blues

Moody Bluegrass Two Featuring Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush & More Available Now

Following 2004’s critically and commercially acclaimed tribute to the legendary Moody Blues, the GRAMMY nominated Moody Bluegrass, along with the highly successful Moody Bluegrass Live, Nashville’s finest have come together again to honor the Moody Blues with Moody Bluegrass Two…Much Love released nationwide this week!

“We have had so many cover versions of our songs over the years, but none have stood out like Moody Bluegrass. Nashville's most outstanding musicians have once again brought a new dimension to our songs,“ said Ray Thomas, co-founder of the Moody Blues.

Producer David Harvey returns for this second volume, which perfectly blends the brilliant songwriting of the Moody Blues with the bluegrass sounds of mandolins, banjos and even clogging. The collection of bluegrass covers includes Moody Blues members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge, as well as band co-founders Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas and a wide assortment of Music City’s finest including Vince Gill, Ricky SkaggsSam Bush and more.

The record spans the entire Moody Blues catalogue, and includes fan favorites such as "Tuesday Afternoon" and "I Know You're Out There." Moody Bluegrass Two translates the Moody Blues’ original songs seamlessly and much like the first bluegrass tribute, the beauty of the original Moody Blues music shines.

Moody Bluegrass Two also features the talents of Tim O'Brien, Harley Allen, Peter Rowan, Jan Harvey, Ronnie Bowman, Emma Harvey, Larry Cordle, John Cowan, Jon Randall, David Harvey, Tim May, Andy Hall and Andy Todd.

For more information visit www.moodybluegrass.com.

Candye Kane's 'Sister Vagabond' album rings triumphant in challenging year

Candye Kane has been called a survivor, a superhero and the toughest girl alive. (All are also titles of her self-penned songs.) Her eleventh CD release, Sister Vagabond, will hit the streets on August 16, 2011 on Delta Groove Records. Produced by Kane and her noted guitarist Laura Chavez, Sister Vagabond is a worthy successor to their 2010 collaboration, Superhero, which was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues CD in the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards.

The jump-blues singer, songwriter and mother of two from East Los Angeles is a five-time nominee for Blues Music Awards, has nabbed ten San Diego Music Awards and starred in a sold-out stage play about her life. She’s beat pancreatic cancer in the last two years. She has performed worldwide for presidents and movie stars.

But her path to success was not always glamorous or easy. Raised in what she calls a dysfunctional blue-collar family, Candye became a mother, a pinup cover girl and a punk-rock, hillbilly blues-belter by the time she was just 21 years old. Ten CDs, six record labels, millions of international road miles and countless awards later, Miss Kane has proven to be a true survivor as she scrambled her way to the top of the roots-music heap, creating a world renowned reputation that has spanned two decades.

A colorful mixture of the traditional and the eclectic, Kane cut her musical teeth in the early ’80s onstage with Hollywood musicians and friends Social Distortion, Dwight Yoakam, Dave Alvin, Los Lobos, The Blasters, X, Fear and the Circle Jerks, to name just a few. While raising two sons, this role model for the disenfranchised championed large-sized women, fought for the equal rights of sex workers and the GLBT community and inspired music lovers everywhere. Her fans are a mixture of true outsiders: bikers, blues fans, punk rockers, drag queens, fat girls, queers, burlesque dancers, porn fans, sex workers, rockabilly and swing dancers, gray-haired hippies, sex-positive feminists and everyday folk of all ages.

In 1986, then married to Thomas Yearsley of the Paladins, she was touched by the music of Big Maybelle, Big Mama Thornton, Ruth Brown and more. Her self-released 1991 Burlesque Swing caught the ear of Texas impresario Clifford Antone, who signed her to a deal with Antone’s Records. Los Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and Paladin/Hacienda Brother/Stone River Boy Dave Gonzalez co-produced the first album of the deal, Home Cookin’. Picked up by Discovery (later Sire) Records, the Dave Alvin/Derek O’Brien-produced Diva La Grande was followed by Swango in the height of the swing craze.

Rounder/Bullseye Records signed her in 1995, releasing The Toughest Girl Alive, produced by Scott Billington. Four albums followed on the German RUF label, including the Bob Margolin-produced Guitar’d and Feathered. She then pacted with her current label, Delta Groove, releasing Superhero in 2010 and now Sister Vagabond in 2011.

