Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band marks 50 years with live collection, tour

When I caught NGDB's set at Stagecoach '14, it was one of my highlights of the festival. The concert special, which recently aired on public television, is equally enjoyable. All the details on a commemorative release follow... 

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Friends - Circlin’ Back: Celebrating 50 Years live album, available as a CD or as a CD/DVD combo, drops Sept. 30 on the band's own NGDB/Warner Music Nashville.

Recorded live in Sept. 2015 at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, the album finds the country/folk legends joined onstage by John Prine, Sam Bush, Vince Gill, Jerry Jeff Walker, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Byron House, and Jerry Douglas. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (and early Dirt Band member) Jackson Browne joined in, along with longtime member Jimmy Ibbotson.

Band mates Jeff Hanna (guitars/vocals), Jimmie Fadden (drums/harmonica/vocals), Bob Carpenter (keyboards/accordion/vocals) and John McEuen (banjo/fiddle/guitar/mandolin) swap harmonies, trade solos, and shine new light on their catalog.

Track listing:


Tour dates:

Sept. 01 Hollywood Casino Toledo - Toledo, Ohio
Sept. 02 Honeywell Center - Wabash, Ind.
Sept. 04 Central Wisconsin State Fair - Marshfield, Wisc.
Sept. 09 The Strand Theatre - Shreveport, La.
Sept. 10 Muscadine Jubilee - Pelahatchie, Mo.
Sept. 11 Silver Dollar City - Branson, Mo.
Sept. 15 Britt Pavilion - Jacksonville, Ore.
Sept. 16 Sonoma State University - The Green Music Center - Rohnert Park, Ca.
Sept. 17 Folk Revival Festival - Long Beach, Calif.
Sept. 22 Reynolds Performance Hall - Conway, Ark.
Sept. 23 Halloran Centre for Performing Arts - Memphis, Tenn.
Sept. 24 Belterra Resort & Casino - Florence, Ind.
Sept. 30 Red Hat Amphitheater - Raleigh, N.C.
Oct. 01 Anderson Music Hall - Hiawassee, Ga.
Oct. 04 Schermerhorn Symphony Center - Nashville, Tenn.
Oct. 06 Oxford Performing Arts Center - Oxford, Ala.
Oct. 07 Clayton Center for the Arts - Maryville, Tenn.
Oct. 08 The Roanoke Rapids Theater - Roanoke Rapids, N.C.
Oct. 10 Georgia National Fair - Perry, Ga.
Oct. 21 Dosey Doo - The Woodlands, Texas
Oct. 22 The Majestic Theatre - Dallas, Tex.
Nov. 10 Grand Theatre - Frankfort, Ky.
Nov. 11 Midland Theatre - Newark, Ohio
Nov. 12 Temple Theatre - Saginaw, Mich.
Nov. 13 MotorCity Casino Hotel - Detroit, Mich.

Dave Matthews Band concert review: Irvine, Calif.

photo: Kevin Sullivan/OC Register
Dave Matthews Band has a long history with Irvine Meadows, thanks to multiple summertime gigs there over the past decade.

On Saturday night, when Matthews casually referenced the venue's impending closure, he was met with loud boos from passionate fans. Earlier, many people scribbled their personal thoughts about the circumstances on a large board located at the concourse entrance (sponsored by Save Live Music Irvine).

A long-awaited new studio effort from DMB is still rumored to be in the works, so the current tour celebrates its 25th anniversary as one of America’s most successful rock groups and top concert draws. Last month, multi-platinum 1996 release “Crash” was reissued on LP and debuted atop Billboard’s Vinyl Albums chart.  

The sold out, nearly three-hour O.C. show started with the laid-back, loping groove of “When the World Ends” and Matthews’ exaggerated vocal delivery drew cheers. “Y’all are beautiful and cultured. I’m not going to tell you how to dance, but…,” the singer subtly suggested, about the churning “Seven.” He proceeded to sing in falsetto, dramatically gesture and do some of those famous loose limbed movements to the unusual time signature. A fast and frenetic “Rooftop,” from 2012’s “Away from the World,” featured a tasty trumpet solo by Rashawn Ross.

Despite the previous night’s performance in Chula Vista, there was a sense that the musicians were still getting their bearings following a month off from touring. The pauses between some initial songs seemed like an eternity. Maybe it had to do with instrument adjustments because the entire set lists tend to change nightly.

Matthews’ quiet vocals and acoustic guitar intro to “Proudest Monkey” came close to being drowned out by chatty concertgoers (it also happened later on an epic “Typical Situation,” where the band pulled out all the stops). Still, the slowly unravelling “Monkey” was gorgeous and an early highlight. “Crash Into Me” was equally strong. A mammoth version of “Crush” saw Boyd Tinsley revel in his violin spotlight, fans wave their hands during the buoyant chorus and heartily approve of the “feeling high” lyric.

Stretching back to 1993 live album “Remember Two Things,” the band’s haunting “Minarets” saw Matthews and drummer Carter Beauford doing strange vocalizations. Later, a spirited “Recently” prompted a loud audience singalong, plus entrancing solos by Ross, Tinsley and sax man Jeff Coffin. Matthews included a line from Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.”
The gilded melodicism of “The Space Between” was another standout, while the always riveting “Don’t Drink the Water” found the group tightly locked into a hard-edged maelstrom sound at the end. Some intricately woven grooves amid “Funny the Way It Is” proved how DMB’s eclecticism still stands apart from the pack.

Nearing the home stretch, the breezy, uplifting folk/funk of “Jimi Thing” closed the main set with more scintillating violin work from Tinsley, plus a snippet of Prince’s “Sexy MF.” The band passed the usual 11 p.m. curfew with its encores, but hey, why not go out at Irvine Meadows with a bang?

Set list:
When The World Ends / Seven / Rooftop / Proudest Monkey / Crash Into Me / Break Free / Crush / Squirm / Samurai Cop / Minarets /  If Only / Recently / The Space Between / Don’t Drink the Water / Typical Situation / Funny The Way It Is / Jimi Thing>Sexy M.F. (Prince snippet)
Encore: Sister / Two Step / Halloween
A version of my review originally appeared at 

'Roadies' soundtrack CD due Friday

Music From the Showtime Original Series Roadies is available at all digital retailers through  Stardog Records/Republic Records. A physical edition of the album hits stores on Friday.
It was preceded by instant grat downloads of the previously released tracks Lindsey Buckingham’s “Big Love” (Live), Reignwolf’s “Are You Satisfied?” (Live), My Morning Jacket’s “The First Time” (Studio Recording), Lucius’ “Born Again Teen” (Live), “Longest Days” (Live) by John Mellencamp, “Feeling Ok (Live) by Best Coast, and “Simple Man” (Live) by MGK.
About the soundtrack album, the show’s creator, executive producer, writer and director Cameron Crowe noted, "Great care was taken that the songs chosen for each artist have another meaning, a thread to our story or characters. The only rule was: no lip-syncing to playback. Not even to live versions recorded in a previous take. These would be authentic live performances. Real performances. That’s where the magic happens, for an audience and even a crew. And luckily for us on Roadies, every performance."
The soundtrack also features new and live music from a combination of rock ‘n’ roll legends and critically acclaimed modern voices, representing the classic and modern vanguards. The full tracklisting is below.

The season finale, which aired Aug. 28, had guest stars Eddie Vedder, Jim James, Jackson Browne, Robyn Hitchcock, Nicole Atkins, Lucius, Joy Williams and Gary Clark Jr.

Roadies cast comprises Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, Imogen Poots, Rafe Spall, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Peter Cambor, Colson Baker a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly, and Ron White.
Luis Guzman, Jacqueline Byers, Finesse Mitchell, Branscombe Richmond and Tanc Sade guest starred. Winnie Holzman serves as writer and executive producer, along with Emmy winner J.J. Abrams, Crowe, Len Goldstein and Emmy winner Bryan Burk. Kathy Lingg is co-executive producer.
Track listing:
1. I Wish I Was Sober (Roadies Remix) - Frightened Rabbit ft. Mike McCready
2. Are You Satisfied? (Live) - Reignwolf
3. Big Love (Live) - Lindsey Buckingham
4. The First Time - My Morning Jacket
5. Born Again Teen (Live) - Lucius
6. Longest Days (Live) - John Mellencamp
7. Feeling OK (Live) - Best Coast
8. Simple Man (Live) - Machine Gun Kelly
9. You Don’t Get Me High Anymore (Live) - Phantogram
10. All We Ever Knew (Live Soundcheck) - The Head And The Heart
11. They Are All In Love (Live) - Jim James
12. Sayonara Judge (Live) - Robyn Hitchcock
13. Willin' (Live) - Jackson Browne & Lucius ft. Greg Leisz
14. A Little Crazy (Live) - Nicole Atkins
15. The Healing (Live) - Gary Clark Jr.
16. Man of the Hour (Live) - Eddie Vedder

Get "Music From the Showtime Original Series Roadies”...

The Fray news

Through the Years: The Best of The Fray, the first career-spanning compilation ever released by the band will arrive Nov. 4 on Epic Records. A North American tour starts in October (see tour dates below).

The collection features three brand new songs. “Singing Low,” will be the first single available on Sept. 9 via all digital service providers (track list follows).

All tickets for the tour (with Island Records group American Authors) are on sale now. Fans who purchase tickets will have the opportunity to redeem a digital album of Through the Years.

Limited availability VIP tour packages will be available. The “VIP Tour Package,” limited to 100 per show, offering one premium reserved ticket located in the first 12 rows, will also include an autographed lyric print, collectible 'The Fray: There & Back’ photo book, specially designed silk-screened tour poster, the Fray collectible postcard set, and exclusive VIP merch item.

A “Meet & Greet Package,” limited to 30 per show, offering one premium reserved ticket located in the first three rows, will also include all of the above, plus – VIP early entry into the venue, exclusive pre-show meet & greet with the Fray, personal photograph with the Fray, and official meet & greet laminate. Note: these might already be sold out.

Track listing:

1) Over My Head (Cable Car) – from How To Save A Life (2005)
2) How To Save A Life – from How To Save A Life (2006)
3) Look After You – from How To Save A Life (2007)
4) All At Once – from How To Save A Life (2007)
5) You Found Me – from The Fray (2008)
6) Never Say Never – from The Fray (2009)
7) Heartless – (2009)
8) Heartbeat – from Scars & Stories (2011)
9) Love Don’t Die – from Helios (2013)
10) Singing Low – NEW SONG from Through the Years (2016)
11) Corners – NEW SONG from Through the Years (2016)
12) Changing Tides – NEW SONG from Through the Years (2016)

Tour dates (with American Authors):

15 Seattle, WA Moore Theatre
16 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
18 San Francisco, CA Masonic
20 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
21 Cabazon, CA Morongo Casino
22 Las Vegas, NV The Foundry Hall at SLS Casino
24 Los Angeles, CA Wiltern
27 San Antonio, TX Aztec Theater
28 Houston, TX House of Blues
29 Dallas, TX House of Blues
30 Austin, TX ACL Live Moody

4 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
5 Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Pocono
6 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
7 Madison, WI Orpheum Theater
9 New York, NY The Beacon Theatre
11 Chicago, IL The Chicago Theatre
12 Nashville, TN War Memorial Auditorium
13 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
15 Washington, DC The Fillmore Silver Spring
16 Philadelphia, PA Fillmore
18 Detroit, MI Fillmore
19 Battle Creek, MI FireKeepers Casino
20 Toronto, ON Sound Academy
22 Minneapolis, MN Orpheum
25 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre
26 Denver, CO 1st Bank

A long awaited U.S tour for Nena

This should be interesting. I was always under the impression that she toured here in the Eighties at the height of all that success. What a missed opportunity. At least she's finally rectifying the situation. In addition to this mini American tour, Nena is also expected to appear at the multi-act '80s Weekend in LA next January. Read an update from the press release and tour dates below...

Nena is coming to America: it’s one of the great unrequited love stories of pop culture history. “99 Luftballons” was the first German-language song to enter the US charts since Marlene Dietrich, yet although the pop singer toured all over the world, she never made it over to the US to perform. Nena has continued to rule the charts in Germany with 16 studio albums and countless hits, and now is finally her time to take America by storm. 

In the 33 years since it was released, Nena’s “99 Luftballons” (“99 Red Balloons”) has had an unmatchable impact on popular and music culture. Although Nena never stopped making music – she’s had a three-and-a-half decade career of hits and 16 studio albums behind her in Germany - and has toured in countries as far as Japan, Nena never got to tour the US. It’s one of those flukes in music history where what should have happened didn’t happen. But in her own words, “…now’s the right time. It’s always now!...When you want to do something and it just doesn’t happen, you shouldn’t be sad or disappointed because, well, 35 years later, it happens! It’s perfect timing.” 

Take a listen to Nena’s latest outing – Live at SO36, recorded during a sold out concert at the famed Berlin club SO36. From rockers to new wave favorites to the ballads that fans sing along to, Nena can electrify a crowd with her instantly recognizable voice and her music that includes influences like The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads. 

In Germany, she has numerous top ten hits and 25 million sold records. The most recent studio album, Oldschool was produced and co-written by German hip-hop act Samy Deluxe.

Nena will be playing San Francisco on 9/30, Los Angeles on 10/2 and New York City on 10/4. 

Watch the New Single “Genau Jetzt” and the Classic – “99 Luftballons”

Monday, August 29, 2016

Final Days: The Beatles exhibit at the Grammy Museum/LA

photo: Bob Bonis Archive/courtesy Grammy Museum
Attention all Southern California Fab Four fans: If you haven't checked out the current exhibit Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles, time is running out: there's only one week left until it closes on Labor Day.

Part of the ongoing celebration of the band's 50th anniversary, the exhibit features more than 400 pieces that were primarily borrowed from fans and collectors.

My visit finally happened last week. Here's what I was most impressed by:

*A large U.S. wall map pinpointing all the locations of The Beatles final tour using the original ticket stubs
*Two of Ringo's drum kits and replicas of the guitars the musicians played
*Original concert contracts stipulating The Beatles' percentage of the grosses at various venues like the Hollywood Bowl
*Children's Colorforms
*Various autographs (some replicated by The Beatles of their fellow bandmates), handwritten lyrics and setlists
*John Lennon's eyeglasses

Among the other items of interest are a Sing Along with Ringo audio booth, gold records, rare photos, the original rare "Yesterday and Today" LP butcher cover, audio interviews and much more. 

Located within L.A. LIVE, across from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, the Grammy Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For more information, call 213.765.6800 or visit Follow @TheGRAMMYMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, and like "The GRAMMY Museum" on Facebook.

The Wild Feathers at the Grammy Museum/LA

photo: Rebecca Sapp/; courtesy Grammy Museum
Last Thursday night, The Wild Feathers made a special appearance at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

The engaging 65-minute program was moderated by Scott Goldman, Vice President of the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares, and held in the intimate Clive Davis Theater.

Taking a break from their current tour with Band of Horses, all four members sat down for a discussion about their career and latest album “Lonely is a Lifetime.” Released this past spring on Warner Bros. Records, it was followed by a five-song acoustic performance.

The Nashville rock group emerged in 2013 with a stellar Americana-leaning eponymous album, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, spawned top 10 Adult Alternative radio hit “The Ceiling” and landed on many critic’s year-end best lists (including this writer). “Lonely is a Lifetime” is just as strong, finding the musicians reteaming with producer Jay Joyce and utilizing a more expansive sound along the lines of Pink Floyd, My Morning Jacket, Dawes, Delta Spirit, etc.

In LA, The Wild Feathers talked about how extensive touring and opening for Willie Nelson to support the first album helped them become a real rock ‘n’ roll band and that “Lonely” felt more spontaneous and seamless without a rigid structure. They admitted to “playing our asses off” on the epic, eight-minute-long departure “Goodbye Song” and were happy to “jam out and experience everything we wanted.”

Common touchstone The Band was referenced in regards to the grandeur of “Don’t Ask Me to Change” and The Wild Feather’s trademark multi-part harmonies. “We have character to our harmonies and share the vocal load,” they said.

When Goldman asked about frequent drug references in the lyrics, the guys stated they were “products of our environment, but we don’t glorify it.” Although many Americana-identified acts use banjos and kick drums out front these days, that’s not what The Wild Feathers are about. “We steer away from (a similar setup). We love Willie (Nelson), punk rock, The Replacements."

The second album’s title track was actually penned before the first one came out. It was inspired the “magical vibe” of a trip to Joshua Tree, Calif. and a stay in the desert motel room where Gram Parsons died (on the alt-country pioneer's birthday).

About living in ultra-competitive Nashville: “The bar is so high there that you can’t be complacent. You have to keep pushing with the songwriting. You’re always being sized up.”

For the live segment, the band was joined by Brett Moore on keyboards for stripped down takes on “Help Me Out,” “Overnight” (where their voices truly soared), a gorgeous “Sleepers,” “Lonely is a Lifetime” and a fervent, uplifting “The Ceiling” (now at 2 million+ streams on Spotify), where the band pulled out all the stops.

Go to to find out more details on the excellent slate of programs and exhibits. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Empire Of The Sun news

Alt-electro group Empire Of The Sun return with their third studio album, Two Vines, set for release on Oct. 28 via Astralwerks. First single "High & Low" offers a glimpse into the Australian duo's newest dreamlike kingdom.

The video can be viewed HERE; the track can also be streamed on Spotify HERE. The pre-order for Two Vines is underway HERE. Fans who pre-order the digital album will instantly receive "High & Low."

"We always saw Empire as a movie," says Nicholas Littlemore, the co-pilot with Luke Steele of this fantastic vessel of electro-futurist sound and vision. "The whole concept was based around childhood fantasies; being in bed and staring at the posters on your wall, whether they were monster movies or outlandish rock stars or pieces of art. We always wanted to be one of those posters on a child's wall that had so much imagination locked into it, a kind of invitation that pushes you over the edge into dream world. With this record, it's time to take that next step."

Recorded in Hawaii and Los Angeles, Two Vines is co-produced by Empire Of The Sun and Peter Mayes (Sia, The Killers, Mika), alongside long-term collaborator Donnie Sloan. It sees the creative circle expanding, with esteemed pianist/arranger Henry Hey and bassist Tim Lefebvre, from David Bowie's Blackstar band, featuring heavily on the album. Factor in Wendy Melvoin from Prince's Revolution and Fleetwood Mac's genius guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, and the Empire's rainbow has never been so vast and colorful.

"Going to Hawaii to record was the best idea," says Luke Steele of sessions at Honolulu's Avex Studios. "That was the catalyst for me. I'd spend the morning surfing, then roll in and make music into the night."
Two Vines also includes Manny Marroquin's new remix of "Walking On A Dream," Empire Of The Sun's RIAA certified platinum hit. "Walking On A Dream"originally appeared on the band's 2008 debut album of the same name. In early 2016, the eight-year-old single began rocketing to the top of the radio and Shazam charts after it was heard in Honda's "The Dreamer" commercial - now the #1 Most Shazamed U.S. television spot ever. With more than 100 million streams, "Walking On A Dream" became a global smash hit. Views of the official video now exceed 50 million.

Track listing:

1. Before
2. High and Low
3. Two Vines
4. Friends
5. There's No Need
6. Way To Go
7. Ride
8. Digital Life
9. First Crush
10. ZZZ
11. To Her Door
12. Keystone
13. Lend Me Some Light
14. Welcome To My Life
15. Walking On A Dream (Manny Marroquin remix)

Moody Blues' Justin Hayward gets solo spotlight

Eagle Records will put out “All The Way” by Justin Hayward via digital formats (as All The Way – Tour Edition) on Sept. 2, with a CD release on Oct. 14.

The compilation features solo songs, a recording with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, solo live performances, unique versions of classic Moody Blues tracks and the brand new song “The Wind Of Heaven.”

As guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for The Moody Blues since 1966, Justin continues to perform with the group, and alongside his work for The Moody Blues, he has developed an acclaimed and successful solo career.

All The Way brings together many of his best-loved tracks from his work outside the group. From his top ten hit song “Blue Guitar,” included here in its original version recorded with members of 10cc, through his global smash “Forever Autumn” from Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War Of The Worlds and on through tracks from solo albums “Songwriter,” “The View From The Hill,” “Classic Blue,” “Moving Mountains” and “Spirits Of The Western Sky” before concluding with “The Wind Of Heaven,” written for the film of the same name.

Pre-order here:

Track listing: 

1) Blue Guitar
2) Forever Autumn
3) Broken Dream
4) Troubadour
5) The Best Is Yet To Come
6) One Day Someday
7) One Lonely Room
8) In Your Blue Eyes
9) Vincent
10) Nights In White Satin
11) Raised On Love
12) It’s Not Too Late
13) The Story In Your Eyes
14) The Western Sky
15) The Wind Of Heaven

D Generation plays Hollywood on Thursday

The reunion album is solid and the shows should be raucous. Get the full lowdown below...

D Generation - Jesse Malin, Danny Sage, Howie Pyro, Richard Bacchus and Michael Wildwood – is currently touring behind Nothing Is Anywhere (Bastard Basement Records).

It marks the alt-rock band's first studio album in 17 years.

Produced by guitarist Danny Sage, Nothing Is Anywhere is a first-or-second-take album, recorded in basements under Avenue A and the Magic Shop in NYC.

“We’ve finally made a record that represents us,” says Sage. “We make a really good noise on stage, and this album is a little more snotty, nasty. The needles are in the red a bit more.”

In the bombed-out warehouses of early 1990s Brooklyn, D Generation formed as a reaction to the culture.

“We decided to do another record because we still have a fire under us,” says Jesse. “The world is even more full of shit than it was when we were in our 20s. One digitally connected highway of invasion and disposableness, burning through the planet and time.”

Nothing Is Anywhere became an escape, both a continuation of their lives and a way to remember where they came from. On the autobiographical “Apocalypse Kids,” D Generation might have summed up their story in four lines: slip through the cracks like a criminal/lost in a packet full of chemicals/from ‪7th Street to The New York Times.

"We grew up together as misfits who always turned towards music as an escape and a way out," says Jesse. "We always had each other."

“Bands should be a gang, a brotherhood,” adds Malin, who began playing music with Danny in Queens at age of 13. “We’ve all known each ot! her forever,” says Sage. “We’re like a weird family that you can never leave, but somehow it all makes sense.”

Watch the Apocalypse Kids Video HERE.

Tour dates:

Aug 25 Los Angeles @ The Roxy
Aug 27 Las Vegas @ Beauty Bar
Aug 28 San Francisco @ Rickshaw Stop
Aug 30 Portland @ Doug Fir Lounge
Aug 31 Seattle @ Barboza

The Mavericks reveal 'All Night Live, Vol. 1' details

The band's concert last year at San Manuel Casino in Highland, Calif. totally sizzled, so I'm sure this release will be just as exciting. Read more from the press release below...

The Mavericks are set to launch their new record label with All Night Live, Vol. 1, to be released Oct. 14. Widely considered one of the greatest live bands of our time, this collection of performances was taken from 2015’s Mono Mundo Tour.

Besides the standard CD and digital issues, the album will be released in a gatefold double LP with high-impact, highly touchable design and original typography by Dresser Johnson. There's a die-cut LP jacket and swappable background images on the record sleeves.

All Night Live Volume 1 marks the band’s first foray into the world of exclusive fan pre-sale in partnership with PledgeMusic. The pre-sale has launched at In addition to the signed (and standard) double LP and CD bundles, fans can order one of Raul Malo’s scarves, a hat from Eddie Perez, and Jerry Dale McFadden’s pink suit from the band’s video “Summertime."

To scan the Mavericks’ packed tour schedule at most times of year is to risk a sense of vicarious exhaustion. For the band it’s exactly the opposite. Shows, even night after night, are their source of energy, passion and pride. The draw of the stage and the physics-defying energy loop of band and audience is what put them on the map in their first 1990s incarnation and what impelled them to reunite in 2012. Moreover, the road show of the Mavericks 2.0 has been so much more than a nostalgia tour for first generation fans. At the heart of their current performances are songs from the two post-reunion albums In Time and Mono. Fans demand to hear them at least as much as the early radio hits.

"After all these years, for us to be able to play the songs that we want to play is a real privilege,” says lead singer and founding member Raul Malo. “And that happens because of this symbiotic relationship between artist and audience."

All Night Live Volume 1 opens a new chapter of the Mavericks’ career as they introduce their new record label, Mono Mundo Recordings. Taking control of their own art and business destiny, after working with several major labels, fits perfectly with the spirit of the Mavericks circa 2016.

The band officially consists of singer/guitarist Raul Malo, lead guitarist/vocalist Eddie Perez, keyboardist/singer Jerry Dale McFadden and drummer Paul Deakin. The touring band captured on these recordings is rounded out by the “Fantastic Four”: Max Abrams on sax/percussion, Ed Friedland on upright bass, Matt Cappy on trumpet and Michael Guerra, a multi-instrumentalist who often provides accordion.

This flexible, expert instrumentation allows them to mingle the slap and boogie of old-time rock and roll with the blues and narrative power of country music, the twang of surf music and the enlivening grooves of Cuban and Latin music. It’s a sound utterly unique in popular music today and audiences come unglued in the presence of its polyrhythms and syncopated pulse.

And even as the band members display immaculate competence as musicians and ensemble, they radiate charisma and spirit as well. Malo is renowned for his exquisite voice, but he’s a band leader through and through, directing the dynamics on stage and playing fiery guitar as well. Deakin attacks the drum kit like Ringo with the muscles of a bouncer. Perez, who favors silk suits and wide brimmed fedoras, plays electric guitar with equivalent panache, and his solos have a way of evoking go-go girls and desert snakes. Opposite Perez, Jerry Dale McFadden dances with abandon behind his keyboards in candy colored suits. The bottom line: Few bands this excellent are this entertaining and few bands this entertaining are this excellent.

The Mavericks were founded more than 25 years ago by Malo and Deakin as a standout alternative band in a Miami rock scene dominated by hair metal and punk. Improbably, they were noticed by super-producer Tony Brown in Nashville, and when they got signed to innovative MCA Records, they upended expectations in country music. Their blend of Cuban grooves and Bakersfield-inspired twang netted them several CMA and ACM Awards plus a Grammy in 1995. They charted numerous singles and albums while earning accolades as one of the finest live bands in the business. There was some time off and re-jiggering of personnel, but they came back strong with 2013’s In Time and 2015’s Mono, albums that provided abundant material for a refreshed and unmatched stage show.

“We’ve traveled a lot in the last four years. And we’ve come back from a hiatus of nine years to find a brand new purpose — not just to go out and play for tickets and do the oldies,” says Eddie Perez. “Not many bands get to come back from that long to have another moment like this. So I believe it to be quite special.”

The Mavericks will follow up this October release with a new studio album in April 2017.

To celebrate its live album, the band will spend the late summer and fall months on the road. In September, the band heads west to perform dates in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, then steering through Texas and into the Midwest in September, and east in October. Full tour itinerary here:

Track Listing:

1. All Night Long
2. All Over Again
3. Stories We Could Tell
4. What You Do To Me
5. Fall Apart
6. Do You Want Me To
7. Back In Your Arms Again
8. As Long As There’s Lovin’ Tonight
9. Pardon Me
10. Summertime
11. Every Little Thing About You
12. I Said I Love You
13. Harvest Moon
14. Dance In The Moonlight
15. Come Unto Me
16. Waiting For The World To End

Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet's Christmas album to get domestic release

It's never too early to think about Christmas. Even retail stores have already started getting holiday items in over the past month.

With that in mind, this longtime Spandau Ballet fan and supporter (see my past coverage elsewhere on this blog), highly recommends this CD. I'm anxious to hear the bonus tracks... 

Tony Hadley is the soulful front man for the hugely popular 1980s New Romantic band Spandau Ballet. After fifteen Top 10 singles (including the #1 smash “True”) the group took a 20-year hiatus before reforming in 2009, again hitting the U.K. Top 10 with their reunion album, Once More.

Following an acclaimed 2014 documentary about the band (Soul Boys of the Western World, directed by Julien Temple), a successful tour - including a sold out July 2015 gig at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Orange County, Calif. - Hadley stepped out later that year with The Christmas Album, his first holiday offering, showing the same adventurous spirit while doing what he does best — making every song his own.

The album, previously only available as an import, gets a domestic release Oct. 21 via Omnivore Recordings with three new tunes.

Watch the trailer here: 

CD/Digital Track Listing:

1. Shake Up Christmas
2. I Believe In Father Christmas
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Duet with Kim Wilde)
4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
5. Jingle Bells (Duet with Max Giusti)
6. I Don’t Want To Spend One More Christmas Without You
7. Fairytale Of New York (Duet with Nina Zilli)
8. Somewhere Only We Know
9. Lonely This Christmas
10. Every Second I’m Away
11. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
12. White Christmas
13. Silent Christmas
14. Driving Home For Christmas
15. Stay Another Day
16. Snowing All Over The World
17. Run Run Rudolph
18. Ave Maria