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Woodcock Group Debuts 'Water Stories'

Woodcock Group's trio gives jazz listeners a piece of music works that evoke a great characteristic of eloquence impressive for an artist that has not even released its debut CD to stores, until now with Sunset Jazz. This Serbian jazz trio also composes and arranges its music and every song on this ten (10) song full length CD. Woodcock Group’s new debut album, Water Stories (Sunset Jazz Recordings) gives jazz aficionados great evidence there are new music artists in jazz that can carry a wide-ranged music of original songs taken as a conceptual, the album is now available to pre order at Amazon. The Jazz label is continuing to set up the full length CD for the May 3rd street day, with its' Sunset Classics & Jazz (SC&J) division, Sunset Distribution Company and then via Republic Universal for digital distribution into stores.

Woodcock Group is a band that is no doubt aware of its mixing modern jazz with traditional jazz music influenced by, among others, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans and Art Blakey. Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, in the spring of 2009 pianist and composer Aleksandar Jovanovic founded the "Woodcock Group." What is now a trio with (Aleksandar) Jovanovic, Marko Fabry is on the bass while Aleksandar Cvetkovic does the drum work on the ten (10) song CD. Their first performance was at the "Umbria Jazz Balcanic Windows" Music Festival 2009 in Belgrade, which they won in a competition winning over 28 bands from the south-eastern Europe regions. Not to mention, they were listed in the top six as best young jazz band in Eastern Europe this year. "I not only plan on using this album to springboard a new sense of direction at Sunset Jazz (Recordings)", says label head, Don Lichterman, "we are also in hope of using Alex's (Aleksandar Jovanovic) A&R chops to gain more jazz acts for the label."

The debut album being released at Sunset (Jazz) is inspired by "water" as in a state of a "form" and (Don) Lichterman says that he, "loves the concept" of it. He (Lichterman) goes on to say that he also "loves the deep traditional style of this band (Woodcock Group)." Woodcock Group's debut recording entitled, Water Stories, has already gained international radio play with "Vrelo," the first song being worked to radio this year. And the CD has received great critical acclaim after the label released its initial press to blogs and social networks. Look for the CD to be available in stores everywhere that sells cds along with being made available at every retailer that sells downloads, ringtones and streams, on May 3rd this year!

Roots Singer/Guitarist Sid Selvidge Returns with I SHOULD BE BLUE

For decades, Sid Selvidge has been one of the most singular voices in American roots music. His unique and seamless fusion of hill country blues picking and languid folk-styled storytelling has allowed Selvidge to carve out a niche that has separated him from other traditional and contemporary southern songwriters. Now, five years after his acclaimed CD/DVD Live at Otherlands, Sid returns with the gracefully melodic I Should Be Blue. Available in stores and online June 8, Selvidge'’s 8th solo album and 3rd from Memphis-based Archer Records sees him crafting material that recalls the warmth of sound and spirit present in classic 70s era folk-tinged pop LPs.

From his early days playing with Furry Lewis and Mississippi Fred McDowell at The Bitter Lemon Club in Memphis, to his and friend Jim Dickinson’s elusive Mudboy and the Neutrons (Bob Dylan dubbed them “the great band that nobody could find”), to his storied solo career with Enterprise (Stax), Nonesuch (Elektra), and his own Peabody label, Selvidge has always been able to stand alone in his ability to integrate classic methods into fresh vocal and strumming approaches. Former New York Times critic John Rockwell probably said it best: “Sid Selvidge, who comes from Mississippi by way of Memphis, is neither country nor rock. He’s pretty much everything musically in the whole Southeast.” David Fricke of Rolling Stone is also a known admirer, having declared emphatically, “Sid Selvidge is a precious treasure”, in his glowing review of Sid’s previous studio effort, A Little Bit of Rain (Archer Records, 2003).

While his past work has garnered him the praise of national critics, I Should Be Blue palpably displays his versatile appeal to fans as both an original artist as well as an interpreter. Selvidge adjusted his formula for I Should Be Blue, working for the first time with renowned producer/musician/songwriter Don Dixon (Joe Cocker, The Smithereens, REM, Counting Crows), as well as inviting up-and-coming vocalist Amy Speace to join him on several tracks. These duets including Sid’'s sweet and dreamy “Dimestore Angel”, Speace'’s original gem, “Two”, as well as warm, wistful nods to favorites like Townes Van Zandt’'s “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” and Donovan'’s “Catch The Wind”. Selvidge, along with the US and European press took quickly to Speace, with Paste Magazine calling her latest release, 2009’s The Killer In Me, a “resolutely hopeful take on heartache and loss...beautiful lyrics are spun with a soulful, husky voice that lilts like a country sweetheart but mourns like Leonard Cohen

In addition to combining new elements to Selvidge’'s sound in Dixon’s production techniques and bass playing and Speace’'s rich vocals, I Should Be Blue will also feature some more familiar players. Among them are Sid'’s son, Steve (The Hold Steady) who plays acoustic and electric guitars, Paul Taylor (Chuck Prophet) on drums and washtub bass, and fellow Archer artist Amy LaVere on upright bass. The outcome is a tender portrait of love and longing amidst loss, flowing with an effortless grace and natural beauty distinctly its own.

