blues

'Ray Charles Live in Concert' captures The Genius in 1964

In the half-century between his earliest recordings in the 1950s and his death in 2004, Ray Charles ascended to icon status by leaving his mark on virtually every form of American popular music that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. Nowhere was this more evident than in his live performances, where one was likely to hear shades of blues, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, country, and more in a single evening — indeed, sometimes in a single song. To put it simply, the Right Reverend did it all.

All of these subtle shades and styles are evident in Concord Music Group’s April 5, 2011, reissue of Ray Charles Live in Concert. Originally released as a 12-song LP on ABC-Paramount in early 1965, Live in Concert captured Ray at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in September 1964. More than four decades later, the CD reissue brings additional depth and perspective to the 1964 recording with the help of 24-bit remastering, seven previously unreleased tracks and extensive new liner notes that provide additional historical context to what is already considered a pivotal recording in Ray’s overall body of work.

“There could be no more uplifting live musical experience than digging Ray Charles and his mighty orchestra in their prime,” says roots music historian Bill Dahl in his new liner notes. Indeed, the 15-piece orchestra backing Ray on this date — assembled just a few years earlier in 1961 — boasted no less than a dozen horns, including formidable saxophonists David “Fathead” Newman, Hank Crawford, and Leroy “Hog” Cooper, all of whom had been with Ray since his days as a leader of smaller combos. “This amazing aggregation,” says Dahl, “was every bit as conversant with the intricacies of modern jazz as with the gospel-blues synthesis that Brother Ray pioneered during the mid-1950s, when he began accruing serious cred as the father of what would soon become known as soul music.”

Chris Clough, Concord’s manager of catalog development and producer of the Live in Concert reissue, notes that the Shrine Auditorium performance took place at a transitional moment in Ray’s career, just as he was transcending the confines of R&B and entering the mainstream by demonstrating a firm grasp of various other genres. “He’d made his ascendance in the early ’60s, and he had the world at his feet by this time,” says Clough. “He’d basically invented soul, he’d done R&B, he’d conquered country and he was on his way to becoming an American icon.”

In the span of 19 songs, Live in Concert illuminates the route to that destination. Ray wastes no time taking his audience on a ride from jazzy big band groove of “Swing a Little Taste” to the Latin-flavored “One Mint Julep” to the blues-gospel hybrid of his classic “I Got a Woman.” Although his live rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” on this date didn’t make the cut on the original LP, the song is a standout track on the reissue, thanks to his complex organ runs and the flute lines moving in counterpoint with his rich vocals.

Clough considers the yearning “You Don’t Know Me” and the previously unreleased “That Lucky Old Sun” to be among the high points of the recording. “It sounds like he’s really baring his soul on those two tracks, and they just sound incredible,” says Clough, noting that Ray was unaware that tape was rolling during this performance. “This particular date was at the end of their tour, and the performance seems a little loose as a result — in a good way, and in a less slick way.”

Further in, the rousing “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” is driven by a gospel groove and embellished with a sax solo by Newman that closely mirrors the original 1957 recording. The result is a familiar hit for an audience that’s more than ready to reinforce Ray’s foot-stomping beat with handclaps.

The sly and swaggering “Makin’ Whoopee” is delivered completely off the cuff, with drummer Wilbert Hogan, bassist Edgar Willis, and guitarist Sonny Forriest improvising an accompaniment behind what Dahl calls “Ray’s luxurious piano and breathy, supremely knowing vocals.” By all accounts, Ray spontaneously inserted the song into the set in response to the negative press he’d received overseas about his private life.

In the home stretch, Ray introduces the Raeletts, the female backing vocalists who served as his foil for some of his biggest hits. Together they work their way through “Don’t Set Me Free” (with Lillian Fort stepping forward for a duet with Ray), the comical “Two Ton Tessie” and the torchy “My Baby” before climaxing with the churning “What’d I Say,” a song tailor-made to stoke any room to a fever pitch.

A huge piece of the Ray Charles legacy is his mastery of any style he touched, and his ability to make it his own in a way that no other artist could — powers that can only come from an innate sense of adventure and spontaneity that are fully evident in Ray Charles Live in Concert.

