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Yes, 2020 has sucked like a turbo-charged Hoover but quarantine life has given you the opportunity to summon your inner me and sit on the you the opportunity to do what comes so naturally: to sit on your living room floor with a stack of brand new records and meditate on their magnificence. Haven’t started yet? Don’t know where to begin? Allow me to assist. One thing that jumps out to me immediately that I want to highlight is there have been some sensational records from women! They make up half of my list and there are a couple additional

Was 2019 a good or bad year for music? That is always an easy question for me and it may surprise some friends and readers: every year is a great year for music! I never fail to find albums that capture and inspire me. There is great music all around us and it comes from new and veteran artists every year if you are willing to look for and be found by it. So yes, 2019 was a great year for music and here are just some of the albums – listed alphabetically — that spent considerable time with me

I am frequently asked how I come across so much new music each year and I understand why they do because the vehicles that took my generation to new soundscapes have died in the case of MTV and radically changed as far as radio. And yet, the question also confuses me because most of the time I don’t feel like I discover new music so much as it finds me. So how does that happen? Allow me to share my favorite new music discoveries of 2019 – music that was new to me this past year, regardless of when the

Wine bars weren’t the only way I discovered new music in 2019 (although they might be my favorite method). Other paths to great music include friends, reading, and friends who read. Mark Saleski turned me on to several other new artists this year, two of whom he discovered via the good people who write for venerable roots music magazine No Depression. Mark and I crossed figurative paths and swords at Blogcritics a decade ago. It’s an open debate as to which of us is the grumpier man on any given day but he is clearly the older. Our friendship has

The Joshua Redman has been my favorite contemporary tenor saxophonist even before I knew I had one, back when I didn’t think I liked jazz because I couldn’t understand it. It pains me a little to say it but credit must be given to the Rolling Stone magazine for their review of his Freedom In The Groove LP. That review and, well, if I’m completely honest, his name and the fact I attempted saxophone as a kid made me curious enough to gamble on a jazz record back when I didn’t do that. It didn’t immediately make me a jazz

It’s nigh impossible to get consensus on The Greatest Of All Time in any discussion of music and that’s just the arguments I have with myself. There are a few where the question has been settled. One of those concerns the greatest female vocalist of all time. There are scores of qualified applicants for that particular title but no one has ever done it better than the legendary Etta James. Etta James is likely best known for her incomparable command of torch songs like the perfect and impossibly gorgeous “At Last.” That’s where she shined brightest and her complete command

March is Women’s History Month and that inspired me to write about favorite female artists and their songs. I’d love to tell you I’m going to do this all month (and I certainly could without coming anywhere near exhausting the list of amazing women whose work fills my Tower of Song) but let’s be real: this is the first thing I’ve written in 2019, the first thing I’ve written in six months. But I’m here and you’re here so let’s dive right in… It is appalling it took until 2019 for a woman artist to become a two-time Rock And

It’s no surprise I should be listening to the Leonard Cohen on what would have been his 84th birthday if for no other reason than it’s a safe bet I’m listening to him at any point of any day. His words and melodies whether printed or sung will forever be like a sun to my soul, keeping me in its orbit, informing both my own language as well as the lens through which I see and experience my world. I can’t imagine he would have ever read this modest tribute to the enduring importance of his work in my life

I love the years when The Rolling Stones were one of the best blues bands on the planet, before they were frozen in time in the pop culture consciousness as famous for their personal and musical indulgences and excesses as for the music. On Air collects live performances from the BBC from 1963-65 and captures them when they were five British kids possessed of both the skill and attitude that would see them segue from credibly covering blues and rock standards to a band that would write some of the greatest, most enduring songs of the 20th century. You can

“No, I don’t think about gone. I just think about in the future when I don’t want to speak in real time.” Today is Prince’s 59th birthday and it’s impossible not to notice the massive void in the present tense since his passing. I was devastated at the news like millions around the world but a friend and fellow follower of His Purple Badness told me she was not going to be sad. Prince’s music was filled with joy and had been a soundtrack to many a good time and great night and that wasn’t how she was going

The world woke to the shocking news that Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell passed away at the age of 52 shortly after the band completed a concert in Detroit. I’m still processing this as are his family, loved ones, friends, and many millions of fans, and I still cannot get my head around it. The shockwaves continue to reverberate and I’m struck by the strange coincidence we are days away from the release of a deluxe edition of the Singles soundtrack, that not only captured a special moment in time much better than the film, but also showed us a

My introduction to Leonard Cohen is likely atypical to of that of his other ardent fans but I’m certain I’m not the only Gen X’er whose first encounter came courtesy of the 1990 film Pump Up The Volume starring Christian Slater. I’d never heard anything like “Everybody Knows.” High school for me was mostly hair metal and the emerging underground grunge scene. My ears were accustomed to squalling guitars and shrieking vocals, piercing voices singing about decadence or men howling about alienation. Pulsing synth and oud flourishes (hell, I didn’t know what an oud was!) could hardly have been more

2017 Blues Music Award nominee for BB King Entertainer of the Year John Németh is releasing his upcoming studio album Feeling Freaky, out May 19, and is premiering the new single “Kool Aid Pickle,” which we have here for you to stream. “Kool Aid Pickle” comes as an instant download when you pre-order the record. Németh’s new LP is produced by guitarist extraordinare Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars) and finds the vocalist/harmoica ace stretching boundaries far beyond even his own updated blues sound. His touring band does most of the heavy lifting as his instrumental backing on the record and

Norah Jones returns to the piano jazz-tinged pop that introduced her to the world in 2002, showing a versatility her debut record did little to suggest. It’s not a knock on subsequent work to say her return to those earlier sounds is a welcome one. I like Little Broken Hearts, her collaboration with noted producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, but the warm familiarity in the opening bars of “Burn” quickly remind us of why so many listeners were enchanted by her in the first place. The multi-platinum, Grammy-winning Come Away With Me was a nocturnal record with spare arrangements

Nearness is not their first collaboration between saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau, both having appeared on one another’s records over the years and Mehldau having produced Redman’s 2013 album Walking Shadows. This is, however, their first album as a duo, these six cuts having been culled from a series of shows the two performed in 2011. I approached the album with a hint of apprehension despite these being perhaps my two favorite contemporary jazz musicians because I wondered if I would miss the presence of a drummer keeping time or a bass player as rhythmic glue. Would piano

The great Leonard Cohen gave the world two gifts on his 82nd birthday last week when he announced an October 22nd release date for his new studio album You Want It Darker and made available for streaming and download the title track that day. He said in a 2011 speech, “As I grew older, I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.” Welcome

Can’t Forget: A Souvenir Of The Grand Tour is a grab bag of performances from Leonard Cohen’s most recent tour that includes rarities, covers, and a pair of new songs rehearsed during soundcheck. Don’t let what could be perceived as a cynical attempt to empty the vault of any usable scrap come between you and this collection. The cut-and-paste mentality prevents this from being a cohesive album but doesn’t stop it from being an incredibly satisfying listen. The less frequently played songs are likely to be the attraction to diehard Cohen fans and they won’t be disappointed when they hear

A worried man with a worried mind… That line opens one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs and it describes me about as well as any line in any song ever written. I think worry sometimes gets a bad rap, though. We mean well when we worry about ourselves and the person we are or about the people we love. Worrying is just one more way to show someone we care, right? No, I’m not buying it, either. There is a profound difference between and every ounce of energy spent in useless panic saps us of our ability to care,

The documentary Elliott Smith – Heaven Adores You will make its move to home video on July 17 on Blu Ray, DVD, and a host of other digital formats. The film was directed by Nickolas Dylan Rossi and is billed as an intimate portrait of an incredibly talented singer/songwriter. It features interviews with a handful of those close to Smith and takes us to the three cities he spent most of his career: Portland, New York, and Los Angeles. Elliott Smith was an amazing talent as a singer/songwriter and increasingly as an arranger when his life was cut short at

The world is mourning the loss and celebrating the life and legacy of BB King and I am joining that chorus with a heavy but thankful heart. He gave more than I can possibly sum up in his 89 years. We are all the richer for those gifts and it would be wrong to ask for any more but there was never going to be a day we would want to let him go. Too many of the greats were not appreciated in their own time. I take some comfort in the belief BB had some idea of just how

Grammy-winner John Mellencamp once remarked what makes a medical emergency a minor one is when it happens to someone else. I’ve spent the past week making people laugh sharing a story about the way someone’s irrepressible, mischievous grin drew me into a farce. The owner of that smirk is a new presence in my life who today was confronted with what could’ve been either a manageable health scare or an absolute tragedy. To my profound relief it was the former rather than the latter, and in the midst of that comfort I was struck by how much he’s already come

We travel to the wonderful world of Weezer for our latest edition of Listful Thinking. Condensing nine albums and two decades of music into a Top 5 was no easy task. I’m still wrestling with my choices and confess this list could look different if I revisited it next week or I might actually come back with the same five. So here they are, today’s Top 5 Weezer songs: “My Name Is Jonas” – One of the finest power pop compositions of the ’90s. I love the fleeting acoustic noodling that is pummeled by a fuzzed riff that later becomes

It’s a Jason Isbell day on Hathaway’s iPod as I lament getting shut out of his four-night run at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. I’m disappointed but am wondering if it’s just as well. I cannot be held responsible for the possible epic come part likely to happen should he choose to play “Songs That She Sang In The Shower.” That’s the power of a life’s soundtrack, dear readers. The only songs worth remembering are the ones that tell your story, describe your hopes and dreams, or take you revive those most important moments of your life. Jason’s Southeastern record stands

I’ve been pleased by the response to my Listful Thinking series by friends and readers. I’ve gotten more comments on these than many other pieces I’ve written and I’m getting suggestions on bands and themes to consider for future editions, such as Toad The Wet Sprocket. Ahh, Toad, we do go back a long time and have traveled many, many miles. We traveled many miles in the city of Atlanta to see one of your reunion shows. Oh, Atlanta is not far from Huntsville but we spent untold hours lost trying to find the venue and again trying to find

u·nique: yo͞oˈnēk/ adjective 1. being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. A puppy is kicked every time someone modifies the word “unique.” It’s a binary state, like pregnancy (not that I have much experience). You either are or you aren’t. Morphine is and it’s only one of the many reasons I cherish this band. There are many ways a band could hope to achieve the noirish, nocturnal, narcotic sound that is Morphine but I’ve never heard a band take this approach. Who forms a rock band and says, “Yeah, we’re not going to have any guitars”? Mark

…When the sun is finally going down And you’re overdue to follow But you’re still above the ground… I have to start this out with the first time I heard this song. Mark Lanegan has spent more time at the top of my Favorite Aritsts list than just about anyone. He’s one of my favorite vocalists and over the years but I didn’t hear him the first time I listened to “When Your Number Isn’t Up” but rather superimposed the timeless voice of Johnny Cash. It’s such a shame to me Cash didn’t live long enough to take a

We should forgive longtime Dillon Hodges listeners if it takes them a moment to adjust to the departure that is his latest musical brainchild, firekid. He establishes himself as an emerging singer/songwriter with Rumspringa, having already proven himself one of the elite flat pick guitarists of his generation, and immediately reinvents himself. You have to give him points for boldness and with the first single from the forthcoming record “Magic Mountain,” you have to give him points for knowing exactly what the hell he was doing. It’s likely others have tried it but it’s not obvious for a roots-oriented

I had a Fanboy obsession with Guster with the release of their 2006 LP Ganging Up On The Sun. For at least a year, I listened obsessively to them and championed their cause with various internet outlets of my writing past (some of my best and some of my most embarrassing output). I don’t have the same religious fervor I did in 2006 but they remain a consistent part of my musical diet and vital part of my life’s soundtrack. Gusterhhoids will have their pitchforks and torches out when they notice I have nothing from Lost & Gone Forever on

It’s difficult, these Top 5 lists, and that’s part of what makes them fun! One of the challenges for me is whether or not I should be ruthless about it and take my Top 5 songs regardless of how representative they are of an artist’s work or if I should strive for balance. Friend and BBS collaborator Stephanie encouraged me to take a swing at Counting Crows, so here it is, by request. I like all their records and love some of them. I could do Top 5 lists for several of their individual records and still leave coveted songs

I was a little late to the Wilco bandwagon, having hopped not long after the arrival of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That record arrived in 2001, so while I don’t go back to the beginning, I suspect there are many who came on board after I already had my seat. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the years and now Wilco is really Jeff Tweedy’s really awesome playground. He comes up with ideas and has incredible musicians capable of executing and occasionally improving upon them in the studio and on stage. I’ve bought every Wilco record. I’ve purchased

The mother of a friend passed away unexpectedly this week, days after being celebrated by family at a wonderful surprise party for her 80th birthday, and I attended a memorial service in her honor yesterday. I found myself moved by the observance, which isn’t the typical reaction I have in these sorts of moments and I suspect that’s true for most of you, although these things hit us all differently. I only met his mom a few times so I was there more as an onlooker. I learned about her life from the stories shared by those who spoke and

I’ve shared a few pages of my story in some of the recent work I’ve contributed since my return to BlindedBySound and I’m not sure how I feel about sharing it with friends and strangers but writing about music, for me, is more than time signatures, chord changes, riffs, hooks, and descending melodies. It’s about the stories, including my own. It’s about the life’s work of building a soundtrack that tells my story, a playlist that reminds me of life’s possibilities and that has meant overcoming the barriers to being vulnerable. One of my favorite things in life are its

Pearl Jam was easily the most difficult band to condense to five songs owing to the fact they have easily the deepest discography of the Seattle bands. They went through a succession of drummers and had some bumps along the way but never disbanded and rarely took extended breaks. Pearl Jam remained the top musical priority of the four founding members who remain at the band’s core. Because this was such a difficult list to compile, I expect to get CRUSHED by Pearl Jam fans for the songs I selected and those I didn’t. Similar to what I said with

Soundgarden would at times dominate my listening but never held the title as being my favorite of the so-called Grunge bands. I always liked them and they never fell out of favor but they never reached the summit with me. Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were the most obviously influenced by classic rock. They remind me of Black Sabbath’s music with Zeppelin’s frontman, stirred with a bit of King Crimson to get that prog rock influence that lurks. I may get some stick for not referencing their earlier works and that’s probably fair. Loud As Love is a good record and

Grunge Week continues with the torchbearers of the movement, the mighty Nirvana. I don’t have to spend much time explaining the impact this band had on the world or their legacy; it’s unassailable. I am consistently reminded they are even better than we think they are when I return to the records. There was so much hype and noise surrounding Kurt Cobain and the casualty too often was the art. The only thing sadder than the loss of so many great songs still to be written is the tragic loss of the life of Kurt Cobain itself. There weren’t as

I was late to the Jeff Buckley party and yes, I will admit it was his masterful cover of Leonard Cohen’s now painfully over-covered version of “Hallelujah” that brought me in the front door several years ago. That may have been my introduction to him but after untold hours listening obsessively to Grace, what was once my favorite song on the record has fallen halfway down the list. Great music doesn’t have to change. We do that enough on our own. We continue to live and, if you’re paying any attention at all, learn. We add to our experiences

I said at the beginning of our Grunge Week feature that Alice in Chains is frequently my default answer for Favorite Seattle Band and they are but Screaming Trees will forever have a special place in my heart and it starts with the voice of Mark Lanegan. His work with Screaming Trees is incredible and yet he eclipsed it in his solo career and that is saying something. I’ve also got a special place in my heart for this band because of Barrett Martin. My love for Trees made me curious to follow what he was doing when he started

Welcome to Grunge Week at BlindedBySound! It’s a series within a series this week as I do my Top 5 songs from my Top 5 Seattle bands of the ’90s. I’ll first unveil the bands and then each day this week you’ll get my Top 5 songs by them and your chance to give me yours! The bands you’ll be reading about this week are Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Screaming Trees, and Soundgarden and Alice is batting leadoff. Longtime readers know I lived in the Puget Sound area at a time when these bands were becoming big in

I don’t know what has taken so long but the Van Halen “Reunion”/A Different Kind Of Truth tour is finally being documented with a live album to be released March 31, taken from their June 21 appearance at the Tokyo Dome. This is the first VH live album to feature founding frontman Diamond David Lee Roth but the bass chores were handled by Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang rather than original bassist Michael Anthony. The 25-song set will be spread across 2 CDs (also available on vinyl) and includes most of the Roth-era hits a fan would want along with

I got on a Stone Temple Pilots kick recently because I got excited when I saw they were playing in nearby Birmingham. Then I remembered Scott Weiland has been replaced by Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. I can’t tell you how much I don’t want to hear someone else sing Weiland’s vocal lines other than to say I didn’t buy tickets. He already channels and mimics so many other singers. Having someone imitate his imitations seems pointless. Besides, I don’t really like Bennington’s voice or Linkin Park’s music. All the talk of STP did get me to go back to the

There’s not one Neil Young record in my voluminous collection and it’s because his voice absolutely bugs the shit out of me and I can’t get around that. It’s a shame because the man is obviously one of the finest songwriters of any era and yet I’m on the outside because his voice makes me stabby. I know plenty of people who feel that way about Dylan. I know someone who feels that way about Springsteen. For me, it’s Neil and that’s why I’m always glad when an artist I do like covers him and gives me an access

So picking up with my ’80s dalliance from earlier in the week… Amigos, this is a difficult task, naming my Top 5 Tears For Fears songs because there are too many songs missing from this list! I furiously crossed titles off and added new ones only to cross those out and replace them with a previously struck item or another song entirely. The only way I could make myself settle on these five is if I put in the following disclaimer… these are my Top 5 for today. Ask me tomorrow and some of these stay while others are likely

Check this out! Blur is back with their first album in 12 years, an album that features the original lineup — yes, kids, Graham Coxon is back in the fold as the band’s guitarist — called The Magic Whip. The new set will be released April 28. The set was produced by frequent collaborator/producer Stephen Street. The songs were principally recorded in Hong Kong, which might explain just a bit the album art. Blur reunited for a massive show when London hosted the Summer Olympics and have played a few other dates but new music wasn’t a certainty. Damon Albarn

Listener Supported Public Radio turned me on to two artists — Lake Street Dive and Hiss Golden Messenger — last year. I managed to complete my review of HGM’s Lateness of Dancers, which I dusted off and listened to again yesterday (and I swear my LSD review is forthcoming! Here’s something to tide you over in the meantime). I haven’t yet dug deep into the back catalog of HGM but member station WAMU helped me out with that by posting a recent live perofrmance of a song from the back catalog, “Blue Country Mystic” from Poor Man. Two listens

The ’80s are a bit of a lost decade for me, musically speaking. I didn’t get to experience much of it as it was happening due to parental restrictions. Looking back after the fact revealed, frankly, a lot of rubbish. No decade is bereft of music with merit and today for reasons unknown to me, I’m in the mood to sift through it and share a few of my favorites with you. I tried to stay away from bands like Duran Duran, who I love, who had a series of big hits. These aren’t one-hit wonders and the songs aren’t

One of the miracles of music is that you can listen to a song 1,000 times and hear something new on that 1,0001st play. That’s what happened with Patrick Sweany’s “Them Shoes” over the weekend. There are two reasons for the new discovery. The first and most obvious is that I changed, life changed. We’ll come back to that. The other reason for the new discovery is because of what drew me into the song in the first place. I fell in love with “Them Shoes” the first time I heard it because of the way Sweany built and that’s

There exists on my hard drive a half-finished review of Lake Street Dive’s Bad Self Portraits, an album that would have landed on my Best of 2014 had I actually gotten around to writing it. It’s clear, dear readers, I’ve been M.I.A. from Blinded By Sound for a little while. There are good reasons for that. Laziness, for example. One of our writers sent me on assignment to see Lake Street Dive back in October of last year and that’s where I first heard this song from their Fun Machine EP. That EP is five covers and this orignal.

Picture it: laying in bed, one dog beside you where she doesn’t belong, her paws covering the hand not petting her, the other dog loudly licking himself, curled up on his bed in the corner of the room. Music fills the air, nearly at the pain threshold as it has to be loud enough to be heard in the bathroom and over the cascade of running water. The faint smell of Dove soap is wafting on the steam from the shower as is muted singing. It’s slightly off-key and yet your smile is keeping you warmer than the blanket

The Ballad of Shovels & Rope is a familiar tale with no great plots twists or stunning revelations, at least not for anyone who has paid even passing attention to stories of aspiring artists. So why did I love it so much? The characters. It may seem harsh or jaded to reduce Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, the husband-wife duo that comprises this band, to characters but as they said in an interview promoting their latest album Swimmin Time, they aren’t selling or sharing their marriage at the merch table after shows. What they reveal in this little film

My neglect of you, dear readers, has reached crisis proportions but my return draweth nigh and is inspired, in no small part, but news of new music from Florence + The Machine. How Big How Blue How Beautiful is their third album and will be released worldwide on June 6 and we can get our first taste of the record via the first single “What Kind Of Man” (video below). Welch described to NME a very different perspective in the writing process for How Big as opposed to its predecessor Ceremonials. “I guess although I’ve always dealt in fantasy and

The Lone Bellow have released “Then Came The Morning,” the first single and title track for the successor to their remarkable self-titled debut. The National’s Aaron Dessner occupies the producer’s chair for this latest effort. The only obvious connection between The National and The Lone Bellow would seem to be their Brooklyn home base and yet if “Then Came The Morning” is any indication, this is indeed an inspired pairing. Dessner’s day job frequently employs strings and horns and he brings those elements to this stunning, sweeping, waltz-time epic. Frontman Zach Williams doesn’t have the voice of a soul singer

I’m in the tank for Noel Gallagher and have been since I first fell in love with “Live Forever” on Oasis’ timeless debut Definitely Maybe. He’s floated a turd or two over the course of his career but his misses are more interesting than most hits and his best work is equal parts magic and genius (he would tell you the same thing) and I’m ecstatic about his new record Chasing Yesterday. Those are the ears listening to the first single “In The Heat Of The Moment,” which I can first confirm is not the Asia tune (though he really

Noel Gallagher announced his second solo LP Chasing Yesterday will release March 2nd next year and announced the release of the first single “In The Heat Of The Moment,” which releases next month (Nov. 17). Gallagher said the record has been done for nearly three months in a Facebook Q&A with selected fans and media, begging the obvious, maddening, homicide-inspiring question WHY IS THE RELEASE OF THE FUCKING RECORD 6 MONTHS AWAY? Damn it, man! At least we have the first single to listen to (more on that to follow). Hell, we even know what the second single is from

Listener-supported public radio is going to have to do a pledge drive for me because Hiss Golden Messenger is the second musical addiction they’ve inspired this year (Lake Street Dive being the first and that review is forthcoming, dear readers). Their feature Heavy Rotation featured “Brother, Do You Know The Road,” a non-LP single from HGM, the moniker for singer/songwriter M.C. Taylor. I fixated so fully on the song itself that I remember very little of what the guest DJ had to say about it. I bought the track on iTunes and counted the days until he issued his Merge

Swimmin Time is a universe filled with weird, wounded characters. Some are shady and sinister, others more simple. There are misfits and outcasts like the tobacco-spittin’ tomboy with a soft spot for the modern day Boo Radley in the magnificent “Evil” or “Mary Ann and One-Eyed Dan,” a circus waitress and small-time journalist. These may not seem the most obvious candidates to hold up a mirror to us but even oddballs get mired in the same struggles and circumstances we do. It’s a world where you visit a sinister world of fools and con men and you’ve got what it

Vaudeville Etiquette played for that Big Wheel In The Sky recently when they filmed an acoustic performance of their beautiful song “Rose & Ivy” in Seattle’s Great Wheel. It seems splendidly vaudevillian to play music in a setting like this! It’s so… carney! They’re now Mile High Club Members (not that one, freakazoids! Well, maybe that one but I don’t know; I haven’t asked… and I’m not going to) so here’s hoping they can stretch the next leg of their tour to include Nashville, Birmingham, and other great cities in the Southeast. Oh, and your hometown, too, because I shouldn’t

The Rolling Stones are reaching into their archives and officially releasing a pair of vintage live recordings in multiple configurations on November 4. L.A. Forum is one night from their five-show run at the Forum in Los Angeles from their 1975 tour, the first to feature Ronnie Wood on lead guitar in support of their It’s Only Rock & Roll tour. They were at the height of their legendary excesses at this stage of their career and their catalog was well stocked with timeless classics. Hampton Coliseum is taken from a 1981 show from the Tattoo You tour and would

I love live music and live albums but those are only two of the reasons I was thrilled when Gary Clark Jr. announced plans to release Live. I was frustrated that some songs on Blak & Blu sound glossy and overproduced. I’ve seen Clark in concert knew that sheen evaporates in the fire of Clark’s mastery and intensity. A live album seemed the ideal way to hear Clark and these songs at their best. That’s true here but only to a point. Live albums should be complete, single shows but very few major label live sets adhere to this. I’ve

I, like most, was shocked at the way Songs Of Innocence arrived and, unlike some, eagerly downloaded it and began listening. I got sucked in by the excitement of new music from one of my favorite bands and tried to ignore years of misdirects, false hopes, and pained statements from U2 about when the next record what arrive and what it would be. None of that mattered. The music was here, now, ready to be heard. I still experience that same surge of giddiness when my favorite bands call out to me and that excitement was enough to get me

I am so behind on my review of the magical goodness that is Swimmin’ Time from our friends, Shovels & Rope. That review exists in pieces, in my head. I am going to commit words to page and get that written and published. Soon. In the meantime, please let me share with you a marvelous performance of one of my favorite tracks from the record, “The Devil Is All Around,” from their recent appearance on Conan O’Brien. I’ve seen them live twice and this is a good representation of what you get when you see them and it’s reminding me

Duke Ellington once said, “I’m sure critics have their purpose, and they’re supposed to do what they do, but sometimes they get a little carried away with what they think someone should have done, rather than concerning themselves with what he did.” It’s the first part of that quote that makes me feel compelled to place a disclaimer at the beginning of reviews that lead me to music outside my listening comfort zone but I subscribe to the philosophy set forth in another quip from Mr. Ellington, that “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.”

I Am Shelby Lynne is finally getting the deluxe reissue it has richly deserved and will be released as a CD/DVD set by Rounder Records on Oct. 7. My former comrade at Blogcritics interviewed Ms. Lynne a few years back and asked, on my behalf, if a I Am Shelby Lynne reissue might be in the offing. She said then what she is saying now, that revisiting this album brings back memories of a lot of pain but that a deluxe edition could one day happen. I would like to take credit for this all coming to fruition but will

My joy is complete with the news the mighty Gary Clark Jr. will release a double live album Sept. 23 (just days after my birthday, for those of you paying careful attention). The 2-CD set features several songs from his major label debut Blak & Blu as well as a fistful of the covers that have been staples of his shows (tracklist below) in the lead-up to the release of that album and the tour promoting it. I witnessed Clark on stage in Nashville prior to the release of Blak & Blu and in nearly every instance, what he did

Yesterday it was Elton John in this feature and today it’s Huey Lewis & The News. Let’s get… random… I am prepared to admit the following: I liked Huey Lewis & The News when I was a kid in the ’80s There are a few songs (“Hip To Be Sqaure,” “Bad Is Bad”) that make me embarrassed to admit I liked Huey Lewis & The News even though I was a kid and it was the ’80s Five of those songs still hold up today This basic bar band from Frisco somehow ended up with a record deal and a

The premise of this series when I introduced it several months ago was to dash off the 5 best songs from artists whose work I admired but weren’t on heavy rotation at Hathaway Radio, if you will. Maybe they weren’t on heavy rotation because I don’t actually like the artist all that much but grudgingly admit they had at least 5 songs worth remembering. That’s clearly not the case with Sir Elton John. John will always be a bit of an enigma to me. His musical career and public persona have confounded us all at times. I don’t know why

Tom Petty said in several interviews leading up to the release of Hypnotic Eye this was a return to 1978 and straight-ahead rockers from The Heartbreakers but that turns out not to be true- at least not entirely as the record is far more diverse than that, to its benefit. Interspersed among the hard-charging numbers are tunes like the noirsh, nocturnal shuffle of “Full Grown Boy,” a song that sounds like it belongs in a late night jazz nightclub and the meditative, mysterious “Shadow People,” two of the album’s highlights. The blues bug that bit the band on Mojo is

Vaudeville Etiquette — Remember them? They made the record I politely commanded you all to purchase back in April — is back with a new video from what remains the best debut record I’ve heard in 2014. I still love the warmth in Tayler Lynn’s voice and how a simple sound can capture what words fail to describe. I love Bradley Laina’s harmony vocal and the way mandolin and vibraphone decorate the acoustic guitar strums and melody. There is a gentleness of spirit and sweetness in the song captured in the video shot by Laina. This is all making my

Mark Lanegan Band will release a new, limited edition EP No Bells On Sunday on July 29. The EP is being issued as a limited edition vinyl with only 1,500 copies being pressed. The music will be available digitally at that time and will also be available on CD when the band releases their full-length effort Phantom Radio later this fall. They’ve also shot and released a video for “Sad Lover,” one of the five new songs from the EP (which you can see below). The past three years have been prolific ones for Lanegan, with a compilation of his

Counting Crows will release their first album of new music in six years on Sept. 2, Somewhere Under Wonderland, preceded by first single “Palisades Park,” which can be purchased at iTunes and streamed on Spotify starting today. The complete tracklisting (see below) reveals a nine-song set of originals, some of which are already showing up in setlists on their current tour with Toad The Wet Sprocket. The band released a collection of covers, Underwater Sunshine in 2012 and a live performance of their debut August & Everything After the year before, both of which followed their last studio album Saturday

It’s entirely possible I’m the only person who thinks it’s funny a Phish studio album was among the most legally downloaded albums in the US last week, what with the band having been kings of the bootleg nation since their inception. Hilarity or not, Fuego checks in at #9 on the Albums charts where the latest from Ed Sheeran, X is #1. I didn’t fall in love with Sheeran’s debut (although I did take a $7 flier on it and gave it a chance). I’ve been told this new one is good and better than its predecessor so I might

Ryan Adams has announced he’s ready to release a new, self-titled album Sept. 9. The once prolific Adams has slowed the frenetic pace of releases as this is his first new set since Ashes & Fire in 2011. The first single for the record, “Gimme Something Good” has been released on vinyl and is available to stream through Spotify. We don’t know much about the record beyond the release date, title, artwork, and track listing. Adams has announced a small handful of tour dates scheduled between now and the album’s launch but we are otherwise in the dark, left with

It’s the Better Late Than Never edition of our Blues Radio Report, another series that went on hiatus and I’m now reviving. It’s also the Alligator Records edition as our friends at Alligator have the top two spots on the chart — Jarekus Singleton and Selwyn Birchwood — as well as entries from Joe Louis Walker and The Holmes Brothers. The venerable Ray Bonneville is in at #3 and Eden Brent’s beautiful new record from Yellow Dog Jigsaw Heart is at #5. I’m also very pleased to see Mr. Ronnie Earl and his Broadcasters’ latest record Good News in Roots

The cantankerous, oft-afflicted Morrissey will release Introducing Morrissey on DVD for the first time in September. The show was recorded in February 1995 from his Vauxhall & I album. A 20th Anniversary re-issue of that record has already been announced. This is all happening as Moz preps to release his first solo album since 2009, World Peace Is None Of Your Business. He’s also made attempts to tour the US but has yet to complete all scheduled dates due to a string of mystery maladies. Here’s the tracklist for the DVD: Billy Budd Have-A-Go Merchant Spring-Heeled Jim Youre The One

My love for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers knows no bounds so the announcement of a new record Hypnotic Eye due out July 29 and tour dates this summer and fall have spun me into total fanboy mode. I got a pair of tickets for what will be my fourth Heartbreakers show and in the process got to download three tracks from the upcoming album. These are a tantalizing taste and will tide me over while leaving me hungry for the remainder of the record. Let’s take a quick preview of these songs to stoke the fire of our fandom!

I welcome myself back to my own column after this week after an absurdly long absence and we once again look at the most popular songs and albums from the #1 music retailer. This is your weekly iTunes Chart Watch and you are welcome to it… I’ve only heard 1/2 of one song on the Top Songs list, the inescapable and unforgivably awful “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I don’t know what a Iggy Azalea is and I choose to not find out. My money is on her being the latest inductee into the Andy Warhol Hall of Fame, soon to

Patrick Sweany is the latest artist to add his name to the esteemed Josh Hathaway’s New Musical Obsession List. I nearly had to pull over to the side of the road when I heard “Them Shoes” for the first time last month. I did what I always do when something hits me like that and began exhaustively researching his bio and discography, leading me to the happy news Mr. Sweany was playing Music City Roots in Nashville at Loveless Cafe, a very cool event and venue. He played a 4-song mini set but that was enough to send me home

New Music Tuesday returns this week to BlindedBySound. It’s nigh impossible to chronicle everything hitting physical and digital shelves on any given week so I continue the fine work of Bro. Mat Brewster and list a few items that interest me or seem to be generating buzz among the masses. There’s no doubt the album to know this week comes from Jack White. Lazaretto is his second solo record and follows up the magnificent Blunderbuss. I’ve avoided reviews and streams of the album but you can bet your ass I’m making a special trip to the store to score a

Alastair Greene Band debuted a video for the title track from their forthcoming fifth studio album, Trouble At Your Door, due June 17 from Eclecto Groove/Delta Groove Records. “Trouble” showcases Greene’s guitar prowess with a big riff and blazing guitar solo and serves as an appealing introduction to the new album (look for a review here on BBS as we get closer to the launch). Trouble features 11 new originals and a cover of “Strange Feeling,” from the late Michael Burks. Greene also produced the sessions himself. Greene has been backed by a litany of top musicians, former members of

All good things must come to an end… The National closed their four-night run in Chicago with a show that was occasionally sloppier than their norm and with three songs not previously played the first three nights. I’m a little disappointed by all three of those bullet points: it’s over, it had a couple rough spots, and they didn’t throw as many new songs into the mix as I’d hoped. That said, it was still a fine show and worth the trip for me. It gets exponentially more difficult to play songs I’ve not yet heard when you enter your

I’ve decided to call Night 3 in Chicago “Alligator Night… or… All Bets Are Off.” I’ve never seen a National setlist quite like this one and this was, as attentive readers now know, my eighth time seeing them. All I can say is… wow! The show kicked off with “Secret Meeting,” with Scott Devendorf on guitar and Aaron Dessner on bass. This is a favorite of mine from Alligator and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard it so I was pleased from the outset. We then went through a pretty standard sequence of Trouble Will Find Me and High Violet

It’s night two of The National’s four-night residency at the gorgeous Chicago Theater. My seats tonight aren’t as good as Night 1 but it seems there’s not a bad seat in the house. I was on the Aaron Dessner side of the stage for last night. I’m on Bryce’s side this evening. A different vantage point and some different songs. National show #7 was Lucky #7 for me as tonight is the best of their shows I’ve attended and rates among the best concerts of my career. “Start A War” was an inspired opener and “Mistaken For Strangers” was great

This is it! Opening night! The National kicked off the first of four nights in Chicago at the Chicago Theater in support of their Grammy-nominated 2013 album Trouble Will Find Me. So much to say about this opening salvo and I fear I won’t strike the right balance so bear with me, dear readers. The performance tonight was mostly stellar with only a few bumps along the way. I should also mention how great the sound in the Chicago Theater is. What a lovely room to hear music in! Now if I could just get my fellow attendees to shut

Seattle-based Vaudeville Etiquette, the brainchild of Tayler Lynn and Bradley Laina, enter an increasingly crowded scene of acoustic/folk/roots-oriented bands. Debutantes & Dealers is their debut record, produced by Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Walking Papers, Tuatara), and over the course of its 13 songs they demonstrate they are inspired rather than imitators crashing a trendy party. The duo serve as principle vocalists and songwriters for the band, rounded out by Sander Vinberg on upright bass, Bryce Gourley on drums, and Matt Teske on pedal steel. Things get off to an impressive start with the opening track which is also

The National delivered another passionate, riveting performance in Grand Rapids, MI as they continue the 2014 leg of their North American tour in support of their Grammy-nominated 2013 release Trouble Will Find Me. The setlist drew heavily from Trouble with nine songs forming the foundation for the evening. They mixed in staples from their catalog and worked in a couple surprises, including one that stumped and astonished me. “Sea Of Love” was a rollocking, electric opener to the show and quickly doused that energy by following it up with “Sorrow” from High Violet and another TWFM cut “I Should Live

We told you all about Sebastian Bach’s upcoming solo record Give ‘Em Hell and the first video “Temptation” and now we’ve got even more goodness to share with you, amigos! Give ‘Em Hell features help from Duff McKagan, Steve Stevens, John5 and hits stores April 22 (just around the corner!) and now we have a preview video from the man himself. Want a sneak peak at what awaits you? Check out the video below and let us know how excited you are to hear the latest from one of the great frontmen of ’80s hard rock.

Coldplay has released a video for “Magic,” the first song from their forthcoming record Ghost Stories, due in stores May 19. Coldplay’s last record Mylo Xyloto was reviewed by our amigos 11 and J Newcastle, both of whom liked it but with some reservations. I also enjoyed it… a little. I liked MX but it suffered from two flaws: it wasn’t Viva La Vida (the masterpiece that preceded it) and too many songs sounded like it wanted to be Viva. I have a good feeling about Ghost Stories. I believe they’re ready to venture off in a different direction while

Dudley Taft has teamed with Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge for his forthcoming blues-rock record Screaming In The Wind, due May 20. Taft began his career in the Pacific Northwest rock community first as a member of Sweet Water and then as a member of the band Second Coming, which featured former members/associates of Alice in Chains. His rock and roll past is still part of his music but he’s merged that with his passion for and knowledge of the blues. His first blues-rock solo album was Left For Dead which he followed with Deep Deep Blue. Both of those records

Matt Schofield had a specific vision for his latest release Far As I Can See, the follow-up of his outstanding 2011 effort Anything But Time. He was intent on recreating and capturing in the studio the feel and sound of his live shows. All the pre-production decisions were made with this goal in mind. He brought his guitar tech in as engineer for the record to make sure the tones were just right. He assembled a band of players who’ve been on the road with him before and they recorded the album playing together rather than tracking separately. He also

BlindedBySound favorite Eden Brent has announced the tracklisting and revealed cover art for her third full-length album for Yellow Dog Records, Jigsaw Heart, which will be released May 6. The three-time Blues Music Award-winning pianist/vocalist is following-up her acclaimed 2010 effort Ain’t Got No Troubles. Colin Linded produced that record and returns to produce Jigsaw Heart. Brent gets instrumental assistance from Linden, who also supplies guitar and mandolin. Bass chores are shared by John Dymond and Stephen Mackey and drum duties are split between Gary Craig and Bryan Owings. Dan Dugmore provides pedal steel, Kenzie Wetz plays fiddle, and Chris

Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach will release a brand new studio album April 22 entitled Give ‘Em Hell and has issued a video for one of its tracks, “Temptation.” Bach recorded the album with Duff McKagan (Guns N Roses, Walking Papers, Loaded, Velvet Revolver), John 5 (Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie) and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), Devin Bronson, and Bobby Jarzombek. Give ‘Em Hell follows Kicking & Screaming and the live album Abachalypse Now. Bach is excited about the album, saying “This CD will be balls-out, in-your-face high-energy rock ‘n roll which just so happens to be my favorite style

One of the many advantages to being me is the occasional opportunity to hear new music before the rest of the world at large. I wouldn’t trade that privilege for the world but there is the tiniest downside to it: I can’t direct my dear readers and friends to an album when fanboy exuberance overtakes me because the record isn’t yet available. I find myself in that situation once again regarding the debut album from Vaudeville Etiquette, Debutantes & Dealers, but I can’t be silenced. I am in love with this record, these songs, and this band so I’ve gone

New Music Tuesday has been a sacred holiday in my life for as long as I can remember. Every week can be Christmas. Fuck waiting for December 25! New Music Tuesday has eroded ever so slightly as THE day new releases hit stores as we enter into an era where crowdsourcing and pre-ordering can put music in the hands of fans ahead of the official street date. It’s a little sad to see the tradition wane but when you’re talking about music, the right time is always now. Nick Moss’ Time Ain’t Free has been available to those of us

Nick Moss has done it again on Time Ain’t Free. What’s that, you ask? He’s been clearing the bar he set with his previous album each time he releases one. I didn’t think he could top Play It ‘Til Tomorrow until I heard Privileged and there was no way he was going to top that but Here I Am indeed upped the ante. Nick Moss is playing no-limit poker while everyone else is playing nickel slots because he’s gone “all in” with Time Ain’t Free and everyone comes out a winner. The “all in” mentality manifests itself in numerous ways,

Let’s dispense with the obvious, tedious, and incorrect at the outset: Morning Phase, Beck’s first album of recorded music in six years, is not a sequel to his 2002 masterpiece Sea Change. I get it: they’re similar in sound, tone, and sonic texture. Call them aural companions if you must but Morning Phase is not a continuation of the Sea Change narrative. The instrumental prelude “Cycle” opens the album and establishes tone and mood for what is to come. It segues into the gorgeous “Morning,” which recalls George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” through the sonic palette of his own

Damon Fowler is back with his first album in three years, Sounds Of Home, following up his excellent 2011 effort Devil Got His Way and he shakes things up bringing in blues titan Tab Benoit to produce this latest record, replacing veteran Scott Cable. I’m going to step outside the review at the outset because I’m afraid this will get lost in the discussion we’re about to have: I like the record. Damon is a seriously talented dude with excellent touch as a guitarist and a sweet, appealing voice. He and Benoit together resist the trap that kills many a

Hear me, all ye with ears, and read the words of this latest epistle, all ye with eyes. I once again carry with me a message of musical salvation for you, the antedote to the dreck what would convince you there is no music worth hearing being created in this 21st century. It is my great pleasure to bring before you the mighty Vaudeville Etiquette. Best you go ahead and convert now as this is the first of what I assure you will be many missives proclaiming their glory. VE is the brainchild of Tayler Lynn and Bradley Laina. Their

Vintage Trouble has nearly become the Official House Band of Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show this past year, having made four appearances and there’s a good reason for it: these guys know how to blow it up on stag. The heat and the sweat lose none of their potency even when being transmitted via satellite into living rooms many thousands of miles away. The band have recorded most, if not all, the material for their follow-up to their incredible debut The Bomb Shelter Sessions and the first single “Strike Your Light” is available digitally. The track doesn’t deviate from the

2013 is hours away from ending (well, it was when I started writing this) and no one will be happier to see it in the rearview mirror because this year sucked out loud for me; it did no such thing where music was concerned and for that I am thankful. Music continues to be the constant refuge for my mind and soul and many albums from 2013 will remain companions in 2014 and the years to come. There are many great albums I spent a lot of time listening to that didn’t make my Top 10 but that’s the fascist

World Boogie Is Coming is the latest from the Dickinson brothers — Cody (drums, keyboards) and Luther (guitars, vocals) — and finds the band playing a host of songs by some of the Mississippi Delta greats as well as a few originals. It also finds them bringing in some heavyweight talents to support them on this sprawling 22-song set, among them Robert Plant, members of the Burnside family (R.L. Burnside’s music is represented on the record three times), Lightnin’ Malcolm, Otha Turner, and Alvin Youngblood Hart just to name a few. “JR” and “Goat Meat” open the record riding the

Magic Sam Maghett is among the most influential bluesmen who also happens to be part of the tragic legacy of talents who left too soon. The blues world is awash in incomplete stories of artists who had so much to give and not enough time to give it, leaving fans with the bittersweet taste of gratitude for what we have and the stinging loss of the great songs and performances never to be heard. Sam recorded a handful of singles for Cobra Records before making the jump to the great Delmark Records. He recorded two essential, landmark albums while there:

It feels as though Johnny Rawls has been paying tribute to his mentor, the great O.V. Wright, his entire career and it’s difficult to believe he is only now getting around to making a tribute record to a man who shaped his sound. Each of his most recent records have featured at least one Wright song, a nod to the time he spent as bandleader for the legend. Remembering O.V. is Rawls’ 2013 release and features nothing but songs that were integral to Wright’s oeuvre. Rawls enlists the help of another great soul singer, Otis Clay, in this labor of

Eric Bibb is an enigma in the blues universe he is tangentially a part of. You won’t hear staggering guitar solos or strict adherence to the rhythmic or thematic constructs of the blues idiom. He doesn’t sing with overwrought melisma or exaggerated howls yet the power, passion, and emotion — blues with a feeling, as Little Walter called it — is felt in his every performance. He stays as close to or strays as far from the blues as the song warrants, often employing elements of African and World music rhythms and sounds in addition to jazz, folk, and gospel

2013 is the year the ’90s got their groove back in the form of Magic Hour, the first album from Luscious Jackson in 14 years! Jill Cunniff, Kate Schellenbach, and Gabby Glaser are in fantastic form, recreating their classic sound without sounding dated… I’m often accused, due to my disdain for the deluge of dreck on the radio, of being a music snob and I’m guilty as charged but those who think I don’t appreciate pop or like fun in my music are so wrong. Dance music doesn’t have to be dumb, it just usually is but Magic Hour is

Aaron Parks’ previous album Invisible Cinema was a collection of vignettes created and performed to construct scenes from films unmade, providing the tension and sonic textures to allow the listener to imagine their own visuals. Arborescence, his 2013 release, takes that approach a step further with a thematic series of compositions centered around trees, forests, and nature. The 11 pieces are solo piano compositions with infrequent, barely audible wordless vocalizations buried in the mix, all of which are more about ambiance, emotion, and atmosphere than complex key signatures, adventurous arrangements, or intellectual experiments. Fans of more demanding jazz may not

Thursday is going to be a big day for me, amigos. It’s payday and I’m hitting the ‘Ham to see The Lone Bellow at Workplay Theater. I’ve heard such good things about this venue but have yet to see a show there. I’ve more than heard good things about The Lone Bellow, I’ve said them. This will be my first chance to see this trio live and excited doesn’t even begin to describe it. Their self-titled debut is one my most listened to albums of 2013 and continues to reward me each time I play it again, which I do

Brendan Benson summed up my feelings about the first new music from Toad The Wet Sprocket in 17 years: “It’s so good to be here with my old, familiar friend…” I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Toad frontman Glen Phillips upon the release of his excellent, experimental Secrets Of The New Explorers EP during which he graciously discussed his post-Toad solo work as well as the ongoing relationship with the band he helped found. At that time, TTWS toured regularly, playing for a fan base that never forgot them. I asked a question that included the phrase “new

We’ve gotten sporadic again with our loved and beloved Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure) piece and I take full responsibility. I’ve been hiding out in a bit of a funk I’ve been in denial about, listening to my fair share of The Cure in the meantime, which is what we should all do when the melancholy mood strikes. Robert and company have been keeping their eye on me, specifically Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and The Top. My next week’s pick comes from the latter but today we’re discussing “Sugar Girl” off Kiss Me x 3. Because

Samantha Fish follows her Blues Music Award-winning debut Runaway with the spirited, energetic, contemporary blues-rock of Black Wind Howlin’. Her gifts as a vocalist and guitarist were evident on her debut and they are even stronger this second time out but the real leap forward is in the songwriting. Runaway had excellent songs but also a bit of filler. The material on Black Wind Howlin’ is far more consistent lyrically as well as in their construction. She kicks off the set with “Miles To Go,” which is yet another song about a musician’s life on the road. It’s a tired

Nick Moss launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for his 10th CD Time Ain’t Free, slated for a spring 2014 release. The Time Ain’t Free campaign includes 14 different pledge points with a bevy of premium goodies in addition to the record itself, which is the follow up to Moss’ 2011 outing Here I Am. Here I Am was the first to feature guitarist/vocalist Michael Ledbetter. Moss and Ledbetter filmed a video discussing Led’s increasing role in the band, the recording of Time Ain’t Free, their excitement at bringing fans into the process of releasing the new album,

Seattle rock and roll will always be romantic and magical for me. I lived in the city just before the city and its roster of talent launched its groundbreaking assault on the mainstream and was of the right age and mindset to be caught up in the onslaught even if I hadn’t sipped from those native waters. I was also of the right age that I spent many years immersed in the spectacle that was ’80s metal and witnessed the changing of the guard as a slew of bands from Seattle and elsewhere ushered out the old and rolled in

Josh and I like to switch it up sometimes and instead of picking two separate songs, we write on the same one. This week we’ve selected “Burn” which is best known off 1997’s The Crow soundtrack. Personally I think the entire movie should have been set to a score by The Cure. I can’t think of a better band to encompass the damp, dark, somber, morose mood of the film, which is exacerbated by the fact the emerging young star Brandon Lee died during filming. HEATHER Driving bass and birdlike screeching start us off on this adventure that quickly amps

The National returned to historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last night and once again delivered an intense, astonishing performance featuring 10 of the 13 tracks from their latest album Trouble Will Find Me as well as staples from prior albums, including the tour debut of “Lucky You.” Last night was my fifth National show and am still a little surprised each time how well their brand of music translates live. They’re not a guitar-driven band with virtuoso licks and their frontman looks more like a Russian Lit. professor at a small liberal arts college than a lead singer but there

Check us out now… two weeks in a row… our weekly feature devoted to the brilliance of The Cure and the way their music has and continues to influence, inspire, and affect us is actually, you know, weekly! I hope I haven’t jinxed us. Heather leads us off with another song from Disintegration while I’ve chosen one of my favorite b-sides. HEATHER I know “Pictures Of You” is supposed to be a sad song but it makes me incredibly happy and peaceful all the while a little wistful and nostalgic. It’s a breakup dedication that is poignant, ripe with visuals

Life is full of second chances and Walking Papers — Jeff Angell, Barrett Martin, Duff McKagan, Ben Anderson — have given me one. Their self-titled debut was released last year and I interviewed Jeff and Barrett about it. I planned to review the record as well but last fall conspired to nearly kill me and I never did. I could have reviewed it at any time but I kicked myself for missing that release window. Guess what, amigos? The album is getting a reboot as the band have signed on with an independent label who is putting some sweat equity

My song choice this week may seem like a bit of a throwaway however, this song has more going for it than you might initially think. “Lovesong” was first released almost exactly 24 years ago, I remember hearing it on the radio and being captivated. The music was the usual somber fare, and the driving guitar, pleasing keyboard and more succinct, clear vocal delivery was a nice contrast. Overall the album it appeared on, Disintegration was a dark, depressing collection of gorgeous tunes. “Lovesong” gave it enough balance to avoid the record being dismissed as depressing, gothic fodder. “Lovesong” was

Joanne Shaw Taylor will release Songs From The Road, her first ever live album on November 12. The 12-song set is being released as CD/DVD package and features songs from all three of her studio albums as well as a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.” Taylor said fans have been asking for a live album from her for years but that she waited until the right time and place presented itself. “We wanted to do it in London,” she said, “and the reason for picking The Borderline was because I wanted something small and intimate. I grew up being

We told you about the upcoming sophomore release from Blues Music Award-winning guitarist/vocalist Samantha Fish and now she’s discussing Black Wind Howlin’ as the Sept. 10 release date approaches. The first installment was released today and I think we’re as excited to hear this one as she is for us to hear it. Black Wind Howlin’ is the follow up to her award-winning debut Runaway and was again produced by Mike Zito. Fish is backed by members of Royal Southern Brotherhood (of which Zito is also a member) and penned or co-wrote all but one song on the record. In

I was late to the Blur party, owing mostly to the fact they never had as many US hits in their heyday as their countrymen Oasis, who I absolutely love. Good things come to those what wait and I did eventually discover the brilliance of Blur and deeply admire the depth of their catalog. To that end, I’ve tortured myself by limiting myself to a mere 5 songs from their voluminous discography which will stand as my Top 5 Blur songs. Parklife: Oi! Oi! Fucking Oi! Phil Daniels, bitches! What a fucking great song this is and it’s completely mental.

