as if they’d seen the second coming”.

Born in Jamaica before relocating to Syracuse, New York with her family, Grace Jones embarked on a successful career as a model in New York City and Paris. In 1977 Jones secured her first record deal resulting in a string of dance-club hits including “I Need A Man” and her acclaimed reinvention of Edith Piaf’s classic “La Vie En Rose”. The three disco albums she recorded, “Portfolio” (1977), “Fame” (1978) and “Muse” (1979), generated considerable success in the market and established her as a major recording artist.

During this period Jones became a fixture on the international club scene and was often seen at New York City’s famed nightclub Studio 54. Jones also became a muse to Andy Warhol who photographed her extensively and created a series of iconic portraits of her.

Towards the end of the 1970’s Jones adapted the emerging New Wave music to create a different style for herself. Working with Island Records producers Chris Blackwell, Alex Sadkin and Compass Point All Stars, she recorded the critically acclaimed albums “Warm Leatherette” (1980) and “Nightclubbing” (1981). These included reimagining’s of songs by Sting (“Demolition Man”), Iggy Pop and David Bowie (“Nightclubbing”), Roxy Music (“Love is the Drug”), Astor Piazzolla (“I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)”) and Tom Petty (“Breakdown”).

Both albums included tracks co-written by Jones herself including “A Rolling Stone”, “Feel Up” and most notably, the post-disco dance track “Pull Up to the Bumper” which spent seven weeks as #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club play chart and became a Top 5 single on the U.S. R&B chart.

Parallel to her musical shift was an equally dramatic visual makeover, created in partnership with artist Jean-Paul Goode, with whom she had a son. Jones adapted a severe, androgynous look with square-cut hair and angular, padded clothes. The cover photographs of “Nightclubbing” and “Warm Leatherette” as well as her subsequent albums exemplified this new identity.

Jones’ next release was the dub reggae-influenced “Living My Life” (1982) which featured the self-penned hit “My Jamaican Guy”. In 1985 she worked with Trevor Horn for the conceptual music collage “Slave to the Rhythm” and in 1986 she collaborated with Nile Rogers for “Inside Story” which produced the Billboard 100 Hit, “I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect For You”), one of several songs she co-wrote with Bruce Wooley. “Bulletproof Heart” (1989) spawned the Number 1 U.S. Hot Dance Club Play hit “Love on Top of Love (Killer Kiss)” produced by C&C Music Factory’s David Cole and Robert Clivilles.

Jones is equally famous for her motion picture roles in such features as “Conan the Destroyer” (1984) co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, “A View to a Kill” (1985) co-starring Roger Moore as James Bond, the vampire thriller “Vamp” (in which Keith Haring famously painted her body for her role as an undead exotic dancer) and “Boomerang” (1992) co-starring Eddie Murphy (for which she recorded the song “7 Day Weekend”). Her television work includes appearances on “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special” (1988), “Beastmaster” (1999) and “Shaka Zulu: The Citadel” (2001).

New era of NRBQ and new CD ushered in by Terry Adams

Terry Adams, visionary, driving force, and “untamed genius of the keyboards” for the great American band NRBQ since its inception more than 40 years ago, resumes his life’s work with the release of a new studio album, Keep This Love Goin’ by NRBQ, due out July 19, 2011. Recorded with the band he formed in 2007 — Scott Ligon on guitar and vocals, Pete Donnelly on bass and vocals, and Conrad Choucroun on drums, formerly known as The Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet — Keep This Love Goin’ features 12 unforgettable songs, from the opener “Boozoo and Leona,” inspired by Adams’ relationship with the great zydeco musician Boozoo Chavis and his wife (Adams produced three albums for and performed with Chavis), to the instrumental closer “Red’s Piano,” a tune written by Piano Red and recorded in one take in that unmistakable NRBQ style. Adams learned the song from Red himself, when the Atlanta legend visited him at his upstate New York home in the 1970s.

In between is the unique Q mix of rock, pop and jazz, and of course no album of theirs would be complete without a classic Adams twist — here, an adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor,” done as a country tune called “In Every Dream.” Original compositions from Adams, Ligon, and Donnelly, written separately and together, and stellar playing throughout make for a true band effort. Former NRBQ bandmate Tom Ardolino provided the front cover art (and sits in on drums on two tracks).

“I found musicians who not only understand NRBQ’s past and traditions but who are open to future impossibilities,” says Adams. “It’s important that their reason for being musicians in the first place is real.”

Chicago’s Scott Ligon is on guitar and vocals. The multi-instrumentalist is, says the Nashville Scene, “an unqualified badass — he echoes Adams’ gift for balancing melody with dissonance.” Philadelphia-based Pete Donnelly, also a member of the Figgs, handles bass and vocals. And from Austin comes drummer Conrad Choucroun, who has played with numerous Texas bands and musicians (Bob Schneider, Kelly Willis, the Damnations, among others).