Her full-time, 250-days-a-year touring schedule started in 1992. And today, Kane’s live shows are the stuff of legend. She honors the bold blues women of the past with both feet firmly planted in the present. She belts, growls, shouts, croons and moans from a lifetime of suffering and overcoming obstacles. She uses music as therapy and often writes and chooses material with positive affirmations that leave the audience feeling healed and exhilarated. In a show that is part humor, part revival meeting and party sexuality celebration, she'll deliver a barrelhouse-tongue-in-cheek blues tune or a gospel ballad, encouraging audiences to leave behind religious intolerance. She’ll slay the crowd with her balls out rendition of “Whole Lotta Love” or glorify the virtues of zaftig women with “200 Pounds of Fun.” She often says she is a ”fat black drag queen trapped in a white woman's body” and she dresses the part.

Kane has been included in countless blues and jazz CD anthologies including Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide and Musichound: Blues, The Essential Album Guide and Dan Aykroyd’s 30 Essential Women of the Blues. She appeared on the influential call-to-arms of Southern California roots music, A Town South of Bakersfield on Enigma Records, alongside Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam.

In addition to her musical achievements, Kane has become an activist and philanthropist in recent years. In August 2009, she appeared in Dublin, Ireland for the World Congress for Downs Syndrome with her United by Music charity. The project provides performance opportunities, blues history lessons and songwriting instruction to young people with disabilities, encouraging them to write their own blues songs to help them overcome their daily challenges.

A fighter par excellence, Candye has an authenticity, determination and optimism that keep her shows passionate, honest and irresistible.

“I take things one day at a time and today I am feeling great and very optimistic about my new CD,” Kane says. It’s been awesome to write and co-produce again with my guitarist Laura Chavez. I am grateful for every chance I get to make music live, or in the studio. Most people are given only three months to live after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and three years later, I am still here. So any opportunity I have to create music makes me humbled and grateful.

“People ask me why I want to work so hard and so much, since I tour 250 days a year. Everyone says I should stay home and relax after my health struggle. But music is my life and neuroendocrine cancer is a mostly manageable disease. I will continue to work as much as I can because I know life is fragile anyway. I would be fine if I died onstage doing what I love like Country Dick Montana or Johnny Guitar Watson. I’m not planning on going anytime soon, but when I do exit this plane, I hope it’s making someone else feel inspired by the powerful words in my songs.”

Grateful Dead's Shakedown Street and Blues for Allah Get Deluxe 180-Gram Pure Virgin Vinyl Treatment

In a move sure to delight audiophiles and collectors of classic pop music albums, the Audio Fidelity label will reissue of two classic Grateful Dead albums on 180-gram pure virgin vinyl, in limited numbered edition gatefold packages on June 7th, according to label president Marshall Blonstein.The band's 1975 BLUES FOR ALLAH and 1978's SHAKEDOWN STREET will be available from both online and brick-and-mortar retail outlets as the latest offerings in Audio Fidelity's continuing program of audiophile reissues.

Audio Fidelity, which Blonstein founded in 2002 after leaving the pioneering DCC Compact Classics label that he started in 1986, has become synonymous with high-quality album reissues geared toward the audiophile market. Since 2009, Audio Fidelity has reissued some of the best-known and most significant pop and rock titles in both 24Karat Gold CD and 180-gram virgin vinyl editions.Continuing the policy Blonstein established at DCC, all Audio Fidelity titles are produced from original sources and feature the original artwork. Among the imprint's growing catalog are key recordings by Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beach Boys, Rod Stewart, the Doors, Cat Stevens, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

The two Grateful Dead reissues occupy special places in the fabled San Francisco band's history. BLUES FOR ALLAH, originally released in September of 1975, was the third of only four albums issued on the group's Grateful Dead Records imprint. While the LP's best remembered cuts, "Franklin's Tower" and "The Music Never Stopped," remained in the band's concert set list for some 20 years, the title track-the first part of an ambitious suite-was performed only a few times in 1975 before being retired from the band's repertoire. BLUES FOR ALLAH reached No. 12 on Billboard's album chart; from the LP, "The Music Never Stopped" was the Dead's highest charting single since "Uncle John's Band."