Ten From The Road is a 2012 live release from Matt Schofield, culled from two shows from his UK Anything But Time tour. This live set naturally draws heavily from that album, but other favorites from Scofield’s past work are also included. “Ear To The Ground” kicks things off and may well be Schofield’s finest song and this is a fantastic version. His vocal isn’t quite as dynamic as on the record but is strong and his leadwork is sensational. Each note burns and blisters, coming at you in flurries but never hurried. Schofield plays live as a trio with

Buddy Guy is a living legend and blues badass who continues to sing and play with energy men half his age would envy. That passion and enthusiasm can be heard throughout the 75-year old Guy’s latest album, Rhythm & Blues. He plays with the ferocity that has been his trademark since the moment he found producers and labels willing to allow him to unleash it all. His voice has lost a little in the way of dynamics but there is still plenty of muscle for intense howls. His career renaissance began with Damn Right, I’ve Got The Blues and with

Okay, so we missed a week… we are getting better, though, at making our weekly love letter to The Cure, you know, weeky… HEATHER This week’s song for Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure) comes courtesy of 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. Which subsequently helped put our beloved band on the mainstream map in America, becoming their first album to reach the Billboard Top 40. I chose “Torture” because the song title alone covers most areas of my life right now without even getting into the lyrics. My daily grind job has been a source of torture

The Grammy-winning duo The Civil Wars took the world by storm with their timeless debut Barton Hollow only to succumb to stresses and pressures that have prematurely ended so many great artists. Their eponymous sophomore effort is, in essence, a posthumous effort with neither John Paul White or Joy Williams speaking to one another. Many critics and fans will listen for clues as to what tore these two apart and you can find them if you want but these songs likely have nothing to do with the discord that caused their abrupt end. What is clear is this isn’t the

I distinctly remember the buzz surrounding their magical, misunderstood debut Licensed To Ill and like most kids, the first song I heard from them was the classic single “Fight For Your Right.” I remember dubbing a copy on cassette from a friend, sneaking it into the house (no way my parents were letting me buy this one!), and repeatedly listening to it. They were pretty far from most of what comprised my middle school listening and I didn’t know what to make of it. Heather is our resident Beasties expert and she may well school me on how wrong I

So many great albums and not enough time: that’s the theme of today’s Listfully Speaking. The first edition of this series was my Blues 101 list and the first five albums I would hand someone looking to explore the rich beauty of the blues. They are so amazing it makes me sick that I let so many years of my life go by without hearing them. The universal catalog of song is voluminous and grows every year; the challenge of exposing myself to and absorbing it all is daunting and probably impossible but it’s worth it to fight the good

It’s been more than 10 years since Lycia last released an album and that drought comes to an end in August with the announcement of Quiet Moments, available on CD and digitally on Aug. 20. Mike VanPortfleet and Tra Vanflower have both worked on solo albums in the years between releases and have now put their creative energies into a new Lycia record, one VanPortfleet considers the most important of his career. “This is a very personal release for me,” he said. “It’s the closest thing I’ll ever have to an autobiography.” The personal nature of the lyrics, their challenging

Blues Music Award-winner Samantha Fish will release her sophomore solo album Black Wind Howlin’ on Sept. 20. I loved her debut Runaway and so did the Blues Foundation, who named the record Best New Artist Debut at the Blues Music Awards. That album was produced by Mike Zito (who just released a new record Gone To Texas) and he returns for that role on BWH. They recorded this new set in Louisiana and Fish gets some studio help from Paul Thorn (vocals), Johnny Sansone (harmonica) and Bo Thomas (fiddle). Fish wrote 10 of the album’s 12 tracks on her own,

Bluesman Keb’ Mo’ strode onto the stage in a pair of Converse sneakers and a fedora with three guitars and a harmonica waiting for him on the stage of Norton Auditorium in Florence, Alabama, where he played a headlining set at the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival. The blues circuit is littered with festivals of the same name the world over, W. C. Handy acknowledged as the Father of The Blues, but Florence has a unique and special claim to this, being the birthplace of Handy- just one of many stories that makes the Florence-Muscle Shoals area such a vital

We have a couple new additions to the iTunes Music Store Top 10s this week on both the singles and albums front. I’d like to tell you this is a good thing but it’s still a matter of come meet the new boss, same as the old boss. In other words, it’s still crap but from different names. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is still the #1 song in the land and is setting 2013 records for staying power for whatever that’s worth. Jay Z (note: no hyphen) is still #1 with his Magna Carta Holy Grail album. The new additions

Jason Isbell has become a favorite of David Letterman. Dave doesn’t gush about many of his musical guests. We all know how much of a fan he was of the late Warren Zevon. He seemed genuinely impressed recently by Vintage Trouble. Dave has also been effusive in his praise of Isbell when he makes the rounds as he did last night. Southeastern is one of my favorite records of 2013 and “Stockholm” one of its finest songs so I was excited when I learned that’s what he was playing. The performance didn’t disappoint. It is spirted, inspired, and wonderful. You

Beady Eye’s sophomore effort is released in the UK and not exactly-officially-completely available in the US but a video has been filmed for the second single from BE, “Shine A Light.” I’ve got a digital advance of the album and started sketching notes for my review but haven’t decided if I should weigh in before it gets American distribution or take my swings now. This gives me a chance to split the difference, talking about the single and video. The Dave Sitek-produced track is overflowing with classic ’60s psychedelic sounds with acoustic guitars and sitar (or guitars mimicking sitar) churning

Built To Spill have announced plans for a summer/fall US tour kicking off in Oklahoma City this month and ending in Salt Lake City in November. A former co-worker of mine turned me on to the magic of BTS and the mighty Doug Martsch, a guitar god of a different breed, and his band’s distinct brand of indie rock. I wish I could tell you this tour is in support of a brand new album but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The good news is fans of the their catalog can expect to hear a bevy of favorites

One benefit to having flawless taste in music is never having to write a “guilty pleasure” list or be embarrassed when you admit to liking certain songs. This is going to shock you, boys and girls, but Bryan Adams was not always a wanker. No, really. It’s true. I’m not saying he was all the way good, only that he wasn’t always a total wanker. I hear you. Yes, he wrote some utter shite and schmaltz and right you are about all those fucking movie songs. I can’t defend anything about the Robin Hood movie or song. “Have You Ever

It’s been a long time since I’ve been caught up enough on my writing to have reviews of the Top 3 albums at Blues Radio. I’m finally catching up with blues listeners from around the world. You’ve been digging the hell out of the star-studded James Cotton record Cotton Mouth Man. I’d be curious which song or songs are getting all the airplay. There are some good tunes on the record but it didn’t do much for me as an album. Trampled Under Foot made a really nice record with Badlands and I’m glad to see it go to #2

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has declared August 3 Blue Star Connection Day as the 3rd Annual Blue Star Music Festival comes to Littleton, CO with its most diverse, impressive lineup yet. This year’s festival celebrates and brings to life Blue Star Connection’s mission of providing access and ownership of musical instruments to medically-fragile children, teens, and young adults. The festival lineup boasts soul legend Curtis Salgado, Paul Thorn, and all-star band The Healers, featuring former Stevie Ray Vaughan sideman Reese Winans, Jimmy Hall, Samantha Fish, Kate Moss, and Trampled Under Foot’s Kris and Danielle Schnebelen (check out our review of

We had to put our beloved weekly series devoted to the awesomeness of The Cure on hiatus but we’re back! Heather and I hope we can bring you reflections on and memories inspired by the brilliance of The Cure. We’ve gotten so much great feedback and response to the entries we’ve written together so far. It makes us happy to know so many of you share our love for this fantastic band and we hope you’ll continue to read, comment, and share them. Heather leads us off… HEATHER ”How did we get this far apart We used to be so

James Cotton is a bonafide harp legend and blues icon and has nothing left to prove at this stage is his career. That can be a blessing when it frees and invigorates a titanic talent to pursue their vision with no fear or boundaries. It can also be a curse as it his on Cotton Mouth Man — the follow-up to his 2009 album Giant — where it’s clear finding ways to keep the man and his music vital without becoming repetitive has become increasingly difficult. Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge has assembled an army of stars to perform alongside Cotton.

The Lord our God is a gracious and benevolent God as He has seen fit to bestow upon us both a video for my favorite song from Johnny Marr’s “debut” solo album The Messenger but also a second, extended run of US tour dates from the former Smiths’ guitarist. “New Town Velocity” is my favorite song on a record with so many good ones. I don’t know why but it seems like my favorite song on an album ends up being an afterthought in the minds of the artist and fellow fans so I’m always surprised when something like this

BlindedBySound staffer, friend, and loyal sidekick Melinda dubbed me Encyclopedia Nerdicus after suffering through a bevy of my obsessive, opinionated, (and in my mind at least, informative) rants about music and my addict’s mentality when it comes to building my musical library. My best friend 11, himself an occasional contributor here, is astonished that my collection boasts albums by artists I don’t even like all that much. What can I say? I’m destined to die poor, amigos. So what the fuck does that have to do with anything? I got to thinking this week about songs I can’t live without

KC-based three-piece Trampled Under Foot aren’t new to the scene but years of hard work are paying off with a rising profile on the blues circuit and Badlands should only aid that momentum. TUF is a sibling trio of Kris, Nick, and Danielle Schnebelen. My first introduction to them was not through one of their own records but because Danielle and Kris were part of The Healers, an all-star band who performed a benefit show for Blue Star Connection. It was a great show and I highly recommend checking out that live set for both the music and the cause

No change at the top of the charts this week as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail are both #1 again this week. There’s really not a lot of change on the charts this week, period. Miley Cyrus holds that #2 single again this week, Mackelmore and Lewis and Daft Punk are still in the Top 10 of singles and albums. Kanye’s Yeezus dropped another slot from 6 to 7 this week but that’s about all the action we have. I suppose I’m a little surprised Daft Punk’s Random Access Memory isn’t still a Top 10

Rock music has a handful of signature, immediately recognizable sounds that can only come from one source: Chuck Berry’s guitar intro, Roger McGuinn’s 12-string guitar, Clarence Clemons’ saxophone, Angus and Malcolm Young’s signature riffing, just to name a few and over the past few years a new one has emerged, that being the sweet, piercing sting and wail of Robert Randolph’s Sacred steel. Randolph has taken a little-known tradition from the church to the mainstream with his mastery of the Sacred steel and created quite a reputation for himself as an instrumentalist and built a following with his Family Band

The Smashing Pumpkins will release a live 3D DVD on September 3 called Oceania: Live in NYC. The show was filmed at the band’s 2012 concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and includes the entirety of Oceana, the most recent Smashing Pumpkins album that also happened to be the first SP record to (officially) include only frontman Billy Corgan from the original lineup. Oceania was a solid record and seeing it presented in its entirety should be a treat. Fans of the classic Pumpkins catalog will find plenty of favorites in the setlist as well as songs from Siamese Dream and

I had no help when I began my journey through a century of blues. I had no compass or map but this was a trip I needed to take and I was willing to risk getting lost. That didn’t happen too many times but I did have a few missteps while also repeatedly striking gold. The journey continues but here’s a little travelogue for those of you considering booking your own blues vacation. This is my Blues 101 list of 5 Blues Albums You Must Own. A music with such a rich, deep tradition has innumerable entry points. This isn’t

Buddy Guy’s Rhythm & Blues won’t be in stores for another two weeks but it’s already making a huge splash at radio where it checks in at #3 this, trailing fellow Hall of Famer James Cotton and Guy Davis. Soul veteran Mavis Staples is also in the Top 5 this week on the strength of her newly released One True Vine. Guitar greats Ronnie Earl and Duke Robillard continue to get considerable airplay for their respective releases Just For Today and Independently Blue. Jack White’s Third Man Records issued the Pokey LaFarge album that’s also getting major airtime at radio

“Mind Your Manners,” the first single from Pearl Jam’s 10th studio album Lightning Bolt, strikes like a storm with badass punk built on a foundation of a furious, thunderous riff. Mike McCready plays stuttering lead lines, the mortar, while also interlocking with Stone Gossard, to create a brick wall of classic rock guitar. Frontman Ed Vedder spits and howls another of his secular humanist rants over the hard-charging rhythm. The energy of “Mind Your Manners” comes not only from the full-frontal attack but also the anthemic fever it builds, all in under three minutes. What many missed about the best

Pearl Jam have unveiled the cover art, release date, and first single from their tenth studio album Lightning Bolt. The Seattle quintet’s new album will hit stores Oct. 15 with “Mind Your Manners” available digitally as the first single from the record. We still don’t have the complete tracklisting for the record and I’m sure more details will soon emerge. What we do know is Brendan O’Brien, who has helmed a number of previous Pearl Jam outings, produced Lightning Bolt. This is the band’s first album in four years, following the 2009 release Backspacer. The band announced the first leg

I heard an awful lot of talk about some unorthodox method of (pre)-release for Jay-Z’s latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail. Whatever everyone was going on about it, it’s the #1 album at iTunes this week. I’m not a fan or follower of hip hop but it seems Jay-Z and Kanye West have been in a “battle” of sorts for supremacy in the rap world. Both men have released recent albums and for the moment, Jay-Z seems to be winning as West’s Yeezus has already slipped to #6. The singles chart is once again the domain of Robin Thicke, Daft

Robin Thicke’s insufferable “Blurred Lines” is is a certified hit and is the most streamed track via Spotify in the US and the UK. I’m going to quickly move past that because I’m shocked, mortified, and dying of laughter that Miley Cyrus checks in at #2 with “We Can’t Stop.” I thought for sure the recycled Britney Spears thing would have her relegated to TMZ only… until she wound up on some B-list reality show. I still suspect that’s where she ends up and I hope that’s as bad as it gets for her, provided she stops recording. I’m not

Most bands announce their new record before they announce their tour dates but most bands aren’t Pearl Jam. There have been rumblings about the as-yet announced 10th studio record from the Seattle quintet but they announced today plans for a fall tour that kicks off in Pittsburgh and ends with a homecoming show in Seattle. I wasn’t bowled over by their ninth record Backspacer but I’m an unabashed PJ fan so I’ll be among the first in line when the new record drops. Unfortunately, this will be the 10th album I won’t see them tour in support of because the

Beck continues releasing singles one at a time as he works on a pair of new albums with no firm release date. He released “Defriended” last month and today issued “I Won’t Be Long.” “Defriended” was firmly in the world of Beck’s eccentric electronica. I was expecting “I Won’t Be Long” to be more in the acoustic, singer/songwriter vein but I could not have been more wrong. “I Won’t Be Long” is a soaring anthem with an electronic-rock hybrid foundation that takes flight on the power of moody keyboards and Beck’s use of his own voice not only as a

Mike Zito is making music when he isn’t making music. He’s always busy and it’s always something musical whether it’s in collaboration with other artists like his band Royal Southern Brotherhood (featuring Devon Allman and Cyril Neville), producing for up-and-comers like Samantha Fish, or working on his own solo records. Gone To Texas follows up Zito’s Greyhound and continues the autobiographical bent of that record. Zito is joined by his core band, The Wheel, comprised of Jimmy Carpenter (sax and guitars), Rob Lee, (drums) and Scot Sutherland (bass) and recruits some heavyweight talent in the form of luminaries Debert McClinton

Legendary organist and bandleader Booker T. Jones continues his feverish pace, releasing new music even as Stax classics with his former band the MGs are being re-issued (Green Onions, McLemore Avenue). Sound The Alarm follows his 2011 release The Road From Memphis and like that release features a host of younger guest stars. Jones is joined this time by Gary Clark Jr., Vintage Trouble, Mayer Hawthorne, Anthony Hamilton, Estelle, and Sheila E., just to name a few. Young pup Mayer Hawthorne joins Jones on the title track to open the record and the two successfully balance a contemporary, hip hop

The mad genius that is Beck released a new single last month called “Defriended” and has one coming out next week called “I Won’t Be Long.” He is apparently hard at work on three or more different album projects right now and has begun releasing singles that may (or may not) show up on any of them. Beck has always been a master compressionist, able to harness and twist the zeitgeist. The very title of the song is quintessential 21st century vocabulary even if the ideas beneath the language are not: “Why are you so unavailable?” Nonsense phrases, unintelligible words,

Jason Isbell’s star has been on the rise both as a valuable member of the Southern rock band Drive By Truckers and now as a solo artist. He won song of the year from the Americana Music Awards for “Alabama Pines” from his 2011 album Here We Rest (also featured on his fantastic Live In Alabama). Personal problems threatened to derail his ascension and he chronicles those along with growth and a new-found sobriety on his 2013 release Southeastern. The ghosts of demons now in his rearview and a new love along with the undeniable, always-present talent have resulted in

Our pals Dawes played David Letterman’s Late Show last week and we have the video to prove it! They gave an excellent performance of “Most People,” one of my favorite songs from their latest album Stories Don’t End. It was also one of the highlights of their set when I saw them last month at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It’s a great, great song and I feel like I know the woman whose story Taylor Goldsmith is telling. There is something very familiar about her and Goldsmith captures this person brilliantly. You get all that and cool, chimey guitars. Seriously,

National Treasure Lurrie Bell has endured and overcome more heartache and pain than most of us will ever know and has spent a lifetime learning how to channel those experiences into his music. The name on the front and the title of the record tell you everything you need to know before you hear a note: Lurrie Bell and Blues In My Soul. It’s actually redundant because he wouldn’t do it any other way. He’s incapable of playing a false note and wouldn’t if he could. All the ingredients are here for a great Lurrie Bell record and once again,

Hall of Famer Buddy Guy will release a new studio album — a double album — titled Rhythm & Blues on July 30 and like many of the legend’s recent records he is joined by some high profile guests. Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge returns for another tour of duty with the 76-year old Guy, helming an album featuring a guest list that includes Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Gary Clark, Jr., Beth Hart and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. That’s a lot of bodies for one record but fortunately this is a double album with 21 songs, meaning

It looked like the end of the road for Garbage when they nearly broke up during the making of Bleed Like Me and things looked even more bleak at the end of their tour in support of that record. What looked like the end turned out to be a seven-year hiatus that ended with the release of their fantastic fifth album Not Your Kind Of People. Their triumphant return now has a victory lap in the form of their first live DVD, One Mile High Live. I know I have an obsession with setlists, maybe an unhealthy one, but the

You’ve really done things right when a bonus track on your album becomes one of your most popular, recognized, and requested songs and a staple of your live show. That’s what happened to our friends Vintage Trouble and their song “Pelvis Pusher.” This sweat-soaked, “good kind of bad fun” groove was a bonus track on their acclained debut The Bomb Shelter Sessions and has become a fan favorite on the stage at nearly every show they play. The song is so popular they performed it live on The Tonight Show and have filmed an official video for it. They’re even

Geography, maps, legends, and time are the fabric and seams of jazz great Pat Metheny’s exhilarating new album. The songs from this album are the work of renown composer John Zorn, who began work on a vast collection of songs inspired by Jewish music, tradition, and history known as the Masada Songbook. Numerous songs from that collection — there are well over 300 of them — have been recorded by dozens of artists and now Metheny has harnessed his daring, virtuosity, and imagination to tackle six previously unattempted titles for Tap: John Zorn’s Book Of Angels Vol. 20 When we

Dawes brought their tour to Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and Taylor Goldsmith & Co. gave a pleasing performance drawing heavily from their latest album Stories Don’t End and mixing in favorites from their prior two records. The audience was receptive to the new songs dominating the early going but remained reserved, Goldsmith remarking it took a quiet crowd to be able to play a song like the infrequently performed “Moon In The Water” from Nothing Is Wrong. I’m not sure if he was praising or chiding the assembled but the evening turned immediately following “Moon” when he told the crowd,

We continue to track The National across the US on this first leg of their Trouble Will Find Me world tour and we have a tour premiere to report. I spoke of songs I suspect most National fans like more than I do and how I wish they’d get retired in favor of different songs, preferably ones I prefer. “Green Gloves” fits in that category although it’s not at the top of my “I wish they’d play this more” list. I am glad they played it when I saw them in Atlanta. “Anyone’s Ghost” was played for just the second

The National resumed their tour after a day off and again made a couple minor setlist mods. “Secret Meeting” has been a regular on recent tours but hasn’t been played most nights at this early stage on the Trouble Will Fine Me tour. It was sandwiched between “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and “Sea Of Love” last night in Raleigh. Another song that has been an every nighter for quite some time, “Slow Show,” also came out last night. “All The Wine” stayed in the set for the second consecutive show, which is a bit of a surprise. “Slow Show” and “All The

The National capped a five-night run of shows in Richmond last night and there were a few shifts to the setlist, mainly in the sequencing department. It was a source of perverse delight that they opened so many shows on the High Violet tour with “Runaway” and tonight they did the near equivalent with “I Should Live In Salt” as the set opener. There are two other items that set last night’s show apart from others at this early stage in the tour. The first is the premiere of “All The Wine,” an infrequently played track from Alligator. I actually

The National played Philadelphia last night, their fourth show in as many nights and we saw two minor adjustments to the setlist compared to what we’ve seen from the prior three. The first thing of note is the show was cut back to 22 songs following a pair of 24-song sets in Brooklyn and Columbia, MD. The second is the appearance of “Daughters Of The Soho Riots.” It was played last month at the Ithaca show and is known to surface now and again and is thus not a rarity nor an every nighter. It seems to have taken the

The National’s performance in Columbia, MD was the third in three nights, part of a five-consecutive show run before they get their first break. There aren’t many departures from what we’ve seen in Providence or Brooklyn (or Ithaca last month, for that matter), the most notable change being that “About Today” was dropped from the set. That’s not much of a surprise. It is frequently played and you have a good chance of hearing it any given night but it hasn’t been an “every nighter” for some time. Now those of you who pay attention know I watch setlists like

Nick Moss and his band have been hard at work touring the west coast and recording material for a brand new studio album. The details of the forthcoming record haven’t been finalized but they’ve been playing the new songs on the road and are giving fans a chance to download “Was I Ever Heard” for free. You can stream it and access the download below. The new album will be Moss’ eighth studio record (along with Live At Chan’s and Live At Chan’s Vol 2, the second volume featuring National Treasure Lurrie Bell) and will follow his most successful albums

The National played a headlining arena show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night and played a 24-song set that again draws heavily on songs from their brand new album Trouble Will Find Me. The setlist doesn’t differ much from what was played in Providence, RI the previous evening but added a few songs to make for a longer show. “Heavenfaced” from TWFM and the High Violet standout “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” were the additional songs, the latter closing the encore as it did so often during the High Violet tour. “Fireproof” was dropped and “Humiliation” was added, marking the other

The National kicked their world tour in support of Trouble Will Find Me in full gear at the Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence Ri. They’ve played a few shows leading up to the release — including one in Ithaca, NY last month — but last night, it could be argued, was the official kickoff of and they put the new album front and center. Nine of TWFM 13 tracks were performed last night. The new songs: “Don’t Swallow The Cap,” “Demons,” “Sea Of Love,” “This Is The Last Time,” “I Need My Girl,” “Pink Rabbits,” “Graceless,” and “I Should Live

Kilborn Alley Blues Band is in the midst of the East Coast leg of their summer tour and among their stops was a trip to Don Odell’s Legends studio where they recorded a blistering 9-song set of songs drawing from throughout their career. Now that I have mastered the art of creating YouTube playlists, I’ve assembled their entire appearance and placed it below where you can, should, and must watch it. KABB is still touring in support of their album Four (one of BBS’ Albums Of The Year in 2011) and we can’t wait for new music from them but

Rory Block continues her series devoted to the founding legends of the blues, this time turning her attention to the vastly influential work of the great Mississippi John Hurt on her new album Avalon. Block has been on this road for quite some time having done records dedicated to the work of Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Rev. Gary Davis. She has devoted her life and work to the pursuit of the blues and recorded numerous albums of her own work but has found a special kind of enlightenment walking the paths and recording the music of, and inspired by, these

Roots-rockers JJ Grey & Mofro hit the #1 at blues radio this week, knocking a fellow Alligator Records artist from the top perch. This River is the sixth release from Grey and his band and has been a hit at radio since its release and can now add this to its list of accolades and accomplishments. Last week’s #1 was Hall of Famer James Cotton’s latest record, a star-studded affair pairing the legendary harp master with some of the biggest names in music: Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Warren Haynes, Keb’ Mo’, and Delbert McClinton among them. Ronnie Earl’s live album

I can thank Lianne La Havas for introducing me to the music of Everything Everything and, as with most things I write about here, I want you all to give them your time and attention but I know this isn’t going to be up everyone’s alley. Jonathan Higgs’ mannered falsetto can be grating. It’s not accurate to describe what he does during most verses as hip hop there is a rhythmic cadence in his mad, maverick delivery. The songs are often structured and that term is used loosely as free-form chaos pop where verses skitter and shift to syncopated, stuttering

We have that rare moment when I look at the iTunes Music Store weekly chart and find something to smile about, something that pleases me. Let us all take a moment to recongize this rare occasion. The source of my joy? The instant classic Trouble Will Find Me from The National is went to #3 in its first week of release. It deserved the top spot because everyone in America should own this record but I take comfort in this lofty debut. Daft Punk’s long-awaited album Random Access Memory gets the top slot and while it’s not a record I’m

Mark Lanegan may be the best vocalist in the world being possessed of a distinct, mighty, gravelly voice. He’s spent the past 20 years learning how to use it in the studio and the hard life he’s lived enters the vocal booth with him. You don’t just hear him, you feel it when it sings as there is a resonance and authority in his voice telling tales many of us fear to hear. He’s our embedded correspondent on the front lines and the dark alleys. He’s more than the voice of doom but can sing the songs of the damned

“Don’t Try” is the latest single and video from British quartet Everything Everything off their sophomore effort Arc and it falls well within the messy confines this band calls its sound. Jonathan Higgs’ mannered falsetto can be grating whether he’s talk-singing in the verses or yelping in the chorus but just as you’re about to turn away, exhausted and irritated, he layers his voice in lovely harmonious textures accompanied by a blast of sound from the band and you’ve been ensnared by the charming, daft madness of it all. This is another example of placing the song on the unstable

I pledge to not spend this entire review bemoaning my bad timing, missing out on the opportunity to purchase the limited edition CD of The Spring Standards’ Live From Delaware and “settling” instead for the digital-only option. I was introduced to this wonderful trio of James Cleare, Heather Robb, and James Smith on the social music site when someone played “Drowning in Sobriety,” the bonus track from their sophomore effort Would Things Be Different. The perpetual wandering Fanboy in me is always looking for new music that excites and moves me and that song immediately grabbed hold of me

The Lone Bellow got some national spotlight when they played The Tonight Show this past Wednesday, playing “Bleeding Out” from their spectacular self-titled debut. I love when good things happen to good bands, particularly those who need and merit wider exposure. The Lone Bellow are, as we near the midway point of 2013, one of my favorite musical discoveries this year. Their album is, for the moment, the one I’ve spent the most time listening to this year (although The National’s Trouble Will Find Me is quickly catching up). If you missed their performance, we’ve got it embedded here. If

Blues Hall Of Famer James Cotton has the #1 album at blues radio this week with his latest Alligator Records album Cotton Mouth Man. The famed harp master has played as a sideman with Muddy Waters and innerable other blues titans as well as a brilliant career as a bandleader. Gregg Allman, Delbert McClinton, and Keb’ Mo’ are just a few of the guests who join Cotton on his latest record and fans are snapping it up. Also on the chart this week are the recent releases from Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Tinsley Ellis, and Big Bill Morganfield, the latter

The star-studded soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s adatptioan of The Great Gatsby is the #1 album at iTunes for the past week with songs from artists like Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, Jack White,, and Lana Del Rey. It’s an ecclectic group of artists and that’s what we’ve come to expect from Luhrmann’s film soundtracks. I’m not at all surprised to see this doing well with listeners, for that reason. Vampire Weekend doing well with the iTunes crowd is also something I’d expect and their latest album has drawn strong reviews from all across the web including here at BlindedBySound,

Trouble Will Find Me is filled with stories of people in turmoil. There is more to these songs than ruminations of the clinically depressed man plumbing the depths of disappointment, dread, and disillusionment. The souls in these songs are often overcome with sorrow, self-pity, and self-loathing resulting in feelings of isolation and disassociation, both chosen and involuntary. Lead vocalist/lyricist Matt Berninger tells us “There’s a science to walking through windows” and I’m ready to be that scientist. It feels like an admission of guilt, talking about songs and ideas that evoke powerful emotion and connect this deeply but that is

I’ve nearly completed my epic review of Trouble Will Find Me, the sixth album from The National. While I’m finishing this opus, the band has been hard at work promoting thier latest effort with an appearance on David Letterman as well as a surprise show in New York. They played two songs on Jimmy Fallon recently and then on Monday hit Letterman and played “Don’t Swallow The Cap.” It’s a fantastic performance of one of the best songs on this record and the sound quality is surprisingly good for a TV performance. These late night performances and the Grammys, etc.

You may not think you know The Healers but this ad hoc blues sextet boasts some big name soloists and sidemen whose accomplishments are familiar to millions. The most famous name of the bunch is Reese Winans, keyboard man for Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble. He is joined by Jimmy Hall, a sideman and bandleader whose innumerable credits have kept him in the studio and on the road for decades, Kate Moss, wife of award-winning blues master Nick Moss and one hell of a guitarist in her own right as she has proved in jam sessions with Buddy Guy,

Gary Clark Jr. recently recorded a live-in-studio jam with his band for iTunes as part of the digital retailer’s ongoing iTunes Sessions series. Clark’s set presents seven songs from his major label debut Blak & Blu and a couple blues covers to round out the set. I dislike digital-only releases but they’re an inevitable part of the new music frontier and given the choice of hearing more Gary or less- well, that’s not a decision at all! What’s best about iTunes Session is the elimination of the slick, shiny production that marred Blak & Blu and robbed the songs of

I’m hoping to catch Dawes’ show at the Ryman in Nashville in a couple weeks, having recently discovered them and their sensational new album Stories Don’t End. They’ve been playing shows for awhile now and making other promotional appearances, including a set they did for KINK Radio / Live in the Bing Lounge. This is a 4-song set (which also includes an interview) has me even more excited at the prospect at taking in a full show on my own. The songs they performed are all from Stories and while they didn’t play a couple of my favorites, they did

The National kicked off their Trouble Will Find Me world tour in at State Theater in Ithaca, NY five days before the album gets its worldwide release and the setlist was pleasantly predictable with a couple surprises thrown in for good measure. We have a taste of what this tour may look like going forward so let’s take a closer look. Many bands try to push their new material when they get out on the road but The National have taken a particularly aggressive stance on that going back to their High Violet tour and now at the dawn of

It’s been exciting to see how many Cure fans remain among us as this series, since its start, has become one of the most popular features at BlindedBySound. When I named our series Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure), I thought of it in terms of the love for this band their music shared by Heather and I. Now I realize it has a broader significance: there are many of us who loved them when we first head them years ago and continue to listen and cherish the songs they’ve brought to us. Once again, we are doing something

Joe Satriani has been making records since 1986 and over 27 years he has created his own musical language and landscape and, expanding the definition of the rock instrumental genre and by producing commercially successful, timeless albums opened the door for many imitators and lesser talents as well as a few near equals. He has experimented and expanded his language, refining it to the point where his audience knows what to expect from one of his records. He’s past the point of tailoring his sound to win new converts and can now comfortably play to the faithful. Even an innovator

“You snooze, you lose.”– Anoymous Smug Asshole The Spring Standards are releasing a limited edition live album via a Kickstarter campaign and I found out about it too late to get in on the action. To quell this savage disappointment and shake me from my despondent stupor, I’m posting a video from their most recent album — actually a double EP — yellow//gold. “Nightmare” is one of my favorite songs from that set. The Spring Standards are primarily an Americana, roots-oriented band with sparkling three-part harmonies and those elements are all part of “Nightmare” but there’s also a really

David Bowie remains a grand provacateur and bless him for it. His latest video, the title track from his fantastic new album The Next Day, has received an “Adults-Only” rating from YouTube and was at one point banned from the site altogether. We know Bowie is not afraid to offend. I don’t know if it pleases him at this point but, considering he’s not going to tour this album (BOO!), I can’t help but think he’s at least amused by the reaction. So what has everyone in a dither? Oh, just our hero as a prophet, a little stigmata, priests

When last we checked in with our hero, Gary Clark Jr. had just released his iTunes Sessions EP and was about to play David Letterman. I’m still going to get a review of the iTunes Session written soon but in the meantime he has released a video for what might be my favorite track on his full length, major label debut Blak & Blu. I first heard “Numb” when he played Nashville last year after his acclaimed matinee set at Bonnaroo. I didn’t realize it was actually an old song, one he’d written for his independent (and seriously out of

I’m actually stunned Fleetwood Mac finds themselves in the Top 10 in album sales this week at iTunes and not just because it’s a rare display of respectable taste among digital music consumers. The real surprise to me is Lindsey Buckinghame settled for an EP rather than a double LP. Buckingham is ambitious, prolific, and relentless as a musician and songwriter. Four songs in stead 40… count me surprised. That’s the only surprise in this week’s iTunes chart. The rest is predictable and uninteresting to me but I’ll tell you about it anyway. You’re welcome. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are

The National continue the ramp up to the May 21 release of their sixth album Trouble Will Find Me with the release of a new video for “Sea Of Love.” This is one of the two songs the band recently played on Jimmy Fallon and follows the video for “Demons” and the announcement of more tour dates for this summer and fall. I wish I’d been able to see and hear “Sea Of Love” in its studio form before they premiered it on Fallon so I could tell you how great this was going to be live but we already

Welcome to another edition of “When A Song Ruins Your Life…” Today’s edition comes courtesy of one of my new music obsessions, Dawes. Their new album, Stories Don’t End, is completely wonderful and highly recommended but is not the source of the song that has ruined me and changed my life. There is no succinct way to express all the emotions “A Little Bit Of Everything” stirs in me, which is fine because I’ve never concerned myself with brevity (unless you ask my ex-girlfriends but that’s just mean). Taylor Goldsmith sketches three unrelated scenes that are alternately poignant, heartbreaking, hilarious,

Oh my God are there are a lot of great albums out this week! We have been music bombed on May 7, 2013. It’s about to get real… expensive. So many interesting titles to discuss so let’s get right to it. We begin with new music from Patty Griffin. Her new album is American Kid. I’ve heard the record but I’ll say nothing on the subject because Heather is our resident Patty expert and she has reviewed it for us. You’ll know all you need to All I’m here to do is tell you the album is out this today,

Walking Shadows finds jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman taking on a new challenge, incorporating an orchestra and string arrangements into his music with the help of pianist/producer Brad Mehldau. Strings are no stranger to jazz but the results have been uneven as the presence of an orchestra often mellows the music to uninspired, bland schmaltz. The approach often pushes the music towards superficial beauty rather rich and compelling. There’s nothing wrong with pretty, but shallow music is rarely rewarding. It is fortunate Redman and Mehldau, joined by bassist Larry Grenadier and Brian Blade, avoid these pitfalls for the majority of Shadows.

Patty Griffin has announced summer tour dates to promote her latest studio album American Kid. American Kid is out today and the tour begins at the end of the month in Asheville, NC. Griffin will work her way west with the tour proper ending with shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles at the end of June. She is slated to perform at Rocky Mt. Folks Festival in Colorado in August. In addition to the tour, Griffin will be performing on The Tonight Show tonight performing a song from the new album. I know which one it is. I’m not

The National have announced a slew of additional tour dates for the US and Canada that will keep them on the road for the next five months in support of their upcoming album Trouble Will Find Me. They play a few dates this month before starting their US tour in earnest in June. They will sandwich a European tour in between Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN in June and Lollapalooza in Chicago in August. They’ll continue playing the US and Canada through September. Trouble Will Find Me is out May 21 and the band have already released one single from it

Tinsley Ellis vaulted all the way to #1 this week at blues radio with his latest album Get It, an instrumental effort from the respected veteran guitarist. We like Tinsley quite a lot and we’re especially pleased to see this effort at #1 as BlindedBySound contributor Joanie has photos that appear in the liner notes of this fine record. Ellis is followed by Blind Pig artist Sena Erhardt’s All In and Alligator Records’ JJ Grey & Mofro with their latest album This River. Big Bill Morganfield, one of two sons of Muddy Waters who have chosen the impossible task of

Radiohead are briefly on break and a proper tour for Atoms For Peace, the band Yorke formed with Joey Waronker, Nigel Godrich, and Flea, has yet to begin but that hasn’t kept Yorke from making some live appearances on his own. Appearing on Jonathan Ross’ program, Yorke performed a solo piano version of Radiohead’s classic “Karma Police” followed by “Ingenue” from Atoms For Peace album Amok. It wasn’t difficult to imagine “Karma” being performed solo piano and Yorke sang brilliantly. While “Ingenue” is one of the slower moments on Amok, I’m always curious when electronic music goes organic. In this

It’s not the pairing some would hope for but Johnny Marr reunited with one of his former Smiths bandmates for a performance of the band’s classic “How Soon Is Now?” as Marr brought to a close his tour in support of his solo album The Messenger. No, kids, it wasn’t Morrissey, whose US tour was abrupltly ended when the singer experienced a host of health problems but was instead bassist Andy Rourke, a man Marr lauded as one of the best musicians he knows and one of his best friends. A full Smiths reunion is never going to happen and

Daft Punk has the world’s attention at Spotify with their single “Get Lucky” the most streamed track with the popular streaming service for last week in both the United States and United Kingdom. Their new album Random Access Memory will drop later this month (May 21). I mentioned last week not being sure what the hype was about regarding this release so I went and listened to the song and I’m still a bit mystified but nonetheless it’s #1 on both sides of the Atlantic. The remainder of the chart in both the US and UK remains (un)remarkably unchanged with

The final report for April from the iTunes Music Store is as dismal as any we’ve seen. Let us hope May brings better days with so many promising new albums coming our way (keep an eye on our weekly preview of new releases, New Music Tuesday, to stay up to date on these). Those dunderheads Ryan Lewis & Macklemore continue their hot-selling ways and while it’s true they can’t be called one-hit wonders, I still don’t see much of a shelf life for these blokes. Again, likely wishful thinking on my part because I would have said the same thing

Nothing and no one has ever captured the power and the feeling of live music, of being in the moment. I’ve bought more than 100 live albums and not a single one of them — even the great ones — come within a galaxy of recreating that unique feeling of bliss. The raw power and unfettered joy of that moment is like the high I imagine so-called adrenaline junkies feel and it’s something music lovers chase no matter how many times they feel it or how jaded we get when we don’t. I caught that feeling one more time Sunday

Is there anything better than taking a chance on a new-to-you band and being captivated by them mere seconds into the first song on their record? I continue to rail against the prevailing wisdom that contemporary music offers nothing compelling. There are so many phenomenal talents making great records I can hardly get to them all. I knew Dawes by name but never found time to investigate until multiple discussions of their new record popped up on my Twitter timeline. I made the bold decision to gamble on the unknown, considering it an $8 investment in my own happiness. I

The National appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night and performed two songs from their upcoming 6th album Trouble Will Find Me. “Sea Of Love” was broadcast live while “I Need My Girl” was posted on Fallon’s web site as a bonus performance. I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers and continue to but I allowed myself to watch both of these performances. I’ve now heard three songs from the album. “Demons” was issued as the first single and I’ve downloaded it from iTunes. “Don’t Swallow The Cap” was put on YouTube. I’ve waited to hear it. We

For reasons defying explanation, Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” is the #1 song at the #1 music retailer in the US this week followed by yet another song from Macklemore and Lewis. Would you stop listening to this nonsense if I told you God kills a puppy every time you download one of these songs? I know, I’ve become a broken record. There was a time I’d worry about being old and out of touch using that reference but vinyl is back even as we talk about digital downloads. Selena Gomez is also in the Top 10 and this

There’s been a lot of fanfare about a new single from Daft Punk and I confess I’m not sure what’s created the buzz but it was a Top 10 song on Spotify in the US and the UK this past week. I might help it get an extra spin and go listen to it myself just to find out why people are talking about this. I started with Daft Punk because I’m more tired of talking about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis than you are tired of me talking about them. What you’re not tired of listening to them and that’s

Master collaborator and supreme vocalist Mark Lanegan has found another partner-in-crime to create music with in the person of Duke Garwood and their first album together, Black Pudding, will hit stores May 14. They’ve made the second track from the album, “Pentacostal,” available to stream via YouTube (video embedded below) and I’ve given it a right good listening or two. It is sparse, allowing plenty of room for Lanegan’s weathered voice to be a brooding, dark cloud. I’ve made no secret Lanegan is one of my favorite vocalists of all time and may just well hold the title outright so

Five previous albums and years of touring made JJ Grey & Mofro mainstays on the roots rock/jamband scene and helped them hone their “kitchen sink” sound to such a sharp point you almost don’t realize how much they’re hurling at you. They’ve found their knack for fusing chaos into cohesion and making their brand of Southern rock, blues, soul, funk, and country elements sound natural. Grey has grown as a bandleader, arranging all of that into ear-pleasing romps, sweaty jams, and soulful ballads. He’s also grown as a singer/songwriter, penning lyrics and stories that are often excellent vehicles for his

It’s not a banner week for the new releases this week, which is just as well because I haven’t been able to acquire all the awesome flung at us last week. There are a few titles of note for April 23, so we’ll give them their moment in the sun and make you aware of what’s out there. Our ranking official Gen. Jabbo reviewed Alanis Morrisette’s Live At Montreux 2012, whic is available in audio and video formats this week. There’s no denying the impact her Jagged Little Pill record had in the mid ’90s and while she’s never again

Fellow BlindedBySound contributors Jordan Richardson, Greg Barbrick, and Kit O’Toole write a great deal more about jazz than I do and do it so well. They get it; I feel like a need to apologize just for listening to say nothing of writing on the subject. I don’t know why the idiom should be so intimidating to me but it still is all these years later. Maybe it’s because I was young and ignorant enough at one time to think Kenny G was jazz- and I liked it! Forgive me; I grew out of it. I recently read Ted Gioia’s

Much is written these days of the sometimes uncomfortable marriage of music and technology whether discussing the manner the current generation accesses and listens to music or the way it is recorded. It is refreshing then to discuss technology and music and technology in music in reference to Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion and its companion piece The Orchestrion Project. Orchestrion was released in 2010, a five-track album composed to allow the jazz virtuoso to explore his lifelong fascination with player pianos and other early automated instruments. It took years to assemble this one-man band because we aren’t talking about 21st century

It’s the week before Record Store Day and we’ve got a slew of major releases ready to be snatched up in addition to all the exclusives being ushered out to celebrate independent music retailers. If you didn’t wind up owing the taxman, here are a few items to spend your refund on… Let’s begin with Justin “Bon Iver” Vernon’s latest effort, a side project called The Shouting Matches and their debut album Grownass Man. I’m a huge fan of the title of the record to begin with as it’s an inartful but fun phrase I throw around when I’m feeling

Patriots’ Day has been a part of my life for years even though it’s not a state holiday where I live; I’ve been a Red Sox fan since my childhood days and have since come to love the Celtics and like the Patriots (still a Raiders fan at heart, a love that goes further back into my childhood) and thus through sports this historic city has become a cherished place to me even though I’ve never been there. I had the day off today and looked forward to an early Sox game and the running of the Boston Marathon, a

Lianne La Havas sparkled as she brought her US tour to a close with a sold out performance in downtown Nashville last night with a set list drawing largely from her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? and a couple of covers mixed in for good measure. Chanteuse is annoyingly overused in music writing, so much so I’m reluctant to invoke it but La Havas is such a pure embodiment of the idea on record and was so again last night on stage. She is a woman with a precious, endearing mix of youthful charm and vitality whose life

I was in Federal Way, WA on my way home from work the first time I heard “I Don’t Know Anything” by Mad Season and initially believed it to be new music from Alice in Chains what with the unmistakable voice of Layne Staley and a riff and guitar sound that easily could have come from Jerry Cantrell. It was only at the song’s completion I learned from the KISW DJ that this was the first single from a collaboration between Staley, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Screaming Trees’ Barrett Martin, and Baker Saunders. It’s 1995, I’m 22 and on my

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite’s collaboration Get Up! has been unseated by Devon Allman and Otis Taylor at blues radio this past week. Harper and Musselwhite are still in the mix at #3, followed by roots master Harry Manx and Jesse Dee to round out the Top 5. The amazing Ronnie Earl debuts at #7 with his latest live album Just For Today. Blues fans are still getting a heavy dose of Robert Cray’s most recent album Nothin But Love and Shemekia Copeland’s 33 1/3 while we also have Gary Clark Jr.’s Blak And Blu in the mix. Clark recently

Duke Robillard is among the most accomplished and prolific of bluesmen on the circuit today. He has released an album a year for the past four years going back to 2009 with Stomp! The Blues Tonight, Passport To The Blues (2010), Low Down & Tore Up (2011), a jazz trio record called Wobble Walkin last year, and this year’s Independently Blue. That much output could be a problem for lesser talents but Duke Robillard is no lesser talent. I wasn’t crazy about some aspects of Stomp and have yet to hear Wobble but can vouch for the excellence of Passport

Bruno Mars has the #1 single at iTunes this week with his hit “When I Was Your Man,” recently reviewed in our Hit Parade series. The next two songs are both former #1s — Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” and the abysmal “Thrift Shop” — followed by Rihanna and an act called Florida Georgia Line. This is a new one for me. I’ll have to do my research and find out who they are and what their track “Cruise” is all about. The only thing I know about it is it features rapper Nelly. The song that needs to

Indie sensations The National continue to build anticipation for the May 21 release date of their sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, with the release of a second track from the album for fans to preview, this one entitled “Don’t Swallow The Cap.” They released “Demons” as the first single on iTunes and also issued a video for it late last week/early this week and performed most of the new album at a secret show in Berlin. I tried to withstand the temptation to ruin release date by listening to all these songs beforehand but was weak and gave in

Gary Clark Jr. is the latest artist to record an exclusive package for Apple’s iTunes Music Store, the #1 music retailer in the US, as part of their iTunes Sessions series. Clark cut nine songs live in the Capitol Recording Studios in Hollywood, inlcuding several tracks from his major label debut Blak And Blu. He also mixes in two covers, one from Albert Collins and the other from Albert King. The Albert King cut “Oh Pretty Woman” (not to be confused with the more famous Roy Orbison song) comes from the blues legend’s Born Under A Bad Sign LP, which

Vintage Trouble was so great on The Tonight Show in January they were invited back last night and once again demonstrated why they are the ultimate force on late night television and among the most powerful live bands in America today. Ty Taylor commanded the stage and leapt through TV screens all over America with a hard-charging, asskicking performance of their “you have to hear it live” concert staple “Pelvis Pusher,” a bonus track song from their sensational debut album The Bomb Shelter Sessions. Rock & roll should be dangerous, fun, rebellious, and a little bit dirty and that’s what

I’m a failed guitarist who has always been fascinated by the power of the instrument and the virtuosos who creatively command those six strings. I’ve had many favorite players over the years — Satriani, Vai, Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, Duane Allman, and so many more — but I think I’ve finally settled the debate in my mind once and for all: Ronnie Earl is my favorite guitar player. There are countless players who do incredible things with the instrument and take it places beyond the limits of my imagination and he can do that but it’s not what makes

It’s a big week this week because we have new music from Ronnie Earl, quite possibly the greatest living guitarist. It’s a live album called Just For Today. Both John Taylor and I have reviewed it (John|Josh) and we both love it. This follows Earl’s studio album Spread The Love, which might be the best album of his storied career and that, kids, is saying something. Not only do we have a new album from Mr. Earl, but we also have a new set from his friend Duke Robillard. Robillard is no slouch on the guitar, either as you’ll hear

The National have issued the first single, “Demons,” from their May 21 album Trouble Will Find Me via a YouTube video that also gives fans a “behind the scenes” look at the creation of the rather unusual cover art for the band’s sixth album. We have the complete tracklisting for the record and a release date; there’s still no official word on whether “Demons” will be offered up as a digital single at iTunes, Amazon, et al. For now, you have this video if you want to sample the awesome. The band has been playing several songs from the upcoming

I bought my ticket to see Lianne La Havas in concert in Nashville months ago and the anticipation is building and I can barely contain my excitement knowing the show will finally happen next weekend. La Havas is one of the finest musical discoveries I’ve made in years and Is Your Love Big Enough? is a magical record, made even more special in that it is her debut. She has already created something amazing and timeless if she never makes another album and it’s thrilling to consider what she may do and where she may go when she does make

The National announced their sixth album Trouble Will Find Me is slated for release May 21 and they’ve started lining up tour dates to support the new album, including a surprise show in Berlin this week that found the band performing titles from the upcoming record. This isn’t the first time the band have roadtested material prior to a record’s release and it’s not even the first time they’ve played songs from TWFM but it is the first show they’ve done since announcing it and we’ve got videoes of three of the new songs — “Heavenfaced,” “Fireproof,” “Graceless” — that

We had a brief hiatus from our weekly love letter to The Cure but Heather and I are back! Our last installment found us both choosing songs from the timeless classic Disintegration. This week, we reach further back into this legendary band’s discography. Heather leads us off with the dreamlike “A Night Like This” and I tapped “One Hundred Days.” HEATHER The Cure cover loss, love, entanglement, wanting and needing better than any band that I can conjure up even with great effort. “A Night Like This” from 1985’s The Head On The Door proves this point further with lines

I would say it was fun while it lasted — Macklemore and Ryan Lewis being tossed out of the #1 slot – but it was Pink who took the crown so it really wasn’t worth a damn. They’re the 1 and 2 songs this week but “Thrift Shop” from The Heist is back on top. I don’t know why. On the day we mourn the passing of critic and curmudgeon Roger Ebert, I can only wonder what wonderfully witty, acerbic condemnations he would have for this twaddle. Cheers, Rog. Moving right along, what we have in the albums department is

The Rolling Stones will continue their celebration of 50 years together as a band with a handful of US tour dates and their first ever appearance at the UK’s massive Glastonbury festival this year. Last year marked the 50th Anniversary of The Rolling Stones — Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman — and of that quintet, Jagger, Richards, and Watts remain. Wyman took part in a handful of shows on the 50th leg last year and the first guitarist to replace the fired Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, also participated. Taylor is expected to make appearances with

The biggest releases this week come in the form of a couple killer re-issues, one of which I’ve already reviewed and the other of which I soon shall. Abert King’s 1967 masterpiece for Stax Records Born Under A Bad Sign has been remastered and expanded and should be part of every music fan’s library. So-called supergroups often disappoint but Mad Season featured my two favorite singers, Layne Staley and Mark Lanegan, as well as Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Baker Saunders. They recorded and released a single album, Above, and also released a live VHS (look it up, kids). This

Albert King is being posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year — no doubt more because of his influence on generations of rock guitarists than for his brilliant blues oeuvre — and Stax has re-issued his signature record Born Under A Bad Sign prior to the ceremony. This is the second of King’s albums included in the massive re-issue campaign by the famed Memphis label. They did a magnificent job on the expanded edition of I’ll Play The Blues For You and have done an equally masterful job on this, the most important record of

Happy April, boys and girls. This is a big, big month for me as I have tickets to take in three shows in Nashville: Vintage Trouble, The Slide Brothers opening for JJ Grey & Mofro, and the one I’m perhaps most excited about is Lianne La Havas. I fell in love with her debut record Is Your Love Big Enough? last year and had I done a Best Of for last year, her album would easily have made the list. It’s a stunning, soulful album from a young artist with a beautiful voice, an exciting present, and a bright future.

Jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman will release a new solo album Walking Shadows on May 7, following his exciting collaboration with Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland under the James Farm moniker. The set was produced by frequent collaborator Brad Mehldau and is the first album of Redman’s career to include an orchestral enseble. Redman is also joined by Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, and another longtime collaborator in Brian Blade. He penned a few of the songs on the 12-track record and also performs songs by Lennon-McCartney (actually more of a McCartney thing as the song in question is “Let It

Victory can be overrated, kids. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been dethroned as the most streamed track at Spotify in the US! Huzzah! By Justin Timberlake. Piece of damn it! What is wrong with you people? Timberlake has logged massive sales of his The 20/20 Experience this week and people are streaming several tracks from it, two of which are in the US Top 10 and two in the UK Top 10. Macklemore and Lewis are still strong presences on the US and UK charts. It’s worth noting that while Pink has the top-selling song in the US at iTunes,

Be careful what you wish for, kids, because you just might get it. I’ve been whinging for weeks about Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis being the #1 song on the charts at radio as well at iTunes and Spotify and now we have a new #1 song, at least at iTunes: “Just Give Me A Reason” by Pink. I guess I’m going to have to be more clear next time when I talk about wanting a change on the charts. This was not what I had in mind. The aforementioned dunderhead duo fall from #1 to #2, followed by Rihanna,

Robert Randolph has ushered the Sacred steel tradition into the mainstream through his work with his Family Band and continues his work to introduce this tradition by lending his name and cameo to a new album from The Slide Brothers on Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers. The “Brothers” — Calvin Cooke, Aubrey Ghent, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell — are an ad hoc family connected through the tradition of using lap steel guitar in church services through The Church of God. They now perform together and on this album bring their exceptional playing talents to the music of The Allman

New Music Tuesday for this week brings us a new album from ’80s stalwarts Depeche Mode, Delta Machine, and indie outfit Wavves with their LP Afraid Of Heights. It gets a bit sketchy after that on the roster this week but we’ll highlight a couple more. We’ve got a new album from country star Blake Shelton and American Idol runner up Crystal Bowersox follows up her Farmer’s Daughter LP with All That For This. Another former Idol contestant, David Archuleta, has new music out this week as well. Rock/blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa has another record out, An Acoustic Evening At

There has been a movement over the past few years bringing folk-based, Americana bands to a place of prominence they haven’t enjoyed since the ’60s, capped by Mumford & Sons winning this year’s Album Of The Year Grammy. Other bands in that vein — Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars — have enjoyed critical and commercial success that couldn’t have been predicted. It’s cool again to have an acoustic guitar and harmonies, singing songs about something. No one is more surprised by this than me. The upside to these fads when the music or style is good, the music machine champions

Blues is in the blood, kids. That’s the story for this week. Take a look at the names on these albums, the Top 20 albums at blues radio this past week: Shemekia Copeland (daughter of Johnny Copeland), Devon Allman (son of Gregg), Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters), and John Lee Hooker Jr. (do I have to explain?). It’s a family tradition. In the non-offspring division, we’ve got records from Otis Taylor, The Slide Brothers, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Robert Cray among the Top 10. The record among these I have to check out next is Big Bill’s,

David Bowie has been the epitome of cool for decades and has issued the first new evidence of his majesty in a decade with The Next Day, an album offering more of his unique brand of intelligence and wit in the form of songs offering his ideas in narratives and impressionist word play and fantastical soundscapes. Bowie surprisingly makes it impossible to ignore his history with this new album before we’ve heard a note. What are we to make of the cover art? It’s the cover of his 1977 classic “Heroes” with the words “The Next Day” superimposed over it.

