Friday, March 31, 2006

The Highs Of March: The Allman Brothers Band At The Beacon Theater

By: David Schultz

Many venerable traditions accompany the annual arrival of springtime in New York. Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the St. Patrick's Day parade and the finals of the "We're 66" N.I.T. Tournament will turn even the most oblivious minds towards thoughts of warm weather and the end of winter. Although not possessing the same storied longevity, The Allman Brothers Band are quickly establishing their own seasonal tradition, a March residency at the Beacon Theater. The weather for their two and a half week stay may have unreasonably dipped below the freezing point but the Allmans fiercely battled the cold with a series of fourteen scalding hot performances. Inviting numerous guests to the stage throughout the run, the Allmans joyously acknowledged their blues-centered roots while also looking ahead to the future by graciously sharing their spotlight with those whom they have influenced.



The current band blends both young and old. Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe remain from the group's most bountiful years and although aged on the outside aren't one step behind the younger guns they've welcomed into the band. The venerable Warren Haynes and wunderkind Derek Trucks comprise one of the most staggeringly virtuosic guitar tandems to ever play together and bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Mark Quinones add youthful fire to the rhythm section.

Indicative of their entire run, their last Monday night show, their ninth in twelve days, the Allman Brothers Band put on a classic rock clinic for the ages . . . and had a blast in the process. In between sets, Butch Trucks could be overheard backstage expressing his excitement over the Allmans' Beacon performances, explaining that whenever they seem to be in need of a lift, they were getting it from somewhere. An experienced touring veteran, Trucks' refreshing enthusiasm proved contagious for both the band and audience. When he wasn't being inspired, he inspired others. Soon after, during the lengthy tribalesque drum solo, Derek Trucks stood just off stage, his excitement at the energy generated by his uncle Butch and the percussion trio palpable in his beaming grin.

On this night, guitarist Cornell Dupree, bassist Jerry Jemmott and drummer Bernard Purdie, all members of legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tenor saxophonist King Curtis' band, as well as Derek Trucks Band lead singer Michael Mattison joined the Allmans to start the second set with a sizzling funk workout of Curtis' "Memphis Soul Stew" that had Oteil Burbridge giddily jumping with delight behind Butch Trucks' drum riser. The Gregg Allman & Friends horn section, Jay Collins (tenor sax), Jim Seeley (trumpet) and Chris Karlic (baritone sax), frequent guests throughout the shows, provided Curtis' signature solos. Duane Allman revered King Curtis and Burbridge channeled that love, dropping to his knees and bowing at Jemmott's feet at the song's end.



In a first set that included "One Way Out" and "Stormy Monday," Warren Haynes' powerful cover of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long" brought down the house. Accompanied by Jaimoe, who played in Redding's band in 1966, and the Allman & Friends horns, Haynes offered a smoky, burning rendition of the heartbreaking classic. Derek Trucks' wife, Susan Tedeschi, another frequent guest, joined the band for another cover, a fun romp through Derek & The Dominos' "Anyday." Later in the evening, with Gregg Allman on his familiar lead, the Allmans turned "Statesboro Blues" into a paean to the great blues musicians of yesteryear. "Revival" captured the backstage atmosphere, turning into a raucous set-closing jam. Everyone returned to the stage for an all-hand-on-deck encore of "Southbound" that saw the band yield large portions of the song to King Curtis' band and the horn section. Burbridge even took time out to set down his bass and boogie with Tedeschi near the rear of the stage. In keeping with the family motif, Duane Trucks, the spitting image of his older brother Derek, kicked off the encore on drums before yielding his chair to Jaimoe halfway through the song.

On practically every night, the Allmans offered something special. On the 35th anniversary of the concert memorialized on At Fillmore East, they recreated the album as their first set and then brought out ABB alumnus Chuck Leavell to play keyboards with Gregg Allman during the second set. When they weren't reconstructing their prior albums, the Allmans brought a wide variety of venerable bluesmen, classic rock legends and present-day stars to the stage, with each night bringing a new special guest. The Allmans offered the most deference to master bluesman John Hammond, allowing him to open the second set on the last two nights with solo acoustic versions of "Drop Down Mama" and "My Mind Is Rambling." At his first appearance, Warren Haynes joined Hammond for an acoustic rendition of "Just Your Fool" and the next night Derek Trucks played with Hammond on "Stone Pony Blues." Both nights featured Hammond joining the entire band for an electrified "Shake For Me." Blues greats Hubert Sumlin, Robben Ford and Butterfield Blues Band guitarist Elvin Bishop of "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" fame made separate appearances early in the run. On the Saturday before his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Gary Rossington appeared for a run through of Skynyrd's "Simple Man" with Peter Frampton joining in later on "Born Under A Bad Sign." The song reemerged on another night with Mountain's Leslie West. Robert Randolph, the "Hendrix of the pedal steel guitar" showed his stuff on a "Turn On Your Lovelight" jam and Ben Harper brought his lap steel guitar for renditions of "Midnight Rider" and "Southbound." The Allmans jammed not just with friends but family too. Trucks' wife Susan Tedeschi appeared on numerous nights and Devon Allman, Gregg's son, collaborated on a reading of "Midnight Rider."



With the Beacon residency concluded, the Allman Brothers Band will play together and with their other bands on April 14-15 at the two day WANEE Festival in Live Oak, Florida before going their separate ways for the summer. Of note, Derek Trucks will embark on a quick southern tour with his eponymous band before heading overseas to accompany Eric Clapton on his European tour. Oteil Burbridge will rejoin Oteil & The Peacemakers and tour the south on the Sweet Soul Revival Tour, hitting up the Wakarusa Festival along the way. Warren Haynes, the hardest working man in rock and roll, will put the finishing touches on a new Gov't Mule album before commencing a summer tour which will include four dates opening for the Dave Matthews Band. Haynes will also present his Second Annual Mountain Jam on June 3-4 at Hunter Mountain in upstate New York. Gov't Mule will play both nights of the festival which will include Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Keller Williams, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and Mike Gordon & Ramble Dove.

While some traditions suffer under the weight of outdated rituals and slavish adherence to rote, the Allman's Beacon Theater March residency remarkably avoids falling into such a rut, remaining outstandingly fresh. Incorporating the blues and roots rock of the past, the Allmans are reinvigorating their classic material while also taking it in new directions. Most significantly, the Allman Brothers Band are exposing that music to a whole legion of younger fans.

Rock Kills Kid

If you haven't heard of the LA-based quintet Rock Kills Kid get on board now so when they come to your town you'll be able to rock out right up front in the small and mid-sized venues they're playing this tour. Next time around it may be harder to snag tickets!

We agree with Rolling Stone that these guys are artists to watch. RS says:

"The band's more danceable songs, like the four-on-the-floor stomper "Paralyzed," evoke the neo-New Wave of the Killers and Franz Ferdinand, but others, including the chiming ballad-cum-anthem title track, are in the arena-rattling vein of U2, Echo and the Bunnymen and -- it must be said -- Modern English."

Earvolution likes to be out front on recommendations (See Bloc Party / The Subways), and you can judge this one for yourselves. We've got links to see RKK's new video "Paralyzed" in several formats so hopefully everyone is covered so check them out: Quicktime, Windows Media 450, Windows Media 300 and Windows Media 56. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Earvolution Interview: Ed King of Lynyrd Skynyrd

By: David Schultz

On March 13, 2006, Ed King, one of the key members of legendary southern rock forefathers Lynyrd Skynyrd was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. King, along with Gary Rossington, Billy Powell, Artimus Pyle and Bob Burns accepted the Hall of Fame accolades for Skynyrd and on behalf of departed members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Leon Wilkeson and Allen Collins. After spending the late sixties and early seventies with the psychedelic rockers The Strawberry Alarm Clock, King joined Skynyrd in 1973, giving them the powerful signature three guitar sound found on their first three albums, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second Helping and Nuthin' Fancy.

On "Sweet Home Alabama," King provides the song's defining riffs and solos after kicking the song off with an audible count off just before Ronnie's famous request to "Turn it up" - which wasn't planned as Ronnie was telling the engineer he needed more volume in his headset. On the night before the Hall of Fame ceremony, King appeared with his former band mates for the last third of Skynyrd's celebration concert at Times Square's Nokia Theater, joining in one more time on the song that helped propel Skynyrd into the classic rock pantheon. On the heels of his recent honors, Ed King graciously took the time to speak to Earvolution.

Earvolution: On the night before your induction into the Hall of Fame, you appeared on stage at the Nokia Theater, looking extraordinarily svelte. In fact I didn't think that the thin guy on stage could be Ed King.

Ed King: It took about 10 years for me to get to that point! It was a good thing that I came out to play with them. They were all very accommodating and I was treated like royalty.

Earvolution: It took 7 years for Lynyrd Skynyrd to finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, what do you attribute the delay too? Could you describe your feelings from that night?

Ed King: I still don't think the induction has fully sunk in. It's a great honor to be up there with the "greats" of the business. I believe the delay of the induction might have been due to the fact that there were so many members in the band; it was hard to decide who to induct. And maybe the committee didn't want a band with 2 original members playing at the award ceremony. So they wound up with 5 original members plus the 2 living original Honkettes, Jo Jo Billingsley and Leslie Hawkins.

