Monthly Archives: December 2008

Elvis Costello “Spectacle” Marathon Today

 

By Blurt Staff

Sure, we know that a lot of the programming on the Sundance Channel is, uh, kinda crunchy. But there’s a lot of fine independent cinema as well, and there’s also the occasional music-related anomaly that makes it a good bet a few times each day.

To wit: the recent Elvis Costello-hosted talk show Spectacle, which to date has featured EC kibitzing/schmoozing with Elton John, Lou Reed, President Bill Clinton, James Taylor and Tony Bennett. Sure, sure — some potential MOR snooze amid all the schmooze. And at times there’s a visible level of awkwardness that’s either fascinating or cringe-inducing; the first segment, with series executive producer Elton John, almost had us laughing as the two men kept trying to get comfortable in their bizarrely-constructed modified wingback chairs.

That said, some good conversational gems as well as some solid performance nuggets (Costello does a song or two each episode) make it pretty close to must-see TV. What, you’d rather watch Rock Of Love?

Starting today at 5:00 pm EST, the first five episodes will be rebroadcast back to back, which sounds like a reasonable way to get geared up for your New Year’s Eve festivities. Check your local listings….

 

About Damn Time: DMX Off To Jail

 

But only gets 90 days
in the slammer…

 

By Fred Mills

 

The thug life came to an end for yet another rapper
yesterday in Phoenix when DMX (aka Earl Simmons) pleaded guilty to several
felony counts (possession of marijuana, possession of a narcotic, and felony
theft) and a misdemeanor (for animal cruelty, stemming from a search Maricopa
County deputies conducted that yielded three dead dogs).

 

Simmons pleaded guilty to each count and according to media
reports
is expected to get 90 days in Maricopa County
jail, plus as-yet-unspecified probation. Hardly an equitable sentence,
considering the offenses, but hey, that’s the nature of plea bargains and, in
particular, celebrity justice.

 

At any rate, he’ll remain in jail until sentencing, set for
Jan. 30. Upon release he’ll be banned from owning guns or animals and must
attend an animal-offender treatment program. If he screws up, it’s off the the
slammer again for up to 10 years.

 

Good riddance, bro. Maybe some time in Sheriff Joe’s tent
city will do you some good. Don’t forget to wash the pink underwear they hand
ya when you’re checking in….

 

 

Elvis Costello "Spectacle" Marathon Today

 

By Blurt Staff

Sure, we know that a lot of the programming on the Sundance Channel is, uh, kinda crunchy. But there’s a lot of fine independent cinema as well, and there’s also the occasional music-related anomaly that makes it a good bet a few times each day.

To wit: the recent Elvis Costello-hosted talk show Spectacle, which to date has featured EC kibitzing/schmoozing with Elton John, Lou Reed, President Bill Clinton, James Taylor and Tony Bennett. Sure, sure — some potential MOR snooze amid all the schmooze. And at times there’s a visible level of awkwardness that’s either fascinating or cringe-inducing; the first segment, with series executive producer Elton John, almost had us laughing as the two men kept trying to get comfortable in their bizarrely-constructed modified wingback chairs.

That said, some good conversational gems as well as some solid performance nuggets (Costello does a song or two each episode) make it pretty close to must-see TV. What, you’d rather watch Rock Of Love?

Starting today at 5:00 pm EST, the first five episodes will be rebroadcast back to back, which sounds like a reasonable way to get geared up for your New Year’s Eve festivities. Check your local listings….

 

CHANNEL GUIDE Wed – Fri

 

Compiled by Blurt Staff

 

206 digital, satellite and hi-def channels and nothin’ on?
Not likely. Here are BLURT’s top music television picks of the day. The time is
followed by the network/cable/satellite channel, then the name of the program
and/or featured artist(s). All times are EST.

 

 

TIME (EST) / CHANNEL
/ PROGRAM / ARTIST(S)

 

 

 

Wednesday December
31:

 

1:30 Rave HD: Dave Fanning Interview: REM

4:00 Rave HD: From the Basement: Thom York, Envelopes,
Albert Hammong JR

 5:00 Sundance:
Spectacle – Elvis Costello With: Elton John

 6:00 Sundance:
Spectacle – Elvis Costello With: Lou Reed

 7:00 Sundance:
Spectacle – Elvis Costello With: Bill Clinton

 8:00 Sundance:
Spectacle – Elvis Costello With: James Taylor

 9:00 Sundance:
Spectacle – Elvis Costello With: Tony Bennett

11:00 Rave HD: Beautiful Noise: My Morning Jacket

11:30 CBS David Letterman: Purple Reign (Prince tribute)

2:00 Sundance: Flamig Lips Christmas On Mars

 

 

 

Thursday January 1:

 

3:00 Rave HD: Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison

3:45 Sundance: This Is England

4:30 Rave HD: Hall & Oates

8:00 Rave HD: Meat Loaf In Search Of Paradise

1:30 Rave HD: Dave Fanning Interview: REM

11:35 NBC Jay Leno: Lyle Lovett

12:00 Sundance: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With Tony Bennett

12:05 ABC Jimmy Kimmel: Keane

12:35 NBC Conan O’Brien: Delta Spirit

1:35 NBC Carson
Daly: T.I.

 

 

 

Friday January 2:

 

7:00 Rave HD: Soundstage: Macy Gray

7:00 Fuse: Prince Purple Rain

9:00 Rave HD: Billy Idol Live

9:00 Sundance: Live From Abbey Road: Sheryl Crow, Hard-Fi, Diana
Krall

11:00 Rave HD: Beautiful Noise: Stars of Track & Field

11:30 CBS David Letterman: John McCain, Bon Iver

11:35 NBC Jay Leno: Johnny Mathis

12:05 ABC Jimmy Kimmel: Scott Weiland

1:35 NBC Carson
Daly: The Sounds

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Boys + McCourys = Party!

 

Sacred steel gospel
combo teams up with bluegrass legends and you don’t want to miss it.

 

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

Hands down, one of the highlights of this year’s Warren
Haynes Christmas Jam was when the Lee Boys got onstage with fellow Haynes
guests the Del McCoury Band – on two separate nights (at the pre-Jam and then
the Jam proper), sacred steel met bluegrass as a stompin’ throwdown of
“Celebrate” unfolded. As a BLURT staffer put it afterwards, “The Lee Boys were absolutely, jaw-droppingly amazing at
the 2008 Warren Haynes Christmas Jam – in
particular, when they jammed with the Del McCoury Band,
it was one of those electric, pinch-me moments  music lovers live for. The
looks on both bands’ faces would suggest they were just as amazed as the
audience, too.”

 

 

The Lee Boys were also
enthusiastic about an upcoming tour with the McCourys, and now details have
arrived from the Lee camp about a string of dates taking place the last week or
so of January. Read on, and trust us on this one: no matter what your
particular musical predilection, don’t miss the tour if it comes anywhere near
you.

 

***

 

 

 

THE
LEE BOYS, a “sacred
steel” sextet from Miami, and THE
TRAVELIN’ MCCOURYS, an all star off shoot of the legendary DEL MCCOURY BAND, will join together
for a half dozen tour dates in the Southeast beginning January 21st at the Georgia Theater in Athens, GA.   On the tour, each band will
perform a set before joining together for a nightly jam session sure to rally
audiences to their feet! Outstanding local and regional players will also be
invited to sit in, in a tradition that has become a trademark of the McCoury
Family.

 

 

THE
LEE BOYS is a band that transcends the
boundaries set by musical genres; their music is an energetic blend of R&B, gospel, hip-hop, rock and country
driven by the pedal steel guitar. 2008 has been a monumental year for the band,
having performed at over 50 of the biggest music
festivals in the U.S., culminating with an appearance on Late Night With Conan
O’Brien
on December 8th; a performance on the prestigious West
Virginia Public Radio show, Mountain Stage; and successful tours with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band,
Michelle Shocked, Susan Tedeschi,
Victor Wooten
and more. 

 

 

THE TRAVELIN’ MCCOURYS consists of the band members of
the most awarded group in the history of bluegrass -The
Del McCoury Band- uniquely paired with elements of other touring bands in
configurations purposely reminiscent of the Traveling Wilburys.  The Travelin’ McCourys is
comprised of Ron McCoury on mandolin, Rob
McCoury on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle, and Alan
Bartram on bass.  They will be joined on this tour with three members from Dre’s Rude
Awakening: Dre’
Anders (vocalist), Shane Theriot (guitar), and Johnny Neel (keyboards). This touring unit blends the best
of the Appalachian tradition with the improvisational magic of jazz, folk, and
blues. Unique live collaborations are the hallmark of their performances, and
demonstrate why critics and musicians across the world hail the McCourys as the
best bluegrass band in the world. There may not be a major festival where they
have not performed-from Bonnaroo to the Jazz Series at Carnegie Hall.

 

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

Wed, Jan
21                
      Georgia Theatre                           
       Athens , GA

Thurs, Jan
22              
      Legends at Appalachian
State             Boone , NC

Fri, Jan
23                   
      Smith’s Olde
Bar                          
       Atlanta, GA

Sat, Jan
24                  
      Shoreline Ballroom                      
       Hilton
Head Island , SC

Fri, Jan
30                   
     
Zydeco                                          
       Birmingham
, AL

Sat, Jan
31                  
      Rhythm and
Brews                               
Chattanooga TN

 

 

 

Sarah Borges w/New Album in March

 

Paul Kolderie-produced platter has some
surprises in store.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Sugar Hill’s got BLURT faves Sarah
Borges & the Broken Singles second album for the label, The Stars Are Out, due March 24.  Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Lemonheads,
Juliana Hatfield) produced album is a ten song collection of five originals and
five choice re-imaginations of Borges’ and Kolderie’s favorites including
“Ride With Me” written by fellow Boston native Evan Dando.

The album opens with the honky-tonk infused punk rocker, “Do It For Free”
showcasing Borges’ smoky, honeyed vocals and scorching guitar work. This driving
ode to an old flame would be right at home on the Sunset Strip in 1978 —
Borges declares, “I never forget what my mama said to me, when it’s real
love, you do it for free.”

Originals “Me and Your Ghost” and “Symphony” combine the
band’s rockabilly, blues and rock and roll aesthetics and center on Borges’ trademark
lead vocals and capture the band’s raucous and good time live act. She takes
“Being With You” (most famously recorded by Smokey Robinson) and
transforms it into a bittersweet lament accompanied by gospel like backing
vocals when she pleads, “I don’t care about anything else but being with
you.”

‘The Stars Are Out’ is the followup to
2007’s Diamonds in the Dark which
drew critical praise across the board – including a certain magazine called Harp (you may have heard of us), who
profiled Borges HERE and reviewed the album HERE. More recently, we caught
Borges and band opening for the Blasters in concert and you can read that
review HERE.

 

A national tour is planned for the spring of 2009 following the release
of ‘The Stars Are Out.‘ Click here
for a complete list of tour dates:
http://sarahborges.com

 

 

 

BMG Music Service Gets the Heave-Ho

 

 

And existing members
officially get screwed starting April 30.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Amid the many musicians’ deaths that seemed to crowd the
month of December, one end-of-year passing was overlooked by all except
hard-core music industry watchers: last week the BMG Music Service indicated it
was for all intents and purposes shutting down when it announced it would no
longer be accepting new members.

 

For those of you with long memories, BMG Music Service is
one of those once-ubiquitous “12 albums for a penny” mail order clubs. Yours
truly recalls being a member of the Record Club of America as a teenager,
getting cool albums every month by the likes of Hendrix, Cream, Dylan, etc.
(living in a small town without much access to record stores made a club like
that a virtual necessity). More recently, habitués of used CD stores found the direct-marketing
likes of Columbia House and BMG Music Service a godsend: you could keep signing
up under fake names, each time raking in 12 CDs, then tote the swag down to the
store and trade it in for the stuff you really wanted.

 

According to a report by Billboard,
BMG Music Service “is no longer accepting new members” although a spokesperson
alluded to some vague “changes” aimed at working with existing members. Billboard quoted the spokesperson as
saying, “We are still very actively engaged with our existing member base
and will be making more changes to serve them…more effectively later in
2009.”

The report continues, “The club’s former home page bmgmusic.com now greets visitors
with an invitation to join Direct Brands’ other music service Yourmusic.com,
which sells all CDs in its catalog for $6.99 each, but requires members to
purchase at least one CD a month.” (Direct Brands is the parent company for BMG
Music Service.)

 

More significant, however, is the fact that current members
who have accumulated Music Points (you’re awarded points for each purchase you
make and can redeem them later for free CDs) will not be able to use them after
April 30. So in effect, unless the record industry gets off its collective ass
and releases some decent music in the next couple of months – a scenario that
one industry source (me) terms “highly unlikely” – members are screwed.

 

Nighthawks Return w/New Studio LP

 

35-year music biz
vets showcase latest lineup.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Hard-twanging blues/roots band The Nighthawks will release
their first studio album in five years, American Landscape, on February 3 via Powerhouse Records. The
new CD marks the studio album debut of the band’s current lineup, in place for
the past five years, with original members Mark Wenner (harmonica, lead vocals)
and Pete Ragusa (drums, vocals) joined by Paul Bell (guitar, vocals) and Johnny
Castle (bass and vocals). American
Landscape
was produced by The Nighthawks and recorded/mixed at
several studios in the band’s hometown area of Washington, DC.

 

 

Since the group formed in 1972 and released its first album
in 1974, The Nighthawks have been one of the hardest working, most consistent
bands of its generation, averaging over 250-275 dates a year and endearing
themselves to audiences all over the world with their blue-collar work ethic
and universal musical appeal. Two ingredients in the band’s sound have remained
constant over the years: the searing blues harp and soulful vocals of Mark
Wenner and the solid, rhythmic drumming and vocals of Pete Ragusa.   

 

 

A roots rock band before the term was used to describe its
music, The Nighthawks developed a sound which showcases a talent for combining
the diverse elements that make up the entire roots music palette – blues, rock,
R&B. rockabilly, soul and swing – to create an original form onto the band,
itself. Drawing from a well-spring of talent from the band’s individual
members, adding a dynamic live performance presence that keeps audiences coming
back for more, and projecting a soulfulness and honesty that transcends the
music for a truly visceral experience, The Nighthawks are a unique American
music phenomenon.

 

 

That tradition continues on American Landscape, as the “new blood” additions of Bell and Castle meld seamlessly with founding members
Wenner and Ragusa,
to create an even stronger power and energy in The Nighthawks that’s clearly
evident from the driving, bluesy opening track, “Big Boy.” The Nighthawks
continue to mine the American roots songbook on the rest of the album, with
unique covers of music from Lazy Lester (“Made Up My Mind”), Ike Turner
(“Matchbox”), Sam and Dave (“Don’t Turn Your Heater Down”), Marvin Gaye (“Try
It Baby”), Dan Penn (“Standing In the Way”) and Bob Dylan (“She Belongs to Me”
and “Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine).” The band also tips its collective
hat to acclaimed writer/director David Simon by dedicating the album to him and
performing the title song of his HBO series, The Wire, “”Down In the Hole,” written by Tom Waits. Over the
years, Simon has been a big supporter of the band and featured them onscreen in
the second season of The Wire,
as well as his NBC series, Homicide:
Life on the Street
, also using The Nighthawks music throughout both
show’s soundtracks. The two original songs on American Landscape are penned by bassist Johnny Castle: the
funky, hook-laden rock of “Where Do You Go” and the
Cajun/Zydeco-flavored-meets-country-blues of “Jana Lea,” guaranteed to get fans
on the dance floor. Continuing the group’s tremendous creativity and
versatility, they close out the new CD with “Fishin’ Hole Theme” from The Andy Griffith Show,
translating the whistle-along to a country blues/swing number that will surely
bring a smile.          

 

 

Both Johnny Castle and Paul Bell are no strangers to The
Nighthawks, having played in several side aggregations with band members over
the past several decades.  Johnny Castle also spent a number of years with
Bill Kirchen’s band; and Paul Bell has previously played with Nils Lofgren
(Bruce Springsteen) and Tommy Lepson (Tom Principato). Bell and Castle first appeared on disc as
members of the band three years ago when The Nighthawks released a live CD/DVD
set, Blue Moon in Your Eye: Live at
the Barns at Wolf Trap
.

 

 

Details of a 2009 tour will be released shortly.

 

 

 

 

Paul Weller Passes Out in Prague!

 

 

Down on the killing
floor for real!

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

 

The Modfather was in hot water again the other night. A
couple of months ago Paul Weller lit up a cigarette while onstage at London’s The
Cliffs Pavilion, resulting in an “official warning” for the venue, which is
subject to a smoking ban (and enforced by the Southend Borough Council). Now we
learn that Weller was picked up and questioned by police in Prague after “apparently being found drunk in
the street.”

 

 

Weller and a female friend, Hannah Andrews, had put in a binge
session Saturday night at the city’s Little Whale Pub while on vacation.
Britain’s The Sun reports that Weller
and Andrews had been “knocking back shots of vodka” for a couple of hours, with
Weller additionally insisting on singing “Killing Floor” with the pub’s guitarist,
Brad Huff, who described it as “really terrible. I told him he couldn’t sing.
He was just kind of howling. His girlfriend was aggressive and kept blowing me
raspberries. She fell off her bar stool and passed out on the floor.”

 

The pair later staggered out into the street and at one point
were found laying down, presumably passed out (pictured).

 

The UK
tabloid additionally posted video footage of Weller singing (listed as “drunken
jam” on their site) and Weller and Andrews falling off their stools (“sozzled modfather”).

 

In other, semi-unrelated news, Weller is part of a new
campaign
aimed at saving traditional British pubs… not hard to figure out why!

 

 

 

 

Zooey Deschanel Engaged to Ben Gibbard

 

Do we smell a new
musical collaboration in the works, too?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

Finally putting to rest all those “are they/are they not?”
speculations regarding the “extent” of She And Him’s Zooey Deschanel and M.
Ward collaboration, US Magazine is
reporting
that She actually is engaged to a different Him – Ben Gibbard, of
Death Cab For Cutie. (Meanwhile, this also shuts down a totally different rumor
about Deschanel, that she was getting engaged to AFI’s Hunter Burgan.)

 

Citing “a source close to the couple,” the celeb tabloid says
that the couple are “so thrilled… Zooey was swept off her feet, and Ben is so
excited.”

 

All together now… awwwwwwwwwww.

 

And if US says it’s
true, it must be, right?