It’s a cruel and stupid world we live in when a new record from Justin Timberlake can top a new album from David Bowie and that, boys and girls, is where we are in the here and now. Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience debuts at #1 despite mixed reviews and Bowie’s The Next Day comes in at #4 at the iTunes Music Store, with Luke Bryan and Imagine Dragons separating them and Bon Jovi’s What About Now rounding out the Top 5. I hate you all just a little more right now than I did before. My review of the new

Some people cannot admit when they are wrong. It is with anguish and horror I admit I am not one of them. I was wrong. I wrote Macklemore & Ryan Lewis off as one-hit wonders with their insufferable “Thrift Shop” and while it was as much wishful thinking as anything else, my prediction was wrong as these two now have “Can’t Hold Us” in the Top 10 of most streamed tracks at Spotify this week. Why, oh why, do you all insist on punishing me this way? I can’t bring myself to complain and grouse about the rest of what

The National will release their sixth full-length album Trouble Will Find Me, a surefire contender for album of the year, on May 21 and have revealed the song titles for the 13-track LP that follows up their critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album to date, High Violet. The band have been working on the record for some time and previewed several songs for possible inclusion much as they did with High Violet following Boxer. Some of those songs have made the album, notedly “I Need My Girl.” It is believed some of the other songs on Trouble were played

I’ve been obsessively listening to the self-titled debut from The Lone Bellow ever since BlindedBySound contributor and good friend Stephanie raved about them to me last month. I should just pause right now to talk about what great friends and contributors we have here as Melinda turned me on to Vintage Trouble, Heather hipped me to The Lumineers, and now Stephanie gifts me The Lone Bellow. I have great friends who know me well enough to act as personal curators. Back to The Lone Bellow and the business at hand… I haven’t finished — okay, technically haven’t started — my

Garbage is chronicling their Not Your Kind Of People world tour with their first ever live Blu-ray/DVD package due in stores May 28. The band — Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Stever Marker, Duke Erikson, and guest bassist Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction) — took nearly a decade off to pursue separate interests before reuniting to record Not Your Kind Of People, a fantastic return to form, and performing these new songs alongside classics from their prior albums. The 21-song show was filmed at their Denver, CO show in 2012 and features a cross-section of songs from their stunning self-titled debut, Version

I lost a lot more money on last week’s new releases but there are some great, great albums coming out this week sure to leave me further bankrupted in my pursuit of the ultimate music collection. First up is the set I desire beyond imagination but that I’m having to wait to pick up and that’s the 7-CD box set Skydog, featuring the legendary talents of the immortal Duane Allman. The Allman Brothers Band tragically lost arguably the most important part of their sound only a few records into their career but the Duane Allman was a slide virtuoso whose

Historians will one day ask what my favorite blues album of all time is and when they do, kindly direct them to this post because the answer is Right Place, Wrong Time by Otis Rush. Nick Moss is one of my favorite blues artists and guitarists and he and his amazing band took on the title track from that classic album at their recent appearance at Callahan’s. Moss’ rhythm guitarist Michael Ledbetter takes lead vocals on the track and gives such a soulful performance on this amazing song. Moss is at the peak of his game with his blazing lead

This week’s Top 20 at Blues Radio is again headed up by the collaboration between Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper. The two first teamed up while guesting on an album by the late John Lee Hooker and now have a joint project for the reborn Stax label and it’s been heating up the charts since its release. The new album from blues/roots master Otis Taylor, My World Is Gone comes in at #2 followed by Harry Manx, The Slide Brothers (great album, by the way, review forthcoming) and Shemekia Copeland’s 33 1/3. I’ve listened to four

It’s purely coincidental that this week’s edition of Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure) finds us both mining the masterpice Disintegration, each of us finding our own memories attached to the magic of its songs. This week, Heather responds to the title track while I go strolling down “Fascination Street.” HEATHER It had to be done and I finally did it for this week’s Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure) installment. I went with most everyone’s first and favorite Cure album, Disintegration and the song by the same name. A bit of an obvious choice but, I’m in

Johnny Marr will forever be known as TheGuitarist for The Smiths no matter what he does but everything about The Messenger feels so right, from the sound to the sequencing. It’s easy to imagine these shimmering riffs, melodies, and music beds he would hand over to Morrissey if The Smiths still made records. It’s intriguing to imagine where Moz would take have taken these songs but Marr’s own sense of direction is impeccable and he proves a more than capable vocalist and lyricist. The record is so good it makes you wonder what took him so long to finally make

It’s time to once again look into the world of digital music. We looked at the most-streamed tracks at Spotify for the week in the US and UK and now we have the most downloaded songs and albums at iTunes Music Store, the #1 music retailer in the US. I mentioned in that post that I just don’t get this whole “Thrift Store” thing and here it is, once again, at #1 on a music chart. I didn’t think we’d have what amounts to another novelty song so soon after Psy’s kitschy little “Gangnam Style” pandemonium but here it is.

We took a brief hiatus at BlindedBySound to migrate servers and platforms and it was my deepest desire by the time we resumed you’d be tired of that dumbass song “Thrift Shop” but alas, it remains the most streamed track in the US at Spotify. I get that my listening habits tend to differ from the mass (and younger) audience. I get that a novelty song can catch on Gangnam Style and it will hold the attention of the collective for awhile. I don’t get this. The Lumineers continue to hold their own at Spotify with “Hey Ho” still in

There are so many interesting new releases this week but we must begin with The Return Of The Thin White Duke. It’s been 10 years since David Bowie released a studio album and it was beginning to look as though Reality would be the final chapter but we rejoice because The Next Day is out today and Bowie is sounding as good as ever- at least from what I’ve heard from the two singles he’s already released (“Where Are We Now?” and “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”). There is a standard and deluxe edition of the record, the deluxe including

Welcome to the new, improved and relaunched BlindedBySound and the resumption of our weekly series Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure), a weekly devotional to one of our all-time favorite bands! HEATHER For this week’s installment of “Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure)” I picked my song quickly, wrote it up deftly. and was quite pleased with myself until my ride home from work last night and the song I ultimately chose came on my Spotify and I knew the other song was getting the back shelf treatment. It’s no secret that I love, adore, worship and idolize

Blue Star Connection, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access and ownership of musical instruments for children and young adults with cancer and other serious challenges as well as providing music therapy departments with instruments, is taking pre-orders of ‘The Healers – Live At Knuckleheads,’ a live CD/DVD with proceeds raising money for their ongoing efforts. The ad hoc ensemble The Healers — Jimmy Hall, former Double Trouble keyboardist Reese Winans, Blues Music Award-winner Samantha Fish, Kate Moss, and Trampled Under Foot members Kris and Danielle Schnebelen — took the stage in November 2012 to raise money for BSC, playing

British quartet Everything Everything have released a second video from their second album this week as American fans wait for the album to receive proper US distribution. The first video from the record, “Cough Cough,” was issued earlier this year and tied to the release of an EP of the same name. This latest video is for my favorite track from the album (yeah, I went ahead and paid for the import version because I’m not patient enough to wait for a US label to get this in stores), “Duet.” Everything Everything has a charming weirdness in their music that

Albert King’s landmark Stax effort Born Under A Bad Sign is getting remastered and reissued on April 5, the latest in a line of the famed Memphis’ label’s campaign, just in time for the late blues legend to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The album has been remastered and several previously unreleased tracks from those sessions — some alternate takes and a previously unheard instrumental — have been appended to an album that stands as the pinnacle of King’s illustrious career. King was backed on these songs by several Stax luminaries including members of Booker

Blues guitar maestro Duke Robillard’s latest solo album Indpendently Blue has been tapped for an April 9 release through his longtime label Stony Plain Records. Independently Blue follows up the co-founder of the venerable Roomful Of Blues band’s 2011 release Low Down & Tore Up, a collection of some of his favorite blues covers. Robillard is joined on this latest record by several longtime collaborators including Bruce Bears *piano/Hammond organ), Brad Hallen (bass) and Mark Teixeira (drums) and also has Doug Woolverton on trumpet and Bill Novick on clarinet. He also gets cameos from trumpeter Al Basile and guitarist “Monster”

Green may be R.E.M.’s most underrated and underappreciated album and I’d appreciate it a whole lot more if it were being re-issued for a reason other than turning 25 years old. That’s right, kids, Green is 25 and on May 14 it will be released as a 2-CD package (as well as on vinyl). The album has been remastered and the second disc features a nearly complete live show from their 1989 tour in support of the album (more on this in just a moment). Twenty-one songs from the Nov. 10 show in Greensboro, NC are included in the set

Southern soul rockers JJ Grey and Mofro will release their sixth studio album This River on April 16, the follow-up to their 2010 album Georgia Warhorse and 2011 live CD/DVD Brighter Days. The 10-track effort was recorded in Florida and produced by Grey and Dan Prothero, with some work being done at Grey’s own home studio. He and the band — Andrew Trube (guitar), Anthony Farrell (organ/piano), Todd Smallie (bass), Anthony Cole (drums), Art Edmaiston (saxophone), Dennis Marion (trombone) — cut chunks of the record live, an attempt to capture the feel of the live shows. Grey is again in

Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Rush continues to defy Father Time, releasing quality records at a prodigious rate at age 72. It’s a blessing for Rush to still be with us at all, let alone performing and working. Down In Louisiana is a refreshing example of what happens when a veteran talent is given creative control. He releases his records through his own imprint, meaning he’s not been relegated to a novelty act, forced into contrived album concepts or ill-advised duets. The highlight of the record is the brilliant “Raining In My Heart,” embodying the imagery of the album’s cover

Raise Your Hands is the VizzTone Records debut for newcomer Long Tall Deb, capitalizing on her success in Memphis with the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge. Raise Your Hands is a brash and brassy collection featuring 10 originals and two covers (Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint” and Ian Moore’s “Muddy Jesus”) that finds the vocalist working with bandmates John Popovich on piano and organ, bassist Melvin Powe, guitarists Sean Carney — a successful solo artist in his own right — and Dave Clo, and drummer Jan Roll. She also enlists the help of blues heavyweights Jimmy Thackery, Reese Wynans,

I learned of the self-titled debut from Ultraísta as a result of my excitement for the recently released debut from “supergroup” Atoms For Peace. Atoms consists of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, longtime Radiohead producer and collaborator Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, drummer/producer Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.), and Mauro Refosco. I don’t know if Atoms For Peace spawned Ultraísta or the other way around but last year Godrich, Waronker, and Laura Bettinson released their self-titled debut under the Ultraísta moninker and I’ve been listening to it in anticipation of Atoms’ Amok (an album we’ll discuss in the coming

“Everybody here comes from somewhere…” Some cities have had their stories told in song. How many songs have been written about New York and Chicago? Hell, those are playlists in and of themselves! Los Angeles, Memphis, and Kansas City have been immortalized as has just about every city in Texas. Detroit and Nashville are both music capitols and have countless songs that namecheck them. I live in Huntsville, Alabama, and if that doesn’t sound exciting, well, you’re not wrong. There aren’t any famous songs about here but my city has a story of its own and it can be put

Continuing our “Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure)” series Josh and I decided to switch things up just a little and instead of picking two different songs we’re writing on the same song which I picked as a special song close to my heart for silly and not so silly reasons. “High” was the first single from the album Wish and I have so many vivid memories from not only this song but, the album itself. The interestingly weird artwork that looks deceptively simple at first glance is still one of the coolest covers I’ve ever seen. This album

Singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas sparkled on The Tonight Show last night, continuing promotional efforts in support of her spellbinding debut Is Your Love Big Enough? She performed the title track for Jay Leno and his audience last night and was note perfect, backed ably by backing vocalists and multiple percussionists, providing the polyrhythmic textures to LaHavas’ composition. I love “Is Your Love Big Enough?” — although it’s not my favorite on the album — but last night’s performance was so good I find I like this one even more. Several songs from her album were among my most listened to

New sensation Vintage Trouble stormed yet another late night television show, bringing their amazing music and the power of their presentation to Conan O’Brien’s show, this time joined by soul legend Booker T. Jones (formerly of Stax’s Booker T & The MGs). Frontman Ty Taylor summoned the soul of a preacher and gave a brief testimony about his parents in introducing the band’s song “Nancy Lee,” the moment made even more religious by the righteous touch of Booker T on organ. They quickly kicked things into gear and gave a rousing performance, bringing both the audience and host to their

The genesis for “Friday We’re In Love (With The Cure)” started when Heather tagged me in a tweet about Spotify queueing up “Burn” by The Cure, which inspired Hornby-esque banter wherein we tried to compile our respective Top 10 Favorite Cure Songs Of All-Time. We both love High Fidelity and thought it would be fun to compile, compare, and share the list with all of you but we couldn’t cut the conversation. That failure could have been a dead end but it inspired something even better. If you can’t stop at 10, don’t! So we kept listing songs and gushing

We looked yesterday at what’s popular at Spotify in the world of music streaming and now we take a look at the other behemoth of the digital music world, iTunes, and the top-selling songs and albums from the #1 music retailer in the US. The Billboard Hot 100, Spotify, and iTunes all have “Thrift Shop” from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in the top spot, which makes me want to unspeakably angry. Taylor Swift isn’t getting a lot of love at Spotify but her “I Knew You Were Trouble” is #2. Also in the Top 10 this week is Justin Timberlake’s

I promised last week I would listen to a track from The Lumineers’ self-titled album when writing about the Top 10 most-streamed tracks on Spotify , having mentioned I was hearing a lot about them but hadn’t actually listened to them. I was on the verge of blowing off that little promise until BlindedBySound ace contributor Heather demanded I listen to them, knowing nothing of my pledge. This is a teachable moment, kids. Lesson 1: you should always keep your promises. Lesson 2: it’s really, really good to have friends who have great taste in music. “Ho Hey,” the song

Welcome to 2013 and the return of New Music Tuesday where we preview just a few of the most interesting new music releases each and every week. The first title I want to discuss this week comes from Ben Harper and Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite, Get Up! Harper has cultivated a devoted following over his years of recording and touring but I’ve remained indifferent towards his work. The same isn’t true of the legendary Musselwhite, whose work I adore (including his Blues Music Award-winning Album Of The Year Delta Hardware and his stunning most recent solo record The

Everything Everything is on its way to American shores with their sophomore effort Arc and the video for the first single from the album “Cough Cough.”Arc was released in the UK two weeks ago where it entered the Top 10 and remains strong in the Top 20, garnering considerable critical praise and now it’s coming our way. I believe I’d heard the band’s name before but couldn’t place them or anything about them. It was a tweet from British vocalist extraordinaireLianne La Havas that convinced me to take a chance on EE when she told her fans to check out

It’s no secret we access music in a host of new ways beyond the traditional means of listening to the radio or buying CDs. It’s a whole new world with digital downloads and streaming. iTunes is the #1 music retailer in the US and Spotify has become a dominant force in the world of streaming music and now we can keep tabs on what you, the people, are listening to en masse. We have the Top 10 most streamed tracks for the week of Monday, January 14 through Sunday January 20 for both the US and the UK according to

Ronnie Earl, one of my guitar heroes and perhaps the definitive answer to the oft-asked question “Who Is The Greatest Guitarist Alive,” will release the follow-up to his amazing, acclaimed Spread The Love when he releases ­­­­­­Just For Today on April 9 via Stony Plain Records. Just For Tonight is a live album taken from two shows with his band The Broadcasters recorded in Massachusetts last year. The Broadcasters are drummer Lorne Entress, piano and organist Dave Limina, and bassist Jim Mouradian. The Broadcasters are joined by a guest vocalist, Diane Blue, and Nicholas Tabarias does a turn as a

It’s been a tumultuous time for The Civil Wars, who rose to stardom on the strength of their fantastic, Grammy-winning debut album Barton Hollow. They toured the album relentlessly, made countless promotional appearances, and performed on VH1 Unplugged. Joy Williams gave birth to her first child. They initiated work on a follow-up, booked more tour dates, announced plans to release the Unplugged performance exclusively through iTunes, and then things went pear-shaped. A statement was released indicating there were tensions within the Civil Wars camp, although it wasn’t specified if these were issues between Williams and John Paul White, issues with

Shemekia Copeland is once again our #1 this week at blues radio followed by Chris Smither, Robert Cray, and Gary Clark Jr. I’ve spent a good bit of time with the Cray and Copeland records and you might have read about Gary and his Blak & Blu album on this site once or twice so you might know I’m pleased with what’s being played for the citizens. Our rising entrant this week comes from Ben Harper and Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite. They’ve collaborated on an album called Get Up! for the reborn Stax imprint. The record doesn’t get

British singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka played with The Roots on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show this week and it was a fantastic performance from an amazing talent. I posted a playlist of my Top 25 Songs of 2012: The Songs I Listened To Most and songs from Kiwanuka’s beautiful Home Again album littered that list. I was actually surprised to see so many of them there. I knew I listened to it a lot but I didn’t know I listened to it that much. I’m not surprised. It really is incredible This performance of “Tell Me A Tale” with The

Vintage Trouble wowed the crowd at the historic Ed Sullivan Theater on Late Night With David Letterman with a fiery performance of “Blues Hand Me Down” and earlier this week they took their energetic stage show  to the West Coast for an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and brought the heat with another of their great songs, “Total Strangers.” Both songs are high points on their incredible debut The Bomb Shelter Sessions. Ty Taylor’s presence and energy are on full display and it’s easy to get lost in how infectious that energy can be and how

Norah Jones took the world by storm in 2002 when her landmark debut Come Away With Me was released, racking up eight Grammy Awards and selling more than 10 million copies. That timeless record accentuated her gift as a song interpreter, drawing mostly of material penned by her bandmates as well as a couple standards like Hoagy Carmichael’s gorgeous “The Nearness Of You” and Hank Williams’ “Cold Cold Heart.” She would invest more time and effort in generating her own material, showing growth and promise as a songwriter with each subsequent release including last year’s Little Broken Hearts. Target released

There can be too much of a good thing in life but not when you’re talking about putting guitars in the hands of Ronnie Earl and Nick Moss and putting them both on a stage together. Earl and Moss are two of the most distinguished guitarists alive and I believe it’s that common heritage that allows to giants of the genre and masters of the instrument to play so beautifully together. They both backed giants of the genre in their younger days and now have fantastic solo careers. Earl and Moss are each fully capable of blowing any hundred guitarists

Vintage Trouble is the kind of band that hits me right where I live, writing and performing raucous blend of garage rock and dirty, modern blues bursting with joy and creativity and are touched by the spirit of sweet soul and rhythm and blues they channel into tender ballads. They fit brilliantly alongside some of my more recent musical obsessions like Gary Clark Jr., Michael Kiwanuka, and Lianne La Havas. I’d love them VT if I’d discovered them listening to late night radio or watching MTV at 2 AM on a night I couldn’t sleep or was just being

I don’t want to look to see how long it’s been since I checked out the top albums at Blues Radio according to the weekly Roots Music Report but I’m glad to check back in this week. I hope time permits me to spend some time talking about this week’s #1: Shemekia Copeland’s 33 1/3. I previewed it when I first got details about the album and have listened to it a few times since but haven’t had time to tell you all the things I really like about it. I did review Robert Cray’s Nothin’ But Love last

There was a time when Live Acoustic would have been a redundant description of a Guster live show. Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian “THUNDERGOD” Rosenworcel formed the band as a trio with two acoustic guitars, harmonies, and bongos. Everything was acoustic! They expanded their sound over time and in the process created some amazing melodies and critically acclaimed records like Lost & Gone Forever, Keep It Together, Ganging Up On The Sun, and Easy Wonderful. They released Guster On Ice, a live CD/DVD following the Keep It Together tour and there are plenty of official and unofficial bootlegs floating

Last night would have been a glorious night solely from the assbeating my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide administered to the hated Notre Dame Fighting Irish but the glories multiplied themselves when I learned David Bowie is coming back from a presumed retirement with a brand new album and the first single is available on iTunes. I don’t know which happened faster: me getting in my car to go buy Crimson Tide National Championship gear or spending the $1.29 to download the first new Bowie song in damn near a decade. No matter, yesterday wasn’t cheap but it was worth every

If you crossed Joss Stone with Stevie Ray Vaughan, you might come back with something very much like Joanne Shaw Taylor and I suppose that’s why I’ve liked her (ignoring for the moment I’m not a real big fan of Stone) since hearing her debut record White Sugar. Taylor followed Sugar with Diamonds In The Dirt where she stayed very much rooted in the Stone-SRV hybrid and as appealing as it was, it could get repetitive. Both records were comprised largely of original material and the results were mixed. These would be major issues for me with some artists but

Blues and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Buddy Guy released Live At Legends at the end of last year. In addition to being a musical icon, Guy has run his Legends club in Chicago for decades now and he presents seven songs performed on his home turf in this new package in addition to three new studio cuts. It’s a jarring transition from the ribald medley of Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want To Make Love To You” and Bobby Rush’s “Chicken Head” to Guy’s own “Skin Deep,” a pleading ballad for racial harmony and human kindness filled with stories from his

We closed the book on 2012 this past year and I, for one, am not sorry to see it go. Oh, it had it’s good moments: a new niece and nephew, new friends, and of course, new music. It also came with its share of downers: deaths of people close to me close to people close to me, a near job loss, a new job, and some painful personal struggles and lessons related to all the above and things not related to any of it. I compile my best albums of the year most years but having dropped off

My favorite live albums are complete, single shows with no overdubs and minimal post-production, presenting and preserving the magic of a band, its music, and the audience on one night. It’s the best way to structure a live album but it’s not the only right way. Another way to construct a live album/ is to compile songs from throughout the tour and give fans a chance to hear high quality versions of most or all the songs they played over the course of that tour. That’s what U2 has done, chronicling their epic 360° tour. It took them two tries

Noel Gallagher has spent the past two years launching his (long awaited) solo career, promoting his High Flying Birds album with an extended world tour. He chronicles this opening chapter of his post-Oasis life with International Magic: Live At The O2, presented on DVD, Bluray, and a deluxe Bluray that includes a CD of demos from the HFB sessions and in so doing likely brings this chapter to a close. He deftly mixes the bulk of his debut solo record with Oasis hits and B-sides as well as a B-side of his own and one new song. The pacing and composition of the show

I hadn’t ever heard of Tame Impala or their 2012 album Lonerism until I saw it touted as among the best albums of the year on several prominent year-end lists. I don’t know how I missed it and them until now but all the praise made me curious to see if it belonged on my own list. I’ve now spent a couple weeks with the record and I’m pleased to report it’s almost as good as I hoped, almost living up to the hype surrounding it. It’s impossible to discuss this album without dealing with the obvious so let’s begin there before

Michael Bram by day serves as Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jason Mraz’s drummer and by night has launched a solo career releasing his latest solo album Suitcase In The Hall through the VizzTone label. Those looking for a carbon copy of the more widely known Mraz and his pop-oriented singer/songwriter sound may be disappointed but careful listening reveals connections beneath the surface of his roots-oriented sound that mixes blues and country leanings with solid songwriting. Bram plays many of the instruments on the album and wrote the majority of these tracks. He gets some instrumental and production help from the multi-talented Dave Gross and

Nominees for the 34th Blues Music Awards have been announced and once again Janiva Magness is out front along with John Nemeth when it comes to most nominations and Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi are once again well represented as they have been the past two years. I’m mostly pleased with the nominees and will enjoy voting for some great artists and records and will struggle to choose among them in some categories. I’m also annoyed past the point of outrage some deserving artists and their albums aren’t on the ballot enough or at all. I didn’t have the opportunity

If the Mayans are wrong and we cruise into 2013, we’ll all live long enough to see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame actually do something right as they induct Canadian trio Rush along with Heart, Public Enemy, composer Randy Newman, Donna Summer and Albert King. The sun shines on a dog’s ass some days. Let me go Stella McCartney and say about fucking time! I’ve mentioned before I don’t count myself among the legion of Rush fans but it’s beyond ridiculous it’s taken this long to get them on the ballot, so say nothing of — oh,

It’s the End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine). In fact, I feel pretty good about it, really. I’m #TeamMayan all the way on this whole end of the world thing. I’m bold enough to say it: I’m pro-Apocalypse. Now before one of you goes running to fetch the men with the nets and I-Love-Me jackets, let me be clear: I’m not cheering on my death. Or yours. To quote Willie Nelson, I’ve seen all this world I care to see: The Red Sox won a couple World Series, Alabama won a couple National

It’s that time of year again: Grammy nomination season and as is usually the case, I consider myself (mostly) disappointed. I’m not going to expend much energy detailing the many ways the Recording Academy has lost its way as an organization and how it annually fails. To borrow from former NFL head coach Dennis Green, they are who we think they are. There are some bizarre and inexplicable choices in the major categories but there are a few inspired moves this year so we’ll highlight a few of each. Let’s start with things that please me: Jack White’s Blunderbuss

Jason Isbell left Drive-By Truckers to strike out on his own, fronting a new band called The 400 Unit and Live From Alabama marks their first live album after three successful studio releases, the most recent Here We Rest drawing widespread acclaim. The Green Hill, AL native recorded shows in Birmingham and my current hometown of Huntsville and from those shows we have these 13 songs featuring two covers and 11 Isbell originals. Of the Isbell originals, two come from his time with DBT including the title track from their Decoration Day LP as well as another song from that

It’s been awhile since we checked in with Florence + The Machine and it’s because I thought she was poised to wrap up the promotion cycle for her fantastic 2011 album Ceremonials — a cycle that saw her perform on Simon Cowell’s US X Factor, Saturday Night Live, and release an MTV Unplugged performance — but it seems I was wrong. Flo has just released a new video for “Lover To Lover” and is issuing a single as she continues to play shows in support of the album throughout Europe this month. She also found time to join The Rolling Stones on stage at

The Led Zeppelin “reunion” we always knew could happen, suspected one day might, but with each passing year abandoned hope for finally happened in 2007 and then in the most bewildering fashion, nothing ever came of it. There would be no more shows. There was no discussion of ever releasing this one; it sat there a novelty, a curiosity, a tantalizing precursor to nothing. Until now. Celebration Day has finally been released, allowing fans the world over to hear Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones perform the music they created with John Bonham all those years ago for

Tis the season for good news, kids. Thanks to a headsup from BlindedBySound contributor Stephanie, I became aware our friends Guster are releasing a 16-track acoustic live album in early January. A limited number of CDs will be pressed and it will be available digitally to the universe forever on after (okay, I haven’t verified forever on aftter but go with me on this). The 16-tracks were taken from the band’s acoustic tour which found the band traveling with a small string section. The tracklisting is pretty heavy on the Easy Wonderful album but there are several goodies from throughout

Bob Dylan warned us in “Mississippi” you can go back but you can’t go back all the way and it’s with that in mind I sat down to listen to the first album of new Soundgarden music since their 1996 effort Down On The Upside. The Seattle quartet — Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd, Matt Cameron — have pursued other musical endeavors in the years since (Cornell fronted Audioslave and made solo records, including a solo acoustic live album while Cameron has spent the last several years drumming with Pearl Jam) and have issued a smattering of recordings under

It would have been an impossible task For Gary Clark Jr. to deliver the record I was hoping for, having long ago descended into fanboy obsession and I tried tempering my expectations in the runup to the release of Blak And Blu to avoid the possibility of being disappointed with a record I wanted to and was bound to fall in love with despite any imperfections. That was (mostly) a waste of time because it almost lives up to the enormous, impossible hopes- a near impossible achievement considering how much I’ve been listening to, writing about, and anticipating this “debut”

What happens when you assemble musicians who have collectively contributed to Screaming Trees, Guns ‘N Roses, Mad Season, Post Stardom Depression, Skin Yard, Tuatara, and The Missionary Position? You get Walking Papers, a powerful new rock and roll force from the Pacific Northwest. Jeff Angell (vocals/guitar), Barrett Martin (drums/percussion), Duff McKagan (bass) and Ben Anderson issued their self-titled debut this week and Angell and Martin have given a behind-the-scenes look at the formation of Walking Papers, the purpose and motivation behind its songs, and a glimpse into their ambitious future plans. MAKING THE BAND Martin and Angell met while working

Is Your Love Big Enough? is an extraordinary achievement on its own merits made all the more remarkable coming from a young artist recording her debut. It feels like an aural tour through a museum where the listener is the tourist and Lianne LaHavas is our charming guide. Where some tour guides become jaded to wonders surrounding them, she is eager to welcome us to them. She navigates us through the experiences of these songs with sophistication and wide-eyed wonder. It’s as if she’s reliving pages of her own diary and discovering them for the first time. She sings as

Okay: this is the last reference I make today to my birthday but I choose to think it’s no coincidence Gary Clark Jr. has chosen today to release the first single from his upcoming major label debut Blak And Blu. You’re free to disagree; you’ll be wrong. This is all about me. Now I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. You think this is going to be more embarrassing fanboy gushing about music from Clark, that I’ve no capacity to listen objectively to the music. Go read my Springsteen posts: I can be scathing when it comes to

Congratulations: you made one more trip around the sun. Yes, kids, it’s my birthday and I’m treating it just like any other day because it’s treating me just like any other day. Congresses past haven’t done the one useful thing they could have done and passed a law that allows us all a paid day off on our birthday so I am gratefully plugging away at the office. Gratefully plugging away: that’s the outlook I aspire to each and every day- one I learned from a former radio colleague. I don’t think I want to become someone so out

Gary Clark Jr. has released the tracklisting and artwork for his major label debut Black And Blu, due October 23 from Warner Brothers Records preceded by the release of first single “Ain’t Messin’ ’Round” on September 18. The new Gary Clark Jr. single is being released on my birthday, kids. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever! Back to the album at hand… The 13-track Blak And Blu features 12 Clark originals and was produced by Mike Elizondo, Rob Cavallo, and Clark. Many of these titles are going to be familar to longtime Clark fans and obsessives like me as it seems several

Robert Cray is still a young man by blues standards but Nothin But Love is the Blues Hall Of Famer’s 21st studio album and over the course of the last three decades, he has etched out a signature sound and style that has defined his work. I was nonplussed learning rock producer Kevin Shirley produced this set, having endured some needlessly loud, bombastic blues-rock records from his past work. It took me awhile to warm up to Cray’s smooth brand of blues but once I did, I didn’t want anyone coming in to mess with it. It turns out

Details have been announced for Noel Gallagher’s live DVD/Blu-ray International Magic Live at the O2 and in what should be a surprise to no one: he’s doing it right while so many get it wrong. The set will be released Oct. 23 and will feature his entire performance at O2 Arena in London- something far too few bands do (I’m looking squarely at you U2 and Rolling Stones, for starters) and he’s also packed this set with some fantastic bonus features and goodies. The 20-song set will be appended with Gallagher’s eight-song acoustic mini set in Toronto that includes

We’re two weeks out from Bob Dylan’s 35th studio album, Tempest, which is being released 50 years after he released his self-titled debut on Columbia Records and we now have the first single and video, “Duquesne Whistle.” We mentioned a promo clip featuring the song “Early Roman Kings” but “Duquesne” is the first track legally available for purchase and download at iTunes and Amazon and we now have a video directed by Nash Edgerton specifically for the song. I had a conversation on Twitter about “Duquesne” this morning and my counterpart was a little less impressed with this song than

The 3rd Annual Roots And Blues Benefit To Suppot The Sean Costello Memorial Fund For Bipolar Research is scheduled for September 29 in Atlanta and the lineup for the event includes some of the biggest names in blues and roots music. The benefit concert will be held at North Atlanta High Center For The Arts and scheduled to appear are guitarist Tinsley Ellis, harp legend and co-founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds Kim Wilson, and Gina Sicilia and Dave Gross. In addition, Virgina Martinez will front Sean Costello’s original band and there will also be performances by special guest Jon

This is a fun week with several interesting titles in our weekly New Music Tuesday roundup and we begin with Blues Hall of Famer and Grammy winner Robert Cray, who returns with a new studio album Nothin’ But Love, which I’m subtitling Nothing But Awesome. I guess I’ve given away the review I’m working on but you really shouldn’t let one more day of your life pass without acquiring this set. I was a late convert to Cray and his brand of blues but I’ve become quite an admirer. Some of his work can be uneven and he’s had a

I don’t have a lot of trouble deciding what to listen to most days. I constantly have a song or song fragment in my head and I’m usually behind on music reviews, so I often have a starting place when my day begins and I follow it all to its logical conclusion. It’s not like that every day and that’s when Encyclopedia Nerdicus is overwhelmed by the more than 30,000 songs on his iPod and the desire to acquire at least that many more. Where do you begin? Where do you start when you want to listen to everything and

Writing a review of Michael “Iron Man” Burks’ Show Of Strength should have been easy and a lot of fun. I tried hard to listen to these 12 songs without thinking about this being his final record but didn’t get far with that not because the record feels like a funeral — far from it — but because it bursts with vitality and passion, honed with skill and craft. Burks completed all the recording work on the album and had only to approve a couple final mixes and sequence the record but he never got that opportunity. He passed

Today is singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas’ birthday and — coincidentally or not — she has a brand new video for the track “Forget” from her debut Is Your Love Big Enough? I mentioned La Havas recently as my newest musical obsession, following closely on the heels of another amazing British singer/songwriter, Michael Kiwanuka and his beautiful debut Home Again. I’m working on my full and proper review of her album and hope to have it finished and published in the coming days. In the meantime, it is her birthday and she has a new video and the video is

Billy Corgan and his Smashing Pumpkins have announced the first details of their upcoming North American tour in support of their most recent album Oceana (note to self: still need to review that), including cities they’ll play and even a few hints about the visual elements of the upcoming show. We hate dates for shows in Canada and Mexico and it looks as though the US leg of the tour will kick off October 10 in Seattle. After that, we have a list of cities but no specific dates or venues. In case you’re wondering — and admit it,

The music world is still reeling from the shocking passing of blues guitarist Michael “Iron Man” Burks on May 6 of this year and today, Alligator Records releases his final studio album, an album he’d all but finished. He’d wrapped recording on the 12 songs for Show Of Strength and had approved of most of the final mixes for the record. All he had left was to approve a few mixes and sequence the record, but collapsed at the Atlanta airport returning from some European dates before that could happen. There may have been a few minor changes but

Live From New York… it’s Paul Simon! The Hall of Fame singer/songwriter and one time Saturday Night Live regular is releasing Live in New York City on September 18, recorded while touring in support of his amazing So Beautiful Or So What record, one of the best releases of 2011. The 20-song set will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and in a special 2-CD/1DVD package and features hit songs from throughout Simon’s career as well as a few from So Beautiful. Simon hasn’t released a live album in awhile and many of the older songs performed hadn’t been performed or

Garbage has released a video for “Big Bright World,” the second they’ve released from Not Your Kind Of People, their first album of new music in seven years. “Blood For Poppies” felt like an obvious choice to be a single when it was released in advance of the record. “Big Bright World” doesn’t have that same immediate feel although it’s still a very good song from one of my favorite records of 2012. The video is anything but big and bright at the outset as Garbage continues with the black-and-white motif but flourishes of color become more prevalent by

I wonder if 1962 knew what a special year it would be for music at the time. The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones are commemorating their 50th Anniversary this year and so is another American classic: Booker T. & The MG’s Green Onions. Reviewing an iconic album or song is has its challenges, especially when said album and song are celebrating their golden anniversaries. Can I really find a new way to tell you how great this is? What am I going to tell you that you don’t already know about this set? I knew the title track from

We told you about the the upcoming album from Bob Dylan, Tempest, his 35th studio album being released in September. We’ve been waiting for the first single from the album to reach digital distribution. There have been rumors of it but so far it hasn’t materialized but we do have a video for one of the songs. Okay, so he didn’t actually make the video for “Early Roman Kings” so much as he allowed the song to be used in a promo for a show on Cinemax, but it does give us an opportunity to hear something from the

I have been on another music acquisition binge and yet with all the new CDs on my shelf and songs on my iPod, I keep coming back to the new record from Lianne La Havas, Is Your Love Big Enough?, and I’m once again astonished by the power music has to surprise. I like to think as I near my fourth decade inhabiting this body on this third pebble from the sun that I’ve grown up, that I quit trying to get a seat at the cool kids’ table. I like to see myself as a wizened sort immune to

I feel like I’m 15 again, talking about a new solo record from guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. Story Of Light is the former Zappa protege’s latest album, his first studio set in three years. Among the things that set him apart from random shredders and noodlers is his innovative streak both as a technician and a composer. He has studied the rules and learned how to do things right and set about finding ways to bend and break them. Among the other interesting new releases this week is a Fleetwood Mac tribute album called Just Tell Me That You Want

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King have wrapped work on Close To The Bone, the first new record for their new label Delta Groove records and will release it September 18. Happy Birthday to Me! Close To The Bone is a 14-track set that follows their outstanding Have Blues, Will Travel, a record I still queue up with frequency. These two have been making music together for 20 years and it’s one hell of a partnership. Kubek and King had a run of critically acclaimed records for Alligator Records before moving to Delta Groove for this release and the new

I’ve loved instrumental music have ever since a neighbor kid played Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien for me when I was a teenager. I’ve spent years sifting through and listening to instrumental music ever since, exposing me to several idioms and genres, among them movie soundtracks. There are two basic categories of soundtracks these days. One is a collection of songs by famous and not-so-famous artists that have little or nothing to do with the movie but exist only as a means of marketing and product placement (think any movie with a comic book hero, teenagers, and/or explosions).

R.E.M. will release its final IRS-era album in time for its 25th anniversary when they release a digitally remastered, expanded edition of their fifth album Document on September 25, 2012. This is the album that introduced much of America to the Athens, GA quartet when their song “The One I Love” became a staple on MTV and radio stations outside the college rock format picked the single up and played it as well. The Document re-issue returns to the form used for Murmur and Reckoning by pairing the remastered record with a previously unreleased concert from the supporting tour, in

We have a lot of reissue action in this week’s list of new releases with Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley getting repackaged in several configurations this week. Along with those and other assorted compliations, we do have a few new releases worthy of mention this week. Bassist/producer Marcus Miller has a new album out this week called Renaissance. I first heard Miller on an old David Sanborn record and it was the first time I’d heard bass played like that. He clearly wasn’t the first to flick, thump, and pop electric bass strings but he introduced me to a

The first thing I asked myself before I saw or heard a note of Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones’ performance at Chicago’s Checkerboard Lounge was how the blue hell had this been left unreleased for more than 30 years? Something like this doesn’t even have to be good to merit a release and if it is actually good, you’d have to be crazy to let this sit on a shelf. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re in the business of selling music, how do you not at least try to sell this? Before we consider the presence of

There’s a pervasive feeling among many in the music intelligentsia we risk losing, are losing, or have lost the concept of the album as an art form what with digital consumption of music on an individual track level and changes in the way music is marketed and presented to perspective listeners. I don’t know if that’s true in the here and now or what the future holds, but Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again captures the spirit of everything that is good about a group of songs sequenced together as an album. Home Again is a rich, deep, magical listen greater than

The next great rock record from Seattle is coming our way this fall and features familiar names. Walking Papers is the brainchild of Jeff Angell (Post Stardom Depression and The Missionary Position) and Barrett Martin (Skin Yard, Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Tuatara) and the two have recruited some equally big names for their self-titled debut record due through Martin’s Sunyatta label Oct. 2, 2012. Angell and Martin are joined on the record by ex-Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver bassist and Seattle resident Duff McKagan, and Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready (who also worked with Martin in Mad Season) along

The theme of Bruce Springsteen’s recent tour dates in support of his latest album Wrecking Ball seems to be “Bigger Is Better”; the shows have been getting longer and the tour is getting extended by an additional 16 dates. Springsteen is currently in Europe playing shows routinely topping the three hour mark with one show nearly reaching four hours (3:48) and famously had the plug pulled on him while jamming with Paul McCartney in the UK. That leg of the tour is about to come to an end and Springsteen had already announced several stadium shows in Boston, Chicago,

It’s that time again where we take a look at the new releases hitting store shelves and digital download retailers and this week’s roster is a little bit light on titles overall. Oh, there are some interesting ones worth looking at but this week isn’t likely to make your wallet bleed. The two titles most likely to ignite the passions of music fans are from the indie circuit and I have to confess I really only know these two artists by name rather than their music. We have Gaslight Anthem’s latest, Handwritten, out this week as well as the latest

I first stumbled onto The Spring Standards when someone played their song “Drowning In Sobriety” in the ‘It’s All Connected’ room at It was an instant hit with me. I immediately downloaded the song from iTunes (the song being an iTunes bonus track only) and ordered the CDs from their web store. I fell for them so quickly because I’m a walking fanboy waiting to happen and because I’m a sucker for great harmonies. It can be wonderful hearing great and interesting vocalists double-track and/or overdub layers of their own voice but there’s something even more magical when two

British singer/songwriter Richard Hawley has wrapped work on his new studio album Standing At The Sky’s Edge, due in stores August 28. The first single from the record is available digitally (along with a B-side) and you can stream it and check out its video here. The first single is called “Down In The Woods” and was released digitally yesterday with the B-side “Kindly Rain.” Honor is due to my man, singer/songwriter (and occasional BlindedBySound reviewer) Aaron McMullan, for turning me on to the wonders of Mr. Hawley a couple years ago. I’ve been listening to the man’s work since

It’s an exciting day for new music releases, amigos. The big thrill for me is the release of the amazing album from Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again. I’d never heard of him until he opened for Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville back in June and I was astonished by the beauty of his music. The MP3 edition was available at Amazon and I downloaded it right away. Today, we have the domestic release of the CD and my copy is on its way, having pre-ordered it more than a month ago. If you haven’t heard Michael’s music, I have been obsessively

The legendary Bob Dylan will release his 35th album on September 11, Tempest. The 10-track set is once again produced by Dylan himself (under his Jack Frost moniker) and is the first proper follow-up to his 2009 album Together Through Life (he released a Christmas album in 2010). Bob Dylan released his self-titled debut in 1962 so like The Beach Boys and Rolling Stones, this is a 50th Anniversary release but it’s not a compilation, it’s an album of all new material. Now I’m going to need you all to try and suppress your shock when I tell you we

Noel Gallagher is coming back to North America for the fourth time in 12 months — reminding us all of the early days of Oasis — for a series of fall co-headlining dates with Snow Patrol. The majority of these dates are west of the Mississippi, kicking off in Portland and Seattle before running north of the border for several shows in Canada. They’ll drop down into the midwest for shows in Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Louisville before hitting :: wait for it… wait for iiiitttttt :: Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. Yes, I saw Noel earlier this year in Atlanta.

I’m still flying high from seeing Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville last month, just a few short hours after he played a set at Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester, TN. Clark played songs from his fantastic Bright Lights EP along with some covers at both shows that day, and also brought out a song that may wind up on next album, the first full length record he’ll make for Warner Brothers. The new song is actually not new at all as “Numb” dates back to his out-of-print (and damn near impossible to find) album 110 but it’s been dramatically re-worked. It’s

Fiona Apple brought her Idler Wheel tour to Nashville’s historic, majestic Ryman Auditorium last night and outside of the shock rockers I’m not sure I can think of another artist who should make a point of playing shows on Friday The 13th. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of shows over the years, written countless reviews of them as well as albums, and participated in innumerable conversations about music and over the course of it all I’ve heard the term “performance art” used in discussion but last night might be as close to witnessing it as I’ve ever come, especially when

Good night, Vienna! Wow. What a night. These set list reviews and commentaries I write are difficult for me because they’re part of an ongoing conversation I’ve been having about Bruce Springsteen and his music going back several years and many of you join that discussion already in progress. The truth is even though he sometimes does things that make me want to throttle him (Albany, Milan, Zurich, Atlanta, and nights I skipped because I couldn’t summon the outrage to be bothered), he has those inspired moments of magic and genius. I wouldn’t bother commenting on Bon Jovi setlists because

British guitarist/singer Joanne Shaw Taylor will release her third album Almost Always Never on September 12. Almost follows her acclaimed 2009 debut White Sugar — nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut — and its 2010 follow-up Diamonds In The Dirt. Those first two records were cut with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines but for Almost, Taylor teamed up with Mike McCarthy and recorded the set in Austin, TX. “Mike McCarthy comes from a very different musical background from me,” Taylor said. “He pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to explore and

The Stone Roses have done what most thought was unthinkable and impossible by reuniting the original lineup for a tour and word has it a new album from the Manchester legends is in the works. I haven’t heard of any proposed US dates for Stone Roses; I’m keeping my eyes open but not getting my hopes up for it. I never actually thought they’d reform in the first place and one gets the sense this could all still implode spectacularly at any moment. Maybe not. Maybe we’re all still a little gunshy after the childish antics of certain member(s) of

The controversial “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision widened the interpretation that “money” is “free speech” and protected by the First Amendment but tragically refused to recognize the right to keep and bear bricks and aim that at your favorite artist when he does something stupid. I know; I was surprised, too. I was pretty annoyed by Bruce Springsteen’s setlist in Zurich but there were a few moments in the show I’d genuinely like to have seen and one of them has been posted to YouTube so we’re going to play revisionist history at BlindedBySound and ignore the fact some lowdown

Bit of a down week on the New Releases this week, which comes at a good time considering how completely skint I am at the moment and can’t afford a big week of musical purchases. The title I’m most excited about is the release of a live show Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones did in Chicago at the famed Checkerboard Lounge in 1981. Muddy was near the end of his life but was having a resurgence thanks to three great records cut with Johnny Winter, Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, among others. This wasn’t the most

Let’s dispense with the obvious right from the start as we prepare to discuss One Wrong Turn, the latest album from Rick Estrin And The Nightcats: Rick Estrin is an utter badass with a harmonica. There are more imitators when it comes to blues guitar but there are scores of wannabes who listened to Big Walter, Little Walter, the Sonny Boys, James Cotton, and other pioneers of blues harp and while they may cop a few licks, they really don’t know what to do with their well-intentioned passion. Rick Estrin is the real deal. He’s got great tone, virtuoso

It was the best of shows; it was the worst of shows. Wow, Zurich! I have no idea what to make of what happened in your fair city on this Wrecking Ball tour… The show opens with the tour premiere of “Don’t Look Back” from the Tracks box set, a sign request for “Growin’ Up,” “Save My Love” from The Promise, and a big surprise in the form of a solo piano version of “If I Should Fall Behind,” from the Lucky Town record. I can’t believe Bruce “saw” that sign. I’m betting that solo piano performance was fantastic. I’ve

Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Tuatara) and Jeff Angell (The Missionary Position) made their debut as The Walking Papers when they played their first show at The Sunset Tavern in Seattle. Joined by Jacque Willis on clavinet and vibes, The Walking Papers played material from their forthcoming album, details of which are still forthcoming. Angell and Martin are the principle masterminds of the project but have recruited other friends to participate. Among those confirmed to have worked on the as-yet-finalized debut is Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, with whom Martin played in Mad Season with John Baker Saunders, Layne Staley,

Award-winning soul singer Curtis Salgado will undergo surgery this month to remove a cancerous growth from his lung, and doctors anticipate he will make a complete recovery. This is a third bout with cancer for Salgado, who was previously treated for lung cancer in 2008 and liver cancer in 2006, which required liver transplant surgery. Fans and friends of the soul legend have set up a fund to help cover medical expenses, which will be considerable. The Curtis Salgado Medical Fund is accepting donations via PayPal, major credit cards, and checks can also be written to fund. All denominations

Mark Hoffman provides a wealth of impeccably researched facts to reconstruct Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett’s life in Mississippi as a child, his career beginnings, ascent to one of the premier blues artists of his time, setbacks, and frustrations and in the process tells the story of more than one man’s life and accomplishments. Much attention is paid to Wolf’s life as a musician and those stories are invaluable and likely of most interest to most readers but there are many amazing moments in his life that had nothing to do with music. Some of these come into play after his

Shemekia Copeland has finished work on a brand new studio album for Telarc called 33 1/3, set for release on September 25. The collection finds Copeland re-interpreting songs by Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke, among others and features guest appearances from JJ Grey and Buddy Guy. Guy adds his guitar mastery to a track called “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo.” “I have a lot of ‘uncles’ in this business — guys who kind of took me under their wing after my dad passed away. Buddy is one of those guys. It’s the perfect song for him.” The

Each Monday I play a little game as I prep for the upcoming week’s NewMusicTuesday. The first thing I do is skim the list of new releases for the titles I care about and when that’s done, I usually have to skim the list a second time to figure out what might excite the rest of the masses. This is just one of the sacrifices I make for you, dear readers. My release of choice is a trip to total geekdom. There is something wrong with me that I’m this excited about the Jellyfish Live at Bogart’s 1991 album

It’s been a busy year for Florence, releasing her brilliant sophomore album Ceremonials as well as filming and releasing her performance on MTV Unplugged and now we have a new video and single being prepped. There’s no slowing this Machine down! First up is the new video — “Breaking Down” — which is not for the new single “Spectrum.” It’s pretty amazing in a day and age when getting labels to release damn near anything, Florence is getting away with releasing everything and in a bit of a scattershot manner. No matter. We love F+TM, we love her new record,

Blues Hall Of Famer and Grammy-winner Robert Cray has readied a brand new studio album Nothin’ But Love due for release August 28. Love follows his 2010 live CD/DVD Cookin’ in Mobile, recorded in support of his This Time album. Cray recruited famed rock producer Kevin Shirley to oversee sessions for this latest record, his sixteenth studio album, and he is again teamed with longtime bandmembers Jim Pugh and Richard Cousins (Keyboards and bass, respectively) and drummer Tony Braunagel. The 10-track set is all original material, written by Cray and his bandmates. It was recorded live in a Los

The 2012 Blues Blast Music Award nominees were announced for eight categories. Details for the ceremony are still be finalized but past BBMA ceremonies have taken place at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, usually in October. We may not have the lowdown of when the winners will be announced but we know who is in the running and voting for the awards has already opened. Winners are chosen by subscribers to the free Blues Blast e-magazine, an online publication with more than 20,000 subscribers worldwide. Blues fans can sign up for Blues Blast and take part in the voting

Booker T & The MGs’ legendary album Green Onions has been remastered by Joe Tarantino and will be reissued in conjunction with its 50th Anniversary as part of the ongoing Stax Remasters Series on July 24. How great and deep is the mighty Stax library that Green Onions wasn’t among the earliest albums to be remastered, expanded, and reissued? The title track has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Everybody knows this song even if you don’t know you know it (which was the case for me for

The blues world is still in shock and a state of mourning after the tragic, unexpected passing of blueman Michael “Iron Man” Burks at the age of 54 and today his label announces plans to release his final album Show Of Strength on August 21. Burks had completed the record and was returning home from a European tour when he collapsed and died at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta on May 6. Burks’ passing comes just as the hard working bluesman was gaining career momentum and traction with a nomination as Guitarist Of The Year at the 2012 Blues

I was recently introduced to the musical wonder and beauty of Michael Kiwanuka when he opened for Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville earlier this month and I haven’t been able to stop listening to his wonderful album, available digitally in the US right now with a July 17 release date for the CD. You can also here Home Again on Spotify and there is something badly wrong with you if you don’t , something even worse if you pre-order the CD or download the digital edition after hearing it. Here’s another chance for you to hear his special blend of

We told you all about The Spring Standards’ double EP yellow//gold and the band has released an official for one of the tracks — “Here We Go Again” and are offering a free download of another track, “Watch The Moon Disappear.” I fell in love with The Spring Standards when someone played “Drowning In Sobriety,” a digital-only bonus track on the iTunes edition of their Would Things Be Different album, in the “It’s All Connected” room at I immediately downloaded the song and purchased the physical copy of that album along with their prior set No One Will

Bruce Springsteen brought his Wrecking Ball tour to the Isle Of Wight festival today and as festivals rules were in play, we have a shorter show than much of the European leg of the tour. The one-two of “Atlantic City” and “Because The Night” would have set my soul on fire and I can’t begin to fathom how I’d have felt when he segued from them to “Working On The Highway.” Bewildered. Betrayed. A dimension of angry I’d never before experienced in my life? I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t have been: surprised. He’ll do it to you every time. I sure

There’s a lot of laziness going. I once again skipped a Springsteen show set list because he didn’t care enough to make it interesting and I didn’t care enough to write about it but tonight is different because our good friend Aaron McMullan was in attendance at tonight’s show and because there are actually a few songs in the set list that make this one worth further consideration. I would have been ready to knife myself two songs in when “No Surrender” comes out but let’s skip past that and look at the run that includes “Spirit In The Night,”

“Late Night Saint” is one of my favorite Nick Moss songs, recorded with one of his classic Flip Tops lineups — featuring Gerry Hundt, Willie Oshawny, and the late Bob Carter — for the Play It ‘Til Tomorrow album. Eddie Taylor Jr. guested on the cut, providing rhythm guitar, something that great Flip Tops lineup didn’t have when they traveled. I always chalked that up as one of the reasons I never got to hear this one live when seeing the band. Welcome to 2012 and the new lineup of Moss’ backing band, featuring Michael Ledbetter on second guitar and

I fell in love with the sound of electric guitar at an early age and have been fascinated by the pioneers and virtuosos who have traveled the galaxy with only six strings. The upshot of this is while I’m predisposed to love the guitar gods, I’ve heard enough of them and their various tricks and am a bit more difficult to impress. There are tons of guys with chops who can shred, tap, and bend the strings or make the guitar sound like anything but a guitar but far fewer who speak through their instrument, making you feel something

Bruce Springsteen cut back a bit on the folks in Montpellier, France, this being the first setlist under 30 songs in quite some time. It’s been awhile since we’ve convened to discuss Springsteen setlists because he finally played a set so unimaginative I couldn’t bring myself to care. I was so over it, I skipped the next one on general principle. The tedium is well-represented in tonight’s show but there are also some cool moments and we’ll hit on both. First the good: the tour premiere of “Growin’ Up” and “Fire,” the latter of which allegedly took a couple of tries

Fiona Apple’s incredible new album The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, her first new music in seven years, is in stores today and is getting rave reviews and now she has announced a second leg to her tour in support of it. I’m devastated because she is playing the best venue in the world and the only seat I can get is behind a pole at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. This next leg will take her out west and across the southeast again and

It’s been seven years since the bizarre saga that culminated with the release of Fiona Apple’s third album Extraordinary Machine. The genesis and recording of The Idler Wheel, her fourth album, doesn’t have the same strange backstory but nothing has followed a linear path for Apple since she burst onto the scene with her magical debutTidal. It’s difficult to tell how aware she is about the way she’s perceived in some corners. It’s easy to label her as odd, quirky, or batshit loony some or all of which may be true but it’s inspiring when an artist refuses to allow external forces to dictate

Legendary singer Morrissey has announced a 33-date N. American tour for the fall that kicks off in Boston on Oct. 5. The British icon who rose to fame as lead singer of The Smiths before embarking on a successful solo career. His most recent solo album Years of Refusal was released in 2009, so this presumably is a Greatest Hits tour and it’s been suggested in some quarters he might be nearing the point of calling it a career as a touring performer. He has also hinted at playing new and unreleased songs as part of the jaunt but there’s been no

Cat Power (aka Chan Marshall) will release her first album of new material in six years when Sun is issued September 4, according to a video announcement from the singer released today and you can download a track from it free via her web site. Marshall often takes on the role of song interpreter and has released albums of covers, which is what her 2008 release Jukebox was. Sun is the first album of originals since her mesmerizing The Greatest in 2006. I have spent hours upon hours listening to the title track of that record as well as “Lived

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are clearing out the vaults from the sessions for their most recent effort I’m With You with the release of 18 songs that didn’t make the cut, releasing them digitally and on vinyl over the course of the year. The songs will be released two at a time on 7″ vinyl as well as digital downloads, “Strange Man” and “Long Progression” being the first set for release on August 14. The second and third releases are slated for release September 11 and October 2, respectively. The titles of those releases have been announced with “Magpies”

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are continuing their trek across Spain (playing the longest set of his career last night in Madrid) and occasionally playing elsewhere in Europe. Springsteen is promoting the solo album he released earlier this year, Wrecking Ball, and has now released a short interview/documentary film about the themes of the record and why they continue to resonate with him and recur in his work. The rock icon no longer achieves the same commercial success he did at the different peaks in his 40 year career, but this latest album has been largely well

Dear BlindedBySound Diary, I’m sorry I don’t have a proper review or a news item what I want to share with our dear and beloved readers but there is something what’s on my mind for to share with them all. I finally had the profound life experience of witnessing Gary Clark Jr. in concert in Nashville the other night and it was everything I hoped it would be, something I didn’t fully capture in my retelling of the night; it was a wonder beyond words. What I also didn’t get to tell was the new musical discovery I made that

Dear BlindedBySound Diary, I’m sorry I don’t have a proper review or a news item what I want to share with our dear and beloved readers but there is something what’s on my mind for to share with them all. I finally had the profound life experience of witnessing Gary Clark Jr. in concert in Nashville the other night and it was everything I hoped it would be, something I didn’t fully capture in my retelling of the night; it was a wonder beyond words. What I also didn’t get to tell was the new musical discovery I made that

We have another week of huge new releases- more than I can possibly hope to cover in any depth but we need to highlight a few of them. We have Dexy’s (Midnight Runner) and their new album One Day I’m Going to Soar and new albums from Grace Potter And The Nocturnals, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Pat Metheny, Josh Turner, Albert Castiglia, and Ed Sheeran. At least one of my nieces won’t forgive me if I don’t mention the new Usher record. And then there’s that new album from Rush. Rush fascinates me. Their work is imbued with so many of the

Gary Clark Jr. and his band played a blistering set for a packed house in Nashville a few hours after playing a matinee at something called Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester, TN, which I’m told is one of the largest music festivals in the United States. It’s been many years since headliners did two-a-days but there wasn’t an ounce of evidence to suggest Clark and his band weren’t up to the double duty. The set opened with a pair from the Bright Lights EP. “When My Train Pulls In” got an blistering full-band treatment as opposed to the solo version on

Former Fleetwood Mac singer/guitarist Bob Welch was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Nashville home today at age 66. Published reports indicate he left behind a suicide note and died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Many casual fans won’t know about the Welch chapter of the band’s history and even some of the more devoted might have missed his era, following the blues-soaked Peter Green early years and the commercial mega success of the Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks period that followed. I didn’t know about Welch’s tenure until I was in college working at a classic rock

Bruce Springsteen resumes his trek across Europe on the Wrecking Ball world tour, stopping tonight in Milan, Italy. We have good news and bad news in this one and we’re going to be positive on this Thursday and start with the good. This is now the longest set of the entire tour coming in at 33 songs strong. The good is “Candy’s Room” and “The Promise,” the latter performed solo piano. The good includes “Spirit In The Night” and “E Street Shuffle” played back-to-back. Good also includes “Darkness On The Edge Of Town.” I also love seeing “Cadillac Ranch” in

We’re all dying with anticipation for June 19 when Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel, her first album in seven years, is released so to make the wait a little easier she has issued two songs from the album for fans to stream. Apple already released the first single from the record, “Every Single Night,” and fans can stream it or download from iTunes. I love “Night” and am looking forward to listening to these two new songs repeatedly while I wait for UPS to bring my already pre-ordered copy of  is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping

Mark Knopfler will follow up his critically acclaimed Get Lucky with a 2-CD set entitled Privateering on September 3, according to his web site. The complete tracklisting and artwork have been revealed for the set but further details — first single, tour dates, album producer, and contributors — have not yet been announced. He may always be most famous for “Sultans Of Swing” and “Money For Nothing” from his Dire Straits days but a bulk of Knopfler’s best work has come after he disbanded Straits and gone out on his own. His collaboration with Emmylou Harris, All The Roadrunning,

What a fantastic week for new releases! What a terrible week for me to be flat broke! It’s tragic. There are so many cool discs coming out and all I can do is add them to my Wishlist. The Beach Boys have reunited for their first album with Brian Wilson, That’s Why God Made The Radio. This year marks their 50th Anniversary and all the surviving members of the band have together. Brian is the only Wilson brother remaining and he is joined by Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks. There’s another reunion this week, Neil Young

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials return with their eighth album for Alligator, their first since the 2008 effort Full Tilt. Lil’ Ed Williams is the nephew of Blues Hall of Famer J.B. Hutto, a disciple of the great Elmore James. The 14-track set features 13 new songs and they pay tribute to Hutto with a performance of his “If You Change Your Mind.” That cut is the highlight of the record and a textbook example of the difference between a bad ripoff or mere cover and inspiration. Williams and his bandmates don’t copy, they connect and recreate the magic

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band closed down Rock In Rio…in Lisbon, Portugal. If you are one of those who thought you might hold Rock In Rio in, oh I don’t know, Rio De Janeiro, surprise! Well, they do. But that’s not this one. I’m sure there’s a reason. It might even make sense but you’ve got me. This being a festival, the set is pared down to 24 songs and Bruce was in a generous mood, frequently taking requests from fans who brought signs to the gig. Three of the songs from the set were sign requests: “She’s

I guess it was a little damp when Bruce Springsteen brought the E Street Band back to Spain for their show in San Sebastian because Bruce opened things with “Who’ll Stop The Rain” before kicking in to the standard opening shell of shows on this tour. “The Ties That Bind” and “Night” slot into a couple of the open slots in the opening that includes the usual assortment of Wrecking Ball songs and “Spirit In The Night” has become something of a staple, which is excellent. “Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?” got played a few times early in the tour

When I Left Home introduces us to Buddy Guy and finds him in a warm, reflective frame of mind as he looks back on a life that took him from plantation life in Louisiana to Chicago where he became a world renowned, influential artist. It doesn’t take long for Guy to present readers with the contradictions in his DNA and throughout the rest of the book we see how those contradictions in his personality and life experiences would shape and make his fortunes balancing humility, confidence, and ambition as well as introversion and gregariousness. We learn of a young boy who

It’s the last night in Germany for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and the big story in Berlin tonight is the tour premiere of “Save My Love,” first officially released on the 2-CD The Promise released as part of the Darkness On The Edge Of Townreissue. Little Steve Van Zandt has been swearing up and down songs from The Promise would be played on the Wrecking Ball tour but they have been scarce. We got one tonight and it’s among my favorites from that set. Here’s to hoping there’s more where that came from… The show opened with “When I Leave Berlin,” apparently a cover

Royal Southern Brotherhood is a new supergroup comprised of bluesman Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, and Devon Allman along with drummer Yonrico Scott and bassist Charlie Wooton and their self-titled debut has already started making major inroads on the Billboard charts in the early weeks after its international release. The three principles share vocal duties with Zito and Allman handling lead guitar chores throughout. The bandname and talents involved are a good indication of the sound of the 12-song album; this is Southern rock with a heavy blues and Allman Brothers Band influence. Many have tried to create or re-create that

The E Street Band look to rebound from calamity in Cologne with their headlining set at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands tonight. This set being part of a festival, it comes in several songs lighter than recent stadium shows on the European leg of the tour. It’s too much to expect a complete recovery, then, from last night’s debacle but it’s a step in the right direction. This abbreviated set actually improves on things because they didn’t play the turds; it was addition by subtraction. Not only that but look at this stretch: “Spirit In The Night,” “Because The

It had to end some time, didn’t it? These setlists have gotten long, epic, and filled with good time rockers and a few surprises. There was nowhere to go but down after a great show in Frankfurt on this Wrecking Ball tour and we found the brickwall in Cologne, Germany tonight. I’m going to dish out plenty of blame for Bruce for this but we’re going to start with the real enemy: BruceFan. With great power comes great responsibility, something BruceFan fails to grasp at nearly every turn. These sign requests were a golden opportunity to goad Springsteen into playing songs he

The 2nd Annual Blue Star Blues Festival (coming up on Aug 4th, 2012 at beautiful Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado) has been chosen as a filming location for a new fall series called Randy Scott: Chasing the Dream. MAV-TV will be on-location in Littleton, capturing Randy’s performance and some revelry surrounding the festival. Randy won the Guitar Center “King of the Blues” title in 2010. On December 8, 2011, Scott was signed by Steve Vai‘s label, Favored Nations. He is also been named “Best Upcoming Blues Artist 2012” on Headliners for the festival include major award winners and some

You best have worn some sensible shoes if you were in Frankfurt tonight with the E Street Band! Bruce Springsteen has been reaching back to the days of yore on this European stretch and tonight’s setlist clocked in at nearly 3 1/2 hours and 30 songs. Can you dig that? I knew that you could! Let’s take a look at the particulars… I love the three-song stretch early in the show of “My City Of Ruins,” “Spirit In The Night,” and “E Street Shuffle.” There is another strong trio with “Youngstown,” “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” and “Johnny 99”

Albert King’s masterpiece I’ll Play The Blues for you was released in 1972; it was great then, receiving stellar reviews and yielding hit singles and it’s still great 40 years later and that’s really the point: very few of us in the market for this re-issue are hearing the album for the first time. We can air guitar to each of Albert’s relentless stream of glorious licks, sway with the horn section, and stomp to the funk-laden rhythms because most of us already know these songs by heart. You don’t need anyone to tell you it’s good because you already know it’s

I got acquainted with MTV’s Hive Live broadcast this past week when Garbage played a fantastic set on the show, which I was able to stream from home. I’m not being that guy when I said I didn’t realize MTV was still in the music business but I honestly had no idea this show existed. Not only does the show exist, but they brought Garbage in to play. Guess what? They also brought in my NewMusicalObsession Gary Clark Jr. to cut a couple songs. Have I mentioned I’m going to see Gary in Nashville on June 10? This is another rendition of

There were trailers and teasers yesterday on Twitter and Facebook and today Bruce Springsteen officially releases a video for “Rocky Ground,” one of the songs on his latest LP Wrecking Ball, and a song that has led off most encores on his current tour. The “Rocky Ground” video follows the video for “Death To My Hometown,” which featured live performance footage and current/former Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. I’ve spent countless happy hours listening to Springsteen (and a few I wish I could have back along the way) and never once did I listen to one of his albums

Garbage wasn’t the first to blend big, fuzzed guitars and electronic beats and loops but they created their own template and one listen to their first album in seven years, Not Your Kind Of People reminds us they have something special and unique; it reminds us why we fell in love with them in the first place. Their construction — three accomplished producers and a frontwoman who connects with audiences by exuding ferocity, confidence, and vulnerability — pop hooks, and songcraft set them apart from imitators and successors alike. Some bands take time away, never to be heard from again. Absence seems

This week’s New Music Tuesday is an optical illusion. You’re going to skim what looks like a really long list of new CDs heading for music stores this week but that’s not true: there’s only one new album coming out this week and I’ve been yammering on about it no end for months now. Garbage is back with their first new album in seven years. It’s called Not Your Kind Of People but it is definitely your kind of album if you have any sense at all. Shirley Manson & Co. are back to reclaim the title and I’ll be damned if they haven’t

A few days late on this one but something still worth discussing so we get into it today, that being the second of two E Street Band shows in Barcelona on the ongoing Spanish leg of the Wrecking Ball tour. The first night featured tour premieres while the second didn’t but the two were sufficiently different from one another and we can let the debate begin about which was better. The set opens with “Night” from Born To Run, which is actually one of the lesser played cuts from that album. “Spirit In The Night” and “E Street Shuffle” is a tough to

Meteoric rises, hype, and great expectations are nothing new in the world of music but the internet has changed how it happens and altered the speed. We weren’t the first but BlindedBySound discovered the boundless talent of Gary Clark Jr. That bandwagon was small and growing when we heard his Bright Lights EP and there is now a fevered pitch of anticipation for the first full-length LP he’ll release at his new label home of Warner Brothers, tentatively scheduled for this fall. This train is gathering but there is still plenty of room and we are here to fan the flames and

Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls will follow up his 2011 album Memphis Still Got Soul on June 19 when he releases Soul Survivor through Catfood Records. Memphis Still Got Soul garnered multiple nominations for Rawls at last month’s 33rd Blues Music Awards and he is wasting no time following it up with this latest record. The 10-track Soul Survivor features nine originals, penned mostly by Rawls and producer Bob Trenchard. The tenth song is once again a tribute to Rawls’ mentor, soul legend O.V. Wright. Rawls often records one of his former boss’ songs and this time he puts his

Bruce Springsteen treated the Barcelona fans to an epic, marathon 29-song set tonight as his Wrecking Ball tour heads continues its European trek. The 29-song show tonight is by far the longest of the tour and included two tour premieres and one big surprise. The first half of the set felt like a mashup of the current tour and the Reunion Tour from 1999-00 with songs like “Youngstown,” “Murder, Inc” and tonight’s tour premiere of “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” all played in close proximity to one another. The length of the show actually harkens back to those days

There are many great minds who experience music with an ear for the intellectual and technical, focusing on intonation, time signature changes, key changes, theoretical analysis of composition, and tracing the roots of influence. Some readers find that sort of thing dry- not me. I’ve learned enough to dabble in those waters by reading that kind of explanation and find the science behind the art fascinating. I could get sopout my Jazz-English dictionary and give a rudimentary explanation of what’s happening and how it’s being done. I could also give you the Dick Clark American Bandstand”It’s got a good beat but

This looked like it was going to be a total tirefire tonight from the half empty stadium through the first eight songs. I was already filling out the forms and the accident reports and while it didn’t quite turn out to be an instant classic, there were a few surprises in Las Palmas and the set list registers as being at least mildly interesting. We get to talk about the difference between tour premieres and tour premieres tonight. “Two Hearts” and “Working on the Highway” both made their first appearance on theWrecking Ball tour; talk about two trains that are never late. We

Paul Simon’s Grammy-winning classic album Graceland celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year and as is the trend these days, it’s being re-issued June 5 in deluxe formats to mark the occasion. For most people, the most memorable things about Graceland are the video for “Call Me Al” featuring Chevy Chase and the controversial decision Simon made by recording part of the album in South Africa during the country’s brutally oppressive apartheid regime. The CD/DVD edition of the album has been remastered and includes the song with the iconic video as well as the classic “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her

Bruce Springsteen kicked off the European leg of his Wrecking Ball tour in Sevilla, Spain and according to reports you could have swung a wrecking ball in some areas of the venue and not hit a soul. It turns out those not in attendance didn’t miss much. The setlist for tonight’s show was unremarkable, heavy on songs from Born In The USA. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have its highlights it did but the “wow” moment just didn’t happen despite this being a 27-song show. Put differently there were a whole lot of “wow” moments as in: “Wow, is he serious with this?” The

Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and their Tedeschi Trucks Band were the big winners at the 33rd Blues Music Awards in Memphis last night, to the surprise of almost no one. Derek Trucks won Guitarist Of The Year for the third consecutive year, Susan Tedeschi was selected as Contemporary Blues Artist-Female Of The Year, Tedeschi Trucks Band won Band Of The Year, and their album Revelator was named Album Of The Year. Tab Benoit and Ruthie Foster were also multiple winners with Foster earning the Koko Taylor Best Traditional Artist-Female award as well as DVD Of The Year for Live

Yet another Black Sabbath compilation is coming our way this year when Iron Man: The Best Of Black Sabbath is released June 5. The 14-track compilation covers the Ozzy Osbourne years and includes what I imagine is a pretty predictable group of songs despite the band’s lack of actual “hits” in the radio sense. Sabbath fans know which songs are the classics and while they might disagree on some of the deeper album cuts, the foundation of the band’s enduring legacy and popularity is built on songs like “Paranoid,” “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” and “War Pigs.” All three of those songs

I was happy with George Harrison’s Early Takes Vol. 1 before I’d heard a note because I adore George Harrison and because, as the title implies, this collection of previously unreleased songs culled from Harrison’s vault is only the beginning. This collection was released in conjunction with the home video release of Martin Scorsese’s Harrison documentary Living In The Material World and many of these tracks are featured in the film while others weren’t. The film examines Harrison’s entire career, before and after The Beatles, which might help explain why this set doesn’t focus on a particular period. I’d love

We have a new supergroup in our midst as Royal Southern Brotherhood releases their self-titled debut this week. Bluesman Mike Zito has teamed with Cyril Neville and Devon Allman to form this new band and they’re already on the road promoting the album. We’ve got the lowdown on their summer itinerary as well as a way for you to download a free song from the record if you want a sample before you buy. Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before! is a collection of rarities and demos from Barenaked Ladies covering their Reprise years (which is the majority and

First impressions are powerful but are so often, at best, incomplete and at worst completely wrong. My introduction to Anders Osborne came by seeing his name and album American Patchwork take up residence on the Blues Radio charts. Let’s do some math together: if you saw an artist whose record was on the blues chart, you might conclude the artist was a blues artist and said record was a blues record. Being wrong is nothing new to me but it was a good thing where Anders Osborne and American Patchwork were concerned because it reinforced a truth I often need to relearn: labels are

I felt my heart sink when I saw Adam Yauch was a trending topic on Twitter yesterday, knowing it was only a short time ago he was diagnosed with cancer. The many ways in which the world has changed in my lifetime still sometimes takes me by surprise. I held out hope he was trending because it was his birthday or for some stupid, random, Twitter reason. To my dismay, I learned gossip web site TMZ was reporting he passed away. I held out hope this was a tasteless internet hoax and TMZ had jumped the gun; it wouldn’t be

Tributes have been swirling around the internet from fans, friends, and admirers of Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, who lost his battle with cancer May 4, 2012, just weeks after his band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, including Coldplay. It’s hard to imagine a wild, exuberant party anthem like “Fight For Your Right To Party” becoming an elegiac, poignant tribute but that’s part of the earnest charm of a band like Coldplay.  The band are currently on tour promoting their Mylo Xyloto album and at their show at the Hollywood Bowl, Chris Martin led his

Hells holy acre, boys and girls, the last show of the first leg of Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball World Tour was a barnburner that rivals the Masterpiece in Motown and just might take the title as the set of the first leg. I wouldn’t have believed something like this would be possible when he opened with “No Surrender.” I might have been tempted to leave right then and there- but I wouldn’t have because even when I get discouraged and disgruntled, I still have the faith in Bruce. Tonight, faith was rewarded. “Bishop Danced” is a Springsteen rarity first officially released on Tracks box set going

Norah Jones collaborated with noted pop/rock producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton on the Rome “soundtrack” album and the sparks that flew during those sessions led to him working with her on Broken Little Hearts and all the rules for Norah Jones records past have been cast aside and nothing is off limits, not even her voice. I was open to and excited about the new sonic paintbox Danger Mouse would bring with him because I am obsessed with “Seasons Trees” from Rome. I didn’t expect Norah’s voice to be treated like one more instrument in the mix to be manipulated and I wasn’t happy

I don’t know why a person might want to shake a stick at a lot of something but that would seem to be the social convention regarding the number of excellent, exciting, and/or noteworthy releases this week. Let us begin, as all things should, with Norah Jones. Norah’s new record Little Broken Hearts is a sonic departure from her earlier work but not so much that longtime fans should be alienated by the different approach. You can stream the first single “Happy Pills” and see its video (two words: shower scene) and Jones has already announced summer tour plans. Only

Saturated – Live in Montreal was taken from the Black Swans & Wormhole Wizards tour and joins Live in San Francisco, Satriani Live, and Live in Paris in the Joe Satriani discography, quickly becoming clogged with such releases (not to mention the second disc of Time Machine and the Dreaming #11 EP). I don’t know why he suddenly feels the need to release a live album after every tour. He’s proved his point; he can mesmerize us on stage with face-melting guitar voodoo in the midst of great riffs, powerful melodies, frenetic tapping and shredding, and whammy bar wizardry. I’m

Have you ever experienced a situation where you see a proverbial trainwreck about to happen in front of your eyes and you’re powerless to stop it? I knew what to expect from Bruce Springsteen’s set at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and I was right… only it was worse than I anticipated. Springsteen took a day off from pimping his latest album Wrecking Ball and got into his WayBackMachine. That’s good news, right? Wrong. This WayBackMachine didn’t take him further back than 2006’s Seeger Sessions Band record. I figured he’d play “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live?” because of the

To borrow a phrase from Noel Gallagher, “the little things, they make me so happy.” Happiness today was a package in the mail from Delmark Records, a label specializing in blues and jazz that remains one of my favorites. They’ve got two new CDs that just came out and I want to preview them because I missed them in our weekly roundup of new releases. I literally just got them in the mail today so I can’t review them yet but Delmark is one of those great labels still fighting the good fight in the land of corporate stupid that

Award-winner Rory Block is releasing the third installment in her “Mentor Series” this month when I Belong To The Band: A Tribute To Rev. Gary Davis is released via Stony Plain Records May 29. Block’s “Mentor Series” is devoted to legends of the Delta Blues she met along her journey and who influenced her. The first in the series was Blues Walkin’ Like a Man: A Tribute To Son House (which I seriously need to get) and last year’s Shake ‘Em On Down: A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell, which I dearly love. Block also did an amazing Robert Johnson tribute disc called Lady & Mr.

Expect the unexpected- that’s the lesson for those in attendance at Bruce Springsteen’s second and final Los Angeles concert on this first leg of the Wrecking Ball World Tour. Oh, and it never hurts to get to a show a little early. The E Street Band got a late start to the show tonight but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some pregame excitement. I don’t know the last time Springsteen had an opening act but he did tonight: Bruce Springsteen. For reasons unknown, he came out about a half hour before the listed start time of 8:00 pm and played

Years of paying close attention to Bruce Springsteen setlists have taught me to be wary of the first night of a multi-night stand in one city and tonight he played the first of two scheduled Los Angeles shows. If tonight’s show turns out to be the lesser of the two, tomorrow will be an epic to remember. The best thing about tonight’s set in LA is that it was heavy on Darkness On The Edge Of Town, and not just the same two songs you know he’s always going to play. In addition to “Badlands” and “The Promised Land,” we got

Only in the universe Fiona Apple inhabits would “Every Single Night” be a single, to say nothing of being the lead single to her first album since 2005, The Idler Wheel…. This may be a great way to introduce us to what’s in store for her record and if it is, you can count me in but there’s not a radio station on earth or low-earth orbit that’s going to play this song and I can’t really even fault them. We all hate homogenized, corporate radio but this is Fiona Apple and both she and the song are weird as

The best and worst thing going for Mud Morganfield’s Son Of The Seventh Son album is the fact he is the oldest son of blues icon Muddy Waters. Morganfield, to his credit, doesn’t try and hide from the famous footsteps of his father but instead embraces the legacy. “There’s two of Pop’s (songs) on there and with anything I do, I’m gonna add Pop,” Morganfield said about the album. “It’s all got that Muddy style to it, because that’s who I am. Without me even trying, I come off like the son of Muddy Waters and I’m proud that it’s like that.”

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band resumed their Wrecking Ball World Tour last night after several days off with a stop in San Jose, CA, one of the few West Coast dates officially scheduled (I continue to believe there’s going to be a full-run of US dates when the European leg ends but nothing has been confirmed). The time off didn’t energize Bruce’s imagination where the setlist is concerned. It was a solid group of songs considering he is still in the phase of pushing material from the new album. There weren’t any big surprises or tour debuts but there

Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese’s film George Harrison: Living In The Material World is due for release May 1 in a variety of formats and packages. The film will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, and in a Deluxe Edition. Scorsese’s takes an in-depth look at the life of George Harrison, who will always be known primarily as a Beatle but was so much more in and out of the world of music. The film is able to tell its story largely through Harrison’s own words as Scorsese and his editing team were able to cobble together interview footage from Harrison throughout his

Another indie band is in the process of being anointed The Next Big Thing and they hail from my stomping grounds of North Alabama. Alabama Shakes is a four-piece that has cobbled together a grungy, indie retro Southern soul hybrid and it reminds me of when Amy Winehouse was famous for music. The Shakes aren’t copping her Motown-meets-Wall Of Sound style but they passionately embrace vintage sounds to create their music. The Winehouse reference is again applicable because vocalist Brittany Howard maps somewhere between Winehouse and Janis Joplin- less throaty and abrasive than Janis but not quite as purely soulful

Newly inducted Rock And Roll Hall of Famers Red Hot Chili Peppers are releasing a six-track covers EP digitally on May 1, and all six songs covered are from fellow Hall of Famers. The band was inducted into the Hall of Fame last month and are currently on tour supporting their most recent solo album I’m With You. Some of the covers being issued on this digital-only EP have surfaced on various formats and various compilations while others haven’t previously surfaced.  The tracklisting includes songs from Dion And The Belmonts, The Ramones, Iggy And The Stooges, Neil Young, The Beach

It’s a Jack White Tuesday, boys and girls! There’s no question who has the headline this week as our top new release. Bro. Jack has recorded his first solo album, Blunderbuss, and it’s a damn good album. I highly recommend it and politely command you all to purchase a copy of it. Among the many things I love about Sir Jack of White is his guitar work and that’s true of most of the highlights in this week’s CD releases. Joe Satriani has a new live package out this week and the title says it all for me: Satchurated: Live In Montreal.

Welcome to the next chapter in the growing mythology of Jack White, one of the most compelling characters in contemporary American music. He founded The White Stripes, a thrashing, blues-garage rock band with a convoluted, contrived back story and then started two additional bands: The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather and recorded two albums with each. He and Meg dissolved Stripes to the dismay of their devoted fans and now embarks on a solo career with his first release Blunderbuss. Chris Rock said, “You know what they say, ‘There’s no reason to ever hit a woman.’ Shit! There’s a reason to

The first question I asked when I learned Beyond The Crossroads was the title of Peter Karp & Sue Foley’s followup to He Said She Said was is this a sequel? The story of HSSS was well-chronicled because of the unique genesis for the project. That album began as a series of e-mails, letters, and phone calls the two exchanged as they both encountered difficult ordeals in their professional and personal lives. The iconography of The Crossroads is profoundly woven into the story of the blues but it’s also a universal metaphor. I try very hard not to let pronouns

Fiona Apple is still one of the things we can all count on in this everchanging world in which we live in. She debuted several songs from her upcoming album  The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Ever Do and “Every Single Night” was one she performed and it’s been selected as the first single from her new record. It’s a perfect choice as a Fiona Apple single because it’s wonderfully weird as hell. That it has zero chance of getting picked up on any terrestrial radio station

Canadian rockers Rush have announced tour dates in support of their forthcoming 20th album Clockwork Angels. The album drops June 12 and the touring kicks off in Manchester, NH in September. Before we get to the tour dates and album details, I have to pause to tell you how annoying it is that my lead paragraph didn’t refer to Rush as Rock & Roll Hall of Famers. I don’t own a single Rush CD in my collection; I’m not much of a fan but their importance, influence, longevity, and accomplishments are so obviously worthy of enshrinement. The R&R HoF is diminished

I took a 40-day sabbatical from Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media recently because I realized I was spending too much time chronicling the moments that make up the dull day and reading friends and strangers do the same rather than actually living and participating in my life. If I hadn’t reached that conclusion on my own, Eric Bibb’s “Painting Signs” would have beautifully, delicately told me that very thing. “Painting Signs” was written in 2001, before we were all on Facebook and before Twitter even existed so this isn’t a new phenomenon in human behavior and the

“…the Angel trio of voices are together again…” Photo by Dan Griffin

Seventh Hour is the seventh release from guitarist JW-Jones, the successor to Midnight Memphis Sun, an album he cut in Memphis’ famed Sun Studios and featured a cameo from Blues Hall Of Famer Charlie Musselwhite. Previous Jones records have featured other blues heavy hitters like Hubert Sumlin and Kim Wilson. It has to feel to good to have the respect of such luminaries and to have them adorn your compositions and records but there comes a time when you’re ready to leave the nest and Jones does that here, relying only on himself and his band. He isn’t a slave to convention

Peter Karp and Sue Foley have released the first video from their new album Beyond The Crossroads for the song “More Than I Bargained For.” This is one of my favorite tunes on the new disc and I look forward to talking about the set in greater detail in the coming days but in the meantime you have the opportunity to get a little taste from it while we wait for me to get caught up and finished with my review. The search for love is hardwired into human DNA in ways science and poets have tried to explain with limited degrees

We told you Soundgarden is offering up their new song single free via iTunes Music Store for a limited time only. My advice, Soundgarden fans? Get it at this price point while you can because it’s not worth the $1.29 iTunes will later charge. I take no great pleasure in saying this because I love Soundgarden and was genuinely excited about new music from them; I would have paid the $1.29 to hear their first new song in 15 years. I got it free and I want my money back, kids. It’s not that the song is bad- okay, it’s

Britpop titans Blur are prepping a massive, career-spanning box set called 21 due for release July 30. The box set gets its name because there are 21 discs in this monster and it will include their seven studio albums and 65 previously unreleased tracks as well as more than 130 rarities and b-sides from throughout their career. There will also be 3 DVD. There will also be a collectors’ book with all the usual photos and swag. Their first five studio albums –1991 debut Leisure, Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1995), The Great Escape (1997), and Blur (1997) — have all been remastered by Frank Arkwright with the original

Soundgarden has written and recorded their first new song in 15 years and they’re offering it as a free download for a limited time through the iTunes Music Store before it shows up on the soundtrack to the upcoming Marvel film The Avengers. It’s not the first time Soundgarden or its frontman Chris Cornell have had their work on soundtracks. Both contributed tracks to the landmark soundtrack album Singles, the Cameron Crowe film from the early ’90s that gave a glimpse into what became known as “grunge” culture as well as single life in Seattle. The movie wasn’t all

Time once again for the weekly look at the biggest sellers at the largest music retailer in the US. We’ve got the biggest selling singles and albums for the past week and our #1s belong to Gotye and Lionel Richie. One of those makes me say, “Who?” while the other makes me wonder if I slipped down a cosmic bunnyhole that sent me back to the 3rd grade. I’m perfectly well shocked to see Lionel Richie back atop the albums charts for the first time in 26 years! Kids today don’t know how huge this guy was. He’s one of

I wear many hats in this life of mine but only one — husband — is more special than my role as an uncle to six beautiful nieces and three nephews. I’ll meet nephew number four when my youngest sister gives birth later today. One of love’s greatest miracles is its ability for infinite expansion; my heart and love swell each time I welcome a new little one into my life and my love for them stretches each passing day as they break my heart and grow up faster than I’m ready to allow. I love them so much and

Here in northeast Ohio, back in 1803… Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band brought their Wrecking Ball World Tour to Cleveland tonight on the heels of last night’s snoozer in Albany and we have a different feel to tonight’s show with “The Ties That Bind” and “E Street Shuffle” showing up early in the set. “E Street Shuffle” had been an early staple of the tour but has been alternated in and out over the last several shows. It’s not a big surprise “Youngstown” comes out in Cleveland tonight. It’s a timely, topical song that fits with the Wrecking Ball theme and

Royal Southern Brotherhood — Devon Allman, Mike Zito, and Cyril Neville — have wrapped work on their self-titled debut due via Ruf Records in the US on May 8. The band has released a video and they’re giving away a download of the track “New Horizon” from the upcoming CD while gearing up for a massive summer tour of the US and Canada. Allman and Neville come from impressive musical families and have both recorded and worked extensively on their own as has blues-rock guitarist Mike Zito. Devon Allman’s Honeytribe released a pair of records, most recently *Space Age

The rollercoaster continues when Linkin Park releases Living Things on June 26, and they’ve already announced plans to tour with Incubus to promote the new record. The 12-track set was produced by veteran producer Rick Rubin and follows A Thousand Suns, released in 2010. Co-frontman Chester Bennington said the new album finds the veteran rock band feeling comfortable with their place as one of the oft-maligned nü-metal bands of the late ’90s and what he feels is the progression they’ve made as group since. “This album is a really great representation of where we’re at right now as a band,” he said. “We’re

This is a week I’ve been waiting for, boys and girls, with some great new releases and I don’t mean a live album from Yanni. National Treasure Lurrie Bell releases his first new album in far too long this week, The Devil Ain’t Got No Music. The album features cameos from Joe Louis Walker and some other great Chicago blues talents but the album is perhaps as un-Chicago as anything he has ever released (but check out his guest work Eddie C. Campbell’s recent album Spider Eating Preacher). It’s a gospel-blues record, featuring mainly older hymns and spirituals and it

The blues was the devil’s music before it gave birth to rock and roll if you believe the history books and legends but there have been a few brave souls who forged a path that unites the blues and the gospel despite the prevailing wisdom. National Treasure Lurrie Bell has added himself to that list of the brave with his soulful, stirring new record The Devil Ain’t Got No Music. The title track throws down the gauntlet and proclaims to take back from the devil one more thing over which he might have declared dominion. What makes this album special is

  Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band got a couple days off for the long trip from Buffalo to Albany (really, Landau? Get a map and a lap) on their Wrecking Ball tour and they put the time to use. Not good use. We get tour premieres tonight (but with one exception) there isn’t anything special about them because these turds come out every tour and some poor town has to be first. What did Albany ever do to Bruce Springsteen to get the double-debut of “Darlington County” and “Downbound Train.” Talk about a train that is never late. You

Curtis Salgado is one of the greatest living singers; you don’t have to question whether or not he’s going to deliver because his off days are Grammy worthy so the success of a new record has very little to do with the man himself. The determining factors are primarily going to be the quality of the material and the possibility of some producer thinking too much and getting in the way and fucking things up. Salgado is a sophisticated vocalist versatile enough to croon a gentle ballad and intense enough to sing straight-ahead soul, keeping him leagues ahead of peers

“Death To My Hometown” has been a staple of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s Wrecking Ball tour and we now have an official video for the song. I’m not in love with the Wrecking Ball record and “Death To My Hometown” is awash in many of the characteristics that left me cold, leaving me to walk the fine line between revisiting a conversation I started last month and merely piling on. The video is montage of the E Street Band performing the song from various venues and/or soundstages and that’s fine, although it might have been interesting to see visuals

Before we discuss tonight’s Springsteen setlist in Albany, NY, I’d like to offer up an open letter to The Boss because this is just the strangest thing ever. I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, but- well, here’s my letter and then we’ll talk shop. Dear Bruce Springsteen, Thank you for eavesdropping on the private conversation I had with 11 today. I only wish the next time you possibly illegally wiretap our phone conversations and decide to heed our advice, you do it prior to a show we’re going to end and not one you’re going to play

Nick Moss has announced a major run of dates to extend his Here I Am World Tour late into the fall of this year. If you’ve never seen them live, now is your chance. He recently announced a run of West Coast headlining dates and he’s extended that run through California and Nevada but he’ll now make stops through Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. In addition to the headlining dates, he and his band — Travis Reed (keyboard), Michael Ledbetter (guitar, backing vocals), Matthew Wilson (bass), Patrick Seals (drums) — will be playing a number of US and European blues

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s Wrecking Ball World Tour has been extended into the fall with the announcement of 10 more North American dates scheduled to begin in August. The Boss concludes his current N. American run in Newark, NJ on May 2 before heading to Europe for the summer, playing shows from May 13 in Seville and wrapping up in Finland July 31. I can’t point to anything official but I have a strong suspicion these 10 dates won’t be the only ones he plays when he returns. Several of these dates take him to places he

What a show, what a show, what a show! We have a winner, kids. DC, NYC Night 2, you have been vanquished. Motown is the new Wrecking Ball tour champion and it’s going to be damn hard to topple. Somewhere in an undisclosed location, 11 is crying his eyes out as “Incident On 57th Street” once again got its tour premiere and he wasn’t there to see it. There are a couple of great, great stretches in this set that are so good I might have retired from E Street Band concert attendance if this show had been mine. Check out the run from

Gary Clark Jr. is playing all over this summer while still working hard on his Warner Bros. debut record, still slated for release sometime in 2012. Clark is playing major festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and all points in between (although we haven’t gotten him booked in Nashville and I’m going to have to talk to someone about that). He also recently participated in a showcase show at SXSW — held on his home turf in Austin, TX — and we have video from his performance there. “Don’t Owe You A Thing” is on his Bright Lights EP, which we

A few smug assholes dismissed Counting Crows as little more than “instant classic rock” when their landmark debut August & Everything After was released in 1993. It was lazy journalism and a pointless exercise by a few clowns trying to impress their peers with their clever putdowns and completely missed the point. I can’t imagine being a Counting Crows fan and not loving this record and I’d enthusiastically force a copy of Underwater Sunshine into the hands of friends who claim to dislike the band. It’s magical to hear them take songs that aren’t theirs and make them their own

Am I the only one who never got the memo MTV was still airing Unplugged? First Beavis & Butt-Head returns and now Unlugged. What’s next? Videos? I had mixed feelings about a Florence + The Machine Unplugged performance. I’ve seen her perform live and know these mighty studio creations do translate in a live setting but could they work unplugged? On the one hand it made perfect sense as Florence has an amazing, ethereal voice and even after only two albums plenty of ballads that could showcase her powerful vocals. Her catalog also includes some beat-heavy singles that would seem odd choices

In the better late than never department, we have our look at new releases for April 10, 2010 and there are some good ones! The list isn’t what I’d call deep this week but there are some CDs you’ve just got to pick up. I have to start this out with one of the coolest things that ever happened to me in the history of my life and it’s relevant because of one of this week’s new releases. I was at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis last year and Kate Moss asked if I wanted to go Wild

This, boys and girls, is why you don’t go home early when you go to a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band show. The first five songs of night two in the Garden were the same as night one, including the playing of “Badlands” with the house lights on. I honestly thought I was seeing an error in the Twitter feed when these rolled off like that because as unimaginative as I’ve accused Bruce of being with set lists in the past, surely he wouldn’t do this to the same city- especially New York City. Sure enough, we get

Monday has ruthlessly savaged me and I’m in need of some cheering up. Enter Norah Jones and her “Happy Pills.” Video. Buncha pervs, the whole lot of you. The evolution of Norah Jones from spellbinding singer of songs bursting with nocturnal radiance to spellbinding singer of any damn thing continues with “Happy Pills,” a song she co-wrote with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton for her upcoming album Little Broken Hearts. I love the work Jones and Danger Mouse did on the Rome soundtrack and while “Happy Pills” doesn’t have the same sweeping weirdness, it is a finely crafted pop song that

Fiona Apple has confirmed her new album The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You MoreThan Ropes Ever Do will be released June 19 and revealed artwork and the tracklisting for the 10-track album (it should be noted some outlets are reporting a date of June 26 but MTV News claims confirmation from Epic the album will drop 6/19). She has also announced a full-scale North American tour, expanding the handful of dates she recently played which included a stop at SXSW. Let’s start with the tour dates because guess what,

I’m a couple days late talking about the set list of for the first show of a 2-night stand for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band as they bring their Wrecking Ball World Tour to New York’s Madison Square Garden because I was in Atlanta watching Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds while this show was going on. The second night will be tomorrow, as the band takes off a couple days for Easter. So, what do we have here? The tour premiere of “Murder Incorporated” and “Lion’s Den” and the return to the set of “Shackled & Drawn.” Okay. Well.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds came to The Tabernacle in Atlanta and The Chief was in masterful form. It feels like I waited my whole life for this night. I’ve made innumerable Noel Gallagher mixtapes, CD-Rs, and digital playlists on my iPod, dreaming about a night like this, never really expecting it would ever happen. When it finally did, I spent the entire 20-song set in the beautiful haze of the euphoria you only experience at the exact moment the improbable becomes reality before your very eyes. The set list mixed singles, b-sides, and album cuts from High Flying Birds,

Bruce Springsteen delivered a fabulous set on the second night of his homecoming stand at the Izod Center in New Jersey tonight, with several tour premieres and classic fan favorites along with a heavy dose of material from his latest album, Wrecking Ball. I feel bad for the folks who went to the first night of the stand because tonight’s set smokes last night. Hard. Early in the set, he broke out “Candy’s Room” from Darkness On The Edge Of Town, giving “Badlands” a night off and followed it with “Johnny 99” from Nebraska. He also threw in “Jackson Cage” a few

Garbage has unveiled the video for “Blood For Poppies,” the first single from their forthcoming album Not Your Kind Of People. I believe we’ve made it abundantly clear how excited we are about Garbage’s return after a seven-year absence but just in case you’ve somehow missed the memo, let’s talk about it some more. The video was directed by Matt Irwin in Los Angeles who has a background in fashion photography and filmmaking. While many artists have complained about making videos, Shirley Manson clearly didn’t mind the work involved in making this one for “Blood For Poppies.” “We piled

Recent setlists from Bruce and the E Street Band have gotten increasingly diverse and adventurous while remaining a means of promoting his new Wrecking Ball CD. I figured the band returning to its famed stomping grounds of New Jersey (wait… you didn’t know Springsteen was from Jersey?) would be a catalyst for a night filled with big surprises and audibles galore… and I was wrong. Now let’s not be hasty; there was a tour premiere last night but in recent days he’s been dusting off two or three premieres a night. Not last night for the home team. Maybe

VH-1 had a hit show in the ’90s that became an addiction for many of us called Behind The Music that profiled bands and artists, great and small. At some point it became a parody of itself because the stories behind so much of the music we love are pretty common: a hungry young band works its ass off for their big break, they get their big moment only to find out they’ve been screwed by an unscrupulous manager and/or record label, internal tensions often created by substance abuse tear the band apart, and years later they either come back bigger

It’s pretty simple this week, kids: if you like music, we’ve got Elvis Costello; if you don’t like music, we’ve got Nicki Minaj. There are a few other titles we can get into this week. There’s a new album from Rascal Flatts called Changed (a title I suspect could get them sued for truth in advertising but I’ll leave that verdict up to their fans). Metal icon Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has a special edition of Thick As A Brick 2 and there is a new budget line compilation for Tull (and several other bands) out this week

Ronnie Shellist’s ‘Til Then has strong roots in the traditional Chicago style and there’s a great texture to the sonic architecture of the album, something missing in too many modern recordings. The album was cut in one day without myriad overdubs, the sound hasn’t been compressed to hell and back, and the volume is just right. The album carves out a nice place for itself, not ignoring the foundation built and perfected by the greats who came before, but Shellist isn’t content offering up a bunch of songs built on Willie Dixon’s stop-time riffs or the same tired chord progressions so

Boys and girls, we have a winner. Bruce Springsteen showered DC with his love and played a (mostly) brilliant set list in our nation’s capital and thus my complaining about these set lists takes on a different tone entirely. I’m not going to stop complaining about them- don’t be ridiculous. No, instead the complaining will sound a little like this… That son of a bitch played “Adam Raised A Cain” and I wasn’t there to hear it. Yes, I’m bitter. Very, very bitter. That son of a bitch played “The Promise,” full band and I wasn’t there to hear

I don’t know how long it’s been since we checked in at Blues Radio and looked at which albums were leading the way having run a double secret errand this week reminded me of this dormant column and got me in the mood to revisit it. The latest from Janiva Magness, Stronger For It, is topping charts this week with Joan Osbourne’s Bring It On Home following her. If you’re curious, yes, this is the same Joan Osbourne who had a huge hit in the ’90s with “One Of Us.” I wasn’t a huge fan of that song but she’s

I knew I was going to do it at some point. I started in with it in Atlanta but I held back. I want it said from the outset I’m not surprised, I am angry. I would be angrier but the atrocity was committed against Philadelphia and that’s one of my forbidden cities- sucks to be them. That doesn’t mean Bruce Springsteen’s actions were not depraved and indecent and must therefore be held up for scorn and ridicule. Those of you sensitive sycophants should skip ahead a few paragraphs where I will rave about some of tonight’s happenings. The

The Top 9 contestants on Season 11 of American Idol performed last night and tonight one of them will go home. Our Chief AI correspondent and resident expert Heather will be weighing in with her thoughts on last night’s performances. In the meantime, you can catch up on what you missed if you were unable to watch or suffer from situational ADD and can’t stand to wait through the commercials, ridiculous product placement, and (often) inane judge banter. My understanding of last night’s themes is that the contestants — Colton Dixon, Phillip Phillps, Jessica Sanchez, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanaugh,

The first of two nights in Philadelphia and let’s go ahead and dispense with suspense: no “Incident on 57th Street” tonight so we’ll look for that tomorrow. With that out of the way, let’s talk about what did get played. There was one tour premiere and another rarity performed tonight and the premiere is a stunner: “Seaside Bar Song” from Tracks. The Springsteen songbook is extensive so guessing would be difficult under any circumstance but I would have never guessed this one. Ever. Unless I started alphabetically and started with “A Night With The Jersey Devil” and kept guessing until I got

The Paul McCartney re-issue campaign continues and this time it is his 1971 album Ram that’s getting the deluxe, remastered treatment and will be released May 22. This is one I’ve anxiously awaited. I’m not alone in having a deep, abiding love for The Beatles and am probably not alone in being a little late to delve into the respective solo careers of the Fab 4, but I’ve indeed expanded my collection. Paul’s solo catalog is easily the most voluminous and I held out buying more than a couple good compilations because one of the voices in my head

Eric Bibb tells us in “Music” from his latest album Deeper In The Well genres and labels are meaningless to him, that it’s all about the feeling. He’s 100 percent right, of course, but to ignore the textures and sounds of the songs on this record is to miss out on its beauty. Bibb intricately and deftly blends folk, vintage hill country, Delta blues, Louisiana Cajun, traveling medicine show, and gentle swing throughout the 13-song disc. If that sounds ambitious, chaotic, noisy, or disjointed, you are in for a pleasant surprise as it is brilliantly executed. Musicologists will tell you all

I’m not sure which is cooler: stumbling on to a great new band on your own or when a friend turns you on to them. They’re both great in their own way and in the case of my introduction to The Missionary Position, it was a case of the latter. I was drawn to them before I’d heard a note because I’m sorry but this might be the greatest fucking bandname ever. Yes, that makes me very juvenile but it doesn’t make me wrong; it’s a great name for a band. What makes it better is the music is great and the

Bruce Springsteen brought his Wrecking Ball tour to Boston and we once again have the grab bag of cool rarities, tour premieres, and warhorses that should be put out to pasture or euthanized altogether. “Badlands” returns to the #3 hole tonight after having been replaced by “Prove It All Night” in Tampa. The “E Street Shuffle” had followed “My City Of Ruins” the first two shows of the tour but has been benched of late, tonight for “Thundercrack.” It hurts me to see “E Street Shuffle” getting tossed aside (especially with some of the tired turds that still get played too

We have an unusual week this week where some titles are being issued on Monday while the rest will come out on the standard Tuesday release date. I’m not sure what the purpose is but according to our pals at NewMusicTipsheet, some titles are slated for today and others tomorrow. Buyer beware… There are a couple great releases out this week and a few others I want to highlight. We’ll start with Madonna and her MDNA record. I actually can’t believe this isn’t already out. The Super Bowl was so long ago and she’s released a pair of singles

Stephen King has a short story called “I’ve Been To Rock & Roll Heaven (And You Know They’ve Got a Helluva Band).” It’s a fun story and one of the first things I thought about when I held Longtime Friends In The Blues in my hands. Take the unmistakable, inimitable voice of Tail Dragger and pair him with one of the blue’s premier harp stylists in Bob Corritore and then assemble a crack bank like Chris James and Kirk Fletcher on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey on drums, and the great Henry Gray on piano and vocal for

Maybe one day I’ll lose interest in giving the finger to the namecallers and hecklers who doubt me but being right in the face of wrongness hasn’t lost its appeal. I was very critical of Springsteen’s opening night set list in Atlanta for being unimaginative and predictable. I was more complementary something one reader missed the next night when he made just a couple of minor adjustments to his Greensboro set list. Bruce played his third show in a five day span and he took a blowtorch to the setlist and shook things up while maintaining a focus on songs from

Norah Jones has announced the opening run of dates for her world tour in support Little Broken Hearts, her new album due May 1. The first several dates are in Europe before she kicks off the North American run in Indianapolis on June 20. I have three chances to catch her in relatively close proximity: I can go four hours east to Atlanta and see her at the Fabulous Fox Theater, 4 hours west and see her at Memphis’ Mud Island Amphitheater, or I can do what God wants and go two hours north and hear and see her

Americana, the first album Neil Young has recorded with his band Crazy Horse in nine years, will be released June 5. The tracklisting for Americana includes some American folks songs, many popular in the protest movement, while others have meanings of a more sinister meaning. I’m reminded of the year David Letterman introduced the stunning-yet-humorless Susan Sarandon and her then-“husband” Tim Robbins to present an award at the Oscars by wondering what they were pissed about this year. Springsteen has issued his State Of The Union record and now we get something similar from Young courtesy of a collection

This week’s New Music Tuesday roster isn’t loaded with superstar names but there are some very interesting new albums worth spotlighting. Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society comes out this week and grownups everywhere once again thank her for besting Justin Bieber for that Best New Artist award. Our friends at Delta Groove have a pair of big blues releases this week as well. Reviews are forthcoming but in the meantime, let’s go ahead and talk about both. Harp pro Bob Corritore has paired up with the inimitable Tail Dragger for Longtime Friends In The Blues. Corritore and Tail Dragger are joined

I watched the Twitter feed tonight as Bruce Springsteen’s March 19 show in Greensboro, NC was updated on my timeline and I continued to get angrier and angrier. Scathing, angry thoughts rushed through my head as I prepared to excoriate him. I grabbed my copy of The Bill of Rights and The Federalist Papers from history classes years ago to find any indication that freedoms of speech and expression included the right to bear bricks. Finding no such legal ground to stand on, resignation set in and I didn’t know if I was even going to bother. If Bruce doesn’t care enough

Time to revive a time-honored tradition and staple of my freelance writing career: the Bruce Springsteen set list commentary. Why do I do it? I love Bruce, I love his music, and love writing and talking about both. I wish I had the resources to follow the E Street Band around the world; I don’t. I’ve been to many shows and traveled great distances to do so but I’m a working stiff, so this is water cooler talk for Bruce fans wherein we say to each other “Did you see what Bruce played last night?” and discuss the good,

The Barrett Martin Group will release their second album May 15 when Artifact and have unveiled the artwork as well as tracklisting for the 14-song followup to last year’s debut Atlas: Latitudes, which will be released through Martin’s own Sunyata Records label. Artifact was conceived of as a companion piece to the debut and many of the ideas for these songs originated during those sessions, even if they weren’t completely arranged, recorded, or mixed until after that set’s release. Following the release of Atlas, BMG played a series of shows in the Seattle area where they are headquartered. Martin has been exceptionally busy of late,

We’ve waited seven long years for Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker to reunite to make a new Garbage record and that wait is finally over with the announcement of Not Your Kind Of People and the release of “Blood For Poppies” as its first single. My excitement and interest in my March Madness bracket was quickly forgotten and all I could think about was getting home to take advantage of the free download of “Poppies” and after listening to it repeatedly, I’ve been dying to share my thoughts with all of you because I love it! “Blood For Poppies”

The Missionary Position have revealed the artwork and tracklisting for their March 27 album Consequences. Diamonds In A Dead Sky, released in 2009, was the first record Jeff Angell issued under the fantastic The Missionary Position moniker in the aftermath of the demise of his previous band Post Stardom Depression. That album was in many ways an Angell solo record with several friends friends making guest appearances. That debut record drew considerable praise and in the process of touring to support it, Angell solidified the band’s lineup with three permanent members. With a steady group of musicians to work with, he

Garbage is set to end their seven-year recording hiatus on May 15 with their fifth studio album Not Your Kind Of People and we now have the complete tracklisting for the standard and deluxe editions of the CD as well as the first single for the record. Making matters better, they’re giving their devoted fans that first single for free through their web site! Let’s talk about the tracklisting for the record and its two configurations first and we shall come back to “Blood For Poppies,” the first single (which I’m listening to right now). The standard edition of the disc

Our pal Nick Moss is gearing up for another full spring and summer of touring, heading back to the West Coast for another run of dates including a long overdue stop in Las Vegas. BlindedBySound actually has a Vegas blues correspondent, making arrangements to be at Boulder Station Hotel & Casino on April 21 for that special show. Moss and his band have been touring heavily to promote the acclaimed Here I Am release from last fall. He’ll kick things off from his home base of Chicago, playing Rosa’s Lounge. Rosa’s is one of the remaining blues joints that played host

There are some ideas so obvious you should be able to see them coming from a mile away and you feel stupid when you get blindsided by one. Such is the case with the title of Meat Loaf’s latest album Hell In A Handbasket. Other artist-title pairings this week that get a rating of “Duh” would be Cannibal Corpse’s Torture and Baptized In Filth by Impending Doom. Yes, kids, the new release chart is that barren this week I actually started with Meat Loaf. It’s actually a fortunate thing for me because I’ve got some major titles upcoming (Norah Jones, Florence & The Machine

National Treasure Lurrie Bell returns with his first solo album since 2007 with The Devil Ain’t Got No Music on April 17 and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy! This new set features gospel and spiritual standards, many of which have worked their way into the blues canon. Now we’ll have versions of them by these sacred standards from a living, breathing National Treasure. Just so we’re clear, it is incorrect to simply say Lurrie Bell- it’s National Treasure Lurrie Bell. Yes, the whole thing. Yes. Every time. Joining National Treasure Lurrie Bell on this record are the great Joe Louis Walker (who

Peter Karp and Sue Foley were a pair of gifted solo artists who took the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup approach and realized two great tastes can taste great together when they recorded the fabulous, intensely personal, chart-topping He Said She Said in 2010, and they’ve announced the followup to that record Beyond The Crossroads on April 17 by Blind Pig Records. If you’re hearing of Karp and Foley for the first time through this article, first of all, welcome. Second, you’re welcome because Peter Karp is one of the finest songwriters on the planet and through him I discovered Sue Foley, an equally amazing vocalist,

Fiona Apple will release a new studio album this year and it has a 23-word title: The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do Oh, Fiona, some people have to work at crazy while it comes naturally for others. We love you so and can’t wait to hear this new record because as batshit loony as you appear to those of us residing on planet Earth, you are one hell of a singer and songwriter. Those of you with good memories will remember Apple’s sophomore

The amazing Eric Bibb will release his first album with Canada’s Stony Plains Record on March 27 when he issues Deeper In The Well. The 13-track set was recorded in four days last September and features Bibb originals as well as covers of Bob Dylan’s “The Times Are A-Changing” and Taj Mahal’s “Every Wind In The River.” The disc was recorded in Louisiana, where he co-produced the album with Michael Bishop and Matt Greenhill and was joined by multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, Cedric Watson (fiddle), drummer Danny Devillier, and Grant Dermody (harmonica). There are also guest appearances from Michael Jerome Brown

Grammy-winning jazz vocalist and pianist Diana Krall and her band are hitting the road for an extensive U.S. tour this summer, her longest venture in three years. Krall will play a handful of March dates on the East Coast before launching the major trek in June at Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. She’ll hit 40 cities by the time she’s done, finishing with a two-night stand in Woodinville, WA. She and her band Anthony Wilson (guitar), Robert Hurst (bass), and Karriem Riggins (drums) recently helped back Paul McCartney on his love standards album Kisses On The Bottom (and I hope the title

Ruthie Foster has won Blues Music Awards the past two years largely on the strength of her 2009 LP The Truth According To Ruthie Foster. A quick glance at the trackisting of her 2011 effort Let It Burn prepares us for an eclectic ride as we see a mix of originals and covers from artists ranging from Adele, The Black Keys, David Crosby, Pete Seeger, Robbie Robertson, and Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire.” She is joined by special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama and William Bell, the Blind Boys contributing to Crosby’s “Long Time Gone” and “The Titanic” while Bell joins her

Florence & The Machine will release their performance on the venerable, once-clasic MTV Unpluged series in a bevy of packages on April 9. She is taking pre-orders through her own online store, adorably called the Flotique, and fans who pre-order from the Flotique get a poster as an added bonus. I don’t know about you, but that made my day. This is Florence’s first official live release although iTunes has issued a couple of exclusive live performances through their digital music store (her set for the London iTunes Festival as well as set in SoHo). The 11-song set features songs from her

Spider Eating Preacher could be subtitled “The Great West Side Preservation Society” as Eddie C. Campbell, with guidance from longtime friend and producer Dick Shurman, has recaptured the magic of that beautiful style. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as Campbell as a dear friend and bandmate of Magic Sam, one of the true pioneers of the sound, nor should anyone be surprised Campbell has recaptured that essence without making a record that sounds dated, ready to be catalogued in a museum somewhere before it’s ever really heard. Preacher isn’t some collection of covers of tired material from the beloved blues canon

Let’s get this out of the way right from the start: if you’re a fan of anyone other than Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, you might want to skip a couple paragraphs because that’s the release of the week and we’re going to spend a little time talking about it before we skim the rest of the list and see what else might be coming out this sixth day of March. That’s right, kids, it’s BossTime. Springsteen is releasing Wrecking Ball in a standard and deluxe edition, the difference being two bonus tracks. I’m not going to rehash my

The plight of the working man and his struggle for dignity and the distance between the American Dream and its reality have been mainstays in the Springsteen songbook, so no one should be terribly surprised that the housing crisis that sank the American economy in 2008 and the Occupy Wall Street movement that erupted in 2011 would inspire a new batch of songs, and it did. Sort of. I couldn’t help noticing how many of the songs of Wrecking Ball I already knew when the tracklisting was announced even though they’d never been released on a Springsteen studio album. The title track,

I feel like a proud papa tonight as I watch my beloved Gary Clark Jr. perform a sensational cover of Muddy Waters’ “Catfish Blues” at The White House at a ceremony honoring the blues. I’m pretty sure Gary would want to acknowledge the constant cheerleading and support of BlindedBySound as the reason behind his invite but we’re far too modest to take (all) the credit for it. I guess we have at least one reader in Washington D.C. in the events planning department (or whatever it is they call it) so I’m sure my amigo Nick Moss or other site favorites will

BlindedBySound favorite Norah Jones announced her new record Little Broken Hearts due for release May 1 earlier this week and we now have our first taste of the record as “Happy Pills” is streaming and we are thrilled beyond belief to share it with you. Hearts was produced by Danger Mouse, who seems to be the hot hit making machine of the moment and that’s normally the kind of thing that would make me cringe where Norah is concerned because I’m such a fan of what she does on her own, but I adore the songs she did on Mouse’s Rome “soundtrack” so I’m actually

It looks like another streak will continue where my relationship with Mark Lanegan is concerned as he announces what amounts to perhaps his most extensive N. American tour as a solo artist in support of his excellent new album Blues Funeral. It seems clear I’m never going to see one of my favorite vocalists of all time and a pillar in the Josh Hathaway Pantheon Of Eternal Musical Greatness because he’s not coming anywhere near me on his 12-date run through N. America. The tour kicks off on the East Coast in New York on May 10 and will hit small

In the Ray Charles biopic Ray, Jamie Foxx’s Ray Charles character says the reason people love country music is because it has great stories. That ritual of great storytelling is at the heart of so many traditional musics, a way of retelling the history of a people before easily reproducible written copies was accessible to the masses. Great storytelling has been downplayed in contemporary blues and other components are accentuated, some good and others less, but it’s one of the characteristics that makes Otis Taylor’s music feel traditional even as he builds his sound using instruments not often associated with the

I suppose the big title for this week comes from The Cranberries, who return with their first new album new album in 10 years. They had a nice run of hits throughout the ’90s, beginning with the love “Linger.” I actually saw them live once. They were opening for someone. It will cost you all more money than you have to get me to admit who that was. Either way, they’re back with a new set and its out this week. I’ll be stunned if our own Mat Brewster doesn’t find a way to get himself a copy of

2011 was an incredibly painful year for blues fans as we said farewell to legends like Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, and the great Hubert Sumlin and 2012 has gotten off to an equally sad start as we bid farewell to Etta James and today we learn that Iverson “Louisiana Red” Minter has died at age 79. Many bluesmen have harrowing biographies that foreshadowned their lives as itinerant musicians rambling from place to place, making their blues wherever they could find a nickel or a quarter. Even with all those tales — some legendary, some real

Check it out, kids, new music from the fabulous trio that is The Spring Standards is on the way and in a genius marketing maneuver, it will arrive during the season what is spring. They are releasing twin EPs called yellow and gold as a single release: yellow//gold on May 1. If you’re curious about what these two mini sets have in store, you can check out a song called “Here We Go.” You’re even encouraged to dance along, although we claim no responsibility for any uncoordinated dance injuries or YouTube embarrassment if your co-worker two cubes over catches you and posts it online. Exercise appropriate caution, people!

