Category Archives: Music News

Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life 2018 Dates Announced

The 2nd annual Bourbon & Beyond is set for Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23, 2018. The 5th annual Louder Than Life will be held the following weekend on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, 2018. 


To celebrate the success of Bourbon & Beyond’s inaugural year, Danny Wimmer Presents has announced a special Early Bird ticket sale now underway for Bourbon & Beyond 2018. A limited number of General Admission Weekend passes are available for $119.50 (matching 2017’s lowest price). To purchase tickets, visit: Hotel and camping options are also available at


Held on back-to-back weekends, the first-ever Bourbon & Beyond (September 23 & 24) and the fourth annual Louder Than Life (September 30 & October 1) drew a combined 110,000 fans to Champions Park over two consecutive weekends in 2017, with a large percentage of attendees coming from outside of Louisville. 


“Danny Wimmer and his team promise big things, and they deliver,” says Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “I was especially impressed by the inaugural Bourbon & Beyond Festival, where they promised great musical acts, great food and, of course great bourbon experiences, and they excelled in every aspect. We look forward to 2018.”


“We look forward to the return of the Bourbon & Beyond festival after a successful inaugural year, as well as the fifth annual Louder Than Life festival. Events like these put Louisville on the national stage and enhance our city’s reputation as being an authentic music festival destination,” says Karen Williams, President & CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life both draw a large number of out-of-town visitors to our city to enjoy a weekend of music by top, national performers, and also experience Louisville’s one-of-a-kind attractions and award-winning culinary scene.”


“The inaugural Bourbon & Beyond was a first-of-its-kind festival that gave Kentucky’s world-renowned bourbons equal billing with a roster of legendary musicians,” says Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents. 


Bourbon & Beyond artists included Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller Band, Eddie Vedder, and Buddy Guy, plus Amos Lee, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark, Jr., Paul Rodgers, Band Of Horses, and more.


Hayes continues, “Bourbon & Beyond was a showcase for, and celebration of, the craftsmanship, soul and sprit that is unique to Louisville, and featured award winning bourbons, master distillers, chefs, bartenders, and many other artisans.”


Check out the video recap highlighting Bourbon & Beyond 2017 here:


Full Bourbon & Beyond details and additional ticket packages will be announced in early 2018. 


The fourth annual Louder Than Life marked the festival’s biggest year yet, solidifying its standing as one of America’s premier destination music festivals. Louder Than Life2017 drew 60,000 fans to Champions Park to witness headlining performances from Ozzy Osbourne featuring Zakk Wylde on Saturday and Prophets Of Rage on Sunday, plus Five Finger Death Punch, Incubus – returning to Louisville for the first time in over a decade — Rob Zombie, Stone Sour, Rise Against, and nearly 30 other bands on three stages. 


To see the Louder Than Life video recap, go to:


Louder Than Life announce details and ticket information will be provided in late spring 2018. Visit for details.


Danny Wimmer Presents is a producer of some of the biggest rock festivals in America, including Rock On The Range, Monster Energy Aftershock, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Fort Rock, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Chicago Open Air, Bourbon & Beyond, Louder Than Life, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, Northern Invasion and more.


For more information, visit:

Track Premiere: les biches “North From the Airwaves”

Remarkable L.A. band closes out 2017 following a busy year. Pictured above: Jonathan D. Haskell, Keith Joyner, Zöe Ruth-Erwin (photo by Mark Velasquez)

By Blurt Staff

We’ve turned you on to, and hopefully you’ve tuned into, les biches, the current project of erstwhile Seven Simons/Twinstar (and Georgia native/L.A. resident) mainman Keith Joyner, earlier this year via Joyner’s “Opening Ceremony” essay (about a rather unique “dark tale from the mid-‘90s, guest-starring Love and Rockets, Genesis P-Orridge, Rick Rubin’s haunted mansion, and a Dante-worthy conflagration”).

BLURT contributor Robert Dean Lurie wrote about the band for their official bio, noting, in part,Named after a Jacques Brel song and 1968 French film, les biches is very much an anything-goes affair, harnessing the Wild West-possibilities of this new paradigm. And yet, there are a number of Joyner trademarks that remain ever-present: that keen sense of melody, the musical dexterity (always tightly corralled to the needs of the song), and a seeming inability to waste a single note. This is classic songcraft coupled with an openness to the unknown. As such, les biches is both a next chapter and a beginning, an invitation and a welcome home.

Already an impressive cast of collaborators has come on board: Sarah Negahdari (The Happy Hollows, Silversun Pickups, Pisces), Jonathan D. Haskell (Seven Saturdays, Glasz), Brian Reyes (The Little Ones), Travis McNabb (Better Than Ezra, Frankie Ballard), David Newton (The Mighty Lemon Drops), and Manuel Calderon (mixing engineer: Beach House, Animal Collective, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Some are here for a one-off, some could be considered auxiliary members, and one or two may reappear like comets. Joyner’s own role shifts and adapts accordingly.”

