Category Archives: Music News

View Photos from the Music From Big Pink and Beyond Concert

band-benefit

Live at the Alex Theatre this past weekend, it was a songwriters’ songwriters love fest of epic proportions. According to the organizers: “Benefit-concert producers the Wild Honey Foundation present The Band’s first two records Music From Big Pink and The Band, plus bonus songs, performed by a star-studded house band and guest singers. The event will benefit the Autism Think Tank.”

PHOTOS BY SUSAN MOLL

Go HERE to view our complete photo gallery of the event. Below: selected images include The Band’s own Garth Hudson, plus Victoria Williams and Van Dyke Parks.

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Track Premiere: Parson Red Heads’ “Coming Down”

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Tune culled from upcoming album due in June.

By Blurt Staff

Over the years we’ve sung the praises of Portland rockers The Parson Red Heads, including a review of 2013’s Orb Weaver and a profile, also in 2013, of the band. So we were pretty stoked to get the news that there’s a new album from the band, due June 9 via Fluff & Gravy Records (US) / You Are The Cosmos Records (EUR). Now we’ve got an exclusive early look at Blurred Harmony—the first single is “Coming Down,” so check it out:

Blurred Harmony is a musically diverse record – it is a distillation of the sounds and styles that the Parsons, as a band, love. It is the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s “Dunedin Sound” movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.

BlurredHarmony_Cover

A full roster of tour dates will be announced late, but they have scheduled several already in and around their home territory:

June 7 – Old St Francis School – Bend, OR
June 8 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
June 10 – Conor Byrne – Seattle, WA

You can find out more about the band at the official website, and you can also pre-order the album on LP / CD:
US:  http://www.theparsonredheads.bandcamp.com
EUR: http://www.youarethecosmos.com/artist/the-parson-red-heads

 

 

Record Store Day Titles – Including Schoolkids Records’ Bettie Serveert LP & Veldt 45

RSD

Our sister business gets in the, er, business of limited edition vinyl for this year’s event…

BY FRED MILLS

That’s why they call it Record Store Day — because it’s the one day of the year you definitely need to get your ass out to your local independent record dealer. How do we know this? Because we are partnered up with North Carolina indie chain Schoolkids Records, of course! Our sister business will be busy as hell, like usual, on April 22, helping you, the discriminating music consumer score all that limited edition vinyl you live and die by.

SKIDS

Which, this time around, will include our very own RSD release – beloved Dutch rockers Bettie Serveert will have their Damaged Good vinyl LP released on the Schoolkids Records label, and it’s a good ‘un, limited to 100 copies. Below, you can hear a couple of tracks from the album.

We also have an exclusive Schoolkids release from NC’s The Veldt, the “Symmetry” / “Slow Grid” 7″ 45, limited to 450 copies. Need I say it’s a good ‘un as well? Check the official video for the A side:

Meanwhile, what else will be dropping this year? How about David Bowie, unreleased Smiths, live Springsteen, Iggy and Lou Reed, Prince 12”ers, Spacemen 3, Patti Smith, Madonna, the Fall, Fleetwood Mac, the Chemical Brothers, Neil Young, The Chills, Sun Ra, Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus (no, not together), Jason Isbell, Sharon Jones, Air, Motörhead, Ramones, the Cure, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, Cocteau Twins, the Sex Pistols, U2, the Raincoats, Priests, Hudson Mohawke, Art of Noise, Elastica… whew. Go to the link for the full, downloadable list: here for the U.S. and here for the UK.

And in addition to the Bettie Serveert tracks, you might want to check out this, um, quirky Funny or Die video from St. Vincent, who is the official Ambassador for RSD 2017. Or maybe that’s the country of Recorstorda…

 

James Cotton 1935-2017 R.I.P.

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Blues harp master was one of the last living links to The Blues’ heyday. Above photo: Christopher Durst (via the web).

By Blurt Staff

A giant of classic—and contemporary—blues passed away March 16: James Cotton, harmonica legend, at the age of 81, from pneumonia. Fittingly enough, he died in an Austin hospital while the SXSW musical throngs clogged the clubs in the streets below.