British trio Keane is returning with their first new record in four years when they issue Strangeland May 7. With apologies to my hero Noel Gallagher, I loved Keane’s first record Hopes And Fears. Sure it was lightweight but the combination of Tom Chaplin’s soaring, too-pretty-by-half vocal melodies and Tim Rice-Oxley’s piano arrangements made me want to go somewhere only I knew. Yes, I would have sustained innumerable, serious, sinister assbeatings if my meathead metal friends caught me listening to it back in the day but I got lost in the gooey pop confection in a way that rarely happens to me.

Mark Lanegan’s reign as one of my favorite vocalists and member in good standing in the Josh Hathaway Pantheon Of Eternal Musical Greatness continues uninterrupted with Blues Funeral, his first album under his own name since 2004 Bubblegum. I’ve spent an awful lot of time listening to this record since its release one, because I’m quite taken with it and two, because I’ve struggled to find ways to explain what it is I love about this record beyond being a Lanegan enthusiast. Most of his early solo records were heavy on acoustic-based singer/songwriter compositions that served as a distinct counterpoint to

It’s been awhile since we checked in with the biggest albums at blues radio but we resume our weekly check of the charts and I’m thrilled to see our friends Kilborn Alley Blues Band in the Top 5 with their latest record Four, one of my Best Albums of 2011. I can’t say enough good things about Kilborn Alley’s record and it’s exciting to see the album catching on with blues listeners nationwide. The album topped the radio charts atLiving Blues, as well. It’s such a great roots-oriented record that embodies the feeling of the blues without being a slave to

Norah Jones has announced a new album due for release May 1 called Little Broken Hearts, produced by Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. This isn’t the first time DM and Jones have collaborated, Jones having contributed vocals to the excellent Rome “soundtrack” album Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi released last year (also making vocal cameos on that record was Jack White). Their work together led them to work together on this new 12-track Jones record with all songs being co-written by the pair. Also appearing on the record is one-time Beck drummer Joey Waronker. Hearts follows up Jones’ The Fall, the first Norah record I

Counting Crows are going it alone, leaving their longtime label Geffen, and they’re ready to issue their first new album since the stunningly great Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings with a 15-track collection of covers they’ve titled Underwater Sunshine (Or What I Did On My Summer Vacation) on April 10. I guess I’ve called my shot and admitted my deep affection for Counting Crows so hell yes I’m excited about this. Covers have long been a part of the Counting Crows’ musical language, often interspersing them with their own songs like including Bruce Springsteen’s classic “Thunder Road” with “Rain King” or segueing in

Jack White continues to be the hardest working man in the music business, launching numerous hit bands and collaboration. The former White Stripes main man is turning the attention to himself when he launches his debut solo record Blunderbuss via his own Third Man label on April 24. He recently released the first single, “Love Interruption,” from the upcoming 13-track set via iTunes, Amazon, and other digital outlets and has now unveiled the complete tracklisting and artwork for the new set. “Love Interruption” is a moody piece with acoustic guitar and electric piano providing the majority of the instrumentation with White

Adele has been in headlines since the Grammys for performances, middle digits, daddy issues, and boyfriends, current and past. She’s also made comments about taking time off or not before starting her next record. My advice: go on holiday, love. You have three singles in iTunes’ Top 10 and your album is again/still #1 (and your debut is #4), holding off Whitney Houston in the first full week since her tragic passing. Rest the voice and take your time, is what. Houston represented at #2 on the singles and albums chart this week, as well. The non-Adele and Whitney

Stuck In The Middle is Jimmy Burns first studio album since 2003 and follows his excellent live set Live at B.L.U.E.S, released in 2007, which is when I was first introduced to him. Burns says in the liner notes he has been reluctant to do covers on his records, believing his own material suits him best. Personal tragedy took a toll on him when his wife of 44 years passed away after battling lung cancer. The grieving process diminished his appetite for writing new material but he found himself reenergized by connecting with songs by other artists and so for the first

I’m having some trouble finding many releases that look particularly interesting to me this week. It’s a shorter list overall than we’ve seen of late and there just doesn’t seem to be much likely to get me in the buying mood, which is fine because I’ve spent my allowance about 4x over. I needed a week to sit out (or in this case spend maybe just a wee bit less). A pair of Chicago blues legends have teamed up for a new record from our friends at Delmark Records and I am so having one of these. The great, great Eddie

I don’t encourage any of you, dear readers, to read any site other than BlindedBySound but I occasionally frequent other sites and I was shocked to learn there’s an emerging musical act from my adopted hometown of Huntsville, AL and I’d never heard of them until I read about them at Consequence of Sound. I was a little less embarrassed when I read said article about this track from G-Side because what I know about rap/hip-hop couldn’t fill a thimble, kids. I don’t do rap but I’m told it’s not leaving the musical landscape any time soon. I’m not

We get another teaser from our friends Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker as we wait for the first single from Garbage’s first new album in seven (long) years, Not Your Kind Of People, due on May 15. Garbage asked its fans to submit artwork to be incorporated in a video montage for the song “I Hate Love,” and the dark hearts and subversive mind came through in a big way. More importantly, we get to hear one minute of the upcoming record. There’s not much to tell from that one minute but there are a few observations

Check it out, kids, new music from the fabulous trio that is The Spring Standards is on the way and in a genius marketing maneuver, it will arrive during the season what is spring. They are releasing twin EPs called yellowand gold as a single release, yellow//gold on May 1 and you can check out a song from the set called “Here We Go.” We’ve got it right here for you to stream to your heart’s content and I highly encourage you to do just that. If you’re new to Spring Standards, so am I. They are a trio — did I already mention that? — comprised

It’s been awhile since we last checked in with the world’s largest digital music retailer and it turns out not much has changed since: you are all still crazy about Adele and her 21 record and I’m still not. The UK singer has three songs in the Top 10 Singles and both her albums are in the Top 10 on that chart. You’ve all gone all in on her and I’m still on the outside looking in on this phenomenon. Elsewhere, the passing of Whitney Houston has given the late, great vocalist the inevitable chart spike and we’re sure

The first new Van Halen record in __ years. For some, it’s the first record since 1984 when our hero Diamond David Lee Roth departed the band for a solo career and increasingly bizarre behavior. For others, it’s the first since Sammy Hagar left the band following Balance. If you want to be technical about it, we have to admit it wasn’t just a bad dream and Gary Cherone did sing on a(n alleged) Van Halen album in the late ’90s. Either way, it’s been a couple minutes. I’m not sure what to make of reaction to the record in

Happy Valentine’s Day, kids, and welcome to New Music Tuesday for this loveliest of days. Guys, if you haven’t picked up something special for your ladyfriend, take a look at these titles released just this very day. I’ve become quite the fan of bluesman Otis Taylor and his unique brand of primitive blues. Taylor’s latest work Contraband is about as deep blues as it gets. The title of this work is a familiar word but I never knew the connotation it had during the Civil War. “Contraband” was a term for escaped slaves who escaped across the Mason-Dixon line and lived in

Check it out, kids! Your friends from Coldplay have unveiled a new video for the latest single from Mylo Xyloto, “Charlie Brown” and we’re hosting it here for your viewing and listening pleasure. J and 11 both reviewed MX for us, both liked the record a lot, both liked this song. Sterfish identified it as one of his favorite albums from 2011. I’m less favorably inclined toward the record than those lads are but I’m overall okay with it. I’m always going to like Parachutes best and Viva La Vida was an astonishing, transcendent achievement. That’s a lot to

My favorite vocal on a Rolling Stones record comes not from Mick Jagger or Keith Richards, but from Merry Clayton on the apocalyptic classing “Gimme Shelter.” Go listen to that record some time and listen not to the great guitar interplay or the very fine performance from Jagger, but instead to Clayton’s counter vocal. She sounds like her skin is about rupture, like her spleen is about to launch itself into orbit. She’s singing as if the fate of the world depends on it. What’s more amazing is that as she spins out of control, she never sounds like

February’s first batch of new CDs is a big haul and I am so excited about a couple of these titles. Before we take a closer look and get to the full list, let’s just mention a few of the names: Van Halen, Paul McCartney, Mark Lanegan Band, The Fray, Sharon Van Etten… That’s a pretty good list of newbies. We’ve also got some John Coltrane and Queen re-issues out this week as well. If you’ve got money, I can help you spend it. If you’ve got money, it would please me if you would send it my way.

Rock And A Hard Place is the 2011 release from bluesman Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, a Texas-based nomad with family ties to the legendary Tina Turner who has been playing guitar since he was a child and touring on his own and with other bands for years now, releasing his first solo album in 1998. Bridges first came on my radar two years ago in Memphis on my first trip to the Blues Music Awards when he sat in with Nick Moss and his Flip Tops at the 2nd annual Nick Moss All Star Jam at the Rum Boogie Cafe. He

Gary Clark Jr. has released a video for “Don’t Owe You A Thang,” the second studio cut from his magical Bright Lights EP, released last year. The EP is a four-song release with the title track, “Thing,” and two solo live performances. The first video was for the title track “Bright Lights,” which we love. The video for it and “Don’t Owe You A Thang” aren’t going to win fans through audacious visuals or compelling storylines but you get to hear a great song by an artist who is about to blow up in a huge way. “Thang” is

Garbage announced this week their first new album in seven years Not Your Kind Of People will be released May 15 and they’ve released a brief trailer to give just a little sample of what is in store on the new record both with sound and words. The band was prepping for a photoshoot and the three lads of the band all took a few moments on camera to talk about the new record and the recording process for it. The good news? The long layoff seems to have energized them about being back together, in this band, at

…and you thought I forgot about you, dear music listeners. I took a break from New Music Tuesday because as you get to the week of Christmas and the first few weeks beyond, the new release well dries up. Welcome to 2012! The new releases are starting to flow again, so let’s talk about them. There’s only one place to start and that’s with the legendary Leonard Cohen, releasing a 10-song collection of brand new songs. Cohen took many years away but has returned to performing and recording and this week we get a new album called Old Ideas. I

ZZ Top asked the question “how much blues do you use before you use it all?” on their killer groove “What’s Up With That?” from their Rhythmeen album. In the case of Joe Louis Walker, a fixture on the blues circuit for decades, and his latest offering Hellfire, the tank is still very, very full. He is singing and playing with the conviction of a young man and the skill of a wizened, hardened veteran. He is as fiery and invested as ever on this record, his first for Chicago’s Alligator Records following a string of successful records for Canada’s

Garbage will unveil their first new album in seven years when Not Your Kind Of People is released through the band’s new label Stunvolume Records on May 15. Details about the new set are scarce and we don’t have tracklisting, artwork, or a date for the first single from the set but this album has been in the works for awhile and band members have been talking about the process and direction of the music. In the press release from the band announcing the new record, Duke Erikson said “Working with Garbage again was very instinctual. “Like getting on

We have new video from the amazing Gary Clark Jr., once again great footage from his fantastic set at Dave Matthews Band’s Chicago Caravan stop. “When My Train Pulls In” can be found in solo acoustic form on Clark’s Bright Lights EP. This version features Clark and his touring band and it is electric in every sense of the word. It’s a great song and works in the ruminative, singer/songwriter treatment its given on the EP but this scorching six-plus minute performance boasts a blazing guitar solo to close the song. He’s such a creative, fiery player. There are

Put this on the list of things I meant to bring up a month ago when I first learned of it. There’s a new compilation out today called Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International. As the title implies, this is a collection of Bob Dylan songs honoring and benefitting Amnesty. It’s a 4-CD collection with 73 songs, 72 of them covers of Dylan songs by other artists with the 73rd and final song being Dylan performing the collection’s title track. Bro. Mat Brewster unveiled a brand new series devoted to covers and

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band will launch the first leg of their Wrecking Ball tour in Atlanta on March 18, playing East Coast and upper midwest dates through early May before jumping the Atlantic to play Europe with a presumed second US leg aimed for the fall. Among the first dates include stops in Greensboro, NC, a market that while not the biggest on the eastern seaboard has become a favorite for the band. There will be multi-night stands in Philadelphia, New York, and of course New Jersey with stops in Detroit and Cleveland on the docket as well.

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has announced a quick run of spring US tour dates in support of his solo album Ukulele Songs. He will launch the solo dates beginning in Vegas in April and wrapping up in Orlando in mid May before heading back on the road with Pearl Jam this summer. Pearl Jam will be on tour throughout the summer, kicking things off in June. We don’t have any details on a follow-up to their 2009 album Backspacer but there have been rumblings about activities swirling around the internet, including comments from bassist Jeff Ament to Rolling Stone

Garbage is ramping up for a spring release of their as-yet titled fifth album, their first new record in seven years by setting up shop with their own label, Stunvolume Records. It’s a time of new beginnings for the quartet, still comprised of vocalist extraordinaire Shirley Manson, drummer Butch Vig, and guitarists Duke Erikson and Steve Marker. They’re recording for the first time outside of the Madison, WI area and are putting finishing touches on this new set in Los Angeles. The band acted as their own producer per the norm and it’s being mixed by Vig and Billy Bush.

Florence + The Machine will kick off a 15-city US tour beginning in Santa Barbara in April with festival appearances at Coachella and New Orleans Jazz Festival also on tap. What the tour will not include is a stop anywhere near me. Booooo! The 15 date trek actually lives out most of the middle of the country, focusing mainly on the coast although she does hit Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. St. Louis is only six hours from here. Hmmm… Florence released her second LP Ceremonials to massive acclaim and strong sales and it made many “Best of 2011” lists

Legendary singer Etta James passed away today at age 73 due to complications from luekemia. James was also dealing with several other health concerns that included dementia and hepatitis C. She would have turned 74 next week. James was and is the greatest female vocalist of all time. I know we tend to get sentimental and are given to hyperbole when someone passes but I’ve been saying this for many years now. I also realize we tend to confuse “favorite” with “best” but if anyone wants to challenge me on this be prepared for a fight not because I can

Bruce Springsteen has released “We Take Care Of Our Own,” the first track and single from his 17th studio album Wrecking Ball. It is available digitally and you can stream it for free and sing along with the lyrics as they dance before your eyes. What do we make of the tune? It’s a welcome return from the overproduced, overloud pop turd “Working On A Dream.” “We Take Care Of Our Own” returns Springsteen to the anthemic sound so familiar to his fans. How familiar is familiar?  It’s a difficult balancing act for an iconic, veteran artist to constantly

The announcement comes on the same day Springsteen releases the first single from the album “We Take Care Of Our Own.” Let’s talk about what we know about this record. With the release of “We Take Care,” Springsteen fans have now heard three of the 11 tracks from this record, in some fashion. “Land Of Hopes and Dreams” was a new song played every night of the E Street Band reunion tour at the beginning of the decade. The live version of “Land” was was released on the New York City live album and also appeared on Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Josh Kelley has released a video for “Naleigh Moon” from his 2011 album Georgia Clay and he got some high-profile help from his wife, actress Katherine Heigl, who directed the clip. High-power couples working together is nothing new but Kelley didn’t tap Heigl — did I really just type that? — for the director’s gig because her name would get in the paper but instead because the song was written about and for the couple’s daugher. “Naleigh Moon” is a family affair and the music video includes home video footage of the family. Kelley had another reason for — aww, what

Writers’ block and laziness have conspired to constrict my workflow to little more than a trickle. Blame me, the cosmos, the distractions of life in the 21st century. Blame Black Keys. What? Most of the reviews I haven’t written are down to me not persevering but not this one. The reason I haven’t written this until now is because I’ve been pretty well flummoxed by it. I bought it the day it came out and I’ve listened to it several times from beginning to end as well as cherry picking a few favorites along the way but no matter how

Grammy-winning bassist Esperanza Spalding has prepped a brand new album Radio Music Society set for release in both standard CD and a deluxe CD/DVD edition on March 20. Most of us first learned of Spalding in 2010 when she beat out vapid pop sensation Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2010 on the strength of her acclaimed recordChamber Music Society. It was the least expected win since Jethro Tull beat Metallica for the metal Grammy 20 years ago. The kids on Twitter were outraged while grownups everywhere cheered (none more than the parents of Bieber fans, I’d imagine). Spalding

Blues great Otis Taylor has prepared Contraband for a February 14 release date, following up his masterful 2010 release Clovis People, Vol. 3. The 14-track album was recorded before and after major surgery to remove a cyst that had connected to his liver and spine and the blues master is once again telling deeply personal, provocative stories that have long been the heart of his songwriting. The title, Contraband, was a term used for escaped slaves who escaped across the Mason-Dixon line and lived in camps where life was often as bad or worse than it was on the plantations they fled. Of the

The moment we never thought would happen (again) is here and I am ridiculously giddy about it. I remember how excited I was to get two new David Lee Roth/Van Halen tunes on Best of Van Halen Vol. 1 back in the mid-’90s and I love those tunes (shut up!). It looked for a moment Dave might really return to the fold but it was short-lived. Roth reunited with (most of) the band for a tour a couple years back but it never seemed likely there would be new music from the (mostly) original lineup of the band… and then

The new year is already taking shape with exciting blues releases coming our way beginning with Joe Louis Walker this month and now we are getting the first details about the Feb. 21 release of new music from Guy Davis. Guy Davis will release a 2-CD “audio play” version of his one-man play The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed with the Blues. Davis, the son of noted, treasured actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, has performed this play all over the world since 1994 and he’ll be performing exceprts from it throughout 2012 to support this first-ever audio release through

Anyone looking for signs the Mayans may be right about 2012 need look no further than this latest news from Camp Shinedown, where the rockers have finished work on their fourth album Amaryllis, due in stores March 27. Amaryllis is the followup to their smash hit The Sound Of Madness, which featured what might be the dumbest song and video I’ve ever seen/heard in my entire life, “Second Chance.” Imagine a dumb, meathead rock version of The Fresh Prince And DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and a dumb video montage of Mr. Holland’s Opus for dummies and you’ve got “Second Chance.” I’m still

Holy Jamaican Bobsled Team, Batman! Van Halen is heading back on tour with David Lee Roth out front and they’ve recorded a brand new album- the first album to feature Roth on vocals since the 1983 album 1984! It was all announced last night at a brief club show in New York City last night with our beloved hero Diamond Dave dressed like he’s been working on the railroad. This isn’t the first time Roth has been back with the brothers Van Halen (and Eddie’s kid, Wolfgang) and it’s not the first new music with Roth, but there is still

Metallica will a physical release of their Death Magnetic outtakes EP Beyond Magnetic on January 31, following the digital release last month. The four song EP features tracks cut during sessions for the DM record, released in 2008. The songs saw limited release over the past couple years and were featured during the band’s 30th Anniversary celebrations in San Francisco last month. The four songs are “Hate Train,” “Just A Bullet Away,” “Hell And Back,” and “Rebel Of Babylon.” Of the four songs, the band says these are rough mixes. They were considered for inclusion on DM but were jettisoned, at which point they didn’t get the final

Blues Music Award-winning guitarist Joe Louis Walker has jumped ship to the Chicago-based Alligator label for his upcoming record Hellfire due in stores January 31, 2011. Walker’s 11-track new record is one of the first major blues releases of the new year and was produced by Grammy-winning songwriter/producer Tom Hambridge, who recently produced acclaimed albums for Buddy Guy (among others) as well as resumed his own solo career with Boom!. Hellfire is Walker’s 24th album and follows up the live album he released from a series of performances taken from the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. Walker has been nominated

I never get tired of saying this: what a great year for music! It’s not a sentiment you’ll hear many places these days as powerful media outlets champion the uninspiring and the too cool crowd sits at a table looking for an excuse to turn a deaf ear to anything and everything. I’m no longer encumbered by the pointless, fruitless pursuit of cool and can immerse myself in and gush about music ceaselessly and with alacrity. 2011 was a balanced musical meal. I made fabulous new discoveries, reveled in the continued excellence of artists who have become a staple of

I have the cure for your Monday blues, kids. We have fresh new video from Nick Moss & The Flip Tops from a recent appearance. My day just got better and now so can yours! It’s been a big year for Moss, having toured the US and Europe while finishing and releasing his ninth (and quite possibly finest) album Here I Am last month. Here I Am captured some of Moss’ most stunning lead work to date. Song times are extended, jamming is plentiful, and styles and textures of the music are changed and through it all, He lays down

Chris Cornell is the latest rocker to unplug, releasing a solo acoustic live album Songbookthat plays almost like a greatest hits album that summarizes his work with Soundgarden, Audioslave, and his solo career (with a few covers thrown in). Songbook suffers from the trap to make solo acoustic music languid, static, and stiff. The acoustic strumming varies little from one song to the next. You can start slowly tapping your foot from the opening notes of “As Hope And Promise Fade” and still be in time and rhythm as the closing notes of “Imagine” close the live portion of the

You really should have taken our word for it but for those of you not willing to give yourselves over to our expertise, we have a new Gary Clark Jr. endorsement to bring you: Alicia Keys. That’s right. Grammy-winner Alicia Keys thinks Clark is special (he is) and thinks he’s going to blow up (we hope). We’ve even got video of she and Clark doing a duet of George Harrison’s Beatles classic “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (we wish we had the full thing!). Let me also say whether it’s on a one-off single, a soundtrack, a charity compilation, or

“The British are coming! The British are coming!” Two sensations that originated across the Atlantic have made their assault on American shores and I’m ready to be conquered by at least one of them. The first season of the US edition of Simon Cowell’s X Factor will finish this week. British sensation Florence + The Machine performed on last week’s ‘Results Night,’ as she looks to capitalize on the success of her debut and reach a larger US audience. I’ve only watched 10 minutes of X Factor this season but based on what I saw and heard on this video of Florence performing “Spectrum”

Three very special people in my life are struggling today. They’re in three different places — geographically and emotionally — and I can’t be. Of course it’s also dawned on me even I could, I’m not sure how much I could really do for any of them. I’ve summoned the power of prayer and positive thinking. I believe in those powers yet they remain a mystery to me. I want to help them all but I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for any of them, and I feel like shit. I’ve felt waves of anguish overflow their banks

The 33rd Blues Music Award nominations were announced today and Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones, Tab Benoit, and Johnny Sansone led the way with four nods apiece and winners be announced at the May 10 ceremony in Memphis. In addition to the four-time nominees, there were also several receiving three apiece, including Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, Lazy Lester, David Maxwell, Ana Popovic and Johnny Rawls. Album Of The Year nominations went to the collaborative effort Chicago Blues A Living History – The (R)Evolution Continues, Rock And A Hard Place by Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges, The Lord Is Waiting & The Devil Is

Florence Welch sings “You can’t choose what stays and what fades away” in her song “No Light No Light” and she has found that out the hard way as the video she released for the song has drawn controversy in some quarters as having a racially insensitive bent to it. I didn’t get that from it when I watched it the first several times. It’s also drawn some flack for the religious imagery, as well. I didn’t know about the flap until after watching it. I’m probably not qualified to tell anyone whether they should take offense at something on

Nick Moss made a decision on his previous record Privileged to open his sound beyond Traditional Chicago blues, the hallmark of his career through seven records that made him one of the most popular figures on the current blues scene. He knows that sound, having learned from and worked with the greats like Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Jimmy Rogers, both of whom were great artists in their own right and also tie into the tree of the immortal Muddy Waters. It’s a sound and style he knows and one that comes from his heart. It’s always a risk to change something

Coldplay have announced the first run of North American tour dates in support of their latest album Mylo Xyloto. The tour kicks off in Canada in April and will take the band through arenas down the west coast, heading east hitting mainly dates in the South before working their way up the East Coast. There are some major markets missing from this list — the Midwest and upper Midwest are barely represented at all — and the announcement on Coldplay’s web site says “Here Is The Full List Of Shows Announced So Far,” so stay tuned. It’s quite possible many

I spent many a year cursing YouTube for being nothing more than a place for dopes to shoot videos of themselves doing ridiculous things and pretending they were spontaneous or as an endless repository of cute pets doing cute pet things. I’m willing to admit I was only partially wrong. YouTube has made it possible for me to not watch Saturday Night Live but still see this incredible performance by the incredible Florence + The Machine. I know, you thought once I’d reviewed Ceremonials I’d be done raving about her; you thought wrong. I love that record and this performance

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2012 was announced today and it includes Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beastie Boys, Donovan, Laura Nyro, and The Small Faces/The Faces, Don Kirshner, Freddie King, Glyn Johns, Tom Dowd, and Cosimo Matassa. The biggest deal in all of this to me is Freddie King, who is by far my favorite on this list, and goes in as an early influence. He’s no longer with us and won’t be there to accept the honor and will be overshadowed by “bigger” names, but the Texas Cannonball was undeniably an

There’s been an alarming development and before we can continue with the important business at hand of skimming the bountiful new releases, we’re going to have to address this issue. I thought we hurled Travis Tritt into The Abyss? I’m launching an investigation. 60 days in the stocks for whoever let him out! The big release this week is undoubtedly The Black Keys’ El Camino. We’ve been talking about it for awhile now with much excitement. We also listed the first month of their planned N. American tour. “Lonely Boy” has been a hot single for them and now we

Mark Lanegan will release his first album since 2004 under his Mark Lanegan Band moniker when Blues Funeral is issued Feb. 6 and he’s offering fans a free download of the first track from the record, “The Gravedigger’s Song.” Lanegan has been working steadily since the 2004 Bubblegum, recording a series of acclaimed records with Isobel Campbell as well as partnering with Greg Dulli for a collaboration they called The Gutter Twins. They released Saturnalia through SubPop and toured in support of it. Blues Funeral was recorded with Alain Johannes, with whom Lanegan has worked before, as well as the

I snatched up The Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish and Siamese Dream reissues released last week and have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting two seminal albums of my generation. It’s amazing what a little time and distance can do when it comes to considering music. We’re years removed from the videos and the hype and left only with the music. It was exhilarating being reminded how forceful they were and experiencing how well this music stands up all these years later. Pop culture started to abandon the Pumpkins as the original lineup of Billy Corgan, James Iha, D’Arcy, and Jimmy Chamberlain splintered after the

Welcome to the third and final installment of this week’s series of live performances by Gary Clark Jr. for We already watched/heard him perform “When My Train Pulls In” and “Things Are Changing,” both from the Bright Lights EP. Today, we get to the title track. I saved this one for last not just because RS sequenced it this way but because this is the first change we get to hear a really different version of one of Clark’s songs. The first two songs sound similar to the EP because they were filmed much the way they were recorded-

The Black Keys will release their new album El Camino Tues. Dec. 6, having already released the first single from the record “Lonely Boy” and today announced the first run of tour dates in support of the new album. They’ll kick the tour off in Cincinnati in March and play mostly through the upper midwest and points eastward. They have a couple shows in Eastern Canada, as well. You have to expect they’ll release more dates soon, heading west and south. I’m feeling good about them playing in their newly adopted home of Nashville, and I should finally get to

This is the second of three songs Gary Clark Jr. performed for RollingStone. We posted “When My Train Pulls In” earlier this week and we’ll post the final performance tomorrow, sending us into the weekend on a big high note! “Things Are Changing” first surfaced on Gary Clark Jr’s self-titled EP (now tragically out of print and so out of circulation you can’t even find an overpriced copy on eBay!) and a solo, live performance of the song was included on the Bright Lights EP. Clark performed “Changing” as part of his three-song set for RollingStone, accompanying himself on electric

Kilborn Alley Blues Band was nominated as Band Of The Year last year at the Blues Music Awards and they’ve won awards for their contemporary approach to traditional roots music. I’ve seen them nominated in both Traditional and Contemporary categories and it’s one of the things I love most about them; those in charge of the “labeling” aren’t quite sure what to do with them. It may make it difficult to win an award — although they have — when no one is sure where to put you but that’s a surefire sign you deserve them. You can hear their

What are we thankful for at BlindedBySound? How about some brand new live performances by our hero Gary Clark Jr? Clark stopped by the offices of Rolling Stone to play a three-song set and also did a brief video interview. A blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut so good on you, RS. It’s about time you got on board with something worthwhile. He is wrapping up touring in support of his Bright Lights EP, and hopes his next full-length album is ready in the spring (so do we!). “When My Train Pulls In” is on that EP as are

Posthumous releases are a difficult thing to wade through for music fans as so often they represent subpar work being foisted off on fans still hungry for more music from the fallen by greedy record labels and/or families looking to cash in. Fortunately, that’s not true of Sean Costello’s At His Best – Live- well, not entirely true. Costello died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 28 in his hotel room in Atlanta in 2008. Proceeds from this album are being donated to the foundation established in Costello’s name by his family, The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for

I waited 17 years for this moment and the waiting was indeed the hardest part. Serious Oasis fans know not only did Noel Gallagher write the overwhelming majority of the band’s biggest hits and most important songs, he also contributed piles of major works that were packed away as B-sides to Oasis singles during their run from 1994-2009. I made mixtapes, mix CDs in the era of CD burners, and iPod playlists collecting the Noel-sung songs and marveled at what an amazing songwriter he is, how underrated he is as a singer, and hoped with all my heart he’d one

Last night The X Factor contestants gave thanks and dedicated their performances to loved ones; tonight two will get to go home and spend Thanksgiving with them. Kelly Clarkson kicks off the show with her latest single, “Stronger” off her latest album of the same name. As much as I didn’t love this single, I do like listening to her live, her voice is pretty impressive. After the obligatory group number, Worthless Host Steve Jones asks Drew and Lakoda Rayne to join him and reveals one of them is going straight home tonight for receiving the lowest overall votes. Paula

Kilborn Alley Blues Band released their fantastic Four yesterday and we will discuss it in greater detail in the coming days but I thought it would be cool to again let you get a taste of the record before I tell you how awesome it is. Ooops. A little late on that. Let me try it again. I thought it would be cool to give you a taste of the record and let you see the band live before I tell you what I love about the record and why I think you will too. I posted a performance

It’s the Tuesday before Black Friday and we’ve got some big names and great albums with new music out this week. We’ll begin with the great albums before discussing the big names. I’ve been looking forward to this day for months because two of this year’s best are finally getting their full-scale release to the world. I’ve been listening to Nick Moss’ Here I Am and Kilborn Alley Blues Band’s Four for weeks now. Both Moss and Kilborn have been damn good for a damn long time so it’s difficult to say they’ve reached new heights and done their best

It’s the Tuesday before Black Friday and we’ve got some big names and great albums with new music out this week. We’ll begin with the great albums before discussing the big names. I’ve been looking forward to this day for months because two of this year’s best are finally getting their full-scale release to the world. I’ve been listening to Nick Moss’ Here I Am and Kilborn Alley Blues Band’s Four for weeks now. Both Moss and Kilborn have been damn good for a damn long time so it’s difficult to say they’ve reached new heights and done their best

It’s the Tuesday before Black Friday and we’ve got some big names and great albums with new music out this week. We’ll begin with the great albums before discussing the big names. I’ve been looking forward to this day for months because two of this year’s best are finally getting their full-scale release to the world. I’ve been listening to Nick Moss’ Here I Am and Kilborn Alley Blues Band’s Four for weeks now. Both Moss and Kilborn have been damn good for a damn long time so it’s difficult to say they’ve reached new heights and done their best

The week is finally here, boys and girls! I’ve been talking about Nick Moss’ Here I Am and Kilborn Alley Blues Band’s Four for months now and we’ve finally made to the magical moment when these records will be released and you can all hear what I’ve been so excited about for so long. Kilborn Alley has been touring the US, UK, and Europe to promote the upcoming record and we have performance footage of one of my favorite songs from Four from one of the recent UK shows. “A Couple Of Days (Change My Ways)” is a great introduction

The week is finally here, boys and girls! I’ve been talking about Nick Moss’ Here I Am (and the singles “It’ll Turn Around” and “Candy Nation”) and Kilborn Alley Blues Band’s Four for months now and we’ve finally made to the magical moment when these records will be released and you can all hear what I’ve been so excited about for so long. Kilborn Alley has been touring the US, UK, and Europe to promote the upcoming record and we have performance footage of one of my favorite songs from Four from one of the recent UK shows. “A Couple Of

“No Light, No Light” is the latest video from Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials, following “Shake It Off.” I don’t know what I was expecting her to choose as the next single, but this wasn’t it. I obsessively listened to the new album and it’s brilliant; there’s not a weak moment on it. I don’t know what I would have chosen but this wasn’t it. I like to think I have an “ear” for a single, for a hit and I’ve guessed right plenty but I may have misjudged “No Light.” I like the song but it didn’t stand out

The iTunes Music Store is the #1 music retailer in the US, so let’s take a look at what the world’s biggest music store is selling the most of these days. Two of the Top 10 Albums have been recently reviewed at Blinded By Sound, and both were praised mightily. I love Ceremonials from Florence + The Machine. Speaking of Florence, she’s debuting a new video for “No Light, No Light” tomorrow and we’ll hope to bring that to you. In the meantime, you can check out her video for “Shake It Off.” 11 likes Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto quite a

I’ve tried to do my part to alert you all to the coming of Nick Moss’ new album Here I Am, talking about the album artwork, tracklisting, the origins of the first single “It’ll Turn Around,” and streaming that and the follow-on single “Candy Nation.” With all that talk, there are still SO MANY THINGS you need to know about this record and it comes out next week! We’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and we’ll begin the process by introducing you to another song from the record, live! The first track from the album is the

What happens when you take one of my favorite bands and put them in God’s favorite room? Can you think of anything better? How about a killer stop-motion video of one of my favorite songs from one of their favorite records? Wilco, you think of everything! This video condenses Wilco’s two-night stand at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville from setup to teardown into seven cool minutes with “The Art Of Almost” from The Whole Love as the soundtrack to it all. The video filming and editing is spectacular and you get a glimpse of all the things that go into making

The final chapter in the R.E.M. saga is written this week as the band issues their first career-spanning retrospective, a collection which includes the final three R.E.M. songs of their remarkable career. They’ve issued compilations before but never one including songs from the I.R.S., indie years and music from their Warner Bros. years. Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011 does just that. I’ve heard all three new songs (and you can see the video for “We All Go Back To Where We Belong” here on Blinded By Sound) and own everything else on the record but I’m

Radiohead have announced details for an upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release The King Of Limbs – Live From The Basement, with the digital available through iTunes December 19 and the physical release in stores by early January. The band did a digital only release of a “Basement” performance of In Rainbows, which is still available via iTunes. The “Basement” series was at least partly inspired by longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich. The 11-track live, in-studio performance covers The King Of Limbs in its entirety but it’s not performed sequentially. There are also a couple bonus tracks mixed in, including the digital single

Ceremonials is the eagerly anticipated new album from Florence + The Machine, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut Lungs. We’ll not spend a lot of time discussing the dreaded sophomore slump because this review isn’t going to be a cliffhanger. This is a layered album filled with contradictions and complexities in sound and lyric, separately, as well as the way music and lyrics complement and counteract one another and it is gorgeous. It is filled with words and sounds that are dark and romantic, inviting and forbidden, accessible and hidden. The songs can be soaring, anthemic, and dramatic and Welch’s voice can

Pink Floyd famously bemoaned “ticking away the moments that make up the dull day” in their classic “Money” from Dark Side Of The Moon, and it’s a feeling we all identify with to varying degrees of frequency. Some of that is a byproduct of the well-intentioned lie we tell children, that they can be anything they want and achieve their dreams if they work hard enough. We mean well but we’re setting the kids up for the same disappointment many of us live, until we figure out what we really meant to say: the world is big and filled with

Nick Moss has released “Candy Nation” as the second single from his upcoming record Here I Am, due Nov. 22 and you can stream it here on Blinded By Sound via ReverbNation. Both singles from Here I Am find Moss observing life in 21st century America but where the hit first single “It’ll Turn Around” was an anthemic message of hope in troubled times, “Candy Nation” has a different flavor altogether. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards observed America’s culture of consumerism in 1965 on the iconic “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” with Jagger noting people were paying attention to the

R.E.M. is bringing their incredible 31-year run to a close with a career-spanning retrospective featuring the final three recordings they’ll ever produce, and of those three songs they selected “We All Go Back To Where We Belong” as their farewell single. It’s a great title with which to say goodbye but the song itself explains why the commercial fortunes of the band have fallen so far from their glory years. They think this is a single? It’s so R.E.M. to choose a song like this as their final salvo to the world, a song with no commercial prospects. They didn’t

The Christmas dump begins with a glut of new titles being foisted on us. I’d have to take a week to make my way through all this so I won’t pretend I studied this list of new releases carefully- there are hundreds. There are a few that caught my eye (and stung my wallet) and a few others are worth taking a few moments to discuss. We begin with one of the highlights of the history of my life: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I might have mentioned this but I’ve been waiting for Noel to make a solo record

Radiohead have announced the first dates on their planned 2012 The King Of Limbs world tour with 10 US dates beginning in Miami in February. Guitarist Ed O’Brien says the band will be on the road from approximately February through November and more dates are expected to be announced for the UK and Europe. The first 10 US dates exclude New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles so it’s a good bet there will be more US dates for the upcoming tour as well. As for what we can expect, O’Brien also said to expect a heavy dose of the eight-song

Let’s get this out of the way straight away: yes, “The Roller” was better when it was “Instant Karma,” but damn you, Liam Gallagher, for recycling that riff and melody and making a song that’s still catchy as hell! Now that we’ve handled that bit of housekeeping, let’s talk about this single from the Beady Eye record Different Gear, Still Speeding. Liam is a tricky cat to handle because he’s often as unsympathetic a figure as you’re likely to encounter in the music world. There are 10,000 bad things to say about the guy and just about the time you’re

It’s Elmination Night on The X Factor, the first results show the season where we say goodbye to one of the Top 12 acts. This is uncharted territory so I’ll admit I’m curious to see how it plays out; I don’t know if it will be a similar process to the way Idol does it or something wacky and different altogether. They immediately waste about 20 minutes on a lame group number, reviewing nearly everything we covered last night, and senseless interviews with contestants regarding what they would do on their Pepsi Commercial if they were to win. Who cares? Like

And now for something almost completely different… My wife and I are huge fans of the TV show Bones. We didn’t get in on the ground floor but we’ve faithfully watched every episode — most of them more than twice — and own every season on DVD/Blu-ray. There’s something about we love, made a little more special because it’s something we love together. Other people go rock climbing or ballroom dancing. Not us. We hole up in the living room with one of the cats (usually our deaf, developmentally disabled boy Rowdy) and relax to a TV show that entertains

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for British guitarist/singer Matt Schofield but it’s been awhile since we talked about him here on the site. His Anything But Time CD has been one of my favorite blues records of the year and I finally went and tracked down a few of the albums from his discography still in print that I didn’t already own. One of those is Heads, Tails And Aces and we have a great live version of one of the songs from that album, “Laying It Down.” I love a good slow blues number but it’s not

Roger Waters will build The Wall 36 more times in 2012, bringing his cutting edge, multimedia extravaganza across N. America for perhaps the final time. This leg of the tour — likely the final run for the critically and commercially successful show — will include outdoor venues for the first time, presenting unique challenges for the projections that have been a huge part of the visual experience. “We’re going to be projecting over 140 yards,” Waters told Rolling Stone. “So now it’s going to be 1,500 pixels wide. We’ve done light tests and Fenway Park and Wrigley Field and Yankee

We have proudly proclaimed ourselves members of TeamGary and done our best to make BlindedBySound GaryCentral, so I can’t tell you how excited I was to find good video of Clark performing a song we haven’t already posted on the site in one form or another. For reasons I am aware of but don’t completely understand, a lot of Clark’s music is out of print and that leaves us with his phenomenal Bright Lights EP. We’ve talked at length about those four songs but I’m hungry to tell you about more of his music (if I can ever get access

Rachel Flotard and Ben Hooker have announced Seattle-based Visqueen is going on indefinite hiatus after 10 years and three albums, and they’ll play a Farewell Show at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre on November 26. Well that’s a kick in the gut! I was late to the Visqueen party, hearing about them through my professional association with multi-instrumentalist Barrett Martin, who filled in on drums for the band on a recent US tour. I got to see them perform in Nashville and fell in love with their harmony-laded power pop. I was looking forward to a fourth album to succeed the fantastic

Let’s accentuate the positive on this first day of November, the first New Release Tuesday of the month: Florence + The Machine. Ceremonials. Seriously. The Deluxe Edition is on its way to my house and really I don’t know why I should have to be at work on such a day. We’ve given you all the details about the record and unveiled the video to “Shake It Off,” the amazing first official single from the record. I’ve heard three songs from the album and love them all. This is going to be epic and easily the best thing that will

I fell in love with Shelby Lynne all over again this past week with her stunningly beautiful new album Revelation Road, in particular the heartbreaking, beautiful “I’ll Hold Your Head.” It’s a gentle, bittersweet portrait of a family life her family life contrasting the loving memory of singing favorite songs in the car with her mom and sister on the way to school with the struggle to survive poverty in south Alabama and turbulent marriage of her parents. Love and heartache abound but there is beauty to be found in the strength and bonds of sisterhood and family. Lynne is

The first posthumous release from Amy Winehouse, Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures will be released December 5, featuring songs she worked on for the never-completed followup to Back to Black. Winehouse passed away at age 27 on July 23, 2011. That didn’t take long, did it? We got numerous reports throughout Winehouse’s struggles with drug and alcohol addiction the singer/songwriter was working on new material but her physical and personal problems interfered with her ability to focus on new music. It was inevitable we’d hear some of these songs at some point. The timing of it seems on one hand

I’ve been talking about Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials since word of it first leaked and it’s one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Word is there are a few of you out there excited about this record as well, so let’s talk about the first official single from the record and its accompanying video. US fans have been able to stream “Shake It Out” via YouTube for some time and recently were able to buy it via iTunes. It’s a great song and if this is what we have in store, there will be no sophomore

I’ve been (rightly) making a huge fuss about the first post-Oasis record from Noel Gallagher but let us not forget it was Liam who struck first when Oasis splintered. Beady Eye released the quite respectable Different Gear, Still Speeding earlier this year and while I’ve not listened to it a ton in the months since its release, there are still a handful of really good tunes from it. “Four Letter Word” is the first track on the album and sounds like an outtake from Oasis’ final studio album Dig Out Your Soul, complete with the psychedelic keyboards, huge slabs of

“AKA…What A Life” and “Let The Lord Shine On A Light On Me” is the most interesting single of the three that have been released from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (“The Death Of You & Me” / “The Good Rebel” being the first). Lazy critics have knocked Noel’s songs as little more than Beatles ripoffs and while the influence is evident in many of his classic tunes, that criticism ignores his other influences and musical interests, some of which are heard on these two songs. He twice worked with electronic act Chemical Brothers and Oasis made an ill-fated attempt

Well I guess we have our answer, kids. Noel Gallagher played a homecoming gig for the second show of his first ever solo tour in Manchester and it’s the same as the one he played at the tour kickoff in Dublin the other night. It doesn’t seem we’re going to have a whirlwind of different songs from the Oasis catalog being rotated in and out with songs from High Flying Birds each night, even if he alluded to some doubts about the set in his road journal. Noel plays Edinburgh tomorrow and London on Saturday, and I’ll be obsessively keeping an eye

No one is more surprised than me that we’re just now talking about the upcoming Achtung Baby re-issue by U2, but it’s been amateur hour at Camp McGuiness trying to get the details of what’s actually IN this monstrosity and I’ve been so angry with them about it at nearly every turn that I just haven’t had the heart to discuss it but I will now as we have a trailer from the documentary that will be included. From The Sky Down tells the story of the making of Achtung Baby, one of U2’s classic works. It’s hard to call

Our good friends The Black Keys have released a video for the first single from their upcoming album El Camino, due Dec. 6. The video for “Lonely Boy” is simple, lo-fi, and pretty damn funny. It’s not groundbreaking in its concept but brilliant in its simplicity and execution, which describes a large portion of The Black Keys’ catalog when you get right down to it. The tune is short and to the point and for the first 20 seconds or so, it sounds “… more straight ahead rock and roll- raw, driving, and back to basics” as vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach

I don’t if I’ve ever seen a New Music Tuesday where 1/2 the releases were put on sale on Monday, but that seems to be the case this week and I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. My suspicion is the Grammy cutoff deadline, which is often around this time, and would explain why high profile acts like Coldplay and Kelly Clarkson didn’t wait for today. That said, we’re still calling it New Music Tuesday and there are a lot of titles worth considering this week. Let’s begin with the latest from Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto. I picked up my

Duke Robillard is our third #1 in the past three weeks as his Low Down & Tore Up takes the top spot at radio this week. It’s exciting to see the shakeup of late after watching Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues and Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator camp out on top for weeks at a time. They’re both great albums but change can be a good thing and Duke’s record is a very, very good thing! Our previous two #1s Maria Muldaur’s Steady Love and Ray Bonneville’s Bad Man’s Bloodcheck in second and third with George Thorogood and Hugh Laurie rounding out the Top 5. We got shakeup in terms of

Noel Gallagher kicked off the first show in support of his debut solo record, which is set to hit #1 in the UK ahead of its Nov. 8 release in the US, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Gallagher played a large chunk of his new record while also serving up a bevy of Oasis hits and rarities, causing me to curse geography because his painfully brief N. American tour isn’t coming anywhere near where I live. Gallagher kicked off the night playing two Oasis songs, the well-known B-side “It’s Good To Be Free” and “Mucky Fingers” from the Don’t Believe The Truth album

Kilborn Alley Blues Band played a powerhouse show in Huntsville last night, previewing material from their upcoming album Four as well as mining their previous albums and a few blues classics. I lauded the band’s ensemble playing when I reviewed Better Off Now and they create the same unique, intuitive interplay that characterizes their record when they take the stage together, and they do it as a quartet. I spent a couple years following the E Street Band, seeing several shows, and got used to hearing a big band make a big, holy racket. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the kind

Revelation Road is guilty of depraved indifference to the emotional well-being of its listeners, offering songs that are at times warm, loving, beautiful, pitiful, aching, devastating, and chilling. Reaching so deep into her own past has yielded some of the finest songs she’s ever written and her amazing gift as a song interperter shines as bright as ever. “I’ll Hold Your Head” is a gentle, bittersweet portrait of a family life filled with love and happy memories undercut by heartbreaking images of poverty, struggle, and violence. Lynne vividly contrasts tender moments in times of struggle — harmonizing in the car

It’s been a big year for re-issues from the alternative rock world as Nirvana re-issued their seminal Nevermind and U2 will issue Achtung Baby, both in honor of the 20th Anniversary of those records. Smashing Pumpkins is the latest band to launch a major re-issue campaign and the first two SP discs Gish and Siamese Dream will be released in deluxe editions on November 29. Both titles will be released in multiple formats including a single disc, deluxe 2CD/DVD, vinyl LP, and various digital formats. Bob Ludwig remastered both titles. The vinyl editions have been specifically mastered for vinyl (making me concerned

“The DJ” is my favorite of all the voices in my head because every day I wake up with a song or band in my head. Sometimes the seed is planted in those precious, semi-conscious moments before I’m completely awake and other days it takes a little while for “The DJ” to wake up and get his act together. It happens every day, though, and a song or band is planted in my head and it drowns out the other voices in my head — even the ones that say, “Shut it, I’m trying to sleep — until I

Dani Wilde and Samantha Fish are 2/3 of the Girls With Guitars collaborative project (Cassie Taylor being the third) and the two of them have now released solo albums this year, giving us a chance to take the pieces from the sum apart and hear them as individuals. Girls With Guitars was a flawed outing from three talented performers. Fish’s solo album avoided many of the problems that marred GWG but Wilde is not as fortunate on Shine. This is being touted as a blues releaese and Wilde fancies herself a blues artist with a passion for the idiom. The passion may well be there

Louisiana Red and Little Victor’s Juke Joint first paired up on Back To The Black Bayou, an album nominated for Best Traditional Blues Record at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. They brought Memphis to Europe where Red lives these days for that record, finding a studio with a ’60s Auditronics mixing console formerly housed in Memphis’ Stax Studio. Fast forward to May 6, 2010 and Louisiana Red has just won two BMAs. He didn’t win forBayou (his awards were for his collaboration with veteran pianist David Maxwell, You Got To Move) but he took to the stage with Victor’s Juke Joint for

We have a new #1 at Blues Radio this week! Ray Bonneville’s two-week run at the top of the blues radio chart came to an end this week as Maria Muldaur’s Steady Love vaults four spots to claim the #1 position. Bonneville slips one spot to #2, followed by Duke Robillard, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, and Warren Haynes’ Man in Motion. There’s another Allman Brothers Band guitarist in the Top 10 as former #1 Revelator from Tedeschi Trucks Band checks in at #6, followed by Moreland & Arbuckle, Ana Popovic, Hugh Laurie, and Carolyn Wonderland’s Peace Meal. Of those Top 10 albums, I’m particularly partial

Ray Bonneville’s two-week run at the top of the blues radio chart came to an end this week as Maria Muldaur’s Steady Love vaults four spots to claim the #1 position. Bonneville slips one spot to #2, followed by Duke Robillard, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, and Warren Haynes’ Man in Motion. There’s another Allman Brothers Band guitarist in the Top 10 as former #1 Revelator from Tedeschi Trucks Band checks in at #6, followed by Moreland & Arbuckle, Ana Popovic, Hugh Laurie, and Carolyn Wonderland’s Peace Meal. Of those Top 10 albums, I’m particularly partial to Robillard’s Low Down &

  You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but perusing its table of contents often gives clues of what’s in store. The first chapter of Amy LaVere’s Stranger Me, “Damn Love Song,” may not scream ‘Breakup Album’ but it’s hard not to jump to that conclusion when considered in the context of a few other chapter titles like “You Can’t Keep Me,” A Great Divide,” and “Cry My Eyes Out.” You won’t be disappointed if you buy the record hoping that assumption holds true. You won’t be disappointed if you buy the record, period. “Damn Love Song” is a brilliant,

There’s a new trailer for Lulu, the collaboration between Metallica and Lou Reed, for those of you who’ve been wondering what the blue hell something like this might sound like since we told you about it early last month. I’ve watched the trailer and I’m convinced someone will like this but I don’t know who. It’s not fair to make too many judgments a 97 second snippet of an album that will run well over an hour but someone at Warner Bros. is hoping this teaser will entice you. Notsomuch. I’m of an age to have grown up listening

Nick Moss will release his ninth album Here I Am on November 22 through his Blue Bella Records label and has announced the full tracklisting for the set and released artwork for the new album. Moss’ last album, Privileged, was the most commercially and critically successful of his career and yet was a marked departure from the string of great traditional Chicago blues records he recorded with his band, The Flip Tops. Here I Am starts where Privileged left off and goes even further in terms of arrangement, sound, and style. The new set features 11 tracks: 10 new

Award-winners Kilborn Alley Blues Band will release their new album Four via Blue Bella Records on Nov. 22 and have released album artwork as well as the complete tracklisting for the upcoming set. Four follows their critically acclaimed Better Off Now and features 11 original songs produced and mixed by Nick Moss. The band recorded the set as a four-piece with frontman Andrew Duncanson sharing guitar duties with Josh Stimmel and Chris Breen and Ed O’Hara again handling bass and drums respectively. I don’t want to tease my review too much but I’ve heard the entire album so I’ll

The Black Keys are ready to release the follow-up to their Grammy-winning smash Brothers when they release El Camino on December 6 and fans who pre-order the record will get a download of the first single “Lonely Boy” on Oct. 26. The Black Keys rise from lo-fi, indie blues-rockers from Akron, Ohio to a megaselling act is one of the most surprising and inspiring in recent memory. The music industry has exalted many pretenders but this time success found a tremendously talented band with a deep catalog. If you happen to be one of the newcomers, first of all,

Another week, another release from American Idol’s resurgent 10th season. Last week it was winner Scotty McCreery and Clear As Day, which won a rave review from our American Idol correspondent and dominated the charts in its first week of release. It’s runner-up Lauren Alaina’s turn this week as the tango these two have been doing — releasing singles and videos in close succession — continues. Her debut album is called Wildflowers and we have our review of it, as well. I’ll also throw out another tease and remind you all to stay tuned for details on fellow Season 10 contestant

  Another Noel Gallagher B-side from the High Flying Birds album is streaming on YouTube, “I’d Pick You Every Time” from the single “If I Had A Gun.” “Gun” is currently the only song available to purchase in the US; the B-side as of right now is not. We’re going to add “I’d Pick You Every Time” to our Noel Gallagher page today, giving impatient US fans like myself a chance and place to hear the music while we wait to get our hands on it. I don’t know how I missed this one because I’ve been scouting this

Lead singer and chief lyricist Jon Foreman said Hello Hurricane tells the story of life before “the storm,” braving the storm, and picking up the pieces after it. It was musically and lyrically sequenced so the ending fed back to the beginning because life, like the weather, will always bring another storm. Vice Verses is the successor to that Grammy-winning album and once again there is a theme perhaps best expressed by the question in the title of an old folk song: how can a poor man stand such times and live? Faith is at the core of Switchfoot’s music

I joke with my faithful companion and loyal sidekick that, to quote Tom Petty, he’s “the man who loves women” and it’s going to get him buried “in the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines.” He gets both of those references; the one I’d really like to throw in is Wilco’s “I’m Always In Love” but it would be lost on him so I’ve applied it to me when it comes to music. I’m in love… again. I was hanging out on in the “It’s All Connected” room and Yellow Dog Records honcho Mike played “Red

The story this week should be Ray Bonneville holding the top slot at blues radio for a second straight week and we will give Ray his due as Bad Man’s Blood is an excellent album, but first we begin with a record that has taken the BlindedBySound family by storm: Gary Clark Jr’s Bright Lights EP. To those of you hearing of Gary or his music for the first time, first of all, welcome. We cannot adequately express our love for Bright Lights but that hasn’t stopped us from trying. We’ve posted numerous live clips and testimonials to just how

I’ve been listening to The Whole Love repeatedly for over a week now hoping to solve its riddle and I’ve yet to come close. All I have are a few thought fragments that don’t come close to explaining why I love this record, but I really do. I’m rarely at a loss for words when it comes to music I love but none of my usual approaches are bridging the gap between the music and the way I feel about it. I tried them all: analyze the lyrics, describe sounds, express how it makes me feel, compare it to the

There’s no doubt the big story of the week is the debut release from American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery. American Idol enjoyed a ratings renaissance and there are many theories about how and why that happened but clearly a field of younger contestants had to help and soon-to-be 18-year old champ McCreery was a big part of that. He releases his solo debut after two big singles helped pave the way. I have to believe this is going to be a huge seller at least through Christmas. Check out the BlindedBySound review of Scotty McCreery’s Clear As Day. If Scotty McCreery

Noel Gallagher is making the B-side of his “AKA…What A Life!” single available to stream via YouTube. The single will be released on CD, 7″ vinyl, and digitally Oct. 17. You can hear “Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me” right now if you’re impatient like I am (see below). I’ve pre-ordered my copy of “AKA” and will “soon” have the CD in my collection but you can bet your ass I’ll be checking this out throughout the days until my single delivers. BlindedBySound is your one-stop shop for all things Noel. We just reported the infuriatingly limited release

I’ve got good news (for some of you) bad news (for the moment) for the many, and an olive branch of sorts at the end: the good news is Noel Gallagher is releasing a track today or tomorrow — I’ve read conflicting reports on this — that won’t appear on his upcoming High Flying Birds LP called “Alone On The Rope.” That’s good news… if you live in the UK. The bad news is the track is not presently available as a legal download in the US. Also available for streaming now is the B-side to the “AKA…What A Life!”

