Thursday, January 31, 2019

Former Tsar frontman Jeff Whalen to emerge with solo album soon

photo: Reybee PR
Jeff Whalen, the frontman and mastermind behind celebrated L.A. power pop band Tsar, announces details of his first solo album 10 MORE ROCK SUPER HITS, to be released on Feb. 15.

First single “Jendy!” is available now and you can listen to the track here.

10 More Rock Super Hits is more or less like a follow-up to Tsar’s first two albums (Tsar and Band-Girls-Money) with maybe a slightly more Californian summer beach vibe.

After Tsar, Jeff immersed himself into the pop rock world by continuing to write, listen, talk about, think about, cry about, and throw-up-in-the-back-of-the-cab about music. He says, “Pop music is always there for you. And there’s always more of it. Whenever you think, ‘well, that’s it… that’s all the bands in that genre’, there’s always more.”

About his first solo single “Jendy!,” he says, “It’s inspired by this girl I like… but it’s also a bit about America. The song is really about how pop music and love make us feel a certain way when we need them to. We put a tremendous amount of pressure on them to mean something when we need them to mean something. And they never let us down.”

Tsar (1998-2012) was a hybrid of glam rock, power pop, garage rock, punk rock, arena rock, and bubblegum music. In 2000, they released their self-titled debut LP on Hollywood Records produced by Grammy Producer of the Year Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls) and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge (U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna).

The album garnered critical acclaim and James Gunn (director of both Guardians Of The Galaxy films) used the album’s opening track, “Calling All Destroyers,” in his 2010 action film Super.

Tsar toured with the New York Dolls, Social Distortion, Eve 6, Duran Duran, and Juliette and the Licks. The band performed on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilbourn and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as well as being placed on TV shows such as Veronica Mars and NCIS and in the films In the Land of Women and American Psycho 2.

We Are Scientists to tour with Snow Patrol, release new song

photo: Ted Leather
Following the release of their sixth studio album Megaplex in 2018, Brooklyn-based power-pop duo We Are Scientists will be supporting Snow Patrol on the road this spring. They also have a new song, "Second Acts," which will be released on Feb. 15 via 100% Records.

When reflecting on the significance of releasing six albums, guitarist/vocalist Keith Murray says, "It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of honing of craft to make it to six records... I mean, the Velvet Underground never made six albums. The Smiths didn’t. Pavement, Guns N’ Roses, The Stooges — none of them could do it. So, I guess we’re just objectively better than those bands now? It’s just a mathematical fact, right? Van Halen made six with David Lee Roth but only four with Sammy Hagar, so I guess we’re better than Hagar-era Van Halen but only just as good as Roth-era? Which, saying it out loud, makes total sense, yeah."

Tour dates
(Supporting Snow Patrol):

April 18: Dallas, TX - Southside Ballroom
April 20: Austin, TX - Moody Theatre
April 21: Houston, TX - Revention
April 23: Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
April 24: Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
April 25: Raleigh, NC - Kings*
April 26: Washington, DC - Anthem
April 27: Philadelphia, PA - Tower Theater
April 29: Boston, MA - Orpheum
April 30: New York, NY - Terminal 5 - SOLD OUT
May 03: Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall - SOLD OUT
May 04: Detroit, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
May 05: Akron, OH - Musica *
May 07: Chicago, IL - The Riviera Theater
May 08: Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue - SOLD OUT
* We Are Scientists Headlining Show

Wire Train 1983 album reissue on the way

Supermegabot has announced an expanded re-release of the 1983 debut album, IN A CHAMBER by San Francisco rock band WIRE TRAIN on February 22. A Top 5 CMJ album, In A Chamber features the alternative hit singles “Chamber of Hellos,” “I’ll Do You” and “Never”. This newly-remastered edition adds six bonus tracks, many making their first official appearance on CD.

Originally formed at San Francisco State University as the Renegades, the foursome changed their name to Wire Train after a demo tape they had recorded garnered Bay Area radio play. Soon signing to the acclaimed local label 415, In a Chamber was produced by young up and coming producer David Kahne, who went on to produce Paul McCartney, New Order, The Strokes and more.

The album was instantly greeted with critical acclaim, including the endorsement of U2’s Bono, who declared it his favorite album of the year.

With “I’ll Do You” getting significant early MTV play, the band’s future seemed rosy, but follow-up albums failed to build on In A Chamber’s success. Wire Train quietly broke up in the early 90’s, but reformed in 2003 for the pilot episode of VH1’s Bands Reunited, which never aired. In 2009 they played a few dates to support the release of Snug, an album their label had rejected in the 90’s.

This new edition of the In A Chamber CD is a limited edition release, packaged in a collectible 18pt, gloss-coated mini-LP sleeve, replicating the original vinyl package. A sturdy cardboard inner sleeve has a smooth interior finish to prevent scuffs.

Supermegabot Music Concern, LLC is a new label formed by two guys from Rykodisc. Our mission is to unearth great music, adding upgraded sound, bonus tracks, special packaging and new liner notes wherever possible. Supermegabot also plans a handful of very special new artist projects.