“Few performers were less predictable onstage than Ray Charles,” says Dahl. “And nobody did it better.”

Ben Harper: Give Till It's Gone Streets 5/17/11

On May 17th, Virgin Records will release Give Till It's Gone, Ben Harper's 10th studio album. It was recorded at the Los Angeles studio of Jackson Browne, who harmonizes with Ben on "Pray That Our Love Sees The Dawn." The album also features two tracks co-written and performed with Ringo Starr - the psychedelic-tinged "Spilling Faith" and "Get There From Here," an improvisational instrumental.

Ben will headline a trio of festivals this spring: Lollapalooza Chile, Bluesfest in Australia and GrassRoots, the New Zealand Blues & Roots All Music Festival, followed by the Wakarusa Festival and more dates below with more soon to be announced. The pre-sale for Kansas City and Denver starts Feb 25 10:00 AM local time at Ben Harper Ticketing, password: GIVE.

Stay tuned for a special album pre-order starting Mar 29!

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Ben Harper tour dates:

Apr 2 Lollapalooza
Santiago, Chile Tickets
On Sale Now
Apr 17 Coachella* Indio, CA Tickets
On Sale Now
Apr 21 Bluesfest
Byron Bay, Australia Tickets
On Sale Now
Apr 22 Bluesfest* Byron Bay, Australia Tickets
On Sale Now
Apr 23 GrassRoots
Manukau, New Zealand Tickets
On Sale Now
Jun 4 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, AR Tickets
On Sale Now
Jun 5 Crossroads
Kansas City, MO Tickets
On Sale 2/26
Jun 6 Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO Tickets
On Sale 2/26
Jul 16 Festival Musilac
Aix-les-Bains, France Tickets
On Sale Now
Jul 22 Festival de Nimes
Nimes, France Tickets
On Sale Now
Jul 25 Festival de Poupet
Saint-Malo-du-Bois, France Tickets
On Sale 4/11


* with Fistful of Mercy

More dates to be announced!

100 Years of Robert Johnson streets Tuesday, March 1

May 8th, 2011 marks the 100-year anniversary of blues legend Robert Johnson’s birthday. In celebration of the most influential bluesman that ever lived, the Big Head Blues Club – an ad-hoc collaboration featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm – has been touring coast to coast playing the material of Johnson. The tour, which has been garnering rave reviews, wraps up on March 8, just after the studio album, titled 100 Years of Robert Johnson, hits the streets (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records).

100 Years of Robert Johnson is a stirring collection featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century. In addition to the above-mentioned artists, 100 Years of Robert Johnson includes performances by blues greats B.B. King and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keeper of the blues flame Ruthie Foster. The album was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Rob Squires (bass) and Brian Nevin (drums) nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.


100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that as a young man Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

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

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Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology
Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB
Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre
Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M
Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU
Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill
Feb. 17 New Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore
Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music
Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse
Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre
Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College
Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

Miles Davis, Albert King & Bill Evans get Definitive discs on Concord

Concord Music Group has assembled three new titles in its ongoing Definitive series, one of which marks the series’ initial foray into CMG’s vast blues catalog. The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige; The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy; and The Definitive Albert King on Stax span a total of 60 years and include the music of two monumental figures in jazz and an equally influential figure in the blues. Each of the two-CD collections is set for release on April 5, 2011.

The two dozen tracks of The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige follow the creative evolution of the most revered trumpeter in the annals of jazz. Spanning the first half of the 1950s, the collection captures Miles at the beginning of his breakthrough to mainstream appeal, according to the liner notes by music journalist and historian Ashley Kahn.

“The purpose of this collection is to deliver a full, definitive overview of that very special period in Miles’s career,” says Kahn. “Its focus covers the nearly six-year period when the trumpeter was signed exclusively to Prestige. Disc 1 offers the best of his 1951 to ’56 sessions primarily as a leader of various ad hoc all-star ensembles. Disc 2 provides a generous sampling of Miles the bandleader, in ’55 and ’56, at the helm of one of the most groundbreaking groups of the day.”

