Friday, August 31, 2018

Bonus Q&A: Midge Ure appearing in Riverside, Calif. (with Paul Young)

Here is more from my interview with Midge Ure that didn't make it into the main article this week in Southern California News Group papers. Ure and Young perform on Monday at Romano's in Riverside, Calif.

Q: You just starting touring with Paul Young again few months ago. Did last night’s show and the first leg of the tour meet your expectations?
Yeah, the first leg was fantastic. Paul hadn’t toured America [in quite a while before] the Retro Futura tour last year. I had been touring over here the last few years...We were off doing individual things for [most of] the summer, all the festivals. Last night was the first night back in Vancouver. It’s amazing being back onstage, having not played in a couple months. It was astonishingly good.

Q: Do your respective fans seem to be receptive to the double bill? Your music isn’t all that similar.
I think the era is more compatible, rather than the genre. I think people are into music from that time period [1980s]. There were stations that would play both Paul and I. There is an element of the audience that paid specifically to see one person, but it’s totally compatible.

Q: Have you been trading off closing sets?
It depends on how we feel. Paul puts on more of a ‘show’ than I do. It seems to make sense that he goes on second…the only decision that has to be made is who does the soundcheck first. The last person doing the soundcheck is the first person on.

Q: I saw a recent live clip on YouTube from one of the recent shows where the two of you encored with Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.” That looked like fun to do.
It was one of those last-minute things. We organized everything about doing the tour together, but we hadn’t organized what we were going to perform together. It’s stupid that we are in the same vehicle, same hotels and sharing the stage and we hadn’t worked out anything as a unit. So ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ is something we kind of all knew.

Q: And you know it like the back of your hand, having toured with Thin Lizzy for a short spell.
I certainly do. Jamie, Paul’s guitarist [has played it]. Very simple and straightforward.

Q: During the ‘80s, you and Paul shared a stage during the all-star Prince’s Trust you oversaw, the Nelson Mandela Tribute concert and were in the same studio for the Band Aid recording of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Had you ever broached the subject of touring together back then?
I think we were just so incredibly busy at the time…when you do things like Prince’s Trust and the Mandela concert, it’s such a ‘wham bam, thank you maam’ moment. You get in there, get the job done and then you go your separate ways. We were all touring extensively back in the day. Ultravox kept me incredibly busy. Paul was certainly busy. It was never one of those things where you sit down, have a cup of tea and say, ‘ about getting together and doing a tour?’

Q: In 2013, you started playing America on a regular basis again after a long absence. Have you been making up for lost time?
That’s probably possible. There’s an element of that. I cannot say I don’t really have an ego, but if you do, you do. There’s something buried deep down where I have this gripe that Ultravox never really made it here. That I’m still kind of an unknown quantity to the majority of audiences in America. So, it’s some weird late life desire to carry on doing it. When you come out and tour here, you’re touring on a completely different level than how you would tour anywhere else in the world. I’ve kind of gone all the way back to the beginning. Putting equipment in the back of the car. Carrying my own equipment. No crew. It’s really like going back to the early years. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good to do that and remind yourself, ‘this is what it’s all about.’ You want to play, sometimes this is what you have to do. There’s no hardship in it.

Q: Ultravox played the Whisky A Go-Go quite often when the band first started coming to America around 1979-80. Does anything stick out in your memory about those gigs?
I think that was the first time I visited (here) with the band. We did five nights at the Whisky. It was in between Christmas and New Year. I remember distinctly playing the Whisky for New Year’s Eve and I went onstage with a kilt – long before Axl Rose did it. Then I went offstage, hung out and a very good Scottish-flavored evening with Ultravox. It may have been before we had an album released. So it was probably late ‘79/early ’80. The Whisky was a great place to play. We stayed in the Tropicana Motel, the one that all the bands stayed at.

Q: Once Ultravox started having a run of hits in England, out here, KROQ was a big supporter. Did that radio exposure help the band get some much-needed attention?Absolutely. There were key areas in America that got Ultravox and were tuned into what was happening throughout the U.K. So the whole New Wave/electronic thing was picked up by KROQ and 91X. Over on the other coast you had WLIR in Long Island...And when MTV arrived, it gave everyone a slightly different flavor.

Q: Speaking of music videos, one of Ultravox’s most memorable ones was "Vienna." What do you recall about filming that? Was it actually done at an estate?
We shot most of it in London because when we asked the record label, Chrysalis Records in the U.K., and said we wanted to make a videoclip, they said ‘why? The record’s already #2.’ I set down with the label to explain that with a videoclip, you can appear on 10 different Saturday night television shows around Europe. Without a videoclip, you had to slide a band in and out and appear on these things. They wouldn’t give us the money to make it. So we borrowed the money from the bank because we had enough to make the video. We had one day to fly into Vienna and get the key shots that we needed in a graveyard to be by this massive gravestone that was used. We did it all on a shoestring budget.

Q: I did some research and that video was the #134 played on the first MTV broadcast.
Ah, that’s something I didn’t know. That’s amazing!

Q: That video was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who did a lot of groundbreaking videos for Duran Duran and others.
I think when people saw this mini-movie and all the parameters we’d created, cropping the screen at the top and bottom to make it look like CinemaScope, shooting on film, nobody shot on film at the time. Doing all those things, Duran and Spandau and Elton John saw them and wanted Russell to do something similar.

Q: Did you enjoy the process of making videos?
I enjoyed it because it was an extension of what we did. We were heavily involved in the artwork and the graphics, the photography, the stage design of all the shows. When it came to doing videos, we set those parameters, not Russell. We said, ‘we want to shoot it in 16mm, we want it very grainy, film noir.’ Then we went onto direct our own videos. We had learned so much from working with Russell. It was time to move on and do things on our own.

Q: Turning to "Orchestrated," I enjoyed hearing all these old favorites in a different light. Much of the Ultravox catalog was tailor-made for this kind of treatment. Was it a delicate balance to keep enough of the original melody of the songs intact while also adding something fresh?
No, I think the melody lent themselves to that. As you rightly said, a lot of the Ultravox stuff is cinematic. The melodies, counter-melodies, arrangements, those elements are of key importance. What you can do is orchestrations of it. Take some of the counter-melodies that are fixed in in the track and bring them to the fore. That’s exactly what we did. We didn’t really add a lot of new melody stuff to it. What we did was take what was there and expose it a bit more…now there’s enough space there to give those melodies a hearing.