Wire Train members on In a Chamber:

Kevin Hunter - vocals, guitar
Kurt Herr - vocals, guitar
Anders Rundblad - bass guitar, vocals
Federico Gil-Sola - drums

* signifies bonus track

1. I’ll Do You
2. Everything’s Turning Upside Down Again
3. Never
4. Like
5. I Forget It All (When I See You)
6. Chamber of Hellos
7. Slow Down
8. She’s On Fire
9. I Gotta Go
10. Love Against Me
11. It’s Only Dark - B-side to “I’ll Do You” *
12. Personne Jamais - B-side to “Chamber of Hellos” 12” *
13. Mr. Soul - Cover of Neil Young song, was B-side to “Chamber of Hellos” 12” *
14. Chamber of Hellos (London Mix) *
15. I’ll Do You (Ivan Ivan Extended Remix) *
16. Chamber of Hellos (Ivan Ivan Extended Remix) *

New Grammy Museum/LA exhibit on Dolly Parton opens Feb. 5

Diamond In A Rhinestone World: The Costumes Of Dolly Parton, a new Grammy Museum/LA exhibit, opens Feb. 5.

It is the first exhibit Dolly has had in the United States outside of her Tennessee theme park Dollywood. It will offer a retrospective of Dolly's career and most iconic fashion moments.

Said the singer, "I probably have thousands of dresses from over the years. I had a hard time letting go of some of my favorites, but I'm excited for them to be included in this exhibit. I can't wait to see them on display at the Grammy Museum." 

The exhibit includes these items and more:


The exhibit will run through March 17. Additionally, Dolly will be honored at the 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute on Feb. 8.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Community events at Grammy Museum/LA during Grammy Week

The Grammy Museum announced private community events at the Museum during Grammy Week...

Monday, Feb. 4:
EVENT: Backstage Pass With Marsha Ambrosius
WHO: GRAMMY® Award®-nominated soul singer, songwriter, and pianist Marsha Ambrosius
WHAT: Moderated Q&A session between Marsha Ambrosius and students
WHEN: 9:30 – 11:30 am

EVENT: A Celebration Of Women And Music:
The museum and Grammy Music Education Coalition will host an afternoon of panels to encourage and celebrate the development and success of women in the music industry and the ways in which they are impacting their communities through music. The day will include conversations with women in all facets of the industry, including producers, songwriters, artists, label heads, entertainment lawyers and other leading industry professionals

· PANEL 1: Exploring The Building Blocks Of A Music Industry Career
· WHO: Tina Fasbender (president, Fasbender & Associates Business Management), Adina Friedman (artist manager/partner, Friends At Work), Ruby Marchand (A&R executive, Recording Academy™ Vice Chair), Susan Nesbitt (member engagement lead, World Economic Forum), Neeta Ragoowansi (board officer and former president, Women in Music, and SVP, Business Development & Legal Affairs/co-founder, NPREX), Jenny Reader, (president/chief creative officer, Fearless Records), Brenda Robinson (director of Business Development, Greenberg and Glusker), Anjali Southward (head of International Music Publishing, Facebook), Monika Tashman (partner/lawyer, Entertainment, Media & Technology Practice, Fox Rothschild LLP)
· WHEN: 1-2PM

· PANEL 2: How To Create A Collaborative Community To Help Mentor Young, Female Artists
· WHO: Moderator: Anna Bulbrook (founder, Girlschool, The Airborne Toxic Event), Panelists: Linda Perry (owner/founder, We Are Hear, GRAMMY-Nominated Producer), Angel Haze (We Are Hear artist), Beatie Wolfe (We Are Hear collaborator), Willa Amai (We Are Hear artist), Sheri Timmons (marketing and strategy, We Are Here)
· WHEN: 2-3PM

o The event will also feature a performance by Willa Amai
o ABOUT WE ARE HERE: The Los Angeles-based artist empowerment label/publishing/management/production entity founded by multi-platinum producers Linda Perry and Kerry Brown focuses on publishing, sync, licensing, management, recording, production, and consultation. The company's mission is to give artists freedom usually restricted by major labels.

Tuesday, Feb. 5:

EVENT: Music Industry Panel
WHO: Rozzi (singer/songwriter), Brittany Bell (publicity manager, Atlantic Records), Cathy Heller (music licenisng), and Miles Mosely (musician/producer)
WHAT: Moderated panel between industry professionals and students
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.–noon

Wednesday, Feb. 6:

EVENT: Hawaii Education Program
WHO: Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning Hawaii musicians Bobby Moderow Jr. (of the group Maunalua), and Kimié Miner (singer/songwriter)
WHAT: Performance and moderated Q&A session between Bobby Moderow Jr., Kimié Miner, and students
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.–noon

EVENT: Empowered: LGBTQ + Voices In Music Panel
WHAT: A panel discussion focused on how a new wave of LGBTQ artists are promoting freedom of expression and greater understanding for younger generations. Panel produced in partnership with the Recording Academy, The Ally Coalition, GLAAD, and Out Magazine
WHEN: 2:00 – 3:00 pm

Thursday, Feb. 7:

EVENT: Mississippi Education Program
WHO: Tricia Walker (singer/songwriter/instructor) and DMI students
WHAT: Conversation with Randy Houser about the historical relevance of Mississippi artists, and an interactive Songwriting Workshop
WHEN: 11:00 a.m.–noon

EVENT: Make A Wish Foundation Interactive Visit
WHO: Children from the Make A Wish Foundation
WHAT: The GRAMMY Museum welcomes Wish kids and their families to the Museum for an afternoon tour

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

More Ringo Starr world tour dates

photo: Scott Robert Ritchie
Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band have added more tour dates for this year. 2019 marks the 30th Anniversary of Ringo and his All Starr Band, who played their first show on July 23, 1989 at the Park Central Ampitheatre in Dallas, Texas. The first leg of 2019 tour dates will begin with one US show at Harrah’s Resort Southern California on March 21 before the band head to Japan. The Japanese tour will launch in Fukuoka on March 27 and wrap up April 11 in Osaka.

On August 1, the band resume at Harrahs in Windsor and they will conclude September 1 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California, nearly 30 years to the day when the inaugural All Starrs completed their first tour on September 3, 1989.

The 2019 All Starr Band feature Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Gregg Rolie, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette and the return of All Starr alum Hamish Stuart.

“My dream has always been, and still is, to play great music with great musicians - and I’ve been blessed to have so many incredible ones in my All Starr Bands,” Ringo reflected. “We can’t wait to get out there and share the joy with you – every show is always such a wonderful Peace & Love fest between us and our audiences.”

The current itinerary for their 2019 30th Anniversary celebratory tour is listed below, with additional dates to be announced soon.

On July 7, Ringo will return to Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles for his annual Peace & Love Birthday Celebration, where he joins gathered fans and invites anyone anywhere around the world to think, say or post #peaceandlove at Noon their local time.

This creates a wave of Peace & Love across the planet, starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii. Ringo began these in 2008 at the Hard Rock Café Chicago and last year he celebrated the 10th Anniversary at the Hard Rock Café Nice. In the ensuing years it has grown enormously and in 2018 there were Peace & Love events in over 60 countries. Details for the 2019 event will be announced in the coming months.

Shipping now is Ringo's signed, limited edition book, Another Day In The Life. The third in Ringo's series of books with Genesis Publications, following the sell-out success of Postcards From The Boys (2003) and Photograph (2013), Another Day In The Life presents a previously unpublished collection of his photographs, captioned with his own thoughts and anecdotes.

Reflecting his love of music, travel and nature, Another Day In The Life shows us the world as seen through Ringo's eyes. From Los Angeles to Tokyo and everywhere in between, many of Ringo's observational images celebrate the quirkiness of life. Other photographs are taken behind the scenes during historic events, such as Ringo's acceptance of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his return to New York's Plaza Hotel, 50 years after The Beatles first visited the USA. Joined by Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh and a host of All-Starr friends, in Another Day In The Life Ringo Starr shares personal moments from a legendary life in music, and offers a unique and inspiring look at the world around us.

Proceeds from the sale will go to Ringo's Lotus Foundation charity. For more information go to

Ringo and His All Starr Band Tour -- Japan 2019 Tour Dates:

March 27 Sun Palace Hall, Fukuoka, Japan
March 29 Uenogakuen, Hiroshima, Japan
April 1 Tokyo Electron Hall Miyagi Sendai Japan
April 2 Shimin Center, Koriyama, Japan
April 3 Hitomi Kinen Kodo, Tokyo, Japan
April 5 Dome City Hall, Tokyo, Japan
April 9 Zepp, Nagoya, Japan
April 10 Archaic Hall, Japan, Osaka
April 11 Orix Theatre, Osaka, Japan

North American 2019 Tour Dates:

August 1 The Colosseum at Caesars, Windsor, Ontario
August 3 & 4 Ravinia, Highland Park, IL
August 6 DPAC, Durham, NC
August 7 & 8 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
August 10 & 11 Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA
August 13 Berglund Center Coliseum, Roanoke, VA
August 14 The Met Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
August 20 State Farm Center, Champaign, IL
August 22 Mystic Lake Casino, Prior Lake, MN
August 23 Harrah’s Council Bluffs Casino, Council Bluffs, IA
August 25 Santa Fe Opera House, Santa Fe, NM
August 26 Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
August 28 Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
August 30 Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, CA
August 31 Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles, CA
September 1 The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

John Mayer summer tour dates on sale this week

photo: Frank Ockenfels
John Mayer has added North American concerts to his 2019 World Tour, which will kick off in July and will run through September. Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, February 1, at noon local time through See below for a full listing of tour dates.

American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, January 29 at 10 AM local time through Thursday, January 31 at 10PM.

Fan presale tickets will be available starting Tuesday, January 29 at 10 AM local time. Fans can sign up now at for exclusive access. Additional presale opportunities will also be available.

A limited number of LaneOne Premium Packages will also be available, including amazing seats, transportation, preferred entrance and more. Check LaneOne for details.

Two pairs of front row tickets, each with a preshow meet & greet with John Mayer, will be auctioned off for every concert in North America. All proceeds will go to benefit the Back to You Fund and other associated charities. Check HERE for more information.

