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Last Build Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:21:35 +0000

 



New George Harrison Material

Tue, 08 May 2012 06:12:00 +0000

(image) We are huge George Harrison fans here at The Weight and we're excited that his camp recently released both the Martin Scorsese documentary, Living in a Material World, which premiered late last year on HBO, on DVD and Blu-Ray and an accompanying audio package of unreleased music from George's solo period. I haven't yet seen the documentary because I don't pay for HBO, so I was looking forward to eventually hearing when this would be available for purchase on DVD.  Looks like that answer is now.

Check out the Living in a Material World trailer



Warren Haynes Band: Tribute to Levon - 4/19/12

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 18:23:00 +0000

Last night, at the Charleston Music Hall, the Warren Haynes Band delivered an emotional run through of The Band's It Makes No Difference and The Weight as a tribute to the recently passed Levon Helm.  Check out the video:

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Thanks to our friend Ryan for the upload.



A Peaceful Man

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 20:37:00 +0000

To our namesake, rest easy old friend.

(image)
Levon Helm
(May 26, 1940 - April 19, 2012)



The Summer of Jerry: Days 5-8

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 18:26:00 +0000

Because of an impromptu camping trip in upstate New York this past weekend, I was unable to post the final installments of The Summer of Jerry.  So without further ado, I will consolidate all of the remaining clips into this last post.  I hope everyone took a moment yesterday to remember Jerry in their own meaningful way. 

Jerry & Bob poking fun at the media:

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I've seen this next clip (circa 1978) before and found it especially intriguing.  Jerry & a very-stoned and rambling John Kahn discuss the then fledgling punk/new wave genre, which includes commentary on Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, etc.   Whoever compiled this montage also included some compelling sound bytes which he/she felt demonstrated the influence of punk/new wave in the Dead's own music:

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This next clip actually comes from a small bit that originally aired on AMC called The Movie That Changed My Life.  Here, Jerry candidly discusses the tremendous impact that Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein had on his psyche as a child and his artistic and creative endeavors as an adult.  It is surmised that this film -- which was permanently engraved in Jerry's memory -- influenced much of the well-known skeleton iconography in the Dead's visual repertoire, including the animated sequences in The Grateful Dead Movie:

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And lastly, former President Bill Clinton ruminates about Jerry's legacy, his line of neckties, his death, and his ongoing drug problem -- Jerry's that is, not Bill's.  (note the trademark Clinton thumb gesturing at 0:46 when he starts lecturing about the dangers of drug addiction)

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The Summer of Jerry: Day 4

Thu, 04 Aug 2011 17:39:00 +0000

Those who have been to Bonnaroo are probably familiar with "SuperJam" -- an impromptu jam session starting at midnight which is comprised of different members from different bands (usually the headliners). The catch is that the audience typically doesn't know the lineup of the band until it starts.  Well, in the continuing spirit of my Jerry-themed posts this week, this next clip immediately brought to mind the SuperJam tradition.  Imagine stumbling into the Sweetwater Saloon, Mill Valley, CA on a random April evening only to catch this lineup: Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello, Sammy Hagar, Commander Cody (a/k/a George Frayne), James Burton (Keith Richards gave his induction speech at the Rock 'n' Roll HOF), Pete Sears (a one-time nominee to replace Brent Mydland), and others.  Too bad the 'Roo didn't exist in the 80's...

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The Summer of Jerry: Day 3

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:20:00 +0000

If only the Food Network existed in the 80's, we would have had a winner.  In this most bizarrely comedic clip, Chef Jerry Garcia demonstrates his culinary skills backstage at a Dead show on 12/31/85.  Jerry not only discusses his favorite hors d'oeuvres, but actually instructs on how to prepare them!  His daily specials include:  "lean" bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and bundt cake wedges.  I repeat:  bundt cake wedges.  The Dead were known for their comedic interviews -- especially those done by Al Franken during the historic 1980 Radio City shows -- but this one takes the cake (pun intended).

And no, you're not imagining things -- amongst those in the clip's intro are Mickey Hart, Ken Kesey, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.  Ummm...no comment.


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My favorite YouTube comment: 
"Doesn't EVERYONE keep their powdered sugar in a big zip lock bag?"



