Thursday, April 30, 2015

Coachella 2 Festival review

My review originally appeared at
All photos by Kelly A. Swift, unless indicated

During Steely Dan’s set at Coachella 2 last Friday night, guitarist/singer Walter Becker said, “There’s no such thing as old fogeys music – just good music,” to loud cheers.

That was a slight dig at detractors who scoffed when the veteran jazz/rock band, along with AC/DC, were first announced for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival lineup back in January. Yet those bookings weren’t all that surprising considering Roger Waters, Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen have also played the long-running event near Palm Springs, Calif.

Good music was in plentiful supply for a variety of tastes over the sold-out weekend, which drew more than 90,000 people daily from around the world to Empire Polo Field. But those who prefer EDM had it even better, as more than a third of the 179 acts on this year’s bill were dance-centric.

While Coachella has a history of hosting stunning art installations, the organizers upped their game this year with the much-buzzed about Corporate Headquarters (sporting real people dressed as hippo businessmen and a helicopter), curved LED spires of Chrono Chromatic and the dazzling Papilio Merraculous butterfly, among others.

Those willing to open their wallets a bit wider could indulge in fine cuisine from pop-up restaurants featuring some of LA’s top chefs.


by George A. Paul

One of the best parts about attending Coachella is the ability to choose your own music adventure, surrounded by what is arguably the best festival scenery in America. Mine started shortly after gates opened when I headed right over to the Gobi tent stage for the Ruen Brothers.

The promising young British newcomers’ debut EP Point Dume is infused with high drama and was produced by Rick Rubin. Live, “Motor City” boasted an appealing old school rock ‘n’ roll vibe, while the haunting “Vendetta,” quavering Roy Orbison-esque vocals in “Shades of Blue” and catchy “White Lies” were clear standouts. A straightforward take on The Stones’ “Miss You” wasn’t too shabby, either.

Next door at the medium-sized Mojave tent, Haerts - whose sumptuous self-titled full length debut album was co-produced by St. Lucia’s Jean-Philip Grobler - was immediately entrancing. 

by George A. Paul

The Brooklyn-based synth pop band drew a decent crowd, frequently recalling the sleekness of Ivy paired with a Juliana Hatfield-type delivery. Singer Nini Fabi (clad in white fringe outfit) hit several high sustained notes on the luxurious, ‘80s-tinged “Wings” and “Be the One” to rousing responses. A high point came during the racing, handclap-driven “Giving Up.”   

Many George Ezra fans who attended Coachella the previous week were disappointed when the 21-year-old British folk/pop sensation had to cancel at the last minute due to laryngitis. Here, his inaugural festival appearance in America featured an immensely enjoyable set of songs from hit UK album Wanted on Voyage. Onstage at Mojave, he said, “I thought we’d be playing in a venue the size of a portaloo” and wondered if anyone would show up. No worries there: the tent was packed for the mid-afternoon set.

Standouts included the catchy hit single “Budapest,” skiffle-tinged “Blame it on Me” (where Ezra explained how bad things happen to him in the music video, so anyone dragged there by a significant other should enjoy it) and the quiet, slow-build introspection of “Barcelona.” Meanwhile, a sprightly “Listen to the Man” and stormy rock closer “Did You Hear the Rain” showcased Ezra’s deep baritone in fine fashion.  

Having been wowed by a Ride headlining show a few days before, I only caught part of the recently reunited Brits’ set at the Gobi tent. Equally compelling, these leading lights of the early ‘90s shoegaze scene sounded especially sharp amid the blistering maelstrom of “Seagull” and “Dreams Burn Down,” marked by Andy Bell’s shimmering-to-squalling guitar effects and Mark Gardener’s hushed vocals.

Right before dusk, The War on Drugs provided the perfect soundtrack to concertgoers sprawled out along the large grassy expanse in front of the main Coachella stage.

A winsome blend of mellow Dire Straits and My Morning Jacket, with less grating Bob Dylan-styled vocals, the Philly alt-rock band’s expansive tunes were mesmerizing, particularly “Red Eyes,” “An Ocean Between the Waves” and spirited set closer “Under the Pressure.” I spotted one fan in a donkey costume dancing and a guy in an Indian headdress doing the same nearby.

Friday’s killer performance came from Lykke Li. Inside a well-attended Mohave, the dark-haired Swedish lass expertly used smoke and shadowy lighting to create a mystique for her dark, reverb-drenched alt-pop songs. Li and her band (dressed in black) had their instruments positioned sideways for maximum effect. 