Two titans of contemporary progressive heavy metal will bring classic live performances already available in myriad formats to the high definition age when Queensrÿche releasesMindcrime At The Moore and Dream Theater releases Live At Budokan, both on Oct. 18, on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Queensrÿche’s performance features the 1988 classic Operation:Mindcrime and its 2006 sequel Operation:Mindcrime II, performed in their entirety at Seattle’s Moore Theatre. The first Mindcrime album remains among the most beloved, highly regarded concept albums in rock history and was recorded by the band’s original lineup. I’m not ashamed to admit I can’t count how many hours I spent listening to

R.E.M. has prepared the final chapter of their incredible Hall of Fame 31-year career with a retrospective package that puts together the defining songs they created in the ’80s for IRS as well as music from their commercial apex with Warner Brothers in the ’90s and beyond for the very first time, having announced their retirement late last month.  Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011 will be released Nov. 15 and is a two-disc set featuring songs from every R.E.M. album beginning with the Chronic Town EP all the way through this year’s Collapse Into Now and will also include three new

Ray Bonneville’s Bad Man’s Blood vaults eight spots to unseat Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator from the #1 slot at blues radio according to Roots Music Report. It’s a shocking but welcome development not because I don’t love TTB but because it gives me enormous pleasure to think such a thoughtful, lyric-intensive album still captivates listeners. It’s not a prototypical blues album at all but some radio programmers were willing to give the veteran storyteller a chance to connect with listeners. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. I still can’t believe it hit #1. Bono was right: you miss too much these

I’ve always loved the way Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” operates as a song and opening track to Born To Run, the way it sets the stage for a cinematic musical journey. “Bad Man’s Blood” sets the scene for an unflinching story told with stark, minimalism. When the final notes of the album have faded, we realize the title track does for this album what “Thunder Road” did for Born To Run. This is a storyteller record floating on a current of folk and blues accoutrements that doesn’t shy away from electric instruments that might turn off folk purists nor

We’re very excited to announce and share with you the official video for the title track from Gary Clark Jr’s Bright Lights EP. We’ve been in love with this EP for about six weeks now since reading Jordan’s stellar review and we haven’t shut up about it or Gary since. The EP is four (awesome) songs long and while we await a full-length record (I don’t know how far along in the process he is and don’t have even a hint of when it might surface but work is ongoing), we celebrate anything new we can get our hands,

Chris Cornell is releasing a live, solo acoustic album Songbook on November 21 before embarking on a second leg of solo acoustic touring. It’s been awhile since I could bring myself to buy a Chris Cornell CD despite my enduring love for Soundgarden. His post-Soundgarden work has ranged from disappointing to godawful with only few, minor exceptions (“Can’t Change Me” from Euphoria Morning” and maybe three songs from the first Audioslave record). The best thing he’s done since Soundgarden was release a “posthumous” Soundgarden live album.  Songbook features songs from throughout Cornell’s career — Soundgarden, Audioslave, and solo albums —

Maria Muldaur drew inspiration for Steady Love, her follow up to the acclaimed Garden Of Joy, from New Orleans and worked with several musicians from that area. That might help explain the song selection on the record, as Muldaur creates some strange contrasts in an attempt to give voice to a diverse, unique American city. There are Christian hymns and odes of faith (“I Done Made It Up In My Mind,” Walk By Faith”), gritty blues with carnal connotations (“Get You Next To Me”), traditional blues tales of hard times (“Why Are People Like That,” “Blues Go Walking”) and songs

This might be the most expensive New Music Tuesday in the history of my life (thank you, Rocky Balboa). We’ve got deluxe editoins from Pink Floyd and Nirvana as well as new releases from Sebastian Bach, Chickenfoot, Swtichfoot (that’s a lot of ‘foot, kids), the mighty Wilco, Maria Muldaur, Mastodon, and so many more. Take a deep breath, pour a drink, and get ready to dive in as we look at just a handful of the biggest releases for Sept. 27, 2011. Pink Floyd Re-Issues If you think you’ve heard this before, you have- sort of. Floyd’s catalog has seen

I’m not the one who should be writing about Patty Griffin’s “Rain,” that distinction belonging to friend and fellow BBS writer Heather, as she’s the one who introduced me to this amazing song via Turntable.FM. I don’t want to linger too much on this point but that’s part of the magic of music; it’s why we do what we do here and why services like Turntable are so great. Music can transform us in solitude but there’s an added dimension when there’s a social experience to it, be it at a concert where you connect directly with the artist or

There’s no question Sean Chambers is a gifted, capable player. He’s been a popular draw since going solo after spending 1998-2003 touring with Hubert Sumlin as guitarist and band leader and his many fans are sure to be excited about his first ever live album Live From The Long Island Blues Warehouse. It’s easy to hear why he was listed among the Top 50 Blues Guitarists in Guitar Magazine from the opening notes of the tasty instrumental first track, “Dixie 45.” What becomes more difficult as the set wears on is distinguishing him from some of his influences and a

It has been far too long since we celebrated the awesomeness that is Gary Clark Jr., our new BlindedBySound hero, and that drought ends today with video footage of Gary in concert I only recently stumbled across. We haven’t stopped listening to him since last we wrote about him. The challenge is finding video footage that’s better quality than some schmuck in a bar with an iPhone. It’s not that we don’t appreciate their effort but some music and performances demand to be seen and heard properly. That’s how we feel about our beloved Gary and I’m happy to report

After five studio albums, JJ Grey & Mofro released their first live CD/DVD package Brighter Days earlier in September of 2011. It’s surprising a band that has lived on the road and built such a strong following would wait this long to capture that part of their identity but the patience pays off, providing Grey a deep catalog of material from which to choose for the January 22, 2011 performance they filmed at Atlanta’s Variety Playouse. Brighter Days is a CD and a DVD and the programs are different so we’ll deal with them separately but before we do I

Legendary American rock band R.E.M. announced today they have officially disbanded, bringing to a close an unlikely 31-year run that saw them rise to the unlikely height of being one of the biggest bands of their era. “To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” they said in a statement released on their web site. “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our

Nick Moss is streaming “It’ll Turn Around,” the first single from his upcoming album Here I Am, now due in stores November 22. It’s been brutal containing my excitement about this record, having heard it in its entirety already. As hard as I try to take you, dear readers, inside the music there are some things you have to hear to believe and this is one of them. It also gets a little wearying for us all for me to prattle on about a record you won’t have access to for months on end. The wait is coming to an

The back-to-basics album is usually something that happens after an artist is convinced they’ve lost the plot or has suffered some sort of commercial flop. These often turn into self-conscious self-parodies (or worse) but there are exceptions. It doesn’t really matter but in a way Low Down And Tore Up should have come before last year’s Passport To The Blues (and if you haven’t heard that record, there’s a good chance nobody will ever love you). Passport featured mainly Robillard originals and chronology be damned it’s the kind of album you might have expected after Duke reached back to his

Listen, my children, and you shall hear of a long list of new releases you will need to own and some you’ll need to avoid. Let’s roll with the cool: Pearl Jam Twenty Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s film about the iconic Seattle band, filled with live rarities, demos, and other odds and sods. Some of this has been bootlegged by the band themselves and otherwise but hardcore PJ fans will need this. Duke Robillard has a new record out today called Low Down And Tore Up and it’s a fantastic collection of gritty blues

A 10-spot surge by Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne couldn’t unseat Tedeschi Trucks Band as the #1 album at blues radio, but it was enough to send him soaring to #2. The rest of the Top 5 is Hot Tuna, Tab Benoit’s Medicine, and Terry Hanck’s Look Out!. Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s How I Go hasn’t been this high in a little while and is probably the only other major difference this week compared to last as he edges in at #14. From there, we have mostly albums that have been part of our Top 15 for quite some time. I predicted a shakeup

Eric Clapton & Wynton Marsalis’ collaboration Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center got me to thinking about all the time I’ve been spending on Turntable.FM, particularly in the Folk/Americana/Blues/Soul: It’s All Connected room, because if this album achieves nothing else, it furthers the truth so much of the music we love can be connected if we trace the roots. This project taken from three performances offers fantastic performances in addition to its academic and intellectual values. Clapton and Marsalis master musicians of their respective instruments are joined onstage by Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriquez (bass), Ali Jackson (drums), Marcus Printup (trumpet), Victor Goines

Steinway & Sons, the venerable, famed makers of pianos, has gone where few companies of their generational stature dared to go, embracing technology and shrinking the size of a piano to the size of an iPad for their free Etude 2.0 app. Popular video games like RockBand and Guitar Hero allowed kids with the love of music and the dream of instrumental prowess “play” their favorite songs without actually learning a thing and it’s just one reason digital has been the death of music in the ears of many audiophiles and traditionalists. Steinway & Sons hope Etude can be a tool merging traditional methods of teaching and learning

Grammy-winning blues legend Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, 75, passed away this morning in Chicago after suffering a stroke according to a statement on his official web site. Smith may be best known for the time he spent as the drummer for Muddy Waters’ band. Prior to drums, he taught himself to play harp and in later years spent more time with that then he did behind the drum kit. He co-founded the Legendary Blues Band after parting with Waters in the early 1980s and released his first solo record in 1995. Both Smith and pianist Pinetop Perkins, who passed away

JJ Grey & Mofro have released a trailer for their first ever live CD/DVD Brighter Days, recorded and filmed earlier this year. I’m currently listening to it and you’ll soon — I’m entitled to be optimistic every once in awhile, people — read my review of this set which is currently available from Alligator Records at all your online and digital retailers. The CD is 12 songs and 78 minutes of the band’s January 22, 2011 set from Atlanta, GA. The DVD is a concert film of the same set with three additional songs not on the CD as

You can stream the lead single from Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials “Shake It Out” via YouTube while you wait for the commercial/digital single to be available in early October. We’ve now heard two songs from the upcoming sophomore release Ceremonials (three if you were lucky enough to hear “Strangeness & Charm performed like I was, although that song is only going to be available on the deluxe edition) and I’m so excited for this record I can hardly stand it. If somebody doesn’t hurry up and announce a US release date — the single is out Oct. 2, album Oct.

Rumors have been heating up for weeks about the fate of Florence And The Machine’s much-anticipated follow-up to their smash debut Lungs and the band have now confirmed the tracklisting, artwork, and a release date of Oct. 31 in the UK (US release date still TBD). The rumors really kicked into high gear when “What The Water Gave Me” was released on iTunes as a taste of what was to come and a teaser to tide fans over. “Water” made the final cut for the record and “Shake It Out” has been tabbed as the lead single for the record. Producer Paul

Seattle-based Elba is prepping the release of their self-titled third album on September 22 and have released a video of a track from the new set “From A Sinking Ship.” Elba is Nick Cappelletti (Vocals, Keyboard), Brian Graham (Bass), Matt Hartgraves (Guitar), Kellen Costello (Guitar, Background Vocals), and Chris Reisinger (Drums) and they recorded the new record with Graig Markel at Seatte’s Recovery Room.  They’ve been heralded as “Seattle’s band to watch” and have gotten considerable local airplay on stations that were once upon a time the launching pad for a slew of vital bands from the Pacific Northwest.  Tour dates

Lil Wayne remains atop the iTunes albums chart this week with his The Carter IV followed by The Beatles 1 compilation, which now features the amazing remasters from two years ago. The Top 5 is rounded out by Adele, Maroon 5, and the latest from Red Hot Chili Peppers. While Lil Wayne and Adele have been superstars on the chart of late, I guess we have to deal with the fact Maroon 5 is making their presence felt. Their collaboration with Christina Aguilera “Moves Like Jagger” is the #1 single and their album is Top 5. They’re hot right now

It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive and this is a good time of years, boys and girls! Football is back, the Crimson Tide are undefeated, and the encroachment of Christmas means a slew of new music releases. Most of them will suck like a Turbo-Charged Hoover but there will be some treasures among the trash and we are going go through a few of each today. Let’s begin with the trash: It’s a good thing I don’t have a yearbook for Aaron Lewis’ high school because we have another Staind record to endure all because not

I promised I’d stop backing into jazz reviews with long expositions about my appalling lack of understanding of jazz fundamentals but within the first 10 seconds of trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal’s fine album Lines, I found myself reaching for terms not in my musical vocabulary. I’d explain or at least discuss the rhythm or rhythms of “Subo” if I could. I don’t know if they’re Latin or Cuban in nature (my meager understanding tells me these can be similar yet different or two completely different things) or if they’re Afro-Cuban rhythms. I simply don’t know, but there’s something going on beneath

I regret to inform you that Nickelback is threatening us with a brand new album called Here And Now November 21 and they’re coming at us double-barrel, simultaneously inflicting upon us two singles from the set.  I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. The album won’t release until November but time is not on our side! Both of these singles are being rushed to radio and digital outlets this month.  “When We Stand Together” and “Bottoms Up” get sent to radio Sept. 26 and are available digitally September 27. If I had to venture a guess, the first

Coldplay’s Mylo Zyloto is one of 2011’s most anticipated records and the band confirmed the full tracklisting for the 14-song album due in stores Oct. 25 while also releasing a second single from the upcoming set via digital retailers. In addition to the new tracklisting, Coldplay announced the release of a second single from the album, “Paradise” and also revealed that Rihanna provided vocal assistance to the track “Princess of China.” It’s not the first time Coldplay has worked with high-profile artists who might be considered outside the scope of the band’s sound. Rapper Jay-Z contributed rhymes to a (terrible)

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. It was a day filled with remembrances. Some were poignant while others were trite and corny. I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to write about the topic and even though I’m a blogger decided the world would be just fine if I didn’t add to the noise. Welcome to September 12, 2011, 10 years plus one day… The world is still a strange, confusing, wondrous, frightening, chaotic place to be and we’re all still scurrying to make some kind of sense of it. As

Stop me when you’ve heard this before: Tedeschi Trucks Band is the #1 album at blues radio. It’s funny though; the long runs at #1 by Tedeschi Trucks and earlier Gregg Allman started to make me yawn a bit to the point I forgot why these records have been so successful. I didn’t listen to Revelator in its entirety this week but did hear a few of my favorite songs from it and I remember what I like about it so much. They’re joined in the Top 5 by Hot Tuna (a record I still need to hear), Tab Benoit’s Medicine, Rod Piazza’s Almighty Dollar and Terry

Artists with the kind of determination and longevity of someone like Rod Piazza face the challenge of keeping things fresh for themselves and their audiences. Some succeed, some fail. Some artists routinely try reinventing themselves while others put down roots and mine a certain piece of musical acreage. The risk to the former is alienating audiences or losing track of their respective gifts and strengths in the pursuit of something “new” and the risk to the latter is repetition. Piazza tells us in the liner notes to Almighty Dollar this album represents some of the finest blues he and his band have

Mastodon have revealed the tracklisting and artwork for their upcoming album The Hunter, due in stores Sept. 27 and have also released a track from the album via YouTube called “Spectrelight.” Before we get to “Spectrelight” and the rest of the tracklisting, let’s take a moment to say we’re going to miss days like this when digital inevitably dustbins the world of physical media in music, because there’s no way a 300×300 pixel version of album art like this is going to be as cool as it would have been on a CD or, of course, fucking vinyl. This will

It’s been awhile since our iTunes Chart Watch series was published and Adele is still dominating the scene! There are a few names, albums, and songs that have entered since our last time through the list, so let’s take a look. Let’s start with the albums where Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV has vaulted to the top spot. I can’t recall having ever heard a song by Weezy — and yet I’m knowledgeable enough to know his alias — so I don’t know what it is that has made him arguably the biggest star in hip hop, but his sales

Nappy Roots are going all out in efforts to promote their upcoming album Nappy Dot Org — due Sept. 27 — producing an eight-part online video feature about the making of the record and making their first single available to download free. Nappy Dot Org is the follow-up to Pursuit Of Nappiness (still a Top 10 favorite album title of all-time for me) and was produced by Organized Noize, who have crafted hits for Outkast, Goodie Mob, TLC, Envogue, Ludacris, Trey Songz, and Curtis Mayfield.The first single “Hey Love” is still available as a free download (see below) where you’ll

We’re still trying to make sense of the pairing of Metallica and Lou Reed but it seems clear this is no hoax: they did make a record together, it will be out in November, and we now have a tracklisting and artwork for it. There are still a few details yet to be revealed but it seems Reed handled most or all the lyrics while James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett composed the majority of the music. It’s not clear (to me) how the vocals may have been divvied up between Reed and Hetfield. As previously reported, the collaboration

Noel Gallagher has revealed “AKA…What A Life!” will be the second single from his solo debut High Flying Birds, following on the heels of “The Death Of You And Me.” The album won’t be released until in October in the UK and November in the US but we’ve already gotten to hear three album tracks and one B-side! “The Death Of You And Me” was released with the B-side “The Good Rebel” as a commercial single. Gallagher released a video for “Death” and allowed fans to stream the B-side as well as another album track, “If I Had A Gun,”

I don’t know if it’s fair to call Candye Kane a polarizing figure in the blues world but she has a larger-than-life presence that makes it difficult to remain neutral where she’s concerned. I’m not sure how much her persona influences her fan base or detractors but it’s hard to ignore. I came to Sister Vagabond knowing more about her than her music, my lone exposure to her music being her appearance at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. Her previous album Superhero was at least partially inspired by her battle with cancer and helped her to several Blues Music Award nominations. Sister Vagabond is her Delta

This week’s releases are a little longer on intrigue than “must buy” for me but it’s my job to walk you through them, so away we go… I’m am unapologetic, unabashed fan of the TV show House. I’m not a huge fan of actors dabbling in song nor songsters dabbling in acting but this week Hugh Laurie unveils his blues album Let Them Talk. Those familiar with Laurie’s career and bio know he’s been playing piano for ages and is quite accomplished. He’s participated in a project called The Band From TV with fellow actors who do a series of shows each has claimed hours of my life since I was introduced to it. It brings the audio component to what BlindedBySound is all about: listening to and talking about music. It was only natural I’d fall in love with a site like that and I have, but it goes deeper. I considered founding BlindedBySound as a site devoted wholly to the blues and roots music but opted instead for a big umbrella apprach and I’m proud of the range of music we’ve reviewed and discussed on BlindedBySound since our January 1, 2011 launch and look forward to a day when

“The Internet is the best thing that has ever happened to music in the history of music,” said Adam Duritz, lead singer of Counting Crows. “It’s just not necessarily the best thing that’s happened to record companies because they won’t look at it the right way.” There are so many ways to find new music! The problem is sifting through the different services and their limitations as well as the insurmountable amount of music waiting to be discovered. Traditional, terrestrial radio has largely become a vast, homogenized wasteland of rubbish and the video channels that flourished in the ’80s and

It’s time once again to take a look at the Top 15 albums at blues radio according to the Roots Music Report. We don’t have a lot of turnover in the charts this week but I’ve really loved some of these records and am eager to check out a few I’ve not yet heard. Tedeschi Trucks Band’s outstanding Revelator continues to top our charts, followed by the Anders Osborne-produced Medicine by Tab Benoit. Benoit moves up a couple slots this week and Tracy Nelson slips just outside the Top 5. TTB and Benoit are joined by Terry Hanck, Hot Tuna, and Rod Piazza in

The bonds of Holy Matrimony demand this be the final time I post the cover art of Ana Popovic’s Unconditional on this web site, so take a good long look, dear readers. You’re on your own from here on out. I’m sure Ms. Popovic meant no harm to my happy, rewarding, loving, 11-year marriage and would appreciate it if I’d stop talking about the cover of her record but I’m cracking myself up and anyone who knows me will vouch that I can’t let go of anything I think is a good joke. You’re going to have to buy a

I admitted I was late to the Florence + The Machine party, and for this I blame the British- in particular the NME. I’m not a hipster on the prowl for the next big thing that no one else has heard of; I’m in search of the good, the great, and the transcendent. Our friends at NME apparently hear the world in only two ways: Brilliant and Rubbish. The report card on influential British music publications is a bit uneven. They introduced me to Doves, a great band that borderes on transcendent.They’ve also pushed me towards Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs, and

Nappy Roots have announced the tracklisting and revealed the cover art for their September 27 album Nappy Dot Org, and they’ve also made their first single “Hey Love” (feat. Samuel Christian) available to stream. The Nappy Roots spent most of the past decade self-releasing music and mixtapes and touring relentlessly. How busy have they been? Including two independent releases The Humdinger and — one of my favorite album titles ever — Pursuit Of Nappyness , they’ve delivered new music every year since 2004. They should call Peter Gabriel, Tool, and a few other bands who’ve become legends for taking their

Metallica and Lou Reed have joined forces for a new record called Lulu which will arrive in stores November 1. I’m still trying to decide which side of the genius-madness fine line this idea rests on. It seems a logical pairing in one sense and the most preposterous idea I’ve heard this side of New Coke in another. No matter, the two legendary forces have come together to record an album of music that originally began as a project to re-record some of Lou Reed’s more obscure material before becoming an album of all new music. That could have been

Noel Gallagher was once famously asked in an interview to sum up Oasis in one word. His answer: “Me.” If you accept the premise he was the sonic architecht and brains behind the outfit — and I do — it should be no surprise the first single from his High Flying Birds LP mines his previous Oasis work. The A-Side “The Death Of You And Me” draws from his whimsical side as evidenced in “The Importance Of Being Idle” from Don’t Believe The Truth. He also once again dips into his love for big arrangements and Burt Bacharach something he demonstrated on the Oasis

I love it when a plan comes together and it almost did. I’m working on a review of Noel Gallagher’s first single “The Death Of You And Me” from his forthcoming Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds when what do I see: KROQ is streaming another track from the album called “If I Had A Gun.” Ideally, this would have come tomorrow so you’d have already read my review or could be reading it now, then streaming “Gun.” Noel didn’t check with me. How very Noel of him and God bless him for it. I’ve now heard “Death,” “Gun,” and the

Boom is the first studio album in seven years from Grammy-winning producer/songwriter Tom Hambridge. His producing credits include Grammy-winning records for Buddy Guy as well as work with Steve Cropper, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Johnny Winter, and Susan Tedeschi. His songs have been performed by Guy, Meatloaf, Delbert McClinton, Gretchen Wilson, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Van Zant brothers, and Winter. Hall of Famer Buddy Guy referred to Hambridge as the “white Willie Dixon,” referring to the prolific tunesmith who managed to write and/or copywrite a host of songs that were huge hits for blues artists at Chess Records and continue

It seems weird to spend as much time talking about a two-minute moment on the DVD where Adamn Duritz talks to the audience about one of the songs from August rather than the song itself but it reminds me of a dream I had. I had the pleasure of talking to him about the masterful Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings record and many other topics (Part 1 and Part 2) and he couldn’t have been more gracious for the hour we spent talking about that album, his music, and his personal struggles. I’ve replayed that conversation in my head over

I’m occasionally reminded there have been only a handful of  great debut records in pop music history and I gladly throw Counting Crows’ August & Everything After into that conversation. It was remastered and expanded a couple years ago with bonus tracks and a second disc featuring a live show recorded in Paris at the end of the August tour in 1994.   Timelessness is one measure of an album’s greatness and this package gives us an uncommon way to measure the timelessness of August by presenting the album live in its entirety, performed by a group of musicians who

Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All” will be webcast tomorrow (Aug. 30) from her web site before being released digitally Sept. 5, all in anticipation of her fifth studio album Stronger, which will be released Oct. 25. Stronger follows the hugely successful All I Ever Wanted. Fans can RSVP at Clarkson’s site and hear “Mr. Know It All” at 5:30 EDT. The single will immediately go to radio after this special web premiere before the digital release at the expected retailers (iTunes, Amazon, etc.). Little else about the record is officially known right now — no official tracklisting or

A great thing about re-issuing classic albums is it gives writers born a generation or two too late to have weighed in on them the first time a chance to admire them with some semblance of timeliness because let’s face it: what is left to be said about Dark Side Of The Moon or Abbey Road at this point? Who but a blogger would be convinced they need to be heard on the subject of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? There’s not much left to be said about the greatness of Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues. It’s been inducted into the

Jimmie Vaughan  Plays More Blues, Ballads & Favorites is the follow up to last year’s Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites and represents a warp-speed return for the guitarist who previously took an eight-year break between recording projects. More is a flawed and but enjoyable album, beset by some predictable pitfalls for a project of its kind. The ice is thin for an artist when doing a “standards” collection. It’s a challenge to balance fidelity to a classic, beloved song and infusing it with a creative fire that raises it above being another rehash. Vaughan falls into the trap of staying too close

Just A Dream is the follow-up to Moreland & Arbuckle’s 2010 release Flood, their second set since joining Telarc. Despite relentless worldwide touring, guitarist Aaron Moreland said the band took more time in the studio, sweating the details, rather than setting up in one room and going for broke in just one or two takes. The results feel more substantial and polished than its predecessor but without sacrificing too much of the rawness vital to their sound. The album is more a continuation than a bold new direction, leaving the success and failure largely to the quality of the material. First

It’s been a decade since T Bone Burnett’s brilliantly executed soundtrack to The Coen Brothers’ masterpiece O Brother, Where Art Thou? became an unexpected commercial and critical hit with fans, introducing the unsuspecting public to Americana, roots, bluegrass, folk, and blues. The 10th Anniversary of the set is being celebrated with a remastered edition that now sports a second disc of songs that could easily have fit with the well-known first disc. Kansas roots/blues duo Moreland & Arbuckle have a new album out this week, their second for Telarc. They get an assist from legendary Stax session man Steve Cropper

Ryan Adams’ latest retirement is over – again or still, I can’t honestly remember which at this fucking point – and he’s releasing a new album titled Ashes & Fire on October 11 through his own PAX-AM label. Who has retired more times: Ryan, Michael Jordan, or Brett Favre? We hear rumors Colts’ owner Jim Irsay is in Brett’s hometown with Peyton Manning’s neck bothering him (my guess, it’s a little too red and been stuck up his ass a little too long but that’s just me and I can’t see how Favre would improve matters any). I’ve clearly digressed. Ashes

Back by popular demand, it’s Gary Clark Jr. I don’t know if I’ve ever started an internet phenomenon or craze but we’re going to try with Gary Clark Jr. Jordan Richardson turned us all on to him and pretty much every member of the BlindedBySound family has done some sort of backflip over him. Our readers have also responded with a resounding “Amen!” so we’re going to see if we can help make this man rich and famous. I posted a performance by Clark and his band at the Dave Matthews Caravan in Chicago. Well, here’s another well-filmed clip from

Tab Benoit makes a huge leap this week back into the Top 5 and Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator continues its hold on the top spot. Tracy Nelson’s Victim Of The Blues moves up a couple slots to #2 with Hot Tuna and Terry Hanck replaces Gregg Allman in the Top 5. I like so many of the records on the chart. I haven’t listened to some of them since I reviewed them but seeing them all here makes me want to go back and revisit them, and I will if I ever get caught up on the stack of review

The inspiration for Tracy Nelson’s Victim Of The Blues is springs from an oft-held discussion among blues fans and purists. It’s a conversation I’ve participated in many times and the riddle at the heart of it is one I’ve not yet solved for myself. Nelson toured as part of a blues revue, played the summer festival circuit, and was surprised by what she heard. She listened to the contemporary acts working the scene and found their sound bore little resemblance to the songs she remembered hearing and singing when she got her start in the ’60s. It should be noted

I’m often surprised at what’s going to “click” when it comes to something we publish here at BlindedBySound. Gary Clark Jr. is just another obscure artist in the relatively early stages of his career, looking to make a name for himself. Why should a review of a 4-song EP get anyone’s notice? It did get noticed, though, by readers and commenters alike. It got my attention! I have never met my buddy Jordan Richardson but I could practically see his head explode as he listened to this EP and that feeling of spontaneous combustion was contagious. All of us here

I first became aware of the case of The West Memphis 3 through a benefit album that coincided with a documentary about three young people were controversially convicted of the brutal killings of three 8-year old Cub Scouts in 1993 in Arkansas. I’m not a legal expert and while I’m known to have an opinion on a great many things, I don’t feel comfortable saying much about the guilt or innocence of Damien Echols (36), Jason Baldwin (34) and Jessie Misskelley Jr. (36). The reading I’ve done over the years and documentary clips I’ve seen make me wonder how on earth

Fans can now pre-order Screaming Trees’ final album directly from their label and get their copy a month before it reaches retail store shelves and online retailers. Sunyata Records is the label run by Barrett Martin, the once again former drummer of Screaming Trees, and he announced on Facebook CDs are being pressed at the factory in preparation for a full rollout. As we reported, Last Words:The Final Recordings was released August 2 as a digital-only release with a planned release on physical media planned for the fall. The CD should be available to order everywhere in October but those who pre-order

Peter Gabriel will be among the first artists to enter the 3D home video realm when he releases New Blood – Live In London on October 25. New Blood will be issued on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and standard definition DVD. Gabriel filmed this performance at the Hammersmith Apollo in London backed by a 46-piece orchestra. The set list mixes classic hits from throughout his solo career along with covers he recorded for his most recent studio album Scratch My Back. I remember how groundbreaking Gabriel’s Secret World Live tour (captured at the time on VHS) seemed to me when it

Slowly but gradually I’m getting the news of the past week updated on the site, including the Blues Radio Report.Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi continue their hold on the #1 slot with Hot Tuna, Tracy Nelson, Booker T. Jones, and Gregg Allman filling out the Top 5. It’s amazing the love people continue to have for Allman’s record, which has been a firmly ensconced in the Top 5 since its January release, spending months at #1. I see a lot of familiar names in familiar places as I skim the Top 20. There are a slew of blues releases set

The release I’m most excited about this week is the re-issue of one of the most important Chicago blues albums in history, that being Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues. There have been innumerable great bluesmen in history and Wells might not be the first name on the lips of every fan or historian but there’s no discounting just how influential and brilliant Hoodoo was at the time and remains to this day. Any self-respecting blues fan has a copy of this record and Delmark has made it worth our while to update. Ana Popovic releases her new album Unconditional.

I’m a little slow in getting to this but we’re very excited about the new Coldplay record Mylo Xyloto, due in stores in the US on October 25 (Oct. 24 in the UK). The band released the first single “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” last month and began playing the song live in festival appearances but kept mum on the new record until now. Even now, there are still many details yet to be announced. The only songs we know for sure will be on MX are “Teardrop” and the next single “Paradise,” which will be released Sept. 12. We

While we’re all getting excited about Nick Moss’ October release Here I Am, I thought it would be fun to highlight Nick’s fairer half, onstage with Ana Popovich at a festival in Colorado last week. Kate Moss is the visual wizard who has designed all of Nick’s album art for Blue Bella Records and has done CD artwork for many other artists, including several for Delmark Records (she did the packaging for the re-issue of Magic Sam’s West Side Soul and the upcoming Junior Wells Hoodoo Man Blues re-issue). In addition, she has done spot duty for The Flip Tops on bass

I wrote a review of my experience with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Here’s the set list for those of you who keep up with such things. If any of you should come across a high quality recording of the evening’s show, don’t be stingy! Set  1 Orphan Girl Hard Times Scarlet Town Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor The Way It Will Be My First Lover The Way It Goes I Wanna Sing That Rock & Roll Dark Turn Of Mind 10.  Look At Miss Ohio Set 2 No One Knows My Name (Gill harmonica and

I fear one day I’ll become one of those jaded pricks who writes about music long after I’ve fallen out of love with it and then I have an evening like I did at the Von Braun Center Concert Hall with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings and that day feels anything but inevitable. Last month I went to Nashville and watched U2 transform a football stadium into a space station with massive, sprawling, epic lighting and special effects, filling the air with anthemic songs that reached the heavens. Welch and Rawlins’ set and stage couldn’t have been more different and

Runaway is Samantha Fish’s solo debut but the second album this year to feature her voice and guitars. I wasn’t crazy about Girls With Guitars, featuring Fish, Cassie Taylor, and Dani Wilde; approaching Runaway with an open mind took some convincing. I didn’t know if Runaway was going to be good but it took about 15 seconds to tell it was at least going to be different and that was a good start. Mike Zito serves as album producer and I don’t know if it’s his presence or the absence of the gimmick that forced Wilde, Taylor, and Fish

Some of this is my fault. I own two Keb’ Mo’ records: his self-titled debut and his latest, The Reflection. No one can accuse him of finding an acre of musical ground and digging himself in. Maybe I needed a bridge between these two records. Then again, I’m not sure that’s really the problem. Mo’ is intent on blending many musical ideas together on an album with some very personal songs. It doesn’t bother me that he wants to expand beyond traditional and contemporary blues, but the adult contemporary/smooth jazz gloss that coats most of the record makes me stabby.

I’m very excited because last night the video to one of my favorite songs of 2011 got its official online premiere and we are going to share it with you. Gina Sicilia’s third album Can’t Control Myself is a terrific work of modern blues and R&B. She’s really growing as a songwriter and vocalist and the record is a quality listen from beginning to end, but it’s that beginning that is something extra special. “Addicted” is a an undeniably catchy song that won’t let go. It’s swanky, gritty, sassy, sexy, and fun. She captures the allure of danger in

Kenny Wayne Shepherd was a stringy-haired blonde, 18-year old kid when he burst onto the world stage from his native Louisiana with Ledbetter Heights. The album went platinum and a phenom was born. It’s hard to believe halfway into his second decade as a recording artist, Shepherd, 34, is now a married father of three. Where does the time go? I bring this up because I always thought of Shepherd in terms of being a kid, a child prodigy. He’s three years younger than I am! It’s time to find a new prism through which to view Shepherd. I don’t

Last week’s new release crop was light but interesting, so naturally I pulled a nutty and didn’t get it done. I’m going to retroactively refer you to Screaming Trees’ final album, available digitally, as well as new releases from Kenny Wayne Shepherd (How I Go) and Keb’ Mo’ (The Reflection). I’m doing that partially to appease my guilt for not having written about them at the time and partially because this week’s crop isn’t all that interesting to me. The big title this week has to be the collaboration between Jay Z and Kanye West. The hip hop tradition

Back to where it all began. Sort of. Okay, not really. Screaming Trees had made several records before Sweet Oblivion but that album and the single “Nearly Lost You” is where most of us got our introduction to them. I lived in the Seattle area prior to their breakthrough and if I’m not mistaken had friends who were into them. I knew the name but not much else as I was pretty entrenched into my hair and glam metal phase with only a few exceptions. Then Nirvana hits the scene and everything changes forever. Except that it didn’t. Not really.

Blues legend Duke Robillard has announced the full tracklisting for Low Down And Tore Up, his new album from Stony Plain Records due September 20. Low Down And Tore Up is an old school blues record featuring covers of, as the title suggests, some low down blues standards from the likes of Guitar Slim, Eddie Taylor, Pee Wee Crayton, John Lee Hooker, and Elmore James. Robillard said he first heard and learned some of these songs when he was as young as age 17 and he still feels their impact all these years later. The songs were cut live to

Chesapeake, her first new album in three years, October 11. Yamagata is releasing Chesapeake on her own, having collected pledges, donations, and support from her fan base through PledgeMusic, an approach being tried by more and more independent artists because the major labels have increasingly become corrupt distributors of mindless rubbish. She is offering fans a chance to get a taste of the record, offering up “Starlight” for download. We still don’t have the official tracklisting for the rest of the record or artwork but we’ll pass that along when it’s all official. The album was produced by John Alagia,

Singer/songwriter (and Blinded By Sound favorite) Shelby Lynne will release Revelation Road on her own Everso label October 18. The 11-track Revelation will be the third she’s self-released following Tears, Lies And Alibis and a Christmas collection. I haven’t heard the Christmas set but was a big fan of Tears…, particularly the incredible “Loser Dreamer.” The collection is being touted as Lynne’s most personal yet. Longtime fans who know Lynne’s biography know there is fertile ground in her past from which to draw and Lynne’s approach to singing and songwriting is almost blinding in its honesty. “The heartbeat of

Screaming Trees formed before many of their Seattle brethren and were partially swept up in the ’90s alt-rock revolution that centered on the Emerald City, yet they didn’t reach the same commercial highs. I love Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden but I’ve always been bitter about Trees’ comparative lack of success; there’s just no accounting for taste with the masses. Trees got some radio play for their single “Nearly Lost You” from their Sweet Oblivion record as well as the ubiquitous Singles soundtrack. Their follow-up Dust was a spiritual, haunting, spectacular piece of work and one of

I made good on last week’s pledge and did, in fact, check out the latest from Booker T. Jones and in a stunning upset managed to get it reviewed before this week’s edition of the Blues Radio Report and The Road From Memphis is once again a Top 5 album. Tedeschi Trucks Band seems like they’ll be in the #1 slot for awhile longer, although there are some major releases due out this week (check our NewMusicTuesday feature this week to find out about them) and more on the way in the coming weeks. Tedeschi Trucks and Jones are joined

There are days I don’t hate YouTube and this is one of them. “Progress” is my favorite track on Booker T. Jones’ latest record The Road From Memphis and because I have a Charlie Brown-esque existence filtered through an Eeyore-like outlook, I was pretty sure that meant there wouldn’t be a video for the song. What can I say? The sun shines on a dog’s ass somedays. I always lumped My Morning Jacket in with that awful group of bands like My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, and a host of other reasonably vapid acts with daft names and I dismissed

I get most of music from Amazon these days and when I looked up The Road From Memphis, I saw there were several bonus tracks available on the digital version. Can I please say right now this practice pisses me off to no end? The labels bitch and moan about how they can’t make any money from downloads. What do they do? Give digital versions of records with slimmer profit margins exclusive content. The only people surprised those assholes are losing money are, well, them. I looked at the bonus tracks and something immediately jumped out at me: Biz Markie

Everyone likes to think their music is timeless and the best, that their parents’ music was shit and whatever comes next will pale in comparison to the here and now. I wasn’t quite that bad as a kid. I didn’t think all the old stuff was shit but was convinced MY music would last. I grew up on ’80s hair metal; I was an idiot. I look back now and realize hair metal was pretty silly. I’m not sure which embarrasses me more: the look or the songs. But… I know the genre and era will forever be derided and

The shadows surrounded me today. The clouds rolled in over my head but I remained dry while storms of stress, sorrow, and worry rained down upon many around me. Empathy is a unique, confusing blessing in the human experience. It is our capacity to not only love one another but to bear and share one another’s burdens through our shared experiences with love, laughter, suffering, and loss that binds us together in a world with so many weapons of divisiveness. I look around at the people I’m blessed to have in my life and the joy they bring and I

Oh, glorious days! Delmark Records is re-issuing not only one of the most important records in its vital catalog but one of the most important records in Chicago blues history when Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues is re-issued in a deluxe edition August 16. Hoodoo Man Blues is a Grammy Hall of Fame record, a Blues Hall of Fame record, and one of the textbook examples of Chicago’s classic West Side blues style. As distinguished blues historian and the fount of all knowledge Bill Dahl notes, Hoodoo captured the essence of the live Junior Wells experience but in a studio

I suppose at some point it became “cool” to say George Harrison was your favorite Beatle because the John vs Paul thing became too obvious. I’m not going to do any sort of revisionist history; I don’t have a favorite Beatle. I love all four of our beloved Fab 4 but it’s not revisionist history when I tell you I always had more time for Harrison’s compositions — Beatles and otherwise — than some of even the most hardcore fans. Harrison’s sweet, gentle, understated way always connected with me. I loved his voice, even though it was thin and sometimes

Award-winning bluesman Nick Moss and his band The Flip Tops have announced a West Coast tour in advance of the release of a brand new album Here I Am due in October. The tour kicks off in Phoenix on August 4 and will take the band north through California, Oregon, and Washington and will also include stops in Utah, Colorado, and wind up with a date in Canada. He and Ronnie Baker Brooks will team up for the show in Littleon, CO. Moss has been busy putting the finishing touches on Here I Am, finishing the mixes at his own

Mike Zito’s Greyhound is the followup to his 2009 Pearl River, the title track of which took home the Blues Music Award for Song Of The Year. He teamed Anders Osborne, a terrific singer/songwriter in his own rite (love his American Patchwork CD) but someone who is increasingly embracing the role of producer. In addition to Zito’s Greyhound, Osborne also produced Louisiana bluesman Tab Benoit’s Medicine, released earlier this year. Artists and their publicists routinely claim a new work is the most personal from the artist to date, whether it’s actually true or not. The liner notes don’t explicitly

Forgive the internal geekiness of this but I’m very excited about this week’s iTunes Chart Watch, mostly because we’ve finally produced our own, in-house review of Adele’s blockbuster 21 and we can refer you to that if you’re one of the other five people who haven’t bought it yet. Adele isn’t the only album in iTunes’ albums charts to have been reviewed at BBS. We reviewed the new 311 record and it touched off a firestorm of comments from touchy 311 fans who weren’t prepared to confront the idea that Universal Pulse is not the greatest album of all time

We once again use our BBS Music Television series not to look back in time at songs we once adored but instead to wet our appetite for music waiting to accept our love. Yesterday we started a stampede of excitement for the new Noel Gallagher record; today, it’s Duke Robillard’s turn.  Low Down And Tore Up will be released September 20 through Stony Plain Records and features 14 songs. We have a full tracklisting (courtesy of Billboard) and the artwork for the album courtesy of Stony Plain. We also have a promo video! Low Down follows up Passport To The

It’s time once again for our weekly look at the latest CDs to hit store shelves…   Prior to the tragic passing of Amy Winehouse, the most shocking story in the music world was the lurid, chilling plot to kidnap and murder British vocalist Joss Stone. Stone is back in the news this week but for much happier reasons. She’s been freed from her label and is releasing a brand new album called LP1. She’s also part of Mick Jagger’s supergroup Super Heavy (that album is due later this year). Jimmie Vaughan follows his Plays Blues, Ballads, & Favorites with

The time has come, my children. We’ve basked in the glow of the glorious first video from Noel Gallagher’s upcoming record and now we can all pre-order Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, street date October 17. As has become the norm, it’s being offered in multiple packages. There aren’t an overwhelming number of details about the specific packages being offered through Gallagher’s web site but we’ll cover what we know. The album is being offered for preorder as a single disc set in the standard jewel case. It’s also being offered as a digital download of the same. The digital

Well it wasn’t even a question what today’s BlindedBySound Music Television was going to be then, was it? You people don’t understand- I have been waiting for a Noel Gallagher solo record for more than a decade. Before iPods, I was making mix tapes of Oasis b-sides to create the Noel Gallagher solo album. I was doing it with CD burners back when they spun at 2x. I’ve made dozens of Noel-only playlists since that glorious day God smiled upon us and sent Moses down the mountain carrying not a stone tablet but an iPod. Today we have the official

One of the highlights of my 2011 Blues Music Award experience in Memphis was seeing Eden Brent and The Bo-Keys perform at BB King’s Blues Club in Memphis. I saw Brent perform two songs at the BMAs the year prior but this was my first time really seeing her live, doing something a full set with a backing band (including producer, songwriter, guitarist Colin Linden). I sat quietly in the darkened club and watched her work the room before her set, greeting fans and friends, laughing and hugging. I expected her to open with something uptempo like “Ain’t Got No

This week’s blues chart is giving me the blues; I finally finish my long-delayed review of Marcia Ball’s Roadside Attractions and she falls out of the Top 5 for the first time in ages. I feel like I owe her an apology. If it makes her feel any better, I like Roadside. Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator is once again our #1 this week, followed by Hot Tuna, Tracy Nelson, Booker T. Jones, and Gregg Allman. I haven’t heard any of the middle three records yet but they’ve all been fixtures near the top of the chart so I’ll be looking

Pianist Marcia Ball has been a fixture in the blues scene for 40 years. Veteran artists sometimes surprise and take interesting detours but by this point in their career, most settle in comfortably to the terrain they’ve carved for themselves and play to their strengths and that’s exactly what Ball does on Roadside Attractions. All 12 songs are outfitted with Ball’s brand of Texas/Louisiana-styled blues and while that may sound static or limiting, there’s more than enough room for Ball to breathe, stretch, and keep things interesting without getting lost. Ball wrote or co-wrote all 12 songs and noted producer

Zoos of Berlin are giving away their new four-song EP Pallister Chant through Bandcamp, making it available to stream or download. Fellow BlindedBySound writer Heather first turned me on to these guys when she told me her sister was obsessed with them. I instantly conjured David Bowie in my mind before I’d heard a single note from them because I, like many, adore the so-called “Berlin Trilogy” of Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger. It was a mental reflex, an involuntary psychic reaction to the name. I listened to a few soundclips, which wasn’t enough to give me much of a read

“The Death Of You And Me” will be the first single from ex-Oasis’ songwriter/guitarist Noel Gallagher’s debut solo record and will be available August 21.  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will be released Oct. 17, the first of two solo LPs Gallagher has in the pipeline. The second, a collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous, will be released next year. According to Gallagher, High Flying Birds are not his new band. “My manager asked me who the High Flying Birds are,” he said last week at a press conference. “They aren’t anyone in particular. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is me and

Guess whose album is OUT of the Top 10 at iTunes this week? Lady GaGa. Tick, tick, tick, tick… Singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat is our surprise #1 this week, topping the iTunes Albums Chart with her latest record All Of You. Country star Blake Shelton’s Red River Blue comes in at #2 followed by the latest from Incubus, the blockbuster 21 from Adele, and Yours Truly, a collaboration between Sublime and Rome. Rockers Theory Of a Deadman also hit the Top 10 albums chart this week with their new album The Truth Is…. I got my Spotify account this week and

Beady Eye has announced a brief North American tour scheduled for the fall, kicking off in Vancouver in November. Beady Eye is Liam Gallagher’s post-Oasis band, featuring fellow former Oasis members Andy Bell, Gem Archer, and Chris Sharrock. The quartet released their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding earlier this year and have been playing shows across the UK and throughout Europe in support of the new recod. Oasis tumultuous run came to an end near the end of their Dig Out Your Soul tour when Liam and his older brother Noel had one final dustup. Beady Eye quickly

I experience souldeath every time 311 releases a new record. Of all the great bands of the ’90s I wish were still together, how is it these clowns are the one that survived? Nirvana. Screaming Trees. Oasis. They aren’t making new records. Soundgarden might. Alice in Chains does but it won’t ever be the same without Layne. There are so many others we’ve heard the last from. Who do we get stuck with? That’s right. 311, because God has a sense of humor and I don’t at the moment. We’ve got new music from They Might Be Giants, the

I never achieved the same level of Cure obsession as some of my friends. My parents didn’t let us watch MTV or even listen much to the radio when I was a kid in the ’80s. By the time the restrictions lifted, I chose sides with the hair/glam metal scene and listening to The Cure would have required my jackass friends to administer a painful assbeating. I grew out of (most) the hair metal and started discovering the brilliance of Robert Smith in the late ’80s and early ’90s, meaning I heard songs from Disintegration and Wish long before

It always makes me happy to see a lot of albums I’ve reviewed when I scan the weekly blues radio report not because I require the validation but because it makes me feel like I’m plugged in to what’s happening on the circuit. Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi’s Revelator is back #1 this week. I’m glad they’ve reclaimed the top spot the same week I rediscover the album. I know I’ve been promising this for awhile but I really am close to finishing my Marcia Ball review. Roadside Attractions has been a #1 album and remains a lock in

One of the unfortunate side effects of this little thing of mine here, this Blinded By Sound thing, is I tend to lose track of records after I review them. Keeping this outpost for music obsessives running means I spend more time listening to music in “work” mode than I do for my own enjoyment. I love the “work” but it warps your perception and alters the way music attaches itself to your memory.My process, if you can call it that, is to listen to an album intensely, immerse myself in it to analyze and consider it,  sketch some

Black Cloud is the first Davina & The Vagabonds to feature all original material but listening to the record you get the sense anything they play is going to have an air of originality to it because vocalist Davina Sowers has one of those voices that not only doesn’t sound like everybody else, it really doesn’t sound like anybody else. “Bee Sting” is a lazy, stripped down little number compared to some of the other cuts on the record. The theme of the song is taking the road less traveled, which is appropriate for a band so wonderfully out of