The Summer of Jerry: Day 2

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:46:00 +0000

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From left to right:  V. Clements, D. Grisman, J. Garcia, P. Rowan
In yesterday's clip, I alluded to Jerry's underrated yet exceptional talents on the pedal steel and banjo and thought I'd expand on that a bit more today.  In around 1973, Jerry formed Old and In the Way, a bluegrass "supergroup" of sorts, to pay homage to perhaps his first musical passion and the genre that undoubtedly influenced every facet of his diverse career.  The group consisted of Garcia on banjo/vocals, Peter Rowan on guitar/vocals, David Grisman on mandolin/vocals, Vassar Clements on fiddle and John Kahn on bass, all of whom Garcia continued to collaborate with throughout his career.  Up until that time, bluegrass records never achieved much in the way of commercial success, but all that changed in 1975 when the band's eponymous first album was released.  Astonishingly, the album was, and still is, one of the best-selling bluegrass albums of all-time, spending an unheard of 90+ weeks on the U.S. charts (It's true:  I picked up this album a few weeks back and haven't stop listening since).  Unfortunately, little-to-no video footage exists online (at least not that I could find, though the film Grateful Dawg might have some clips), so I'll leave you with an audio clip of the band's rendition of Rowan's "Midnight Moonlight," a tune frequently covered by JGB in later years. I think this song does a stellar job of displaying Jerry's accomplished banjo styling and the band's magnetic allure.

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I thought I'd throw in a bonus clip, which is too cool to pass up.  This is brief silent footage of a 21-year-old Garcia (circa 1963) pluckin' away at the banjo.  Most don't realize that the banjo was the first stringed instrument he learned to play.

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You Like Me Too Much

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 20:31:00 +0000


Could it be?  Is George Harrison still alive and well? Or is Dylan attempting to revisit his 1975 glory days? Oh, wait...it's just Jackie Greene.  I remember seeing Greene a few years back when he was a fresh-faced young lad touring with Phil & Friends, and I have to say, he's done some serious growing up.  Going from Noel Gallagher-Brit-pop-sheik to Harrison-Dylan- outlaw-period in just under 4 years is no easy task.  And for the record, I so wish I could grow hair like that.



 And just for fun:




The Summer of Jerry

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 15:35:00 +0000

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Garcia and Hart w/ NRPS
In order to properly celebrate the legacy of Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia, I thought I'd post 8 different clips over the next 8 days, beginning today, his birthday, and culminating on 8/9, the anniversary of his death.   This first clip, from the film Fillmore:  The Last Days (2009), includes rare live footage of Jerry on pedal steel rehearsing with NRPS.  There is a great quote from Bill Graham (included in the clip) who I think quintessentially sums up Jerry's mythic persona: "Jerry Garcia is the grand-daddy of them all...the big papa bear of what rock music should have been."  And think, that was in 1971; time has certainly proved Graham correct. 

Quick history for those who don't know:  Jerry was a founding member of the New Riders along with David Nelson and John Dawson (and very early on, Robert Hunter on bass and Mickey Hart on drums) with whom he played full-time until around 1971 when his responsibilities with the Dead became foremost priority.  Despite his short-lived career with NRPS, it is Jerry's contribution on pedal steel and banjo that in my view, exemplifies not only his immense instrumental versatility, but even more, confirms his unsung influence on the then pioneering alt-country genre.  

Despite his parting with the band, Jerry continued to play on future NRPS albums and record for scores of other bands, as he was well-known for his skilled session work.  Perhaps his most famous non-Dead contribution was for CSNY, for whom he played the haunting pedal steel part on "Teach Your Children."  After a long hiatus, Jerry broke out the steel when the Dead toured with Dylan in 1987, a photo of which is included below.



Jerry rehearsing with NRPS, Fillmore: The Last Days (2009)
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Throwing Stones

Fri, 29 Jul 2011 17:59:00 +0000

There is nothing more entertaining than watching awkward celebrity encounters.  So, I present for your viewing pleasure, one of the most awkward of such encounters I've seen, this time between Mick Jagger and Jerry Garcia.  The quick backstory is that they were all waiting for helicopters to take them to Altamont, which apparently never arrived, so they were forced to wait even longer for a plane.  No words can really describe the degree of awkwardness here, but Mick's reaction at 0:44 pretty much sums it up.  When asked if he knows Jerry, Mick has the most disinterested, smug look on his face which basically tranlates to, "I don't give a fuck about Jerry Garcia, his poncho or his band of hippie weirdos.  Just get me the fuck out of here!!!" 