Mayer’s 2019 World Tour launches in March in New Zealand and Australia and then heads to Asia through April. The concerts will feature two sets of music spanning his entire recording career. There will be no opening act.

In addition to his solo world tour, John Mayer is again touring North America in 2019, for the fourth consecutive year, with Dead & Company, featuring Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, along with Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti - and Mayer himself.


FRI 19-Jul Albany, NY Times Union Center
SAT 20-Jul Providence, RI Dunkin’ Donuts Center
MON 22-Jul Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
TUE 23-Jul Washington D.C. Capital One Arena
THU 25-Jul New York, NY Madison Square Garden
FRI 26-Jul New York, NY Madison Square Garden
SUN 28-Jul Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arnena
TUE 30-Jul Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
FRI 2-Aug Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
SAT 3-Aug Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
MON 5-Aug St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
TUE 6-Aug Milwaukee, WI Fiserv Forum
THU 8-Aug Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
FRI 9-Aug Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center
SUN 11-Aug Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
MON 12-Aug Indianapolis, IN Bankers Life Fieldhouse
WED 14-Aug Chicago, IL United Center
SAT 31-Aug Snowmass Village, CO Snowmass Mountain
MON 2-Sep Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
TUE 3-Sep St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center
THU 5-Sep Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
SAT 7-Sep San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
SUN 8-Sep Houston, TX Toyota Center
TUE 10-Sep Phoenix, AZ Talking Stick Resort Arena
WED 11-Sep San Diego, CA Viejas Arena
FRI 13-Sep Inglewood, CA The Forum
SAT 14-Sep Inglewood, CA The Forum

Ra Ra Riot hooks up with Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World for summer tour

Now this is a tour that I really want to check out (mostly for my past interview subjects J.E.W. and RRR)...

In addition to releasing a new LP later this year, Ra Ra Riot are set to join the Summer Gods Tour with Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World this summer for the tour’s second installment. Pre-sales are set to begin on Wednesday, January 30th with general on-sale beginning at 10am local time on Friday, February 1st.

Presales include a Ticketmaster Verified Fan Presale which fans can register for until 10pm today, Monday, January 28th. For tickets, please visit A portion of all ticket sales will work to offset carbon emissions from audience travel via a US-based ClimeCo offset project.

In December, New York alternative rockers Ra Ra Riot released “This Time of Year,” a brand new single - the first taste of what’s to come in 2019 with a new full-length LP on the horizon via a new partnership with Rob the Rich Recordings/Caroline.

The track is the first new music from Ra Ra Riot since 2016’s Need Your Light, their fourth critically acclaimed studio album which spawned the band’s biggest hit to date – “Water” – a collaboration with longtime creative partner Rostam Batmanglij (Frank Ocean, Maggie Rogers, Vampire Weekend) which has streamed more than 75 million times globally.

Ra Ra Riot is Wes Miles (vocals), Mathieu Santos (bass), Milo Bonacci (guitar), Rebecca Zeller (violin), Kenny Bernard (drums).

Summer Gods Tour w/ Third Eye Blind & Jimmy Eat World

June 14th @ Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA
June 15th @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA
June 18th @ Theater of the Clouds at Moda Center in Portland, OR
June 19th @ WaMu Theater in Seattle, WA
June 21st @ USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT
June 22nd @ Levitt Pavilion in Denver, CO
June 23rd @ Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO
June 25th @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in St. Louis, MO
June 27th @ Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago, IL
June 28th @ Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill Detroit, MI
June 30th @ Farmer’s Bureau Insurance Lawn in Indianapolis, IN
July 2nd @ Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland, OH
July 3rd @ Artpark in Lewiston, NY
July 5th @ CMAC in Canandaigua, NY
July 6th @ Thompson’s Point in Portland, ME
July 8th @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA
July 9th @ Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT
July 11th @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY
July 12th @ Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA
July 13th @ PNC Bank Arts Theater in Holmdel, NJ
July 14th @ BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ
July 16th @ Express Live! Pavilion in Columbus, OH
July 17th @ PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati, OH
July 19th @ Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD
July 20th @ Stage AE Outdoors in Pittsburgh, PA
July 21st @ PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
July 22nd @ State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park in Charlotte, NC
July 24th @ Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville, TN
July 25th @ Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, AR
July 26th @ Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving, TX
July 27th @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, TX
July 31st @ Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix, AZ
August 1st @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in San Diego, CA
August 2nd @ The Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino in Las Vegas, NV
August 3rd @ FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA

Josh Ritter reveals new Jason Isbell-produced album details, tour dates

photo: David McClister
Fever Breaks, the 10th studio album from acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer Josh Ritter, will be released April 26 via Pytheas Recordings/Thirty Tigers and is now available for pre-order at

Produced by Grammy Award-winning musician Jason Isbell, the 10-song record was recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A and features Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit. In advance of the release, the album’s first single, “Old Black Magic,” is debuting today; listen/share it here:

Already receiving widespread attention, Rolling Stone recently spent time in the studio with Ritter and Isbell while finishing the album and calls the music, “classic Ritter on Muscle Shoals-bred steroids.” Read the full profile here.