Earvolution: Were you confident that it was only a matter of time before the Hall of Fame acknowledged Skynyrd's contributions?

Ed King: It's just real difficult to deny a band that sells over 2 million units per year for the past 30 years.

Earvolution: In the sense that Kid Rock has always been outspoken in his love for Skynyrd, what are your thoughts on Kid Rock and his part in keeping Skynyrd's music alive?

Ed King: I would've liked to have seen Al Kooper at the ceremony. There are a lot of mixed feelings about his involvement with the band. Some believe he exploited the band for his own gains. All I know is, he did a fine job producing those first 3 albums. He believed in Skynyrd when no one else did. As far as Kid Rock goes, he's quite a guy. We spoke for a long time that night at the Nokia. I've never known much about him but walked away thinking he was a proper choice for the ceremony. Hard to believe he was born 4 years AFTER I had my first #1 record!

Earvolution: Your appearance at the Nokia was described by some as miraculous. Would you share that assessment?

Ed King: Gary Rossington was very gracious in allowing me to share the stage with him. As far as how I felt about it, I am always glad to play but my emotions about playing have pretty well left me. It may have something to do with the fact I just don't think those songs are played with the same "feel" and "pocket" as they need to be. However, "Sweet Home Alabama" at the Hall of Fame show the next night felt perfect, thanks to (drummer) Bob Burns.

Earvolution: Over the years, a mythology has been created about and around Lynyrd Skynyrd. What are your favorite myths about the band?

Ed King: People ask me "What was Ronnie Van Zant like?" I always say, just listen to any 6 songs he wrote. He wrote about his life and his thoughts and he spoke like he sang: very poetic, very eloquent. So the "myth" is that Ronnie was all about whiskey, women and brawling. He was way more than that.

Earvolution: What are your fondest memories from playing with Skynyrd?

Ed King: We used to write and rehearse in a little 20 x 30 cabin out in the woods in Green Cove, Florida. It got hotter'n hell in there . . . 6 huge amplifiers add a lot of heat to an already scorching Florida sunshine. But we arrived EVERY morning at 8:30 . . . and never left til sundown. EVERY day. There were no hard drugs or alcohol at "Hell House." We arrived early every day wondering what great song would be written by day's end. That is my finest memory, even though my initiation into the band was spending every night out there for a week. We had to do that to guard against thieves coming up the creek behind the cabin and stealing our equipment! One morning an alligator had come ashore. And the noises out there at night scared me half to death. I slept with the lights on and a loaded .38 by my side. My finest memory!

Earvolution: Any young artists out there that you think can pick up and carry on some of the legacy your music will leave behind?

Ed King: It was hard back then and it's hard these days to find musicians who are talented AND WILLING to work long hours to perfect a craft. Most people just don't want to sacrifice that much. People think we partied all the time. Maybe on the road we did. But when it came to writing and recording, we were ALL business. And we all gave up A LOT to get where we wanted to go.

Post Punk Laptop Rap: MC Lars - The Graduate

By Sean R. Grogan


MCLars is arguably one of the best new school rappers today. The Stanford-educated hip-hop artist mixes phat beats with intelligent lyrics to create a sound that is as original as it is intellectual. Scouring literary masterpieces on his Apple Powerbook, MC Lars creates songs like "Ahab," a narrative of Herman Melville's 800+ page classic Moby Dick told in mere minutes while mixed over a Supergrass sample. The Graduate is full of songs that are sharp-witted and socially conscious. From "Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock" (featuring the Matches), a humorous view of the shelves of the mallrat sanctuary, to "Generic Crunk Rap," a track that takes Lil' Jon's perverse genre to task, nothing is sacred as MC Lars tosses aside convention to address our preoccupation with commercialism and corporate sensationalism in his facetious and charismatic style.

On his first two records and last EP, MC Lars garnered critical support for his cunning lyrics and innovative sound. These efforts formed a solid foundation for the self-made rapper that has built a following not through corporate marketing but through word-of-mouth and the Internet. Good thing too, because on the opening track "Download This Song," (featuring Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup) MC Lars bites the corporate hand. Hard. He blasts the greed of the music industry in a song that is a modern anthem foretelling the doomed future of the music industry as the digital revolution takes the world by storm.

The Graduate overflows with guests including Ill Bill of Non Phixion, who rocks with Lars on "The Dialogue," a rap tribute to their influences, political leanings and futures. In "Roommate From Hell," MC Lars explains what it's like to have Satan (voiced by MC Chris) as your roomate. Literally. Lars has to battle the lord of Hell who loves Nickelback and sacrifices goats (we're not sure which is worse) and soon realizes he should have found a place on Craigslist instead.

On this third effort, Lars leaves no pop icon stone untouched, whether it be iPods, blogging, or Internet dating. Armed with humor, old school breakbeats, and new school digital sampling, Lars is a refreshing addition to the hip-hop scene.

The Cult Return To The Wild Of New York City

By: Rinjo Njori

The Cult's "Return to the Wild" tour staggered into it's final stop at the Nokia Theater in New York City's Times Square this past Sunday. Compared to what you might have seen eighteen years ago at a Cult concert, they attracted quite a mix of people. Young and old congregated for a night of fist pumping late 80s alternative rock. Based on their performance, the crowd may have caught a glimpse of a band that seems to be on their last legs. Looking every bit there forty- plus years (by rock star standards), it was clear that getting warmed up for this performance was going to require a little something extra. Ian Astbury, looking more like Che Guevara than the Lizard King, and Billy Duffy, sporting the rock star hairdo and leather pants, rattled through roughly twenty Cult classics with varying degrees of success, and only fully lived up to their legacy in the last twenty minutes of the show.

As the show moved along, Astbury and Duffy were playful and self deprecating: informing the crowd that the tambourines they tossed to the crowd cost $2.99, finding the humor in being compared to Poison or their admission that "She Sells Sanctuary" launched the trend of a million black tights and pointy boots. The band tried to keep the momentum flowing but Astbury and Duffy seemed rather bored. At times Astbury chose to play his tambourine over singing coherently and Duffy clearly played one song on the guitar while grooving to another inside his head. Astbury even appeared to purposely ruin a few songs, or maybe he just forgot the words. Instead of crooning "Sweet Soul Sister" he decided to shout the chorus, "Sweet!!!! Soul!!! Sister!!!!." The band didn't even bother to give the requisite "NAnaNA-naNAna" and the two thousand plus crowd seemed to forget this little nuance as well. Instead of pushing the crowd to flex their best devil horns during "Peace Dog," Astbury decided to play up the song's noble intentions. This is The Cult, not Rage Against the Machine.

When they decided to treat the crowd to a rarity they chose "Libertine" from the Australian/Japanese import Beyond Good And Evil over a more relevant song like "Horse Nation" from Dreamtime or "Love" from Love. They did manage to play at least one song from each of their albums, even the dreadful Ceremony, with the majority of the material coming from Love and Electric. Unfortunately, the band stripped "Edie (Ciao Baby)" down to it's bones. Typically, this song is the equivalent of Guns N' Roses "November Rain," but Duffy and Astbury reduced it to Astbury's domineering voice and Duffy's best coffee-house guitar, diminishing the whole effect of the song as a power ballad and turning it into something you might find on a rarities or outtake album. Astbury and Duffy did manage a few moments of youthful vigor during "Rise," "Rain" and "Electric Ocean." Ultimately, the real payoff for new and old fans came during the last twenty minutes of the show. In short order, The Cult gave the audience what they came for with "Love Removal Machine," "Fire Woman," "Brother Wolf, Sister Moon" and "She Sells Sanctuary." During that time, Astbury and Duffy seemed twenty years younger. Astbury was able to beat his cymbals and maracas and sing at the same time while Duffy gave his best Captain Morgan pose while he belted out riff after riff.

Joining The Cult for what should be their last tour were John Tempesta (drums), Chris Wyse (bass) and the frequently missing (from the stage that is) Mike Dimkich (rhythm guitar). Dimkich only seemed to saunter onstage when Duffy needed a little muscle behind his straight-from-the-album solos. Tempesta (White Zombie) received a round of applause when it was announced he was from the Bronx but Chris Wyse was greeted with perplexing silence when it was announced that he was from upstate New York. This might have had more to do with the stand up bass and bow (faux cello) that he broke out for effect during "Brother Wolf, Sister Moon" and "Revolution."

The ninety minute show provided more than enough satisfaction for the casual Cult fan as they played their hits and really stepped up when the crowd demanded it. Still, there was something missing from the overall performance for the diehard fan. Repeated cries from the crowd for "New York City" fell on a deaf ears. Astbury must have remembered this was a "New" New York and not the one he sang about never coming back to in the Sonic Temple days.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jenna Jameson passes Britney Spears in Web Search Popularity

Adult film star Jenna Jameson surpassed Britney Spears in web search popularity and doubled the number of searches for other music divas like Jessica Simpson, Beyoncé and Shakira.

There were 1,859,429 individual searches for the name Jenna Jameson in the month of February, compared with 1,529,227 for Britney Spears, according to Overture (http://inventory.overture.com). Jessica Simpson attracted 1,162,455 queries in February, Beyoncé Knowles had 1,097,843, Pamela Anderson had 755,904 and Shakira registered 644,901, according to Overture. Among adult actresses, Jenna was well ahead of other major stars such as Tera Patrick ( 179,982 ) and Briana Banks ( 185,751), the service said.