It hit me, this weekend, part of the reason I report the iTunes charts each week is because my nieces think it’s fun to make fun of me for listening to music they’ve never heard of and try and stump their uncle, asking him about artists they’re sure he’s never heard of. They’re impressed that I can name these people. They’re embarrassed I don’t like, well, any of them. They’re pretty sure everything I listen to is old and weird. I tell them the word they’re looking for is “awesome.” They’re not buying it. I wouldn’t have at their

Chickenfoot will release their second album September 27 and they’ve followed the pattern of another famed supergroup with the naming of their record. Chickenfoot’s new disc has been dubbed Chickenfoot III, reminiscent of The Traveling Wilburys who followed their debut Vol. 1 with Vol. 3. What is the deal with these guys? Can they just not count? Not according to frontman Sammy Hagar, who said of the new record: “it’s so good, the songs are so tight, it’s like we jumped right past having to make a second record.” Supergroups, super… confidence. The band — Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael

  I don’t speak “jazz” and for years I let that stand between me and it. Jazz was music for smart people who went beyond generic community college music appreciation courses where you learned what year Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong were born. Every music has its own language but some idioms rely more heavily on their native vocabulary, structures, and concepts than others. Jazz appealed to me but it felt impenetrable. Where do you start? At the beginning? When are you ready for Miles Davis? Do you have to pass a test to buy John Coltrane? I tried

Kenny Wayne Shepherd will release a new studio album How I Go on August 2 via Roadrunner Records. How I Go is the follow-up to Shepherd’s Live! In Chicago, an album nominated for a Grammy and won the 2011 Blues Music Award for Best Blues-Rock Album. This is his first studio effort in several years and it’s being released in multiple formats: CD, Deluxe Edition, and double vinyl LP. The Deluxe edition will be issued in digipack, featuring four songs not on the standard CD. Shepherd and his band – vocalist Noah Hunt, Chris Layton (formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s

Jimmie Vaughan is releasing a sequel to his acclaimed, Grammy-nominated 2010 release Plays Blues, Ballads, & Favorites with Plays More Blues, Ballads, & Favorites on July 26 through Shout Factory. Vaughan, founder of the iconic Fabulous Thunderbirds and a successful solo artist, has put together a collection of 14 songs written or performed by luminaries like Ray Charles, Hank Williams Sr., Jimmy Reed, Lloyd Price, and more. He recorded the set in Austin, TX and is joined again by vocalist Lou Ann Barton on three tracks. Barton provided vocal on several tracks of the first volume. The first installment was

I am a lifelong wannabe guitarist, which has led me to admire and obsessively listen to nearly every guitarist of note at one point or another. If he or she has been proclaimed a GuitarGod or Greatest Guitarist Ever, I likely own at least one of their albums. I’ve conferred those titles on many through my decades of listeing. Some of my recipients — Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Otis Rush, Duane Allman — are still worthy of being included in any discussion of the all-time greats. Some of my answers are best forgotten. After years of

I love records that evoke time and place; something Gillian Welch’s best records do with ease. The Harrow & The Harvest is the first record under her name since 2003 and it’s clear nothing has changed within the first few bars of “Scarlet Town,” and we should all thank the stars above for that. There’s been a mini folk revival in the past couple years and some nice records have emerged as a result but most of them can’t hold a candle to the many high-water moments of Welch’s career. She’s been doing this longer and knows a few tricks

All right, boys and girls, it’s New Music Tuesday and the pickings aren’t overly great this week but we should a few of these highlights so let’s get to it…As a matter of record, I love R.E.M. Love them. Love, love, love them. They are in the midst of a re-issue campaign of their classic IRS albums. The first two, Murmur and Reckoning, were both issued with vintage live performances from the respective tours for those records. Neither of the shows had been previously released. One show was complete, the other excerpted. I was happy. They offered up a

Former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach has finished his latest solo album Kicking & Screaming and has slated the multi-format package for a September 27 release date in the U.S. through Frontiers Records. The new set was produced by Bob Marlette whose previous credits include the legendary Black Sabbath as well as ’90s alt-rockers Filter, Shinedown, and Atreyu. The album was recorded with hot shot guitarist Nick Sterling and drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Riot, Iced Earth). Former Marilyn Manson/Rob Zombie cohort John5 contributes guitar on the song “TunnelVision.” The album will be available in three separate configurations: a single

We’ve been putting the same albums in a blender and jumbling the order but it’s been largely the same names and records of late. Ben Waters’ tribute to the late Ian Stewart moves back to #1, nudging aside Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator. Marcia Ball, Hot Tuna, and the latest from Booker T. Jones round out the Top 5. Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues was #1 for several consecutive weeks but finally seems to be losing steam. It’s been a hell of a run for the legendary vocalist considering it’s still in the Top 10 and the record was released in

Tommy Castro swept the 2010 Blues Music Awards in support of his Alligator Records debut Hard Believer. Among the awards he took home were the BB King Entertainer Of The Year and he and his band took home the award for Band of The Year, accomplishments that reflect a lot of time spent on touring. It’s no surprise, then, he followed up Hard Believer with a live release, Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue. The 12-track release features a slew of guest artists playing with Castro and/or his band, four of which were recorded on the 2010

I’m chasing the memories of a hectic Saturday with a lazy Sunday, only now feeling ready to go to work and the first thing on my agenda is my review of the new record for Gillian Welch- well it would be except I can’t so much as think about Gillian Welch without listening to “Dear Someone.” I was introduced to Ms. Welch by Brewster, Duke, and Saleski and despite the endorsement of those rogues, it turns out they were exactly right. Gillian Welch has a voice of pure magic. The first record of hers I bought was Time (The

I hadn’t intended to go back to the U2 well again this quickly in our daily devotion to music video but I’m pretty excited about what happened in Nashville and really excited that, like with The National and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” at the Ryman, someone had a phonecam handy and captured the moment. Even if you don’t love U2 or “The Wanderer” as much as I do, it’s pretty amazing to hear a band of their stature play a song they’ve only played one other time. It’s the type of thing obsessive geeks like me… obsess over. I know

I was introduced to Matt Schofield via his 2007 Ear To The Ground  CD and quickly fell in love with the title track. I listened to that record a lot and was convinced this was a talented kid on the way up, someone I should keep an eye on. I intended to just that but somehow lost track of him for a while. I’d listen to Ear again and intend to check out what he was up to but never held the thought long enough to do anything about it. One of the advantages to doing the weekly New

I was really excited when I saw Counting Crows are releasing a live CD/DVD/Blu-ray containing a complete performance of their landmark debut August And Everything After, an album that dates back to an important time for me and one that continues to be an important part of my musical universe. No revisionist history here, though. When Counting Crows hit the scene in 1993, I didn’t get it. Not quite. I was transitioning out of the fun, silly hair metal into the aggressive, primal grunge scene. Counting Crows didn’t fit that landscape for me and I wasn’t sure what to

Tom Hambridge will release his first studio album in seven years when Boom! hits stores August 30. The long gap between records isn’t indicative of a reclusive artist or one who has been on holiday. In the years between albums, Hambridge has produced and written songs for a slew of artists and those songs have become radio hits and the albums have brought home Blues Music Awards and Grammys. He’s also worked with George Thorogood & The Destroyers on a record that will be released this summer and Hambridge will be on tour with the venerable blues-rockers. The 11-track

Counting Crows are releasing a complete performance of their debut, August And Everything After on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray on August 30. August And Everything After – Live At Town Hall was recorded on September 18, 2007 at Town Hall in New York City and while the band has released live CDs before, this is the first live DVD of the band’s career. August And Everything After was released in 1993 and has sold more than seven million copies and stands as one of the standout records of the decade as well as one of the great debut albums of

American Idol Season 10 contestant Pia Toscano has signed a record deal with Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records and her debut single will release July 12, with her full-length debut slated for later this year. Hit doctor Esther Dean wrote Toscano’s upcoming single “This Time.” She has penned/co-produced a run of recent of hits for Rihanna, (“S&M,” “Rude Boy” and “What’s My Name”) and is featured on Nicki Minaj’s hit “Superbass.” Rodney Jerkins, himself no stranger to the Billboard charts as a producer, has worked with Toscano on three tracks and said fans should expect a “big, diva-sounding record.” It’s no

I know this series is supposed to be about music but this is Noel Gallagher and there really isn’t much in this world that’s better than Noel Gallagher, whether he’s speaking or singing. This is his press conference announcing plans for two solo records to be released in the next year, including one due in October. Pop your popcorn. NFL wide receivers have nothing on the master! October cannot get here soon enough. Let’s get plugged in!

A musician friend of mine commented after making a long drive along the West Coast that American radio is completely dead. We’ve all heard such proclamations before and while I’ve tried to ignore it, the truth is I don’t listen to music via radio anymore and I can’t remember the last time I did. My radio presets are NPR and a couple local news/talk/sports stations. I’m sure some of that’s because I’m a geezer at this point but it’s not because I’ve stopped listening to music. I buy more music than I ever have. I know, I know, I

The inevitable has finally come to pass: Noel Gallagher will release his debut solo album in October. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will be released October 17 and Gallagher will be backed by the High Flying Birds when he tours to promote the record being released on his own label, Sour Mash Records. While Gallagher was coy about his desire to do a solo record throughout his tenure as Oasis’ chief songwriter, lead guitarist, and occasional vocalist, many fans of the band have been waiting for this day for a very long time, and I am one of them.

We told you yesterday about Just A Dream, the upcoming record from roots-rockers Moreland & Arbuckle. Today we’re going to do more than talk about it, we’re going to watch and listen to the first single from the record, “Purgatory.” One of the coolest things about this video is getting to see Aaron Moreland’s custom guitar. You really have to check this thing out; it’s a handcrafted four-string instrument, with the strings stretched across a cigar box. One bass string feeds into a bass amp, the other three guitar strings feed into a guitar amp. It’s one of those

Aaron Moreland and Dustin Arbuckle will release Just A Dream, the followup to their 2010 release Flood on Telarc records. Moreland & Arbuckle toured extensively for 15 months following the release of Flood and had a new approach in mind when they returned to the studio. “Everything we’ve done in the past was set up in one big room and recorded in a couple days,” said guitarist Moreland. “On this record, we spent far more time and our quality control was far more stringent than it’s ever been.” Moreland assures fans the grit and rawness of previous records is still part

Switchfoot will release Vice Verses on September 27, the follow-up to their acclaimed, Grammy-winning Hello Hurricane. The San Diego quintet – Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas, Drew Shirley – recorded the majority of the set in their home studio with sessions overseen by producer Neal Avron (Weezer,Linkin Park) and executive producer Mike Elizondo, who helped the band finish Hello Hurricane. Vice Verses is being touted as a more eclectic effort than its successful predecessor. Songs from Hello Hurricane were used throughout the college football season last year on ESPN and ABC, in particular “The Sound (John

I don’t have a clue what a lot of my favorite songs are about. I know the melody and memorized the words and have a sense of the mood or spirit but the literal meaning? No idea- or at least not a very good one. “Pretty Noose” is a tune I dug from the first time I heard it because, A) I love Soundgarden and B) there’s one line in the song that Cornell may have intended one way, but I’ve taken the liberty of making that line work for me. “I Don’t Like What You’ve Got Me Hanging From”

It’s Independence Day in the United States of America and I thought hard and searched high and low for the right song and video to commemorate the day. There were obvious choices like Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park” or a pair from Bruce Springsteen, “Independence Day” and “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” I’m not a big Chicago fan and I haven’t been able to listen to Bruce since Clarence Clemons passed away last month. Besides, “Independence Day” isn’t really about the 4th of July and “Sandy” will forever be tied to another late E Street Band member, Dan

Talking Heads have a concert film called Stop Making Sense. I’m not a big TH fan but I’ve always loved that phrase. Welcome to a snapshot into my world. I don’t know if it was fate or coincidence but the time came when that was the right song for me, but of course the story makes no sense. Most of us who obsess over music inevitably tie songs, bands, and albums to specific memories and sometimes to specific people. In most instances, there’s a specific reason for it. There are the love songs and breakup songs, the records we spent

Florence + The Machine showed no signs of being intimidated opening for megastars U2 in front of a stadium filled with people who’d never heard of them in Nashville last night. The celebrated British band made themselves a hard act to follow, performing seven songs from their acclaimed debut and one slated for the followup. The highlight of the show came early as they launched into a spirited “Drumming Song.” It’s my favorite track on Lungs and despite the heavy use of electronic elements, it came off well onstage. That’s perhaps the biggest, most pleasant surprise about Florence +

U2 made their first appearance in Music City since December 1981 and for two hours they made up for lost time, delivering a transcendent, magical performance for the ages that left me exhausted, exhilarated, and transformed. It’s hard to imagine 30 years passing without a trip through Nashville by a band that has embraced America the country, and as Bono said repeatedly last night, the idea. Also amazing is last night wasn’t supposed to happen at all! The current leg of the tour was supposed to happen last year but emergency back surgery for Bono forced a postponement. That

And then the moment arrives… Is there anything better than the day of a show? Does anything beat the anticipation and excitement of the moments before the band hits the stage? The awe and wonder of it all? In a few short hours, we will hit the road for Nashville to see U2 on the final leg of their recordbreaking 360 tour. I’ve seen the show once, as has fellow BBS writer Stephanie. She wasn’t plussed by her experience. I expect my reaction will be different. I liked the show in Atlanta, even if I did get played out when

I expected Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator would top the blues radio chart when I saw it doing so well in the weeks leading up to its release. It’s out now and it continues gaining momentum, culminating in the #1 slot this week. Marcia Ball slips a spot to number two, followed by Hot Tuna, former number one Gregg Allman, and the latest from Booker T. Jones. Steve Miller Band’s Let Your Hair Down hadn’t been a factor on the charts of late but it makes a comeback this week, joining recent releases from Tommy Castro, Tab Benoit, and Rory Black.

I’ll be taking in my third U2 show and second on the 360 tour tomorrow. There was no chance I was going to miss them when they were coming closer than they’d ever been (previous shows were in Lexington, KY and Atlanta) regardless of who was opening for them but I was intrigued when I learned said opening act would be Florece + The Machine. I’d heard of them but knew very little about them other than they were causing a bit of a stir in the UK as all new UK bands do (see: Arctic Monkeys, etc) but had

We have another new release from the Blues Music Awards Best New Artist Debut Class of 2010. MonkeyJunk took home that award for their Tiger In Your Tank CD and recently released their follow-up To Behold. Greg Nagy was among the ’10 nominees for Walk The Thin Line and he’s now issued a new record Fell Toward None. Several listens to left me conflicted about the production and sound design. Nagy is to be lauded for not cranking the volume, doing a Hendrix impression, and calling it “blues.” The muted sound gives the music a little too much sheen in

Following up on yesterday’s news out of Camp Wilco, we are pleased to report their new album The Whole Love will be released through the band’s new label Sept. 27. The Whole Love is the follow-up to the band’s self-titled release. Equally thrilling is a run of tour dates for the fall that will take the band overseas as well running them through a slew of US shows, primarily in the eastern US. Perhaps most thrilling of all: two nights at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, which as everyone knows, is God’s favorite room. I don’t know if I can

I never got around to reviewing The Gutter Twins Saturnalia record when it was released despite my obvious, abiding love for the dark genius of Mark Lanegan. I spent hours listening to this collaboration with Greg Dulli and was spellbound by the mysteries they weaved into those songs. I get to partially correct an oversight today by talking about one of my favorite songs from that record, filing it in the “Better Late Than Never” department. I’ve been in love with the gravely rasp and growl of the great Lanegan for better than 15 years now; he never disappoints

One of the latest gimmicks of the music industry is packaging extraneous “stuff” to CDs as they’re released under the guise of increasing “value” to would-be buyers. Of course they want to charge more for these editions, thus undercutting their point but that’s going to be a topic for another day. One common extra is a DVD that often has a short documentary on the “making” of an album. If you’re like me, you probably don’t watch them or you don’t watch them until well after you’ve listened to the album because the music is the reason I bought it

If you follow the iTunes Music Store charts closely enough – for example, say you do a weekly series wherein you report the top selling singles and albums – you notice there are certain types of artists or records that are bound to do well. The young, hip hop, beat-driven pop is always going to be a seller and there is also a loyal contingent of indie lovers out there. All that is on disaply in this week’s chart where both Bon Iver and Matt Nathanson have landed in the Top 10 albums, Iver taking the top spot from

We just had a near-miss with an asteroid and I got to thinking about that horrible movie Deep Impact, whose only good idea was making Morgan Freeman the President of the United States. The premise of this idiotic movie was that an asteroid was going to smash into the earth, destroying the bulk of civilization and killing most of the population. The president made a concerted effort to usher the best and brightest minds into the limited number of safe areas and bunkers in order to recreate and rebuild what is about to be destroyed. If that sounds interesting to

Our pals at Yellow Dog Records posted a link to this yesterday and I couldn’t pass up another chance to tell you all how much I love Eden Brent and her Ain’t Got No Troubles album. I heard a lot of great music last year but there are a small handful of releases that stood above the rest: The National’s High Violet, Nick Moss’ Privileged, and Eden’s Ain’t Got No Troubles. There were a lot of other great records but when I look back on 2010, those are ones I’ll remember most. The first time I heard this song, I

It’s hard to imagine there’s something to celebrate on a day Taking Back Sunday, Insane Clown Posse, and Limp Bizkit are all threatening us with new music but allow me the honor of pointing you in the direction of Gillian Welch’s first new album in seven years The Harrow & The Harvest. I preordered my copy and it arrived a day early in what amounts to a rare stroke of good luck for me. It is a scrumptious, beautiful record and we’ll discuss it in fuller detail soon but this is clearly the crown jewel of New Music Tuesday.

Nashville-based folk popsters Tin Cup Gypsy are prepping for a run of East Coast dates in July, beginning with a stop in Washington DC. The quartet is touring in support of their January release Calico. The band’s distinct sound comes from their three vocalists — Jordan Lawson, Cassandra Lawson, and Johanthan Lawsom — and the instrumental mix the three provide in the form of violin, mandolin, concertina, and guitar. They are backed by drummer Tyler “Hair Polomalu” Oban. Here are the details for their upcoming July tour:  07/08/11 Tin Cup Gypsy in Washington DC at Hill Country DC 07/13/11

We shared the good news that Screaming Trees are giving their fans a going away present in the form of one final album which they recorded in 1998-99 but hadn’t mixed or mastered for release… until now. We now have have more details about the record, including the artwork and the tracklisting. Multi-instrumentalist Barrett Martin produced the band’s self-financed final sessions and has now, with the help of famed producer Jack Endino (Nirvana’s Bleach, Mark Lanegan’s The Winding Sheet), mixed the records and prepared them for their official first release. The collection will be made available first in digital formats

How many “Monday” jokes do you think you’ll hear from your co-workers or read on Facebook or Twitter today? The same number as last week and you’ll hear and make them every week until your last Monday because Monday begins another series of five days spent doing shit we wish we weren’t. In JoshSpeak, we call this a form of souldeath. Most of us didn’t wind up with the life we dreamed we’d have and we spend our days reconciling that. Some create contentment and happiness for themselves in spite of that while the rest of us are fumbling

Someone at VH-1 is gonna get their ass fired for this, I swear it. I was flipping channels about a month ago and happened past the network and — wait for it — there was a video being played. I had to stop; it didn’t matter what the video was, I was at least going to acknowledge this anachronism! Anachronism- that’s a good word for this because the video in question was title track from The Civil Wars’ debut record. The video is filmed in black-and-white and apparently this “band” is actually a duo, harmonizing over an acoustic guitar riff.

Got To Get Back! is a modern classic, a tour guide through one of America’s greatest music cities. You listen to this record and it becomes clear: Memphis had it all! Sam Phillips and Sun Records brought you blues, rockabilly, and a distinct brand of country music. Stax brought soul-drenched R&B and blues, and you taste all of it in ample portions on Got To Get Back!. You hear Booker T. & The MGs on a track like “Jack and Ginger.” “Cauley Flower” evokes the Aretha Franklin hit “Think.” Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite, another man with deep Memphis roots,

I’m not old enough to have grown up watching The Twilight Zone but I did catch a few episodes in reruns and one that stuck with me is the episode involving a shy bank employee who wanted nothing more than the time to read an ever-expanding list of books that fascinated him. One day while working in the vault, TheBomb drops. Everyone around him dies but he’s shielded from the blast by the strength of the vault. He walks around the decimated town and finds the ruins of the town’s library and the books have miraculously survived nuclear winter. Just

Marcia Ball and Gregg Allman have returned to the top two slots of the Blues Radio Report after a one-week takedown by Ben Waters’ tribute to the late Ian Stewart. They are joined in the Top 5 by that tribute record, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the late Solomon Burke and De Dijk’s Hold On Tight. Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi’s combined effort Revelator is a decent bet to take the #1 slot at some point. It’s an excellent listen and one that generated a lot of interest before its release. The record is now out, the band is touring, and

London-based singer/songwriter Aaron McMullan has released The Blackmill Rd EP as a free download in anticipation of his eagerly anticipated second album from ExLibris Records, Angus. All three tracks on the LP were written by McMullan and it features one track planned for Angus and a pair of non-LP tracks. “Blackmill Rd” is the one likely destined for Angus and features McMullan on vocals and guitar with assistance from Ryan H. Fleming (Electric Guitar), Andrew Gardiner (Keys), and Andrew Warmington (Trumpet). “N15” is again McMullan on vocals and guitar and Andrew Gardiner (Keys), Ryan H Fleming (Banjo, Percussion), Andrew Warmington

I still remember the day I learned Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin had launched a label, beginning a solo career and an excursion into a musical world very different from the riff-heavy, guitar centric world of rock as defined by early-’90s Seattle. I remember the excitement of dipping my toes into a sonic universe well beyond my typical exploration. I remember the day the album arrived in my mailbox, looking at the artwork of The Painted Desert, thinking how audacious it was to launch a solo career by naming the first track on one’s debut solo album “Muhammad Ali.” I

I’ve spent hours thinking about this song and it still draws me in every time. I love peeling the layers one after another, contemplating all the ways the story of a life so different from mine can feel so close and relevant. The character in this song feels himself losing connection to the things that matter to him, the things that give him shape, context, and identity. He left his family to chase significance. He’s in crisis now because he’s drifted so far from his family that he can remember packing a picture of them but can’t remember why. He’s

It’s been 20 years and not much has changed; just as word becomes official the band are about to reach into their archives, this other band from Washington state you might remember is about to release a 20th anniversary of some album called Nevermind. The Screaming Trees will are ready to write the final chapter of their incredible musical story when they release Last Words: The Final Recordings digitally on August 2; a CD/vinyl release is planned but still being finalized. The members of Screaming Trees had their ups-and-downs, culminating in a hiatus in the mid-’90s. Released from their contract

What in the name of Steve Perry’s ass is going on here? How in the hell did compilations by Journey, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Marley make the Top 10 on iTunes Albums Chart? Don’t get me wrong: everyone loves The Chairman and Marley is indeed a legend (and I won’t even get started on Journey) but I have no explanation for what’s going on with our albums chart this week. It’s only fitting the #1 album this week is Hell: The Sequel because that’s how I feel about these charts on a weekly basis. I’m not going to proclaim

Nominations for the 2011 Blues Blast Music Awards have been announced and many of the names from the 2011 Blues Music Awards are nominated here as well. It’s up to you to decide if the results will be the same. Buddy Guy is once again nominated multiple times and with the October awards ceremony being held at his club, Legends, it’s hard to imagine he’s not going to win more hardware. Beyond Guy, we have names like Nick Moss, Eden Brent, Karen Lovely, Charlie Musselwhite, Magic Slim, Robin Rogers, Bob Corritore and more from the BMA nominees. We’ve also

To Behold is the follow-up to Canadian trio MonkeyJunk’s Blues Music Award-winning debut Tiger In Your Tank. Tiger took home the award for Best New Artist Debut, meaning Steve Marriner, Tony D, and Matt Sobb are trying to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump on Behold, which they largely do. To Behold is a lean, 10-song, 44-minute outing opens with a strong trio of songs that play to the band’s strengths. MonkeyJunk is at its best when they keep their brand of contemporary blues upbeat and uptempo. “Mother’s Crying” mixes contemporary topical allusions with a jumpin’ pace and a crisp, biting

It’s the first day of summer today but it feels more like Christmas with all the albums coming out that we have to discuss today. No time for love, Dr. Jones, let’s get right to business and start looking at some of the highlights: Let’s begin with some titles already reviewed here at BBS. First up, we have the release of a ZZ Top live album from 1980. The DVD companion to this is longer but we now have a set of the little band from Texas before they got famous in the ’80s for slick sounds and fancy

Ahhh, yes, welcome to our daily edition of BlindedBySound Music Television. Today’s selection is a favorite of many years and I was surprised to find a version we could watch together. The world sucks just a little more because not enough of you know about the songwriting prowess of Joe Pernice. He has a song called “Theme To An Endless Bummer” that sums up a portion of my life I like to call the last 37 years- well, the title does. Speaking of titles, those of us old enough to remember reading the comics in the Sunday paper ought to

Can feelings be wrong? You can’t argue with them. You can’t persuade them. They spring forth, flourish, and color our perceptions without permission. You can tell your feelings they’re wrong, that they’re based on distortions and deceptions but good luck with that. Feelings don’t listen and they don’t behave. If you’re lucky, the heart forever remains a child. I’m a music fan who has spent his life listening to and learning as much as I can but in the end, I can’t play a lick. I try to listen my way through and work it all out but sometimes the

We have a winner and it seems an unlikely source considering how long it’s been out in stores but the Ben Waters-led tribute to the late Ian Stewart has toppled Marcia Ball and Gregg Allman, our longtime residents at the top of the chart, to claim the crown this week at blues radio. The new Tommy Castro & Friends set recorded on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise has made a move on this week’s charts and see the return of Big Head Todd & The Monsters’ tribute to Robert Johnson. With a couple big blues titles due to release

I don’t know how I’m going to write this, other than with the aid of the glass of wine next to me and a belief that saying nothing isn’t an option, not when someone who was such a part of something that has mattered so much to me left before we were ready to let him go. I showered, shaved, and rode with my wife to a friend’s house tonight. Without giving it much thought, I reached for a shirt to wear: my Bruce Springsteen ‘Born To Run’ t-shirt, the one I bought the last time I saw the band

We’re going to double up on The National, doing two videos from them in a row because I love them and because I never got around to actually reviewing High Violet so I’m going to make up for it by talking about them and that album over and over again.  Those of you who know me know I obsess about set lists at the shows I attend, hoping to hear songs I’ve never heard by the handful of bands I deem worthy of seeing more than once. When my trusty sidekick 11 and I decided to see The National three times

The irony of the new BlindedBySound Music Television features is that I’ve long had a disdain for YouTube, mostly because all anyone did was put stupid shit up there and people would constantly tell me I needed to see this or needed to see that under the guise of being funny, which it never fucking was. I’ve done a partial about face or put another way: “Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene and I’m doing the best that I can…” One of the great things about YouTube that I’ve discovered is the chance to re-live moments. The

There are a few of us on this site who are unapologetic fans of Oasis and the great Noel Gallagher. There are so many songs he’s written that I love but this cover of The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” is one of my go-to Noel Gallagher moments. The video here is audience filmed but it’s not too bad. If you want to hear this song in much better quality but without the video, it can be downloaded from iTunes and is highly recommended. I’m not resident Smiths obsessive — that title belonging to BBS writer

The great Billy Boy Arnold is one of the featured artists on the new Chicago Blues: A Living History – The (R)Evolution Contiunes and a personal favorite of mine. This clip you’re about to see is Billy Boy Arnold performing a song he recorded on the first Living History package. It’s a Tampa Red Song called “She’s Love Crazy” and it’s fantastic. Fellas, I think I speak for all of us when I say this is a “problem” we’d all like to have. Arnold got harp lessons from the original Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Williamson, and you can hear

Welcome to the next edition of Music Television @ Blinded By Sound, our unending quest to bring image and sound to our readers. Today’s clip is a couple years old but it’s a favorite of mine and I just had to share it. The first time I heard Nick Moss & The Flip Tops play was their Blues Music Award-nominated album Live At Chan’s (Vol. 1) and one of my favorite cuts on that album is Nick and the guys playing an old Freddie King classic “I Love The Woman.” This version is from the Kalamzoo Blues Festival in 2007 and

Remember when we were kids and we could want our MTV and MTV meant Music Television? Seems a long-ass time ago, which means we are all getting old as Hell. I don’t know if you caught the story but MTV officially stopped calling itself Music Television a few years back going instead with the three letters. If they don’t want to be Music Television anymore, what the hell? I will! So… welcome to Blinded By Sound Music Television. I’m going to scour the ‘net, YouTube, and other sites out there on the web daily (or as close to it as

Veteran rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers will release I’m With You, the follow-up to the bloated 2006 double album Stadium Arcadium, August 30 once again joined by a new guitarist. Josh Kinghoffer replaces longtime guitarist John Frusciante, who has been in and out of the band over the years. Klinghoffer has toured with the Chili Peppers over the years but I’m With You marks his recording debut and he also lent a hand with the songwriting process for the 14-track new album. I’m sad to see Frusciante leave as he seemed crucial to the band’s surprising career renaissance from funk-rock

More music about which we are really, really excited. We told you about the upcoming release from The Bo-Keys, Got To Get Back, their first new record in seven years. Well, the lads have put together a little video about the making of their new record and it has already gotten some notice from the folks at USA Today. It comes out next week and we cannot wait to get our hands on it. In addition to the band’s lineup, there are guest spots from Charlie Musselwhite, Otis Clay, and Percy Wiggins.  I first heard the band in Memphis during

I know the Lady Gaga phenomenon is alive and well but am I the only one shocked she hasn’t completely dominated the iTunes chart since the release of Born This Way? I find her reasonably insipid but she does have great taste in saxophone players and it’s been very sweet the way she has rallied her fans to send good thoughts to ailing Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, who played on her album. We’re all pulling for him to get well soon. Adele is #1 on singles and albums this week and our good friends Coldplay (okay, so I’ve never

All the talk about Nick Moss’ upcoming Here I Am in October and hearing a likely first single from the album has me jonesing for some Chicago blues, something that was on display last week at the Chicago Blues Festival and Nick was part of that again this year. One of these days, I’m going to make my way it even though blues guru Bill Dahl says the event has declined in recent years. Even if the event has lost some luster, Bill, The Fount Of All Blues Knowledge, and I agree that catching Nick Moss live is always worthwhile. Moss played

Keb Mo is releasing a new album August 2 called The Reflection and you can download the first single, “The Whole Enchilada,” from iTunes. He is joined by India.Arie, Vince Gill, Marcus Miller, Dave Koz, and David T. Walker for this new set which will blend KM’s familiar blues style with elements of jazz, country, R&B and soul. It’s an interesting, exciting group of guest artists and we love us some Keb’ Mo’ around here, so we’re excited about this one. Here is the complete tracklisting for the record: 1.    The Whole Enchilada2.    Inside Outside3.    All The Way4.    The Reflection

I can’t help but think of Pinetop Perkins when I listen to Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, not because of their shared instrument of choice – piano – or because Wayne’s style reminds me of the way Perkins played but because of both played and toured extensively before getting much in the way of recording opportunities. Like many before him, Wayne takes advantage of Stony Plain Records’ not-so-secret weapon on An Old Rock On A Roll. Duke Robillard has recorded most of his most memorable albums for the Canadian label and he’s also acted as a talent scout and producer.

I hate falling for the obvious but three 20-something women on the front cover of an album and call it Girls With Guitars, it’s clear marketing is on someone’s mind. So you try and put that behind you because Dani Wilde, Samantha Fish, and Cassie Taylor are all three talented artists and surely that will triumph over chicanery by TheMachine. The packaging is irrelevant; the music is what matters. The first track on the album is a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.” It’s a straightforward, uptempo arrangement of the song but once you get over the novelty of women

We can hardly contain ourselves this morning at BlindedBySound because one of our favorites, Gillian Welch, has a new record coming out and she’s announced the first leg of her North American tour. Not only that, but someone forgot to tell her that Huntsville is a vast wasteland and she has booked a show here! Pre-orders for The Harrow & The Harvest can be placed at Welch’s web site and as is the trend, the album is being offered in three configurations. Unfortunately, none of them include vinyl… yet. Welch’s site assures us vinyl editions of this and her other

There is no June Swoon when it comes to new music- it’s another week loaded with good stuff you need to add to your collection. First up, we’ve been talking about Pat Metheny’s new CD What It’s All About a lot over the past couple weeks and now you can find out what it’s all about for yourself. Check out my review, which features a video of Metheny performing one of the songs from the album. I think you’re going to like this one. I certainly did. Paul McCartney is reissuing McCartney and McCartney II, both remastered at Abbey

It is with sadness and concern we report the unhappy news that Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, 69, suffered a serious stroke this past weekend in Florida. Clemons’ saxophone is a fixture of the E Street Band and has been for 40 years. There are conflicting reports of the severity of the stroke and Clemons’ current condition but there are reports two separate brain operations were required following the stroke and that he is in serious but stable condition. Longtime readers of this site as well as my work at Blogcritics and elsewhere know I’m a hopelessly devoted E Street Band

In my effort to keep my finger on the pulse of the blues world, we once again examine both the BluesMobile and RootsMusicReport blues radio charts. As a result, we have two #1 albums this week: Hot Tuna and Marcia Ball. I’ve yet to hear either of these records, so I’ve got some homework ahead of me.  Blues Mobile has Hot Tuna at #1, followed by Warren Haynes, Tab Benoit, Joe Bonamassa, and Ball. Over at RMR, Ball is #1 followed by Ben Waters’ Ian Stewart tribute, Gregg Allman, Solomon Burke and De Dijk, and Rory Block. Elsewhere on the

How do you take a song that is based on six strings and two voices and interpret it on a 42-string guitar, no voice, and maintain the song’s identity and intimacy? Why would you even try? What would possess a man to want a 42-string guitar? What would make “The Sound Of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel feel like an ideal candidate for this kind of treatment? That is the imagination, creativity, and virtuosity of Pat Metheny. There are some who might mistake the intimacy of these solo acoustic recordings as Muzak for elitists or just plain dull. If you

One of the first things you notice before you even get to listen to a note of Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator is the sheer size of the band pictured on the front of the CD. We’re used to rock trios, quartets, and quintets. We’ve seen some bands grow beyond that- The E Street Band, for instance. An 11-piece rock band? Where’s the template for that?  Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi said the majority of these songs began as spare, acoustic sketches that evolved when presented to the band in the studio. From that perspective, the material did grow in scope

Two of the more celebrated bluesman of the 21st century, multiple Blues Music Award-winner Watermelon Slim and Super Chikan, have paired up for Okiesippi Blues, a record whose title pays homage to the respective home states of these two artists. Slim and Chikan are both idiosyncratic sorts, so the potential to amaze is balanced by the possibility of a train wreck. Instead we get another in the long line of stellar collaborations that does neither and the opener “Trucking Blues” demonstrates why. The dialog interspersed throughout the song quickly wears thin, leaving us with a repetitive guitar riff with a

Pat Metheny has released a YouTube video discussing his upcoming Nonesuch Records release What’s It All About. This new album finds him reinterpreting and reimagining 10 songs that have been of particular importance to him. Some songs are well known, like Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound Of Silence” while others might be a bit more obscure to mainstream audiences. The album is a solo acoustic effort but that doesn’t mean bland noodling on an ol’ six string. First off, Metheny doesn’t do bland noodling. Second… have you ever heard of a 42-string guitar? Wanna see one? You know you do!

Barrett Martin Group has released the full tracklisting and artwork for their upcoming album Atlas: Latitude. The album will be released digitally June 21 witha companion release slated for December. BMG’s debut will feature 13 songs performed by Martin, Dave Carter, Joe Doria, Kevin Hudson, Paul Fischer, and Ben Thomas. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck contributes acoustic guitar “Temples Bells” and “Blue Sunrise. Noted producer Jack Endino co-produced the record with Martin. The band has already played a number of live shows in the Seattle area where they’re based. Latitudes:Atlas is streaming at Barrett Martin Group’s Facebook page. Here is the

We have a HUGE week of new releases this week and I want to talk about a lot of them so settle in and let’s revel in the joy of a loaded New Music Tuesday! First up, a guilty pleasure moment. I probably won’t buy it but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I considered it. The first concert I attended alone – well, with a friend but not my parents – was Whitesnake on the Slip Of The Tongue tour in ’89 or ’90 at the Seattle Center Coliseum. The band is releasing a live CD/DVD package

Renegade is proof that minimalist tendencies and a stripped-down approach aren’t inherently better than elaborate and ambitious constructions, Minimalism minus ideas leads to tedium, boredom, or forgettable music. Many of the tracks on Renegade establish their primary riff and rhythm quickly and that’s where they remain until the song ends. Fortunately, most of these songs are in the four-minute range so the droning doesn’t go on forever but that’s small comfort. The songs lack choruses, hooks, refrains, builds, and dynamics. Do that 13 times and you’re going to wear your audience out unless there’s something special happening in the lyrics

John “JB” Bigham, aka The Soul Of John Black, follows his 2007 release The Good Girl Blues and 2009 set Black John with Good Thang through Yellow Dog Records. It gets a little tiring to read reviews that chronicle nothing more than an artists’ influences but Bigham’s musical past is relevant to what he does as TSOJB. In addition to his work on his own, he has spent time touring and recording with the late, great Miles Davis, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Everlast, and Fishbone. He also worked with singer Nikka Costa, who appears on Good Thang as a backing

This week’s Blues Radio Report looks a lot like what we saw last week, only put on shuffle mode. The names are mostly the same but they’ve swapped places here and there within the Top 20. Marcia Ball is still #1 but Gregg Allman has slipped from #2 to #3. Harry Manx & Kevin Breit have moved up a few notches this week and Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King are exactly where we left them. I got to see the great Buddy Guy at Ryman Auditorium last week and he played tunes from his Blues Music Award-winning Living

Nick Moss will release Here I Am, their much-anticipated follow-up to the breakthrough 2010 release Privileged, in October. Here I Am will carry on the rock-fused blues and roots approach of Privileged with a new batch of songs and some new sonic ideas previously not heard on Moss’ records. In addition to the new sounds, some new players have been added to the Flip Top lineup. Guitarist/vocalist Michael Ledbetter makes his presence felt in a big way “It’ll Turn Around,” one of the first songs slated for the new set. Ledbetter gives a great harmony vocal to Moss’ lead, a

Those of you who have done me the honor of reading my work from time-to-time know when I write about concerts I attend, I begin with the set list and work my way from there. Last night’s evening with Buddy Guy and BB King at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN was an exception to my usual routine and I knew that going in. I didn’t care what got played. All that mattered was two of the legends of American music were going to take the stage in the greatest venue on earth and I wanted to be somewhere in the

As predicted last week, Lady GaGa took over the iTunes chart watch but not with the immediate dominance I expected. Born This Way is the #1 album but Adele holds onto the #1 single with “Rolling In The Deep” for one more week. American Idol winner Scotty McCreery was #1 by the end of the week but didn’t quite take the weekly title, debuting at number three. Runner-up Lauren Alaina is in at #8. On the albums front, Adele is #2 followed by Brad Paisley. Alaina and McCreery both placed their American Idol digital albums in the Top 10

I didn’t intentionally drop the ball on New Music Tuesday last week but I had trouble finding necessary inspiration in light of the fact all anyone was talking about was that plague Lady GaGa. This being the Tuesday after a major U.S. holiday, our slate is a little light but there are some big names and things you ought to know about. First up: Eddie Vedder has another solo release and this one is called Ukelele Songs. Why, you ask? Because that’s what they are, songs what have ukelele as prominent musical accompaniment. I haven’t heard the record so

We could, should, and usually start at the top of the chart but this week we are looking at #20 where Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King’s Have Blues, Will Travel re-enters the chart. We start there because I say so and it pleases me to see this album getting more life. It was higher on the charts when released last year. It’s good Texas roadhouse blues-rock. We should also point to a couple new releases that have made their presence on the chart: Stony Plains Records’ 35th Anniversary set featured previously unreleased music from slide master Robert Nighthawk, and

Former Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Tuatara drummer Barrett Martin will release new music for the first time in two years when the newly formed Barrett Martin Group releases the first entry in the “Atlas Series,” Atlas: Latitudes on June 21. Latitudes was co-produced by Martin’s longtime friend Jack Endino, the famed Seattle producer perhaps best known for helming Nirvana’s SubPop debut Bleach. Fans of Martin’s work with Tuatara and his three solo albums will recognize some names in BMG: Dave Carter (trumpet) and Joe Doria (piano, keyboards) have both worked with Martin. Carter also released an acclaimed solo album, Commitment

Jazz great Pat Metheny will release a new solo acoustic album What’s It All About through Nonsuch Records June 14. The 10-track set is the first in Metheny’s career not to feature any of the guitarist’s original compositions. Instead he has interpreted songs that have held special significance to him throughout his life, among them songs from Paul Simon, The Beatles, and Burt Bacharach. The seeds of the record were planted during his tour for a previous solo acoustic effort, One Quiet Night. “Almost every day as I worked through one well-known tune or another, various visitors or local crew

It took nearly four years, but Harry Manx and Kevin Breit have followed up their 2007 effort In Good We Trust with Strictly Whatever, an album heavy on originals playing to their strengths as songwriters and guitarists. “Looking For A Brand New World” was included in Stony Plain’s 35th Anniversary collection, demonstrating the label not only has an impressive past but has a bright present that gives hope for the future. There’s a strong feel of sunny, ’70s California pop in this duet. There’s optimism in the lyrics and the chirpy guitars accent that. “Sunny” is a Manx-sung song that

Savor this moment, kids. It may be the last time for a long time Lady Gaga isn’t #1 on either the singles or albums chart at the iTunes Music Store. Oversaturation and shameless promotion have little meaning in the 21st century but attention whores everywhere are embarrassed by Gaga’s vomitous saturation campaign. Turning the page to actual music, I let my money burn a hole in my pocket and picked up the “soundtrack” album Rome, created by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi. I’d heard about the project and thought for sure I’d skip it until learning Norah Jones and

35 Years Of Stony Plain is more than a compilation of music that has been distributed by the Canadian blues/roots independent label. It goes beyond merely chronicling the artists who have crossed their path to make a record here and there. It tells a story and presents the music in a context for listeners who may not have ever paid attention to the name of the label on the spine of a CD. It illustrates all that is magic about maverick artists making music on their terms and an independent label willing to not only allow it but in some

The Blues Radio Report in 2011 has been about dynasties. We had the months-long Gregg Allman dynasty for Low Country Blues and now it seems Marcia Ball’s Roadside Attractions is here to stay for a while at the #1 spot. Allman again follows her. Recent releases from Tab Benoit, Rory Block, and Johnny Rawls are all making their marks this week. Damon Fowler’s excellent Devil Got His Way has dropped a bit from the upper reaches where it spent so much time but remains a chart force. Future release — we’re getting close — Revelator from Tedeschi Trucks Band is also

Memphis’ The Bo-Keys will issue their first record in seven years when Got To Get Back! hits stores and online retailers June 21. Seven years is a long time between records but the band is armed with 12 new songs and some heavyweight guest performers to help re-introduce themselves. Among those making cameos on the record are Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite, Otis Clay, and Percy Wiggins. The Bo-Keys debuted some of the new songs at a showcase at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis the week of the Blues Music Awards, including “Just Chillin’.” The 12-piece band features

Okay, boys and girls, let’s talk about blues radio and what the kids are listening to. Marcia Ball remains on top with the smash hit from Gregg Allman close behind. Tab Benoit’s latest, Medicine, enters the Top 5 this week and Rory Block’s tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell enjoyed a huge surge in radio airplay on Roots Music Report’s chart. It’s also good to see soul-bluesman Johnny Rawls’ Memphis Still Got Soul making a run up the chart this week. As many of you know, I was at the BMA in Memphis earlier this month and a number of the

Adele’s 21 is back on top of the Albums Chart at iTunes and it looks like it will retain the #1 slot at Billboard as well. It’s been remarkably well received in the US and UK and is showing no signs of losing any steam. I’m surprised and disappointed to see Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light has already fallen from the Top 10. It’s such a good rock record. It sold well early on but can’t understand why it would have falled beyond the Top 10 so soon after its release. It’s been awhile since Beastie Boys released new music

It’s easy to dismiss acoustic music as mellow but it’s often incorrect as it is on Eric Bibb’s Troubadour Live! He is a thoughtful songwriter and gifted performer who could deliver a quality set of quiet, polite fare but that’s not what this is. Yes, it’s acoustic-based and intimate but there is real energy, intensity, and passion in these performances. Bibb opens on his own and gives such a beautiful performance of Guy Clark’s “The Cape.” He sings clearly with a deep connection to this song as well as his own material and the stories, themes, and people in the

Most bands proclaim themselves friends at the end of their run only to never speak directly to one another again, all future correspondence consisting of name-calling in the press. Not Toad The Wet Sprocket. Their breakup has to be the most genteel of all time, which can’t be a great shock giving their image and music. Oh, I’m sure angry words have been exchanged and feelings were hurt but the Gallagher brothers shed more bled and utter more obscenities before breakfast on a Tuesday than our friends in Toad will in a lifetime. Toad took time away and did

This week’s new release schedule is dominated by re-issues as opposed to new albums of note, but we have a few of those as well. American Idol fans seemed to like the first single from Jennifer Lopez’s new album when it was premiered on the show. Fellow judge Steven Tyler doesn’t have a solo album – yet – but is premiering a single on the show this week. Other new albums this week include a live set from acoustic bluesman Erib Bibb. Troubador Live! follows his Blues Music Award-nominated Booker’s Guitar. Troubadour features 10 live performances with Staffan Astner

Grammy-winner Tab Benoit’s Medicine is a sturdy contemporary blues collection imbued with traditional country and Americana elements, particularly those recalling Benoit’s native Louisiana. Benoit drafted fellow Louisianan Anders Osborne (American Patchwork) to co-produce, co-write, and add backing vocals and rhythm guitar. The title track opens the record and is built on a foundation of a stomping rhythm and stinging guitar leads. In addition to the overtones of addiction, Benoit uses the theme of finding healing in the music. Sometimes the best cure for the blues is the blues. Things slow down on “Sundown” and “A Whole Lotta Soul,” giving the

There’s not much point in reviewing the work of Robert Johnson. There’s plenty left to be said and learned as new generations discover these vital, timeless works but what’s left to review? My purpose isn’t to convince you how great Johnson was or why he (still) matters. This is aimed squarely at people who know and love this music and are trying to decide whether they should trade in their copy of King Of The Delta Blues Singers or The Complete Recordings in exchange for The Centennial Collection. The Centennial Collection is really an updated version of The Complete Recordings

Steve Miller Band opened the 32nd Blues Music Awards in Memphis but the night belonged to the legendary Buddy Guy, who swept all five categories in which he was nominated. Guy won Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, BB King Entertainer Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Male Artist, and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year. Guy was not the only multiple award-winner on the night. The late Solomon Burke won two awards, accepted by his daughter Candy. Charlie Musselwhite and Derek Trucks also won two awards each. In addition to the awards, there were memorable performances by

The Blues Hall Of Fame opened its doors to a new group of classic works, performers, contributors, and pioneers at a ceremony in Memphis, TN, headlined by Robert Cray, who becomes one of the youngest members. Cray, John Hammond, and Denise LaSalle were on hand to be honored for their career as performers. Cray is as soft-spoken as he is smooth as a vocalist. LaSalle, the Queen of The Soul-Blues, gave a spirited acceptance speech and told those in attendance she first fell in love with country music as a young girl. For years, the songs she wrote were

I hoped to have a few more of these 32nd Blues Music Award breakdowns written and published before the eve of the big night but real life intervened and my region, state, and community was caught up in the horrendous, tragic storms that came through Alabama. I’m blessed that no one in my family was injured or sustained catastrophic damage to their home, but we were without power for several days like hundreds of thousands of other residents. The blues is a music born of sorrow, suffering, and hardships and while I didn’t experience anything close to the worst

The traditional categories are probably my favorite BMA categories, which is why I’ve held them until near the end of my series. I love to hear artists take the blues and expand what can be done with the idiom but this is a music with a history and the artists who remain faithful to the roots help keep it strong. These are the sounds that made me a blues fan. As with the Contemporary categories, the Blues Foundation honors a male and female artist as well as an album. As with the contemporary breakdown, we’ll begin with the women.

The Instrumentalist categories remind me of my days as a hair metal fan who read hair magazines and participated in the Reader’s Poll where you voted for Best Guitarist, Drummer, Singer, and all the like. Very few other genres I know honor instrumental play the way they do vocalists, songs, and albums. I’m glad the Blues Foundation does it because so much of the blues sound is built on the instrumental foundation. Blues guitar may be the most misunderstood, overrated category and yet it’s so vital to the sound you can’t avoid or deny it. It’s also perhaps the

Paul McCartney has unveiled plans to re-issue his first two solo albums McCartney and McCartney II on June 13 in the increasingly standard myriad formats. Both albums have been remastered by the amazing sound engineers who oversaw The Beatles’ remasters at Abbey Road Studio; these same engineers also remastered the re-issued McCartney classic Band On The Run. Both albums will be issued as single discs, including just the remastered original albums. For McCartney, there will be a 2-CD set and a 2-CD/1-DVD set. The 2-CD set will include the remastered album and a second disc of rarities and previously unreleased

The Easter Bunny has one more stop to make before he heads for his vacation home in- where does the EB go to chill after making his annual run? Anyway, this week’s new releases offer up some good, good stuff and my Easter basket will runneth over tomorrow. Let’s start with a couple albums I’ve not yet ordered: Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris both have new sets out this week. I’ve been listening to Earle’s better half of late but haven’t spent much time with the man himself. Emmylou Harris’ new album is the reason I write this column

Much has rightly been made by blues fans and industry folks about Alligator Records turning 40 this year and the excellent 2-CD retrospective that commemorates it, but they are not the only specialty label celebrating an important birthday. Canada’s Stony Plain label is celebrating its 35th birthday this year and they, too, are issuing a major package May 10 to celebrate. Stony Plain is currently home to the amazing blues guitarists Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker, and Rory Block, just to name a few. They’ve made major contributions to the blues but have also issued major releases in

Davina & The Vagabonds are set to release their latest album Black Cloud June 21 through Roustabout Records. Black Cloud will be the Minneapolis-based band’s first album of all originals, which may not seem an impressive feat until you consider they’ve been playing over 300 dates per year for the last five years. You try finding time to write and record an album of all-new material on a schedule like that! The band is led by vocalist Davina Sowers, who plays piano, organ, and ukulele. She also wrote all the songs for the album. She is joined by her band

Blues Music Award-nominee Peter Parcek is releasing a digital EP on his web site and like Radiohead and other bands before him, he’s allowing his fans and listeners to name their own price for it. Pledging My Time is a four-song EP of Bob Dylan covers, available on Parcek’s web site. While Parcek didn’t choose to cover Dylan’s “Pledging My Time” for this release, the title has significance for him and the project. “We – the musicians and I – were pledging our time to try and take these songs where no one had taken them before,” Parcek says.