The collection also chronicles Miles’s dramatic artistic growth over a relatively short time, says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and the producer of the collection. “The years between 1951 and 1956 are not a huge amount of time, but the development by Miles — as a musician and as a bandleader — is pretty astonishing in this period,” says Phillips. “This culminates in what ended up being one of the most legendary groups in jazz, the Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane.”

The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy tracks more than two decades of recordings by a highly influential figure in jazz piano. “It would be difficult to think of a major jazz pianist emerging after 1960 who did not take Bill Evans as a model,” says jazz journalist Doug Ramsey, who wrote the liner notes for the 25-song collection that begins in the mid-1950s and ends in 1977. “Indeed, many seasoned pianists who preceded Evans altered their styles after hearing him.”

What’s more, “Evans had a profound effect on how musicians play jazz and how listeners hear it,” says Ramsey. “He is so much a part of the jazz atmosphere that many musicians — regardless of instrument — who came of age in the 21st century are not conscious that his concepts helped form them.”

The collection also gives proper attention on the second disc to Evans’s Fantasy-era recordings of the mid-1970s, says Phillips, who also produced the Evans collection. “Because the Riverside sessions are so acclaimed and so legendary, the Fantasy tracks are often overshadowed,” he says. “But in listening to this collection, you realize that Evans was still creating some amazing recordings throughout the Fantasy period with some high-caliber musicians, like Eddie Gomez, Kenny Burrell, Lee Konitz, Tony Bennett, Ray Brown, and Philly Joe Jones.”

The Definitive Albert King on Stax follows 15 years worth of recordings — from 1961 to 1975, plus a final track from 1984 — by a bluesman who’d spent the early part of his career playing to an African-American fan base in the roadhouses and theaters of the chitlin’ circuit. But by the latter half of the 1960s, the genre “was now attracting the rapt interest of young white listeners, their sensibilities opened wide by the muscular, in-your-face blues rock of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, and Jimi Hendrix,” says roots music historian Bill Dahl in his liner notes for the collection. “These new converts were gravitating to the best the idiom had to offer. No single blues guitarist made a more stunning impact during that tumultuous timeframe than Albert King.”

“For as paradoxical as it might sound, you could make the case that Albert King was a cheery blues guy,” says Chris Clough, Concord’s manager of catalog development and producer of the Albert King collection. “He had that wry smile, and he often smoked a pipe. He was always well dressed and dapper. He was genuinely interested in putting on a show for his audience, and that sensibility comes through on these tracks.”

Dahl suggests that the years between 1966 and 1975 were a “Golden Decade” for King. “He was with Stax that entire time,” he says, “right up to the Memphis label’s unfortunate demise, cutting one enduring blues classic after another as he scaled the charts over and over again. In the process, King deeply influenced countless up-and-coming blues axemen, even though the ringing licks he coaxed out of his futuristic Gibson Flying V were all but impossible to accurately recreate.”

Telepathique To Release "All Your Lovers" EP

Brazilian band Telepathique started in 2006 as a duo (dj/drummer and singer) gigging in small clubs in Portugal, where they lived at the time, and around the electonic European scene. The power of their stage performance is pushed by Myle’s (singer/synth) hypnotic-sexy melodies and lyrics and Érico’s (drums/synth) live drums among programmed beats and scratches that soon took them to share stage with artists like Massive Attack, Hot Chip, Buraka, Diplo and PJ Harvey.
Guitar/synth player Mauricio Fleury joined the band just before their first North American tour in support of their debut album “Last Time on Earth” (The Control Group).  Later that year they returned to the US to tour with Tricky to play venues like House of Blues (Chicago), Trocadero (Philadelphia), Irving Plaza (NYC), and 9:30 Club (D.C).
Now they are back with a new EP, All Your Lovers. A step in a new direction from their early tracks that were made mainly with drum programming/guitar/voice, these new songs were recorded in the studio with live drums and feel analog synthesizers. The EP was produced, mixed and mastered by drummer Érico Theobaldo.