First issued in November 1978 on Arista Records, SHAKEDOWN STREET was the Dead's tenth album, its eighth to go Gold. Produced by Little Feat founder Lowell George, it was an eclectic collection that featured updated versions of venerable live Dead favorites ("Good Lovin,'" "All New Minglewood Blues") and also introduced songs that would become staples of the band's concerts for years to come, most notably "I Need a Miracle" and "Fire on the Mountain." The lighthearted SHAKEDOWN STREET cover illustration was done by renowned underground-comics artist Gilbert Shelton, famous for The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Wonder Wart-hog strips. The album remained on the Billboard chart for close to six months, peaking at No. 41.

The Grateful Dead vinyl reissues represent Audio Fidelity's expanded vinyl release schedule, which has recently included titles such as Cheap Trick's IN COLOR, Laura Nyro's FIRST SONGS, Harry Nilsson's A LITTLE TOUCH OF SCHMILSSON IN THE NIGHT and Kate Bush's HOUNDS OF LOVE. While the label often issues a title in both Gold-CD and virgin-vinyl formats, Blonstein admits some of the impetus for producing the latter comes from the renewed interest in vinyl LP's. According to the R.I.A.A., vinyl sales surged 26% in 2010 over the previous year.

Blonstein is bullish on the public's appetite for audiophile reissues of classic albums, and Audio Fidelity's capacity to satisfy it. "The traditional music retail stores as we once knew them are gone," he continues. "At the same time, there's a strong traditional 'unique' retail base of retailers that has found a way to do more than survive; they're thriving. When CDs first came out, they were unique. It was a new format. Vinyl and cassettes starting declining rapidly in sales. The uniqueness and the improved sound quality made the CD an almost instant success, but it lacked the emotional connection consumers experienced with vinyl. The resurgence of vinyl shows us that connection is being made again ... the consumer likes to hold a vinyl LP, to study the artwork. It's now become a very hip format again, and when you see consumers shopping for vinyl at stores, you see them spending more time looking to buy music in general. It's obvious that there is an audience for top-quality remastered CD and vinyl pressings."

Marshall Blonstein's professional career comprises a virtual history of the modern music and entertainment business. The Los Angeles native started in the business in 1965 as a promotion executive at Epic and ABC Records. As a principal of Ode Records, he helped make Carole King's Tapestry one of the best-selling albums of all time and built two of the longest running cult-film franchises in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke. Blonstein subsequently served as president of Island Records, working with artists such as Bob Marley and Steve Winwood, and, in 1986, founded DCC Compact Classics to take advantage of the technical advances offered in the digital medium. DCC quickly grew into the premiere audiophile imprint, issuing sets by Elvis Presley, the Eagles, the Doors, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Upon leaving DCC in 2002, Blonstein created Audio Fidelity, which has assumed a similarly prestigious perch among imprints serving the audiophile and music-collecting communities. In addition to its audiophile catalog, Audio Fidelity, based in Camarillo, California, also releases compilation CDs, a variety of reissues and DVDs, such as Soupy Sales, Elvis Presley, Tim Allen and Hugh Hefner's legendary series Playboy After Dark.

Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs and More Join Moody Bluegrass Two

Following 2004’s critically and commercially acclaimed tribute to the legendary Moody Blues, the GRAMMY nominated Moody Bluegrass, along with the highly successful Moody Bluegrass Live, Nashville’s finest have come together again to honor the Moody Blues with Moody Bluegrass Two…Much Love available nationwide on June 21, 2011.

“We have had so many cover versions of our songs over the years, but none have stood out like Moody Bluegrass. Nashville's most outstanding musicians have once again brought a new dimension to our songs, “ said Ray Thomas, co-founder of the Moody Blues.

Producer David Harvey returns for this second volume, which perfectly blends the brilliant songwriting of the Moody Blues with the bluegrass sounds of mandolins, banjos and even clogging. The collection of bluegrass covers includes Moody Blues members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge, as well as band co-founders Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas and a wide assortment of Music City’s finest including Vince Gill, Sam Bush and Ricky Skaggs.

The record spans the entire Moody Blues catalogue, and includes fan favorites such as "Tuesday Afternoon" and "I Know You're Out There." Moody Bluegrass Two translates the Moody Blues’ original songs seamlessly and much like the first bluegrass tribute, the beauty of the original Moody Blues music shines.

Moody Bluegrass Two also features the talents of Tim O'Brien, Harley Allen, Peter Rowan, Jan Harvey, Ronnie Bowman, Emma Harvey, Larry Cordle, John Cowan, Jon Randall, David Harvey, Tim May, Andy Hall and Andy Todd.

For more information visit www.moodybluegrass.com.