The Delta-spawned bluesman influenced untold players from multiple genres—blues, rock, folk—and aside from the many blues peers he performed with over the years, he also worked with everyone from Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton to Janis Joplin and Keith Richards. He got his start as a vocalist in the ‘50s, at Sun Records of all places, then wound up as a featured performer with Muddy Waters before starting his own James Cotton Blues Band.

The Washington Post and the New York Times both have key summaries of the man’s career. Meanwhile, check out some of his music, below.

Paying Tribute to Chuck Berry 1926-2017 R.I.P.

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Knoxville-based musician Tim Lee, of the late, great Windbreakers, more recently of the Tim Lee 3 and Bark (reviewed here, incidentally) wrote this morning at his Facebook page about the enormous influence Chuck Berry had upon him and several generations’ worth of rockers. He says it better than any of us Blurt-ers could possibly say it. Follow Tim on Facebook here.

BY TIM LEE

When I was a kid, I was eat up with guitar (as we say in the South). I watched the bands on Midnight Special and ABC’s In Concert, and I thought there was nothing cooler than a low-slung Gibson or Fender. Still do.

We had an old Kay hollow-body stashed away in a closet that my brother never got around to learning, so I pulled it out one day. My dad was gracious enough to drive me and the guitar over to Skeets McWilliams’ music store in west Jackson, where they put strings on it and replaced the missing bridge.

That thing had scary high action, but it was a guitar. I joined the guitar club at my junior high school (yeah, pretty cool, huh?), where English teacher/musician J.R. Robertson gave us printouts of the chords and words to current songs like “Angie” by the Stones. He brought in different guitars and let us play them, and he lit a fire under some of us that never went out.

J.R. is still one of my parents’ good friends. They don’t hold it against him.

A year or so later, we were living in Brookhaven, Miss. David Bowling was a skinny red-haired neighborhood guy who was a couple years older than me and knew some guitar. He figured out that, if he could show me some bar chords and a few familiar rock and roll riffs, he’d have someone to play rhythm guitar while he worked on his improvising solos skills.

I’d spend hours at his house playing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Stormy Monday” (9th chords and all). It was a great education for playing rock n’ roll rhythm guitar.

But David’s favorite was playing “Johnny B. Goode.” He taught me how to play the “runka, runka” rhythm stuff, and I eventually mastered it, no matter how much my pinky protested.

Eventually, he showed me how to play the double-stop intro riff. Torturing my fingers on that damn-near-impossible-to-play Kay through my little solid state Silvertone amp, I thought I’d found Nirvana (obviously the state of being, not the band).

That was it for me. I’d already taken the bait, but the hook was set at that point in time.

From that moment forward, it was hard to drag me away from the guitar. I got a book called “How to Play Lead Guitar” from the Brookhaven library, where I learned a couple scales and a few more “Chuck Berry licks,” as the book referred to them.

Yeah, that’s how important Chuck Berry is to rock n’ roll guitar. That book contained no “George Harrison licks,” no “Bo Diddley licks,” no “B.B. King licks,” and no “Keith Richards licks.” There were just “guitar licks” and “Chuck Berry licks.”

There might have been a few co-authors of the form, but Berry wrote the figurative book on the matter.

The first time I hung out with Bobby Sutliff, he showed me a bunch of less-familiar CB riffs. That had a strong effect on my approach to lead guitar. (Not to stray too far off course, but Bobby really has an encyclopedic knowledge of that stuff. I’ve seen seasoned pros pull him aside so he can show them that killer ascending bit in the “Let it Rock” solo.)

I often joke that my approach to soloing is just Jeff Beck’s solo on “Heart Full of Soul” combined with a handful of Chuck Berry licks, that anything else is just over-achieving. But I’m only half-kidding.

So here’s to Chuck Berry, who was set to release his first record in years at the age of 90. This has been all about his influence on rock n’ roll guitar, but there’s a whole ‘nuther tome that could be written on his contributions to the poetry of the medium.

There won’t be another one like him.

Watch Samantha Fish’s “Chills & Fever” Video

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Smokin’ title track to the guitarist’s new album.

By Fred Mills

Easily one of the best album to date this year is blues guitar whiz Samantha Fish’s Chills & Fever, which dropped this week via the Ruf label. It’s a collection of smokin’ tunes that our reviewer describes as” a blisteringly fine set of rocking soul that both showcases Fish’s estimable fretboard skills and demonstrates her intuitive gifts in selecting classic, maximum-impact material to perform.”

Fish recently delivered a video for the title track, and you can check it out below. Our reviewer was pretty stoked about the tune itself, calling it a “shudder/shimmy/shake appropriation of R&B perennial “Chills & Fever”—which some may recall from Tom Jones’ over-the-top performance—that is authentic enough to give Amy Winehouse nu-soul devotees pause.”

MP3: Download Wilco’s 2/25/17 Chicago FM B-cast

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Chicago is the place!

By Uncle Blurt

Love me some Wilco – the band is arguably the best American combo going right now. So here’s a good ‘un for all my fellow Wilco fanatics – the Chicago bros on home turf (the Chicago Theater, natch), serving up a heaping helping of recent album Wilco Schmilco alongside a ton of fun fan faves. The ever-diligent archivists at Big O zine have rounded up MP3 downloads of the FM broadcast Chicago punters were privy to, and there’s some sweet downloadable artwork as well. Link is below, followed by the full tracklising.

MP3: Wilco – Chicago Theater, Chicago, IL; February 25, 2017

Disc 1

      Track 101
. Announcer 2:11
      Track 102
. Normal American Kids 2:59
      Track 103
. If I Ever Was a Child 3:12
      Track 104
. Cry All Day 4:31
      Track 105
. Sunken Treasure 6:35
      Track 106
. Kamera 3:20
      Track 107
. The Joke Explained 3:48
      Track 108
. Someone to Lose 3:39
      Track 109
. Misunderstood 4:26
      Track 110
. The Lonely 4:12
      Track 111
. Impossible Germany 9:40
      Track 112
. Shouldn’t Be Ashamed 3:29
      Track 113
. We Aren’t the World (Safety Girl) 3:24
      Track 114
. Dawned on Me 4:14
      Track 115
. Theologians 4:55
65 mins

Disc 2

      Track 201
. Via Chicago 5:32
      Track 202
. Jesus, Etc 5:11
      Track 203
. Locator 4:40
      Track 204
. Heavy Metal Drummer 3:20
      Track 205
. I’m the Man Who Loves You 4:08
      Track 206
. Hummingbird 3:43
      Track 207
. The Late Greats 3:10
      Track 208
. Box Full of Letters 3:36
      Track 209
. Random Name Generator 4:40
      Track 210
. Red-Eyed and Blue 2:27
      Track 211
. I Got You (At the End of the Century) 4:00
      Track 212
. Outtasite (Outta Mind) 2:37
      Track 213
. Spiders (Kidsmoke) 10:35
      Track 214
. A Shot in the Arm (Acoustic) 4:32
63 mins

Video Premiere: Tarrant – “Cheap Shit from China”

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Some red-hatted types want to make America grate (on your nerves) again. Luckily, we have this awesome Richmond band who feels your pain….

By Blurt Staff

Update March 22: As it turns out, Fox harbors a deep affection for Donald Trump, because they objected to some film footage used in the clip and subsequently had the video removed. Who knew an indie band, and by extension BLURT, could rattle cages with such aplomb! So the band has re-edited it, and we are duly re-posting it. Enjoy!

It’s a reasonable question the band asks: “From The Snuggie to the The Clapper, America loves a bargain. But does America really need any of this stuff?”

That would be Tarrant, rockers from Richmond, Virginia, in their new video “Cheap Shit from China,” and if the song title alone doesn’t pretty much tell the story to you, then bubba, we’ve got a Trump steak we wanna sell you. The rest of you, however, just settle in and check out the clip. We are confident it will, er, resonate:

It’s not just about American consumerism, however, as the images of Trump crap – both Donald’s ties, shirts, and hats, and Ivanka’s clothing line – suggest. Did ya notice all those “made in China” tags? As the band notes, “Think of this video as an artistic rebuke to President Trump’s populism. A creative ying to Trumps’ erroneous wire tapp (sic) yang [and] baseless late night Twitter posts which culminate in an endless series of terrifying CNN Breaking News updates each day. Or more succinctly: A NEW LOW! SAD!” Put another way, hashtag style: #WeUnderstandThatAsCorporateEntitiesOurPresenceInCertainDiscussionsIsNotAlwaysRequiredSoWeWillStriveToLimitOurActivitiesToJustSellingYouShit

Tarrant is notching plenty of acclaim for their debut EP, Lazarus, and for their dynamic, roots-rock-raveup stage presence. The lineup includes lead singer/guitarist/primary songwriter Jordan Tarrant, guitarist/mandolinist Jared Pool, drummer Dusty Simmons, and bassist Kai Eason, plus auxiliary member Craig Harmon playing Hammond B-3, Wurlitzer and steel guitar. With Jordan Tarrant’s friend and producer Russell Lacy helping to steer the ship in the studio, they’re clearly poised to break nationally.

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The single for the song drops this Friday, March 17, via the Funzalo label. You can get more info about the band and their plan on the web:

https://www.facebook.com/tarrantmusic/

http://funzalorecords.com/

T

 

 

 

Last Waltz 40 Tour Gets Underway Again

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Heading back up to Cripple Creek one last time….

By Blurt Staff

What do Warren Haynes and Danny Louis of Govt. Mule, Dr. John, Jamey Johnson, Don Was, Terence Higgins, and Mark Mullins have in common? They’re all devotees of the legendary swansong by The Band—The Last Waltz, which took place four decades ago in San Francisco. This past December the the Last Waltz 40 Band convened in Asheville, NC, for the annual Haynes Christmas Jam, a benefit concert for Habitat For Humanity. Now the tour, having completed the first leg, will be kicking off a second leg March 30 in Dallas, then for the next couple of weeks will hit select markets in the Midwest and West.

By all accounts, this will be a big deal, particularly for folks—which would be just about everybody on the musical planet—who know the artists and songs from The Last Waltz album and Martin Scorcese-filmed documentary. In addition to the folks listed above, there will be an all-star horn section led by Mullins and featuring the original horn arrangements of Allen Toussaint, plus very special guests Garth Hudson (some dates), Cyril Neville, Dave Malone, and Bob Margolin. Other guests to be announced as the tour unfolds.

Go here for the full itinerary.

Video Premiere: Kennedy “Bareback”

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Yes, this IS the droid you’re looking for…

By Blurt Staff

That’s just Kennedy—no additional names required. You might recall the Cali artist from his days in an early lineup of Silversun Pickups or perhaps as the house bandleader at the original Largo comedy night, or perhaps from his London-based collective Nightbus. There have also been underground hits, such as club anthem “Karate” as well as viral video “Your Mama”, and collaborations with Grizfolk and BØRNS. Now he’s dropped a new single, “Bareback,” which he describes as “a seemingly impossible mashup of techno and country, equal parts Walker: Texas Ranger meets Star Trek: The Next Generation. Robots, line dancing, cowgirls, pick-ups and automatic weapons play a part in this slick EDM-inspired extravaganza video.” You can check out the video for it right here:

Notes Kennedy, “I put together the song and video while I was producing and writing the new Striking Matches album in Nashville because I really wanted to combine two totally different genres,” said producer/performer Kennedy. “Country and Techno go together like whiskey and Tinder. And I swear, I really was county before country was cool.” Incidentally, that’s Nashville musician A.J. Hobbs in the video.

Check out Kennedy’s Soundcloud page for plenty more music. Visit his Facebook page as well.