Immediately captivating with “No Rest for the Wicked,” she strutted around for a spellbinding “Jerome” and vigorously hit a tambourine during the forceful “Rich Kid Blues,” which was akin to watching a musical séance.

Fans sang along loudly to European top 10 single “I Follow You,” with its subtle Arabic textures and “Just Like a Dream” showed off her vulnerable side. Li concluded with the stomping, sexually charged “Get Some,” as confetti shot in the air.

by George A. Paul

Later that evening, fresh faced EDM artist Porter Robinson held court in the gigantic Sahara tent and stood out from most other DJs of the genre. That was clear from the lush M83-leaning set opener “Sad Machine,” where he sang alongside a voice synthesizer. Eye-popping anime cartoons were projected on the big screens.

An upbeat, driving “Easy” (Robinson’s 2013 dance hit with Matt Zo) replicated the recorded soulful female vocal loop and had the capacity crowd dancing up a storm.  “Flicker,” featuring Japanese dialogue, was a full on rager that would please Daft Punk enthusiasts.


Since my Day 1 festivities ended with a late night dose of hard rock from AC/DC, I pushed Saturday’s “must see” live schedule to early afternoon. First came an unsuccessful trip to look for certain vinyl Record Store Day titles at the Coachella music store (I miss the festival’s old stalwart Zia Records and think Southern California’s popular indie chain Amoeba Records should do a pop-up store there). 

Parquet Courts’ laconic performance in the Gobi tent didn’t exactly prompt alertness amid the mid-90s heat. Although I wasn’t anticipating much excitement from the transplanted Brooklyn indie rockers, they didn’t really live up to the hype. During such Pavement-influenced songs as “Bodies Made of” and “Vienna II” off last year’s Sunbathing Animal, the guys acted like they just fell out of bed.

Over in the Mojave tent, there was a classic R&B revival going on. That’s where St. Paul & the Broken Bones channeled Sam & Dave, Otis Redding and Al Green with an excellent set of songs from last year’s solid debut Half the City.

“I camped out to see Prince here in 2008,” admitted vocalist Paul Janeway. “So, if you’ve got a band, don’t quit. Even some dumb redneck from Alabama can get here.” The nattily attired group had no trouble getting the crowd all riled up and dancing.

Boasting a two-man horn section and sweet organ work by noted session man Al Gamble, they fared best on the album’s upbeat title track and “Dixie Rothko” (the former saw Janeway go into the audience and work  up quite a sweat) as well as the slow burn number “I’m Torn Up” and “Like a Mighty River.” Hozier, who was slated to play later that day, watched alongside the crowd. 

There’s been a lot of buzz about Royal Blood since the self-titled eponymous debut album came out last summer. After the Brighton, U.K. duo played the Outdoor Theatre stage in the peak of the sweltering afternoon heat, it was easy to see why. 

They touched upon Nirvana and Black Keys territory with some Muse-type time signature changes.  Bassist/singer Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher packed a mighty wallop before a huge crowd with bluesy garage rock hits “Figure it Out,” “Out of the Black” and “Little Monster.”

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness knows how to stand out from the Coachella pack – literally. A quarter way into his thoroughly engaging performance at the same stage, the former Jack’s Mannequin and Something Corporate front man climbed atop his black Baldwin piano and quickly got up close and personal with concertgoers.

Selections from an eponymous alt-pop effort (one of my top 10 albums of 2014), like the dramatic “Canyon Moon,” the percolating synth/piano-driven “All Our Lives” and “Halls” sounded sharp outdoors. 
Later, multi-colored confetti balloons exploded during a strategic moment of the soaring, life affirming single “Cecilia and the Satellite” and vibrant tarps were passed over the crowd to foster togetherness during “Synesthesia.”  

by George A. Paul

A sense of community and inclusion also enveloped Belle and Sebastian’s set at sunset - especially toward the end. A female fan was invited onstage to dance during “Sukie in the Graveyard” and a dozen or so other followers gleefully frolicked amidst the band (much to security guards’ dismay) for the sprightly “The Boy with the Arab Strap.”

Leader Stuart Murdoch was in a fun, chatty mood. He said the longtime Scottish folk/pop band would “bring the mellow” (they did) and after several previous appearances here, Coachella “never gets less beautiful” (very true). Though newer tracks from Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance were more rhythmic, they worked well live beside the older chamber pop fare like “I Want the World to Stop” and stark ballad “Lord Anthony.” 