Taking Off And Not Looking Back: People In Planes: As Far As The Eye Can See . . .

By: Sean R. Grogan



Welsh indie-pop quintet, People in Planes, invade the U.S. with As Far As The Eye Can See . . ., a modern mix of rock and soulful melody. People in Planes have landed onto the music scene with powerful lyrics, like those found on "For Miles Around (Scratch To Void)" and guitar riffs reminiscent of Radiohead mixed with modern synthesizers and sampling. An eclectic blend of old and new, each track is different from the last, yet they are all tied together with the emotionally charged vocals of Gareth Jones. Produced by Sam Williams of Supergrass, As Far As The Eye Can See . . . is sure to win People In Planes fans worldwide. They spent the latter part of 2005 touring with The Bravery, building momentum to ensure a clear launch onto the American music charts. The opening track, "Barracuda," bears the teeth and the fearsome bite of its namesake with four minutes of bluesy vocals and fiery guitars and starts the album's journey on a high note.

Other tracks, such as "Black Widow" and "Narcoleptic" show PIP denying easy classification. "Black Widow" begins with a metal riff akin to System of a Down before abruptly switching to a Sublime reggae sound that alternates with a biting Brit-rock flare. The final track, "Narcoleptic," features a pop bass line and lilting vocals that display an emotional depth not heard since the days of the Pixies. With such an red-hot sound, it's no wonder that Joaquin Phoenix requested to direct the band's first video for their lush single, "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)." People in Planes may be hard to nail down to any one genre, but once you listen to them you'll see why they’re going places.

More Soft Than Human: Rob Zombie: Educated Horses

By: Sean R. Grogan

Rob Zombie: Educated Horses


Rob Zombie's newest release, Educated Horses, lacks the grit and intensity of his latest movie The Devil's Rejects. Zombie, once the triumphant leader of the metal genre, has cleared his palate to make room for music focused more on foot tapping rhythm than headbanging thrash. Educated Horses is missing the heart of his previous efforts and doesn't begin to scratch the surface of his earlier triumphs: La Sexorsisto and Hellbilly Deluxe. Zombie fans didn't ever need to be diehard metalheads to appreciate his music. The songs were easily-accessible enough, as the Massachusetts native would mix hip beats into his dark songs that included eerie samples like "put an X in your head" and occasionally sounded like the hardcore industrial emanations of the living dead. Educated Horses doesn't have this. For some bands, the transition from metal to pop rock is positive and showcases their ability to step outside their genre, but for Zombie this is not the case. It sounds like he wrote this album just to fulfill his label contract.

That's not to say Educated Horses is without its moments. Guitar legend John 5, formerly of Marilyn Manson, brings his own brand of injustice to each track, brandishing his Fender like a weapon of metal destruction. On other tracks, Motley Crue's infamous drummer Tommy Lee assists John 5, lending his hard-rock expertise to the otherwise bland album.

"Foxy Foxy" opens with Zombie's characteristic mellow vocals that usually erupt into a metal fury, but here Zombie fails to break above a whisper. There is no expected thrashing hook. Instead, the barb has been removed and fans are forced to wait for another chance to rip it up in the pit. "The Scorpion Sleeps" sounds more like a sideline cheer rather than a frenzy-induced attack on the senses. Zombie's vocals are as peaceful as a lullaby and the only thing keeping the listener awake are the ripping guitars that save this track, like so many others on the album.

Tracks like "Let It All Bleed Out" and "The Lords of Salem" are reminiscent of Zombie's heavier days. They drip metal and blood and unleash the full fury of the grungy dark vocals, scratchy guitar licks and deep charred bass lines we expect to hear from the master of the big screen horror flick. While songs like "American Witch" and "Death Of It All" sound more like the rock tracks of a bygone era, it's as if Rob Zombie lost his edge for music and shifted the focus of his warped and twisted mind to film.

Less Shrieking. More Singing, In Effect Less . . . Can You Dig It?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
By Rinjo Njori

In high school all the "cool" kids talked about a movie called Liquid Sky. The movie starred a very young Michael Hutchence and other than that there's not much to remember about the movie. One other thing, you need to be on acid to understand the movie. Talk about an urban legend. The movie didn't make much sense on acid either, at least that's what I've been told.

Similarly, the Yeah Yeah Yeah's are something of an urban legend. Caught up in the hype of the Lower East Side circa 2000, the group, to a certain extent, rode the coattails of The Strokes to acclaim. One might think it's their talent (which they do have) and one might think it's collective beer googles for everything that fell out of the Luna Lounge in 2000. Just remember, you need to be from New York to get their fashion and no wave version of rock. Even if you don't get them, you can certainly dig them.

On the frantic Fever To Tell, each song ran into the next with abandon. Where those songs seemed more punk rock, these songs seem more calculated and new wave. On Show Your Bones, Karen O is doing a lot less pleading and shrieking and her bandmates are breaking up the songs a little more. Piano instead of keyboards, acoustic vs. electric guitar. Where the music gains muscle, Karen O's delivery suffers. On first listen "Gold Lion" (the first single) and "Dudley" are shockingly dissappointing. "Gold Lion" just sits back and relys on lyrics that could have been written by Ian Astbury or Madonna (circa - Ray of Light). "Mysteries" sounds like bad Television or even bad Strokes. Still it's not a total washout. Songs like "Way Out" and "Cheated Heart" have the hunger felt on the first album. "Way Out" reaches out to Siouxsie Sioux and makes it feel like 1983, before the music gets a little to metal. On the other hand, "Cheated Heart" is nearly perfect with Karen O's singing style perfectly complimented by her band's music. Still there are moments, for instance on "Phenomena" the lyrics "something like a phenomena" recall Grand Master Flash's "White Lines" and reaching back to the rap classic works for this track. "The Sweets" and "Warrior" are a mixed bag: part Polly Jean Harvey, part really bad ballads. If I end up at a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert and they break out the acoustic guitar- I'm out, but I might just be rewarded and feel robbed all at the same time.

"Can You Dig It?" I can for the most part. Still, the decision to sit back and take a breather is pretty radical. There are attempts at real songs here, some hit and some really miss. Still to a certain extent they are trying to make music instead of colour by numbers sound. They are artists; so, for the most part, it should be expected. Thanks for trying.

Thank You, Come Again: The Seven Eleven Project

By: David Schultz

As American Idol consistently proves, there are a number of singers throughout the country with strong voices, but quite few who truly know how to use them in synch with other musicians. About a month ago, in the middle of Licorice's late night set at New York City's Lion's Den, Sabriena Stone, who sang with the band during their infancy, unassumingly took the stage for a medley of the Pointer Sisters' "How Long" and Eric Clapton's "Get Ready." While not only astounding the crowd with her undeniably strong voice, equally impressive was Stone's ability to work with Licorice rather than battle them for a place in the song.



At the Lion's Den this past week, Stone appeared as one half of The Seven Eleven Project, an acoustic duo with Licorice guitarist David Lott for a fun set featuring Beatles covers as well as Lott's originals. With Stone and Lott securely comfortable with stable and promising bands, The Seven Eleven Project exists as a side project for the long-time friends. Stone fronts the New York based quartet 5th of July with guitarist Larry Post. The group just released their debut album, No Surprise on 1/5 Records. The album features Stone and Post's straightforward rock and roll that shows off their considerable musical range and songwriting talents, evoking a Dylan-like quality on "God Fearing Willie." On songs like the ballad "Tonight," the blues-rock "Bound To Come," and the Journey-esque "No Surprise," Stone continues to show there's more to singing a song than simply hitting the right notes. Lott's band, the innovative quartet Licorice, has already received jamband.com's prestigious title of New Groove of the Month. Currently in the process of firming up their spring concert dates, Licorice confirmed an April 21 appearance at New York City's Knitting Factory as part of the upcoming Green Apple Music & Arts Festival.

Before a crowd that filled the club to see them, Stone & Lott opened with Tom Petty’s "Time To Move On," and covered The Beatles' "Oh Darlin'," "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," Phish's "Back On The Train," Dylan's "If Not For You" and the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn duet "You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" over the course of their set. The Project also played Licorice's "Freeze" and Lott originals "Who Knew," "Anyway" and "Fish For Dinner." While touching upon some cornerstones of classic rock, the two chose songs that allowed Lott to show off some fancy guitar work and Stone, who sang the entire evening while seated, to exhilarate with her bombastic voice. Instead of closing the night with a classic rock anthem or an endearing moving ballad, Stone and Lott joyously raved up The Jeffersons' theme song, "Movin' On Up," finishing the show on a note that had the crowd howling for their piece of the pie.

Cindy Walker 1918-2006

Prolific country songwriter Cindy Walker passed away last week in Mexia, TX. Walker's songs are most identifiable with Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, the group that recorded many of her compositions. Walker's best known song "You Don't Know Me," was recorded by many different and varied artists including Elvis Presley, Van Morrison and Ray Charles, who recorded the definitive version of the song. A Michael Buble recording of the Walker classic may be familiar to viewers of CBS' How I Met Your Mother as the background music to the episode involving the Buttercup cake girl.

Just prior to her death, Willie Nelson released an album of Cindy Walker's songs, You Don't Know Me, The Songs Of Cindy Walker, a fitting tribute to her life's work.

Blame Canada! Morrissey Shuns The Great White North

Instead of promoting the April 4 release of his new album Ringleader Of The Tormentors, former Smith singer Morrissey has decided to protest Canada's annual seal hunt which reportedly claims the lives of 325,000 baby seals. Morrissey will show his displeasure with Canada's animal rights policies by refusing to visit the country during his upcoming tour.

"I fully realize that the absence of any Morrissey concerts in Canada is unlikely to bring the Canadian economy to its knees," the singer humbly acknowledged. "But it is our small protest against this horrific slaughter."

The first single from Morrissey's new album, ironically titled "You Have Killed Me," was released yesterday in the U.K., presumably a more harp seal friendly country. It will be released in the United States today.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Best Air Guitar Songs Ever

Jimmy Page's guitar solo in Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" has been voted as the best Air Guitar Song ever by nearly 2,000 readers of Total Guitar magazine.

The Eagles' Hotel California, Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train, Guns N'Roses' Paradise City and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody also made the top ten.

Did you know that Dolly Parton has covered Stairway to Heaven. Insert your own joke/pun here.

Performance Art Of The Primal Scream: Animal Collective Stalks Webster Hall

By: David Schultz

Upon the release of Feels, their third full length album, Animal Collective received an inordinate amount of critical acclaim for their brand of atmospheric psychedelic folk music. Appearing on numerous Best Of 2005 lists, the eclectic quartet, now based out of Brooklyn, received laudatory accolades from all corners, hailing their ambitious album as "groundbreaking." Animal Collective's sound has evolved over time and on Feels, they come across as a wonderfully weird mix of Perry Farrell at his most experimental and The Beach Boys at their most harmonious. Able to create meditative soothing soundscapes, Animal Collective will also go tribal and often atonal, at times suddenly and always unexpectedly.

Given all the fine press, Animal Collective's performance last Thursday at Webster Hall, the first of two sold-out New York City shows, unsurprisingly generated a high curiosity factor. A majority of the audience watched the Collective's two hour set in stunned semi-silence, unsure how to express appreciation for the dysfunctional display on stage. Quite a few people at Webster Hall came to check out the Collective purely on the buzz surrounding the band and, for the first few songs, watched puzzlingly before leaving. While a late night show will tire out even the most devoted of crowds, Animal Collective may have lost an eighth of the crowd out of sheer distaste.

Quite simply, Animal Collective is not your typical band. Anyone expecting a traditional rock and roll show will be mystified by their audibly disruptive live performance. First off, Animal Collective likes to scream and Dave Portner, also known as Avey Tare, will let loose with shrieks and howls at the most unexpected times, even during the most serene moments of a song. The Collective also does not hesitate to interject a guitar slash or cymbal crash, seemingly at random, into otherwise peaceful music. The percussion comes primarily from drummer Noah Lennox, also known as Panda Bear. Lennox remarkably stands throughout the entire performance making his thunderous drumming an impressive feat. Guitarist Josh Dibb, also known as Deakin, and electronics player Brian Weitz, otherwise known as Geologist, stepped away from their instruments at different points in the evening, picked up a spare drum stick and assisted Lennox by haphazardly bashing on a cymbal.

The soundscapes come from the electronics of Brian Weitz. In accordance with his nickname, "Geologist" dons a cave explorer's helmet on stage, complete with high intensity lamp that peers out into the audience obscuring a clear look at his face. With the lamp intensifying every gesture of his head, Weitz' constant movement, while he generates an assortment of hums and beats by fiddling with various dials and knobs, becomes disconcerting and a bit distracting.

Animal Collective does not aspire to antagonize their audience in the punk rock sense, but their music, although ostensibly soothing, is not meant to comfort. When Animal Collective drifts into the realm of psychedelic music, they do it without the high octane guitar or soothing trippy effects normally associated with the genre. Their unsettling shrieking and cacophony of noise creates a demented vibe that could easily be the soundtrack of a bad acid trip or provide interpretive background music for Charles Manson's delusional hippie ramblings. Too many of the Collective's songs seem like intros, sounding promising but never leading anywhere. However, as evidenced on Feels, it's not that Animal Collective's unable to create pleasant harmonies and melodies, it's just that they apparently choose not to, seeing a different vision for their music.

During "The Purple Bottle" and "Grass," two exceptional songs from Feels, you get a sense as to where Animal Collective's raves originate. Without compromising or departing from their untraditional sound, they possess an ability to embed enjoyable melodies into their music. At two or three times during the show, Animal Collective abandoned the free form discordance and connected with the entire crowd. However, those moments were few and far between, as for the most part, Animal Collective chose to provide atmosphere mixed with dissonance.

Animal Collective's Webster Hall show equates to a museum trip to see an exhibit on the art of the grotesque. While taking notice of the horrifying absence of beauty and feeling disgust for the celebration of the macabre, you can still find an appreciation for the art underneath. While the band did bring the atmospheric soundscapes present on Feels to the stage, they interrupted them constantly with screams. Too often their performance degenerated into pretentious and indulgent excursions into tribal rhythms and atonal noise. Appropriately, the show ended in the middle of one of Portner's screams.

Even those who earnestly subscribe to the philosophy of "to each his own" might be hard pressed to rationalize the overly fawning accolades being heaped upon Animal Collective. Perhaps it's come to the point where music critics have become inundated with so much homogeneous music that anything as vastly unusual as Animal Collective stands out simply by the distinctly radical approach they take towards their music. However, using this same logic, critics would then be expected to praise an artist that accompanies their primal screaming by banging two live cats together, applauding the artist for their untraditional vision and celebrating their entry into territories once thought unnavigable . . . and no, that wasn't what Animal Collective did for their encore.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

David Hasselfhoff: accused wife beater.

David Hasselhoff was ordered by a Los Angeles Judge to stay away from his wife after she entered allegations of spousal abuse against the German singing sensation and Baywatch star.

Hasselhoff's official website posted a simple message to his fans:

"Thank you very much for the mountain of support I have received from you, my fans and my fan clubs.

As you can understand, this is an extremely difficult time for both me and my family, but your love and support... and my faith in God will carry all of us through.

Keep smilin' and I'll see you soon."


I still crack up when I see videos of this guy "singing" to adoring fans in Europe, but these allegations are no laughing matter. Reports have the guy doing and saying some very nasty things.

What "KITT" must be thinking now...

Idol's Daughtry a copycat?

The multi-platinum selling and York, PA bred band Live had long ago incorporated a version of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" into their live (no pun intended) show. The other night on American Idol, Chris Daughtry did a version that some claim is way too similar to Live's take on the country classic. Daughtry was heavily praised by Simon Cowell for the performance (video here).

Live's version was originally recorded in 2001 for a compilation cd and appeared on Awake: The Best of Live, which came out in 2004. Yet, Daughtry was praised for "making the song his own" by Simon and the other judges. Daughtry did not mention Live's version during his exchange with the Idol judges. The "rocker" has been favored to win the competition as of late and it will remain to be seen whether this "homage" to Live will be viewed negatively among Idol voters.

Friday, March 24, 2006

News From The Killers

How goes the recording of The Killers new album? In their own words:

"Keep you chins up children. The chariots are charging. And in the church of the cherubim and the chatty, the chants that chime are kept in a case."

Alrighty then...

Radiohead + Reggae = Radiodread

Easy Star Records is putting the concluding touches on Radiodread, a reggae interpretation of Radiohead's OK Computer. Thematically, Radiodread will be the Easy Star All-Stars follow-up to 2003's Dub Side Of The Moon, a reggae version of Pink Floyd's classic album Dark Side Of The Moon. Though still in production, Easy Star targets August 15 as the album's release date.

Containing more star power than Dub Side, Radiodread will feature contributions from Toots Hibbert of Toots & The Maytals, Citizen Cope and Sugar Minott. Producer Michael G. recently traveled to Florida to record Toots' vocals for "Let Down" and the track has already been slotted into heavy rotation on the Maytals' tour bus. Cope, a huge Radiohead fan, took time out from recording his new album to lend his talents to "Karma Police." Longtime Easy Star associate Sugar Minott, who will be targeting 2007 for a new release of his own, will contribute "Exit Music (For A Film)"

Junior Jazz, Horace Andy, Morgan Heritage, Frankie Paul and Kirsty Rock will also appear on the reggae compilation.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Nude Britney Spears Serves As Pro-Life Monument

A naked Britney Spears giving birth to her son could be the new rallying point for the pro-life movement. What? Yes, a sculptor has created a Britney shrine for all to worship.



From the Capla Kesting Fine Art Gallery in Brooklyn:

"A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a "first" for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the "ideal" model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn's Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April.

Dedication of the life-sized statue celebrates the recent birth of Spears' baby boy, Sean, and applauds her decision of placing family before career. "A superstar at Britney’s young age having a child is rare in today’s celebrity culture. This dedication honors Britney for the rarity of her choice and bravery of her decision," said gallery co-director, Lincoln Capla. The dedication includes materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.

"Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston," believed Pro-Life's first monument to the "act of giving birth," is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.

The monument also acknowledges the pop-diva's pin-up past by showing Spears seductively posed on all fours atop a bearskin rug with back arched, pelvis thrust upward, as she clutches the bear's ears with "water-retentive" hands.