Eva Cassidy's "Simply Eva" Enters U.K. Chart

SIMPLY EVA, the newest collection from the late singer Eva Cassidy, entered the U.K. music charts at #6 today (Sunday, February 6), ten years after her SONGBIRD album reached Number One in Britain. After the first week of release in the U.S., SIMPLY EVA entered the Billboard Folk Chart at #5 and was the 2nd best-selling album at the Borders Books and Music national chain. SIMPLY EVA, from independent Blix Street Records, comprises 12 acoustic versions of previously-unheard guitar and vocal only performances.

The songs on SIMPLY EVA are alternative acoustic versions of known Cassidy songs with the exception of the redefining performance of "San Francisco Bay Blues," which is already picking up radio airplay in the U.S. These "Eva only" recordings are straight from the original tape without any alteration.

Born in Washington, DC, Eva Cassidy recorded and performed in the area for several years until her untimely death from melanoma in 1996. She left behind a small, but impeccable body of recordings that have been meticulously curated and compiled by Blix Street Records with the support of her parents, Barbara and Hugh Cassidy.

In April, 1998, Blix Street posthumously released SONGBIRD, a collection chosen primarily from two other Cassidy albums, LIVE AT BLUES ALLEY and EVA BY HEART. It featured Sting's "Fields of Gold" and Eva's unqualified signature performance of "Over the Rainbow," the video of which triggered Eva's rise to #1 on the U.K. charts in March, 2001. Eva Cassidy became an "overnight sensation." By the end of that year, the album had been certified triple-platinum in England (for sales of more than 900,000 sold) and gold in the U.S. (more than 500,000 units); the album, now six times platinum in England and platinum in the U.S., eventually hit No. 1 on Billboard's Internet Albums chart and topped the publication's Pop Catalog survey for 32 weeks.


Eva Cassidy has now sold over eight million records and achieved an unprecedented three consecutive posthumous U.K. No. 1 albums as well as the No.1 single, "What A Wonderful World" (a posthumous duet with Katie Melua).

Trombone Shorty captures New Orleans and national honors

Trombone Shorty’s star continues to rise as he is honored with more local and national awards. The just-turned 25-year-old New Orleans singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and all-around musical powerhouse was awarded five Best of the Beat Awards from New Orleans’ OffBeat magazine. And Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews was named among NBC News’ The Grio’s 100: History Makers in the Making, a list of the top 100 African-American men and women who are writing the next chapter of American history.

At the Best of the Beat ceremony January 28 celebrating OffBeat’s nominees, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue received the most awards of the night, winning Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Backatown, Best R&B/Funk Artist, Best R&B/Funk Album for Backatown, and Best Trombonist. “On Backatown, Trombone Shorty has created an album that brings the New Orleans brass band and funk traditions up to date,” says Alex Rawls, editor of OffBeat. “His roots are clearly in the Crescent City, but he has the chops, charisma and stage savvy to take his music to a much larger audience.”

Backatown, the band’s major label debut, immediately hit #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart, staying there for nine weeks and now, more than nine months later, is still in the Top 5.  Backatown is also nominated for this year’s GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.

This makes three times since 2007 that OffBeat has awarded Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue Best R&B/Funk Band, while Trombone Shorty himself has picked up three awards for Performer/ Artist of the Year and two awards for Best Trumpeter. The Best of the Beat Award nominees are selected by the magazine’s editors and writers, and the public votes to choose the winners. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue were on hand to receive their awards in person at the celebration in New Orleans. The next morning Trombone Shorty headed to Jamaica to join Gov’t Mule’s Island Exodus II in Negril, where he collaborated as a special featured guest with Gov’t Mule as well as on Warren Haynes’ solo performance.

In honor of Black History Month, theGrio.com, a division of NBC News, has announced its TheGrio’s 100: History Makers in the Making, which this year includes Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. The list is nominated by a team of experts, affiliates, and contributors from across the country, and members of TheGrio.com and NBC News editorial teams. The Grio’s 100 shines a spotlight on African-American history makers and industry leaders from 10 fields, including business, education, sports, science and the environment, media, service and activism, politics, health, pop culture and the arts.  Trombone Shorty joins First Lady Michelle Obama, singer and education advocate Jill Scott, actress Viola Davis, Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones and NBA star Kevin Durant, among others.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue’s Backatown tour continues this spring and summer beginning February 2 in Chicago with more dates across the European continent, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Canada and the U.S.