Back out to the Mojave, Kasabian’s spacey dance rock drew far more people than expected, considering alt-J and Father John Misty also played at the same time. The definition of intense, the brash English electronic rock band opened with the new track “Bumblebee” and fans were definitely mad for it. Bassist Serge Pizzorno demanded a mosh pit (and got one).

Glam-inspired stomper “Shoot the Runner” found lead singer Tom Meighan spitting out the defiant lyrics. Dancefloor ready single “Eez-eh” was a standout and harrowing 2004 hit “Club Foot” was powerful as ever. There was a steady stream of crowd surfers, flag wavers and assorted chaos near the stage. Later, before “Vlad the Impaler,” the craziness was taken to a creepy level when Pizzorno donned a black executioner mask.


Night Terrors of 1927 provided the early afternoon’s first shining light. The LA synth rock outfit, spearheaded by guitarist Blake Sennett (ex-Rilo Kiley) and singer Jarrod Gorbel , did a dynamic, often new wave-inspired set in the Gobi tent revolving around new album Everything’s Coming Up Roses.

They had flowers strewn between various instruments, which Gorbel later threw out into the crowd. He sang “we were so alive” during opener “Always Be One” (think The Killers-meets-Peter Murphy) and some of the ultra-dramatic songs had an optimistic bent. Sennett could barely contain his enthusiasm while playing; Gorbel gestured wildly amid the luxurious standout “When You Were Mine” (a Tegan & Sara duet on the album; touring female musicians handle the harmonies) and a good cover of the Romantics’ 1980s nugget “Talking in Your Sleep.”

There were rumblings about a special surprise for Saint Motel’s performance on the Coachella stage. It turned out to be dancing girls in bright and sparkly matching outfits that could have easily been imported from Las Vegas. It was a cool touch for the LA alt-pop band, who played effervescent songs from 2012’s Voyeur and a forthcoming major label debut. “Feed Me Now” had a festive Latin vibe with punchy horns; the slinky rock of “Benny Goodman” incorporated an old swing announcer’s voice sample; the peppy “Cold, Cold Man” revisited ‘70s pop and current hit “My Type” had people waving their hands in the air to the punchy brass-infused earworm. 

Three hours later on the same stage, St. Lucia (yes, oddly, there were several bands with similar names at Coachella) was jubilant from the start. South African born, Brooklyn-based music mastermind Jean-Philip Grobler wildly played synth on an alluring “The Night Comes Again.” Grobler also showed off his fine falsetto on the tropical dance song “Wait for Love.” Standouts from the electro-pop group included the slow groove of “All Eyes on You,” the haunting EDM-minded “September” and frothy “Elevate,” where the gregarious Grobler pogoed along with the crowd. He even showed off a more suave side on unreleased song “Love Somebody.”

Jenny Lewis’ great set on the Outdoor Theatre set split the difference between her solo career (namely the stellar 2014 album The Voyager) and former band Rilo Kiley (guitarist Sennett guested on a couple early 2000s tracks). The laid back results were like the best of 1970s FM rock, with lush harmonies, clean electric guitar lines and cutting lyrics. Highlights included “Head Underwater,” “Silver Lining” and the low key alt-country of “Rabbit Fur Coat.”

Dashing over the Gobi tent, I caught a short, but sweet blast of punk rock fury from The Cribs. The scrappy British band just released their sixth studio effort For All My Sisters. “Different Angle” featured blissful harmonies from the twin Jarman Brothers. Gary and Ryan both wore cutoff shorts, t-shirts and Chuck Taylors, with the latter often turning away from the crowd as he sang and played. They gave “Mirror Kisses” a vigorous attack, while the jagged, throat shredder “Come On, Be a No-One” and needling punk/pop of older tune “Our Bovine Public” were obvious standouts.  

Back at the Outdoor Theatre, Ryan Adams and his current four-piece band had the best stage accoutrements of any act at Coachella. They were surrounded by two upright video arcade games, a peace flag and cat statue, not to mention jumbo sized Fender amps. A female interpreter enthusiastically signed Adams lyrics and he later had a bit of fun at her expense.

Launching with the sinewy rock of “Gimme Something Good” (from last year’s acclaimed self-titled release), they did a well-rounded set featuring selections from various facets of Adams’ prolific career – some in extended form. “Oh, My Sweet Carolina” was quietly affecting.

The same held true for “Dirty Rain,” before it steadily built in intensity amid band solos. A lean and mean “This House is Not for Sale” was the high point. Adams dedicated “Peaceful Valley” to the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, who he noticed at the soundboard and the song ended, appropriately, with an extended jam. “New York, New York” had a false start when the band accidentally played it in the wrong key. Adams laughed it off, saying he would’ve had to sing it like The Chipmunks.  Finally, they closed with the recent hard rocking, Husker Du-influenced “When the Summer Ends.”

Anyone who witnessed Florence and the Machine’s Coachella set the previous week knew Florence Welch pulled out all the stops, jumping and running through the crowd and taking off her shirt - all inspired by the power of music. That desert liberation ended up being costly and Welch broke a foot.

Ever the trooper, the British baroque pop/rock songstress decided to return and do a semi-stripped down, truncated 45-minute set. It was still a wonder to behold. Carried onstage and seated, Welch and her band launched into “Cosmic Love,” all harp plucking splendor.

She previewed forthcoming album How Big How Blue How Beautiful with three winners: the title track, a strident “Ship to Wreck” (bolstered by several female backing vocalists) and sweeping rocker “What Kind of Man.” In between, were orchestral-enriched takes on “Only If for a Night” and “Dog Days Are Over.” Father John Misty even made a guest appearance during a pleasant acoustic guitar-based duet of the Everly Brothers’ “Love Hurts.”

Read another review of Coachella 2 by Robert Kinsler at 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tyler Farr's new album out now

Blur to play free NYC show this week; TV appearances

Already en route to New York for an April 30 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Blur will treat fans to a free performance of the just-released The Magic Whip (Warner Bros) in its entirety on May 1 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY as part of Converse Rubber Tracks Live music program.

The early evening, all-ages show will feature the first time in 15 years that Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree have performed live as Blur in New York. This intimate pop-up show is only the second time the band have done this, the first time being in a small club in London a few weeks prior to the release of The Magic Whip

Registration for free tickets will be available beginning today at 12 p.m. EST for fans at Fans who receive a confirmed “ticket” will be allowed to enter the venue on a first come, first serve, with admission based on capacity day of event. No hard or downloadable tickets will be distributed in advance.

The Magic Whip started life in Hong Kong during an unexpected break in touring in May 2013. The band spent five days at Avon Studios in Kowloon before putting the recordings aside, before carrying on with their live dates and ultimately returning to their respective lives: Dave to his day job as a lawyer, Alex to his Oxfordshire farm, Telegraph column and the hosting duties on The Big Feastival that he shares with Jamie Oliver. Graham, who has released eight critically acclaimed solo albums to date, continued to work on his own material and, in 2014, Damon released and toured his Mercury-nominated debut solo album Everyday Robots.

Graham revisited the tracks in November 2014 and, drafting in Blur’s early producer Stephen Street (Leisure, Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife, The Great Escape, Blur), worked with the band on the material. Damon then added lyrics to the 12 tracks, completing The Magic Whip—Blur’s eighth album and first since 1999’s 13 to feature the original Blur lineup.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Revisiting The Knack's final albums

photo by Gary Fishman
While The Knack's debut album, and its hit “My Sharona” were two of 1979’s biggest records, the band continued to record and perform into the 21st century.

Omnivore Recordings is proud to bookend the story begun with Havin’ a Rave Up! Live in Los Angeles, 1979 and Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Good for You: The Fieger/Averre Demos by reissuing the Knack’s last three official releases, beginning May 19.

1998’s Zoom was the band’s first album in five years, spurred on by “My Sharona” charting for the second time, 15 years after its initial release, due to its inclusion in the film Reality Bites. Original members Doug Fieger, Berton Averre, and Prescott Niles were joined by drummer Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons, Frank Zappa).

The album was a return to form, and was often called his favorite Knack album by Fieger. This reissue features five bonus tracks, four of which are previously unissued. Of particular note is an unheard version of “My Sharona” with Bozzio behind the kit. Zoom will be available on CD and digitally on May 19.

According to bassist Niles in the liner notes: “The only way for the band to get the energy and passion back was to play some live shows. We had a new manager, the late Danny Sugerman, to help guide us. The key to our comeback was two shows at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. We knew we had it after we gave a prime Knack performance that got continued encore shouts. We needed a drummer to record with, and Terry Bozzio’s name came to our attention . . . We were inspired by Terry’s brilliant playing and joyfully started recording the full album.”

Normal as the Next Guy was released in 2001, as the band took off on its Rock ’n’ Roll Fun House tour, and featured 11 new tracks, as well as a cover of Serious Fun’s “One Day at a Time,” which was climbing the charts as their post-Capitol label, Charisma, began to fold. The CD and digital version will be released on June 9, and features three previously unissued songwriting demos from Fieger.

From Niles’ liner notes: “'Normal as the Next Guy,' in hindsight, was the bridge that helped return us Knack exiles to our homeland. After the rightful and bitter disappointment of the experience with our comeback album, 'Zoom,' all Berton, Doug, and I could do was splinter off and consume ourselves with our own musical projects. We did our best collective work on 'Zoom' and believed our fans, and maybe even the music aficionados, would hear it and possibly get it, and us, once again. No such luck! . . . However, playing brought us together again as a group, and we did many shows and tours after that strange night. Doug was feeling inspired and said that we would soon make our best album and leave our legacy of greatness. But sadly, Doug’s diminishing health did not provide us the opportunity. So Normal as the Next Guy should be remembered as a good album and the start of The Knack’s last page.”

Live From the Rock ’n’ Roll Fun House was the soundtrack to the DVD of the same name, featuring the Knack performing in an imaginary 1960s television show. Essentially a live greatest hits package, the band plays material from their previous five albums, and this reissue adds two from Normal as the Next Guy, recorded for the program, but never used. It hits stores on CD and Digital on July 14.

Live From The Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun House offers fans everything they love about The Knack – stellar songs and a rocking performance. While this would be the last album released by the group before the passing of Doug Fieger, it represents why they maintained a rabid fan base. They were an incredible live band.

All three reissues contain updated artwork, new liner notes, and commentary and remembrances from the band’s Berton Averre and Prescott Niles. Together they form the definitive statement on the final chapter of the Knack’s story.

Zoom Track Listing:

1. Pop Is Dead
2. Can I Borrow A Kiss
3. Smilin’
4. Ambition
5. Mister Magazine
6. Everything I Do
7. Love Is All There Is
8. Terry & Julie Step Out
9. Harder On You
10. You Gotta Be There
11. Good Enough
12. In Blue Tonight
13. Tomorrow
14. (All In The) All In All
Bonus Tracks:
15. She Says
16. Mister Magazine (Demo)
17. Harder On You (Demo)
18. (All In The) All In All (Demo)
19. My Sharona (Terry Bozzio Version)

Normal As The Next Guy Track Listing:

1. Les Girls
2. Disillusion Town
3. Girl I Never Lied To You
4. Normal As The Next Guy
5. Spiritual Pursuit
6. It’s Not Me
7. One Day At A Time
8. Seven Days Of Heaven
9. Dance Of Romance
10. Reason To Live
11. A World Of My Own
12. The Man On The Beach
Bonus Tracks:
13. Seven Days Of Heaven (demo)*
14. Spiritual Pursuit (demo)*
15. Reason To Live (demo)*

Live From The Rock ’n’ Roll Fun House Track Listing:

1. Pop Is Dead
2. Baby Talks Dirty
3. Oh Tara
4. Can I Borrow A Kiss
5. Another Lousy Day In Paradise
6. Good Girls Don’t
7. One Day At A Time
8. It’s Not Me*
9. Siamese Twins (The Monkey And Me)
10. Harder On You
11. Sweet Dreams
12. Seven Days Of Heaven*
13. That’s What The Little Girls Do
14. (She’s So) Selfish
15. My Sharona
16. (Havin A) Rave Up
17. Tequila/Break On Through (To The Other Side)

Watch the trailer:

Roger Waters’ Amused to Death gets remastered this summer

Roger Waters’ album Amused to Death returns in a remastered release from Columbia/Legacy Recordings on July 24. 

“I’m remembering the record from [over] 20 years ago, that most of what I had to say then sadly still pertains today and is maybe even more relevant to our predicament as people in 2015 even than it was in 1992,” says Roger Waters.

A look at an entertainment-obsessed society, Amused to Death addresses issues that have only grown in complexity and urgency over the past two decades. 

The 2015 editions feature a new 5.1 surround remix of the album on high-definition Blu-ray audio and a new remastered stereo mix completed by longtime Roger Waters/Pink Floyd collaborator and co-producer, James Guthrie. The cover and gatefold art has been updated for 2015 by Sean Evans, the creative director of Waters’ 2010-2013 “The Wall Live” tour and movie.

Produced by Roger Waters and Patrick Leonard, Amused to Death features guitarist Jeff Beck on 8 songs. Guest vocalists include Don Henley (“It’s a Miracle”), Rita Coolidge (“Amused to Death”) and soul singer P.P. Arnold (“Perfect Sense” Parts I and II).
Also contributing were Waters’ longtime collaborators, guitarist Andy Fairweather Low and drummer Graham Broad; percussionist Luis Conte; and Pat Leonard, who played keyboards on several tracks.
The album reunited Waters with late composer/arranger Michael Kamen, who supervised orchestral arrangements for The Wall, Waters’ semi-autographical concept album with Pink Floyd. Kamen arranged and conducted the National Philharmonic Orchestra Limited’s contributions to the songs “Too Much Rope” and “What God Wants, Part III.”

The 2015 editions of Amused to Death will be available on:
CD /Blu-ray
Hi-res digital download
2LP 200 gram vinyl (pressed at Quality Record Pressings)
Limited edition, numbered 2LP picture disc vinyl.
Legacy Recordings has collaborated with Analogue Productions/Acoustic Sounds in the United States on the release of the 2LP 200 gram vinyl as well as SACD and DSD download audio products.

Amused to Death is available for pre-order at where fans will have access to an exclusive music and merchandise bundle including their choice of an Amused to Death t-shirt or sweatshirt.

Roger Waters on Amused to Death announcement video

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard team up again

Legacy Recordings has announced the June 2 release of Django and Jimmie, the new studio album collaboration from Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

"Me and Merle got a new album coming out called Django and Jimmie and the title track is about Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers," said Willie Nelson. "Both of those guys were very influential in both of our careers."

According to Merle Haggard, there's "new songs, a couple of classics and Willie sang like he was a teenager."

For Django and Jimmie, Willie Nelson's sixth studio album release for Legacy since 2012, the legendary singer-songwriter joined forces with longtime friend and collaborator Merle Haggard to reignite the musical chemistry that made the pair's Pancho & Lefty a honky-tonk blockbuster and America's #1 Country Album following its release in January 1983.

Driven by a title track penned by Townes Van Zandt (and arguably the songwriter's most familiar song), the critically-acclaimed top-selling Pancho & Lefty solidified the reputations of both Willie and Merle as among the most formidable and influential artists in outlaw country music while topping the Billboard Country charts for seven non-consecutive weeks between April and October 1983.

The success of Pancho & Lefty opened the doors for a number of successful follow-up projects including 1987's Seashores Of Old Mexico album, 2007's double album Last Of The Breed with Ray Price, and the Merle Haggard-penned "A Horse Called Music" (the lead track on 2012's Heroes, Willie Nelson's first album for Legacy).

Helmed by Nelson's longtime producer, collaborator and friend Buddy Cannon, Django and Jimmie premieres 14 brand-new studio recordings including: "Django and Jimmie," a dual tribute to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, country music's mythic "Singing Brakeman"; the reflective and meditative "Live This Long"; "Missing Ol' Johnny Cash," an homage to country music's original Man in Black featuring guest vocals from Bobby Bare; a sublime interpretation of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"; and the future outlaw country classic "Unfair Weather Friend," written by rising songsmiths Marla Cannon-Goodman (Buddy Cannon's daughter) and Ward Davis.

A legendary country music producer and songwriter in his own right, Buddy helped pen five of the album's tracks, including "It's All Going To Pot" (a rollicking anthem for the emerging 21st century cannabis culture) and four cowrites with Willie: "Alice In Hulaland," "It's Only Money," "Where Dreams Come To Die," and "Driving The Herd."

Among the 14 essential recordings on Django and Jimmie, Nelson and Haggard each pay musical tribute to the other through heartfelt solo performances: Willie singing Merle's "Somewhere Between" and Merle covering Willie's "Family Bible."

Willie sums up the duo's new collaboration simply saying, "It's good music, I got a good feeling about it."

Track listing: 

1. Django and Jimmie – written by Jimmy Melton and Jeff Prince
2. It’s All Going To Pot – written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson and Larry Shell
3. Unfair Weather Friend - written by Marla Cannon-Goodman and Ward Davis
4. Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash - written by Merle Haggard
5. Live This Long – written by Shawn Camp and Marv Green
6. Alice In Hulaland - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
7. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright - written by Bob Dylan
8. Family Bible – written by Walter M. Breeland, Paul F. Buskirk, and Claude Gray
9. It’s Only Money - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
10. Swinging Doors - written by Merle Haggard
11. Where Dreams Come To Die - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
12. Somewhere Between – written by Merle Haggard
13. Driving The Herd - written by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
14. The Only Man Wilder Than Me - written by Merle Haggard

In related news, Willie Nelson's new memoir It's a Long Story (with David Ritz) arrives on May 5. 

Nelson grew up in the depths of the Great Depression. He was born in 1933 and raised by his grandparents in the small farm town of Abbott, Texas, population just 300. He began singing in dance halls and honky-tonks at the age of 13 to escape the brutal work of picking cotton in the fields of Texas.

But Nelson was destined for greatness despite the struggles he faced along the way. More than a half-century ago, Nelson found his voice and a devout audience, and firmly established himself as a songwriter. He went on to write some of the most popular and enduring songs of all time, including "On the Road Again," "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground," "Crazy," "Night Life," and "Funny How Time Slips Away," and to record classics like "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Bring Me Sunshine," and "Always on My Mind."

On the verge of turning 82, Nelson leaves no stone unturned as he shares his full story. From his drive to write music and poetry to the women in his life; from his collaborations to his monumental tax troubles and how he logistically and spiritually prevailed, to the founding of Farm Aid and his recollections of the artists who played and how they raised the consciousness of the entire world-every unforgettable moment is recounted.
Here, you'll read about the candid history of Nashville in the '60s, where he failed to fit the mold of the established Nashville Sound, and about his reinvention in the '70s, when he moved back to Texas and found a way to forge a musical bond between the hippies and the rednecks, marking the birth of progressive country music. Nelson also delves into his history with alcohol and tobacco abuse, leading to his five-decade-long use of marijuana and his advocacy for its benefits-from meditation to medicine.

The book includes Nelson's never-before-told stories behind the making of his most successful records: Yesterday's Wine, Phases and Stages, Shotgun Willie, and Stardust. He also shares memorable portraits of his close friends and collaborators Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Price, and Waylon Jennings. He tells road stories about crisscrossing the world with the Highwaymen-Nelson, Jennings, Cash and Kristofferson-as they enriched the world with their powerful brew of American roots music.

Nelson is an American singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. He spends his time between Austin, Texas, and Maui, Hawaii.

David Ritz is the only four-time winner of the Gleason Music Book Award. He won the 2013 ASCAP Timothy White award for outstanding musical biography for his book with Buddy Guy. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

The audiobook version with the Introduction read by Willie Nelson will be available from Hachette Audio on May 5.

By Willie Nelson
with David Ritz
Little, Brown and Company
May 5, 2015
Hardcover | $30.00
ISBN: 978-0-316-40355-9

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Melissa Etheridge Live in L.A. coming to CD, home video

Melissa Etheridge will release the electrifying live concert experience A Little Bit Of Me: Live In L.A., on CD, Blu-ray/CD, DVD/CD, as well as a digital edition, and a deluxe digital edition available exclusively on iTunes, June 9, via Shout! Factory.

Bonus features on the DVD and Blu-ray combos include interviews with Melissa Etheridge, members of her band, and special guests Delta Rae, “Backstage Pass,” a behind-the-scenes look at the Orpheum performance, and a photo gallery.

On December 12, 2014, at the historic Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles, Melissa Etheridge played the final night of her national This Is M.E. tour. The show featured Melissa and her band in top form, performing new songs from her 13th studio album, This Is M.E., such as “Take My Number” and “A Little Bit of Me,” as well as classic hits including “Come To My Window,” “I’m The Only One” and “Like The Way I Do.”

Etheridge was born and raised in Leavenworth, Kansas, and returned to that time for much of her inspiration on the new album, particularly the tracks “Take My Number,” and “Stranger Road.”

Melissa Etheridge is on tour this summer, visit for dates.

Track list:

1. I Won’t Be Alone Tonight
2. I Want To Come Over
3. Chrome Plated Heart
4. Take My Number
5. Come To My Window
6. Ruins
7. A Little Bit Of Me
8. If I Wanted To
9. Meet Me In The Back
10. Bring Me Some Water
11. I'm The Only One*
12. Like The Way I Do (Bonus track on Blu-ray, DVD and Deluxe Digital Edition)
13. Monster* (Bonus track on Blu-ray, DVD and Deluxe Digital Edition)

*featuring backup vocals by special guests Delta Rae

Bonus features include:
· Interviews With Melissa Etheridge, Her Band And Delta Rae
· Backstage Pass – A Behind The Scenes Look At The Orpheum Performance
· Photo Gallery


Arden Altino – Keyboards
Jessica Antonette – Background Vocals
Melissa Etheridge – Vocals, Guitar
Brandyn Porter – Guitar
Ava Raiin – Background Vocals
Blair Sinta – Drums
Jerry Wonda – Bass

Paul Weller photo book set for June

Set for publication in June, Paul Weller's Into Tomorrow is a pictorial record of his solo years from 1992 onward. Captioned with his handwritten text, Weller has selected over 800 photos taken by friend and photographer, Lawrence Watson.

Nearly 300 pages will be published in a leather-bound volume with previously unheard live recordings on an accompanying 10" vinyl disc. Housed in an acrylic slipcase, each numbered book will be signed by Paul Weller and Lawrence Watson. Only 2,000 copies worldwide, available from of 'Into Tomorrow' by Paul Weller with photos by Lawrence Watson

"When I look back to the early shots from 1992, I was starting to write and play (and, importantly, want to play) again. I'd been 'away' for a while and didn't know what, if anything, to expect," said the musician.

It is Paul Weller's visual chronicle of his 22-year solo career. Annotated with his own text captions, Weller is retracing his steps in 800 mostly unseen images, now being shared by photographer, Lawrence Watson.

"So many memories come back. Some of the pictures make me mourn the passing of time. Some of the times I couldn't wait to get away from. Lawrence has been there to document most of them. He is part of our crew," said Weller. 

He and Watson are signing each of the 2,000 numbered copies in the limited edition book and vinyl set.

Weller has reviewed thousands of prints to decide the photographs that make up the book. His recording sessions are seen from an insider's perspective, at work on albums such as Wild Wood. Similarly, Weller's tours - from Amsterdam to New York and from the O2 to 100 Club. Shoots have produced album covers such as Modern Classics 1 and 2, As Is Now and Studio 150. Videos captured by Watson have included 'The Changingman' and 'Out of the Sinking.' Weller and Watson are now revealing the outtakes. 

"Lawrence is always thinking ahead, looking for a backdrop or a certain light, looking for ideas," said Weller.

The pair's working relationship began in 1988. Weller was impressed with Watson's photography used for the Confessions of a Pop Group album cover. Since The Style Council, Paul Weller has released 11 studio albums, five live albums, 39 singles and three EPs - nearly all of which feature Watson's photography.

Pre-order now from U.S. Book Launch June 2015.

The upcoming album Saturns Pattern was recorded in Weller's own Black Barn Studio and produced by Jan "Stan" Kybert (Oasis, Bjork, Massive Attack, etc.). Weller and Kybert have worked together extensively in the past on previous albums.

Saturns Pattern is currently available for pre-order HERE in a variety of formats: Standard CD, Deluxe CD/DVD set, vinyl album, and Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set with CD/DVD/vinyl album.The digital formats will be available in standard and deluxe editions with the deluxe edition featuring previously unreleased bonus tracks. iTunes versions are exclusively mastered. Those who pre-order will receive an instant download of the track "White Sky." Watch the video for "White Sky" here. Click here to view the video for the album track "Long Time."

Comprised of a strong nine-song cycle of futuristic sounds and styles, the new album's drums were recorded by Ben Gordelier, keyboards and backing vocals by Andy Crofts both from Weller's band, additional guitar parts were contributed by Steve Cradock (Paul Weller Band, Ocean Colour Scene), Josh McClorey (The Strypes), and Steve Brookes, with whom Weller formed the short-lived original line-up of The Jam in 1972.

"It's a little bit of a leap into the unknown really," says Weller. "I don't know where it will take me... It's got a lot of movement to it. I think that it's going to be a bit of an inspiration to people," he recently quoted in Q Magazine (U.K.).

As previously mentioned, Paul Weller hitting the road this summer. VIP packages and pre-sale tickets available now:
Paul Weller Premium Package includes-
- 1 General Admission ticket
- 1 Exclusive Litho Signed by Paul Weller

Click here for details. Please use the following username and password to log in:
Username: paulweller Password: saturnspattern

U.S. tour: 

June 9 9:30 Club Washington, DC
June 10 Union Transfer Philadelphia, PA
June 12 Terminal 5 New York, NY
June 13 Paradise Rock Club Boston, MA
June 14 Upstate Concert Hall Clifton Park, NY
June 15 Danforth Music Hall Toronto, ON
June 17 Vic Theatre Chicago, IL
June 18 The Vogue Indianapolis, IN
June 19 Mr. Smalls Theatre Pittsburgh, PA
June 20 Music Hall Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY