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Tony Bennett's 'Best of the Improv Recordings' coming on Concord

In the decade between the end of World War II and the advent of rock ’n’ roll, Tony Bennett emerged as one of the premier pop singers of his generation — the heir apparent to figures like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and other iconic balladeers whose versatile and engaging vocal styles had already translated to huge successes in the 1930s and 1940s.

Despite his popularity in the postwar era, though, Bennett had grown restless by the 1970s. The time had come for him to explore something new, preferably on his own terms, and in an environment of his own making. After more than 15 years on Columbia and a short stint at MGM Records, Bennett struck out on his own and launched Improv Records, a label that lasted only a couple years but generated several fine recordings during the mid-1970s.

Concord Records gathers 16 tracks from his brief period on Improv into a single collection, Tony Bennett: The Best of the Improv Recordings. The compilation, which is culled from the four-CD boxed set, Tony Bennett: The Complete Improv Recordings, is set for release on July 12, just three weeks prior to Bennett’s 85th birthday.

“These tracks capture the moment in Tony Bennett’s career when he had complete artistic freedom,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group. “As the head of his own label, he was the person who was calling all the shots and running the show. He was free to record what he wanted to record — music that was really important to him and resonated with him . . . I think the results are nothing short of stellar.”

Will Friedwald, who wrote the liner notes for the collection, admits that Improv was short-lived and not a commercial success, releasing about ten albums before shutting its doors after only two years. However, the period was an artistic high mark in Bennett’s overall career.

“Tony Bennett’s own recordings for his label would fall roughly into three categories,” says Friedwald. “Orchestral sessions with his regular musical director at the time, Torrie Zito; quartet sessions with the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet; and most famously, duet sessions with pianist Bill Evans.” Each of these categories is well represented in this collection.

Despite the label’s less than stellar commercial performance during its short existence, says Friedwald, “the Improv sessions would result in some of the most amazing music of Bennett’s career.”

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TRACK LIST:

This Can’t Be Love
Make Someone Happy
Isn’t It Romantic?
Life Is Beautiful
Blue Moon
Thou Swell
You Don’t Know What Love Is
My Romance
The Lady Is a Tramp
You Must Believe in Spring
Reflections
I Could Write a Book
Maybe September
As Time Goes By
While We’re Young [live]
I Left My Heart in San Francisco [live]

Marcus Eaton West Coast Spring Tour

When singer-songwriter Marcus Eaton was asked to play and co-write on forthcoming album with Rock And Roll Hall of Famer, David Crosby, it was not a big surprise. Thanks to a strange turn of luck, Crosby has been a long-time influence and fan of the powerhouse performer from Boise, ID. Just one of many auspicious experiences dotting Eaton's career things are looking bright for the young performer who is taking his trio on the road for a short national tour this spring.

Known for a clear and inviting voice coupled with dazzling guitar work, Eaton and his band will be making stops in a number of key cities in support of his latest independent release As if You Had Wings (Feb, 2011) available exclusively on his website and at shows. One of five albums bearing Eaton's name, the latest release has received rave reviews with its radio-ready format and brilliant pop-friendly appeal. The band, also featuring bassist Ben Burleigh and powerhouse drummer Kevin Rogers will be playing a number of opening slots with Tim Reynolds TR3 along with a number of headlining slots booked along the way.

In just a few short years, the band who has been likened to such vaunted trios as Cream, Rush and the Police has received lavish praise from music authorities across the board including Crosby, who has courted a 2-year collaborative relationship with Eaton in the making of his latest album, yet to be released . Throughout his career, Eaton has performed at venues vast and intimate including four consecutive years alongside Dave Matthews at the 20,000-capacity Gorge Amphitheatre side stage and on a local level, his CD release party at The Knitting Factory in Boise crammed the concert hall well beyond its official 999-seat capacity.

Eaton and his band will be making rounds all along the West Coast and Mountain States this spring including stops in Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake, Tacoma and Portland and is not to be missed. For more information about Marcus Eaton, or to find out details about his latest tour check out marcuseaton.com

Former Thieves Announce Debut Album

Former Thieves have been a band characterized by their hard work and grueling tour regimens in their seemingly short life span. But, that's about to change with their debut full length on No Sleep Records.