In celebration of the release, Ritter is set for a run of North American tour dates with his longtime band, The Royal City Band, which also include support from Amanda Shires and Penny & Sparrow.

Tickets go on sale on Friday, February 1 at 10AM local time and are available at See below for complete tour dates.

Recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A with additional recording and mixing at Sound Emporium, the record was engineered by Matt Ross-Spang and features contributions from Isbell (guitar and vocals) and his band the 400 Unit, which includes Derry Deborja (piano, organ and Hohner accordion), Chad Gamble (drums and percussion), Jimbo Hart (fender electric, ukulele and upright bass), Sadler Vaden (electric guitar, acoustic guitar and 12 string acoustic guitar) and Amanda Shires (violin and vocals).

Of the album, Ritter told Rolling Stone, “The songs are very reflective of the times in which they were written,” he explains. “As we started coming together and playing, the songs that felt like they were gonna work really jumped out as obvious. From there on, after we recorded in August [2018] we had this really nice time to stop and listen and let the songs marinate a little bit. In that time, the world has just become even crazier. There’s a lot of the record that feels reflective of the moment it was in.”

Over the course of his career Ritter has released ten full-length albums including 2017’s Gathering, which debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Americana/Folk Albums chart and received widespread critical praise. 

In 2015 Ritter began a close collaboration with Bob Weir and went on to write or co-write many of the 12 songs on Weir’s acclaimed 2016 solo album, Blue Mountain.

Besides his work as a musician, Ritter made his debut as a published author in 2011 with his New York Times best-selling novel Bright’s Passage (Dial Press/Random House). 

Track listing:

1. Ground Don’t Want Me
2. Old Black Magic
3. On The Water
4. I Still Love You (Now and Then)
5. The Torch Committee
6. Silverblade
7. All Some Kind of Dream
8. Losing Battles
9. A New Man
10. Blazing Highway Home

Tour dates:

May 8—Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall*
May 9—Montreal, QC—L’Astral*
May 10—Northampton, MA—Calvin Theater*
May 11—Boston, MA—Wilbur Theater*
May 14—Philadelphia, PA—Keswick Theater*
May 16—Pittsburgh, PA—Carnegie Memorial Hall*
May 17—Washington, DC—Lincoln Theater*
May 18—Charlottesville VA—Jefferson Theater*
May 19—Atlanta, GA—Variety Playhouse*
May 21—Cincinnati, OH—Taft Theater*
May 22—Chicago, IL—The Vic*
May 23—Detroit, MI—Majestic Theater*
June 14—Houston, TX—Heights Theater †
June 15—Austin, TX—Paramount Theatre†
June 20—Boise, ID—Egyptian Theater*
June 21—Spokane, WA—Knitting Factory*
June 22—Vancouver, BC—Vogue Theater*
June 23—Seattle, WA—The Moore*
June 25—Portland, OR—Revolution Hall*
June 28—Oakland, CA—Fox Theater*
June 29—Los Angeles, CA—Theater at the Ace*
September 21—New York, NY—Beacon Theatre†
September 26—Durham, NC—Carolina Theater†
September 27—Asheville, NC—The Orange Peel†
September 28—Nashville, TN—Ryman Auditorium
*with support from Penny & Sparrow
†with support from Amanda Shire

Glenn Shorrock revisits Little River Band hits on new album in March

With a career spanning more than 50 years, GLENN SHORROCK is one of the elder statesmen of Australian contemporary show business and has the unusual distinction of having been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on two occasions, both as a member of Little River Band and as a solo artist.

The founding frontman of The Twilights, Axiom and ‘70s hitmakers Little River Band (later known as LRB), Shorrock carved out astonishing success around the globe, particularly here in the USA, where LRB shifted the bulk of its 25 million-plus career album sales.

Moving forward, 2019 sees the release of his latest solo album, Glenn Shorrock Sings Little River Band, produced and recorded live in the studio by producer and artist, Steve Balbi, at Rancom St. Studio and The Engine Room in Sydney, Australia.

Out through Australian indie label, Social Family Records, the album is set for release on March 8 and available for pre-order now. It features 10 of Shorrock’s favourite LRB hits, including first single and instant grat track, "The Night Owls," penned by long-time friend, Graeham Goble. The second instant grat track "It's A Long Way There" has been released.


The musicians who joined Shorrock to record the album live in studio included Pete Drummond (drums), Jak Housden (guitar 1), James Van Cooper (guitar 2), Dario Bortolin (bass), Robbie Woolf (keys), Glenn Cunningham (backing vocals), Hugh Wilson (backing vocals), Phil Stack (upright bass on "Reminiscing"), Mitchell Rogers (lap steel), and Ross Middleton (sax).


01 It's A Long Way There
02 Help Is On Its Way
03 Home On Monday
04 Shut Down Turn Off
05 Take It Easy On Me
06 Lonesome Loser
07 Cool Change
08 Curiosity Killed the Cat
09 The Night Owls
10 Reminiscing

Pre-Order Glenn Shorrock Sings Little River Band here:
Pre-orders through iTunes (MP3) receive The Night Owls instantly

Born in Kent, England, Glenn migrated with his family at the age of 10 to Adelaide in the mid-1950s. A self-confessed child of rock ‘n’ roll, he began singing in 1962.