If you were prodded to check out les biches debut single “I Had A Thought” we featured in Joyner’s essay or that, plus four more over the course of the year, at the band’s SoundCloud page, you will definitely dig the group’s sixth and final single for 2017. It’s 8 minutes long, but every second of this dynamics-rich track is a rewarding one. Check out “North From the Airwaves” which is officially released on December 8. And note that the group is currently in heavy rehearsals, prepping to take a full band out on the road for 2018.

 Joyner details the new song:

 “Before releasing music in 2017 as les biches, I was in a band called Twinstar. We were together longer than The Beatles. Our tenure was marked by fits and starts, extended periods of hibernation, frequent personnel changes and infrequent live shows. Even so, we operated under the Field of Dreams “if you build it they will come” blueprint. That is, we put so much into the recording of our 2013 album The Sound of Leaving, that surely it would rise above the din and enable us to carry on making more records. It would be disingenuous to say we weren’t disappointed when that failed to happen.

“As we were finishing the album, I would often feud with my long-suffering bandmate Chris Candelaria about things like the bass frequency in the final masters, or the track order. In retrospect, it seems trivial given the few people that would hear it. And yet, those arguments signify that we cared deeply about the end result. It is, after all, the bane of every creative artist that anything worthwhile requires dedication and heart. But the risk that art can exist solely in a vacuum always looms large. The band came to an end, and I naturally drifted away from music in a melancholy mood, though there were certainly no hard feelings.

“Several years later, I found myself hiking in the volcanic hills of Myvatn, Iceland. (And before you think it, yes! Every asshole has been or is going to Iceland!) I am a firm believer that there’s nothing like physical exertion or a change in scenery to get the creative juices flowing. A melody crept into my brain. As I walked, it continued to mutate in subtle ways and became the silent soundtrack for the rest of the trip. And just like that, I was back in. This was my “new direction,” I thought. I wasn’t interested in writing pop songs at the time. Rather, I wished to convey what it felt like to walk past ancient cinder cones and boiling molten lava away from the world at large.

“Back in Los Angeles, I had already met Jonathan D. Haskell, the mercurial man behind the band Seven Saturdays. I was inspired by his unique and atmospheric approach to the Fender Rhodes. It was exactly what this piece of music required. So began our collaboration on what was meant to be the first les biches release. But the floodgates had opened, and a flurry of new songs materialized along the way.

“As such, North from the Airwaves becomes the last (and sixth) track to be released by les biches in 2017. To say that an eight-minute-plus song with no verses or choruses is my favorite of them all is no stretch. It was the elusive spark that changed the way I think about music, though I am keenly aware it’s a huge ask in the age of short attention spans. In other words, having built it, it’s more about the quality of the company these days. To that point, I am also joined by Travis McNabb (Seven Simons, Better Than Ezra) on drums and the fantastic Zoe Ruth-Erwin, who writes and performs under her own name, and collectively with Jonathan in the electro-dream pop duo P O L L A. This old world is full of noise and chaos. If you do stop to listen, we thank you more than you can know!”



Pere Ubu Cancels Tour Due to David Thomas’ Illness

Thomas, pictured center, above.

By Fred Mills

Pere Ubu, currently on a North American tour in support of latest album 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo, announced this week that it was cancelling dates due to health issues of frontman David Thomas. The official UBU Facebook page posted the news:

It’s with regret we have had to cancel our live shows on the West Coast of the U.S. David insisted on continuing the tour but his doctors have insisted he stays where he is for the moment. We will post a further update soon.”

Updates as they come in – and we here at BLURT send wishes of a speedy recovery for Thomas.

eBay Auction for Austin Music Club Starts Today – at $1

How much would YOU pay for the privilege of working until 2AM, dealing with spoiled musicians, policing drunk crowds, and monitoring employee theft?

By Blurt Staff

Anyone who’s ever attended SXSW in Austin will be familiar with The Parish, located at 214 E. 6th Street. The walk-up venue (it’s on the second floor) has been in the live music biz for ages, and now it’s up for sale by CEO of ATX Brands, Doug Guller. But there’s a twist: it’s being auctioned on eBay rather than marketed through a traditional real estate agent. The starting bid? Just $1 buck, and the auction begins today (Dec. 1) at noon.

Guller, speaking to KXAN, said “From a live music perspective, nothing has ever been sold this way in Austin. With a starting bid of just $1, I wanted to offer a fair playing field from the start for music-lovers of all types to own a piece of true music history in the Live Music Capital of the World.”

KXAN added “People interested in buying the space can email the Parish to set up an appointment.

Better hop fast, all you folks with deep pockets – the auction ends on Dec. 10, and the sale will close on the 22nd, just in time for Christmas, ho ho ho!

Have a Merry Beatles Christmas! (on vinyl…)

The Beatles’ annual holiday tradition of recording jolly Christmas messages for fan club members was an important part of the band’s relationship with their most ardent supporters, affectionately referred to by them as “Beatle People.” Spanning 1963 to 1969, The Beatles’ holiday recordings were originally pressed on flexi discs and mailed to fan club members each December.

Never released beyond the fan club until now, The Beatles’ seven holiday messages have been newly pressed on a rainbow of seven-inch colored vinyl singles for The Christmas Records box set, to be released worldwide on December 15. The limited edition collection presents each vinyl single with its original flexi disc sleeve artwork, accompanied by a 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club’s National Newsletters, which were mailed to members with the holiday flexi discs.

Also on December 15, the Deluxe Anniversary Edition of The Beatles’ 1967 masterwork, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will debut worldwide in high definition digital audio (96kHz/24bit). The Deluxe Anniversary Edition features the album’s acclaimed 2017 stereo mix, plus 18 additional tracks, including complete alternate takes for the groundbreaking album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo. The expanded edition also features the 2017 stereo mix and an instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix and two complete alternate takes for “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

On the same date, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s 2017 stereo mix will be released in two distinct 1-LP vinyl editions: a 180-gram black vinyl LP and a limited, collectible picture disc vinyl LP. Produced by Giles Martin for this year’s universally heralded ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition releases, the album’s new stereo mix was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by Giles’ father, George Martin. Praised by fans and music critics around the world, The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition is 2017’s most celebrated historical music release and an ideal gift for Beatle People here, there, and everywhere.

Tommy Keene 1958-2017 R.I.P.

Rocker was only 59 at the time of his death.

By Blurt Staff

Wednesday evening, November 22, power pop auteur Tommy Keene passed away unexpectedly at his Los Angeles home. The exact cause of death has not been announced, by his partner indicated that Keene died peacefully in his sleep.

From his early days on the Washington D.C. punk and new wave scene through his major label stint on Geffen Records in the mid ’80s through his latterday work that saw him release five albums on the Second Motion label (now called Schoolkids Records, it is BLURT’s sister business), Keene was an unapologetic champion of immaculately crafted, energetic, and lyrically emotional rock ‘n’ roll. Go HERE on the website to read our appreciation of Keene via previously published interviews and a new essay by BLURT editor Fred Mills.

Below, watch a clip of Keene and his band doing his classic tune “Places That Are Gone” on the Conan O’Brien show.


Watch New John Howard Cover + Video of Nick Drake Song

Noted British singer songwriter has been in the business since around the time Drake was releasing his fourth album.

By Blurt Staff

A year ago, veteran singer songwriter John Howard released his acclaimed Across the Door Sill, and he’s currently writing material for his next solo record. (In the meantime a Granite Shore album, Suspended Second, was also released.) En route, he’s got a new single, “From the Morning,” that will officially drop Dec. 1; an EP will arrive in February.

Howard notes, “The song was written by the brilliant singer-songwriter Nick Drake in 1972 for his final album ‘Pink Moon’, and it has long been one of my favourite songs of Nick’s. The sleeve pic for the single, by the way, was taken in Manchester in 1972, the year that Nick Drake recorded and released his recording of From The Morning‘, and just twelve months before I left home for London to begin my own recording career.”

You can order the single at all the usual digital outlets (including iTunes), and if you want a preview, check out the haunting, beautiful video for it, below, which he has posted to YouTube and his Facebook page.



Watch New Sex Pistols-inspired Video from Jean Caffeine

It was definitely not the winter of love, either…

By Fred Mills

A couple of months ago we reviewed lapsed punk rocker Jean Caffeine’s superb new album, Sadie Saturday Night, a kind of rock ‘n’ roll musical memoir. “Lapsed?” you ask? Currently Austin-based, Caffeine came of age hanging out on the San Francisco punk scene, later moving to NYC where she also immersed herself in Lower East Side cultural goings-on. So she was there.

You can check out the first video from the album, “All Girl Band,” and after that, check out a killer clip for the track “Winter of Hate,” which has more than just a couple of Easter eggs lurking amid the arrangement for punk and Sex Pistols fans.

The video description reads thusly:

“The song is about seeing the Sex Pistols break up show at Winterland in San Francisco in 1978 and the feelings of frustration and loss about their show and breakup. It’s also a snapshot into the first wave San Francisco punk scene that participated in and includes pics of notable California punks and other punk performers who came through town. Directed by Paul Beck who co-directed, A Scanner Darkly as well as videos for Molotov and David Byrne. Paul says, “this video is like a little documentary of the era.” Jean Caffeine assisted-directed. SF punk photographers Jim Jacoy, Richard Alden Peterson, Ruby Ray, James Stark contributed photographs. Video footage by”

Connect with Caffeine and get album and tour info at her official website and her Facebook page.


Video Premiere: Sultans of String “Hallelujah” (L. Cohen cover)

Classic tune taken from the Canadian band’s very special Christmas album.


Let’s kick off the holidays with a video premiere from Canada’s award-winning ambassadors of musical diversity, Sultans of String. Their latest release “Christmas Caravan” is out now and you can check out the video for their version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, featuring vocals by Rebecca Campbell here:

The genre-hopping “Christmas Caravan” was recorded and co-produced by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey. You may recognize a few titles, but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before.

“We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards” explains bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. “This is a Christmas album, but approached from the perspective of a world-music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony.” The Sultans of String are Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberté, Eddie Paton, Drew Birston and Chendy Leon.

Also, lending their talents to the songs on this album are 6x Grammy winning Paddy Maloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason (Panamanian 7 Grammy and 5 Latin Grammy Award winner), platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, 2x JUNO/Grammy Winner Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante (3x JUNOs, 4x Gold, 3x Platinum records), Sweet Honey in the Rock (Grammy winning all-woman, African-American a cappella group), Cameroon’s Richard Bona (Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France.

This recording was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Sultans of String will be kicking off a fresh Canadian tour this weekend, on November 26, in Peterborough. Following a Christmas and New Year’s break, they head to the UK in January. Go here to view the complete itinerary, which will include selected dates in the US during 2018.

Minus 5’s Scott McCaughey Suffers Stroke, In “Stable Condition”

Chicago, Il.

Above photo taken exclusively for BLURT by Marty Perez at the Sept. 23 Chicago appearance of Filthy Friends.

By Fred Mills

Anybody remotely familiar with BLURT will know that we consider Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M., Minus 5, The Baseball Project, Filthy Friends, etc.) a permanent member of our extended family. We’ve hung out with him numerous times during our SXSW day parties, more recently getting to reconnect with he swung through our home base of Raleigh with The Baseball Project.

So yesterday we received word that Scott had suffered a stroke while on the road. According to a post at the Minus 5 Facebook page by his wife, Mary Winzig:

Scott McCaughey, the ever-smiling, sunglasses-wearing front man of the bands The Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows, and side man to countless bands — including M. Ward, The Baseball Project, Tired Pony, and R.E.M. — suffered a stroke while on a West Coast tour with Alejandro Escovedo. He is in stable condition. Loved by many and a best friend to all, Scott brings a very bright light to the stage. In his ever-changing hats and loud sports coats, Scott exudes such joy while he performs.“Scott McCaughey is one of the unsung heroes of rock n roll. A true believer and one of the most creative people I have ever met.” says guitarist Peter Buck.

The road to recovery will be a long one, and we believe it will come through music. We can’t wait to see him back in action. The collective energy of the entire creative community is powerful enough to overcome this hurdle. With the love and support of all of you, Scott will continue to share his love of music with the world. We promise to provide continued updates and will share any messages of support you want to send with him.

Sent with love from Mary Winzig (wife of Scott McCaughey) and the entire R.E.M. community.

Then earlier today Winzig added the following:

Thanks Y’all for all the kind words, thoughts, prayers, messages, videos, texts, emails & calls. Scott is in a great medical facility & we trust the doctors & hard-working staff implicitly. We have such a long road ahead, but with your love & Scott’s amazing drive and work ethic, we will get there. Being surrounded by caring folks, our family & friends & Y’all — gives us hope beyond messure. Many of you are asking what you can do — and those answers are coming. Sean Nelson wrote a beautiful piece for The Stranger, (Thanks, Sean! Love you) about Scott & there are other ideas as well brewing as well — (gofundme, benefit concerts, etc). We are also getting a PO Box for cards & letters in Portland (Thanks Shari & CB, xo) In this struggle, we are truly learning the definition of “it is not a sprint, it is a marathon.” Thanks to all, put on your favorite record, & everyone embrace the healing power of music in this time. We love you.

An outpouring of expressions of support from fans and peers followed the initial announcement, of course. There’s not much I can add at the moment, other than we’ll keep you updated on Scott’s progress and any of the future plans that Winzig mentions above. Hang in there, brother, we got your back.

Read “The Return of Scott the Hoople,” about McCaughey, elsewhere on the BLURT site.