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“We’re Just a Fun Band”: Springsteen Trib Group Busted by Fans, Dumps Trump

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“Just a job to us”: Blood money apparently trumped integrity until the public found out.

By Uncle Blurt

What took you so long, guys?

Bruce Springsteen tribute band the B Street Band‘ has bowed out of a scheduled appearance at this week’s Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala following an outcry from Springsteen fans rightly claiming that to perform in honor of Donald Trump would be an affront both to Springsteen’s public statements denouncing the President-elect and to his well-documented social stances.

Deluged by the media for commentary, B Street Band frontman Will Forte told Rolling Stone, “All this stuff made it clear to us that this event is not worth it. It’s just a job to us. We’re just trying to hold up a contract. We’re not trying to prove anything. We’re just a fun band!”

“Fun band” or not, it would appear that the B Streeters were having a dandy time up until this morning, when the shit hit the fan. The backstory is that the group had performed the event in 2009 and 2013, subsequently signing up well in advance for the 2017 bash – understandable; and of course at that time, no one could foresee Trump becoming the man whose looming presidency would be the focus of the Jersey celebration. But hey – its been over TWO MONTHS since the winner of the election was announced, and thus the B Street Band has been on notice for two months who they would be shilling, er, playing for in January; it’s not like they suddenly woke up today from a deep slumber to the news. Not to mention the fact that Springsteen made his feelings about Trump known quite some time ago.

Hey Will Forte, you can talk about contracts all you want, but get real, bro. There’s such a thing as integrity, too. Your band had full intentions of getting paid for performing at the Trump event until you got busted by the fans.

Forte further advised Springsteen site Backstreets, clearly trying to cover his ass, in a public statement. Note the emphasis word “solely.”

With deepest apologies to our fans and the New Jersey Inaugural Ball committee, the B Street Band is withdrawing from performing at this year’s inauguration Gala.

Our decision is based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band.

Bruce’s music has been the foundation of our livelihood. The B Street Band would not exist without the talents of Bruce and our E Street brothers.

We are most grateful to these rock legends and look forward to many more years of emulating and performing the Forever Music, of Bruce Springsteen.

Now, just to be fair, Forte offered some less-rehearsed statements to the NY Times last week, although at the time he seemed so caught on the defensive that he wanted to promote the notion that his band was suddenly under the microscope because so many other artists were either declining to play for Trump or were pulling out under pressure. He also floated the concept of “honoring commitments,” which in his group’s case, would have been FINANCIAL commitments, wholly separate from any ethical ones.

Well, that’s why you call it “ethics” – a lot of folks over the years have chosen to face legalities of varying severity (for the B Streeters, a potential breach-of-contract suit, one supposes) rather than compromise their principles. That’s something one might reasonably expect of Springsteen himself.

In fact; “principles” is partly what Springsteen’s career was built upon. Largely, even. Clearly, for an act like the B Street Band, it’s easier and more convenient to talk the talk (i.e., play “Born To Run” and all those other songs night after night to fist-pumping crowds hungry for their favorite Boss numbers) than to walk the walk.

With that all said – and off my chest, because I’ve been a Springsteen fan since the early ’70s, and I suspect Forte has been, too, so in another reality, he might be the one writing this editorial about me had I taken up music as a career – let’s all agree that this is a most fucked up situation and everyone can learn a lot from it. Starting with humility, and continuing with forgiveness. Speaking personally, I will be first in line if the B Street Band comes to town, because I want to hear the songs in any context they are offered.

That doesn’t mean I won’t go up to Forte and engage him, even challenge him, on all this (no doubt he’ll be very, very sick of hearing about it by then). But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, because that’s probably what Bruce would do, too. Everyone’s human. Everyone screws up. Lord knows I have plenty of times over the years.

 

 

Sturgill Simpson Tears It Up on “Saturday Night Live”

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By Barbi Martinez

Aside from Alec Baldwin channeling some dude named… um, what was his name? Oh yeah, John Kasich! So aside from that, alt-country outlaw Sturgill Simpson was the standout of last night’s “Saturday Night Live,” doing “Keep It Between the Lines” and “Call to Arms” fromhis most recent album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Dig it:

Photo Credit: NBC

Modern Harmonic Goes All “Winter In Space” On Ya

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Sun Ra, Tom Glazer/Dottie Evans, Attilio Mineo all get special releases.