At the end of 1974, Glenn helped form Little River Band as lead singer. Managed by long-time friend, Glenn Wheatley, Little River Band cracked the lucrative United States market in 1976 and began a string of eight Top Ten hits there and around the world, and often been credited for opening the door for many Australian acts on the international circuit. In 1995, Glenn fronted Little River Band during their 20th year anniversary, three and a half-month tour of the United States.

Fast forward to 2016 and the acclaimed singer/songwriter returned with a collection of songs composed by himself and friends, old and new, offering a mix of folk-rock and easy listening tracks with his solo album, Rise Again, also released through Social Family Records and available on CD and digital platforms.

Although now in his 70s, Glenn continues to tour constantly, with 2018 seeing the June release of his autobiography, Now, Where Was I? about his career with the Twilights, Axiom and Little River Band and back again. With the new solo album out on March 8, 2019, he’s certainly not ready to slow down.

Monday, January 28, 2019

NAMM Show 2019 Report

photo: Robert Kinsler
Attending Winter NAMM is always a memorable experience, with plenty to discover and enjoy about various facets of the music business.

One of the largest trade shows in America, NAMM Show 2019 drew 115,000 registered industry professionals (not to mention music students, educators, invited guests).

There were more than 2,000 exhibiting member companies (representing 7,000 brands) from around the world at the Anaheim Convention Center over the course of four days.

It is hard to squeeze in everything you want to do, but I still managed to get a lot accomplished during my 11th NAMM visit.

Friday, Jan. 25

After eyeing dozens and dozens of exhibitor booths on the sprawling trade show floor, I caught my first live performance on the outdoor Pioneer Pro Audio/Arena Plaza Stage adjacent to the still relatively new north wing.

photo: George A. Paul
Happy Hollows, a Los Angeles based alt-rock band, put on an entrancing set featuring tunes from impressive 2017 album Concordia, such as the new wave-influenced “Decide” and “On the Wave” - both definite standouts.

Sarah Negahdari’s vocals were sometimes reminiscent of Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux, while the music left a lasting impression.

Back in the ACC, I headed upstairs to check out the large Gibson room, which was packed. Dave Amato from REO Speedwagon was part of a classic rock panel. When asked what lick made him instantly want to learn it, the guitarist played a bit of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and talked briefly about Eric Clapton’s early influence on him.

photo: George A. Paul
Over in the Fender room, Lindsay Ell looped some sounds on the American Acoustasonic Telecaster guitar.

The country/rock musician - who has opened for Keith Urban and Sugarland, played Stagecoach Festival and put out John Mayer tribute album The Continuum Project last year – said she had recently become aware of the hybrid acoustic/electric model and loved it.

Alan Parsons made several appearances at NAMM. The master producer and engineer did a TEC Tracks keynote, mixing demonstrations and a signing related to his 2010 instructional box set Art and Science of Sound Recording (I highly recommend it to musicians).

Read my archival ASSR review and 2018 interview with Parsons about the Alan Parsons Project's classic Eye in the Sky: 30th Anniversary box set here:

photo: George A. Paul
Downstairs, near the lower Hall E at the Museum of Making Music stage, mild-mannered, Grammy-winning guitarist Laurence Juber (a onetime member of Paul McCartney and Wings) showed why he is considered one of the best acoustic fingerstyle players around.

There were times in the mostly instrumental set where it was astonishing that the sounds emanated from just one person and instrument. Highlights included brilliant covers of Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” The Beatles’ “She Loves You” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” plus an awesome extended take on The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (complete with Pete Townshend-styled windmill motions). Finally, Juber finished with his “homage to a great American poet” – Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” this time singing it and soliciting audience interaction.

photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM
As the afternoon wound down, I saw Michael Anthony discuss his career with Van Halen, Sammy Hagar & The Circle and more at the NAMM U/Idea Center Sessions.

While the gregarious bassist dodged questions about recent VH reunion rumors, he talked about what first sparked an interest in music. After hearing Blue Cheer as a teenager in the 1960s, “I thought, ‘that’s what I want to do.’” At his junior high, “everybody wanted to be Jimmy Page. I wanted to learn bass.” The first LP he really got into was one by The Electric Flag. “I fell in love with the thickness of it,” said Anthony.

While attending Arcadia High in Southern California, he would see the Van Halen brothers in bands around LA and thought “this guy Eddie is really good.” Eventually, they met while attending Pasadena City College and Anthony could tell “these guys were very serious about making music.”

Once VH started, the band “played everywhere we could. It was all about the love of playing music.” Later, after massive success and David Lee Roth’s exit from the group, Sammy Hagar joined. Yet it wasn’t until Sammy left in the 1990s, that the two “really connected on a human level.”

Anthony on VH producer Ted Templeman: “We were a live band in the studio and we all worked magic back then.”

On what he’s listening to now: Rival Sons; The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM (“I have it on in all of my cars. I’ve been learning stuff about Paul McCartney’s bass playing that I didn’t know before”).

On his new signature Peavey bass amp introduced at NAMM: “It’s been a long time in the making.”

During past Yamaha-sponsored live events that I’ve seen here, the company has drawn people like U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Vince Gill, Jon Anderson of Yes and other well-known talent to NAMM. Previously, they were only open to dealers and invited guests. Last year, the company moved its All-Star Concert to the large outdoor Grand Plaza Stage and made it available to all badgeholders.

photo: Bob Steshetz
Friday night’s show was emceed by comedian/actor Sinbad. The lineup (kept under wraps until show time) featured Sarah McLachlan, James “J.T.” Taylor from Kool and the Gang, Jon McLaughlin, Loren Allred and Jonathan Butler. All of them were backed by an orchestra and band consisting of veteran award-winning studio pros Greg Phillinganes on keyboards and Nathan East on bass.

Pop singer/pianist McLaughlin opened with the sweeping “Beautiful Disaster” and did “So Close” (his Oscar-nominated tune from Disney’s “Enchanted”). Allred belted out “Never Enough,” her contribution to “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack as well as a highly dramatic cover of Journey’s “Faithfully.”

South African singer Butler, who first came to prominence with the 1987 pop/R&B hit “Lies” did a lively performance of that song and put his own lengthy spin on Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.” He also covered Bacharach & David’s “What the World Needs Now.”

McLachlan's all-too-brief set was gorgeous and elevated the Yahama concert to a new level. Moving between acoustic guitar to piano, she engaged in some self-deprecating humor about her wrenching ballads and praised the orchestra during stellar performances of hit singles “Building a Mystery,” “I Will Remember You” (recounting how it was inspired by watching the film “Leaving Las Vegas”), “Sweet Surrender” and “Angel.”

photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM
Taylor, the original lead singer of Kool & the Gang, still sounded strong during sultry jams “Ladies Night” and “Too Hot," which segued into "Joanna.”

Another ballad, “Cherish,” was dedicated to federal workers who toiled during the government shutdown. Taylor also did a snippet of "All I Want is Forever,” his 1989 hit R&B chart duet with Regina Belle. The crowd went wild during closing number “Celebration” and Taylor sang a verse in Spanish.

Saturday, Jan. 26

photo: Robert Kinsler
While walking through the noisy trade show and marveling at all manner of axes, I happened upon Graham Coxon, the guitarist for Blur, doing a demonstration of Audient’s Sono amp modelling audio interface. Discussing the recording process with a technician from the company, he played some licks using the various “rooms” to replicate what the guitar would sound like in a concert hall, studio loft, basement, etc. Coxon also played brief snippets of Blur hits “Song 2” and “Coffee and T.V.”

Over at the Hilton, the fascinating TEC Tracks panel “The World of Early Moog Synthesizers” was moderated by the instrument maker’s daughter and executive director of the Bob Moog Foundation, Michelle Moog-Koussa.

Keyboardist Geoff Downes (Yes, Asia, The Buggles), session musician/film composer Michael Boddicker (Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie) and producer/engineer Robert Margouleff (Stevie Wonder, Devo, Oingo Boingo) took part in the discussion.

Margouleff noted that “music has always been geared toward architecture – where something is going to be played. Now, you don’t have to.” Later, he lamented how “the magic of the recording process and a sense of immediacy” is often lost these days.

photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM
Downes (pictured left) recalled the experience of playing 28 (!) keyboards onstage during Asia’s 1983 tour of Asia and admitted the Moog keytar was “heavier than it looked. It became a signature thing for me.

“In Asia, I had 20-ish synths onstage, all with different textures. I became a textured player,” he continued. “Keith Emerson was my idol. I first saw him at the Isle of Wight Festival with The Nice. He was my biggest influence in becoming a keyboard player.”

Margouleff described the forward-thinking Devo (for which he produced Freedom of Choice) as “a bellweather of the environmental movement.” He also talked about how the band got that distinctive whip crack sound for their hit single “Whip It.”

“We enhanced their unique ideas,” Margouleff said.

Boddicker reminisced about working with Michael Jackson on Bad, Thriller and Off the Wall: “He always wanted something new and different. He was always pushing to make me do something I’d never done before. He’d say, ‘make it hot,’ which meant a ‘different, new and exciting sound.’”

Then Margouleff reflected on Stevie Wonder's Talking Book and Innervisions: "We never knew what sound we'd get until we went into the studio. It was always a sonic adventure."

[The Moog Museum opens this spring in Ashville, N.C.]

photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM
Another interesting TEC Tracks talk was Birth of a Record: Making Don Henley's Building the Perfect Beast with Danny Kortchmar, producer, musician and co-songwriter for the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum 1984 album.

This freewheeling panel, moderated by journalist Mr. Bonzai, included legendary drummer Jim Keltner (who played on a Building track) and engineer/mixer Niko Bolas.

They all recounted the heady times of moving from studio to studio. Said Kortchmar, "Whatever we wanted, we got. It took over six months to record." With dance-pop hit "All She Wants to Do is Dance," they utilized a then-new Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. "We got one of the first ones," said Kortchmar, because money was no object. 