Coming from the barren and simple fields of Iowa, Former Thieves have created a pummeling new record that personifies the feelings and emotions of coming from nothing and fighting the entire way to what they have created. "The Language That We Speak" takes the listener through a thorough commentary on the frustration of Midwestern life. Articulate, sharp, and sincerely pissed.

Recorded December 1st through 10th 2010 at The Red Room in Seattle, WA with Chris Common (Mastodon, The Sword) at the helm, No Sleep Records looks to release "The Language That We Speak" on Tuesday April 19th 2011. The record will be released on CD, vinyl, and digital formats and recalls the sounds made famous by the likes of Converge, Botch, Coalesce, and Modern Life Is War while maintaining its own unique formula.

Watch the first short video feat. studio footage of the band here!

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Former Thieves Live!

03/16/11 - Kansas City, MO @ Salt Walter Taffy House
03/18/11 - Austin, TX @ The Mellow Mushroom
03/19/11 - Austin, TX (SXSW)
03/20/11 - Austin, TX (SXSW)
03/23/11 - Hattiesburg, MS @ 1126 House
03/26/11 - Columbia, SC @ House of Hardcore
03/28/11 - Greensboro, NC @ Legitimate Business
03/29/11 - Richmond, VA @ The Barn
03/30/11 - State College, PA @ La Casa Blanca
04/01/11 - Louisville, KY @ Ear X-Tacy
04/02/11 - St. Louis, MO @ Lemp Arts

Mark Vann Foundation Benefit @ Boulder Theater

Great American Taxi is hosting the 8th Annual Mark Vann Foundation Holiday Benefit Show.  This is always a special night in Boulder, CO and we've got a bunch of great friends coming out to help.  The evening will start out with some singer-songwriters including John McKay, Kort McCumber and Bonnie Paine.  Up next Bonfire Dub will get the evening rocking with their brand of roots, rock and dub.  Shannon McNally will play a short set with her band Hot Sauce and then our good ol' buddy Todd Snider will grace the stage for a solo set before joining Great American Taxi for some more songs.  Great American Taxi will also be playing a short set as well before getting all of their friends to join in the team pick.  There's always some surprise all-star guests who show up too and join the fun.  There will be a silent auction, raffle and art sale.  This is a great chance to pick up some unique holiday gifts.  All proceeds go directly to the Mark Vann Foundation as well as two wonderful Boulder-area charities, There With Care and CareConnect. Tickets are only $20 (all charges included) and doors are at 7:30 pm with show starting at 8 pm.

If you can't make it to the show, you can always donate to any/all of these charities as well.  Go to www.MarkVannFoundation.org to help out or buy a ticket to the show and donate it.  Tickets to the show can be purchased here : www.bouldertheater.com.

Great American Taxi is also excited to announce their New Years Run at home in Colorado between December 29th-Jan 1st culminating at Quixtoe's True Blue for a 6 am bloody-mary set to start the new year on 1/1/11.  We will be in Vail on Dec. 29th, Steamboat Springs on the 30th and spending New Year's Eve with Railroad Earth at the Ogden Theater in Denver, CO.  We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and the Taxi will be rolling back out across this great country of ours in 2011 to a town near you soon.  Take care everyone, we can't wait to rock it out with all of you soon.  See you in Boulder next Saturday!

As a way of saying thanks for a great year, Great American Taxi is offering a free download of an unreleased track that was recorded last winter to benefit a charity kitchen.  Go to this link and you will get the unreleased single "Peace Tonight" as well as "One Of These Days" from 'Reckless Habits'.  Go here.

Check out Grateful Web's coverage from the 6th Annual Mark Vann Benefit show.

The Heavy Pets Announce Northeast Winter Tour

The Heavy Pets will close out a highly successful 2010 with a tour along the northeast corridor including dates in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland before heading back to FL for a final leg of New Year's shows in their home stomping grounds. The Heavy Pets have grown exponentially in a very short time and the tour marks a fitting end to an extraordinary year for the band.

Ever since their first performance in 2007, the Heavy Pets became an instant national sensation through heavy rotation on the international airwaves of Sirius Satellite radio. National success did not end there; they were immediately embraced in the jam scene for their raw talent and tenacious commitment to creating great music. And like their unmistakable sound, The Heavy Pets themselves have transcended boundaries; crossing a bridge few bands survive intact --- into the periphery of mainstream music through upbeat, danceable, homegrown, skillfully executed tunes.

In the past four years alone, the band has managed to release a two-disc studio album, a live release, a three song EP and most recently, their sophomore self-titled studio release and vinyl album --- a feat few bands have accomplished in such a short time. The 2010 self-titled release has garnered critical acclaim in tight circles of virtuoso musicians and casual fans alike.

The five piece band will appear throughout the northeast for a jam-packed three week tour including their biggest performance in NYC at Highline Ballroom with progressive jam rockers, U-Melt. The band will also be playing a few venues for the first time including stops in Cafe Nine, Empire and Putnam Den as well as a homecoming performance in Syracuse NY - a town that two of the six artists call their Alma mater.

The entire tour will be mixed, recorded and cataloged by Charlie Miller of the Grateful Dead/Kimock fame and available for purchase on the Heavy Pets website through LiveDownloads.com and DigitalSoundboard.com. While the specifics of the tour are still lining up, the band will be undoubtedly making waves at every stop along the tour and are not to be missed.

For a complete tour schedule and more information about the band, check out their new website at www.theheavypets.com

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2010 TOUR DATES:
11/19 Tobacco Road - Miami, FL
11/26 Highline Ballroom - New York, NY
11/27 The Vibe Lounge - Rockville Center, NY
11/30 Cafe Nine - New Haven, CT
12/1 Empire Dine & Dance - Portland, ME
12/2 Matterhorn - Stowe, VT
12/3 Matterhorn - Stowe, VT
12/4 Nectars - Burlington, V
12/8 Westcott Theater - Syracuse, NY
12/9 Putnam Den - Saratoga Springs, NY
12/14 Jewish Mother's - Norfolk, VI
12/17 The 8 x 10 - Baltimore, MD
12/18 River Street Jazz Cafe - Plains, PA
12/31 Culture Room - Fort Lauderdale, FL

wOOtstock at the Boulder Theatre 10.23

Z2 Entertainment and wOOtstock present Something Or Other Feat:  Adam Savage and Paul & Storm with Special Guest Phil Plait at the Boulder Theater on Saturday October 23rd.

For decades, geeks were ostracized, picked on, laughed at and punished by the sun’s harmful UV rays. But there is only so long that a people can be kept down before they rise up against their oppressors; and, indeed, the dawn of the 21st century has seen the ascendancy of geeks and geek culture.

We now celebrate that rise to power–and let’s face it, nerds pretty much run everything now–with w00tstock, a special event for geeks of every stripe. Television host/special-effects artist Adam Savage (“MythBusters”), actor/author/blogger Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Stand By Me”) and music-comedy duo Paul and Storm (The Internet, Da Vinci’s Notebook) present a night of songs, readings, comedy, demonstrations, short films, special guests, and other clever widgets born from and dedicated to the enthusiasms, obsessions, trials and joys of geek pride.

This is the dawning of the Age of Geekdom–and its voices will ring true at w00tstock.

For updates and additions continue to check http://w00tstock.net

Dierks Bentley Takes The Tonight Show "Up On The Ridge"

Award winning singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley will debut the lead and title track from his forthcoming bluegrass-influenced album UP ON THE RIDGE on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, tonight,  Tues., April 27.  The track, written by Bentley and Angelo Petraglia, features Petraglia on acoustic guitar, Sam Bush on slide mandolin and background vocals by Alison Krauss.

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had making music,” says Bentley.  “The songs, the production, the collaborations...everything came together so organically and naturally...it’s been a blast.   Now, we’ve got tv offers and a tour...I feel the same excitement and nervousness I felt when we were getting ready to release my first album 6 years ago!”

As anticipation builds for the artistically-daring collection, music critics are stirring with a first taste of the June 8, 2010 release.  CMT’s Chet Flippo predicts it will be a “career landmark” for Bentley, and MusicRow magazine is already calling it “the first masterpiece country album of 2010.”

To preview a short film on the background of UP ON THE RIDGE, click here.

Bentley kicked off his UP ON THE RIDGE tour of 24 shows in 30 days this past weekend with sold out crowds in Portland, OR; Boulder, CO; Colorado Springs, CO; and Austin, TX.  He continues on through May 22 with a final show at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.  For a full list of appearances and tour dates, as well as more info on the upcoming album, visit here.