By Blurt Staff

Friday the 13th has arrived, so the estimable Modern Harmonic label is in full celebration mode, natch. What, you don’t celebrate lucky Friday? We here at BLURT do a special “vinyl dance” each time Friday the 13th rolls around. At any rate, call Modern Harmonic’s event the first official “Winter In Space” bash, with a handful of space themed records.

Initially, there was the special Sun Ra release for Record Store Day’s “Black Friday” event in November, At Inter-Media Arts April 1991, and response was massive, particularly for the special triple vinyl version of the 2CD set. That was followed by the first-ever collection of the Ra Arkestra’s vocal tracks, The Space Age is Here to Stay, a single-CD or single-LP limited edition. Now comes The Sun Ra 7” Singles Series, a trifecta of wax featuring classic Ra recordings on the A-side and unissued material on the B-side.

But wait, there’s more. Dig the first ever vinyl LP reissue of Tom Glazer & Dottie Evans’ Space Songs, a record created for children in the 60’s but coveted by adults today, and Attilio Mineo’s Man In Space With Sound, a platter of beautifully textured space sounds with period-perfect narration (created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair), which will be reissued on a custom colored vinyl LP and deluxe CD with a coloring book style insert. Check out the “Winter In Space” collection trailer below, followed by release info on the aforementioned titles.

Tom Glazer & Dottie Evans – Space Songs – LP
The first ever vinyl reissue of an extraordinarily unique space age educational LP on red vinyl. Includes the oft covered “A Shooting Star Is Not A Star” and “Why Does The Sun Shine?”, popularized in recent years by They Might Be Giants.  The album features Leo Leonni cover art and pressed from the original atomic-era 1959 master tapes. The music was written by Hy Zaret and sung by famed folk singers Tom Glazer & Dottie Evans. Zaret (co-author of “Unchained Melody”) turned his attention to educational children’s music in the late 1950s, collaborating with Lou Singer on a six-album series called “Ballads for the Age of Science.” Space Songs stands alone as the most essential volume in a series that also featured songs about energy and motion, experiments, weather, and nature.

 

Attilio Mineo – Man In Space With Sounds – LP / CD
Taxi to tomorrow with this saucer of space-age sounds! Created for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle (famed for the unveiling of the iconic Space Needle), this album bundles beautifully textured interstellar sounds with period-perfect narration. In anticipation of the World’s Fair, Attilio mined these pieces from his archive and paired them with out-of-this-world narration to guide the journey. Featuring an inebriated burlesque of circus organs, tipsily galloping bongo beats and electronic hydrazine expectorations, the unearthly musical tracks were released in 1959, but its roots go as far back as 1951 when Mineo carved out many of the uncanny melodies. The narration is a milky way of recognizable sound bites that have been widely sampled over the years. Available on a choice of cosmic swirly green and yellow vinyl and packaged in a stunning gatefold jacket or a CD with a coloring book style insert; this is the kind of future the Seattle State World’s Fair promised!

 

Sun Ra & his Interplanetary Vocal Arkestra – The Space Age Is Here To Stay Double Album
The Space Age Is Here To Stay contains over 75 minutes of vocal performances – audible perfection. This is the very first collection of Sun Ra’ s vocal tracks — two albums’ worth of mind-blowing tunes from the mind of the Man from Saturn. Featuring album art interpreted from the work of “the father of modern space art,” Chesley Bonestell, including extensive liner notes from Charles Blass of Sun Radio. It is available on CD or a double LP: cue this one up and get ready to visit other worlds in Sun Ra’ s jazz rocket ship!

 

The Modern Harmonic Sun Ra 7” Singles Series 

Modern Harmonic has created a set of three 7” Sun Ra singles for the “Winter In Space” event, featuring six collectable interplanetary releases featuring art from the cream of the crop of science fiction illustrators. The singles will all be issued on colored vinyl, packaged in custom made space-age style envelope sleeves with liner notes by Charles Blass of Sun Radio and cover artwork by icons of the Sci-Fi world including Dune artist John Schoenherr and “the father of modern space art” Chesley Bonestell, each adapted for Modern Harmonic by John Sellards. The 7”singles will feature a celebrated Sun Ra recording on the A-side with an unissued track on the B-side.

 

Incoming: New Peter Holsapple (dB’s) Single

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Is a full length in the offing? As the artist himself notes, “I thought it might be easier to only give people a couple things to chew on, just to get my name around again. Hence, a 45.” Um, we keep your name around, so don’t worry about that, brutha!

By Fred Mills

What would you say to a new record from Peter Holsapple? Maybe you’d think, “Awesome! I love the dB’s!” Or possibly even, “Awesome! I love the Continental Drifters!” Or maybe you’re kinda like yours truly, and the rest of the North Carolina-based braintrust of BLURT, and you simply say, “Hell yeah, support the home team!”

Our fellow Tarheel and Durham resident (not to mention Winston-Salem ex-pat) Holsapple is self-releasing a new vinyl 45 record, “Don’t Mention the War” b/w “Cinderella Style on his own Hawthorne Curve Records. The single drops Feb. 4, and while we presume you will be of a vinyl inclinations, the songs will also be available for purchase as digital downloads at the usual online kiosks.

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The details, courtesy the Holsapple camp:

“Don’t Mention the War” is a poignant look at one man’s post-traumatic stress syndrome and how it affects his adoring nephew. With low, somber brass (Mark Daumann on tuba) and echoes of battles past, this is another engaging Holsapple story-song, steeped in dark emotions and vivid character assessment.

“Cinderella Style” doesn’t sound like a typical Peter Holsapple song, but then again, is there such a thing? This delicate tune visits a darkened sewing room for a look around and a quick reminisce. Rising star Skylar Gudasz lends her flute to the recording, and the whole thing is light, clean and just a little foreboding.

Joining Holsapple are James Wallace (Max Indian, Phil Cook) and Mark Simonsen (The Old Ceremony). They had convened in Simonsen’s studio last year to record “hi-fi versions” of tracks the songwriter had previously put out on the Radio Free Song Club podcast. “James and Mark were willing to take the plunge and make this record with me,” says Holsapple. “They brought years of recording and arranging experience to the project, and we’re all well pleased with how the songs turned out.”

Boy howdy to that, sir. We’ll be making space on our record shelf beside the P.H. “Big Black Truck” 45 and “dB’s In A Can” album come Feb. 4. Meanwhile, let’s review:

 

Watch Awesome New Rachael Sage Video: “Try Try Try”

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Song taken from acclaimed, Grammy-nominated most recent album Choreographic.

By Blurt Staff

It will come as no secret to regular BLURT readers that NYC-based Rachael Sage is among our favorite singer-songwriters—not to mention a source of massive admiration for her pioneering efforts in the indie record label milieu. Raise your hand if you own albums by Sage and other artists on her visionary MPress label. We’ve covered this brainy-yet-sensual songbird often, from record reviews and even more record reviews to video and track unveilings and more.

So her most recent album Choreographic has this stunning track called “Try Try Try,” and we are not shy about telling you that it’s a must-see. Check it out:

Sage will be performing in slightly less than a week in NYC (Jan. 17, Rockwood Music Hall), and she’ll be showing the video that night—YOU, gentle BLURT-ers, get the advance peek, before the New York gig and before she kicks off her Choreographic tour that will take up all of Feb. and March. Indeed, from Feb. 11-Mar. 4, Sage teams up with blues rocker Beth Hart for concerts, and then shortly after that, starting Mar. 8, she heads to the UK where she’ll be the opening act for British pop icon Howard Jones.

According to Sage and MPress:

“The song ‘Try Try Try’ perfectly melds classical ballet with edgy guitar-pop, creating what Sage playfully terms “ballet-pop”. Directed by award-winning filmmaker/photographer Tom Moore, the clip features an original pas de deux created by renowned choreographer Sarah O’Gleby (Tony Awards, The Oscars, Ted 2), performed by ballerina Abigail Simon (American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet) and dancer/actor Marty Lawson (Smash, Movin’ Out, Shrek The Musical). Sage also appears in the vibrant, highly stylized video rocking out on her glittery Gretsch electric guitar alongside members of her live band The Sequins. Sage is a former dancer herself who attended The School Of American Ballet in her teens, and her music has been used extensively on Lifetime’s hit TV show, Dance Moms, which has featured Rachael’s music in many winning routines performed by breakout star Maddie Ziegler. “Try Try Try” was co-produced by Sage with Andy Zulla (Kelly Clarkson, Idina Menzel), and recently charted at #6 on AC Radio. Sage hopes that dancers and non-dancers alike will enjoy her latest video for one reason above all: ‘This is a song about that moment where you decide to throw all your plans out the window and commit to the unexpected. It’s about embracing love when every fiber in your being is telling you to protect yourself and run – and I think we can all use a bit of that sentiment right now!’”

Incidentally, Sage garnered an impressive 10 pre-nominations for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best American Roots Performance, Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals, Best Engineered Album, Producer of the Year, and Best Music Video for “I Don’t Believe It”. Winners will be announced during the television/Radio broadcast on February 12, 2017.

Hey, Grammy voters – if you need any info or nudges…. call us.

Mo’ Roo Fo’ You in 2017

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The Bonnaroo team have outdone themselves again! With a diverse lineup and big names spread over four days, this will be another great year on the farm! Use the search bar to see our past years coverage. See you on the farm and look for our photos and coverage to follow. As a photographer for BLURT I also shot the 2016 event for us and lived to tell about it!

By Mark Jackson

Oh, Bonnaroo, how do we love thee? Let moi count the ways: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper, the Weeknd, Major Lazer, Lorde, the xx, Flume, Travis Scott, Cage the Elephant, the Head and the Heart, Future Islands, Marshmello, Glass Animals, Portugal. The Man, Tove Lo, Tegan and Sara, Cold War Kids, Tory Lanez, Umphrey’s McGee, Car Seat Headrest, D.R.A.M., Flatbush Zombies, Margo Price, the Front Bottoms, Claude VonStroke, Michael Kiwanuka, Royal Blood, Yellow Claw, Milky Chance and Francis and the Lights.

Among many more – see the below poster, and many, many, many more, no doubt, to come. According to Bonnaroo’s organizers, “The 2017 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will take place June 8 – 11, held as always at Great Stage Park (aka “The Farm”), the spectacular 700-acre farm and event space located just 60 miles south of Nashville in Manchester, TN. Tickets – including General Admission, VIP, and the brand new Platinum Pass – are on sale now, exclusively via www.bonnaroo.com.”

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2017 Moogfest Announced; 1st Artist Roster

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A theme of protest, too, as befits this HB2-infected state of North Carolina.

By Uncle Blurt

Man, I miss the old Asheville Moogfest… something about that mountain town (and the fact that Moog Music was and still is located in Asheville) just made it perfect for a visionary electronic experience. You can sniff around on the BLURT site for our coverage of Moogfest over the years, including the early events.

That said, the fest’s current, slightly more corporate, iteration in Durham, NC, is pretty ace, indeed – check some of our coverage from last year HERE. It would appear that a lot of artists, who would have previously been inclined to boycott North Carolina due to the onerous anti-LBGTQ atmosphere Republicans set into motion with the “bathroom bill” HB2, are now willing to come and take a musical stand for inclusiveness.

The 2017 Moogfest now looms, in Durham on May 18-21, with initial performers being Wolf Eyes, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) & the Haxan Cloak, “Stranger Things” composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of SURVIVE, Moor Mother, Laraaji, Nona Hendryx, Syrinx, Jas Shaw, Wolf Eyes, Visible Cloaks, and Laraaji. Plenty more, obviously, to be announced.

Details, including ticketing info, at the Moogfest website. Hey Moogfest, why not have at least a couple of hometown celebrations in Asheville to lead up to the event, hmmm?

Listen to Surprise David Bowie “No Plan” EP

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By Blurt Staff

On what would have been David Bowie’s 70th birthday, his estate and label surprise-released the 4-song “No Plan” EP, which features the hit “Lazarus” plus the final three songs the artist recorded. Below is the Spotify link, as well as the video for “No Plan.” Meanwhile, check out our one-year-anniversary-of-Bowie’s-death tribute, “Through the (Stained) Looking Glass,” about his Berlin period.

Here’s the Spotify link:

Jazz Critic Nat Hentoff 1925-2017 R.I.P.

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The music world loses a genuine lion of journalism.

By Fred Mills

He was perhaps the greatest, most intuitive music critic ever—not simply for the jazz milieu. Nathan Irving “Nat” Hentoff passed away Saturday, Jan. 7, at the age of 91, of natural causes at his NYC apartment, his son Tom told the Associated Press. Hentoff is said to have “died surrounded by family listening to Billie Holiday, his son Nick tweeted.

According to Rolling Stone, the Boston-born Hentoff was first a radio personality with a weekly jazz program in Boston.

“In 1953, Hentoff moved to New York City and began writing for jazz magazine Down Beat; he was fired from that job in 1957 after attempting to employ an African-American writer. The following year, Hentoff joined the Village Voice, where he served as columnist for the next 50 years, writing about a myriad of subjects involving politics, education, religion and, most importantly to him, freedom of speech and First Amendment issues.

“In addition to his syndicated column, Hentoff continued to write about jazz, co-founding the Jazz Review and authoring over a handful of books on the genre, including The Jazz Makers (with Nat Shapiro), The Jazz Life and Jazz Is.”

Hentoff was a prolific writer, not just about jazz, publishing scores of books, writing for numerous magazines and newspapers, and even penning the liner notes for 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. He wrote liners for a number of jazz albums as well.

In 2014, a documentary about Hentoff, The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Notes on the Life of Nat Hentoff, was released. Below, watch the trailer, as well as a couple of interviews in which he weighs in on jazz, naturally, as well as free speech and—timely enough—hate crimes.

For The Love Of Zines! Review Bonus: Ugly Things

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Tim Hinely, of Dagger zine fame, and a longtime contributor/blogger here at BLURT, has been posting his “For The Love Of Zines!” blog for a number of years now. He recently grabbed the most recent issues of legendary/long-running garage/psych/punk fanzine Ugly Things, which of course is the brainchild of the equally legendary Mike Stax. We decided that Tim’s appreciation for all things U.T. was worth a standalone kudos, so without further you know what…Pictured above: issue #42. Down below: #43.

BY TIM HINELY

Ugly Things (issues #42 and 43): Man, I never miss an issue of Ugly Things. A few months ago I walked into Twist & Shout and saw issue #42 (with The Weirdos!) and ended up buying a few records instead, figuring I’ll buy the ish of U.T. next time. Well, next time it wasn’t there and no other store in town had it. I panicked for a bit…then realized I could mailorder it so I did and found out that there was a brand new ish, #$43 so ordered that as well! Editor/publisher Mike Stax used to pop out a new issue about once a year, but these days I think he’s on a two-a-year schedule (better for us fans of the mag).

As it says at the top of the mag every issue, “Wild sounds from past dimensions” so yeah, Stax and his crew are all about the old stuff from previous decades (usually the 60’s). Eash issue is about 150 pages with a nice, hard-stock color cover. Ok, in issue #42 , as mentioned, you’ve got The Weirdos plus Paul Samwell-Smith of The Yardbirds, The Penetrators, The Carnaby and more as well as a boatload of reviews of records,  books, dvds. There’s also plenty of columns from Stax and his motley crew.

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The brand spankin’ new issue #43 has got San Francisco proto-punks Crime as well as piece on Thing to Come, Bent Wind, The Turtles, Music Machine, and more. A few of my favorite columnists both show up in #43, Ric Menck’s Call Me Lightning column and Doug Sheppard’s Electric Sailing are both back (Doug’s column was in both, but Ric’s was not in #42) plus they’ve added my old pal Tim Stegall on to the staff to handle some reviews, too.  U.T. is always a great read, but now has gotten even better.

So there you have it, if you’re a fan then you’ve already got both of these issue and if you’ve never checked out U.T. well, what are you waiting for, call! (Operators are standing by; tell ‘em BLURT and Dagger zine sent ya.)

www.ugly-things.com