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The Trial

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 14:54:00 +0000

Good morning, Worm, Your Honor! The crown will testify that the prisoner who stands before you, was caught red-handed showing feelings.  Showing feelings -- of an almost human nature. This will not do!

(image) So much for The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Charlie Gilmour, son of Pink Floyd guitarist Sir David Gilmour, was sentenced today to 16 months behind bars for charges of "violent disorder." According to the BBC, Gilmour, 21, was jailed for defacing the Cenotaph, throwing a bin at a car carrying Prince Charles and smashing a window.  He has since apologized for his behaviour. At the sentencing hearing, the Judge had this to say: "Such outrageous and deeply offensive behaviour gives a clear indication of how out of control you were that day. It caused public outrage and understandably so...For a young man of your intelligence and education and background to profess to not know what the Cenotaph represents defies belief. You have shown disrespect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, to those who fell defending this country."

For the full story, click here.



Day Trippers

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 14:19:00 +0000



In recognition of Paul playing Yankee Stadium tonight (despite my not going), I thought this photo appropriate...and because it's just a f'ing classic shot.  The photo, reportedly from 1975, depicts Paul, Linda and Dave Gilmour, all hanging out, probably at a concert, passin' around the dutchie (see Paul's eyes).  Anyone out there know more details regarding the background of this photo?



Brothers in Arms

Wed, 13 Jul 2011 21:14:00 +0000

No real back story here, but I stumbled upon this clip of legendary guitar greats Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and felt compelled to share it with y'all. The clip contains a medley of two songs:  the 1920's pop standard, "I'll See You in My Dreams" and Lennon's "Imagine," and is absolutely brilliant.  For those unfamiliar with the extent of Knopfler's solo work or with the storied career of The Country Gentleman himself, I think this clip exemplifies not only both guitarists' extraordinary technique and proficiency, but perhaps more importantly, a rare and genuine passion for the instrument and the unique range of sounds it is capable of producing.

Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler, The Secret Policeman's Ball, 1987:
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Karas v. Robertson

Mon, 11 Jul 2011 18:43:00 +0000

Cryptomnesia is a phenomenon that has always fascinated me -- especially as it applies to songwriting.  For those not familiar with the term:Cryptomnesia occurs when a forgotten memory returns without it being recognised as such by the subject, who believes it is something new and original. It is a memory bias whereby a person may falsely recall generating a thought, an idea, a song, or a joke, not deliberately engaging in plagiarism but rather experiencing a memory as if it were a new inspiration.  Source:  Wikipedia A guitarist myself, I can't even tell you the number of times I've put together a series of chords only to realize that I've basically just re-written, for example, a Ryan Adams or Elliott Smith tune (which in turn, creates great anxiety that one is physically incapable of writing their own songs without the fear of plagiarizing, which is itself called, the anxiety of influence).  And for the record, I'm in no way claiming to be even in the same stratosphere as Adams or Smith; rather, my point is that certain melodies or riffs stick in your memory more than others, and if you like them enough, your fingers naturally fall into those positions. Anyway. This isn't about me, so back to my original point.   This phenomenon afflicts not only amateurs, like yours truly, but the big-leaguers as well.  Recall the case of Bright Tunes Music Corp. v. Harrisongs Music, where George Harrison was sued for "borrowing" parts of The Chiffons' "He's So Fine" (written by Ronald Mack) for his own "My Sweet Lord."  As it turned out, Harrison was ordered to pay damages despite the Court's finding that his borrowing was "subconscious."  On Harrison's cryptomnesia, John Lennon had this to say, "He must have known, you know. He's smarter than that. It's irrelevant, actually—only on a monetary level does it matter. He could have changed a couple of bars in that song and nobody could ever have touched him, but he just let it go and paid the price. Maybe he thought God would just sort of let him off."  So much for getting by with a little help from your friends.Maybe because I have a morbid curiosity with this occurrence, but I think my ear is always on the prowl for other examples in everyday music.  Sexy trait, I know.  So, I present another possibility for debate.  This one involves Robbie Robertson, of The Band, and a one Anton Karas.  Anton who, you ask?  Karas, was a Viennese zither player who achieved international acclaim after composing the theme to Carol Reed's The Third Man, which was later used (and renamed) as the theme to the Orson Welles' radio show, The Lives of Harry Lime.  The song, simply entitled, "The Third Man Theme," is perhaps the most famous song to feature the zither, and barring a major zither comeback, the only famous song to feature this most curious instrument.  In any event, I'm on a recent kick of listening to old time mystery radio shows [insert un-original insult here] and in particular, The Lives of Harry Lime, and I couldn't help but notice that the theme to Harry Lime and the "Theme to The Last Waltz" are strangely similar.  Now this is where it gets really freaky.  As I'm typing this, I'm just seeing that The Band actually covered "The Third Man Theme" on their album Moondog Matinee. I swear on all things holy, I did NOT know this beforehand.  So, my music genius aside, I think I just confirmed my theory, by sheer accident, that Robertson was in fact influenced (consciously or subconsciously) by the "Third Man Theme" when he composed the "Theme to The Last Waltz" (e.g. the arrangement, the phrasing, the picking style, the instrumentation[...]



The Other Mick

Mon, 30 May 2011 18:18:00 +0000

And who says there can only be one "Mick" in rock 'n' roll?  Despite a career cut far too prematurely after a bout with cancer, guitarist / composer / innovator / producer Mick Ronson contributed more to the rock arena than others could only hope to achieve in a lifetime.  While Ronson is most notably remembered as the lead guitarist from David Bowie's Spiders from Mars/Ziggy Stardust era, his legacy looms much larger.  Here is a short list of some career highlights for which he is owed due credit:

-He had a stint with Mott the Hoople and thereafter, remained a long-time friend/collaborator of Ian Hunter.

-John Mellencamp has credited Ronson with arranging key parts of his mega hit "Jack & Diane," including the "let it rock, let it roll" segment of the song.

-Ronson has collaborated with Van Morrison, Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Chrissie Hynde, Morrisey and...most importantly:

-Ronson had the honor of serving as a distinguished member of Bob Dylan's ROLLING THUNDER REVUE BAND -- which in my mind, and I'm sure most Dylan devotees would agree -- was the single greatest era of Dylan's storied career.  Need I say more?

So hats off to Mick Ronson: guitar extraordinaire, rock visionary and all-around, well-respected bloke.  

*Ronson's birthday was a few days ago -- May 26th -- and he would have been 65.

Here is Ronson's last major live performance:  "All The Young Dudes" with Bowie, Hunter, Brian May, et.al. at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert held on April 20, 1992.  Ronson would pass away one year later.

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An older clip of Ronson and David Bowie performing "Starman"

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Frank Turner Live From the Knitting Factory

Sun, 01 May 2011 02:00:00 +0000

Last night, Frank Turner brought his solo acoustic folk/punk show to the sold out Red Palace in the Atlas District of Washington, DC.  He welcomed hometown singer-songwriter Justin Jones to open the show, who's own brand of  folk music leans more towards Americana than Turner's punk stylings.

I've been following Turner's career for a few years now, first posting about him on this blog in May of 2007.  He's reached a significant level of success around the world, but has yet to gain a large following here in the States, but I expect that to change pretty soon.  He played a cafe tent at 2010's Bonnaroo festival and last came through this area as the opener for Social Distortion in Baltimore.  In his home country in England, he's made it as far as the main stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals, opened for Green Day at Wembley Stadium, and received two nominations at the NME Awards for Best Solo Artist (alongside Paul Weller, Florence And The Machine, Laura Marling and Kanye West) and Best Band Blog or Twitter.  Frank resonates with so many people, and has gained so many incredibly devout fans around the globe, due to his passionate, honest, 'working man', and often times biographical lyrics that are the antithesis of the current pop landscape of manufactured beats and hired songwriters.  Frank's website says that he's due to come back through the States in the fall after his new album is released globally this summer.  He's playing the New Jersey edition of the Bamboozle festival tonight.

Frank played the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Thursday night and fortunately for us, the venue recorded the live stream and has made the entire 100-minute show available for us to present to you.

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Alt-Country Pioneers: Jayhawks / Uncle Tupelo

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 01:25:00 +0000

Not quite country; not quite rock n' roll.  A little bit folk; a little bit outlaw.  Alt-country as a genre is difficult to define, but you probably know it when you hear it.  Even though veteran artists like Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, and Willie Nelson could now be thrown into this bucket, you wouldn't have given them that label before the early 90's, because it didn't exist.  It was around that time  that "Alternative Country" was born because of the recent crop of music that was rooted in traditional country but had no real similarities to the modern country sound coming out of Nashville.

I'd like to post a couple songs here that nod to two bands that don't get enough press these days for helping to establish the alt country movement.  Before Ryan Adams and before the Drive-By Truckers, there was The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo.  The Jayhawks released their first album on a major label, Hollywood Town Hall, in 1992.  As a matter of music history crossing paths, it was one of the band's two front men, Gary Louris, who was instrumental in getting Uncle Tupelo signed to their first major label deal, with Sire Records, also in 1992.  Uncle Tupelo, as is now well known, was fronted throughout its short, tumultuous seven-year lifespan (only two of them after signing to a major) by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Son Volt's Jay Farrar.  The Jayhawks continued to record and tour until 2003 when they went on an extended hiatus.  In the last few years, they've reunited for a few one-off shows and there are rumors that they will record their first album in eight years some time before the end of 2011.

The Jayhawks
'Crowded in the Wings'
Hollywood Town Hall
1992

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Uncle Tupelo
'Screen Door'
No Depression
1990

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Introducing: Farewell Milwaukee

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 02:02:00 +0000


Farewell Milwaukee are a five-piece band from Minnesota that focuses on roots/americana-inspired music who released their debut album, Autumn Rest Easy, in 2009.  I learned of the group last year through a track from that record called Way Out, which I would consider to be one my favorite songs of 2010.  I first discovered that song and this band on Pandora.  It's gotten plenty of spins on my iPhone during my commutes to and from work on the DC Metro.  The group fits very well into the same category of young bands like Dawes, Avett Brothers, and Trampled By Turtles who embrace acoustic instrumentation and vocal harmonies with a strong focus on lyrics and songwriting.  At this point, they seem to rarely play outside of their home state, but I'm expecting that to change soon.  Hopefully this new record pushes them into the national spotlight (and some dates on the east coast).

Their new album When It Sinks In will be released in three weeks, and I'm very much looking forward to hearing it.  They have posted a video of one of the new tunes on YouTube and I'm hoping you'll take a listen. Given that the clip was just recorded informally in a living room, the fact that they sound this good proves just how talented they are:

Farewell Milwaukee
Come Back Home To Me

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Also, here's a clip that includes portions of my introduction to the band, their song titled Way Out:

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Led Zeppelin: Tangerine (Live), 5/24/75

Wed, 13 Apr 2011 02:53:00 +0000

I was going to post a video of Robert Plant and his current touring band, Band of Joy, playing their rootsy, countrified take on the Zep classic 'Tangerine'....but really, why would I do that when I can post Led F-ing Zeppelin playing the same song....live, from May '75.  Enjoy:

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Bonus Content:

Plant has been closing his recent shows with the Band Of Joy with a cover of Dylan's 'A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall'. The performance features harmonies from his stellar backing band, including Darrell Scott (featured here on the pedal steel), who's album I bought a few months ago. I'm really digging this:

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Austin's New Blues

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 04:10:00 +0000

Two artists that I've been listening to quite a bit lately, that I want to share with you, both emerged in recent years from the extremely competitive and very crowded Austin, TX music scene.The first is Gary Clark Jr, who is an incredibly talented guitarist and singer who's music is rooted in the blues, but also finds its way into straight up rock n' roll. He's only 27 years old, but he's been well known in the local Austin scene for quite a while. In 2001, when when he was just 17, the mayor of Austin declared May 13th of that year to be Gary Clark Jr. Day. That should give you some indication of just how talented he was before his eighteenth birthday. Also, around that time, Clark caught the attention of local promoter Clifford Antone, who was the man that cultivated the careers of Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughn.I came to know Gary Clark Jr only recently after purchasing the DVD of Eric Clapton's 2010 Crossroads Festival a couple months ago.  After watching Clark's performance, I was really amazed at the talent and youth of this guy who I'd never even heard of before.  He played so well that day that he was signed to Warner Brothers as a result and he's currently working on his major label debut for them. His name caught my eye again just a few days ago when I saw that he was listed as the final name on the lineup of the Chicago tourstop of Dave Matthews Band's 4-city Caravan tour.  That makes him yet another Mr. Irrelevant that I will be championing.  Hopefully he's not relegated to a time slot and stage where he won't be heard by anyone. Please take a few minutes and check out the phenomenal performance of Gary Clark Jr (with Doyle Bramhall II) playing Jimmy Reed's 'Bright Lights, Big City' at the 2010 Crossroads Festival in Chicago. During the song, he repeatedly sings the lyric "You're gonna know my name by the end of the night" and I'm sure its no coincidence that this was the song and the line he chose to sing to the huge stadium crowd at Toyota Park who certainly did not know who he was before showing up.  He starts to really rip it up around the 3:40 minute mark, but let the slow build take its course. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/x_ZeDn-hHGE" title="YouTube video player" width="480">The second act that I want to bring to your attention also came to mind recently because I saw that they were just added to a summer festival lineup. The band is Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears who only a few days ago were listed in the latest round of artist additions to this June's Bonnaroo in TN. [Note: They're also playing Coachella this coming weekend]. The Honeybears are an 8-piece band that mixes blues, soul, and rock n' roll to form a sound that can at times lean towards the Black Keys, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, or all three at the same time.  On March 15th, just a few weeks ago, they released their second full length album for Lost Highway Records, titled 'Scandalous', which in its first week reached #1 on Billboard's Blues album chart.  They also just played two sold out shows at NYC's Bowery  Ballroom where their set featured a cover of Howlin Wolf's "Evil".  I spent all of last Thursday and Friday listening to their new album. Check out their Sly Stone-sounding song from that new disc called 'You Been Lyin'. Also, check out the band's official video for their 2009 song Sugarfoot, which sounds incredibly similar to the horn-driven groove that Trey has been cultivating with his Trey Anastasio Band over[...]



Guy Clark: A Dylan Favorite

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 02:20:00 +0000

In April 2009, prior to the release of his latest album, Together Through Life, Bob Dylan sat down with rock critic and MTV producer Bill Flanagan for a rare interview. I'd like to share here two of Dylan's responses that I found the most fascinating. They both deal with his opinions on other musical acts that are his contemporaries. With Dylan so infrequently being quoted, they provide an interesting insight to how aware he is of the greater music scene, which breaks a misconception that he's lived his life out of tune with mainstream culture.

BF: A lot of the acts from your generation seem to be trading on nostalgia. They play the same songs the same way for the last 30 years. Why haven't you ever done that?


BD: I couldn't if I tried. Those guys you are talking about all had conspicuous hits. They started out anti-establishment and now they are in charge of the world. Celebratory songs. Music for the grand dinner party. Mainstream stuff that played into the culture on a pervasive level. My stuff is different from those guys. It's more desperate. Daltrey, Townshend, McCartney, the Beach Boys, Elton, Billy Joel. They made perfect records, so they have to play them perfectly ... exactly the way people remember them. My records were never perfect. So there is no point in trying to duplicate them. Anyway, I'm no mainstream artist.


BF: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?


BD: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy [Newman]. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

--------------------

The one artist on this list that you might be the least familiar with is Guy Clark. Clark is a songwriter's songwriter from Texas, inspiring Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, and as we've now learned Bob Dylan himself. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004 and at age 69 is still touring and playing live.

I encourage you to spend some time checking out Guy Clark's catalog.  If my word isn't good enough, take it from Dylan:

Guy Clark
Dublin Blues
1995


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Guy Clark
Hemingway's Whiskey
2009

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The Weight

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 00:29:00 +0000

I don't think I've ever heard a bad rendition of The Band's 'The Weight'.  Honestly. I've heard dozens of them and we've posted quite a few of them on this site.  There is something magical about the rotating vocals on the verses, the sing-along chorus, and the basic chord structure that makes it so much fun to play.

This version isn't just good, its great.  It comes from the Elvis Costello-hosted music/interview show Spectacle.  This episode aired in December 2009 and it features host Elvis Costello and his band The Imposters, Levon Helm, Richard Thompson, Ray LaMontagne, Allen Toussaint, Nick Lowe, and Larry Campbell.  This was recorded for the same episode that also included a take on the Dead's Tennessee Jed, which we posted a few weeks ago.

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Richard Ashcroft: Bowery Ballroom, New York, 3/23/11

Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:48:00 +0000

(image) There is no point in being an apologist.  As they say, "honesty is the best policy," so I'm just going to come out and say it:  last night's R.A. show just wasn't that good.  Ashcroft, who I've seen perform with The Verve back in 2008 at the WaMu Theater (MSG), is undoubtedly a charismatic guy.  His vocals are sonic and gritty.  He has a loyal following of fans who often deify him as one of the true greats -- not to mention he practically invented the look and style of the modern Brit-rocker. However, his songwriting ability as of late is quite frankly, deplorable.  So bad, that at times, I was actually embarrassed for him. Performing before a sold-out crowd of 500+ at New York's historic Bowery Ballroom, there were regrettably less than a handful of moments that I felt justified Ashcroft's otherwise divine reputation.  

For starters, the music, particularly the lyrics to his new material, is amateur at best.  Singing trite songs about America, life, and repetitively asking (in his latest release) "Are you Ready?" just simply isn't gonna cut it, not in this city at least.   At times, the vocals were uncomfortably loud and muddled (which was a major complaint of the aforementioned '08 Verve show) and the synth sounded more like looped back-tracking than a live instrument. On the plus side, his band was stellar.  Equipped with a Questlove-type drummer and part-rasta, part-Prince influenced guitarist, I think these guys deserve much of the credit for carrying an otherwise lackluster performance by Ashcroft.  Sure, there were a few good moments, like Ashcroft on acoustic for "Sonnet" or the band's decent rendition of "Lucky Man," but overall, I'm afraid this show will be filed in the back-catalog of forgettable concerts I've seen in my lifetime.  

Note to Ashcroft:  next time you make it back to NYC, do everyone a favor and belt-out some acoustic Verve favorites like we know you can. At the end of the day, that's what the people wanna hear.



Simpsons and Delilah

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 22:27:00 +0000

The Simpsons are no strangers to good music. Over the years, we've seen cameos by The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, Phish, R.E.M, and RHCP, not to mention music clips from hundreds of bands. Don't ask how I spotted this (okay, so I happened to have paused a Simpsons' rerun on DVR and glanced at the screen in the process), but in Episode No. 88, Bart's Inner Child, Homer comes across an ad for a free trampoline. Check the ad right below the trampoline ad...


Funny thing, the Dead were still alive and touring back then.  Now if only there was a Dick's Picks for Capitol City, 1993...



Trampled By Turtles Returning to DelFest

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 03:01:00 +0000

The WeightStaff will not be making their 8th appearance at Bonnaroo this June. I'm not willing to say that we'll never return there, but this year's lineup was not enough to get us back to the farm for another go. I don't regret any of the pilgrimages we've made to Manchester over the last decade, but each year the walks between stages got a little further, the wait times between bands got a little longer, the sun got a little hotter, and I kept getting older. The smaller, more manageable festivals seem much more attractive to me now and this year we are considering a trip to Western Maryland for the fourth annual DelFest. In my old age (full disclosure: 32), I am getting more and more into bluegrass and roots music, as I feel it represents the purity of music, with nothing but instrumentation and amplification, and none of the technical gimmickry that plagues so much of modern music. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from opposed to beats, samples, and synthesizers but there is something about being out in the mountains of Cumberland, MD, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying to some pickin' and grinnin' that I find really enticing.

One of the bands that I'm looking forward to seeing live for the first time is Trampled By Turtles. They are a young group of musicians from Duluth, MN that are keeping the traditions of Americana/Bluegrass music alive while bringing in some sensibilities of rock n' roll music. They fit very nicely in the same category as the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons. It may be only a matter of time before TxT find similar success.

Wait So Long

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Codeine

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DelFest takes place at the Allegheny County Fairgrounds on May 26-29.