Hurricane Bells Launches PledgeMusic Campaign for Sophomore Album Tales and Tides,

Hurricane Bells today launched a PledgeMusic campaign to support the completion of its sophomore album, Tides and Tales, which will be released this fall via band architect Steve Schiltz's own label, Invisible Brigades.

As with Hurricane Bells' debut album Tonight Is The Ghost, Tides and Tales was recorded, produced, and mixed almost entirely by Schiltz (longtime front man of Longwave) over the past few months. The funds raised through PledgeMusic will directly contribute to the mastering, manufacturing, touring and promotion of the album. For pledging, multiple incentives are offered to fans, including exclusive vinyl, signed CDs and t-shirts, a house concert by the band, and a vintage Gibson guitar, among many others. Fans who pledge will also be able to stream new album track "Let's Go" immediately via the Hurricane Bells PledgeMusic page.

Hurricane Bells has chosen to donate a portion of all campaign proceeds through PledgeMusic to Education Through Music, a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports music instruction in disadvantaged schools. For more information on the Hurricane Bells PledgeMusic campaign and to view a full list of pledge incentives, please visit here. Additional news about the release of Tides and Tales will be announced soon.

Hurricane Bells is playing a stripped-down show in New York tonight at CULTUREfix to celebrate finishing recording Tides and Tales. Doors are at 7pm and tickets are $10. To purchase, visit here.

Earlier this spring, Hurricane Bells digitally released two live albums, Hurricane Bells Live At House Of Blues Boston and Hurricane Bells Live At House Of Blues San Diego. The two albums were recorded last fall during the band's tour supporting KT Tunstall. The band released an EP, Down Comes The Rain, last September and Tonight Is The Ghost, in the fall of 2009. The Hurricane Bells song "Monsters," a Tonight Is The Ghost B-side, was featured on The Twilight Saga: New Moon official soundtrack.

Rebelution Joins Slightly Stoopid on Summer Tour

Santa Barbara based band Rebelution has officially announced they will be joining Slightly Stoopid on tour in July, August, and September, for The Seedless Summer 2011 Tour which will span over twenty-five cities in top outdoor venues, nationwide. The Seedless Summer 2011 Tour will stop at some of the country’s best outdoor venues, including Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, The Greek Theater in Berkley, CA, and Cricket Amphitheater in San Diego, CA, to name a few.  Shwayze & Cisco Adler will also be on the bill.  Tickets went on sale to the public on Saturday May 14, 2011.

Some of Rebelution’s latest career highlights, include recently retuning from a two week tour across Brazil, performances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Wakarusa, Reggae Rising, Power to the Peaceful, and Ragga Muffins Tribute to Bob Marley Festival. They also headlined the US open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA.  On their 2010 headlining, national “Winter Greens” tour, the band played to sold out crowds across the country including selling tickets to upwards of 3,000 people in venues including: The House of Blues, San Diego, The Fox Theatre, Oakland, The House of Blues, Chicago, Irving Plaza in New York City, The House of Blues, Boston, The House of Blues in Orlando, Florida, and a sold out show at the renowned Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California.  The band was also named one of the “Five Artists Your Should Know About” by Relix Magazine heading into 2011, one of the “Top 8 SoCal Bands” by Fashion 5.0 Magazine – and Music Connection Magazine said “ Rebelution’s guitar solos and horns give a breath of fresh air, to a played out style.  With guitar leads like the one showcased in ‘Outta Control,’ this four-piece is creating what it takes to stand out in a crowded room.”

Other upcoming Rebelution show dates, include the California Roots Music FestivalWakarusa Music Festival, Crossroads KC with Ben Harperfour Hawaii dates supporting reggae legends Steel Pulse in Kona, Oahu, Maui and Kauai, the Sierra Nevada World Music FestivalDave Matthews Band's Caravan FestivalHigh Sierra Music FestivalHollywood Park in Los Angeles, CA and the Klover Outdoor Pavilion in Billings, Montana.

Outside of their two Billboard charting albums [Courage to Grow, Billboard Top Reggae Album Charts since its release in 2007 and Bright Side of Life which debuted at #54 on the Billboard Top 200, #6 on the Billboard Independent Albums, and #1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts] Rebelution is currently in the studio working on their forthcoming third, full-length album, with notable guests passing through the studio including AmpLive, The Aggrolites, and Kymani Marley.