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TROMBONE SHORTY & ORLEANS AVENUE Tour Dates:
Wed., Feb. 2  CHICAGO, IL Lincoln Hall (*to be rescheduled due to weather)
Thurs., Feb 3  STEVENS POINT, WI University of Wisconsin
Fri., Feb, 4  PLATTEVILLE, WI University of Wisconsin
Sat., Feb. 5  COLUMBIA, MO University of Missouri
Mon., Feb. 7  SEATTLE, WA Neumos
Tues., Feb. 8  PORTLAND, OR Roseland
Wed., Feb. 9  ARCATA, CA Humboldt Brews
Thurs., Feb. 10  SANTA CRUZ, CA The Catalyst
Fri., Feb. 11  SAN FRANCISCO, CA The Fillmore (Sold Out)
Sat., Feb. 12  LOS ANGELES, CA Conga Room
Tues., Feb. 15  DENVER, CO Bluebird Theatre 
Wed., Feb. 16  BOULDER, CO Fox Theatre 
Fri., Feb. 18  AUSTIN, TX Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater (Sold Out)
Sat., Feb. 19  HOUSTON, TX House of Blues
Sun., Feb. 20  DALLAS, TX House of Blues
Tues., Feb 22 NASHVILLE, TN Mercy Lounge
Wed., Feb. 23  ASHEVILLE, NC The Orange Peel
Thurs., Feb 24  ATLANTA, GA Variety Playhouse
Fri., Feb 25  BOSTON, MA Paradise Rock Club
Sat., Feb. 26  NEW YORK, NY Terminal 5 
Sun.,  Feb 27  NORFOLK, CT Infinity Hall
Sat.,  Mar. 5  NEW ORLEANS, LA Krewe of Endymion
Sun., Mar. 6   NEW ORLEANS, LA Tipitina’s
Thurs., Mar 17  STUTTGART,  GERMANY Die Röhre
Fri., Mar. 18  FREIBURG,  GERMANY Jazzhaus
Sat., Mat 19  FRANKFURT,  GERMANY Brotfabrik
Sun., Mar. 20  DRESDEN,  GERMANY Beatpol
Mon., Mar 21  BONN,  GERMANY Harmonnie
Wed., Mar. 23  ATHENS,  GREECE gazArte
Fri.,  Mar. 24  AUBERVILIERS,  FRANCE Banlieues Bleues Festival
Sat., Mar. 25  BURGHAUSEN,  GERMANY Internationale Jazzwoche Burghausen
Sun.,  Mar. 26  TERRASSA, SPAIN Terrassa Jazz Festival
Mon., Mar. 27   MADRID, SPAIN University of Madrid
Wed., Mar. 30  WYOMISSING, PA Berks Jazz Fest 2011
Thur., Mar. 31  ROANOKE, VA Jefferson Center
Fri., Apr. 1  INSTITUTE, WV Davis Fine Arts Theatre
Sat., Apr. 2  LOUISVILLE, KY Headliners Music Hall
Sun., Apr. 3  COLUMBUS, OH Capitol Theatre, Riffe Center
Wed., Apr. 6  NEW ORLEANS, LA Wednesday at the Square
Sun., Apr. 10  ST. PETERSBURG, FL Tampa Bay Blues Festival
Sat., Apr. 16  SINGAPORE Timbre Rock & Roots
Wed., Apr 20  MELBOURNE,  AUSTRALIA The Corner
Thurs., Apr. 21  SYDNEY,  AUSTRALIA The Factory
Fri., Apr. 22   BYRON BAY,  AUSTRALIA Bluesfest
Sat.,  Apr. 23  BYRON BAY,  AUSTRALIA Bluesfest
Sun., Apr. 24   TAURANGA,  NEW ZEALAND NZ Jazz Festival
Thurs., Apr. 28   CLEVELAND, OH Tri C Jazz Fest
Fri., Apr. 29   NEW ORLEANS, LA House of Blues
Sat., Apr. 30   NEW ORLEANS, LA House of Blues
Sat., May 7   NEW ORLEANS, LA Tipitina’s
Sat., May 7   NEW ORLEANS, LA New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Fri., May 20   RICHMOND, VA Friday Cheers
Sat., May 21   THOMSON, GA Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival
Fri., June 3  OZARK, AR Wakarusa Festival
Thurs., June 9  CHARLESTON, SC Spoleto Festival
Fri., June 10  CHARLESTON, SC Spoleto Festival
Sat., June 11  RALEIGH, NC North Carolina Museum of Art
Sat., June 18  FT. WORTH, TX Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens
Wed., June 22  APPLE VALLEY, MN Weesner Amphitheater
Fri., June 24   EDMONTON, CANADA Edmonton Jazz Festival
Mon., June 27   VANCOUVER, CANADA Vancouver International Jazz Festival
Sat., July 2   LONDON, ENGLAND London Blues & Jazz Festival
Sat., July 16  UMBRIA, ITALY Umbria Jazz Festival
Mon., July 18  MOLDE, NORWAY Moldejazz 2011
Tues., July 19  MOLDE, NORWAY Moldejazz 2011