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell co-wrote top 10 single "The Boys of Summer" with Henley, but it was no easy process. Kortchmar said Campbell brought in a demo tape with the memorable opening riff, but had trouble replicating the exact sound in the studio. Ten days later, it finally passed muster with Henley's exacting standards. Soon after, Campbell got sick. "We ran Mike into the hospital," said the producer. 

Bolas remembered one point in the recording where Bob Seger turned up and told Henley, "the girls like it when you sing higher." Kortchmar revealed that the original arrangement of "Sunset Grill," inspired by an actual eatery on Hollywood's infamous Sunset Strip, was done in 6/8 time. 

When the subject veered to other projects, Keltner told a humorous story about being kicked out of a studio for talking too much during a session for one of Steve Perry's solo albums that Bolas mixed. 

Later, Kortchmar offered a bit of advice to young musicians, pointing out that "everyone is supposed to create the groove; not just the drummer." Keltner concurred.

photo: Bob Steshetz
The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus sponsored the Saturday night Imagine Party concert headlined by Elle King. Having only seen a partial set from her at Stagecoach Festival '17, it was great to finally get the full experience.

And the Anaheim gig didn't disappoint. Following a "bass off" contest of players vying for prizes judged by Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap and the audience, Los Angeles native King's versatility was on full display in Anaheim. She switched from acoustic and electric guitar to a custom gold-plated Deering banjo while the eclectic music ranged from alt-rock and blues to country, folk and soul. King even did a credible cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

"This is my first NAMM," she said. "I had an accident with my knee, but that didn't stop my ass" from being here. Although a crutch was propped on the drum riser and a stool was at the ready nearby, the raspy voiced singer barely used the latter.

photo: Bob Steshetz
Clad in a white shirt emblazoned with the phrase 'Have a shitty day,' King and her tight backing band The Brethren kicked off the 21-song, 85-minute set with "Baby Outlaw." It was the first of several songs from last year's personal Shake the Spirit album, which includes production or writing collaborations with the likes of Greg Kurstin, Tim Pagnotta, Death Cab's Ben Gibbard and Larkin Poe.

Standouts included the catchy, reverb-drenched single "Shame," her favorite Beatles tune "Oh! Darling" (playfully sung in the direction of one Brethren guitarist and she belted it out at the end), the gritty "Naturally Pretty Girls," the brawny "Last Damn Night" and "Good Thing Gone." As expected, "Ex's & Oh's," King's Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum, rock radio chart topper from 2014, got a loud response.

With another NAMM Show in the books, I look forward to attending again in January 2020.

About NAMM:

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, visit www.namm.orgcall 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on social media.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Buddy Holly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra release coincides with 60th anniversary of legend's death

Decca/UMe has announced the U.S. release of Buddy Holly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: True Love Ways, a new collection of Buddy Holly hits set to new orchestrations. The album is available now for digital purchase and streaming, and for preorder on CD and 2LP vinyl.

Buddy Holly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: True Love Ways:

February 3, 2019 is the 60th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s tragic plane crash death at the age of 22. That day became known as “The Day the Music Died,” famously referenced in Don McLean’s song, “American Pie.” Holly is survived by his wife Maria Elena, to whom he had been married for less than a year.

True Love Ways (the name of the song written for Buddy’s wife, Maria Elena) features Buddy Holly’s distinctive original vocals and guitar playing, set to exquisite arrangements newly recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Angel Studios. The album is produced by Nick Patrick, the man behind successful orchestral albums for Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, and The Carpenters.

The album is a poignant realization of a dream Holly first explored just four months before his tragic death. On October 21, 1958, Holly embarked on a musical adventure he would have continued, had he had the chance. He entered the Decca Studios in New York for a three-and-a-half-hour recording session with an 18-piece orchestra, fronted by Dick Jacobs, known for bringing strings to rock & roll. They recorded four tracks: “True Love Ways,” “Raining In My Heart,” “Moondreams,” and “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” all of which are soaked in strings, clearly demonstrating a new direction for Holly’s music.

Holly’s widow, Maria Elena, explains that her husband thought then that the rock & roll era had peaked: “Buddy felt orchestral music in a popular vein was where the future lay, so he wanted to write, record, explore and innovate that style. So what better combination than the Royal Philharmonic and Buddy’s music. It’s just beautiful.”

Maria Elena also recalls Buddy telling her he learned to play the violin as a child and later, he had fantasized about writing film scores.

True Love Ways’ orchestral arrangements invigorate, rather than overwhelm, Holly’s originating rock & roll style, preserving the energy of the songs he recorded with The Crickets. “Everyday” shines anew, with playful pizzicato strings and percussion alighting around Holly’s original vocals. “Peggy Sue,” whose namesake recently died at age 78, is carried along by percussion reminiscent of a cowboy movie score, with a cinematic string climax. The new orchestral versions of “That’ll Be The Day” and “Oh Boy” are warm and exciting turns for the beloved classics. “Heartbeat,” the last song Holly released, retains its rockabilly guitar, while the new arrangement’s strings serve to lift the spirits even higher.

“This is what Buddy would’ve wanted done.” – Larry Holley, Buddy Holly’s brother