For more information on Rebelution, the Seedless Summer 2011 Tour, or for a complete list of Rebelution tour dates, click here.  You can also visit Rebelution on Facebook - and follow the band on Twitter.

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THE SEEDLESS SUMMER 2011 NATIONAL TOUR DATES

July 21 – Missoula, MT – Big Sky Brewery

July 22 – Boise, ID – Idaho Botanical Garden

July 23 – Redmond, WA – Marymoor Amphitheatre

July 24 – Eugene OR – Cuthbert Amphitheatre

July 26 – Jacksonville, OR – Britt Pavilion

July 27 – Lake Tahoe, CA – Harvey’s Amphitheatre

July 29 – Berkley, CA – The Greek Theatre

July 30 – San Diego, CA Cricket Amphitheatre

August 4 – Salt Lake City, UT – Gallivan Center

August 5 – Aspen, CO – TBD

August 6 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre

August 10 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony Summer Stage

August 11 – Gilford, NH – Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion

August 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Penn’s Landing

August 13 – Boston, MA – Bank of America Pavilion

August 17 – Baltimore, MD – Pier Six Concert Pavilion

August 18 – Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre

August 19 – Cocoa Beach, FL – Cocoa Beach Pier

August 20 – West Boca Raton, Fl – Sunset Cove Amphitheatre

August 21 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre

August 24 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade Music Park

August 25 – Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Amphitheatre

August 27 – Chicago, IL – Charter One Pavilion

Girl Talk & Jim Jones Collaborate On "Believe In Magic"

In late February 2011, as Girl Talk was about to head out for his second month of touring in support of All Day, Pitchfork TV brought Girl Talk and Dipset’s Jim Jones together in Jones’ Nomad District Studio in New York for a special edition of their “Selector” series. Together, with Girl Talk producing a beat sampled from Honey Cone’s “Want Ads” and Jones freestyling over it, the two created a new track -- “Believe in Magic.” The results of the “Selector” taping exceeded all expectations and Jones was so pleased he took things one step further and invited R&B vocalist Lloyd to contribute, essentially making “Believe in Magic” the perfect summer jam. Watch “Believe In Magic” being made, and download Jim Jones ft. Lloyd and Girl Talk’s “Believe In Magic” below.

Watch Pitchfork TV’s Selector: Girl Talk & Jim Jones: Believe In Magic -

Download/share Jim Jones ft. Lloyd and Girl Talk: "Believe In Magic" -

Girl Talk hits the road next week once again in support of All Day. Catch him in the Southeast this month, and playing festivals, including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Summerfest, Wanderlust, Ottawa Blues Fest and more, throughout North America all summer long.

Girl Talk Tour Dates:

Wed. May 18 -- St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live

Thu. May 19 -- Miami, FL @ The Fillmore

Fri. May 20 -- Miami, FL @ The Fillmore

Sat. May 21 -- Orlando, FL @ House of Blues

Sun. May 22 -- Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Fest

Tue. May 24 -- Oxford, MS @ The Lyric Oxford

Thu. May 26 -- Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Festival

Sat. May 28 -- Chillicothe, IL @ Summer Camp

Sun. May 29 -- Thornville, OH @ Hookahville

Sat. June 11 -- Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival

Fri. June 17 -- Atlantic City, NJ @ Showboat Atlantic City - House of Blues

Sat. June 18 -- Governors Island @ Revelation Music Festival - South Island Field

Sat. June 25 -- New Braunfels, TX @ Whitewater Music Amphitheater

Fri. July 1 -- Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest - Miller Lite Stage

Sat. July 2 -- Des Moines, IA @ 80/35 Festival

Sun. July 3 -- Thackerville, OK @ WinStar Casino - ShowPlace

Thu. July 7 -- Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Blues Festival

Fri. July 8 -- Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy

Sat. July 9 -- Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy

Sun. July 10 -- Quebec City, PQ @ Quebec City International

Sat. July 30 -- Lake Tahoe, CA @ Wanderlust Festival

Wed. Aug. 3 -- Canandaigua, NY @ Constellation Brands w/ Wiz Khalifa

Fri. Aug. 5 -- Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza

Sat. Aug. 6 -- Kansas City, KS @ Kanrocksas Music Festival

Sat. Aug. 13 -- San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Festival

Sat. Aug. 20 -- Squamish, BC @ Live at Squamish

Fri. Sep. 2 -- Snowmass, CO @ Jazz Aspen Labor Day Festival

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."