And many more to be announced soon.   www.tromboneshorty.com

Big Head Todd & The Monsters headline Red Rocks

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



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



Big Head Todd and The Monsters have been busy – first celebrating the release of their new studio album, Rocksteady (July 20, 2010/Big Records), and now preparing to hit the road with some of blues music’s biggest legends in support of 100 Years of Robert Johnson (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records), a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

Big Head Blues Club features in addition to the Colorado-based quartet—guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevin and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton—special guests, blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.

Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011, and supported by a national tour (“Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts”) featuring many of the participants in the sessions. A complete list of the tour dates is included below.

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

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

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

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

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

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BIG HEAD TODD AND THE MONSTERS TOURDATES INCLUDE:

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

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

Saturday, June 11 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison CO

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

Celebrating "100 Years of Robert Johnson" -Streets 3/1/11

How do you throw a 100th birthday bash for the most influential bluesman that ever lived? If you’re Big Head Todd and The Monsters, you gather some of the greatest living blues musicians and record 100 Years of Robert Johnson (March 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records), a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

Big Head Blues Club, as the ad hoc ensemble is calling itself, features, in addition to the Colorado-based quartet—guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevin and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton—special guests, blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.

Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011, and supported by a national tour (“Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts”) featuring many of the participants in the sessions. A complete list of the tour dates is included below.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Squires and Nevin nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.

100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that, as a young man, Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

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The complete list of “Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts” tour stops is as follows:

Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom

Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center

Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology

Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB

Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre

Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre

Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M

Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall

Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre

Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU

Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill

Feb. 17 North Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore

Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music

Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse

Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre

Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College

Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater

March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

Slightly Stoopid Announce East Coast Dates w/ Fishbone

Following their hugely successful and critically acclaimed Cauzin' Vapors... Legalize It 2010 US amphitheater tour with Cypress Hill, Steel Pulse, and Collie Buddz (where the band headlined to anywhere from 5,000 - 20,000 of their most loyal fans), San Diego-based dub/rock/psychedelic-jam phenoms Slightly Stoopid are gearing up for a run of one-off headlining shows where they'll be performing two nights at the legendary 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, as well as one night each at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom, and the House of Blues in Atlantic City, NJ. The band will be taking along friends and legends Fishbone and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk as support for the quick run of dates.

Slightly Stoopid have spent the past few months recording and collaborating in their band-built San Diego studio with the likes of Cypress Hill, G Love, Don Carlos, Barrington Levy, The Neville Brothers and more, in preparation for their upcoming full-length release, as well as other studio projects due out 2011 - 2012, and recently released the remix of hit song "No Cocaine" (from the band's celebrated 2008 album Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid), featuring legendary reggae star Capleton, out now on Hi Grade Ganja Anthems 3.

Slightly Stoopid Live!

w/ Fishbone and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
2/16 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
2/17 Washington, DC 9:30 Club *
2/19 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom
2/20 Atlantic City, NJ House of Blues

* No Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk