Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kelly Clarkson news

Atlantic recording artist Kelly Clarkson's label debut Meaning of Life is available now at all music retailers and streaming services.

Clarkson is celebrating the release on NBC’s TODAY (Monday, October 30th), The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Tuesday, October 31st), in addition to performing on The Howard Stern Show (Wednesday, November 1st).

Fans can tune into Kelly’s YouTube livestream event hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, celebrating the album release on November 1st at 1PM ET on

Clarkson is also set to appear on NBC’s award-winning musical competition series, The Voice, serving as a Key Advisor on the current season’s Knockout Round, set to begin Monday, October 30th. Clarkson returns to The Voice next year in her new role as coach on the series’ 14th season, set to premiere in February 2018.

Long acclaimed as an electrifying live performer, Clarkson will mark Meaning of Life with a US tour to be unveiled soon. All fans who purchase the album directly from before October 30th, 2017 11:59pm PT will receive exclusive early access to tickets upon the tour’s official announcement. For regular updates, please see

Songs from the new album have been accompanied by stunning live performance videos filmed earlier this summer at Nashville’s historic War Memorial Auditorium as part of Clarkson’s Nashville Sessions series. The clips are streaming now at Clarkson’s official YouTube alongside the incredible Dave Meyers-directed music video for first single “Love So Soft” (WATCH).

For Meaning of Life, the multiple Grammy-winning singer/songwriter collaborated with Jason Halbert, Jesse Shatkin and Greg Kurstin as well as first time associates Mick Schultz, The Monarch, and Nick Ruth, among others. Clarkson is joined by members of Earth Wind & Fire on “Whole Lotta Woman.”

Clarkson – who recently graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s popular “Fall Music Preview” (READ HERE) – was feted earlier this month at Variety’s Power of Women Luncheon (LINK) in Los Angeles following her cover appearance on the venerable trade publication’s October 10th issue. The event saw Clarkson honored for her support of XQ Super School (LINK), an organization dedicated to rethinking school in America in order to create new learning opportunities for young people and open up the possibilities of the wider world.

Alongside her musical career, Clarkson has ventured into a variety of film and television projects, including a memorable turn as musical legend Brenda Lee on NBC’s 2003 series, American Dreams. As if all that weren’t enough, Clarkson made her literary debut in 2016 with the New York Times Top 10 best-selling children’s book, River Rose And The Magical Lullaby, succeeded this year by her newly released follow-upRiver Rose And The Magical Christmas, both available now via HarperCollins.

Track listing:

A Minute (Intro)
Love So Soft
Meaning of Life
Move You
Whole Lotta Woman
Didn’t I
Would You Call That Love
I Don’t Think About You
Slow Dance
Don’t You Pretend
Go High

First Aid Kit returns with new album, tour in '18

Swedish duo First Aid Kit will release their album Ruins on January 19. Produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Laura Veirs), the album was recorded in Portland, OR where the duo collaborated with REM’s Peter Buck, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, and Midlake’s McKenzie Smith.

Ruins is available for pre-order now and includes lead single “It’s A Shame” as well as “Postcard.” See full tracklisting below.

First Aid Kit says: “‘Postcard’ is one of the most traditional sounding songs we’ve ever written, and we wanted the production to mirror that. It’s not a resentful song, but more of a reaching out to a lover to wish them well on their journey in the midst of having to let them go.”

First Aid Kit will embark on a 2018 North American headline tour, kicking off January 24 at the Fox Theatre in Oakland and continuing through a final night at New York City’s Beacon Theatre, with Van William supporting. Tickets are on sale now, visit for more information.

The band recently toured the U.S., having performed at both Austin City Limits and San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festivals earlier this month, check out their performance of “It’s A Shame” at ACL HERE. First Aid Kit also played additional shows in Los Angeles and Austin before ending their US trip with a sold-out show at New York City’s Town Hall.

Ruins follows the band’s Columbia Records debut Stay Gold, a lush and ambitious 10-song collection that beautifully captures their vivid storytelling, landing First Aid Kit countless “Best of 2014” accolades.

Earlier this spring, the duo also released a stand-alone single on International Women’s Day entitled "You Are The Problem Here." It is an empowered, passionate, and angry song that confronts the rape culture epidemic, with a portion of proceeds donated to Women for Women International.

Track listing: 

Rebel Heart
It's a Shame
To Live a Life
My Wild Sweet Love
Distant Star
Hem of Her Dress
Nothing Has to Be True

Tour dates:

01/24 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
01/26 Portland, OR Roseland Theater*
01/27 Vancouver, BC Vogue Theatre*
01/28 Seattle, WA Moore Theatre*
01/30 Minneapolis, MN Palace Theatre*
02/01 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium*
02/02 Chicago, IL Riviera Theatre*
02/03 Detroit, MI Saint Andrew’s Hall*
02/05 Toronto, ON Danforth Music Hall*
02/06 Montreal, QC Metropolis Concert Hall*
02/07 Boston, MA House of Blues*
02/09 Washington, DC Lincoln Theatre*
02/10 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer*
02/13 New York, NY Beacon Theatre*
*Van William Supporting

Out now: Weezer's 'Pacific Daydream'

photo: Jeremy Cowart
Los Angeles, CA's Weezer have released 11th album, Pacific Daydream, via Crush Music/Atlantic Records. Produced by Butch Walker, it is the follow up to the critically acclaimed album Weezer (The White Album), which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album last year.

The album is available now on on all digital service providers. Fans can sign up to Weezer's email list for first access to information on their forthcoming tour that will be announced soon.

In celebration of the release, Weezer will be performing their new single "Happy Hour" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Oct. 30, as well as Late Late with James Corden on Nov. 6. The band will also be playing a special acoustic in store in Los Angeles at Amoeba Records on Nov. 1.

After the release of Weezer (The White Album), the band began working on what they called "The Black Album," but as they worked, they found the songs they were writing felt more like reveries from a beach at the end of the world. Instead of forcing a different direction, they began an entirely new album; Pacific Daydream was born. Frontman Rivers Cuomo brings this decision back to a Chinese proverb he says inspired the design behind the entire record:

Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

Track listing: 

1. Mexican Fender
2. Beach Boys
3. Feels Like Summer
4. Happy Hour
5. Weekend Woman
6. QB Blitz
7. Sweet Mary
8. Get Right
9. La Mancha Screwjob
10. Any Friend of Diane's 

Listen or download Pacific Daydream here: 

Weezer are: Brian Bell (guitar/vocals) * Rivers Cuomo (vocals/guitar) * Scott Shriner (bass/vocals) * Pat Wilson (drums)

Tiger Army, The Blasters concert review: Santa Ana, Calif. (Night 1)

photo: Kyusung Gong
Tiger Army kicked off Octoberflame IX, its annual multi-night Orange County run, in blazing fashion on Thursday night.

Singer/guitarist Nick 13 handpicks the opening acts and having the Blasters on the bill gave the proceedings a widespread appeal.

Some parents brought their young kids, dolled-up middle-aged rockabilly fans danced old school style in back and grey-haired seniors were seen milling about the Observatory. Halloween-themed pre-show music, consisting of rockabilly, surf and garage rock tunes from the 1950s and ’60s, was among the most interesting I’ve heard all year.

Each band alluded to Fats Domino’s passing earlier this week with song dedications, but unfortunately, they didn’t do any unique covers from the New Orleans R&B/rock ‘n’ roll legend.

Instead, Tiger Army played its amped-up take on Eddie Cochrane’s “Twenty Flight Rock.” Nick 13 – who is heavily inspired by early ’60s pop and uses Gretsch guitars like his idols Duane Eddy and Billy Zoom of X – said, “We’re not going to get any more guys like (Domino). Today’s music sucks.”

Fittingly, Hank Williams’ “Angel of Death” played overhead as Tiger Army took the stage and started the 18-song set with a fiery instrumental. Female backing vocalist Savitri Labensart added operatic trills to the powerful “Firefall,” Roy Orbison-esque “Happier Times” and lovely standout “Dark and Lonely Night” (all off impressive 2016 album “V … -”).

Elsewhere, “Lunatone” instantly triggered a mosh pit, while country music session musician Bob “Boo” Bernstein added pedal steel to a frenzied “Power of Moonlite” and the chugging Tennessee Three-styled “Train to Eternity” (making its live debut in SoCal). Upright bassist Djorde Stijeponic occasionally played while in unusual positions and Nick 13 subtly interacted with him.

Later, two fist-pumping, chant-worthy psychobilly songs that many Tiger Army fans had been continuously shouting for arrived simultaneously. First was “FTW” (where Nick 13 said he didn’t care what anyone’s political beliefs were and although “times are pretty dire, when you get into despair, find that inner strength”). Then Tiger Army closed the main set with a fierce “Never Die.”

Consummate professionals, the Blasters let the music do the talking during a thoroughly enjoyable 50-minute performance. And it said quite a bit: especially guitarist Keith Wyatt, who practically played the life out of his instrument.

In Santa Ana, the veteran influential roots rock band from Downey, led by singer/guitarist Phil Alvin, opened with “Long White Cadillac” (famously covered by Dwight Yoakam in ’89). The tight four-piece proceeded to tear through many of its best-known tunes from the 1980s, including “Marie Marie,” the title track to debut LP “American Music,” “Trouble Bound,” “Border Radio” and “Dark Night.” The humorous more recent number “Precious Memories (The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised)” was a highlight and quite a hoot with lyrics about a thief.

By the end, drummer Bill Bateman kept the beat with such abandon, he had to take a moment to catch his breath. The guys finished with a Chuck Berry-styled “One Bad Stud” to loud audience cheers.

My review originally appeared at and other SCNG newspapers online.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Eric Church's live box set available to order

When Eric Church announced 61 Days in Church, a collection of live recordings currently streaming on Apple Music, fans demanded physical releases of the music.

Now pre-orders have commenced. 61 Days in Church limited-release is available as a massive 15-LP box set, along with a commemorative tour book and an original poster encased in a custom road case.

With the initial shipment on December 15, fans will receive the road case with the book, poster and the first three LP’s, which will include music from the first 12 shows of Church’s 2017 Holdin’ My Own Tour. The remaining 12 pieces of vinyl will be shipped out once a month starting in January of 2018, signing purchasers up for a Church “record club” for the year. Church Choir members, Eric’s die-hard fan club, will exclusively have the option to add-on a t-shirt, at no additional charge with their order. The box set will be released direct to consumers and can only be purchased at

Additionally, the Church Choir gets the exclusive first look at the music video for Church’s fourth single from his album Mr. Misunderstood, “Round Here Buzz,” today. Fan club members will receive an email with details on how to view. The video premiered worldwide on Vevo.

The music video for “Round Here Buzz” again features lead Mickey Smay, the teenager from the “Mr. Misunderstood” music video as well as Church’s “Record Year.” The music video was directed by Reid Long who received an ACM Award for Video of the Year for “Mr. Misunderstood.”

The 61 Days in Church collection was recorded on Church’s 2017 Holdin’ My Own Tour, which was a record-breaking five-month, two-set show where Church played more than 200 hours of music–foregoing an opening act—across 61 stops. The 61 Days in Church compilation will hold songs from each city that include a variety of catalogue cuts and singles as well as cover songs inspired by each tour stop. Church has already released some of these covers on the 61 Days in Church including a Memphis medley that combines Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” with Bobby Bare’s “How I Got to Memphis” and a cover of “Screw You, We’re From Texas” featuring the song’s originator, Ray Wylie Hubbard.

With 60 songs already released via streaming from the 61 Days in Church, releases in batches of 30 songs will continue, exclusively with Apple Music for a two-week window before going wide to all streaming platforms, until the full 100+ song project is complete.

Church’s Holdin’ My Own Tour sold 930,000 tickets at the end of its run notching his as Pollstar’s top music tour in the first quarter of 2017, but as Dave Brooks of Billboard Magazine noted, “Fans will remember that tour by another metric: the marathon three-and-a-half hours Church played nightly as he crisscrossed the United States and Canada.”

Information on 61 Days in Church can be found here:

Out now: Kenny Chesney's live album

Denver. Asbury Park. Dallas. Atlanta. Tampa. Green Bay. Perdido Key. Austin. Foxboro. Just some of the places and voices that populate Live in No Shoes Nation, Kenny Chesney’s second live album – and one that documents his rise as the nation’s leading stadium headliner. Beyond the massive stadium shows, LiNSN is laced with intimate performances, special guests and songs that have only been performed a handful of times.

“When we came off the road, I started listening to the last 10 years of shows,” Chesney says of the double disc, 30-song set. “What struck me, beyond how much the band has evolved, was the passion of No Shoes Nation! They’re the reason for all of this; why we start rehearsals in January and building sets in the fall, why I give up pasta and every other thing that I love to eat… we want to be ready when it’s time to hit the stage.”

“And listening to show after show, the one thing that never changes is the intensity of the fans. I figure if they’re as caught up in the moment as me and the guys are, they have no idea how awesome they sound. So in many ways, this set is about letting them hear what we get to plug into every single night.”

Starting with the medley of Steve Miller’s “Space Cowboy” and Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” with Dave Matthews at the final show of 2007’s Flip Flop Summer, Chesney has patched a collection that traces the hits, the album cuts and the friendships he’s built over the past few years. Whether it’s playing “Flora-Bama” to a packed beach on the Alabama/Florida state line or the hushed one-time only “I’m Alive” from a sold-out, three night stand at Red Rocks, the collection shows the breadth, reach and intimacy Chesney has created on his way to being the only Country Artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years.

“We’ve made a lot of music, and a lot of friends,” Chesney enthuses. “They come back year after year, tailgate in the parking lot and sing their lungs out every night for the entire two-hour show. No Shoes Nation lives these songs, and they remind me in very audible and visual ways the way songs can burn into your life and hold memories like nothing else can. Every night when those flickering lights go up during ‘Anything But Mine,’ it makes me pause. And it’s like that with just about every song I’ve ever played onstage.”

For Chesney, crowned “The King of the Road” by The Wall Street Journal and “The People’s Superstar” by the Los Angeles Times, it has always been the fans who matter. It’s why even during a year off, he made his way to Boston for two shows at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium, where No Shoes Nation was named.

“I can’t tell you the time spent getting the mixes just right, finding the best tracks,” Chesney marvels. “When I think about why I’m doing Live in No Shoes Nation, and who’s going to be listening; to me, everything on these recordings needs to feel exactly as it was when we were all out in the night air loving everything about these songs, being together and being alive.”

“There are a lot of memories made and in the making, and you can feel it all over this.”

Track listing:

Flora – Bama
Big Star (with Taylor Swift)
When I See This Bar (with Eric Church)
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems
Anything But Mine
Down The Road (with Mac McAnally)
Guitars And Tiki Bars
Hemingway’s Whiskey
Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven (with Zac Brown Band)
I’m Alive
Save It for a Rainy Day (with Old Dominion)
Pirate Flag
Somewhere With You
I Go Back
One Step Up
American Kids
You And Tequila (with Grace Potter)
There Goes My Life
Out Last Night
Dust On The Bottle (with David Lee Murphy)
Boys Of Fall
Old Blue Chair
The Joker / Three Little Birds (with Dave Matthews)
Happy On The Hey Now

Friday, October 20, 2017

REO Speedwagon reissues Christmas album with extra songs

REO Speedwagon will crank up the holiday spirit this year with the definitive version of its yuletide classic, Not So Silent Night: Christmas with REO Speedwagon. It features remastered sound, four bonus tracks and a newly recorded version of the group’s original Christmas song, “I Believe In Santa Claus.”

Not So Silent Night: Christmas with REO Speedwagon will be available on digital formats today (October 20), CD (November 3), and on LP (December 1).

The collection spotlights the group’s distinctive versions of Christmas favorites like “Silent Night,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Deck The Halls” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” It also features several songs that did not appear on the original 2009 release, including “We Three Kings,” which is now available on CD and digital versions.

The CD and digital versions also include three songs released as bonus tracks on the 2010 version of the album: “Sleigh Ride,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “I Believe In Santa Claus,” which was written by the band’s frontman Kevin Cronin and bassist Bruce Hall. The group recently returned to the studio to record a new version of “I Believe In Santa Claus.” This new 2017 version is available as part of the digital version of album, and is also available as a free download with the purchase of CD or LPs formats.

Cronin says: “Our goal with this new version of ‘the Santa song’ was to create a true REO Speedwagon track, which also happens to be a Christmas carol, and a holiday love letter to our families, and yours.”

Formed in 1967, signed in 1971, and fronted by Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon’s unrelenting drive, as well as non-stop touring and recording jump-started the burgeoning rock movement in the Midwest. Platinum albums and radio staples soon followed, setting the stage for the release of the band’s explosive Hi Infidelity in 1980, which contained the massive hit singles “Keep On Loving You,” and “Take It On the Run.” That landmark album spent 15 weeks in the No. 1 slot and has since earned the RIAA’s coveted 10X Diamond Award for surpassing sales of 10 million units in the United States. Today, REO Speedwagon has sold 40 million albums around the globe, and Cronin and bandmates Hall, Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (guitar), and Bryan Hitt (drums) are still electrifying audiences worldwide in concert.

CD Track Listing:

“The First Noel”
“Winter Wonderland”
“Silent Night”
“Deck The Halls”
“Little Drummer Boy”
“The White Snows Of Winter”
“Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria)”
“Children Go Where I Send Thee”
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
“Blue Christmas”
“Joy To The World”

Bonus Tracks:
14. "Sleigh Ride"
15. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
16. "I Believe In Santa Claus"
17. "We Three Kings"

LP Track Listing:
Side One
“The First Noel”
“Winter Wonderland”
“Silent Night”
“Deck The Halls”
“Little Drummer Boy”
“Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria)”
Side Two
“Children Go Where I Send Thee”
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
“Blue Christmas”
“Joy To The World”

Digital Track Listing
“I Believe In Santa Claus” – New 2017 Version
“The First Noel”
“Winter Wonderland”
“Silent Night”
“Deck The Halls”
“Little Drummer Boy”
“The White Snows Of Winter”
“Angels We Have Heard On High (Gloria)”
“Children Go Where I Send Thee”
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”
“Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
“Blue Christmas”
“Joy To The World”
“Sleigh Ride”
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
“We Three Kings”
“I Believe In Santa Claus” (Acoustic Version)

Successful '80s songwriter Jules Shear back with new album

Well this is a blast from the past. I didn't know this until now, but prior to the upcoming album, Jules also put out one on CDBaby in 2013. Read more from this press release I just received...

Jules Shear didn’t have to wander far from his longtime Woodstock, N.Y., home to invite local artists, Pepe (piano), touring partner Molly Farley (vocals) and the legendary John Sebastian (harp) to join him at his friend’s nearby home studio and lay down some tracks. 

The outcome of those sessions, a new studio album, One More Crooked Dance to be released by Funzalo Records on November 17.

Shear admits One More Crooked Dance is not a young man’s album, “I just write ‘em. And let them speak for themselves. And people will think what they wanna think” he explains.
Just piano, vocals and the occasional harmonica are interspersed among the 13 personal songs on One More Crooked Dance.

In his 40-plus years in the music business, Shear has never put out an album without guitar, bass and drums, so this is certainly a first, but when he’s asked about his method, he shrugs, “It was something we tried, and it seemed to be working out good,” he said about the stark, minimalist approach. “So, we just kept going.”

Shear started out his career with the Funky Kings, moved on to Jules and the Polar Bears and then an impressive solo career, he’s penned 1980s/90s hits like Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through the Night,” The Bangles “If She Knew What She Wants” and his own “Steady,” a co-write with Lauper. Not to mention catalog mainstays such as Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers’ “If We Never Meet Again,” Til Tuesday’s “(I Believed You Were] Lucky” and Alison Moyer’s Top 20 U.K. hit, “Whispering Your Name.” He was also the host and co-creator of the influential MTV Unplugged series.

“When people hear these songs, they’re not looking for answers to their problems, but listening to someone else who is dealing with it, too.” Says Shear

Hear him perform songs from One More Crooked Dance:

Nov. 26th at Federal Bar (Mimosas Series) in North Hollywood, CA
Nov. 27th at The Mint in Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Depeche Mode concert review: Los Angeles Night #4

photo: Daniel Barassi, from Las Vegas, Sept. 30, courtesy
Depeche Mode has always had a special relationship with Southern California. It was where they garnered some of the first U.S. radio airplay for 1981 debut LP "Speak & Spell" via KROQ/106.7 FM and has been the site of countless large venue gigs (most famously 1988's "Concert for the Masses" at Pasadena's Rose Bowl). 

Over the years, the alternative rock station and local fans have continued to strongly support the veteran British electronic music group (which was just nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame again) while many of their early contemporaries have met with declining fortunes and interest levels.

So it was no surprise to see Depeche Mode make history by becoming the first act to sell out four consecutive nights at the Hollywood Bowl. The solid latest album "Spirit," produced by James Ford (Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Simian Mobile Disco), boasts dark sonic textures that often recall the trio's influential mid-career period. Lead singer Dave Gahan has even likened "So Much Love" to post punk act Cabaret Voltaire.

Two years ago, while penning lyrics about the bleak direction the world was heading with the United Kingdom's Brexit decision and America's potential election of Donald Trump, chief songwriter/singer/guitarist Martin Gore was quite prescient. Now his words seem like they could've been done just a couple months ago. Case in point: the first single "Where's the Revolution": "Who's making your decisions/You or your religion/Your government/Your countries/You patriotic junkies."

The last time I'd seen Depeche Mode live was a co-headlining stint at the 2006 Coachella Festival, so I was curious to see if they still put on a mesmerizing show. I wasn't disappointed.

Before the musicians took the stage on Wednesday at the Hollywood Bowl, a bit of The Beatles' "Revolution" served as intro music before instrumental "Cover Me" sounds and walking feet graphics from Anton Corbijn's "Spirit" cover came to life on the venue screens. 

Depeche Mode opened the impressive two hour, 15-minute set with "Going Backwards," the first of three "Spirit" songs performed. Gahan suddenly appeared in shadow on an elevated platform at the back of the stage. An image of what looked like a Jackson Pollock painting was projected on the screens. As the song progressed, the splotches slowly disappeared.

Gahan, sporting a mustache, slicked back hair and clad in his usual shirtless black vest, quickly spun himself around at the start of "It's No Good" and whipped fans into a frenzy. He did a sinister vocal on "Barrel of a Gun" and added a line from Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" as Gore played a silver star electric guitar. After Gahan did some of those trademark "yeahs" and twirled the microphone, one concertgoer near me remarked that the singer was like the late Freddie Mercury of Queen. 

In previous interviews before the L.A. run started, the band members hinted they would change up the setlist here because many fans tend to go to every show. That was definitely true on Wednesday with four tour debuts. First came "Useless," from 1997's "Ultra" (the album with most songs pulled from) - a tune reportedly not played since '98! The primal vocals were paired with Gahan teasingly shaking his butt. 

The bowl's energy level rose considerably during the slinky electronic groove of early set highlight "World in My Eyes." More people were suddenly dancing. Gahan waved his arms to the sounds and grabbed his crotch. Gore's exquisite slide guitar work stood out on "Cover Me," as the black and white music video depicting Gahan as an astronaut roaming city streets and going up to space, was shown on the screens. Kudos to the cameramen and production crew, who often projected the musicians at different angles.

photo: Daniel Barassi, from Las Vegas, Sept. 30, courtesy
Gore moved front and center for a few lead vocal spotlights. Backed only by keyboardist Peter Gordeno, he did tender ballads like "Sister of Night" (a tour debut apparently not played since '09) and the luxurious "Home."

On the latter, fans kept singing well after the music stopped. Gahan returned to the stage and urged them to continue, proclaiming they "were the best."

Mostly though, Gahan let the music do the talking. The tour debut of a dramatic "Precious" was strong, even while the singer showed some restraint. Several older songs had revamped intros, so you often didn't recognize them until a key melody kicked in. "Everything Counts" was a prime example. Despite being the evening's oldest song (harking back to 1983), the lyrics were still as relevant as ever. More fans stood and most of them didn't sit back down for the remainder. Another enthusiastic singalong commenced after the music stopped.  

During the home stretch, "Stripped" was stunningly eerie, a transcendent, "Enjoy the Silence" featured an extended groove section where Gore's guitar work recalled Chic (!) and main set closer "Never Let Me Down Again" finished with the famous crowd arm wave and Gahan's own outstretched messiah-style. 

Come encore time, the rarity "But Not Tonight" was another nice Gore lead vocal spotlight with only electric piano accompaniment. Then came a final tight batch of uptempo hits - "Walking in My Shoes," "Policy of Truth," "I Feel You," "Personal Jesus" - that saw Gahan do more whooping, hollering and sexual posturing as the band ended things on a high note. Gore's lyric in "Tonight" summed it all up: "I haven't felt so alive in years."   

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Luke Bryan news

Four-time Entertainer of the Year winner and current CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee Luke Bryan has announced the release of his sixth studio album on Capitol Records Nashville, What Makes You Country. It will be available in stores Dec. 8 with pre-orders available now at and exclusive album packages available here:

"My favorite part of making a new album is getting to collaborate with the songwriting community in this town" said Luke. "It is important to me to continue to push myself to grow on all levels and I feel like we did that on this project. Making and performing music never gets old and I can honestly say I am having the time of my life. I will be forever grateful to every fan who sings along each night."

What Makes You Country was produced by Jeff Stevens and Jody Stevens and contains 15 songs, seven of them co-written by Luke including the title track. The album’s lead single “Light It Up,” written by Luke and Old Dominion member Brad Tursi, (watch the lyric video here: is the follow up to his 18th career No. 1 single and sixth No. 1 from his Kill The Lights album.

With this feat, Luke made Billboard chart history as the only artist in the 27-year history of the Billboard Country Airplay chart to garner six No. 1 singles from one album. Luke’s tailgates & tanlines and Crash My Party albums both generated five No. 1 singles.

The “What Makes You Country” digital campaign video engages Luke’s fans, celebrity friends and people from all walks of life representing what ‘country’ means to them. Check out the first installment of the video series here: and share your own video using the hashtag #WhatMakesMeCountry.

Luke recently wrapped his annual “Farm Tour” this weekend and has now awarded more than 50 college scholarships to a local student from a farming family within the communities the tour has played.

His “Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’ Every Day Tour” continues this fall.

Luke, along with Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Ryan Seacrest signed on as judges and returning host for the music competition series “American Idol” for its first season on ABC in 2018.

Track listing:

1. What Makes You Country - Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley
2. Out Of Nowhere - Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley
3. Light It Up - Luke Bryan, Brad Tursi
4. Most People Are Good - David Frasier, Ed Hill, Josh Kear
5. Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset - Zach Crowell, Ryan Hurd, Chase McGill
6. Bad Lovers - Justin Wilson, Dallas Davidson, Kyle Fishman
7. Drinking Again - David Lee Murphy, Brad Warren, Brett Warren
8. Land Of A Million Songs - Luke Bryan, Jeff Stevens, Jody Stevens
9. Like You Say You Do - Luke Bryan, Michael Carter, Ashley Gorley
10. Hooked On It - Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson, David Lee Murphy
11. She’s A Hot One - Michael Carter, Chase McGill
12. Hungover In A Hotel Room - Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear
13. Pick It Up - Luke Bryan, Rodney Clawson, Matthew Dragstrem
14. Driving This Thing - Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip, Jody Stevens
15. Win Life - Rodney Clawson, Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon

More with Sara Quin about Tegan and Sara's 'The Con' 10th Anniversary tribute album, tour

This week, Tegan and Sara will head out on a North American tour to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their seminal release "The Con." 

The Canadian sibling duo also oversaw an all-star tribute album ("The Con X: Covers") for it that features Ryan Adams, Sara Bareilles and others and arrives in stores Friday. Check out what Sara Quin had to say about both during out recent interview below. 

Q: When you start "The Con: X" acoustic tour will you be playing guitar again? You’d sort of set them aside for the last couple albums and tours. 
A: I have broken out the guitar. I don’t know how much I’ll play. You know what’s funny? I just don’t have the [same] passion for that instrument. It was always was a great songwriting tool for me, especially when I was younger. Tegan I spent most of our adolescence and early adult years playing and writing on guitar. It came so naturally. I didn’t understand a lot about the guitar, but as soon as I started fiddling around on it, the songwriting started. I have more of a theory background on piano.

We did the Royal Conservatory growing up. I actually feel I understand more about the piano than I do about the guitar. At some point, I decided I was better at piano than I am at guitar. With 'The Con,' when we were doing that album, I had a lot of tricky tunings and I was trying to be more experimental with the guitar. Now I sit down and know that the songs are fairly simple. The way I was performing them was more complicated and lent itself to the time and sound of the record. Lately, I’ve just been siting down at the piano to practice these songs. They’re very simple. Not difficult arrangements or too complicated. It’s actually quite nice. I think I’ll end up playing a lot of piano on the tour, which I normally don’t do live. I’m excited about that. 

Q: Who’s idea was it to do "The Con" covers album? 
A: Tegan and I were talking about how we could tie in something with the anniversary of the album with the foundation we launched last year. We thought about what would be a fun way to talk about the record and tying it in, maybe repackaging it with some behind the scenes stuff. I think Tegan said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get people to cover the songs?’ We do a lot of remixes, but to actually have people cover the songs would be really unique...It’s very exciting to do something about our album that isn’t about us.

Q: Was "The Con" an album that helped increase your fan base and a really important element in the trajectory of your career? 
A: I always say 'The Con' couldn’t have been what it was without the momentum that was built on the back end of touring So Jealous. We finished up that album cycle touring with The Killers. A lot of 'So Jealous' ended up on the first season of Grey’s Anatomy. Jack White talked about 'Walking with the Ghost' and The White Stripes were performing it live.

I feel [the reason why] 'The Con' is so special to us and our audience is for a lot of people, it was the record that was really 'theirs.' It was like, ‘Ok, we’re a fan of this band.’ Then we dropped something that really related to them at that time. Tegan and I were 26-27 when that came out and I think a lot of our fans were that age [too].

The Con X: Covers - Track Listing 

1. Ruth B. - I Was Married 
2. MUNA - Relief Next to Me 
3. Shura - The Con 
4. Mykki Blanco - Knife Going In 
5. PVRIS - Are You Ten Years Ago 
6. Ryan Adams - Back in Your Head  
7. City and Colour - Hop a Plane 
8. Kelly Lee Owens - Soil, Soil 
9. Bleachers - Burn Your Life Down 
10. Hayley Williams of Paramore - Nineteen 
11. Sara Bareilles - Floorplan 
12. Shamir - Like O, Like H 
13. Trashique (GRIMES X HANA) - Dark Come Soon 
14. CHVRCHES - Call it Off 

Digital Bonus Tracks 
15. Cyndi Lauper - Back in Your Head (Bonus Track) 
16. Bleached - One Second (Bonus Track) 
17. Vivek Shraya - I Take All the Blame (Bonus Track) 
18. Tegan and Sara - Miami Still (Bonus Track Demo) 


10/20 San Diego, CA Balboa Theatre 
10/21 Las Vegas, CA Palms Casino Resort - The Pearl Concert Theater 
10/23 Los Angeles, CA The Theatre at Ace Hotel 
10/24 Los Angeles, CA The Theatre at Ace Hotel 
10/25 San Francisco, CA The Masonic 
10/26 Portland, OR Revolution Hall 
10/27 Seattle, WA Moore Theatre 
10/28 Vancouver, BC Queen Elizabeth Theatre 
10/30 Calgary, AB Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 
10/31 Edmonton, AB Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium 
11/2 Winnipeg, MB Pantages Playhouse Theatre 
11/3 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre 
11/4 Chicago, IL Oriental Theatre 
11/5 Detroit, MI Masonic Temple - The Cathedral Theatre 
11/6 Toronto, ON Massey Hall 
11/8 Brooklyn, NY Kings Theatre 
11/9 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre 
11/10 Upper Darby, PA Tower Theatre 
11/11 Washington, DC The Anthem  
11/13 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle 
11/15 Austin, TX Paramount 
11/16 Austin, TX Paramount 

About the Tegan and Sara Foundation: 

The Tegan and Sara Foundation fights for economic justice, health and representation for LGBTQ girls and women - three areas where LGBTQ girls and women face the biggest challenges. Tegan and Sara launched the Foundation in October 2016, with a nationwide "listening and learning tour" where they met with LGBTQ young people, researchers, legislators and nonprofits who've been at the forefront of supporting the LGBTQ community. 

The Foundation's initiatives have included a partnership with Coalition and Orlando LGBTQ Center to expand their counseling services for LGBTQ youth in response to recent spikesin calls to suicide hotlines, rallying against anti-LGBTQ legislation in North Carolina by supporting Equality North Carolina,supporting the Audre Lorde Project's community support initiatives for LGBTQ people, partnering with DonorsChoose.Org to increase access to LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in public schools nationwide and supporting Egale Canada's Two Spirits, One Voice initiative, which supports individuals identifying as both LGBTQ and Indigenous (Two Spirit people). Learn more about the Tegan and Sara Foundation HERE 

For the rest of my interview, see elsewhere on this blog.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

'X: 40 Years of Punk' exhibit opens at Grammy Museum in Los Angeles

A new Grammy Museum at L.A. Live exhibit, "X: 40 Years of Punk," debuted on Oct. 13 with a special sold out program featuring an interview and a rare rooftop performance by the influential SoCal rock band.

Moderated by Scott Goldman, the museum's executive director, the 45-minute chat covered the group's arrival during the nascent 1970s punk scene, regular gigs at The Masque, songwriting influences and methods, landing a record deal, working with producer Ray Manzarek of The Doors and the evolution of X's sound. 

One particularly memorable story revolved around how a large brown aluminum 'X' in one of the new exhibit displays was obtained: co-lead singer/bassist John Doe got it in New York City, when an Ex-Lax (chocolate laxative) company building was being torn down.

The special concert was prefaced by special plaque presentations relating to the city of Los Angeles declaring "X Day" earlier in the week. For the sharp hour-long set, X tore into such college and alt-rock radio staples as "White Girl," "Hungry Wolf," "Los Angeles" as well as fan favorites "Johnny Hit & Run Pauline," "The World's a Mess (It's in My KIss)" and cover of The Doors' "Soul Kitchen."

On a pair of more laid back numbers, guitarist Billy Zoom switched between his usual instrument and saxophone, while drummer DJ Bonebrake moved over to vibraphone. Zoom, smiling broadly, was quite cognizant of fans near the stage front and could be seen asking if they were having fun. Co-lead singer Exene acknowledged old female friends in the crowd.
Longtime X enthusiasts have plenty to marvel at when they visit the exhibit. There are handwritten lyrics and notebooks by Exene and John, original concert flyers for L.A. shows,
rare photos and artwork by Exene, clothing (Billy's frequently spray painted silver jacket, dresses, t-shirts), personal items (fan crafted badges, a typewriter taken on tour for lyric writing), original instruments and gear played by the band, X: The Unheard Music film and more.

"X: 40 Years of Punk" is on display through March 2018. The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live is at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite A245, Los Angeles. For more info, call (213) 765-6800 or go to
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM, Sat-Sun 10:00 AM - 6:30 PM

Friday, October 13, 2017

Out now: Robert Plant's 'Carry Fire'

Robert Plant has announced North American dates on his upcoming world tour celebrating the release of his new album Carry Fire, which arrives via Nonesuch/Warner Bros. on Friday.

Album track “Bluebirds Over The Mountain” was written by rockabilly musician Ersel Hickey and later recorded by both Richie Valens and The Beach Boys. It features special guest Chrissie Hynde joining Plant on vocals. The track is accompanied by a striking companion visual, streaming now at Plant’s official YouTube channel (as are companion videos for both “The May Queen” and “Bones of Saints.”


The live dates are on sale now. Additional dates will be announced soon. For updates, please visit Every ticket purchased online will be joined by either a physical or digital copy of the new album. Instructions on how to redeem the album will be emailed after ticket purchase.

Plant's 11th solo album and first full-length release since 2014’s acclaimed lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar, Carry Fire was produced by Plant in the west of England at Top Cat Studio in Box, Wiltshire, with additional recordings at Real World Studios and Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales.

As before, Plant is accompanied by The Sensational Space Shifters: Justin Adams on guitar, acoustic guitar, oud, E-bow quartet, percussion, snare drum, tambourine; John Baggott on keyboards, moog, loops, percussion, drums, brass arrangement, t’bal, snare drum, slide guitar, piano, electric piano, bendir; Billy Fuller on bass, keyboards and drum programming; Dave Smith on bendir, tambourine, djembe, drum kit; and Liam “Skin” Tyson on dobro, guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel, twelve-string.

Plant and the Space Shifters are joined on Carry Fire by a number of special guests, including the aforementioned Chrissie Hynde, Albanian cellist Redi Hasa, and acclaimed musician Seth Lakeman, who contributes viola and fiddle to three tracks. Lakeman will join the Sensational Space Shifters on all upcoming world tour dates.

Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters spent nearly two years on the road together supporting lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar.

“It’s about intention,” says Plant. “I respect and relish my past works but each time I feel the trawl and incentive to create new work. I must mix old with new. Consequently the whole impetus of the band has moved on its axis somewhat, the new sound and different space giving way to exciting and dramatic landscapes of mood, melody and instrumentation”.

TOUR 2018

9 – Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Memorial Auditorium
11 – Charlotte, NC – Ovens Auditorium
12 – Norfolk, VA – Chrysler Hall
14 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre
16 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
17 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
20 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre
22 – Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theatre
24 – Denver, CO – Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
26 – Phoenix, AZ – Symphony Hall
28 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

2 – Los Angeles, CA – Orpheum Theatre

Track listing:

1. The May Queen
2. New World…
3. Season’s Song
4. Dance With You Tonight
5. Carving Up The World Again… a wall and not a fence
6. A Way With Words
7. Carry Fire
8. Bones Of Saints
9. Keep It Hid
10. Bluebirds Over The Mountain
11. Heaven Sent