I Should Be Blue will be available in stores June 8, to coincide with tour dates for a Sid Selvidge and Amy Speace joint U.S. tour. | For more information, please visit www.Archer-Records.com or www.SidSelvidge.com.

Summer 2010 Tour:

June 7 - New York, NY - The Living Room
June 8 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
June 10 - Raleigh, NC - Six String Cafe and Music Hall
June 11 - Maryville, TN - Brakins Blues Club
June 12 - Nashville, TN - The Basement
June 13 - Memphis, TN - Levitt Shell @ Overton Park
June 21 - Delaware Water Gap, PA - Sycamore Grille
June 22 - Winston-Salem, NC - The Garage
June 23 - Charlotte, NC - Evening Muse
June 27 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic
July 8 - Seattle, WA - Empty Sea Studios
July 9 - Bellingham, WA - Green Frog Cafe
July 10 - Portland, OR - Alberta Rose Theatre
July 11 - Hood River, OR - Blackburn House Concert
July 12 - Bend, Oregon - Windance House Concert
July 23 - Portland, MD - TBA
August 6 - Dallas, TX - Uncle Calvin's
August 7 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door

More dates to come!

The Soft Pack Announce US Tour Dates

The Soft Pack is excited to announce a string of US dates to celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album, out February 2nd on Kemado Records. The mini-tour will see the band take the stage with Phoenix, throw an album release party in their hometown San Diego, play select record stores and travel to the East Coast for dates in New York City and Philadelphia. On Friday, February 12th, the band will make their US network television debut with a performance on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Most notably, the band is teaming up with FYF Fest and their infamous vegetable oil-fueled bus for a run 10-shows in Los Angeles on January 30th. The marathon tour will start at 10:30 am and wrap at approximately 1am, with stops including friend’s backyards, record stores, and the beaches of Los Angeles. Fans are invited to meet The Soft Pack at their first location and follow the bus to all ten stops or meet up with the caravan throughout the day.
While The Soft Pack’s debut record isn’t out until February 2nd, they already have critics raving and have been lauded as “ones to watch” in 2010 by the Los Angeles Times, SPIN, Paste, Q, NME and Mojo.
Tour Dates
1/23  Seattle, WA @ Sonic Boom (In-store, 1pm)
1/23  Seattle, WA @ Showbox (w. Phoenix)
1/24  Portland, OR @ Music Millennium (In-store, 2pm)
1/24  Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom (w. Phoenix)
1/26  San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore (w. Phoenix)
1/27  Berekely, CA @ Amoebia Berkely (In-Store, 6pm)
1/28  San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
1/30   Los Angeles, CA @ 10 Locations across the city
2/2  San Diego, CA @ The Tower * RECORD RELEASE PARTY!
2/4  Philadelphia, PA @ Reward * FREE SHOW / ALL AGES
2/5  New York, NY @ Cake Shop * FREE SHOW! / ALL AGES

RJD2 To Give Away Free Stuff Every Week Until The Colossus Hits Stores in 2010

This morning RJD2 took to his website to announce that he will be giving away free records, MP3s, and more each Monday from now through the release of his forthcoming full length, The Colossus, on January 19th, 2010.

It all kicks off with a giveaway of a super rare vinyl test pressing of "The Horror" EP, originally released in 2003 on Definitive Jux records and in line to be reissued on November 17th via RJ’s newly formed label, RJ’s Electrical Connections, now home to nearly all things RJD2 past and present.

So far this year has seen the re-release of 2001’s Your Face or Your Knee Caps on August 18th and a limited edition box set entitled RJD2 2002-2010, out last week. A strictly vinyl affair, the box set includes full length LP versions of Deadringer, "The Horror" EP (first time on vinyl!), Since We Last Spoke, "Tin Foil Hat" EP (a brand new EP of 7 unreleased songs), a hand silk screened, signed and numbered poster, a download card for the box set content, plus a beautifully printed box.  Additionally, a space will be left in the box for The Third Hand LP released on XL Recordings in 2007 and a space for The Colossus.

"The Horror" is just one of three reissues to hit stores next month – the other two being 2002’s Deadringer, out November 3rd and 2004’s Since We Last Spoke, also out on November 17th.

And of course topping it all off is RJD2’s new album, The Colossus, to be released on January 19th. Only time will tell what additional prizes he has up his sleeve. Until then, read RJD2’s note and enter for a chance to win here.

The Gibson Brothers' new album in stores Now

Bluegrass duo The Gibson Brothers' talk about the "feel" of their new album, Ring the Bell. "It makes me think of being young and growing up in our small farming community in New York," explains Leigh. "It evokes memories of fellowship with the men who knew my Grandfather Gibson at church on Sunday mornings.  We'd see folks at the hardware store or the bank during the week and then see them all again at church each Sunday."

gibsonEric agrees that there is an elated intensity to the album. "There is a lot of joy in the music. I think you can tell in listening that we poured our hearts out - not that you can't tell on our other records - but the joy in our playing and singing. At the same time, it feels like our most hard-driving bluegrass album; there's more thump on it, a bigger sounding record than we've ever had."

That bigger sound comes from having the whole band - Mike Barber (upright bass), Clayton Campbell (fiddles), and Joe Walsh (mandolin guitar), and guest Mike Witcher from Missy Raines & The New Hip (resonator guitar) - playing on every track. "I'm very proud of how the band served each song," agrees Eric.  "There's not a lot of 'look at me' acrobatic playing.  It's more 'let's support the vocals, let's support the message of the song, the feel of the song'."

While Eric admits to loving all of the songs on the album, he cites the title track as one of his favorites. "It feels so uplifting to me," he says "and I love my brother's harmony on it." Leigh adds, "This song is a call to action for coming together in a world that sometimes seems intent on tearing itself apart. More than just nostalgia, it's a song about love of fellow man."

Produced by the two brothers plus bassist Mike Barber, Ring the Bell features six originals (including a co-write with Bob DiPiero) and new songs by Shawn Camp/Paul Kennerly, Chet O'Keefe, Joe Newberry, and Marshall Warwick, and a relatively obscure Tom Petty song, "Angel Dream." Staying true to their upstate New York farm boy roots, The Gibson Brothers recorded two agricultural-themed songs for this record, one written by Leigh ("Bottomland") and one by Eric ("Farm Of Yesterday"). "Bottomland", originally recorded for an unreleased Skaggs record, is given an old-timey treatment here and touches on the lives of sharecroppers. "Farm of Yesterday" was written as a tribute to their parents and the family dairy farm that belonged to the Gibson family from 1865-2000. Eric showed the song to Leigh who was moved but said, "it might be too personal to put on the record."  Eric replied, "Laying it out there could be the difference between a good record and a great record." "Farm Of Yesterday" is Leigh's favorite song on the album: "I told Eric he'd now written one Haggard would sing."

Of the album as a whole says Eric "I think everything about it - from the album cover to the songs - is an attention getter and I hope folks will notice. Brother bluegrass acts are almost as old bluegrass itself, but I feel like we've carved out a special niche for ourselves. We've hung in there and toughed it out - we're still in our 30's but I feel like we're bluegrass lifers."

John Prine's 'Fair & Square' hits stores on 4-26

- for the Grateful Web

Nashville: John Prine takes his own sweet time dancing with his muse - and truly writes what's in his soul. So if it takes him a little longer to write the songs that capture moments and reveal the gently folded human truths that bind us all together, it's always worth the wait. Now, nearly nine years since the release of his Grammy-nominated Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings, the iconic American writer is putting the finishing touches on Fair & Square, which will be released on Prine's Oh Boy label April 26th.

"It was just time," says Prine in his always understated way. "I had a bunch of songs. I'd started recording em, and it turns out, I liked 'em pretty well. So, now, I get to get 'em all just the way I like 'em - and then I get to let 'em go out to meet the world."

Drawing on Prine's incomparable sweetness, his wicked wit and social commentary and his split rail simplicity, Fair & Square turns on the phases of the human heart - and the way the people getting by live, dream, love and survive their lives. With the occasional wheezing accordion, curlicue electric guitar parts, quick-wristed mandolins, billowing B-3 pads and puddles of pedal steel guitar, the rough-voiced singer/songwriter's first self-produced record is a homey affair that draws generously from the palette of traditional American music - be it folk, bluegrass, shuffles, almost vintage rock & roll, torch, country - for an amalgamation that would be at home on any Wurlitzer in a whiskey-soaked tavern with beer signs flickering from age and the walls stained deeper than sepia from the years of constant smoke.

Whether it's the sultry celebration of post-encounter rapture "Morning Train," the afterglow burning until the next moment can happen "Long Monday" or the down-stroke electric guitar charged "She Is My Everything," Fair & Square captures Prine's candy heart. But there's also the Joshua Tree dry wit of our culture's tabloid obsessive culture "I Hate It When That Happens To Me" and the fame-chasing self-mockery of "Crazy As A Loon", not to mention the gentle political nudge "Some Humans Ain't Human" that's soft-spoken indictment at its most aw-shucks.

With bluegrass queen Allison Krauss on the ode to his Irish refuge "My Darlin' Hometown" and the street corner desolation of "The Moon Is Down" and alt.country princess Mindy Smith bringing allure and tartness to "Morning Train, "Long Monday" and the melted neon ponder of "Taking A Walk," Fair & Square is the work of a man at ease with his life, secure with his place in the world and willing to share the things that he sees.

"It's been a while, so I'm pretty excited," Prine admits with that Oh! Boy! grin. "And that's a really good place to be."

Tour dates will follow shortly. Advance music is being pulled together. But given the working class Midwestern origin of the Grammy-winning songwriter, you can bet the songs will be served - and the fans who want to see and hear them will have their chance.