Q: It was a pleasant surprise to find that you located Mae McKenna to reprise her Gaelic vocal role on “I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)” from the original recording on the new album. How’d that come about?
The joys of social media! Mae and I hadn’t seen each other since the original recording. When I traced her down, it turned out she lives 30 miles away from me in the Southwest of England. She was almost local. She just popped up one day and did this lovely vocal.

Q: I read that you plan to put out a new original studio album, correct?
I’ve been working on and off. It’s a fairly constant thing. I’ve been doing so much live work in the last couple of years, I haven’t really been able to knuckle down and focus on what I’m doing. I have no idea what form it’s going to take.

Q: Many fans liked the ethereal nature of your last studio album, "Fragile."
I was very pleased with how that was received. I put a lot of time and effort into that record. Too much time. 10 years. I’m not planning on doing the same thing for the next one.

Q: There’s a new import collection of Ultravox extended 12” mixes coming out later this year on CD and vinyl. What can you tell me about it?
The old record label, Chrysalis, managed to get the copyrights back and the original recordings and is beautifully repackaging them. They’ve uncovered six live multi-track recordings which I haven’t heard yet. There’s a wealth of material there…rather than doing remixes, which has become a fad, I suppose. You know - taking a vocal line and putting on an entire new backing track. Back in the day, you’d get just the music or just the bass, the melodic elements and mix them all together.

Q: When these mixes originally came out did they help get Ultravox exposure in dance clubs and discos like Studio 54 in NYC?
That was the idea. Then you’d always release the 7” record after the 10 or 12” extended mix on vinyl. Once you released them, you’d very rarely hear them unless you were in the clubs. For me, it’s quite interesting to go back and hear what we’d done. There’s always something you did at the very end of a session. You got the mix you wanted, the 4-minute version absolutely the way you liked it, then you would deconstruct the song into sections, put them all together and come up with this 8-minute long version.

Q: What did you think about “Vienna” being used so prominently in an episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace?”
I’d actually forgot that they’d asked about it. Then I started seeing social media messages from America, saying, ‘wow, I’ve just watched the entire series and “Vienna” features very heavily in it.’ I hadn’t seen the series. I saw the clip where they used it, the final episode. I thought they’d just use it in the background, but they actually used it in the soundtrack. Played the entire song, no dialogue over the top, it was incredibly well used - threatening and atmospheric and bizarre. It was also used in [the series] ’13 Reasons Why.’ Hugely popular with kids. So there’s a wealth of young people out there that had never heard of Ultravox or Midge Ure who discovered it though its usage on ’13 Reasons.’ Chrysalis are looking at doing a compilation of two solo albums I did. They looked up to see what my most streamed solo track was – it was a David Bowie cover I did back in 1982, which was used in a video game. Young people get connected to this music by playing it over and over on their phones.

Q: Finally, I have a Band Aid question: how did it feel to create a perennial holiday song like ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ that you hear everywhere during the holidays, one that did so much good in Africa?
It took quite awhile for it to sink in what this was...It’s not like the past to me because I’m still doing it. I’m still a trustee and overseeing the funds generated every time that record is played which go forever to the Band Aid Trust. It will long after Bob [Geldof] and I are gone. For us, it’s very fresh and relevant. Several generations have grown up knowing that song and might not know the history as to why the song was put together.

Concert Preview: Midge Ure (with Paul Young) in Riverside, Calif.

Back in the 1980s and early ‘90s, Midge Ure and Paul Young were a regular presence on the U.K. singles charts, with each racking up several top 20 hits. Ure led the sleek new wave band Ultravox, while Young’s stock-in-trade was blue-eyed soul interpretations of Motown and R&B classics.

During that period, both collaborated on Band Aid’s charity song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (Ure co-wrote and produced it; Young was the first voice heard). They also shared a stage during all-star extravaganzas like Live Aid, The Prince’s Trust (where Ure served as Music Director) and Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Arena.

Yet neither had ever joined forces on the road.

In 2017, Young returned to play America after a long absence to take part in the Retro Futura tour. Seeking to do a more extensive run, he contacted old friend Ure for advice. 

“We talked and thought, ‘why don’t we do this together?’ It seemed to make sense,” said Ure, in a phone interview last week. “I knew musicians out here and got together a fantastic band” to share. “We’ve known each other for years, so it has worked out incredibly well.”

Two years ago, Young returned to active musical duty with the pleasant “Good Thing,” his first studio album in a decade, featuring trademark Memphis-styled soul/pop renderings of tracks by Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Ann Peebles and the Bee Gees.

Ure’s glorious latest album “Orchestrated” finds him reimagining Ultravox and solo faves. He spent 18 months doing the arrangements, “just to get something that was new and fresh - not just throwing on some strings.”

The Scottish musician thought his followers might liken the results to “a favorite piece of music and the artist goes and does some really dreadful re-recording.” Instead, “the response has been the exact opposite.” 

Fans attending in Riverside can look forward to hearing Young do such pop/adult contemporary radio hits as the No. 1 cover of Daryl Hall’s “Every Time You Go Away,” “Come Back and Stay,” “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down” and the Zucchero duet “Senza una Donna,” while Ure will focus on Ultravox plus a few solo songs that received U.S. college/modern rock airplay (“Vienna,” “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes,” “Dear God”).

Before replacing the original Ultravox singer in 1979, Ure logged time in Thin Lizzy and Rich Kids (alongside ex-Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and briefly, Clash man Mick Jones). He also was part of synthpop band Visage, known for the ‘80 hit “Fade to Grey.”

Early on, KROQ/106.7 FM was instrumental in helping Ultravox gain Stateside attention.

“A few stations stuck their necks out and took a chance playing” the music. They were absolutely key. The support of (DJs) Richard Blade and Rodney on the ROQ was incredibly important to us.”

The memorable film noir-ish video to Ultravox’s signature song “Vienna” was among the first 150 clips aired on MTV in 1981. Lately, the dramatic tune has found new audiences, thanks to prominent placements in the TV dramas “13 Reasons Why” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” Ure was pleasantly surprised about its usage on the latter.

What about his Band Aid composition with Bob Geldof that ended up being a holiday perennial? Ure said everyone figured the impact and African famine relief funding would be short term. 

“All we were thinking about was that one Christmas. It never struck us that it would ever get played again. We thought it was a very specific song about a very specific cause. Every year, it appears on the radio, in compilation albums or movies. It’s really magnificent.”
With: Paul Young
When: 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3
Where: The Concert Lounge, 3557 University Ave., Riverside
Tickets: $27.50
Information: 951-780-6000,

My interview originally appeared in Southern California News Group papers: OC Register, Press Enterprise, LA Daily News, Long Beach Press Telegram and others. 

John Oates' new solo live EP with The Good Road Band out now

John Oates has put out John Oates with The Good Road Band - Live.

Oates is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and one-half of the best-selling duo of all time, Daryl Hall & John Oates. The EP features live tracks from his 2018 tour with The Good Road Band in support of his latest album, Arkansas, and is available on all digital platforms.

"It's a joy and honor to perform with this talented group of Nashville players who bring out the best in me and bring it every night," Oates stated about the band.

The tracks for John Oates with the Good Road Band - Live were hand-picked by Oates from his favorite performances from his recent solo tour. The shows consist of Americana musicians, including Guthrie Trapp on electric guitar, Steve Mackey on bass, Josh Day on drums and percussion, Nathaniel Smith on cello, Casey Campbell on mandolin, and Adam Ollendorff on pedal steel.

A re-edited version of "Pallet Soft and Low" includes Russ Pahl on pedal steel and Sam Bush on mandolin.

Track listing:

1. "Anytime" - D'Addario Live Session - Recorded at Folk Alliance in Kansas City
2. "That'll Never Happen No More" - DittyTV Session recorded in Memphis
3. "Dig Back Deep" - DittyTV
4. "Edge of The World" - Recorded in Atlanta
5. "Pallet Soft and Low" - Edited Studio Version

Tour dates:

Sept 14 - Carnegie Lecture Hall - Pittsburgh, PA
Sept 15 - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, OH
Sept 17 - Howard L Schrott Center for the Arts - Indianapolis, IN
Sept 18 - Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant - Minneapolis, MN
Sept 19 - Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant - Minneapolis, MN
Sept 21 - Finish Line Theater - Hot Springs, AZ
Sept 23 - Borderland: Knox Farm State Park - East Aurora, NY
Sept 26 - Mesa Arts Center - Mesa, AZ
Sept 27 - Sweetwater Music Hall - Mill Valley, CA
Oct 15 - Vicar Street - Dublin, Ireland
Oct 17 - RNCM Theatre - Manchester, UK
Oct 19 - Cadogan Hall - London, UK
Jan 4 - SOPAC - South Orange, NJ
Jan 5 - Landmark on Main Street - Port Washington, NY *
Jan 11 - The Ark - Ann Arbor, MI
Jan 12 - Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts - Sheboygan, WI
Jan 13 - SPACE - Evanston, IL *
Jan 15 - Victoria Theatre - Dayton, OH *
Jan 17 - The Barns - Vienna, VA *
Jan 18 - The Bams - Vianna, VA
Jan 19 - The Ardmore Music Hall - Ardmore, PA

*announced but not yet on sale

Muse explore 'Simulation Theory' on next studio release

Muse announced that their eighth studio album, Simulation Theory, will be released on Nov. 9 via Warner Bros. Records. It was produced by the band, along with Rich Costey, Mike Elizondo, Shellback and Timbaland. Each of the album’s songs will be accompanied by a video.

Recent singles, “Something Human,” “Thought Contagion” and “Dig Down,” as well as brand new track “The Dark Side,” are all available immediately as a download when you pre-order the album.

Simulation Theory will be released in three formats (see below). The UCLA Bruins Marching Band feature on “Pressure.”

Artwork for the album was illustrated by digital artist Kyle Lambert, who has done the poster art for Stranger Things and Jurassic Park. The Super Deluxe cover was illustrated by Paul Shipper, whose previous work includes Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Avengers: Affinity War.

Anyone buying Simulation Theory through the band’s store will get early access to tickets for Muse’s 2019 tour.

Simulation Theory follows “Drones,” released in 2015. The “Drones World Tour” concert was filmed and released in cinemas worldwide for ‘One Night Only’ in July 2018.

Track listing:

Standard Album CD and Vinyl-

1. Algorithm
2. The Dark Side
3. Pressure
4. Propaganda
5. Break It To Me
6. Something Human
7. Thought Contagion
8. Get Up and Fight
9. Blockades
10.Dig Down
11.The Void

Deluxe Album CD:

1. Algorithm
2. The Dark Side
3. Pressure
4. Propaganda
5. Break It To Me
6. Something Human
7. Thought Contagion
8. Get Up and Fight
9. Blockades
10.Dig Down
11.The Void
12.Algorithm (Alternate Reality Version)
13.The Dark Side (Alternate Reality Version)
14.Propaganda (Acoustic)
15.Something Human (Acoustic)
16.Dig Down (Acoustic Gospel Version)

Super Deluxe Boxset:
CD 1 and Vinyl 1

1. Algorithm
2. The Dark Side
3. Pressure
4. Propaganda
5. Break It To Me
6. Something Human
7. Thought Contagion
8. Get Up and Fight
9. Blockades
10.Dig Down
11.The Void

CD 2 and Vinyl 2
1. Algorithm (Alternate Reality Version)
2. The Dark Side (Alternate Reality Version)
3. Pressure (Ft. UCLA Bruin Marching Band)
4. Propaganda (Acoustic)
5. Break It To Me (Sam de Jong remix)
6. Something Human (acoustic)
7. Thought Contagion (Live)
8. Dig Down (Acoustic Gospel Version)
9. The Void (Acoustic)
10.The Dark Side (Alternate Reality Instrumental)

The Cranberries debut album to get deluxe 25th Anniversary reissue

I can't wait to hear this. Back in the '90s, I interviewed Noel for the second album and saw the band live several times. I was fortunate enough to review their reunion tour a few years back as well...

Last year, the four members of the Cranberries – Dolores O’Riordan, Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler – came together to plan a 25th Anniversary box set release for their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?.

Following Dolores’ untimely death in January of this year, the remaining band members have decided to go ahead with the album’s expanded 25th Anniversary Edition box set, which is set for global release on Oct. 19 by Island/UMe in 4CD and digital audio formats.

On the same date, a 2CD Deluxe package pairing the remastered album with session outtakes, B-sides, the band’s debut EP, and early demos will be released, as well as digital and vinyl editions of the remastered album, including a 180-gram black LP and a limited edition color LP.

Preorder Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (25th Anniversary Edition):

Originally released March 12, 1993, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? hit the No. 1 spot in both the UK and Ireland and has sold more than six million copies worldwide. At the time of the album’s release, Dolores remarked that the universal appeal of the Cranberries’ songs was based on “My own life and experiences as a human being, how human beings treat each other.”

In 2016, the Cranberries received a Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Award for three million radio plays of their debut Island Records single, “Dreams.” Two 1991 demos for the song, taken from an original cassette, are included in the extras collected for the album’s 25th Anniversary Edition.

The album achieved platinum sales status in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It became a No. 1 album in Ireland and the UK; in the U.S., it peaked at eighteen on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

The phenomenal success and continued popularity of ‘Everybody Else...’ should not only be judged by its total sales – six million copies sold worldwide to date, including five million in the U.S. alone – but also by the quality of the repertoire.

Track listing:

DISC ONE: Original Album, Remastered

1. I Still Do
2. Dreams
3. Sunday
4. Pretty
5. Waltzing Back
6. Not Sorry
7. Linger
8. Wanted
9. Still Can’t...
10. I Will Always
11. How
12. Put Me Down

DISC TWO: Album Outtakes / B-sides / Debut EP / Early Demos

1. Íosa
2. What You Were (Demo)
3. Linger (Dave Bascombe mix)
4. How (Alternate version)
Single B-sides
5. Liar
6. What You Were
7. Reason
8. How (Radical mix)
9. Them
10. Pretty (Prêt-à-Porter movie remix)
Debut EP
11. Uncertain
12. Nothing Left At All
13. Pathetic Senses
14. Them
Early demos (recorded as The Cranberry Saw Us)
15. Dreams (Unmixed)
16. Sunday
17. Linger
18. Chrome Paint
19. Fast One
20. Shine Down
21. Dreams (Pop mix)

DISC THREE: Live at Cork Rock (June 1, 1991)

1. Put Me Down
2. Dreams
3. Uncertain - Live at Féile, Tipperary (July 31, 1994)
4. Pretty
5. Wanted
6. Daffodil Lament
7. Linger
8. I Can’t Be With You
9. How
10. Ode to My Family
11. Not Sorry
12. Waltzing Back
13. Dreams
14. Ridiculous Thoughts
15. Zombie
16. (They Long to Be) Close to You

DISC FOUR: Radio Sessions

Dave Fanning, RTÉ radio session, 1991
1. Dreams
2. Uncertain
3. Reason
4. Put Me Down
John Peel, BBC Radio 1 session, 1992
5. Waltzing Back
6. Linger
7. Wanted
8. I Will Always
Dave Fanning, RTÉ radio session, 1993
9. The Icicle Melts
10. Wanted
11. Like You Used To
12. False

The Cranberries
Dolores O’Riordan – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Noel Hogan – guitar, backing vocals
Mike Hogan – bass guitar
Fergal Lawler – drums, percussion

Aaron Watson’s live album, out now, helps benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey

photo: Bradford Coolidge
Aaron Watson’s "Live at the World’s Biggest Rodeo Show," the country singer's first live album in nearly a decade, is now available.

It has been a year since Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 storm that caused $125 billion in damage, impacting 13 million people in 41 Texas counties. $1.41 from each album sold will benefit the Rebuild Texas Fund, in recognition of the widespread devastation across Watson’s home state. The album was recorded live in front of 65,000 fans on opening night of the 2017 Rodeo Houston.

Containing 13 songs from his 18-year career, the live album also includes the acoustic bonus track, “Higher Ground,” written by Watson as Hurricane Harvey struck.

Watson’s new single from the most recent studio effort "Vaquero," “Run Wild Horses,” is currently Top 40 and climbing on the Mediabase national radio charts. The video for the self-penned homage to his wife premiered at CMT Music last month.

Aaron Watson wrapped 2017 with a Top 10 on the national radio charts with his self-penned “Outta Style.” At 50 weeks, the hit single broke a Billboard record, marking the longest trek to the coveted spot in the history of their Country Airplay Chart. "Vaquero" had one of the 10 biggest album debuts of the year in country music.

The Rebuild Texas Fund is a collaborative project of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the OneStar Foundation, established to support the rebuilding efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The fund works alongside organizations within the affected  communities that are making an impact in the following areas: community and economic development; health; housing; education and childcare; transportation and workforce; and capital for rebuilding small businesses.

It will continue to fund projects and organizations within these areas through the end of 2019. Funding through the Rebuild Texas Fund is provided to eligible nonprofit, government, corporate, and philanthropic organizations working on the ground in Texas communities, that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. More information about the Rebuild Texas Fund is available at

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Big Interview With Dan Rather unveils new season guests

AXS TV's The Big Interview With Dan Rather celebrates its landmark 100th episode with an exclusive sit-down with The Beatles’ Ringo Starr, kicking off the second-half of the series’ sixth season on Tuesday, October 2, at 9pE/6pP.

Other second-half highlights include all-new in-depth interviews with soulful rocker Rod Stewart (Oct. 9); Country music superstar Toby Keith (Oct. 16); groundbreaking Southern Rock pioneers Lynyrd Skynyrd (Oct. 23); chart-topping rock mainstays Kansas (Oct. 30); award-winning folk artist Joan Baez (Nov. 6); beloved funnyman/actor Dan Aykroyd (Nov. 13); Blues guitar legend Buddy Guy (Nov. 20); multi-talented music man Kenny Loggins (Nov. 27); bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs (Dec. 4); rockabilly rebel Brian Setzer (Dec. 11); and guitar guru Dickey Betts (Dec. 18).

Since its premiere episode on September 16, 2013—featuring screenwriter Aaron Sorkin—The Big Interview has put the spotlight on some of the most influential names in entertainment, giving viewers a rare glimpse into their personal lives and legendary careers as Dan Rather gets them to open up in his trademark fashion.

The impressive roster of all-star guests reads like a definitive list of true Hollywood greatness, with Rather interviewing industry trailblazers such as Don Rickles, Merle Haggard, and Gregg Allman shortly before their deaths; as well as filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone; comedienne/actress Carol Burnett; actors Keifer Sutherland and Benicio Del Toro; Country standouts Willie Nelson, Shania Twain and Keith Urban; and an eclectic collection of musical innovators that includes Robert Plant, Meat Loaf, Patti LaBelle, Neil Young, Roger Waters, Frankie Valli, Gene Simmons, Carlos Santana, Carly Simon, and Dolly Parton and more.


Oct. 2 – Ringo Starr
Oct. 9 – Rod Stewart
Oct. 16 – Toby Keith
Oct. 23 – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Oct. 30 – Kansas
Nov. 6 – Joan Baez
Nov. 13 – Dan Aykroyd
Nov. 20 – Buddy Guy
Nov. 27 – Kenny Loggins
Dec. 4 – Ricky Skaggs
Dec. 11 – Brian Setzer
Dec. 18 – Dickey Betts

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame In Concert: 2010-13 headed for home video

Coming on Sept. 21, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame In Concert: Encore offers live events from 2010-2013 that have never been available at retail on any format. Filled with the collaborations and jam sessions that have made Rock Hall concerts legendary, in addition to on-stage reunions and induction speeches, these events will be available in 2-disc Blu-ray and 4-disc DVD configurations via Time Life.

Among the features: Rush performs "Tom Sawyer" and "The Spirit of Radio"; Red Hot Chili Peppers lead an all-star jam session of "Higher Ground," anchored by Slash and Ron Wood; Heart does "Crazy on You," before being joined onstage by members of Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains; Alice Cooper performs "Eighteen" and "Under My Wheels" before closing the set with Rob Zombie on "School's Out"; Donovan is joined onstage by John Mellencamp for "Season of the Witch."

Complete HOF induction speeches include Don Henley inducting Randy Newman, Neil Young inducting Tom Waits and more.

Australia's Paul Kelly readies 'Nature' album for fall release

I can't wait to hear this...

One of my favorite Aussie singer/songwriters, the ever-prolific Paul Kelly, returns Oct. 12 with latest studio album "Nature," the follow up to his 2017's acclaimed "Life Is Fine." 

First single “With the One I Love” has a video directed by Siân Darling and shot in Melbourne’s Old Magistrates' Court, where Ned Kelly was famously tried and sentenced to death in 1880. Kelly explains, “I’m on trial in the witness box, Mojo Juju plays the judge and Vika and Linda are my defence lawyers.” View it HERE.

“With the One I Love” continues in a rocking spirit similar to that of last year’s “Firewood and Candles” (which won Paul the coveted APRA Award in Australia for Song of the Year) and again echoes the melodic guitar rock of Paul’s ’80s work with The Messengers.

Kelly entered the studio in Melbourne earlier this year to record Nature with his band: Peter Luscombe on drums, Bill McDonald on bass, Ash Naylor and Dan Kelly on guitars, and Cameron Bruce on keyboards.

“I love playing with them,” Kelly says. “They can morph from delicate scientists to big riff rockers and all states in between.” The album also features the vocals of Vika and Linda Bull, his daughters Madeleine and Memphis Kelly, Alice Keath and Kate Miller-Heidke.

"Nature" brings together poems from five literary greats — Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Phillip Larkin — alongside poems that Kelly wrote himself and later put to music, and his own original songs that came along in the usual way, as sounds sung to chords that then turned into words.

Explaining the creative process behind the album, Kelly says, “I’ve been playing around with poems since 2012 and it’s now become another way for me to write songs. I think most writers get sick of themselves and their own habits so it’s a happy surprise, after 40 years of writing songs, to find a new way.

“What links them all is the natural world — trees, birds, animals, plants, dust, desert, water —and human nature’s small place in that world. Most of the pieces were written over the last four years in and around the recording sessions for 'The Merri Soul Sessions,' 'Seven Sonnets and a Song' and 'Life Is Fine.' I didn’t realize I had the makings of another album until I put the songs in a folder and saw the titles staring me in the face. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re doing until you look back.

“I think of 'Nature' as a companion piece to 'Life Is Fine,' itself full of moons, rain, rocks, rivers, seas, smells and lovers.”

Kelly’s Platinum-certified 2017 album "Life Is Fine" debuted at #1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, giving Paul his first ARIA #1 album in his long career. At last year’s ARIA Awards — Australia’s equivalent to the GRAMMYs — Kelly took home Best Male and Best Adult Contemporary Album, along with Best Cover Art and Engineer of the Year. These results ensured Kelly a remarkable 14 ARIA Award wins from a career tally of 51 nominations.

"Nature" will be available physically in both standard and deluxe versions. The standard version is the 12-song single-disc CD and vinyl.

The Black Watch record release party is Thursday in Los Angeles; 'Witches' out now

The Black Watch will hold a record release party at Little Joy in Los Angeles on Thursday for its recently issued full-length effort "Witches." Event start time is 8 p.m., admission is free and the location is 1477 W. Sunset Blvd.

"Witches" was recorded on acoustic guitar at the Hollywood studio of Rob Campanella (Brian Jonestown Massacre) and produced/mixed by Scott Campbell.

Of the track “Georgette, Georgette," singer and songwriter John Andrew Fredrick says it was the last song written for the record. I wrote the blasted thing at a backyard party at Rob Campanella’s house. I met a woman called Georgette and when she found out I was a songwriter, she challenged me to write a song with her name in it. I went into Rob’s studio control room and came out and played it for her maybe 15 minutes later.”

About "Witches," Fredrick notes that he was listening exclusively to Pink Floyd. The new collection reflects Fredrick’s goal to make something “that sounds like if Syd Barrett had joined New Order.”

Sixteen albums in, Fredrick is candid about his career, saying, “I reckon at this stage you could call me an artist who has been driven a bit mad by incessant creation. I know I cannot stop making things. 'Witches' is the work of a wee bit mad person. A functioning one -- an over-functioning one! Aren’t we all?”

The "Paper Boats" EP is also out now.

'Witches' track listing:

01. Dances For Sad Footsteps Slow
02. When We First Met
03. The Beginning of The End
04. Legerdemain
05. Graymalkin Comes
06. Georgette, Georgette (YOUTUBE | STREAM | MP3)
07. From Hampstead Heath
08. The Weird Sisters
09. Ode To Spring
10. 1966 Or So

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Due out Friday: 'King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller'

King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller,' out Aug. 31 via BMG, is a two-disc collection with new renditions of Miller's songs by Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard on one track.

It was co-produced by Miller's son, Dean Miller. Read more about the project in a new interview at The Tennessean.

Before Miller's premature death of cancer at age 56, the Country Music Hall of Famer had 31 Top 40 Billboard country hits (10 of which crossed over to the pop chart), including his signature songs "Dang Me" and "King of the Road."

He held the record for most Grammy wins in a single night until Michael Jackson and 'Thriller' broke it in 1984. Miller wrote songs and voiced a character for Walt Disney's 1973 Robin Hood film. He also wrote the music and lyrics for the Tony-winning Big River, helping launch the career of actor John Goodman, who reprises the musical's "Guv'ment" on 'King of the Road.' As Dean Miller writes in liner notes accompanying 'King of the Road,' "Roger Miller was too gigantic to be contained by genres and definitions."

'King of the Road' includes versions of Miller's biggest '60s hits, like "Chug-A-Lug" (Asleep at the Wheel ft. Huey Lewis) and "England Swings" (Lyle Lovett), and lesser-known treasures from a catalog full of gems.

As with Miller's own output, the album contains plenty of unexpected turns -- country superstar Eric Church's playful take on Robin Hood's "Oo De Lally," for instance, or Starr's selection of "Hey, Would You Hold It Down?," a song from Miller's long-out-of-print 1979 'Making a Name for Myself' album.

There is a television event in the works, more information coming soon.

The scope of material and performances on 'King of the Road' both capture Miller's personality and convey an astonishing legacy that's still felt today. "Roger Miller didn't have to say much," Dean writes in the liners. "You were simply drawn to him. He had a magnetic smile, and electric wit and a passion for life and music that transcended generations."

Track listing:

Disc One
Greatest Songwriter (Banter)
Chug-a-Lug - Asleep at the Wheel ft. Huey Lewis
Dang Me - Brad Paisley
Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go - The Stellas/Lennon and Maisy
Kansas City Star - Kacey Musgraves
World So Full of Love - Rodney Crowell
Old Friends (Banter)
Old Friends - Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard
Lock Stock and Teardrops - Mandy Barnett
You Oughta Be Here With Me - Alison Krauss ft. The Cox Family
The Crossing - Ronnie Dunn, The Blind Boys of Alabama
In the Summertime - The Earls of Leicester ft. Shawn Camp
Fiddle (Banter)
England Swings - Lyle Lovett
You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd - Various Artists
Half a Mind - Loretta Lynn
Invitation to the Blues - Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter
It Only Hurts Me When I Cry (Live) - Dwight Yoakam

Disc Two
Mouth Noises (Banter)
Oo De Lally - Eric Church
Engine, Engine #9 - Emerson Hart ft. Jon Randall
When Two Worlds Collide - Flatt Lonesome
Reincarnation - Cake
You Can't Do Me This Way and Get By With It - Dean Miller ft. The McCrary Sisters
Chicken S#$! (Banter)
Nothing Can Stop Me - Toad the Wet Sprocket
Husbands and Wives - Jamey Johnson ft. Emmylou Harris
I'll Pickup My Heart and Go Home - Lily Meola
I Believe in the Sunshine - Daphne and the Mystery Machines
Guv'ment - John Goodman
Old Songwriters Never Die (Banter)
Hey, Would You Hold It Down? - Ringo Starr
The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me - Dolly Parton ft. Alison Krauss
I'd Come Back to Me - Radney Foster ft. Tawnya Reynolds
One Dying and a Burying - The Dead South
Do Wacka Do - Robert Earl Keen, Jr.
King of the Road - Various Artists

Young The Giant return with new album in October; appearing at Ohana Festival in SoCal

photo: Wesley Yen
Following the summer release of the single "Simplify" and a recent performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Young The Giant have unveiled details about forthcoming full-length album Mirror Master, available Oct. 12 on Elektra Records.

Second single "Superposition" features a music video directed by Computer Team who also did the band's video for "Something To Believe In" and have also worked with Paramore and Beck. The lyrically meditative track is reflected in the video with glowing pigments and wavelength elements that evoke the sense of an elevated headspace.

"We are all and we are nothing and everything in between," explains lead singer Sameer Gadhia of "Superposition". "In every time; in darkness and in light, we are every second; every shade. Every morning we wake, there are endless possibilities; outcomes, realities of how that day will end. Each decision splits into a myriad of mirrors; a system of lines that enlace, tangle, and intersect. But in every one, you and I were bound to meet. It may be on the bleachers, in an airplane, the DMV, a race track, a bar, a tiny ship that crosses the ocean at night; but we would have found each other, and like light yawns across eons to spill on the floor beneath your window, we would fall in love, because we are all and we are nothing and everything in between. We are in superposition."

The album follows 2016's critically-acclaimed Home of the Strange. Describing the overall thesis for Mirror Master, Gadhia expands, "Look in the mirror. What do you see? A familiar figure; a stranger; a monster? What we forget to realize is that the image that reflects is just an illusion. Like the world, we are made up of fictions of things people tell us. How we should dress, what we should believe in, what type of stock to invest in, how we should vote. What is our free will, if we trudge across tracks already traveled? If there is nothing else we control; nothing else new, we are at least in control of ourselves; can make our paths novel and undefined; shatter categories, stereotypes, and roles. Do what we want to do, think freely and not how others tell us to-live beneath the surface of things. Now look at the mirror again. What do you see? Only you are the master of what comes next. "

Pre-order for Mirror Master at and all orders will include instant downloads of "Simplify" and "Superposition."

Watch the video for "Superposition" at

Young the Giant is Sameer Gadhia (vocals), Jacob Tilley (guitar), Eric Cannata (guitar/vocals), Payam Doostzadeh (bass), and Francois Comtois (drums/vocals).

Track listing:

1) Superposition
2) Simplify
3) Call Me Back
4) Heat of the Summer
5) Oblivion
6) Darkest Shade of Blue
7) Brother's Keeper
8) Glory
9) Tightrope
10) Panoramic Girl
11) You + I
12) Mirror Master

Tour Dates:

SAT September 1 - Boston, MA - Rock the Roots
September 14-16 - Denver, CO - Grandoozy Festival
September 14-16 - Chicago, IL - Riot Fest
TUE September 18 - Bethlehem, PA - Yuengling Summer Concert Series
FRI September 21 - lthaca, NY - Cayuga Sound
SAT September 22 - Roanoke, VA - Budweiser Summer Series
SUN September 30 - Dana Point, CA - Ohana
FRI October 5 - Napa, CA - Silverado Resort & Spa
THU October 25 - Grand Rapids, MI - 20 Monroe Live *
FRI October 26 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room *
SAT October 27 - Atlanta, GA - The Coca Cola Roxy *
SUN October 28 - Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues * +
TUE October 30 - Nashville, TN - Ryman *
WED October 31 - Louisville, KY - The Palace * +
FRI November 2 - Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore *
SAT November 3 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz *
SUN November 4 - Richmond, VA - The National *
TUE November 6 - Cleveland, OH - House of Blues *
THU November 8 - Toronto, ON - Rebel *
FRI November 9 - Montreal, QC - MTELUS
SAT November 10 - Portland, ME - State Theatre *
SUN November 11 - Providence, RI - The Strand *
TUE November 13 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel *
WED November 14 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel *
THU November 15 - Sayreville, NJ - Starland Ballroom * +
FRI November 16 - Washington, DC - Anthem *

*Lights opens
+ newly announced

Larkin Poe delve into 'Venom & Faith'

Reybee PR
I've been a fan of this duo since I saw them open for Elvis Costello a few years ago. Recently, I reviewed them at Doheny Blues Fest in Dana Point, Calif. (see review elsewhere on this blog). Here's the latest...

Nashville-based sister duo Larkin Poe will release fourth full-length studio effort Venom & Faith on Nov. 9. “It’s a celebration of American roots music as translated by two sisters who are playing the blues in a modern age," says Rebecca Lovell.

The followup to their critically-acclaimed second album Peach which was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best Emerging Artist Album, Venom & Faith was produced by both the band and their long-time engineer Roger Alan Nichols. Those who pre-order the record will receive "Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues” and “Ain’t Gonna Cry” as instant grat tracks.

Listen to "Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues" here:

Venom & Faith was recorded in Nashville earlier this year in between headline shows, festival dates such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, and a featured guest performer spot on Keith Urban’s GraffitiU World Tour. 

Save for two covers ("Sometimes” by blues legend Bessie Jones and Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”), the rest of the record’s tracks are Larkin Poe originals. There are  unique production touches like organic percussion sounds — the thumping of dresser drawers, the slamming of back doors, and stomping on hardwood floors. The sisters tackle a majority of the instrumentation on the album with some help from friends, including Tyler Bryant who adds slide guitar on “Mississippi.”

The album’s title, Venom & Faith, is taken from a lyric on “Honey Honey” and, according to the sisters, is intended to conjure a southern gothic image. “The title of our last album, Peach, was an homage to our Georgia roots. With this album, we wanted a title that would allude to the duality of our art: gritty guitars offset by gentle vocals; musical moments of both tragedy and joy; the sacred and the profane.”

Album pre-orders and pre-saves on Spotify, iTunes and other digital retailers are available here

Track listing:

1. Sometimes
2. Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues
3. Honey Honey
4. Mississippi (Feat. Tyler Bryant)
5. California King
6. Blue Ridge Mountains
7. Fly Like An Eagle
8. Ain't Gonna Cry
9. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
10. Good And Gone

Greg Laswell back with 'Next Time'

Greg Laswell will put out eighth album Next Time on Sept. 21. Like his previous release, the acclaimed Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet, the new album was entirely written, performed, produced and mixed by Laswell.

“I feel more in control than I did on my last record,” he says. “Life is the most difficult it has ever been circumstantially, but I'm also kind of okay, even if just for moments, which is all life is anyway. My hope is that’s what came across with these songs.”

First single “Royal Empress” was world premiered by DJ Nic Harcourt on KCSN in Los Angeles. It is available now for purchase and streaming at RoyalEmpress.

“I wanted a song bigger than life, or at least bigger than mine,” Laswell reveals of the opening track.

“The end of ‘Super Moon’ right after the break is an important moment for me,” he explains, about another tune. “I wanted a record that sonically made me feel small listening to it.

“I feel more in control than I did on my last record,” he continues. “Life is the most difficult it has ever been circumstantially, but I'm also kind of okay, even if just for moments, which is all life is anyway. My hope is that’s what came across with these songs.”

The Southern California musician's songs have appeared in network television shows, from True Blood to Grey’s Anatomy, The Vampire Diaries to Arrow. 

Tour dates:

9/7 Dallas, TX / Sons of Hermann HallSeptember 8th: Austin, TX / 3TEN ACL Live
9/9 Houston, TX / Dosey Doe
9/11 St. Louis, MO / The Old Rock House
9/13 Indianapolis, IN / White Rabbit
9/14 Columbus, OH / Natalie’s
9/15 Evanston, IL / SPACE
9/17 Cleveland, OH / Music Box Supper Club
9/19 Charlotte, NC / Evening Muse
9/22 Atlanta, GA / Eddie’s Attic
9/23 Nashville, TN / City Winery

John Lennon's Imagine to get elaborate box set treatment

On Oct. 5, Geffen/UMe releases a six-disc box set of John Lennon's Imagine – The Ultimate Collection.

This historical, remixed and remastered 140-track collection is fully authorized by Yoko Ono Lennon, who oversaw the production and creative direction.

Spread across four CDs and two Blu-ray discs, this expanded edition offers a variety of listening experiences that are at once immersive and intimate, ranging from the brand new Ultimate Mixes of the album, which reveal whole new levels of sonic depth, definition and clarity to these timeless songs, to the Raw Studio Mixes that allow listeners to hear Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band’s original, unadorned performances, to enveloping 5.1 surround sound mixes, and a Quadrasonic Album Mix, presenting the original four speaker mix remastered in Quadrasonic sound for the first time in nearly fifty years.

This ultimate deep listening experience, which features scores of previously unheard demos, rare outtakes and isolated track elements, also includes The Evolution Documentary, a unique track-by-track audio montage that details the journey of each song from demo to master recording via instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration and studio chatter.

Imagine will also be released in concurrent multiple physical and digital configuration, including as a 2CD Deluxe Edition, 1CD remaster, and 2LP 180-gram heavyweight black vinyl edition, as well as 2LP limited edition 180-gram clear vinyl. The digitalUltimate Collection will include all audio from the four CDs and the Deluxe and Standard will also have digital equivalents.

“Imagine was created with immense love and concern for the children of the world. I hope you enjoy it,” says Yoko Ono Lennon in the preface of the 120-page book that accompanies the box set.

While sifting through boxes upon boxes of the original tapes, engineer Rob Stevens discovered something truly remarkable that had gone unnoticed all these years. “Early 2016, during the gestation period of this project, I'm in the Lenono archives with my people going through tape boxes that have labeling that's unclear, misleading, or missing entirely,” says Stevens. “There's a 1" 8-track that says nothing more on the Ascot Sound label than John Lennon, the date, and the engineer (Phil McDonald), with DEMO on the spine. No indication of what material was on the tape. One delicate transfer to digital later, the “Imagine” demo, subsequently enhanced superbly by Paul Hicks, appears within this comprehensive set. It was true serendipity.”

This completely never-before-heard original demo, a sparse home recording of Lennon on piano and vocal playing one of his most famous songs, globally launches Imagine – The Ultimate Collection today and is available for streaming and for immediate download with all digital album pre-orders.

Pre-order now and listen to the original demo of “Imagine” at:

Also on Oct. 5, Eagle Vision will release two films by John & Yoko, Imagine and Gimme Some Truth, on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms. Both films have been hand-restored from the original film reels and remastered in HD, and their soundtracks have been remixed in surround sound by triple Grammy Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks.

Both physical releases feature exclusive, never-before-seen extras including previously unheard “raw” studio mixes, and a fascinating insight into a photo shoot with David Bailey. All are also available for pre-order at: Imagine will also have a limited theatrical run highlighted by an exclusive, immersive Dolby Atmos mix of the music in selected theaters, with further exclusive extra material.

In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono conceived and recorded the critically acclaimed Imagine at their Georgian country home, Tittenhurst Park, in Berkshire, England, and in the state-of-the-art studio they built in the grounds, as well as at the Record Plant in New York. The title track’s universally appealing lyrics were inspired by Ono Lennon’s “event scores” in her 1964 book Grapefruit, and she was officially co-credited as a writer on the track in June 2017. Upon release, the album went to #1 in six countries – Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, U.K. and U.S.

The best-selling single of Lennon’s solo career, the titular song was famously written as a plea for world peace. It remains one of the most legendary songs of all time and has earned numerous accolades. BMI designated it one of the top 100 most-performed songs of the 20th century, the Recording Academy inducted it into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted it into their 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Additionally, the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles book named it the second best single of all time and Rolling Stone ranked it number three in their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” The song has been covered by everyone from Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ray Charles, Madonna, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock and Joan Baez.

This new edition takes listeners on an incredibly personal journey through the entire songwriting and recording process – from the very first writing and demo sessions at Lennon’s home studio at Tittenhurst Park through to the final co-production with Phil Spector – providing a remarkable testament of the lives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their own words.

The original Imagine album has been faithfully remixed from the ground up by the aforementioned Paul Hicks at Abbey Road Studios under the supervision of Yoko Ono Lennon. Hicks utilized high-definition 24-bit/96kHz audio transfers of the album’soriginal first-generation multitrack recordings for the task and the result is that the instruments and vocal now have a completely new level of clarity, especially when it comes to the surround sound mixes on Blu-ray Disc 1.

As Hicks reveals in the book included in the Ultimate Collection, “Yoko was very keen that these Ultimate Mixes should achieve three things – to be totally faithful and respectful to the originals, be generally sonically clearer overall and should increase the clarity of John’s vocals. ‘It’s about John’ she said. And she was right. His voice brings the biggest emotional impact to the album.”

Additionally, Hicks remastered the original four-speaker Spector/Lennon/Ono mix of Imagine in Quadrasonic sound, the first time that particular quad mix has been touched since the original release.

The stereo version of the Imagine album proper and its related remixed singles and extras, such as the politically charged “Power To The People,” “God Save Us,” “Do The Oz” and the holiday classic “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” comprise Disc 1. Both albumand singles outtakes encompass Disc 2 alongside a quartet of what have been dubbed Elements Mixes, including strings-only versions of “Imagine” and “How?” as well as the vocals-only version of “Oh My Love” and the piano, bass, and drums instrumentation for “Jealous Guy.” The Elements Mixes have been created from a few basic elements from the original multitrack recordings to reveal deeper levels of detail and clarity in the sources used for the master mixes that were either buried orsummed to mono in order to open them up and present them on a wider, clearer, and brighter soundstage.

Engineer Rob Stevens helmed what are known as the Raw Studio Mixes on Disc 3. These mixes capture the exact moment Johnand The Plastic Ono Band recorded each song raw and live on the soundstage located at the center of Ascot Sound Studios atJohn & Yoko’s home in Tittenhurst. The tracks are devoid of effects (reverb, tape delays, etc.) and a far cry from the finished product. Highlights include the extended renditions of iconic Imagine tracks like “I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die,” “How Do You Sleep?” and “Oh Yoko!” On Blu Ray Disc 2, the Raw Studio mixes are presented in 5.1 surround sound for a unique enveloping listening experience that puts the listener in the center of Ascot Sound Studios with Lennon in front and the band playing all around and behind.

Meanwhile, Disc 4 presents the audio version of The Evolution Documentary, as engineered by Sam Gannon in mono. This documentary tells the full story of each Imagine song as it goes on its own specific, individual journey from demo to master takevia instructions, rehearsals, recordings, multitrack exploration, and studio chatter.

On the first Blu-ray disc, Hicks’ masterful high-resolution surround sound mix of both the Imagine album proper and its related singles takes center stage alongside the updated Quadrasonic mix, in addition to hi-res stereo mixes of the singles and outtakes.

The second Blu-ray disc is subtitled “In The Studio and Deeper Listening,” and it features both surround sound and stereo mixes of the extended album versions, outtakes, and Elements Mixes found on the CDs. It also plays home to DJ and longtime family friend Elliot Mintz’s loving 29-minute tribute to the artists, consisting of his revealing, philosophical, honest and humorous interviews with John & Yoko.

Meanwhile, both the Imagine and Gimme Some Truth video releases coming from Eagle Vision have been frame-matched to the original negatives, with every frame hand-cleaned and restored, and the respective soundtracks remixed and remastered in 5.1 surround sound.

The Imagine film is a cinematic collage of color, sound, dream, and reality. Produced and directed in 1971 by John & Yoko, who — along with numerous guest stars, including George Harrison, Fred Astaire, Andy Warhol, Dick Cavett, Jack Palance, and Jonas Mekas — all create a world of imagination as rich and moving as the music that accompanies it.

Shooting began during the summer of 1971 at John & Yoko’s Tittenhurst home in Ascot, England, as they began recording sessions for the Imagine album. Shooting continued across the pond in New York where the album was completed at the Record Plant, with Phil Spector co-producing.

The Imagine film is widely regarded as one of the first “video albums,” since it features a different visual treatment for every song on the record. The limited theatrical release of Imagine benefits from a spectacular new and wholly immersive Dolby Atmos mix, along with cinema-exclusive, never-before-seen extras from the recording of the album.

Gimme Some Truth is the groundbreaking, GRAMMY® Award-winning film that chronicles the creative process of how theImagine album came into being, in turn providing a glimpse into Lennon’s creative genius and including many striking, special moments between John & Yoko. The progress of the making of the songs featured on the album is followed through from their inception to the final recording process in Gimme Some Truth, with the film serving as a stunning, fly-on-the-wall document of how one of the most iconic and important albums of the rock era came into being.

Finally, Thames & Hudson (UK) and Grand Central Publishing (US) are set to publish Imagine John Yoko by John Lennon & Yoko Ono on what would have been Lennon’s 78th birthday, on October 9. Personally compiled and curated by Yoko Ono Lennon and packed with exclusive, previously unpublished material, Imagine John Yoko is the definitive inside story – told in revelatory detail – of the making of the legendary album and all that surrounded it: the locations, the creative team, the artworks, and the films, in the words of John & Yoko and the people who were there.