performance

School's out w/Flaming Lips' Drozd, The Turtles, Black Angels

The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) has a full calendar for the rockin' month of May. It all kicks off days before with its next master class featuring Mark Volman - AKA Flo - of 1960s band the Turtles on April 29. The Los Angeles native found fame with his band's 1967 hit single "Happy Together," and will engage students with an in-depth discussion of his career and performance. On April 30, The Turtles featuring Flo and & Eddie will perform at an ACM@UCO fundraiser.

On May 4, ACM@UCO will hold its inaugural graduation ceremonies, bidding farewell to its first class of students, including those who have landed high-profile jobs in the music industry. Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist and former master class speaker Steven Drozd is confirmed as the special guest speaker for the event.

In addition, on May 5, 60 ACM@UCO-affiliated bands will perform across 11 venues in Oklahoma City's historic district as part of ACM@UCO's Bricktown Takeover. On May 10, ACM@UCO will host a master class with guitar legend Robben Ford. On May 7, ACM@UCO's student-run Performance Lab will play host to a performance by Man Man, followed by The Black Angels on May 20.

Ian Anderson's Out Of This World Concert

When worldwide fame and notoriety have been achieved, taking your music into outer space is the only place left to go.

On April 12th Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson will be taking part in a duet with US astronaut Colonel Catherine Coleman to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight in 1961.

However, this duet is no ordinary collaboration. Whilst Anderson will be live on stage in Perm, Russia, Coleman will be in orbit in the International Space Station as she contributes to Ian’s truly out of this world concert.

Coleman’s part of the performance will be screened by video link to the audience in Perm from somewhere in the galaxy as part of this gravity defying gig.

The pair will be playing an excerpt from Bouree from Tull's STAND UP album.

Coleman has been practicing her Ian Anderson trade mark of playing the flute whilst standing (or in her case floating) on one leg. For 3 months, Anderson's flute accompanied Cady Coleman and her own flute in orbit allowing her to perfect her Anderson stance ahead of the duet

The Band of Heathens | Oriental Theater | 3/29/11

The Band of Heathens kicked off their West Coast tour on Tuesday at the Oriental Theater in Denver. The show also marked the release of the Americana rock band’s new LP Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son.

Lee MacDougall Gives it to Denver Short & Sweet

Short and sweet can be a good thing, but when it’s good, everybody wants some more. British musician Lee MacDougall certainly showed that he could satisfy, but unfortunately for the very few that showed up for his performance at the Larimer Lounge, it was a moment that lasted not quite long enough.

Astronauts Enjoy First Ever "Wake-Up" Song Performed Live - Big Head Todd and The Monsters

Big Head Todd and The Monsters will be at Houston's NASA Mission Control Center early tomorrow morning to become the first band ever to wake-up U.S. astronauts with a live performance. The band will play their original song "Blue Sky" at 3:23 am CST, and the live performance will be beamed up to Commander Steve Lindsey and the other five crew members to wake them for Shuttle Discovery's second to last day in space.

"Blue Sky" - which was originally written by the band as a tribute for the first post-Columbia flight, STS-114 - was the top vote-getter in NASA's "Top 40 Song Contest," where the voting for shuttle wake-up songs was opened to the public for the first time in history. "Blue Sky" recieved 722,662 votes, or 29 percent of the 2,463,774 total.

Anyone can tune in to NASA TV http://www.nasa.gov/ntv today at 3:23 CST to watch the performance live. It will also be documented and replayed several times on NASA TV throughout the day and available on the web (www.nasa.gov/shuttle).

Video Premiere | YELLOWBIRDS "The Rest Of My Life"

Yellowbirds is the moniker for the latest musical exploits of Sam Cohen--guitarist/songwriter/vocalist in the psychedelic collective Apollo Sunshine. Cohen grew up in Houston, Texas, and while the Texas of his teens may have been home to Big Oil, Enron, the Bush family, and the drab grey Astros jerseys of the 90s, he prefers to think of it as the Texas of yore, home to: Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, the Space Program, and rainbow orange Astros jerseys.  It stands to reason, then, that his current home of New York City must be the mythical Empire City: Rocky Mountains of architecture, epicenter of modern art, home to Charles Mingus and The Velvet Underground.

It was with these timeless inspirations in mind that Sam Cohen created Yellowbirds’ The Color, out now on Brooklyn label, Royal Potato Family. Double-speed auto-harp glissandos, glowing backwards pedal steel, bubbling echo and fuzz guitars coalesce into a warm wall of sound.  As existential lyrical themes emerge, delivered over psyched-out aural landscapes, the picture emerges of a dust-blown, 4th dimensional Future West.  This is Cohen's quixotic world where "only the purist tones can be heard."

Yellowbirds' new stop-motion, collage-animation video for the song "The Rest Of My Life" was crafted by Sam Cohen from nearly 3000 still photos assembled into collages and animated by hand.  Between exploring images, cutting and compiling, creating the scenes and editing the footage, the project took ten weeks to complete.

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Upcoming Performances…

March 15 | WFPK | Louisville, KY (live radio broadcast)
March 15 | Ear-Xtacy | Louisville, KY (in-store performance)
March 15 | The Rudyard Kipling | Louisville, KY
March 19 | The Snack Bar | Austin, TX (4pm)
March 19 | Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In | Austin, TX (7pm)
March 19 | Black & Tan (official SXSW showcase) | Austin, TX (11:30pm)
March 29 | Public Assembly | Brooklyn, NY
March 30 | WNYC Soundcheck | New York, NY (live radio broadcast)
March 30 | Maxwell's | Hoboken, NJ
April 7 | The Arts Block | Greenfield, MA
April 8 | Bridge Street Live | Collinsville, CT
April 9 | Southpaw | Brooklyn, NY
April 17 | Cactus Records | Houston, TX (in-store performance)
April 30 | Market Market | Rosendale, NY

'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.”

Heavyweight Dub Champion & Mr. Anonymous @ Boulder Theatre

Heavyweight Dub Champion Founded in a log cabin at 9,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado, and now based in San Francisco, California, Heavyweight Dub Champion is a movement of interdimensional warriors representing the Army of the Last Champion. Firmly rooted in hip hop, dancehall, dub and electronic music, and performed on more than 50 channels of vintage analog and digital gear, HDC has gained much notoriety and a growing following from its high-intensity and visually captivating live performances. Founder and Last Champion Manifesto author Resurrector transcends space and time wielding an arsenal of deep revolutionary audio with support from a revolving crew of co-conspirators that include Totter Todd, Dr. Israel, A.P.O.S.T.L.E., Jillian Ann, MC Azeem and Stero-Lion. At the collective's core is the universal intention of inspiration, mind expansion and transformation through creative expression - all of which manifests in their collective artistic performance known as The Liberation Process.

Mr. Anonymous a.k.a. Jeep Macnichol started his music career as founding member and drummer of the Colorado based pop/jam band The Samples. For a decade, his musical journey included 6 national album releases, national touring for 9 months a year in every venue imaginable in every state, sharing the stage with Sting, Dave Mathews, Steel pulse, Flaming Lips, The Wailers, Sonic Youth, Blues traveler, the Horde tour, and a performance on the Jay Leno show. After 10 years, Macnichol decided it was time to follow new creative endeavors and dive into his love of Jamaican dancehall and reggae music.

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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).

Time, NYT Laud Jake Shimabukuro

It's been a banner year thus far for Jake Shimabukuro. His new album 'Peace Love Ukulele' (HITCHHIKE RECORDS) debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Album chart, and has brought the Hawaii native national acclaim from NPR, YouTube and others. Time Magazine and the New York Times can now be added to the list in praise of Shimabukuro's virtuosic ukulele playing.

Nate Chinen of the New York Times said of a recent performance Shimabukuro at Brooklyn Bowl:

"Shimabukuro… comes by his fame with buoyant musicianship and brisk proficiency. The innovation in his style stems from an embrace of restrictions: the ukulele has only four strings and a limited range. He compensates with an adaptable combination of rhythmic strumming, classical-style finger-picking and fredboard tapping."

Read the entire review here.

Shimabukuro and his ukulele are also featured in a Time Magazine article by Tim Morrison about the instrument and its sudden surge in popularity. Morrison notes that a quick Google search of ukulele "won't be some grainy clip of Tiny Tim or George Formby but a performance by a hair-gelled 34-year-old Hawaiian named Jake Shimabukuro."

Read the Time Magazine piece here.

Read Grateful Web coverage of Jake here.