Adams announced in March 2011 the return of the NRBQ name along with the release of the new album. In the years since 2004, when the most recent Q line-up last appeared regularly onstage, Adams has been steadily rebuilding his health after a cancer diagnosis, and rebuilding the band after the other members decided to form their own band (Joey and Johnny Spampinato) or retire from the road (Tom Ardolino).

Why did he initially call his band the Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet in 2007 instead of NRBQ?

“I didn’t want to call the band NRBQ right away,” says Adams “because I didn’t want Scott, Pete, and Conrad subjected to unfair comparisons. It was clear in the spring of 2009 that we had it onstage, but I wanted to wait until we had more road experience and a new studio album with new songs that we wrote and recorded together. You can hear it on Keep This Love Goin’. The time is right.”

“I’m finally free to let go and move NRBQ forward. That’s what I’ve been doing since I was 18. With all due respect to the past, NRBQ is a living, breathing, ongoing sound. I never intended it to ever become a trip down memory lane.”

The first weekend of April found the band onstage for their first live shows, now billed as “the New NRBQ.”  Said the Albany Times-Union, “ . . . the current incarnation lived up to the legacy. They reclaimed not only the vast NRBQ catalog of songs and loose-as-a-goose sound, but also the band’s wildly unpredictable spirit on stage . . . their willingness to step way out on a limb has always been one of NRBQ’s most endearing qualities, and in the contemporary world of pre-packaged, cookie-cutter pop stars, it’s sure great to have them back.” The Schenectady Gazette added, “the re-branded NRBQ has developed an impressive depth of mutual intuition so that even odd detours took on unanimous glee Sunday. They felt so good and they made everyone feel good too.”

Concord Original Jazz announces six new reissues

Concord Music Group will release six new titles in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series on June 14, 2011. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, generous helpings of bonus tracks (many of them previously unreleased), and new liner notes that provide historical and technical context, the series showcases some of the most pivotal recordings of the past several decades by artists whose influences on the jazz tradition is beyond measure.

The six new titles in the series are:

  • Chet Baker: In New York
  • Ornette Coleman: Something Else!!!
  • Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco
  • Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans: Know What I Mean?
  • Bill Evans Trio: Explorations
  • Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living


“These six releases bring us to 20 titles altogether since the launch of the series in March 2010,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series. “Each occupies an important place in any quality jazz collection.”

Chet Baker: In New York

Recorded in September 1958 for Riverside, Chet Baker’s In New York features saxophonist Johnny Griffin, pianist Al Haig, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In addition to the half-dozen tracks from the original album, the reissue includes a bonus seventh track — “Soft Winds,” a blues composition written by Benny Goodman and Fletcher Henderson.

The recording provides a glimpse of the trumpeter “coming off a run of popularity, critical praise, and commercial success the likes of which few musicians have known,” according to the new liner notes by Doug Ramsey. By the late ’50s, Baker had won numerous awards throughout the decade for his instrumental work, and was even regarded as a romantic idol for his singing.

“Baker had been somewhat pigeonholed as a West Coast cool jazz artist,“ says Phillips, “but this recording illustrates that he was right at home playing with New York musicians — who dealt with their own stereotype of being harder edged and more aggressive. On this recording, they all seem to meet effortlessly somewhere in the middle.”

Of the ongoing tug-of-war between Baker’s artistic successes and his personal battles with substance abuse, Ramsey adds: “It will be a long time before Chet’s struggles with his demon are forgotten, but one day when the headlines have finally disappeared, the beauty of his music will still be shimmering in the air.”

Ornette Coleman: Something Else!!!

Recorded at Contemporary’s studios in Los Angeles in February and March 1958, Ornette Coleman’s Something Else!!! features Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Walter Norris on piano, Don Payne on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. The first of two albums that Coleman recorded for Contemporary, Something Else!!! marks the saxophonist’s debut as a leader. “He was a very influential but at times controversial artist,” says Phillips. “Right out of the gate he was doing something that was just so different from what people were used to hearing,” says Phillips.  ”Although structurally-speaking, the music in this recording is based on established song forms, you can hear very clearly that Coleman is starting to break free of the limitations of conventional harmony.”

Neil Tesser writes in his new liner notes that Coleman traced jazz back to its roots to rid the music of its increasingly elaborate harmonic structures and other constraints. “Without the limitations imposed by such harmonic patterns, his band would freely travel into, out of, and between musical keys,” says Tesser. “As Ornette said in the original notes, ‘I think one day music will be a lot freer. The pattern for a tune, for instance, will be forgotten and the tune itself will be the pattern . . .’ When he recorded Something Else!!! that day was still a little ways off. In these performances, you hear him in the last throes of unshackling the past.”

Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco

Recorded on Riverside in October 1959, Thelonious Alone in San Francisco was a sequel of sorts to Thelonious Himself, recorded two years earlier. In addition to the album’s 10 original tracks, the reissue includes an alternate take of “There’s Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie.”

“With Thelonious Alone in San Francisco, Monk proved that his earlier success as a solo artist was not a fluke,” says Tesser in his liner notes for the reissue. “And in rejecting all the ‘rules’  for playing without accompaniment — as he’d rejected so many rules before — Monk expanded the entire concept of the solo piano idiom. Without Monk’s recordings as bedrock, it’s hard to imagine similarly intimate (though otherwise quite different) solo albums that would eventually come from Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea or even McCoy Tyner.”

For as unique as Monk’s style was, “he stayed pretty consistently within that style throughout the remainder of his career,” says Phillips. “That’s not to imply that there was any lack of creativity on his part. Within the unique style that he established, there was so much to explore and develop. But he still sounds unmistakably like Thelonious Monk, no matter what chapter of his career you listen to.”

Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans: Know What I Mean?

Know What I Mean? was recorded between January and March 1961, with bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay supporting the saxophonist and pianist. The reissue includes three bonus tracks that are alternate takes of “Who Cares?,” “Toy” (previously unreleased), and “Know What I Mean?”.

“This album takes two artists who were part of the legendary, historic 1958 Miles Davis Sextet and pairs them together,” says Phillips. “The modal approach that Evans was pioneering in the context of that 1958 group reveals itself in some of the material that he and Cannonball are playing on this album.”

Orrin Keepnews, who produced the original recording sessions, writes in his new liner notes for this OJC Remasters reissue, “One of the many advantages of working with a man like Julian Adderley was that he was totally stubborn about pursuing an idea he believed in. And, quite simply, he thoroughly believed in the validity of an album based on his moving very much in a Bill Evans–influenced direction.

In his liner notes to the original recording, Joe Goldberg observes that while not all of the selections are ballads, an “aura of relaxation” permeates the recording. “In this instance it can be recognized as simply a matter of four highly skilled artists away from their usual tasks and delighting in one another’s musical company,” he says. “Nothing more really need be said about the results of their meeting than that the feeling of delight comes through.”

Bill Evans Trio: Explorations

Recorded in New York in February 1961 for Riverside, Explorations was the last album this version of the Evans trio would make in a recording studio. Bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian also appear on Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby — both live recordings, released later in 1961 — but LaFaro died in a car accident shortly after the live sessions. This reissue features four bonus tracks, including previously unreleased alternate takes of “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and “I Wish I Knew.”

“Evans’ sound and approach was his own by ’61,” says Ashley Kahn in his new liner notes. “His piano style had fully matured, as had the interplay of the trio . . . Upon entering Bell Sound’s studio on February 2, 1961, producer Orrin Keepnews immediately noted the three had ‘made giant strides towards the goal of becoming a three-voice unit rather than a piano player and his accompanists.’”

What’s more, the disparity of styles between the unreleased alternate takes and their counterparts that made the final cut on the original record “illustrates that jazz masters like these are real improvisers,” says Phillips, “and no two takes are ever going to sound the same — because no two moments in jazz are ever the same.”

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living

Recorded in Los Angeles in 1983 and 1986, Easy Living was one of a series of Ella Fitzgerald–Joe Pass collaborations on Pablo throughout the ’80s. In addition to the original album’s 15 tracks, the reissue also includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks — alternate takes of “Don’t Be that Way” and “Love for Sale.”

Easy Living and the other collaborations between these two veterans “worked on many levels,” says Tad Hershorn in his liner notes for the reissue. “As her voice aged and deepened, Fitzgerald discovered partial remedies in her phrasing, choices of keys and the pleasing maturity that now enveloped her still youthful voice. Pass was the perfect foil to display her diminishing resources to their best and most emotive advantage. Ella was known to incessantly toy with songs in her restless artistic striving, so one can perceive the music she made with Pass as a direct extension of her creative method. The leanness of their music underscores that even this late in her career, Ella Fitzgerald retained her bonafides as a singer for whom words did matter: not every song was merely a vehicle for her to bat notes out of the park. The allure was in the quiet majestic intimacy that focused an audience’s attention on full absorption of the musings of joy, wistfulness, and melody.”

The level of confidence with which each of these two musicians performs on this recording is hard to miss.  “The fact that Ella could walk into the studio with a bunch of lead sheets,” says Phillips, “and they could do a little rehearsal on the spot, figure out the best key for her, and he could just play it in any key behind her — all of that takes some phenomenal musicianship . . . They have a very conversational, relaxed sensibility about them, and both musicians seem very much at ease performing together and recording together in the studio.”

Panther Style "¡Emergencia!" + June 11th Chicago Record Release Show!

May 31, 2011 brings the highly anticipated debut release from Chicago rock band, Panther Style. The "¡Emergencia!" LP will be available on 180 gram vinyl, digital and CD formats, all including a cover of "Blind Eyes Open" by The Posies.

This project of heavy tasty pop was started by Chicago rock veterans Jeanne McClure, Al Rodis, Dan Lutger, & Melissa Koehl (Mary Tyler Morphine, Siderunners, Dyslexic Apaches, Reptoids) out of a mutual desire to make some beautifully catchy songs that rocked. Drawing influences from The Posies, Big Star, New Order, and U2, along with the seductive feel of in-your- face screaming tube amps and chest pounding bass from The Cult, Fugazi and Failure, their sound brings a refreshing blend of sweet melodies and thick distorted guitars all held together with an air-tight driving rhythm.

"¡Emergencia!" was recorded at B-Side Audio in Chicago with Neal Ostrovsky on a 16-track analog tape machine to capture the warm tones and genuine feel of the band's live sound. All of the music was recorded live with everyone in the same room. It was mastered with Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. "Blind Eyes Open" was also released on the "Beautiful Escape" Posies cover compilation, by Burning Sky Records.

Soon after the formation of Panther Style, Dan and Melissa got hitched. Soon afterwards Dan and Jeanne jumped in to complete the rhythm section of Melissa's other established project, Reptoids. They brought a commanding presence to match Reptoids progression to a heavier sound and will be releasing the "Invasion" EP in the Summer of 2011.

You can learn more about Panther Style by visiting their website.

Phish Live in Utica Out Now!

The Phish Utica box set features the complete October 20, 2010 performance on 2-DVD’s and 2-CD’s to be released nationwide on May 24th.  The box set presents three hours of crucial Phish in an intimate venue with an inspired audience that returned the energy at every turn.

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Here's a little video snippet from the DVD release.

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The Utica box set features the complete October 20, 2010 performance on 2-DVDs and 2-CDs. The nearly three hours of music on the Utica box set was recorded with 64 channels of digital multi-track and mixed and mastered, appearing on the DVD's in 5.1 Dolby surround and full-resolution, uncompressed PCM stereo. The video was shot with 8 cameras (16:9 widescreen), recorded and post-edited in High Definition. Regions 1-6.

If you order "Live In Utica" from Phish Dry Goods, you'll receive "Phish: I-90s", a free bonus CD compilation featuring archival material from as early as nineteen years before the "Live In Utica" DVD release. This collection follows the band along the I-90 New York Thruway as they honed their skills in drummer Jon Fishman's home state, recalling highlights from some of the region's many great Phish shows in the 90s. Recorded by Paul Languedoc, compiled by Kevin Shapiro and mastered by Fred Kevorkian, this bonus CD will be included in all Phish Dry Goods orders of Live In Utica while supplies last.

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PHISH - Live In Utica 2010 Tracklisting
DVD Disc One

1. My Soul
2. Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan
3. Vultures
4. Wolfman's Brother
5. Cities >
6. Guyute
7. David Bowie
8. Wilson >
9. McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters >
10. Saw It Again >
11. Run Like An Antelope

DVD Disc Two
1. Drowned >
2. Sand >
3. Theme From The Bottom >
4. Axilla >
5. Birds Of A Feather
6. Tela >
7. Split Open And Melt >
8. Have Mercy >
9. Piper >
11. Split Open And Melt >
12. Slave To The Traffic Light
Encore:
13. Good Times, Bad Times

CD Disc One
1. Vultures
2. Wolfman's Brother
3. Cities >
4. Guyute
5. David Bowie
6. Wilson >
7. McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters >
8. Saw It Again >
9. Run Like An Antelope

CD Disc Two
1. Drowned >
2. Sand >
3. Theme From The Bottom >
4. Axilla >
5. Birds Of A Feather
6. Split Open And Melt >
7. Have Mercy >
8. Piper >
9. Split Open And Melt >
10. Slave To The Traffic Light

Sarabeth Tucek Streams New Album On AOL

Sarabeth Tucek is set to release her sophomore LP, Get Well Soon, on May 24th on Ungawa Records. It’s a stunning record that, although not a concept album as such, forms a narrative based around the death of Sarabeth’s father, or as she beautifully describes it “an impressionistic rendering of a time ruled by grief”. The 12 tracks were “sequenced and resequenced for weeks” in order for the story to emerge and the end result sees not one wasted word or unnecessary note; all we’re left with is “just pure feeling”.
Sarabeth was born to a psychiatrist and a psychologist in Miami, but grew up in New York. She was a latecomer to music, her first calling being acting. However, after a few years in Hollywood, her singing and songwriting was encouraged by people on the music scene she fell in with. She first made an impression singing backing vocals on Smog’s 2003 album Supper and then in the film ‘Dig!’, where she sings a song she had just written called "Something For You". The Brian Jonestown Massacre went on to cover the song (retitled "Seer"), but Sarabeth’s own version became her debut single, on Sonic Cathedral, back in February 2007.
This stark and simple song won her legions of fans and her self-titled debut album followed a few months later (on the Echo label) to rapturous reviews. Produced by Ethan Johns and Luther Russell, its understated style was an inspiration to a number of singer-songwriters who followed in Sarabeth’s wake, including Laura Marling, who approached Johns to produce I Speak Because I Can after hearing it.
However, despite everything seemingly going so right, at home everything was going wrong. “Some very bad things happened during the first record and after,” recalls Sarabeth. “It was as if all that had ever troubled me, hurt me, came back just as I was embarking on what should’ve been the happiest time of my life. It all came back and said, ‘Not so fast...’
“I don’t think my mind could handle all the good coming its way. It was unfamiliar terrain and I didn’t know how to traverse It. Predictably, my drinking got out of control and that led to a couple car accidents, jail and legal troubles.I wanted to leave LA anyway, but now I felt I sort of had to. I hoped that by coming back home to New York I would be able to forge some kind of redemptive break from the past. To forgive myself.”
The move has informed much of the music on Get Well Soon. The warmth of the West Coast has gone, replaced by a much rawer sound, all recorded over an intensive 15-day period in a basement in Southampton, Pennsylvania. “We recorded this record in a house where we also lived,” Sarabeth explains. “My friends Robert and Peter from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recorded ‘Howl’ there. It’s owned by the Nicgorski family who are all very musical: Billy, who offered me the basement, and his brother have played in lots of bands, their sister Maria sings on ‘State I Am In’ and their father Wally spent his mornings on the front porch singing in his rocking chair. Making a record where I am singing to and about my father and seeing and hearing their dad out there every morning served up a pretty strong and bittersweet feeling for me.”
“I think we managed to capture a unique mood down in that basement,” adds producer Luther Russell. “As guests in someone’s home we got a feeling that might not have happened in a regular studio. Sarabeth wanted to be somewhere totally unfamiliar; the material was incredibly personal to her, so she had to feel right about where she did it. My job was to capture that feeling, and fast. The plan was to mix it in LA, but it turned out that all the magic was there in the rough mixes I did as we went along – so that is what you hear. I think that’s why it’s such an immediate record, because it really was completed in those two weeks... but with a lifetime of preparation, of course.”
The rawness of the recording reflects the subject matter and provides the perfect accompaniment to Sarabeth’s voice, which seems stronger, more confident and more crystalline than ever, like Karen Dalton or a less histrionic Cat Power, as she deftly conveys her grief with an eloquent, understated majesty. The musical reference points of the first album – Neil Young, Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Big Star – are still there, but somehow amplified, and Sarabeth is definitely not looking towards the current music scene for inspiration. “It’s odd how placid a lot of music seems now; so washed out in sound and feeling,” she says. “It’s like antidepressant music to take antidepressants to. I don’t really give a shit. I am more likely to buy a new book now than a new record.”
This would explain the number of literary references on Get Well Soon. The opening track "The Wound And The Bow" is named after a book of essays by Edmund Wilson, in which Sarabeth discovered and subsequently became obsessed with the myth of Philoctetes, a play by Sophocles in which the protagonist suffers a wound so grotesque that he is left alone on an island to live in a cave and tend to his injuries. The title of "Exit Ghost" was taken from the Philip Roth novel, but he appropriated it from ‘Hamlet’, where it is written as a stage direction. “The scene when Hamlet sees his father’s ghost became lodged in my head,” explains Sarabeth. “And his subsequent madness I understood in a more personal way.”
The narrative ends with the title track and a resolution of sorts. “I feel like I’m either the patient or the doctor, somebody always has an ache,” she says. “When I wrote the title track I had a friend of mine on my mind. She was so sad... just inconsolable and it was painful to see her like that. The title is a reminder to keep myself well. It’s hard to explain the ferocity of the grief I experienced when my father died. I really felt like it was going to kill me, so to be here... well, I just wanted to remind myself of what I survived.”