"Britney provides inspiration for those struggling with the 'right choice'," said artist Daniel Edwards, recipient of a 2005 Bartlebooth award from London's The Art Newspaper. "She was number one with Google last year, with good reason - people are inspired by the beauty of a pregnant woman," said Edwards.

Capla Kesting denies the statue was developed from a rumored bootleg Britney Spears birth video. The artist admits to using references that include the wax figure of a pole-dancing Britney at Las Vegas' Madame Tussauds and 'Britney wigs' characterizing various hairstyles of the pop-princess from a Los Angeles hairstylist. And according to gallery co-director, David Kesting, the artist studied a bearskin rug from Canada “to convey the commemoration of the traditional bearskin rug baby picture."

An appropriate location for permanent installation of "Monument to Pro-Life" by Mother's Day is being sought by the gallery.

"Monument to Pro-Life" is on view April 7th thru 23rd with a reception for the dedication April 7th from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Capla Kesting Fine Art, 121 Roebling St., Brooklyn, NY. Gallery hours are 1:00 – 6:00 pm Thursday thru Sunday, or by appointment.


Eno Says No Roxy Music Is In His Future

Contradicting prior reports of his involvement in Roxy Music's new album, uber-producer Brian Eno released the following statement on his web site, denying his involvement with the project.

"This untrue and just in-good-faith wishful thinking from the journalists -- Brian has no involvement with the band's current recording or tour plans. All that happened was that Brian popped in to visit the members of the group when they were in the studio. Hearing of this, some journalist somewhere decided that it is a truth universally acknowledged that a solo artist in possession of a fine career must be in want of tinsel jackets, peacock feathers, ego clashes, laundry ruminations and everything else that goes with rejoining a band he left 33 years ago. Great oak false rumours from tiny fact acorns grow. . ."

Soundbytes

Isaac Hayes just might be burning after last night's South Park. Classic!

Morrissey apologizes the the Arctic Monkeys for complaining they made it big too soon without paying their dues. Nice move by Morrissey because he now gets in the news twice near the release of his new record which coincidentally is now available for preview on his My Space page.

Phil Spector's murder trial has been pushed back to September. It'll give him time to rethink his hairstyle.

Sharon Osborne beat out Kate Moss to win Britain's celebrity "Mum of the Year." Think the coke allegations hurt ol' Kate?

Speaking of Moss, her ex, Pete Dougherty, kicked a reporter after leaving court where he pled guilty to seven drug charges.

The Beastie Boys are putting out a movie shot by their fans called "Awesome; I F*****' Shot That." Sweet.

Grammy winning songstress Norah Jones will make her acting debut along side Jude Lawand Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz in a film to be directed by Hong Kong Wong Kar-wai.

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T Bone Burnett to Release New Record

T Bone Burnett emerges from a 14-year hiatus as a recording artist to release The True False Identity - a collection of entirely new songs written and produced by T Bone - on May 16 on DMZ/Columbia Records. The DualDisc version of Identity will also feature a 20-minute film created exclusively for this release directed by Jesse Dylan. According to T Bone, the aim of The True False Identity is to "erase the nonexistent line between comedy and tragedy."

Burnett says the musical roots of Identity are the records he and his band listened to while recording. Burnett acted as DJ for those sessions, spinning records and videos between takes. "We were listening to Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf, The Carter Family, and a lot of Haitian music," he says, "so the axis this music turns on is some kind of line drawn from New Orleans through Mississippi and Tennessee to Haiti."

That same day, Legacy Recordings will release career retrospective 40-song, 2-disk Twenty Twenty - The Essential T Bone Burnett. That collection will include songs dating back to the Alpha Band (the group formed in 1976 by T Bone, Steven Soles, and David Mansfield, fellow travelers in Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue); tracks from each of T Bone's solo albums; rarities including "The People's Limousine" (the single T Bone recorded with Elvis Costello as "The Coward Brothers"); and previously unreleased material.

T Bone's impressive career also includes: Grammy-winning producer (O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, the Tony Bennett and k.d. lang album, A Wonderful World); Oscar-nominated songwriter ("The Scarlet Tide" from Cold Mountain); indie record label founder (DMZ Records); soundtrack composer/Executive Music Producer (Walk The Line, The Big Lebowski) and studio wizard (Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, k.d. lang, Alison Krauss, Counting Crows, the Wallflowers, Sam Phillips, Gillian Welch, and Ralph Stanley).

MTV & VMAs Returns to NYC

The "2006 MTV Video Music Awards" will return to New York City. The 23rd annual awards show will air live from Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, August 31st at 8PM (ET/PT).

"The VMAs are always the biggest party of the year and in 2006 we will take the show to unprecedented levels with fans interacting with music and stars through every single screen of MTV," said Christina Norman, President, MTV. "The 2006 VMAs will take advantage of the new ways the MTV audience is connecting with entertainment -- broadband, wireless, online -- these additional platforms will make this year's show even more interactive and engaging, beaming the insanity directly to fans."

Mayor Mike showed the network some love:

"We are proud that MTV has made New York City its home for the past 25 years, and once again has selected the Big Apple as host for the 23rd Annual MTV Video Music Awards," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "An event of this magnitude and cultural importance will generate tremendous media exposure and with the thousands of visitors expected will yield a positive economic impact projected in excess of $25 million."

And, that cash is just on the booze at the after parties!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Aerosmith Postpones Tour

Aerosmith announced that they have been forced to cancel the remaining dates on the fifth leg of their "Rockin' The Joint" sold-out North American tour (which has been ongoing since October 2005) in order for lead singer Steven Tyler to have surgery.

Accoring to a press release, Tyler's doctors advised him not to continue performing to give his voice time to recover. Tyler will be on total vocal rest and cannot perform for an extended period of time.

There's no question in my mind that these guys - who have become consumate professionals - regret cancelling and will make it up to their fans.

South Park: The Return of Chef

It turns out that South Park may not be the only ones that Tom Cruise and Scientology have a problem with. On the heels of rumors that Cruise pressured Comdey Central's parent company Viacom to pull a re-run of the "In the Closet" episode that mocked Cruise and his secretive religion, Janet Reitman, a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine, appeared on MSNBC's Scarborough Country and said that Cruise tried to talk the iconic rock magazine from doing a profile on Scientology.

Beyond Cruise, Reitman said other high ranking Scientologists, including his sister, contacted or met with Rolling Stone editors and tried to either kill or influence the story right up to the last minute. Rolling Stone, of course, ran the story.

Like Rolling Stone, South Park creators Trey Paker and Matt Stone, aren't backing down from Cruise or Scientology either. Indeed, Scarborough reported that even as late as last night the folks at South Park studios were editing their season premiere with the possibility of further lambasting Cruise and/or Scientology generally. From their website, the South Park team gives a summary of tonight's plot:

"The town is jolted out of a case of the doldrums when Chef suddenly reappears. While Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman are thrilled to have their old friend back, they notice that something about chef seems different. When Chef's strange behavior starts getting him in trouble, the boys pull out all the stops to save him."

I can't wait to see it. It'll air tonight at 10pm EST on Comedy Central.

Ringo's 9th Annual All Starr Tour

If this were the 20th annual tour, there would be a nice little parody that could be written, but instead fans will have to settle for "Iteration 9."

Ringo Starr's 9th Annual All Starr tour will kick off June 14 at Toronto, Ontario's Casino Rama, and travel along both coasts throughout June and July before finishing up at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. The show, which is essentially a rock and roll revue, will feature the former Beatle along with singer Richard Marx, guitarist Billy Squier and Rod Argent of the Zombies. The band will also be comprised of Edgar Winter, Sheila E, Mark Rivera and Mark Hudson.

As in tour's past, the band's repertoire will consist of the songs from the back catalogs of each individual All Starr band member.

Jimmy Buffett Teams With Fellow Floridian On Hoot Soundtrack

Carl Hiaasen's Florida based novels have always shared the same sense of wide-eyed humor found in the funloving music of Jimmy Buffett. So it should come as no surprise that the two seemingly kindred spirits have teamed up, with Buffett providing 5 newly recorded songs to the soundtrack of the upcoming film adaptation of Hiaasen's Newbery Award winning novel Hoot.

For the soundtrack, which will be released on Buffett's Mailboat Records, the Margaritavile mogul covers Bruce Cockburn's "Wondering Where The Lions Are," Warren Zevon's "Werewolves Of London" and the classic "Barefootin,'" recorded as a duet with Alan Jackson. Buffett also has rerecorded a reggae version of his own "Floridays" and written an original song for the movie, "Good Guys Win."

The soundtrack, which will also contains contributions from Maroon 5 and Brie Larson, will be released on April 18 with the film opening nationwide on April 21.

Pearl Jam "Nets" First Digitally Delivered #1

Pearl Jam's "World Wide Suicide," which, to date, has been solely available over the Internet became the first single to hit #1 in Canada without appearing in any tangible format. Without selling any hard copies of the single or distributing CDs to radio programmers, consultants and industry contacts, "World Wide Suicide" becomes the first digitally delivered #1 song in Canada's history.

"To make chart history as we've just done, speaks volumes about the music itself and we're honored to be associated with Pearl Jam," said Warren Copnick, Director of National Promotion for SONY, BMG Music (Canada) Inc. Bill Burrs, VP of Rock Music at RCA Music Group (U.S.) was extremely complementary towards Musicrypt Inc.'s Digital Media Distribution System, through which the Pearl Jam hit was distributed. "We are extremely pleased that a broadcast quality track combined with promotion information was delivered to radio via DMDS," said Burrs. "The simultaneous release to radio in both the US and Canada is important for fair competitive reasons, and DMDS enables us to do this confidently."

John Heaven, President & CEO of Musicrypt said, "The ability of DMDS to aid in promotion by rapidly and securely distributing key releases is clearly demonstrated by these groundbreaking results. The savings DMDS can deliver to the entire music industry by eliminating prerelease leaks and lowering labor, material and delivery costs is expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars."

While it may not be time to turn in your CDs just yet, you shouldn't need a weatherman to know which way this wind is blowing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yeah Yeah Yeahs do Myspace

While Myspace has been getting banged around the news a bit lately, it is still seen as a viable and important marketing tool. Hence every unsigned band in the world and a few majors putting up My Space pages.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have gone the extra mile and put up every track of their new cd -Show Your Bones - on their My Space page. Just think you can now be "friends" with Karen and company. Of course, being trendsetters we've already chatted with Brian Chase before it was cool.

South Park Update

FoxNews correspondent Roger Friedman says that Isaac Hayes did not quit South Park.

Friedman says the singer happily performed Chef's classic hit "Chocolate Salty Balls" at a concert after the scientology episode oringonally aired and that its "ridiculous" to think Hayes quit being a character he loved.

The "In the Closet" episode is set to air this Wednesday at 10pm. Maybe Tom Cruise isn't so powerful after all?

Unsigned Artists Rejoice

Acknowledging the increased distribution power of the digital age, Musicane, an e-commerce retailer that enables artists and labels to sell downloads directly from their own web sites, has brokered a deal with Nielsen SoundScan that will greatly benefit all artists who do significant self-generated download business. Under the terms of their new working relationship, all sales processed through Musicane will be reported to Nielsen, who will then include those sales figures in their SoundScan digital sales data and Billboard charts.

"With artists developing and managing their own fan bases now, and with full featured artist digital stores enabled by services like Musicane, there is every reason for them to strive to reach the pinnacle of their fame and fortune, " said Rob Sisco, President of Nielsen Music. No doubt, Musicane agrees. "Charting from one's own web site has never been available to independent artists before," said Michelle Robertson, Musicane's CEO. "This partnership with Nielsen SoundScan is the first of many initiatives to empower artists in an increasingly complex and crowded marketplace."

The new arrangement between Musicane and Nielsen removes numerous obstacles for unsigned acts to score a hit single and for established ones to obtain increased recognition for their online activity. Bands like Big Head Todd & The Monsters have already explored the distributive power of their web sites, utilizing their wide coverage to cut out the middleman and supply new music directly to their fans.

However, for those who think it might be easy to gerrymander a hit single by self-purchasing enough downloads, the story of the The Modern's disqualification from the UK singles chart provides a cautionary tale. On March 9, synth popsters The Modern expected to see their new single "Industry" debut on the UK charts at # 13. Instead, the band learned that their downloaded sales were being disqualified under suspicion of chart rigging due to abnormal sales patterns. Once believed to the result of over-enthusiastic fans, The Modern learned shortly thereafter that the disparate sales activity originated innocently from a proud parent. Keyboardist Chi Tudor Hart announced earlier this week that his father caused the problem, purchasing 141 copies of the song to distribute to friends and family.

At least the RIAA will be happy that Hart's father didn't download one copy and offer it for free over the Internet.

Beatles, Beatles, Oh God Yes More Beatles

Going on the theory that there can never be enough Beatles music in stores, Capitol Records will follow up their 2004 collection of the first four U.S. Beatles albums with their four 1965 American releases. To be released on April 11, Capitol Albums Volume 2 will consist of The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help and the American version of Rubber Soul. As with Volume 1, the tracks will be offered in both stereo and mono mixes, with 82 of the 92 tracks appearing in versions previously unreleased on CD.

When the Beatles albums were originally released on CD, only the British versions were made available. While the music remained the same as that eventually contained on their U.S. counterparts, American audiences were deprived of digital quality collections of their cherished albums that introduced them to the Fab 4. The Capitol Albums series attempts to fill that void for American consumers.

Trivia buffs will take note that the Volume 2's release will coincide with the 41st anniversary of the Beatles' occupation of the top 5 songs on Billboard's singles chart with "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Soundbytes

Kid Rock tells how he went from "fatties" to "hotties" - the tried and true formula of selling a million records...meahwhile he won a legal battle by getting the ban on his sex tape extended.

loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies debuted at SXSW.

My Morning Jacket are set to open for several dates on Pearl Jam's tour.

Morrissey slams the Arctic Monkeys - he thinks they haven't worked hard enough for their success. If that's the case, I'd love to hear his take on American Idol. Of course, they've now been around long enough to have their own tribute band: the Artex Monkeys.

The All American Rejects get a good review in support of Fall Out Boy.

You can check out Gorillaz' new video for El Mañana here.

Daughtry hangs on as favorite

Last week's Stevie Wonder tribute show on American Idol saw the exit of Melissa McGhee and the race between front runners Chris Daughtry and Katharine McPhee has tightened. According to Sportsbook.com, Daughtry's odds changed from 5-2 to 2-1,
and McPhee closed the gap, her odds improving from 4-1 to 7-2. Former top pick Ace Young continues to fall from favor, his odds fallingto 9-1 this week from 5-1 last week.

"Simon Cowell seems to like Chris Daughtry, and staying faithful to his rocker style seems popular with viewers so it's no surprise that bettors are backing him too," said Alex Czajkowski, Marketing Director, Sportsbook.com. "However, two weeks ago it seemed as if nothing would rock Ace Young from his perch but he's losing public support to the surprise of the judges which proves that anything can happen."

Mandisa, Taylor Hicks and Paris Bennett are holding their positions in the middle of the pack in the odds race, Mandisa and Hicks are both listed at 5-1 and Bennett is at 8-1.

Bands To Watch: The Crevulators

By: David Schultz

New York has been known as a haven for many different styles of music, birthing many others. In that vein comes the Brooklyn-based The Crevulators, inventors of the "swingin' alt-countrybilly" sound. Led by guitarist/songwriter Mike Cobb, The Crevulators, with their Southwestern flavored rockabilly music, have tied into the surprisingly strong New York country music scene and have been "crevulating" around the Metropolitan area for more than two years.



The Crevulators name derives its inspiration from the Chevy Chase comedy Fletch. "It's a made up car part," Cobb told Earvolution. While conceding that the term probably isn't in the movie, Cobb explained that with Fletch-like sincerity that it's a perfectly good reason for being late. "Didn't make it there cause the crevulator broke." The Crevulators' origins are simple. When Cobb first came to New York, a friend got him together with Greg Hillje, who ultimately became The Crevulators' bassist. Despite a drummer situation that is currently in flux, The Crevulators have continued to expand, recently adding a horn duo, The Hornulators, to the core trio.

Cobb had a taste of success with his University of Oregon college band, Lincoln Brigade. Signed to Island Records, the band recorded and released one album that was lost in the shuffle. "I think we were signed as tax write-off," jokes Cobb. After moving to Barcelona, Cobb formed a band called The Cutters and enjoyed success throughout Spain playing Americana style music, striking a chord as "there's a huge rockabilly scene in Spain." Benefiting from being billed as an authentic American band, The Cutters succeeded in becoming "a big fish in a small pond." Building on his experiences in Spain, Cobb returned to the United States, forming the Crevulators with the goal of emulating Los Lobos' ability to incorporate different elements into their music. It’s Cobb's goal to keep the Crevulators "eclectic but unified at the same time."

Cobb described the Crevulators' self-titled EP as "country, rockabilly and rootsish." However, he also takes to his former drummer's classification that The Crevulators' music falls into the "swingin' alt-countrybilly" genre. Although Cobb doesn't expound on the definition, it wouldn't be a disservice to describe it as a fine mix of Doug Sahm & the Sir Douglas Quintet and Social Distortion. With songs written and arranged by Cobb, the EP's blues-tinged lyrics and rockabilly style guitars remain up tempo throughout. "State of Mine," begins with a hoot and a holler and is the album's standout track.

Although his songs have a distinctly southwestern influence, Cobb hasn't spent any considerable time in the south, growing up amidst "Connecticut rednecks" in Norfolk, Connecticut. "I’m a Yankee but I have southern roots," Cobb explained. "To give you an idea, my mom's Mary Lou, my sister's Sally Ann, my grandmother's Sallie Mae." Raised on classic rock radio staples, Cobb recalls that "the southern thing was always in the background."

The Crevulators bring different elements to their stage show, most notably being The Hornulators, saxophonist Jeff Gray and trumpeter Jamison Sevitts. While given a chance to show their jazzy side, they also enhance and flesh out "You'd Come Back" and "Anything You Want." "They kick it up a few notches," says Cobb of his horn section. Cobb also brings his experiences in Spain to the forefront with his Spanish language "Mi Corazon." Greg Hillje brings his love for Neil Diamond to the stage, switching instruments with Cobb for an inspired version of Neil Diamond's "Cracklin' Rosie."