1st Annual Boulder Roots & Blues Summit at Fox & Boulder Theater

TheBluesMobile.com, 97.3 KBCO, Daily Camera & Colorado Daily are proud to present The 1st Annual Boulder Roots & Blues Summit at the Fox Theatre & Boulder Theater Friday, May 13th through Sunday, May 15th.

Tickets are On Sale Now for the First Annual Boulder Roots & Blues Summit, May 13-15, in historic Boulder, Colorado. The Fox & Boulder theaters are excited to host a taste of the roots & blues between two venues for three days of live music by some of the finest musicians in the industry. Join us at the Boulder Theater each day for the early shows, and then move to the Fox Theatre for the late-night shows.

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The final lineup is as follows:

Friday, May 13:

Lucinda Williams w/ Lionel Young at the Boulder Theater

Vieux Farka Toure and William Elliott Whitmore at the Fox Theatre

Saturday, May 14:

Leon Russell w/ Janiva Magness at the Boulder Theater

Davy Knowles with Hazel Miller Blues Band & Taylor Scott and Another Kind of Magic at the Fox Theatre

Sunday, May 15:

Sheryl Crow at the Boulder Theater

VIP Roots & Blues Summit Pass available Now for $325:

- Receive entry to all shows at the Fox & Boulder Theater May 13 – 15

- VIP Entrance to all shows

- Reserved seating for all shows at the Boulder Theater

- Reserved balcony for all shows at the Fox Theatre

- Limited edition 1st Annual Roots & Blues Summit silk screen poster

- Limited edition 1st Annual Roots & Blues Summit t-shirt

Big Head Todd & The Monsters Announce 2011 Summer Plans

Longtime Colorado favorites Big Head Todd and The Monsters have mapped out their summer tour plans. In addition to a handful of theatres in the midwest, the band headlines their annual Red Rocks Amphitheatre gig on June 11, where Guster will be on hand to open the show. The band also returns to Chicago’s famed Ravinia Festival and to the idyllic Colorado mountain town of Telluride for the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, later this summer. The complete list of summer tour dates is listed below.

Earlier this year, in celebration of influential bluesman Robert Johnson (who would be celebrating his 100 birthday on May 8, 2011), Big Head Todd and The Monsters assembled the Big Head Blues Club. The ad-hoc collaboration featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards, Charlie Musselwhite, Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm toured earlier this year and recently released a studio recording of the project, titled 100 Years of Robert Johnson. Here’s what critics are saying:

“A superb musical collective…moving and wildly entertaining.” –Boston Globe

“Todd Park Mohr’s growling and moaning like he's got muddy Delta dirt under his fingernails.” -USA Today

Big Head Todd frontman Todd Park Mohr will be at the 32nd Annual Blues Music Awards on May 5th at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Todd will lead a Robert Johnson tribute. This year’s event also features performances by honorees Buddy Guy, Denise LaSalle and John Hammond, among others. Visit www.blues.org for more information.

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The list of Big Head Todd and The Monsters summer tour dates are as follows:

Friday, April 29 The Windjammer Isle of Palms SC
Sunday, May 22 Doheny Blues Festival Dana Point CA
Thursday, June 2 Cotillion Ballroom Wichita KS
Friday, June 3 Fantle Memorial Park Yankton SD
Saturday, June 4 Crossroads Kansas City MO with Langhorne Slim supporting
Thursday, June 9 Simon Estes Amphitheater Des Moines IA co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Friday, June 10 Stir Cove Council Bluffs IA co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Saturday, June 11 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison CO with Guster supporting
Sunday, June 12 Red Butte Garden Salt Lake City UT co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Tuesday, June 14 Knitting Factory Concert House Reno NV co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Thursday, June 16 Mountain Winery Saratoga CA co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Friday, June 17 Uptown Theatre Napa CA
Thursday, August 4 Minnesota Zoo - Weesner Amphitheatre Apple Valley MN with Cedar Avenue supporting
Friday, August 5 Mankato RibFest Mankato MN
Sunday, August 7 Nateva Music & Arts Festival - Oxford Fairgrounds Oxford ME
Saturday, September 3 Big Sky Resort Big Sky MT
Tuesday, September 6 Wolf Trap Vienna VA co-headline with John Hiatt
Sunday, September 11 Ravinia Festival Highland Park IL
Saturday, September 17 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Telluride CO
Sunday, October 23 Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise San Diego CA

Additional dates to be announced, Visit www.bigheadtodd.com for more information