Connie Smith's Long Long Of Heartaches | Out 8/23

New recordings by the country music legend Connie Smith, long acclaimed as one of the greatest singers in the history of the genre have been as rare as the voice and knowing singing she brings to them.  Long Line of Heartaches, set for release on August 23rd, her first full album of new material since 1996 (and only her second since 1978) is an event in the making. That’s not just for the rarity, or because her legions of fans have so long awaited this news, but because in its range of undiluted traditional country moods, themes, rhythms and sound, this new Sugar Hill release is simply, unmistakably a new Connie Smith masterpiece, offering the pleasures of the very best that saw release during her remarkable run of recordings during the 1960s and‘70s.

“And that,” she says. “is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve had people ask me what this album was going to be like, since it’s been a long time since they’ve heard me on record, but my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is.”

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this recording, and it’s a personal reason, is that I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it.  The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I’ve always loved.”

The album’s dozen new tracks, potent songs of heartache, joy, and spirit recorded at Nashville’s celebrated RCA Victor Studio B, where Connie recorded most of her chart-topping hits in her first years as a recording artist, include five new traditional country songs co-written by Connie and husband Marty Stuart, the project’s producer. Memorable songs come from long favored Smith sources such as icons Harlan Howard, Foster & Rice, Kostas, Johnny Russell and Smith’s longtime collaborator Dallas Frazier.  Frazier’s song “A Heart Like You” becomes the 69th Frazier composition that Smith has recorded – breaking his 30 years of songwriting silence, an event within itself.

Having become an overnight country sensation in 1964 when her first single, “Once a Day”, became a number one hit, the first time a female country singer’s debut single accomplished that, Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hits in the following years that have become country standards, including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, “Just One Time”, “Run Away Little Tears” “I never Once Stopped Loving You” and “The Hurtin’s All Over”.  She became a star whose iconic voice has influenced other singers for decades. She has recorded a string of 53 albums notable for their quality and range.

To this legacy she now adds Long Line of Heartaches, featuring her band The Sundowners and, for the first time, her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi who add striking family harmonies on the contemporary hymn “Take My Hand.”

“I still love to sing as much as I ever did.  I could sing at the kitchen sink and I’d be happy. I feel it is my destiny to sing.”  Country music fans everywhere should rejoice in the fact that we get to be a part of that destiny.

EOTO Releases 39 Track Live Album

The cyber-kinetic bass juggernaut EOTO will release their third annual tour compilation K-Turns and U-Turns for download today, May 17th.  Featuring 39 hand-selected live tracks, spanning four consecutive hours of music, the album captures the best performances of the year with crystal clear soundboard quality. The collection features songs from every genre, style, and tempo from their grueling non-stop 2010 tour highlighting the live evolution of a band that has put their unique stamp on the electronic music world. The album, which has been edited to flow from one song to the next, mirrors the feeling of a live EOTO show creating the perfect environment for on-the-fly living room dance parties and sci-fi soundtracks alike.

Since 2008, Michael Travis and Jason Hann of EOTO have taken on a brutal tour schedule packing in nearly 150 national shows a year. Armed with thousands of performance hours, it is no surprise the duo has become masters of a skill very few have yet to imagine. By incorporating real instruments alongside high-tech computer programming and the tools of a traditional DJ, the band has made major headway in a very short time.

Each twist and turn of their national 2010 tour saw the project adding new gadgets and techniques to their performance style, paving the way for the project to literally evolve before the eyes of the fans. And, with each turn of the tour, the record button was on, marking each and every move they made. In turn, the band has selected their favorite moments for their annual K-Turns and U-Turns release. This year, the band has chosen 39 tracks from over 125 recorded and released shows in 2010. The album highlights the absolute best diversity in their growing catalog of music.

Along with the release, fans who purchase the latest rendition will also receive a FREE download of the coveted Portage Theater performance from May 6th 2011.

To download a copy of K-Turns and U-Turns album check out ___________ or scan through their entire archive of recorded shows at HERE. For more information on the upcoming EOTO summer festival schedule, visit www.eotomusic.com

Gary Nicholson's New CD, Texas Songbook

Gary Nicholson is a musical renaissance man — a number one hit songwriter, a two time Grammy winning record producer, a guitarist, singer, and recording artist. A consistent presence on the upper reaches of the country chart hit parade for the last three decades, his associations and collaborations read like an honor roll of notable talent in country and beyond: George Strait, Ringo Starr, Garth Brooks, Jeff Bridges, Robert Plant, B.B. King, Fleetwood Mac, Gregg Allman, The Judds, Buddy Guy, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Del McCoury, The Neville Brothers, Vince Gill, Delbert McClinton, Etta James, John Prine, Keb’ Mo’, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson among them. His songs have been heard in the movies Crazy Heart, Major League, City of Hope, Message in a Bottle and Where the Heart Is. “I’m always curious about working with different people and styles,” he says.

He is also a true blue son of the Lone Star State whose love and pride for the place he calls home brims from every track of his Bismeaux Records album, Texas Songbook, due out June 21, 2011. Recorded in Austin with some of the finest players in the state, it features such guest stars as Joe Ely, McClinton, Marcia Ball, Randy Rogers, Ray Benson and Jason Roberts of Asleep at the Wheel on songs inspired by or about Texas by Nicholson himself and penned with Texans like the late Stephen Bruton, McClinton, Guy Clark, Lee Roy Parnell and others. It’s sure to satisfy anyone with a taste for swinging, two-stepping, and dancehall and honky-tonk style Lone Star country music.

The album leaps into a Lone Star state of mind from the opening track, “Texas Weather,” and keeps the theme dancing though “She Feels Like Texas,” “A Woman in Texas, A Woman in Tennessee,” “Lone Star Blues” (with Ely and Benson singing along, and just recorded by George Strait for his next album), “Talkin’ Texan” and “Texas Ruby” (with Ball on piano). The set includes the signature song “Fallin’ & Flyin’” from Crazy Heart, the infectiously swinging “Messin’ With My Woman” (with backing vocals by Benson and Roberts), “Same Kind of Crazy” (written with McClinton, who plays harmonica on the track and cut the song, as did George Strait on his Twang album), and “Listen to Willie” (a tribute to the Red-Haired Stranger with Stoney LaRue and Benson on vocals and Mickey Raphael on harmonica). It wraps up with “Bless Them All” (with the McCrary Sisters), “Live, Laugh, Love” (previously recorded by Texan Clay Walker), and the closing grace note of “Some Days You Write the Song” (the title song of the Grammy-nominated Guy Clark album, co-written with Clark and Jon Randall Stewart).

Nicholson’s impetus for making Texas Songbook was his recent induction into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame. “I’ve always wanted to make a truly country record,” he says of his fourth release in his own right. “So I figured, okay, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this in Texas with all Texas players and with songs co-written by Texans. I’m just going to make the most Texas record I can possibly make and have fun doing it.”

To do so, the first and only choice was to “go straight to Ray Benson.” Recorded at Benson’s Bismeaux Studio, the disc features Asleep at the Wheel members and associates Roberts (fiddle), David Sanger (drums), Floyd Domino (piano) and Kevin Smith (bass) as well as steel guitarist Tommy Detamore and accordion player Joel Guzman. “I couldn’t have made this record in Nashville and gotten this music,” notes Nicholson, a Music City resident for now more than three decades. “I could have come close. But I knew I could only make this album in Texas.” Plus for good measure include in the creative mix some honorary Texans from the state’s “north 40” of Oklahoma like guest singer and Lone Star/Red Dirt music scene hero LaRue and Kevin Welch, co-writer of “Listen to Willie” and now residing in the Hill Country town of Wimberley.

The trail that led Nicholson to becoming an integral and pervasive presence in the Nashville music industry and scene — and 26 ASCAP songwriting awards and nomination to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame — begins in Garland in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where he came of age within the fertile musical context of the mid 1950s.

He soon took up the guitar and started playing folk and country music, making his public debut in his school’s eighth grade talent show and winning it. Then along came The Ventures and Nicholson took up electric guitar. When he later came to believe that the Beatles “were the greatest thing ever” and heard area resident Freddie King, his fate was sealed. As a teen he played in such British Invasion-inspired bands as the Valiants, the Catalinas and the Untouchables.

While studying at North Texas State University in nearby Denton, Nicholson fell in with such other musical students as soon-to-be Eagle Don Henley and pianist/producer/arranger Jim Ed Norman, later president of the Warner Bros. Nashville label. He stayed busy by night in club bands, and was also recruited to tour with the Nazz after Todd Rundgren left the group. “They hired me because I had a Marshall stack and a Les Paul,” Nicholson recalls with a chuckle. Following a night in 1971 hanging out with Gram Parsons on a swing through Dallas by the American-music pioneer, Nicholson left college and, urged on by Parsons, moved with his band to Los Angeles.

His friends Henley and Norman soon followed as Nicholson went on to win his first publishing deal, scored his debut recorded cover by bluegrass star Doug Dillard, and inked a record deal with Kapp/MCA with his band, Uncle Jim’s Music. They rehearsed in the same building as budding star Linda Ronstadt, whose producer John Boylan helmed the first of the band’s two albums of Nicholson’s songs (with Norman on keyboards for the second), prized by collectors.