While admittedly a rockabilly band, Cobb enjoys being associated with the country scene, but "it's both a curse and a blessing," finds Cobb. "People tend to hear 'genre' and latch onto that, explains the singer. At present Cobb's enjoying the different energy of playing with The Hornulators. "The horns are pulling me into another direction," said Cobb. "I’m not fighting it, either."

The Crevulators will be playing Brooklyn’s Hank’s Saloon on April 7 and returning to New York City on April 22 at Otto’s Shrunken Head.

Roxy Music To Reform

Brian Eno will be joining Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera and Paul Thompson in the studio to record a new Roxy Music album. Since leaving the band in 1973, Eno, has become one of the most sought after producers (U2/Talking Heads/Bowie) in rock and roll. Roxy Music survived Eno's absence, scoring hits with "Love Is The Drug," "More Than This" and "Oh Yeah," remaining together until Ferry left the band in 1983.

Roxy Music reformed without Eno in 2001, playing the Isle of Wight festival and other additional shows. Eno's return appears to be solely as a member of the band as reports have Rhett Davies and Chris Thomas producing the new album. No release date for the original lineup's new album has been announced.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Soundbytes

Bob Marley bassist Aston Barrett takes royalty claim to "High Court" (it really says that!) seeking up to £60 million - that's a lot of ganja.

Phil Collins is a playa. He announced his divorce to his third wife via press release and he dumped his second wife via fax.

The Smiths turn down millions to reunite.

Stylus lists the Top Ten Monty Python Songs.

Radiohead is doing the score for Richard Linklater's upcoming film version of the Philip K. Dick novel A Scanner Darkly.

Dave Navarro is back for another round of Rockstar, but doesn't know how long he'll last with Carmen Electra.

Sheryl Crow ready to hit the road in June

After postponing some shows due to undergoing a procedure for breast cancer treatment, Sheryl Crow annouced reschedule dates for June and even added some new gigs.

Jack Ingram will be the Opening Artist on the June shows:

12 JUN MURAT THEATER - INDIANAPOLIS, IN
13 JUN THE CENTRE - EVANSVILLE, IN
14 JUN US CELLULAR COLISEUM - BLOOMINGTON, IL
16 JUN ORPHEUM THEATER - MINNEAPOLIS, MN
17 JUN US CELLULAR CENTER - CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
20 JUN NOKIA THEATER - GRAND PRAIRIE, TX
21 JUN CONCRETE ST. AMP. - CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
22 JUN BASS HALL - AUSTIN, TX
24 JUN ORPHEUM THEATER - MEMPHIS, TN
25 JUN VON BRAUN THEATER - HUNTSVILLE, AL
27 JUN FOX THEATER - ATLANTA, GA

Additionally, Sheryl will spend July 4th weekend at the Casino Rama in Orilla, Ontario. Following those gigs Sheryl will jet down to Boston to join the Dave Matthews Band for two shows at Fenway Park, July 7th and 8th.

U-Melt To Play Jammys After-Party

U-Melt will play the Official Jammy Awards After-Party at B.B. Kings as part of the Green Apple Music Festival on April 20. Given that U-Melt has already established themselves as masters of the after-hours jam, Relix couldn't have extended a better invitation to their signature event.

With moe., Blues Traveler, Steve Kimock, Peter Frampton and others already announced for the 6th Annual Jammy Awards, the Green Apple Festival seems poised to kick off with an all-night jam that will set the stage for a weekend of memorable music.

Lollapalooza Lineup Announced

Perry Farrell announced that the 2006 Lollapalooza Festival, which will be held August 4-6 in Chicago at Grant Park, will feature more than 130 bands on 8 stages. In addition to the already confirmed Red Hot Chili Peppers, the festival will be headlined by Kanye West, Wilco and Jack White's new supergroup, The Raconteurs.

Lasting over 3 days, Lollapalooza will feature music for every type of fan. Jamband fans will rejoice in appearances by Umphrey's McGee, Disco Biscuits, Blues Traveler, Particle and the Benevento Russo Duo. Modern rockers will surely flock to Death Cab For Cutie, The Shins, Sleater-Kinney, New Pornographers, Secret Machines, Calexico and Iron and Wine. Canadian fans can cross the border to catch by Broken Social Scene, Stars and Feist.

Ryan Adams' appearance has been announced but no promises have been made that he will not flake out and bolt in a diva-like tantrum.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Music Web Gems

Looks like the Van Halen Rockstar rumors were just that as the new season will feature former Metallica bassist Jason Newstead, former Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke as a metal "super-band" looking for a singer. Hey, David Lee Roth is looking for a gig!

Fresh off inducting Blondie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - where it was Debbie Harry sounding like a stupid girl - Shirley Manson of Garbage announces she's going to do a solo record.

Jessica Simpson decided against meeting President Bush and attending a GOP fundraiser. But, her papa says the Double-D'd beauty still "loves the heck out" of W.

Speaking of W, Kanye West is going to give a acting a go. George C. Wolfe ("Lackawanna Blues") will supervise the "multiperspective portrait of the U.S. as seen through the eyes of West and several filmmakers."

Not only will Phil Collins not participate in a Genesis reunion, but now he's splitting with his 3rd wife.

It's not too much of surprise to learn that U2 were the top grossing tour band for '05 earning over $100 million, followed by the Stones ($92.5m) and the Eagles ($63.2m).

The South Rises Again: Lynyrd Skynyrd Celebrates At The Nokia Theater

By: David Schultz

On the eve of their long overdue induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, southern rock superstars Lynyrd Skynyrd celebrated their good fortune with the people they hold responsible: their fans. Billing the show as "A Celebration For Our Fans," Skynyrd came to New York City's Nokia Theater for a night of "singing songs about the Southland." Given the long, tortured and seemingly cursed history of the band, reasonable rock minds could differ as to whether the group of musicians playing under the Lynyrd Skynyrd moniker are, in fact, Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, that's a discussion for another time as on Sunday night, the surviving members of the band, Gary Rossington and Billy Powell, Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother Johnny, Ricky Medlocke and the rest joined the sold-out crowd in reveling in some classic southern rock.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's fans have been clamoring for the band's entry into the Hall of Fame for quite some time. Between 1973 and 1977, Skynyrd released the albums that would establish their legacy. Their five studio efforts (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, Second Helping, Nuthin' Fancy, Gimme Back My Bullets and Street Survivors) created the blueprint for southern rock, but it's their live album, One More From The Road, that contains their most identifiable moment. Ronnie Van Zant's wry request to the Fox Theater audience, "What is it you all want to hear?" has saddled rock bands for decades after with the burden of "Free Bird" shoutouts wherever they may play. Even with their last true recordings coming close to three decades ago, their influence can still be heard today with devotees like Kid Rock and Drive-By Truckers unabashedly declaring a healthy band-love. Steeped in Skynyrd mythology, the Truckers' Southern Rock Opera contains thinly veiled references to the band's history and their own Skynyrd worship. Even though "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama" have become staples of classic rock radio and Skynyrd is practically synonymous with southern rock, it has taken seven years for the Hall of Fame to invite Skynyrd to take their proper place in the pantheon of rock and roll.

For many, the band's existence ended with the legendary 1977 plane crash that killed Skynyrd's heart and soul, lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines as well as injuring many others. In 1980, four of the five surviving members of the band, guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins, keyboardist Billy Powell and bassist Leon Wilkeson, formed the Rossington-Collins Band, releasing two albums before disbanding. At concerts, their instrumental version of "Free Bird," in memory of Ronnie Van Zant, provided their sentimental tie to the past and kept the Skynyrd vibe alive. In 1986, Collins was paralyzed in a car accident, dying four years later. In 1987, Skynyrd reformed as a touring entity with Johnny Van-Zant replacing his older brother as lead singer and original guitarist Ed King returning in Collins' stead. King remained with the band until 1996, when a heart condition necessitated his retirement and replacement by former Blackfoot guitarist Rickey Medlocke. Wilkeson remained with the band until his death in 2001.

With a drummer and bass player that appear to have been born long after the conception of the band, Skynyrd played their last show as Hall Of Fame nominees. The crowd greeted Skynyrd with rousing cheers, Confederate flags and a large sign proclaiming "It's About Time!" Van-Zant repeatedly solicited cheers for the band and for those who had passed away; waving his arms, pointing often to the sky and raising the mike stand high overhead as if beseeching music from the heavens. The entire night, Van-Zant referred to the band in the third person, asking fans to show their love for "Skynyrd" as opposed to "us." Interestingly, he never solicited cheers for himself or insinuated himself into the legacy he plays a large role in continuing.

On the other end of the spectrum, Rickey Medlocke ran about the stage like an over-caffeinated howler monkey, making scary rock star faces at the audience while ordering them to cheer every couple minutes. For those contemplating bringing the family to future Skynyrd shows, be aware, with his wild, graying hair and wide-eyed lunatic demeanor, Medlocke will scare small children . . . and probably the elderly. In constantly beseeching the audience to cheer and raise their hands, Van-Zant and Medlocke's antics bordered on unnecessary pandering and could lead one to walk away believing they have just seen the most insecure band on the planet. Their over-exuberance should be given a pass on this evening, as it did fit in, however bluntly, with the celebratory theme.

Opening with "Saturday Night Special," Skynyrd played a 90 minute set of their greatest hits from the seventies, with cowboy-hat clad Gary Rossington laying down the guitar solos that helped create their signature southern rock sound. Using the audience's familiarity with their catalog, Van-Zant turned most of them into sing-alongs, letting the crowd handle the majority of "That Smell." While the band's current makeup contains only two original members, they provide enough authenticity that you never feel as if you're watching a tribute band. In their current incarnation, they reproduce the classics with a zeal and energy proficiently echoing the past, retaining the road house flair of "Gimme Three Steps" and "What's Your Name" and wrought the sentimentality out of their 2003 Vicious Cycle tune "Red, White and Blue." Rossington's irreplacability came clear during the slower, less rambunctious songs and he brought down the house with his guitar turns on "Tuesday's Gone" and "Simple Man." Skynyrd pulled out all of their usual stage exploits: Van-Zant wrapped a Confederate flag around the mike stand, ultimately exchanging it for an American flag, and, whenever appropriate, Rossington gathered the guitarists around him for the clichéd guitar line.

Skynyrd saved their best for last, bringing out their disciple Kid Rock to help them close the show with a rambunctious version of "Sweet Home Alabama." Kid Rock gave the show a joyous jolt of energy as his appearance brought the loudest cheers of the night. The Nokia crowd received a sneak preview of the Kid Rock/Skynyrd Hall of Fame collaboration as they would rehash the performance the next night in conjunction with their induction. After trading lyrics with Van-Zant, Kid Rock relished sharing the stage with his idols, looking like a kid in a candy store, or, in Kid's case, possibly like a guy with a wad of cash in a strip club.

For the encore, Powell returned to the stage alone and began noodling on the piano. To no one's surprise, the melody slowly turned into the opening of "Free Bird." (As if, Skynyrd wouldn't finish the night with "Free Bird"). Once his vocals were finished, Van-Zant left the stage leaving Rossington, Powell, and Medlocke to play the rest of the song that remains the cornerstone of their musical legacy. Perhaps fitting to the song's importance to Skynyrd, their fifteen minute rendition of "Free Bird" constituted 1/6 of the entire show.

VH1 Video Ads

Next week beginning Monday, March 20th, VH1 will add the following videos into rotation:

Jewel "Again & Again"

Kanye West featuring Lupe Fiasco "Touch The Sky"

Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean "Hips Don't Lie"

People in Planes "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)

The Sounds "Song With A Mission"

And if you haven't seen it:

The Raconteurs: "Steady As She Goes" - (V2)
Jack White's new band complete with cow moos.

The New Cars To Tour With Blondie

Eighties band The Cars will embark on a summer tour with Hall of Fame inductees Blondie, under the moniker The New Cars. In rebuilding The Cars, they have added a significant upgrade in Todd Rundgren, formerly of Nazz and Utopia. Notwithstanding his solo career and substantial producing exploits, in joining The New Cars, Rundgren will enjoy his brightest spotlight in years. Former Utopia bassist Kasim Sultan and longtime Rundgren associate, drummer Prairie Prince will also accessorize the band. The Rundgren block will be joining original Cars members, guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboard/synth player Greg Hawkes.

Missing from The New Cars will be improbable MTV sex symbol Ric Ocasek and original drummer David Robinson. Ben Orr, a co-founder of The Cars, died in 2000 after losing his bout with cancer. For Cars fans wondering if the new lineup will work without Ocasek, the band put those fears to rest last night with a solid performacne on Leno last night.

In a novel twist, ticket purchasers for The New Cars/Blondie double bill will receive a free album as part of the ticket price. In conjunction with digital music supplier eMusic, both bands will contribute live material and new studio recordings to a downloadable album which can be redeemed with an access code provided with the tickets.

White-Childish III

It's all fun and games until someone calls the lawyers.

The war of words between White Stripe Jack White and British garage rocker Billy Childish has become litigious. Aquarium, a London gallery that exhibits Childish's art, created a poster exploiting the bitterness that has developed between the two musicians. Designed as a boxing announcement, the disputed "art" promotes a fictional boxing match between "Bitter" Billy Childish and Jack "Whingy" White.

Lawyers for The White Stripes claim that the poster violates their intellectual property rights and have successfully halted sales of the item on eBay. "It was just a bit of fun but these people don't seem to have a sense of humor," said Aquarium owner Steven Lowe. "I did the poster to entertain Billy and our customers really, but then we go and get this letter."

However, since receiving the letter, Aquarium has replaced a photograph of White with an artist's rendering, thus avoiding use of any alleged White Stripes intellectual property. To allay White's fears that only Aquarium shall profit from the venture, they have offered to split the revenue evenly with him. "We'll split the wadge of dosh straight down the middle between the two foes and Jack's money will be converted into solid gold, put it in a pot, and we'll keep it here at the gallery so he can collect it when he's next in London. Seems fair to me."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Music Web Gems

The Rolling Stones confirmed their Shanghai gig for April 8th. The band's first show in China will take place at the 8,500 seat Shanghai Grand Stage.

Jared Leto is back on tour with Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Jaigermeister's 2006 Tour will feature Stained, Three Days Grace and Hurt.

Belle and Sebastion have finished their new cd and will be released in the coming months.

The Drudge Report says Jessica Simpson will use her Daisy Duke bona fides to fundraise for the GOP.

Bono keeps Bob Geldof from spitting on Tony Blair.

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: The "Class" of 2006

On Monday night, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Sex Pistols and producers Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at the 21st annual induction dinner at New York City's Waldorf Astoria.

With Black Sabbath not playing, the Sex Pistols not showing up and Debbie Harry not allowing some original Blondie members to play it was more soap opera than rock show.

For those who couldn't afford the $1,500 ticket price, Trent from Pink is the New Blog summarizes the action as "the Sex Pistols acting like babies and Blondie acting like bitches." Sounds like quite a night!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

You May Not Know Cindy Walker, But You Do Know Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson: You Don't Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker
By: David Schultz

Willie Nelson has been quite the ubiquitous celebrity these past few months. In late 2005, Willie became the Dread Headed Stranger, releasing Countryman, an album of reggae influenced originals and eclectically chosen covers. No less adventurous in 2006, Nelson began the year aggressively promoting Biodiesel, a clean burning, renewable diesel fuel replacement made from vegetable oils and animal fats. Jumping on another eco-friendly bandwagon, Nelson also snared a modest hit in the wake of the openmindedness ushered in by Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain with "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond Of Each Other)."

Recording as if the tax man's still on his tail, Nelson returns to his roots on his latest release, an homage to Country Hall Of Fame songwriter Cindy Walker. Not a household name outside of country music circles, Walker, who wrote her first song, "Dusty Skies," when she was 12 years old, has been writing country classics and standards for over fifty years. While such notable names as Bing Crosby and Ray Charles have covered her material, her songs are probably most identifiable with Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys, who recorded more of Walker's songs than anyone else. Nelson's affinity for Walker's material stems from their shared Texas roots as well as Nelson's admiration for Willis' interpretations of her music.

On You Don't Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker, Nelson cherry picks his favorites from Walker's 500-plus song catalog. While Walker, who still resides in Mexia, Texas, wasn't directly involved with the project, Nelson made sure to include personnel intimately familiar with her material. At the outset, Nelson enlisted his close friend and longtime associate Fred Foster to produce and arrange the album. Foster not only produced Roy Orbison's version of Walker's "Dream Baby" but also produced Walker's only album, 1964s Words and Music. Nelson next recruited fiddler Johnny Gimble, who played with Willis' band for several years and followed with experienced steel guitarist Buddy Emmons.

On "Bubbles In My Beer" and "Not That I Care" Nelson's smooth voice brings out the pathos of Walker's songs of detachment. The simplicity of such disaffected lyrics like, "I wonder, but not that I care," when discussing an ex-love or sighing that her "dreams are as empty as the bubbles in my beer," may not have the complexity found in some of today's alienated singer-songwriters but pack no less of a punch when sung by Nelson. Walker's most familiar song, "You Don't Know Me," retains the familiar jazzy lounge piano that Ray Charles gave to the song but adds Emmons' pedal steel to the mix. Foster's arrangement transports the song from the smoky nightclub setting to the beer soaked hardwood halls of the road house.

You Don't Know Me contains plenty of traditional country ("Sugar Moon" and "The Warm Red River") and possesses enough fiddle and steel guitar to properly qualify as a country album. It also has a jazzy bent ("Miss Molly") and contains a lot of old-timey piano. In style, Nelson has recorded an album that harkens back to a simpler time of recording. All that's missing is the pops and hisses to simulate the recording style of the era it pays homage too. While Foster's arrangements remain true to the period in which they were originally recorded, they are a bit formulaic. Too many songs contain a piano break, a fiddle break and a guitar break, all in that same repetitive order.

Nelson's love and admiration for Walker's songs is clearly evident throughout You Don't Know Me. While touching upon the various periods of Walker's career, Nelson dotes upon the first song she ever wrote, "Dusty Skies." With plaintive harmonica and background harmonies provided by the Jordanaires, Nelson succeeds in bringing Walker's vision of the wide open plains of the Dust Bowl to life. Nelson, who began his career writing early classics like "Funny How Time Slips Away" and Patsy Cline's "Crazy," before embarking on a successful singing career, surely finds an affinity with Walker's songwriting talents and with his latest album further proves the enduring quality of her music.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!