Monthly Archives: April 2016

Eddie Watkins (ex-Polvo) R.I.P.

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The drummer is pictured in the photo above on the right.

By Fred Mills

Pretty much anybody who was living in North Carolina in the early/mid ‘90s and immersed in the indie rock scene – and quite a few not from NC as well – knows how unique Chapel Hill’s Polvo, who launched in 1990 and went on to release a series of groundbreaking records. (Must-hear: 1992 LP Cor-Crane Secret.) The group was formed by guitarists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski, bassist Steve Popson, and drummer Eddie Watkins. Watkins was a member through three albums, leaving after 1996’s Exploded Drawings, with Polvo breaking up two years later; the group got back together in ’08 but Watkins by then had moved on to non-musical pursuits

Watkins, we have now learned passed away this weekend, the cause of death not yet disclosed.

Mac McCaughan of Merge Records and Superchunk wrote in a statement on Facebook, ” Stunned and saddened to hear of Eddie Watkins’ passing. It took a unique drummer to make those Polvo records & they are some of my favorite records, period. Classics. Sweet guy to be with on tour and in the studio. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.” The comments following McCaughan’s post clearly show that the man was deeply loved and respected.

According to Brooklyn Vegan, “Watkins, according to his personal website, was also a father, librarian, chef, and cyclist living in Durham, NC.”

Track Premiere: Adam Bricks “When You Smile”

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Taken from the anti-folk artist’s new album due in early May.

By Blurt Staff

Hailing from Houston is singer-songwriter (and “anti-folk” artist) Adam Bricks, whose sophomore full-length, Relations arrives May 6. We are very happy to already be down with the anti-folk sentiment, so let’s proceed directly to a premiere of ace album track “When You Smile.” Check it out:

Bricks commented, on the track, “I wrote it after watching the movie Blue is The Warmest Color. I think its about having feelings and not knowing what to do with them.”

The backstory: From the NYC anti-folk scene to Houston’s tight knit growing music community, Bricks is known for his intense story based songwriting. Since his first release, “Clock Crash EP”, in 2011 he has played throughout the east coast as well as in his home state of Texas. His upcoming Relations LP is out May 6th and more personal record than ever before. It’s a record about relations between lovers, friends, and people in general. There are darker songs like “Sad Song” and lighter ones like “Something Real” but they all tie into different ways “I feel towards people,” Bricks explains. “It’s Indie Rock with some Alt Folk thrown in.”

Check him out on the web:

https://adambricks.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AdamBricksMusic/

 

Listen to Chris Cornell’s Prince Cover

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By Blurt Staff

Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell cut a version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and posted it online late last week. According to Cornell:

“Prince’s music is the soundtrack to the soulful and beautiful universe he created, and we have all been privileged to be part of that amazing world. I performed his song “Nothing Compares 2 U” for the first time a couple months ago. It has a timeless relevance for me and practically everyone I know. Sadly, now his own lyrics in this song could not be more relevant than at this moment, and I sing them now in reverence as I pay tribute to this unequaled artist who has given all of our lives so much inspiration and made the world so much more interesting. We will miss you Prince!!!”

Billy Paul 1934-2016 R.I.P.

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“Me and Mrs. Jones” is eternal.

By Blurt Staff

Soul legend Billy Paul (born Paul Williams) passed away yesterday (April 24), at the age of 80. According to the New York Times, “Paul, whose career spanned for more than 60 years, died at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, his co-manager, Beverly Gay, told The Associated Press. Paul had been diagnosed recently with pancreatic cancer, Gay said.”

Paul was a mainstay of the Philly Soul scene, working with Gamble & Huff and Philadelphia International Records – and topping the charts with the Grammy-winning ‘72 song “Me and Mrs. Jones.” The 360 Degrees of Billy Paul album hit number 1 on the soul charts and number 17 on the pop charts.

In a statement, the songwriting duo noted that Paul’s voice made him “one of the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide. Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’ In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.”

The Times noted that Paul – who grew up in Philadelphia got his start in the late Forties but began to hone his signature pop/soul sound when the Beatles hit – was still performing up until the time of his illness. Among his other popular songs were “Be Truthful to Me,” “Let’s Make a Baby,” “How Good is Your Game, “I Trust You” and a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Let ‘em In.”

There was also a film about Paul in 2009, Am I Black Enough For You?, titled after a controversial Paul song and directed by Sweden’s Goran Hugo Olsson. According to the YouTube trailer blurb, “Am I Black Enough for You? started out as a devoted fan-film but soon turned into a major cinematic hold on the life and artistry of soul legend Billy Paul, the Philly Sound of the 70s and the life of the city of Philadelphia. And last but not least Am I Black Enough For You tells the story about the lifelong companionship between Billy and his wife Blanche. A film packed with soul, love and life’s complications.”

Kraftwerk Announce U.S. Tour – in 3D

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Er, yes, but… when a band is onstage, isn’t it already in all three dimensions?

By Barbi Martinez

Get ready to hit the North American autoban starting in September: that’s when Kraftwerk will bring their 3D Tour to the U.S. for nine choice dates. There will also a show in Detroit on May 28 for the Movement Detroit festival. Full dates are listed below.

5-28 Detroit, MI – Movement Detroit
7-25 Verona, Italy – Arena Di Verona
7-29 Sopot, Poland – Opera Lesna
7-31 Stockholm, Sweden – Stockholm Music and Arts
8-04-07 Oslo, Norway – Den Norske Opera (The Catalogue 12345678 performance)
9-03 Bethesda, MD – The Music Center at Strathmore
9-06 Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
9-07 Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
9-09 New Orleans, LA – The Orpheum
9-10 Dallas, TX – Bomb Factory
9-12 San Antonio, TX – Tobin Center
9-15 Phoenix, AZ – Orpheum Theater
9-16 San Diego, CA – Balboa Theatre
9-18 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
10-07-14 Bilbao, Spain – Museo Guggenheim (The Catalogue 12345678 performance)

Lonnie Mack 1941-2016 R.I.P.

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Wham.

By Blurt Staff

Blues, rockabilly and rock guitar legend Lonnie Mack passed away Thursday (April 21) in Nashville at the age of 74; the cause of death has not yet been disclosed, according to the New York Times.

Born in West Harrison, Indiana, Mack first hit the charts in ’63 with an instrumental version of Chuck Berry classic “Memphis,” and followed that with “Wham!” — the latter of course, along with the subsequent album in ’64, The Wham of That Memphis Man, helping give Mack his “Wham! The Memphis Man” nickname, so influential was the vibrator bar guitar effects in the song. (That’s why we now call it a whammy bar.)

Mack went on to be a major influence upon everyone from Duane Allman to Jimmy Page to Stevie Ray Vaughan, although as the Times points out, “Mr. Mack tended to play down his importance. In a 2005 interview he said, “I was a bridge-over between the standard country licks in early rock ‘n’ roll and the screamin’ kinda stuff that came later. I started off in bluegrass, before there was rock and roll. My family was like a family band. We sang and harmonized, and Dad played banjo. We were playing mostly gospel, bluegrass, and old-style country.”

Mack recorded for Alligator in later life and was also inducted into the Guitar Hall of Fame in ’01 and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in ’05.

Incoming: Unique Bob Dylan / Allen Ginsberg Box Set

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Beat it!

By Blurt Staff

Okay, so the header above is click bait – this is not a Dylan release, but it IS an Allen Ginsberg title featuring songs written and sung by the legendary Beat poet. The material is the product of archivist Pat Thomas spending several years digging through Ginsberg’s tape archive at Stanford University.

The 3 CD box set was originally recorded between 1971 and 1984 and features – get this – Arthur Russell on nearly every song, several with David Amram, plus Don Cherry with a cameo on kazoo. It’s due in May via Omnivore, and you can watch the teaser trailer, below.

Blues Foundation Awards & Hall of Fame Induction for May 4/5

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In Memphis, natch!

By Blurt Staff

On Thursday, May 5, 2016, the Blues Foundation will present its annual Blues Music Awards at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The Awards are universally regarded as the highest accolade afforded to blues performers, and the awards ceremony is widely recognized as the premier event for professionals, musicians and fans from around the world. The mission of the celebration is to honor the rich cultural tradition of the blues by recognizing the past year’s outstanding achievements in performance, songwriting and recording.  View the complete list of nominees, below.

Meanwhile, on May 4, at the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts, the Blues Foundation will induct five legendary artists into the Blues Hall of Fame: Elvin Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson, John Mayall, Memphis Jug Band, and Malaco Records’ Tommy Couch Sr. and Wolf Stephenson. Elected by a select group of respected blues scholars and industry veterans, Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their musical achievements and their contributions to blues history.

For more information: http://www.blues.org. Tickets and membership details are available at http://blues.org/blues-music-awards/2016-blues-music-awards/

 

37th Blues Music Award Nominees 

Acoustic Album 

Doug MacLeod – Exactly Like This

Duke Robillard – The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard

Eric Bibb – Blues People

Guy Davis – Kokomo Kidd

The Ragpicker String Band – The Ragpicker String Band 

 

Acoustic Artist 

Doug MacLeod Eric Bibb

Gaye Adegbalola

Guy Davis

Ian Siegal

 

Album 

Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades of Blue

Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar

James Harman – Bonetime

The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court

Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes

 

Band 

Andy T – Nick Nixon Band

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats

Sugar Ray & the Bluetones

The Cash Box Kings

Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots

 

B.B. King Entertainer 

John Németh

Rick Estrin

Shemekia Copeland

Sugaray Rayford

Victor Wainwright

 

Best New Artist Album 

Eddie Cotton – One at a Time

Igor Prado Band – Way Down South

Mighty Mike Schermer – Blues in Good Hands

Mr. Sipp – The Blues Child

Slam Allen – Feel These Blues

 

Contemporary Blues Album 

Buddy Guy – Born to Play Guitar

Eugene Hideaway Bridges – Hold on a Little Bit Longer

Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love

Sonny Landreth – Bound by the Blues

Sugaray Rayford – Southside

 

Contemporary Blues Female Artist 

Beth Hart Karen Lovely

Nikki Hill

Samantha Fish

Shemekia Copeland

 

Contemporary Blues Male Artist 

Brandon Santini

Eugene Hideaway Bridges

Jarekus Singleton

Joe Louis Walker

Sugaray Rayford

 

Historical Album 

The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Vol. 1, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest on Delta Groove Records

Hawk Squat by J. B. Hutto & His Hawks on Delmark Records

Southside Blues Jam by Junior Wells on Delmark Records

Buzzin’ the Blues by Slim Harpo on Bear Family Records

Dynamite! The Unsung King of the Blues by Tampa Red on Ace Records

 

Instrumentalist-Bass 

Charlie Wooten

Lisa Mann

Michael “Mudcat”

Ward Patrick Rynn

Willie J. Campbell

 

Instrumentalist-Drums 

Cedric Burnside

Jimi Bott

June Core

Tom Hambridge

Tony Braunagel

 

Instrumentalist-Guitar 

Anson Funderburgh

Kid Andersen

Monster Mike Welch

Ronnie Earl

Sonny Landreth

 

Instrumentalist-Harmonica 

Billy Branch

Brandon Santini

James Harman

Jason Ricci

Kim Wilson

 

Instrumentalist-Horn 

Al Basile

Doug James

Kaz Kazanoff

Sax Gordon

Terry Hanck

 

Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)

Diunna Greenleaf

Fiona Boyes

Ruthie Foster

Trudy Lynn

Zora Young

 

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player 

Allen Toussaint

Anthony Geraci

Barrelhouse Chuck

John Ginty

Victor Wainwright

 

Rock Blues Album of the Year

Joe Bonamassa – Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks

Joe Louis Walker – Everybody Wants a Piece

Royal Southern Brotherhood – Don’t Look Back

Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love

Walter Trout – Battle Scars

 

Song 

“Bad Feet/Bad Hair” written and performed by James Harman

“Fifty Shades of Blue” written by Anthony Geraci and performed by Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars

“Gonna Live Again” written and performed by Walter Trout

“Southside of Town” written by Sugaray Rayford and & Ralph Carter and performed by Sugaray Rayford

“You Got It Good (and That Ain’t Bad)” written and performed by Doug MacLeod

 

Soul Blues Album 

Bey Paule Band – Not Goin’ Away

Billy Price & Otis Clay – This Time for Real 

Jackie Payne – I Saw the Blues

Tad Robinson – Day into Night

Wee Willie Walker – If Nothing Ever Changes 

 

Soul Blues Female Artist 

Bettye LaVette

Dorothy Moore

Missy Anderson

Toni Lynn Washington

Vaneese Thomas

 

Soul Blues Male Artist 

Frank Bey

Jackie Payne

Johnny Rawls

Otis Clay

Wee Willie Walker

 

Traditional Blues Album 

Andy T – Nick Nixon Band – Numbers Man

Anthony Geraci & the Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades of Blue

Cedric Burnside Project – Descendants of Hill Country

James Harman – Bonetime

The Cash Box Kings – Holding Court

 

Traditional Blues Male Artist 

Cedric Burnside

Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin

James Harman

Jimmy Burns

John Prime

 

Watch New Those Pretty Wrongs (Big Star/Freewheelers) Video

Pretty Wrongs

New album out next month.

By Blurt Staff

As previously announced, Big Star’s Jody Stephens and the Freewheelers’ Luther Russell have assembled a new band they’re calling Those Pretty Wrongs. They’ve been recording at Ardent in Memphis and are even doing a handful of shows, with their self-titled debut due May 13 via Burger/Ardent. Meanwhile check out a video for their song “Never Goodbye,” directed by Luke Rathborne. (Via Stereogum)

04/22 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
05/01 Memphis, TN @ Beale Street Music Festival
05/02 Nashville, TN @ The Basement
07/08 Portland, OR @ Secret Society
07/09 Seattle, WA @ Summer Stag Party @ Slim’s Last Chance

Prince Tributes Pour Forth from Musicians

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More certainly will be coming.

By Blurt Staff

As news reports and retrospectives about Prince and his sudden passing yesterday, fan tributes have been taking place all over the globe, including outside Minneapolis venue First Avenue and under the marquee of NYC’s Apollo Theatre. Musicians of all stripes, sensibilities and genres have been making their feelings known – everyone from Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and Chuck D to Bon Iver, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and DJ Shadow.

Go over to Pitchfork to read a nicely-compiled selection of the artists’ postings, tweets, Instagrams and more.