Not long after watching Henley join forces with Glenn Frey in Ronstadt’s band and then soar to superstardom in The Eagles, Nicholson married his college sweetheart Barbara and headed back to Texas in 1973. Despite the artistic boom in California, “I liked the music back in Texas better,” he notes. One reason why was an album by locals and fellow expatriates to L.A. who would also return home, Delbert & Glen (Clark).

Nicholson wound up doing stints as a guitarist in McClinton’s band throughout the rest of the 1970s. He also started a group called Hot Sauce that melded country-rock and blues and were sometimes joined by his guitar hero Freddie King at their weekly Sunday residency at Mother Blues in Dallas. He also sharpened his Western swing and country chops taking gigs throughout North Texas, and continued to hone his songwriting skills.

Then Norman tapped a Nicholson song, “Jukebox Argument,” for a recording by Mickey Gilley that ended up on the Urban Cowboy 2 soundtrack. His friend then invited him to relocate to Nashville to write for his publishing company in 1980. By 1984 he had joined the roster of legendary writers at Tree Publishing and nabbed his first No. 1 cut with “That’s the Thing About Love” by Don Williams. He has since written or co-written scores of country chart songs including such Top 10 gems as “One More Last Chance” (Vince Gill), “The Trouble With the Truth” (Patty Loveless), “She Couldn’t Change Me” (Montgomery Gentry) and Reba’s “When Love Gets a Hold of You.”

Nicholson showcased his skills as a producer on his 1995 solo debut, The Sky Is Not the Limit. Four albums for McClinton followed, two of them Grammy winners (Best Contemporary Blues Album) and another nominated, and to date the longtime friends have written some 40 songs together that Delbert has recorded. His other noteworthy productions include T. Graham Brown’s acclaimed Wine Into Water, New Day Dawning by Wynonna and the landmark Reunion by the Judds as well as discs by Chris Knight, Seth Walker and Pam Tillis plus Marcia Ball’s latest album, among others.

Soon after arriving in Music City Nicholson did his first session as a guitarist. His credit can be found on numerous albums since, especially when a taste of Texas C&W and blues is called for. He toured out of Nashville in his early years there with Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Tracy Nelson and Gail Davies until Bobby Bare advised him to leave his band and better spend his time at home writing songs. Now that his sons are grown, Nicholson is back out on the road and with his band Fortunate Sons, who put out an album in 2010, as well as gigging and making a record under his nom de blues Whitey Johnson. As Texas Songbook hits the market, he also gathers together a country band to share stages with Asleep at the Wheel over the summer of 2011.

Texas Songbook follows the form of his previous Nashville Songbook album that collected a number of Nicholson’s top country covers in his own versions. Given his Lone Star State roots, his latest disc is a truly special endeavor for the multi-talented musical artist. “I’m really proud of it,” he concludes. “It’s very important stuff for me. As great as Nashville is and has been to me, it will never take the place of Texas in my heart."

Callers Announce 2011 US Summer Tour

Ryan and Sara met Don at a show at Melvin's, a bar on St. Claude in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Ryan and Sara had just begun writing and recording songs together on an old 4-track with a mic hanging from the blade of a ceiling fan in the middle of that stifling sweaty summer, but they would soon part ways and leave New Orleans. Over the next couple of years they relocated to Providence together and later settled in Brooklyn where Don had also settled after Katrina.
Life of Love is the first collection of songs Callers wrote and recorded exclusively in New York as a three- piece. Naturally the band's sound grew in volume in response to the volume of the city; however, they held on to what makes them so consistently affecting: their raw spartan style, anchored by Sara's sensually tough vocals, and Ryan and Don's Southern-honed chops as multi-instrumentalists.
The album started with the band's cover of Wire's "Heartbeat", and the idea of creating something simple and cathartic. Using borrowed amps and mics, in bedrooms and in studios, and by the grace of their good friends, Callers recorded Life of Love in intense spurts over the course of a year. Unlike the experimental ballads on their debut Fortune, the new songs pulse with gritty urgency, colored by the sounds of damaged gear and the earnest spirit of a middle-school gospel choir. The result is an album stripped to the core, an expression of the inexpressible space between us and the places we inhabit and the people we share those places with.
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US Tour Dates
6/4 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY ^&
7/6 - Club Passim - Cambridge, MA
7/7 - One Longfellow Square - Portland, ME
7/8 - Casa Del Popolo - Montreal, QC
7/9 - Cisco Systems Bluesfest - Ottawa, ON
7/10 - The Monkey House - Winooski, VT
7/23 - Hillside Festival - Guelph, ON
7/24 - Beachland Tavern - Cleveland, OH%
7/26 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh, PA%
7/27 - Metro Gallery - Baltimore, MD
7/28 - World Cafe Live Upstairs - Philadelphia, PA%

^ Yellow Ostrich

& Wildbirds & Peacedrums

% Nat Baldwin