The blues will always be a genre known for and defined by its history, but strong roots are meaningless if good fruit doesn’t grow from them and thus the Blues Foundation presents an award to the Best New Artist Debut each year at the Blues Music Awards in addition to the historical releases. We’ve already looked categories in Contemporary Blues, Blues-Rock, Historical Release and DVD. Here are the nominees for Best New Artist Debut: Best New Artist Debut Chris O’Leary Band – Mr. Used to Be Claudette King – We’re Onto Something Matt Hill – On the Floor Peter

We have a new champion on this week’s Blues Radio Report and her name is Marcia Ball. Gregg Allman has dominated the charts since his Low Country Blues was released but this week Ball’s Roadside Attractions has overtaken him for the top spot. As you may have heard mentioned here, Robert Johnson would have turned 100 this year and the work and legacy of the icon is represented twice on this week’s charts. We have Big Head Todd & The Monsters and his Big Head Blues Club once again in the Top 5 with 100 Years of Robert Johnson. We

Welcome back to our look at the biggest songs and albums at the iTunes Music Store, the largest music retailer in the United States. It took a brief sabbatical in part because I got lazy and also because I couldn’t bring myself to feign interest in the rubbish populating these lists. Fortunately, we have some albums worth mentioning this week, and thus we return. Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light is the #1 album this week. That’s not a big surprise. They’re #1 in the UK, and may debut at #1 in the US in physical CD sales. They’re one of

The songs of Paul Simon’s So Beautiful Or So What have a tender, gentle spirit filled with bittersweet ruminations of hope from a disappointed optimist. The titles give that away: Questions For The Angels,” “Love is Eternal Sacred Light,” “The Afterlife,” “Love And Blessings,” and “Love And Hard Times.” What happens when we die? What does it mean for us in the here and now? Simon considers these questions and the nature of love and happiness. At times the answers seem within his grasp but slip through his fingers as fast as they came. When he first asks “Who believes

My ticket for the Blues Music Awards arrived in the mail today! It all feels a little more real right now; the big day is just around the corner and I can hardly contain my excitement. We’ll knock out two categories today as there are still several BMA categories I want to dissect before the awards are presented. Be sure to check out our look at the Contemporary Blues and Rock-Blues Album nominees.  Today we focus on Best Historical Release as well as Best DVD. The historical category is one of my favorites. I love it when new treasures by

The inimitable character that is Dave Stewart has put the finishing touches on a new solo album due in stores June 28. Stewart made a name for himself as one-half of The Eurythmics and has subsequently produced albums for some of the biggest names in music, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Gwen Stefani, Mick Jagger, and Bono. He’s also worked with Bob Dylan, with whom he co-wrote one of the songs on this collection. Joining him The Blackbird Diaries are Stevie Nicks, Colbie Caillat, Martina McBride, and The Secret Sisters. Stewart says he recorded the bulk of the 12-track album

The Foo Fighters are, in many respects, a band not made for these times. The era when rock bands had pop chart success with singles has been long gone.  Each album they’ve released has come with at least one bona fide hit. Rock and roll is dead, and yet here they are. Everyone is supposed to follow the Radiohead model and make impenetrable albums, eschewing singles and embracing some rigid standard of artistic integrity. Dave Grohl was in Nirvana! He’s not supposed to be making noisy guitar records with great hooks- oh, wait. Nevermind. Speaking of, that quintessential album turns

I’ve been up and down this list and managed to find a couple titles to get excited about but there’s just not much action this week, boys and girls. Let’s start with the latest from Steve Miller Band. Let Your Hair Down is a sequel to Bingo!, his Blues Music Award-nominated blues covers collection.  He’s covering songs from Robert Johnson and Junior Wells among others. Steve Dawson’s Nightshade is out this week as well. No Depression magazine called Dawson the Canadian T Bone Burnett. Dawson is such a dynamic talent; he’s a multi-instrumentalist who also writes and produces. Nightshade

It’s the Blues Radio Report for the week of April 15, which is Tax Day in America. If that doesn’t put you in the mood for the blues, you probably need to send some money my way because it means your return looked a lot different than mine! Roots Music Report’s top two albums from last week are in the same place this week, with Gregg Allman continuing to hold off the latest album from Marcia Ball. Big Head Todd & The Monters’ Big Head Blues Club, Roomful of Blues, and Black Joe Lewis round out the top five with

My ears perked up when I learned Robbie Robertson was finally releasing a new album and the title, How To Become Clairvoyant, also caught my attention. I pretended I wasn’t going to buy it, having so many other albums to review and being short on cash. That lasted about a day. Resistance melted when I got bored and found myself wandering with a few bucks burning a hole in my pants. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to Clairvoyant over the past week but I haven’t been able to shake it. I’ll listen to something else for

The transition from Contemporary Blues to Rock Blues feels like a natural progression, so that’s our category du jour in this continuing series dedicated to examining the nominees in next month’s Blues Music Awards in Memphis. The Rock Blues category is relatively new to the BMAs and probably rankles some of the purists. I tried hard to lose my purist leanings but they linger. Philosophically, I don’t like this category. It doesn’t outrage or anger me but I wouldn’t have this category if I were the Grand Poobah of the Blues. I’m not. Yet. All category definitions get arbitrary

The 32nd Blues Music Awards are less than a month away. I’ve bought my ticket for the ceremony and booked my hotel. I had the time of my life last year and I can’t possibly be any more excited about this year. A big part of the fun last year was the series of articles I wrote leading up to the awards, breaking down the categories and nominees, and revealing my own BMA ballot. I’m doing it again this year, beginning with the Contemporary Blues categories. Let’s look first at the Contemporary Blues Male and female categories, followed by

Foo Fighters and Paul Simon are the undisputed headliners this week. I pre-ordered my copy of Foo Fighters’ Wasted Light last month and am eagerly awaiting its delivery to my apartment. I’ve not yet heard anything from the new Simon record but our friends at SomethingElse have. In addition to Foo Fighters and Simon, there are also new sets from Allison Kraus & Union Station, k.d. lang, and TV On The Radio. Dana Fuchs’ sophomore effort Love To Beg is also out today and I’ve reviewed it. There’s also a new Dylan archival recording out this week. The new

Dana Fuchs got a big break with her starring role in the film Across The Universe and she hasn’t stopped since. Love to Beg is her second studio album and follows up a live album she and her band have been touring in support of. Love To Beg is a solid effort from the emerging singer/songwriter but is still most notable for Fuchs’ vocal similarities to Janis Joplin-via-Melissa Etheridge and the blues-rock construction and sound rather than the songs themselves. It’s not that the songs are bad – some of them are quite good — they just aren’t memorable

We’ll do a quick run through the Blues Radio charts as there just wasn’t a lot of movement from last week to this. Gregg Allman continues to be the undisputed champion at Roots Music Report and BluesMobile, although Marcia Ball’s latest has placed her second a couple of weeks in a row and it won’t be a surprise to see her displace Allman, at least for a week. The interesting difference between the two charts – and this has been the case the past two weeks – is that Joe Bonamassa’s Dust Bowl is a Top 5 record with BluesMobile

Pinetop Perkins, Solomon Burke, and Robin Rogers will be remembered by special performances and tributes at the 32nd Blues Music Awards in Memphis on May 5, hosted by Mickey Thomas (Jefferson Starship) and Big Llou (B.B. King’s Bluesville). In addition to presenting awards in 26 categories, the BMA ceremony will also feature a performance by Blues Hall of Fame inductees John Hammond and Denise LaSalle, Hall of Famer Buddy Guy, and Big Head Todd will lead an all-star tribute to Robert Johnson. Todd and several blues luminaries paid homage to what would have been Johnson’s 100th birthday with a

I lived in the Seattle area in 1989 when Nirvana’s Bleach was released. I didn’t have the foresight to see that what was happening around me in the isolated Pacific Northwest was about to take the world by storm. I moved to Alabama in September 1991, just as Nevermind was about to usher in a new era of music. Nirvana would spend the next two years trying to carry the weight of a movement they were credited with and/or accused of starting. It had been at least three decades since the world witnessed this kind of musical and cultural

The first New Music Tuesday of April is a little shallower than last week but there are some good titles I’d like to highlight for you, in particular some albums we’ve already reviewed. There is a deluxe edition of Rush’s Moving Pictures out this week that includes a DVD. This edition is out this. Be forewarned, Blu-ray users, a deluxe edition with a Blu-ray comes out next month (at least according to what I am seeing at Amazon). This package is being aimed at all you audiophiles out there. Robbie Robertson’s first new album in over a decade comes

What is “roots music?” It’s a term I’ve used in who knows how many reviews and I know what I mean when I use it but I’m not sure I’ve ever sat and thought about what the term really means, or what it means to other people. I brainstormed the idea one afternoon and still don’t have a simple, elegant definition but arrived at something a little more meaningful than “I know it when I hear it.” Roots music seems to me both pre-pop and anti-pop. Before radio segmentation, demographics, corporate takeovers, and programming consultants, you might hear just about

I was pleasantly surprised last week when Kirsten Thien’s Delicious made a strong return on the charts. This week, it’s Joanne Shaw Taylor’s Diamonds In The Dirt that makes the unexpected and welcome strong return. In addition to the return of Taylor, we have some newer releases on the charts this week. Al Basile, Joe Bonamassa, and Rory Block released albums at the end of March and each shows up on one of our two charts. Johnny Rawls new CD comes out Tuesday and his is already making noise on the chart, as is the latest from Marcia Ball. Black

Memphis Still Got Soul is not only the title of Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls, it’s a mantra and mission statement for the 11 songs on the record. He’s fashioned a winning formula for this record, one from which he rarely deviates. The sound is built on a foundation of smooth vocals, great, tight horn arrangements that play to the smoother side of the Stax tradition, and sprinkles of blues guitar stretched over tuneful pop hooks. The title track lovingly honors one of America’s great music cities. Honors the legacies and admires the present and future the city will hold

The big story on this week’s iTunes Chart Watch is the Songs For Japan compilation that is #1 on the albums chart. We have all been heartbroken by the devastation in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. iTunes and several artists and their labels have assembled a digital benefit album for $10, proceeds going to relief efforts. It’s great to see it at #1. If you’ve already donated to the effort, God bless you. If you haven’t, here’s an opportunity to be generous and get a little musical attaboy along with it. Among the artists included on the

Sometimes you listen to a record and the review writes itself. You know exactly what it means to you, what you love about it, hate about, what you wish it were or could be, how it makes you feel. Those are fun days, easy days. Even then, there’s a risk that you’ll change your mind one day but you’ve committed yourself to a stated opinion and analysis. It’s trickier when you aren’t sure what the hell to make of a record. Some would argue you say nothing until you are sure, and that’s probably the right way to go most

March is indeed going out like a lion with a week of great new releases from artists in a range of genres. We begin with new releases that aren’t new releases. Radiohead unleased The King Of Limbs in a moderately confusing manner in February. Today marks the conventional release of the album and those who bought the super deluxe editions will get theirs in May. We also get the re-issue of a pair of Pearl Jam records, Vs and Vitalogy. Both albums are being released as single discs, remastered, with a few bonus tracks appended. For the more serious

Rory Block is fortunate soul who figured out who and what she wanted to be at an early age and had the courage to pursue it. I’m not suggesting her life has been easy. Hell, is anyone’s life actually easy? She paid a price and paid her dues but her hunger for music and the blues put her on a path and that journey and those she met along the way has informed her music. Her abilities and understanding were aided in part because the blues is influenced by the folk tradition of passing songs and knowledge from generation to

It doesn’t make much more sense to me today than it did when word of this release first became public. Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 and the four members went their separate ways, only to reform for a reunion tour last year. They have released a career-spanning retrospective and this live album since reforming. Those are tepid-yet-reasonable steps for a band testing the waters after so much time apart, but this live album is a bit curious. The most obvious thing to do would have been to release a CD/DVD from the reunion tour, showing the world they’ve still got

New albums and old familiar friends, that’s the theme for this week’s look at the biggest albums and artists at blues radio. I’m so happy to see Kirsten Thien’s Delicious surge back into the Top 20 at Roots Music Report. She is such a good vocalist, there are some excellent songs on the record, and I really want to see it get a chance to find an audience because there is one out there for it.  James Kinds’ Delmark Records debut Love You From The Top is also back on our chart radar this week.  Rory Block’s tribute to Mississippi

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears’ Scandalous is a concoction of Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, old school R&B and funk, Memphis’ Stax soul, and some dirty blues — in other words, everything Lenny Kravitz has been trying to do for the past 20 years with varying degrees of luck or the fictional AM radio dial in a Quentin Tarantino movie.  “Livin’ In The Jungle” is an urban, soulful re-write of Guns N’ Roses’ classic “Welcome To The Jungle.” Somewhere, Slash is laughing his ass off, and you can guaran-damn-tee he is getting down to the

Listen my children and you shall hear! I come once again to preach the gospel of all that is righteous in the land of of the blues and today that gospel comes from a new band of Old Testament-style bluesmen, the self-titled debut from The Sugar Prophets. The Sugar Prophets may be a new band but don’t write them off as rookies, they have a resume. Think of the International Blues Challenge like American Idol for the blues, only without Ryan Secrest. Bands compete at the local level for an invite to Memphis. Multiple rounds of competition are held at

Horns have long had major role in the blues sound but it’s been more common to have horn players as band leaders in the jazz world than the blues. It’s also not common for the horn player/bandleader/lead vocalist to be a cornetist, so what we have here is an uncommon blues album. Al Basile’s 13-track, eighth solo album is akin to a Roomful of Blues alumni meeting, with former Roomful’er Doug James on saxophone and Roomful founder Duke Robillard contributing guitars and serving as the album’s producer. Robillard’s drummer Mark “I Don’t Play 1B For The Evil Empire” Teixiera is

It’s hard not to feel I was born in the wrong era when so much of the music I love was made before I was born and so many of those artists left before I had a chance to see or hear them. I wonder if future generations will look at the music being made today and look back with the same envy. I had a series of brief moments with Pinetop Perkins last year and I knew at the time they were to be treasured and they feel even more valuable today as the blues community continues to mourn

I unintentionally skipped New Music Tuesday last week and it’s just as well. There were a few releases of note but not nearly as many as this week. We have new sets from the famous (Green Day, Duran Duran) and the infamous (Chris Brown, Adam Lambert). We have something old (Soundgarden) and something blue (Joe Bonamassa) as well. In addition we also have the following two releases that are on their way to my apartment as we speak… The StrokesAngles The Strokes released one of the legendary debut albums in rock history with Is This It? It’s a perfect

We learned yesterday of the passing of a musical legend and national treasure, the great blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. I knew a proper tribute would take time so I quickly dashed off a few words to share the sad news and details of his death. Today and in the days to come I want to pause and consider his life and music. Perkins was one of the special spark plugs that revived and revitalized Muddy Waters in the ’70s, yielding great albums like Hard Again and I’m Ready. Waters had fallen on hard times after the fall of Chess

The icnonic Robert Johnson would have turned 100-years old this year and part of his influence and legend stems from the fact that he died long before that. 100 Years of Robert Johnson is another tribute to one of the most important recorded legacies in music history, this time brought to us by Big Head Blues Club. The club features alternative-roots rockers Big Head Todd & The Monsters and a bevy of blues guests. They are supplemented by legends B.B. King, Honeyboy Edwards (himself a one-time traveling companion of Johnson), Hubert Sumlin, and Charlie Musselwhite as well as contemporary blues

It is with a sad, heavy heart I report the sad news that Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins passed away at his home in Austin, TX today at the age of 97. Perkins became the oldest Grammy winner in history earlier this year for Joined At The Hip, his album with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, the two both former Muddy Waters sidemen. Perkins replaced Otis Spann as Waters’ piano player and in doing so became, along with Spann, one of the most famous and influential blues pianists in history. Perkins moved to Clarksdale, MS in 1940 where he met Robert

I’ve said many times I love looking at the weekly blues charts from Roots Music Report and BluesMobile. I love seeing which albums are getting action at radio and I love seeing how many of them I’ve reviewed. There’s a flip side to that which is seeing all the albums I haven’t reviewed and I start to feel guilty and lazy, so I am giving myself a homework assignment based on these past couple weeks of Blues Radio Reports. I’ve bought copies of the Big Head Blues Club and Black Joe Lewis albums and I’m making it a point to

JLo’s first season as an American Idol judge hasn’t kept her from the recording studio. I see that as an unfortunate development but I must be in the minority because “On The Floor” is the #1 single at iTunes for this past week. I’m sure being able to premiere the video on the still-popular program didn’t hurt when it came to promotion and exposure. There seems to have been little movement on the singles chart elsewhere other than the disappearance of Justin Bieber. There’s no Bieber on the albums chart, either. Lupe Fiasco has dethroned Adele with the #1

R.E.M.’s latest album Collapse Into Now is a sonic buffet of the band’s best work. Like many veteran bands blessed with longevity, R.E.M. spent time in the wilderness following the retirement of founding drummer Bill Berry. They began their comeback with the loud, aggressive Accelerate, abandoning the soporific sonic experimentation that characterized so much of their post-Berry output. They take a step forward on Collapse Into Now by taking another step back, adding more of the sounds that defined them at their peak. The trio of “Discoverer,” “All The Best,” and “Überlin” open the record in strong fashion. “Discoverer” resembles

I don’t know who or when, but someone will dethrone Gregg Allman from the top of the charts in 2011. I do love the record but I’ve run out of ways to say it’s good and still #1 so we’re going to drop that mention in and move on. We talked about Sony Legacy’s plans to re-issue Robert Johnson’s recorded legacy in honor of what would have been his 100th birthday this year. The Johnson centennial has also inspired a tribute album and I finally picked up my copy of Big Head Blues Club’s 100 Years Of Robert Johnson.

Derek Trucks Band was built for the stage, which is no surprise when you consider Trucks’ musical heritage and family. His wife, Susan Tedeschi, is an award-winning singer/guitarist. Trucks has a second job outside his own band, sort of a “family business.” The Allman Brothers Band was founded by Duane and Gregg Allman but sadly the only family connection today in the band is that of Derek and his uncle, longtime drummer/percussionist Butch. DTB bears the ABB hallmark in two immediately noticeable ways. For starters, they are a six-piece band comprised of genius musicians. They have developed the same telepathic

My inner monologue has taken advantage of the iTunes Chart Watch to discuss whether or not I was going to buy in on Adele the way so many others have. Once again, her album is #1 and she has the #9 single with “Rolling In The Deep.” I was flipping channels last Friday and saw she was doing an unplugged performance, so I stopped and watched and listened for a bit and, quite frankly, I got bored. She didn’t turn me off. She wasn’t unpleasant. I just couldn’t find anything to draw me in so I’m giving up my

I was all prepared to start this off talking about the new R.E.M. record until I saw there’s actually a fucking Altar Bridge tribute album. Let’s stop and think about that for a moment and then spend the rest of our lives trying to forget it. My consciousness has been assaulted. I have experienced souldeath. No smooth segue from that so we’ll just start talking about the album I’m (trying to be) most excited about this week, Collapse Into Now from R.E.M. R.E.M.Collapse Into Now  R.E.M. returned from the bland grave they dug themselves on Around The Sun with the

Let’s dispense with the obvious and take a moment to make our “not Oasis” jokes about Beady Eye. Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher has formed a new band after the breakup of his previous one and he’s continuing forward with Gem Archer and Andy Bell, two lads who were part of Oasis’ final lineup. Drummer Chris Sharrock has joined them and they wasted no time lining up studio time, planning gigs, and releasing their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding with assistance from noted producer Steve Lilywhite. It’s relevant to address the push-pull dynamic between Liam and his older brother, Noel, who

This isn’t going to be a review of R.E.M.’s Accelerate; well, not exactly. A review, to me, implies past tense. It implies a verdict has been reached and a decision will be rendered. I knew my analysis would evolve as my first impressions were nullified by subsequent listens. My feelings about this record are still fluid and will likely change again so instead of calling this a review, I’d like to call it a “snapshot.” Maybe we should back up further than my first impressions and start out with what I’d heard about the album going into it. After three

Singer/actress Dana Fuchs will release Love To Beg on Ruf Records April 12. Fuchs is perhaps best known for her role as Sadie in the film Across The Universe, the hit 2007 movie built around the music of The Beatles. Her vocals also appeared on the film’s platinum-selling soundtrack. She co-produced Love To Beg with Jon Diamond and Kenny Aaronson and the album features 12 originals and a cover of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” Love To Beg is her second studio album. She also released a live album and has toured in support of it. “We

The big story this week has to be the mighty, mighty Sugar Prophets hitting the charts at #14 this week. These lads from the Champaign, IL area took the International Blues Challenge by storm, reaching the finals in Memphis last month and now they’re independently distributed, self-titled debut is #14 on Roots Music Report’s blues chart. I’ve got a copy of this heading my way and we’ll soon be talking about the album in greater detail but for now, this is exciting. Another giant killer is Damon Fowler, who edges ahead of Buddy Guy this week with his Devil Got

I fell in love with the electric guitar while I in middle school when hair and glam metal was all the rage. I (mostly) grew out of my hair metal phase but my love for the guitar and those who could command it in interesting ways never left me. I knew the name Walter Trout before I ever heard him play, before I began my excursion into the vast world of the blues. I didn’t know why I knew the name other than I’d see it when I read guitar magazines and heard other players reference him. It wasn’t until

Do yourselves a favor when you buy Gina Sicilia’s Can’t Control Myself: skip immediately to track two and listen through to the end of the album. It may take you awhile to hear the rest of the disc if you start at the beginning. It did me. It’s taking every ounce of self-control not to riff on the fact that first song is called “Addicted” but that’s pretty much what happened. There’s a swanky, honky tonk vibe to the tune courtesy of some great tenor sax from Matt Cowan and a bed of guitars laid down by Dave Gross

I mentioned being a holdout on Adele last week on New Music Tuesday. People raved over her debut and their raving about the follow-up to it. I’m going to have to sit down and listen to some of this and figure out what, if anything, I’m missing because this week’s iTunes Chart Watch seems like it’s trying to tell me something; she has a Top 10 single and both of her albums are in the Top 5. The US is going all in on this UK songstress. I don’t know if I’ll join but this merits taking the time

We are loaded with goodness today, my friends! It’s the first day of March, the first Tuesday of March, and we are getting the month started just right. Ron Sexsmith has a new set out this week and Jordan Richardson’s review leads me to believe we should all check it out. That’s our starting point, kids. It gets better and more interesting so stick with me and we’ll take a look at a few more… Lucinda WilliamsBlessed I think we all know any list of the great songwriters begins with Bob Dylan but it’s wide open after that. I

We return to our usual format this week, looking at the biggest records at Blues Radio by examining both the Roots Music Report chart as well as Blues Mobile. It can’t be a surprise to see Gregg Allman’s outstanding Low Country Blues still firmly locked in at #1. Allman has great name recognition and his record is one of the biggest, most distinguished blues releases of the year to date. Veteran band Roomful of Blues’ Hook, Line & Sinker has also been a major chart force since its release earlier this year. We’re entering the final days of voting for

Canadian blues-roots veteran Steve Dawson has wrapped work on his fifth solo album Nightshade, due out April 19 through Black Hen. No Depression magazine referred to Dawson as Canada’s T Bone Burnett, in part because of the number of musical hats he wears so well. Dawson is a noted singer,songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He is joined on Nightshade by frequent collaborators Geoff Hicks on drums, Keith Lowe on bass, and Chris Gestrin on keyboards. These musicians have helped him on the numerous projects he has produced for other Black Hen releases including albums by Jim Byrnes, The Sojourners, and the

Al Basile, founding member of Roomful of Blues and Blues Music Award nominee, will release his new solo album The Goods March 15 through Sweetspot Records. The 13-track set is Basile’s eigth solo album and was produced by fellow Roomful founder Duke Robillard, who also brings his inimitable guitar prowess to the recording. In addition to Robillard, saxman Doug James plays on the set. The Grammy Award-winning Blind Boys of Alabama also make a cameo on The Goods. The horn-infused blues style of Basile recalls the soul music of Memphis and Muscle Shoals as well as the dark, noirish, jazzy

Ahh, Radiohead, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Like most white guys, I discovered Radiohead in my college years. Radiohead versus Dave Matthews Band, it’s the modern day college equivalent of the Beatles-Stones conundrum of the ’60s. Or not. My college infatuation with Radiohead goes back to the days of The Bends and OK Computer. I had to be turned on to them by friends but I went all-in when I got there. I eagerly downloaded leaked versions of Kid A and Amnesiac prior to their official release back in the glorious days of Napster and

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s LIVE! In Chicago is a live album that serves multiple masters. It documents guitarist Shepherd, vocalist Noah Hunt, former Double Trouble drummer Chris “Whipper” Layton, and the rest of KWS Band performing songs from throughout their career, including cuts that became staples on rock and classic rock radio like “Blue On Black” and “Deja Voodoo.” It also gives Shepherd and Co. a chance to bring heroes, influences, and friends to the stage to perform alongside them. Among those joining the band are Chicago legends Hubert Sumlin and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, two performers who made their

Lady Antebellum won just about all the big Grammy awards except Album Of The Year and their Need You Now album has vaulted back onto the charts. Arcade Fire surprised most viewers by winning that Album Of The Year Grammy and they are also back in the Top 10. Justin Bieber got shut out at the Grammys but his sales figures haven’t been adversely affected. He was all over the charts before the trophies were handed out and he’s still selling a metric buttload of downloads at iTunes. Mumford & Sons has been doing well on the Albums chart for

This is one of those weeks where the “big name” album is one that doesn’t much matter to me yet I feel compelled to discuss it. I have friends who think Adele is brilliant. I don’t. Her album 19 took certain segments of the music-listening public by storm but when that bus pulled away from the station, I was not on it. That said, there weren’t many empty seats. It may be my loss. Whatever it is, she has a new album out and it’s called 21 and the first single is already #1 in the UK. Maybe I’ll

The Mannish Boys put the cliché that too many cooks can spoil the soup to the test on Shake For Me. There are seven different vocalists, three guest harp players, an army of guest guitarists, and a horn section. The album is surprisingly cohesive in light of the army that created it; the downside to all those cooks in this one kitchen isn’t bad soup as much as there’s a little too much of it. As for the recipe, Shake For Me sprinkles a few originals among a slew of well-chosen covers by luminaries like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Ray

Veteran blues artist Rory Block is releasing Shake ‘Em On Down, an album heavily comprised of “Mississsippi” Fred McDowell tunes, on March 29 through Stony Plain Records. Shake ‘Em On Down is Block’s tribute to McDowell, who she met and comes as part of her ‘Mentor Series.’ I met Fred McDowell at a time in my life when I was most impressionable,” she wrote in the liner notes. “That experience – along with meeting other surviving country blues masters such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White, and Reverend Gary Davis – would become a lifelong influence.”

Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene and I’m doing the best that I can… This week we give the Blues Radio Report a little different spin. Rather than showing you the tops of a couple charts, I’m giving you the Top 50 according to Roots Music Report. The reason? There are some really good albums we haven’t talked about in awhile and in some cases some we’ve yet to discuss that fall below my usual cutoff point. We’ll start at the top where Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues continues its reign but then we’re looking at some

What was once a limited edition offering is now getting widespread release as Bob Dylan’s 1963 performance at Brandeis University makes its way to stores and digital music retailers April 12. Bob Dylan in Concert – Brandeis University 1963 is a seven-song performance the young singer/songwriter gave as part of the Brandeis First Annual Folk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 10, 1963. None of the songs he performed during the set were available on LP at the time. Only his self-titled debut had been released at that point and its follow-up The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan would not hit store

The legendary aspects of the life of Robert Johnson are so pervasive that it’s easy to lose sight of the truth of the life of the man and even his music. The blues icon would have turned 100 this year and Sony Legacy is re-issuing Johnson’s scant-yet-indispensable recorded legacy to commemorate his birth. Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters – Centennial Edition is nearly identical to the Complete Recordings box set that has sold over one million copies. One additional alternate version not originally included with that set has been added. Unless the legend is true and Johnson really did

Columbia, Mississippi-native Johnny Rawls has announced the tracklisting for his new album Memphis Still Got Soul, which will be released April 5. Memphis Still Got Soul is the follow-up to Rawls Blues Music Award-winning Ace of Spades and features 10 originals and one cover (“Blind, Crippled And Crazy). Many of the musicians who backed Rawls on Ace return for Memphis, which was recorded in Texas and Montana. “Blind, Crippled And Crazy” was a staple in the set list of one of Rawls’ mentors, O.V. Wright, with whom he toured and performed. “When I was O.V.’s band leader, that’s the song

“Whether your tastes gravitate toward country and western, or pop standards, or doo-wop, or heavy metal, or hip hop or jazz… the whole spectrum of popular music betrays the fingerprints of the blues. The lonesomest cowboys and the most impassioned Christian vocalists; neatly coiffured boy bands and pierced, tattooed renegade rockers; faceless commercial jingle singers and American Idol wannabes: all share the vocal inflections, the scalar ambiguity, the grit-in-the-throat silt accumulated at the intersection of the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers.” And with that, Ted Gioia demonstrates why this and other books devoted to the Mississippi Delta blues matter not only

The Blues Hall of Fame Class of 2011 was announced today with Robert Cray, John Hammond, and J.B. Lenoir topping the list of performers being inducted along with other performers, singles, albums, researchers, and other important figures in the development and history of the blues. The performers being inducted include Cray, Hammond, Lenoir, Denise LaSalle, Big Maybelle, and Alberta Hunter. Individuals being inducted include Vivian Carter and Jimmy Bracken, Sam Charters, Bruce Bromberg, and field researcher John W. Work III Among the works being enshrined in the Blues Hall of Fame this year are singles by Jimmy Weatherspoon, Eddie Boyd,

This week’s iTunes Chart Watch actually covers the week prior to the Grammys but it doesn’t come as a surprise to see many of the artists who walked away with golden trophies in this list, particularly where the pop and R&B statues are concerned. Lady GaGa is going to sell a metric buttload of CDs and digital downloads this year with her new album and even though the world seems to have suddenly woken up and noticed the blatant Madonna aping, “Born This Way” is the #1 single this week. Black Eyed Peas weren’t hurt too bad by the

Conan O’Brien, a past Bonnaroo performer, helped make the announcement for this year’s festival in Manchester, TN and there are as expected some huge names. The lineup is typically eclectic and features superstars, indie favorites, and bands of a more obscure nature. The schedule hasn’t been unveiled but it’s pretty safe to say that fresh off their Album of The Year Grammy, Arcade Fire will be playing a headline slot. It’s also a safe bet that Eminem, who appeared less than thrilled to lose that award to Arcade Fire, will not be collaborating with AF and may well be headlining

A Radiohead spokesman has confirmed the band will release physical copies of The King Of Limbs next month, this in conjunction with previously announced plans for a digital release of the album on Saturday and special “Newspaper” editions of the record. There will be standard releases of TKOL on both CD and vinyl and those will be available next month on March 28. The album can be pre-ordered and downloaded digitally Saturday. The Newspaper Editions will ship in May. It’s understandable if you’re a little confused but all of this is good news and it’s becoming clearer. Let’s review: Preorder

Get comfortable, we’re going to be here awhile! The February release slate has been uninspiring but it’s back on with a vengeance this week! There really is something for everyone this week. Let’s begin with Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs. It actually won’t be out until Saturday but it’s out new this week, can be preordered now, and a lot of folks are still finding out about it because the band has once again stealthed us all. As for albums out today… the hardest working band in showbiz, Drive-By Truckers, have Go-Go Boots, the mighty force that is PJ

Radiohead have stealthed the internet world and announced their new album will be available on Saturday, February 19. The King Of Limbs will be available digitally first, followed by an(other) unconventional physical release next month. This all comes on the heels of the band’s “pay-what-you-want” scheme for In Rainbows. Artwork appears on the band’s site that is presumably the cover for the album but no official tracklist has been revealed. Radiohead fans have four purchasing options: Newspaper Album + MP3: $48 Newspaper Album + WAV: $53 MP3: $9 WAV: $14 What is the deal with this “Newspaper Album?” Here is

I have a lot of ambivalence for the Grammys so I consciously made other plans last night and skipped the telecast. The Grammys aren’t irrelevant but they are hopelessly flawed and fall embarrassingly short of representing the best in music. I pay attention to what happens but I can’t bring myself to care. We could make fun of Justin Beiber but that’s too easy. Speaking of easy, there’s Lady Gaga-in-an-egg. Those jokes tell themselves and that’s why I didn’t watch in the first place. I spent the morning scouring the web and found a list of the winners and you

Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues has tightened its grip on the #1 ranking in the world of blues radio, topping both the Roots Music Report and BluesMobile chart. It’s an impressive feat and the album deserves the attention. Other 2011 releases have started to creep their way, pushing aside some of the big albums from last year. Damon Fowler’s Devil Got His Way and Roomful of Blues’ Hook, Line & Sinker were both released this year and both are in RMR’s Top 5 and the Top 15 for BluesMobile. Big Shanty’s 2-disc Collection was just released this week and it

In a time of chimpanzees, JJ Grey & Mofro are a monkey and Georgia Warhorse just wasn’t made for these times. This is an AM record in an FM — now XM — era. The only nod to modernity to be found on the album shines through in the debt it owes to a multitude of AM radio stations rather than mining the solid gold of only one. Georgia Warhorse is a dirty Southern soul record with deep roots in blues and R&B and some gentle nods in the direction of Southern rock and gospel. The JJ Grey & Mofro

My wife and I are big fans of the show N.C.I.S. and one of the things we like best about it is main character Gibbs’ list of 51 rules. They aren’t exactly written down in one place where you can learn them all. Gibbs teaches, you learn; that’s how it works. I have a list of my own where music is concerned. There are rules, important concepts, and universal truths of music and one of these is what we’ll call the Flux Capacitor property of music; the power of music to transport listeners to places real or imagined, anywhere

It’s been five long years since The Strokes dropped our jaws with their modern retro ways but they are returning. The new album Angels is out March 22 and you can download the first single “Under Cover Of Darkness” free, but only for a limited time. We’ve even made it easy for you, then, by embedding all you need right here. Delay not, my friends. Get your download, do it damn damn quickly, and return to BlindedBySound to rejoice, revel, and discuss. Do it NOW!

Blame it on the cold meds I’m hopped up on but I actually thought it would be funny to do a Letterman parody of the Uma/Oprah bit, substituting Lemmy/Yanni. Blame the cold meds and the recording industry for a second week of titles that are lacking in interest for me. Yes, there are new sets from Yanni and Motorhead. I’d go with Lemmy. There’s also a Miles Davis Bitches Brew Live set on the roster this week, which offers three previously unreleased tracks from one of his Newport preformances as well as the 37th installment of Now That’s What I

My voyage through the history of the blues has been quite an education. Part of that discovery led me to original and/or classic versions of many songs that later became famously associated with rock and roll artists. It surprised me, but I found myself falling a little out of love with some of those rockers when I went to the source. There were exceptions. Some bands did wonderful versions of those songs to the point it didn’t matter who got their first or even who did them best. One of the bands that rose in stature with me is the

Time once again for my cynical, condescending look at the biggest songs and albums at the iTunes Music Store. In what has to be considered a mild upset, I have nice things to say about some of this material for a second week in a row. It will always be easy and enjoyable for me to praise The Black Keys’ Brothers. The Keys were interviewed this week by Terri Gross for her Fresh Air program on NPR. I didn’t get to hear it but it can still be accessed online. We discussed The Decemberists’ The King Is Dead last

I can’t remember many times in my life when something came easily to me. I’m not suggesting I’ve had to work hard for what I’ve gotten because I have a lot of quit in me– perhaps exceeded only by laziness. What I’m trying to say is I spend a lot of time stuck at Square One, frustrated as hell. Sometimes I cross that magical finish line and other times I order pizza and queue something up on Netflix. This review has been on my “to do” list since late last year when British bluesman Todd Sharpville released his double album

The total number of titles this week is down – a lot — but there are interesting titles among them so let’s take a look: North Mississippi AllstarsKeys To The Kingdom It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from the ‘stars, what with Luther Dickinson spending the last few years working with The Black Crowes. Since they convened, their father Jim passed away. Jim Dickinson was a heavyweight in the music world and crossed paths with other heavyweights and legends. That sense of loss reportedly makes its presence felt on this collection of new music. Bob Marley & The WailersLive

It’s no surprise to see Gregg Allman’s fantastic Low Country Blues at #1 with RMR and #2 at Blues Mobile. I’ve been listening to it since it’s release earlier this month and it’s a wonderful record and I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts on it in the coming days. It’s not a surprise blues fans around the US are digging this one at all. The Roots Music Report has Allman followed by Eden Brent, Buddy Guy, Roomful of Blues, and Ronnie Earl. I just picked up the recently released Roomful of Blues album and hope to be getting to

Time Slips On By teams Texas blues veterans Rich Del Grosso and Jonn Del Toro Richardson and it is in every sense a collaboration as both men sing lead, take center stage for solos with their instruments (mandolin and guitar, respectively), and share a near-equal split of the songwriting duties. Democracy can sometimes make for messy, disjointed albums but a real generosity of spirit and shared sense of their roots make this a winning team. I don’t make statements like this lightly – particularly in January – but the title track is a Song Of The Year candidate. Richardson’s vocal

Dear Blues Purists, Please stop reading this review and rejoin us when conversation turns to a discussion of the great Blind Lemon Jefferson or Son House. Sincerely, Blinded By Sound Mgmt.   Dudley Taft will be unfamiliar to most of the blues cognoscenti. The path that brought Left For Dead to listeners doesn’t include stints playing second guitar for Pinetop Perkins or B.B. King. Taft cut his musical teeth in the Pacific Northwest in bands like Sweetwater and Second Coming, the latter having direct ties to the amazing Alice in Chains, whose members he counts as friends and with whom

I’m one of the most blessed people I know but I’ve never thought of myself as particularly lucky until Twitter made me a big, fat winner- well, they made me a winner; I blame the fat on Ben & Jerry. I won a free download of The Decemberists’ The King Is Dead this week and lo and behold it’s the #1 album at iTunes and on Billboard’s Hot 200. I listened to it this morning all the way through and it was my first experience with the band. It was a pleasant listen but I’ll need to hear it

Kirsten Thien’s infectious third album Delicious is the first of what I’m sure will be several 2010 records I somehow missed upon their initial arrival. I’ve spent the last couple weeks making up for lost time, filing this away in the “better late than never” folder. Delicious is a beguiling record because of the contradictions in Thien’s presentation. Her voice conveys so much with so little effort at its best. She mixes equal parts charm, sweetness, and sensuality while exuding charm, charisma, and kindness. It takes an elastic mind to fit some of these songs beneath the contemporary blues umbrella

I try to be positive with New Music Tuesday but I’m having a lot of trouble finding releases to get excited about, especially compared to the bounty of last week’s list. There are some familiar names and some of these will fit nicely on your CD shelf or iPod but it looks like this will be a week for me to recover from the excess of last week for me. Indie favorites John Vanderslice and Iron & Wine both have new albums out this week. I’ve listened to a little Iron & Wine and I like it well enough-

It’s time once again for the weekly blues radio rundown but this week we are adding to our numbers. The blues is a niche market these days and as a result it’s tougher (though not impossible) to get a clear picture of what’s really making waves with the blues-buying public. For the past year, I’ve relied heavily on the weekly chart provided by our friends at Roots Music Report. I’ve now found a couple other sources and we’ll be folding them in as well. Let’s begin with a look at the biggest blues albums according to RMR, where Eden Brent

Derek & The Dominos’ Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs turns 40 this year and Eric Clapton is overseeing a 40th Anniversary Edition of this vital classic. As has become the way of things in the recording industry it will be offered to fans in multiple packages, and yes, I’ll be going all in on one of these when they are released March 29. The first package for the 40th Anniversary is the single-disc, 14-track album itself which has been newly remastered. Let’s pause here for a moment. The Layla record has been issued multiple times in the CD era

We discussed the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s decree that the nation’s broadcasters should no longer play the uncut version of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” because one listener complained about the use of the word “faggot” in the lyrics. Writing that first article and the discussion I had with friends after publishing it taught me many things, among them that Rolling Stone shouldn’t be trusted to get a story right and I really don’t know shit about Canadian governance. Shocking, I know. It’s acceptable to demean one another because of our differences but this ruling is absurd. I know it.

Damon Fowler caught my attention with just the title of his latest record, Devil Got His Way, before I heard a note. This isn’t filled with social commentary or political examinations but if ever there was a phrase that seemed appropriate for the times we’re living in, this might be it. Devil Got His Way is Fowler’s follow up to his Blind Pig debut Sugar Shack and he’s re-teamed with producer Scott Cable for a 12-song set that begins with a solid blues base and sprinkles it with Southern roots-rock charm and a hint of country tonk twang. He approaches

The Return Of The Brit! How excited are we about Britney Spears returning with a brand new single and seeing it vault all the way to #1? I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. I’m not about to take my whacks at The Brit. I don’t like her music and she can’t sing for shit but for some reasons eluding me, I root for this trainwreck to not completely self-destruct. Of course it’s bad music! I even listened to a clip in a rare masochistic moment. It’s reasonably insipid but we should all be able to agree she’s

Blues Music Award-nominee Gina Sicilia ‘s Can’t Control Myself is set for release March 1 through VizzTone Records. Can’t Control Myself is her third album and was recorded and produced by multi-instrumentalist Dave Gross. On this third effort, Sicilia continues not only to mine the blues but is also exploring soul and Americana. She wrote seven of the album’s songs. The three covers come from Bobby Bland, Stevie Wonder, and Ike & Tina Turner. The Philly native’s debut Allow Me To Confess was nominated for Best New Artist debut and was followed up by Hey Sugar in 2008. US tour

I hear you, 2011. Thanks for being here. What a HUGE week of killer new releases. I’m so thankful to all the people who got me Amazon gift cards for Christmas because this slate is going to clean me out. Gregg AllmanLow Country Blues Allman is going back to his roots on his first solo album in 14 years and he’s teamed with super producer T Bone Burnett to create it. I’ve been hearing amazing buzz it. I’ve preordered my copy and can’t wait for it to arrive sometime later today. Allman is one of the most authentic blues

I expected Soundgarden would release a live album before they got around to making a new studio record and I was right, except that I wasn’t. The Seattle quartet will release Live on l5 March 21 but instead of being taken from shows on their recent reunion trek, these 17 tracks were recorded in the US and Canada in 1996. My first reaction to this news was, “Wow, those reunion dates must have really sucked if they’re going back to the Down On The Upside tour to get a live album.” I decided, on second thought, not to be so

Howling Bells are getting set to record their third album in Las Vegas with help from The Killers’ bassist Mark Stoermer, with plans to release the record sometime later this year. Howling Bells were one of my happy discoveries in 2009 when they opened for Coldplay on the Viva La Vida tour. I quickly imported their self-titled debut and Radio Wars prior to them getting US distribution and quickly fell in love with both. Their early efforts were overseen by former Coldplay producer Ken Nelson. I get that the band feels it’s time to shake things up with the as-yet

The legendary Buddy Guy is back on top this week with his Blues Music Award-nominated album Living Proof, followed by Eden Brent, James Cotton, Dave Specter, and Robin Rogers. Note to self: pick up a copy of the Dave Specter album. I’ve seen it on the charts for a bit and haven’t grabbed a copy. The two big entries to me this week are albums that actually hit stores on Tuesday: Gregg Allman’s Low Country Blues and Damon Fowler’s Devil Got His Way. I got an advance of Damon’s CD and my review will be up this week if things

James Cotton wasn’t the first great harp player to blow for Muddy Waters’ band and many prefer Little Walter Jacobs, but Mr. Superharp weaved many signature lines into the famous songs of one of the blues’ all icons.  Those songs and the harp work of Cotton have been listened to, danced to, studied, and copied by legions of blues harp players who followed. There is a reason to invoke the name of Waters and his career as a sideman when discussing Giant as three of the album’s 12 songs are Waters covers and a fourth song – “That’s All Right”

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has declared the album version of Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” offensive and discourages it from being played on radio stations due to its use of a derogatory term for homosexuals in the song. First off, nice timing, dear Canadian friends.  That song came out in 1986.  Just wait until they get to so-called gangsta rap from the early ’90s.  Second, isn’t the more offensive part of this song that anyone would want their MTV? All kidding aside, it seems to me once again good intentions have clouded our better judgment. There is no denying

The Black Keys’ media blitz is paying off in a big, noticeable way. The Akron, Ohio duo recently scored six Grammy nominations and now their album has been certified Gold (sales of more than 500,000 copies) and they jolt to #2 at the iTunes Music Store. I haven’t been on the Keys’ bandwagon since the beginning but I go back a few years to the Rubber Factory and Magic Potion days. I love these guys and I’m thrilled to see their music reaching a wider audience as they experiment and expand their sound. I still love the early, lo-fi

Green Day is about to release its second live album in as many tour cycles and they’re naming it Awesome As Fuck, putting them firmly on the well-trodden path established by the Rolling Stones, all of this according to a video the band released this week. The connections are, to me, obvious.  Every album needs a corresponding live album and live albums should get an eye-raising title.  For The Stones it was Get Yer Ya-Yas Out.  That might have been racy then – or not, I wasn’t born when the set was initially released – but you certainly have to

It’s time to get back into the swing with the weekly list of new releases finding their way to music store shelves, online retailers, and soulless big box dens of suck.  I’ve weighed in with my picks for the best 2010 had to offer and now it’s time to roll with the new.  To quote Mr. Bono: I’m ready for what’s next. This isn’t the first New Music Tuesday of 2011 but it’s the first one to have titles worth noting, even if they aren’t titles that are going to entice me.   Let’s take a look at just a

Happy 64th Birthday, David Bowie! There’s not much to say about Bowie that hasn’t already been said.  He’s an icon and just about everything you’ve ever heard about him is probably true.  Even the stuff that isn’t has become so intertwined in the legend it almost doesn’t mater any more. The highest praise I can pay the man is that he never once bored me.  He dabbled in everything.  He explored concepts and sounds I loved.  Sometimes he’d leave those behind to pursue things that weren’t as appealing as the place he left but he remained interesting and that’s no

The first report from blues radio for 2011 is out and Robin Rogers begins the year at #1.  Rogers’ Back In The Fire was a top seller and smash at radio, buoyed by support from friends and fans rallying to her side after she was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer.  She passed away in December, days after learning she and her album were among the nominees for the 32nd Blues Music Awards. Eden Brent’s Ain’t Got No Troubles was a no-show on the charts last fall after its release but made a huge winter surge and that late-year momentum continues. 

There is a fear and intimidation factor I have whenever I stumble upon a CD from a seemingly veteran blues artist and can’t immediately place the name.  I always feel an imaginary set of disapproving eyes from somewhere on high because it’s impossible to experience a century of blues overnight.  It takes time to work your way through it but I always feel like I should have heard this all before now. I felt a bit of relief for not knowing James Kinds when his Love You From The Top arrived in my mailbox.  Blues historian Bill Dahl tells us

2010 is now in the rearview mirror and the time is now for me to unveil my Top Albums of 2010.  I find this a fun and difficult task most years unlike some writers and critics and this year was no exception.  There are a lot of great albums from last year that aren’t on this list (hell, I did a list of great blues records from the past year and I had to leave titles off it, too!).  This doesn’t represent all that I am as a music fan, writer, and listener but it’s a damn good look at

It’s 3 AM and I should have been in bed hours ago.  I was in bed hours ago.  I could not sleep.  This is rare for me.  I prize my sleep.  I cherish it.  I revel in my slumber.  I’ve always been able to sleep easily and deeply.  Tonight?  Not so much.  I tossed.  I turned.  I counted sheep.  Okay, not really.  That always kind of creeped me out and made me feel uncomfortable.  I finally reached for my iPad and started surfing the ‘net and that’s when I stumbled onto the recently revamped There’s not much in the

I got turned on to Copeland after hearing Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman pledge his love for the band.  I started listening to their Eat, Sleep, Repeat CD and fell in love with them myself.  I started digging around the ‘net looking for more information about this new musical BFF and the first thing I learn is that they are no longer.  Brilliant.  I fall for them just as they head off into the sunset. I had two ideas for articles today.  The first was Springsteen’s debut Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ turning 38 and I posted it this morning.  I

Def Leppard is set to release their first ever live album*, some 33 years into their career.  Lead singer Joe Elliott says the band recorded every night of their most recent tour.”We’ve got the entire tour backed up onto three or four hard drives,” he said. “So we have the unenviable task of listening to probably 50 versions of every song we’ve ever played.”Unfortunately it sounds as if they won’t be doing this live album right, which would be giving fans a complete, single show.”You’ve got to listen to them (the songs) two or three times to make sure nothing

Bruce Springsteen released his debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ on this day in 1973.  Thirty-eight years later, I think we can say the Springsteen kid might turn out all right. It’s amazing listening to Greetings now and hearing the aspects of Springsteen’s musical personality that were evident from the beginning as well as those that disappeared.  The drama and cinematic scope of “Lost In The Flood” would become an integral part of Born To Run and would have fit beautifully.   I don’t know if I can as easily place “Spirit In The Night” on a later album but

Today is R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe’s 51st birthday and in honor of the occasion, I’m previewing two tracks from the band’s forthcoming album Collapse Into Now. The first track on the album is called “Discoverer” and it was made available as a free download through the band’s fan club and web site. “Discoverer” feels like a step forward from the songs from Acclerate, which means is a strange prism through which to hear this song.  Accelerate was in many ways a throwback album for R.E.M., meaning this is a song that looks forward, back.  Peter Buck’s guitar has that familiar

The final iTunes Chart of 2010 serves up a heaping helping of beat-driven pop titles as well as hip hop favorites. I’m more familiar with some of these names and songs than I wish I was because I spent an entire day helping my nieces buy songs from iTunes for their new iPod shuffles. Pieces of my soul were burnt and the smoldering embers flaked off and blew away into the eternal abyss. I’ve heard very good things about the Tron Legacy soundtrack- in fact, I’ve heard more praise for Daft Punk than I have anyone else associated with

I listened to more than 50 blues records released in 2010 and found time to write reviews of 27 of them.  It was all time well spent and now that the year has finished and the 32nd Blues Music Award nominees have been announced, it’s time to take a peek back at the year that was in the blues. I used to order my lists when I first started doing these but that became an impossible task that took a lot of the fun out of this so I threw that rule out a couple years ago.  I also abandoned

Happy New Year, music lovers! Welcome to, the newest outpost for music lovers on the internet.  Faces will be melted.  Minds will be blown.  We will laugh, learn, and most importantly we will listen.  Be a part of it all.  Bookmark us.  Read us.  Join us! Stay tuned.  This is only the beginning. 

I’ve been looking forward to Eden Brent’s follow up to Mississippi Number One since I first heard details about it from Brent at the Blues Music Awards in May.  Sometimes the electric charge of anticipation leads to crushing disappointment but when I got my advance of Ain’t Got No Troubles I commenced to unbridled gushing about the album. Brent teamed with producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Colin Linden and recorded the album in New Orleans, and it’s that spirit of the Crescent City that helps differentiate this record from its Delta-soaked predecessor.  Some artists, inspired by exotic or evocative locations, lose themselves in those moments and

Clapton will be a shock to the system to some longtime fans because the man whose guitar prowess once inspired a nation to spray paint “Clapton is God” is nowhere to be found on this record.  Lead guitar and guitar solos are used sparingly and not all played by Clapton.  This album accentuates mood and texture.  He’s choosing good songs, arranging them well, not burdening them with mandatory redundant reminders that he is a legendary instrumentalist, and not compressing or polishing them to death.  He’s also singing better than ever.  The songs and sounds have room to breathe and

I’m continually amazed when I hear contemporary blues musicians play traditional blues music that doesn’t sound like contrived, cliche-ridden imitation. It’s not easy, which probably explains why so many of those who might have been inclined to try abandon it for the greener, easier pastures of the blues’ offspring, rock and roll. In high school foreign language classes, I began from the mindset of an English speaker trying to translate thought into another language: “How would you say ________ in Spanish?” or “What’s the word for ________ in Japanese?” I never got to a point where thoughts formed in those

I first learned of Karen Lovely after she placed second at the International Blues Challenge last year.  I first heard her sing in an impromptu jam at Rum Boogie Café in Memphis and took notice when I saw she had a new record coming out this year, wondering if she, like so many before her, would use the IBC as a springboard forward.  After several listens to Still The Rain, one word kept coming to mind: natural.  She has a powerhouse, passionate voice and complete control of it.  When we think of musical excess in rock or the blues, we

Dustin Arbuckle and Aaron Moreland have been working together on the blues scene for quite some time, self-releasing a series of albums before making the jump to Telarc for their 2010 release Flood. It has been a fixture on the Billboard Blues chart since its release and continues to get significant airplay at blues radio. There is a fine line between fashioning a collection of songs that coalesce into a whole and fatiguing listeners with an unrelenting style or sound. Flood is more the former but is at times guilty of the latter, having two primary sounds from which their

Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith have been playing together on and off for more than four decades. Both played with Muddy Waters during his ’70s resurgence and both continued on without the icon as part of the Legendary Blues Band. They’ve been on record and onstage more times than they can count since but Joined At The Hip represents something of a first for the two and that’s saying something considering the careers and ages of both men. Age may be nothing but a number but the numbers in this case are noteworthy. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, is

Imagine getting golfing advice from Tiger Woods (not dating advice).  Imagine going to your local batting cage and seeing Tony Gwynn there, offering free tips on hitting.  What would you give to get quarterback coaching for your kid from Joe Montana?  Suppose opera has always seemed impenetrable to you yet you find yourself wishing you could understand and appreciate it only to have Placido Domingo offer to spend time schooling you on the finer points.  Duke Robillard’s Passport To The Blues is an invitation to take a guided tour and see the world of blues through one of the greats. 

You may not know this but there is a lot of pressure when it comes to writing about a favorite album or artist.  When a song or record inspires you and gets inside your head and heart you feel an obligation to do it justice.  There’s even a twinge of pressure not to gush like a fanboy- something you wind up ignoring because this music that demanded a verdict and has been rendered worthy of the highest praise. I felt an additional pressure when I first fell in love with Medford & Main:  the album was still months away from

I wasn’t the first person to know about Peter Karp and Sue Foley’s He Said She Said project but I was privy to the possibility before many when he mentioned it during our interview about its predecessor, his stunning solo album Shadows And Cracks. That was at the end of 2007. After a two-year gestation period, He Said She Said was released in March of this year and Karp and Foley have been out on the road promoting it. To discuss the album without mentioning the story behind it would be lunacy but it’s  too easy to get distracted by

I have a love of history but there are massive gaps in my knowledge of it.  I know very little of Canada’s history beyond Norsemen and Vikings – probably – John Cabot, French fur trappers, and then one day it’s a country made up of provinces.  I have no doubt world culture and music have been influenced by famous, talented Canadians and I’m ignorant and unaware of them.  I don’t know what musics are native to my neighbors to the north.  I bring this up because while jazz and blues are widely recognized as American musical idioms — overwhelmingly African

It’s hard to imagine being a perpetually broke member of the middle class and still having more money than sense but that’s the only conclusion I can draw when I do something like what I did this week.  Dave Ramsey would probably spontaneously combust if he saw what I spend a month on music and I’m fine with that because I have a few choice words for him, too.  He’ll die richer and we’ll both be dead.  Maybe he’s having fun.  I hope so.  I know I am.  That said, even I have trouble justifying this latest stunt of mine.

Among the landmark musical phenomena for folks of my generation was MTV’s Unplugged. It seemed as though, overnight, acoustic music was cool. It was seen as a strength and indication of talent to drop studio trickery and bombastic theatrics. Millions of people were looking for songs that had more than a hook, but a kind of substance that could only be discerned in a rustic, spare arrangement. That lasted for about five minutes. Before Unplugged died altogether, it was bastardized by bands that cheated. My mom played an Epiphone acoustic guitar when I was a kid. I know what an

It’s unusual to see a blues duo pair up when they both play the same instrument.  King and Kubek not only both play guitar but both play lead guitar and do it well enough to stand on their own.  The willingness of both to surrender a bit of the spotlight to make music together is inspiring on its face but becomes all the more because of the music that results from such unselfishness.  King handles all lead vocals and Kubek takes a majority of the solos but both get a chance to display their guitar abilities and the mixing and

Magic Slim has been playing the blues for more than 50 years and been recording since 1977 with his band The Teardrops.  The lineup has changed but the sound and purpose have not.  With his 2010 release Raising The Bar, Slim declares not his intention to do it different but only to do it better.  It’s hard to imagine a 72-year old man and 50-year veteran still having a lot of upside, especially when you’re talking about someone who has done it so well for so long but it’s nice to know he still feels the fire to challenge himself

We’ve heard many a song or album described as the most personal thing an artist has ever done, whether by a critic or the artist themselves.  I don’t know if The Well is the most personal record of Blues Hall of Famer Charlie Musselwhite’s career but I can’t imagine how much deeper he can dig than he has on The Well, his first album in four years. A trio of tracks on this album takes us deep inside the heart of Charlie Musselwhite through some of the most painful, defining moments of his life.  “Dig The Pain” and “The Well”

In the wonderful Peter Bogdonavich film Runnin’ Down A Dream, Heartbreaker lead guitarist Mike Campbell revealed the secret formula at the heart of so much of the band’s phenomenal success over their more than 30-year career: “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” Well, the times, they are a-changing. It’s a brave new world for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and it must please Petty to no end he and his mates have decided to broaden their horizons not by looking forward but  looking back. There’s also something beautifully perverse in following up a four-hour documentary of your band with

What makes Satriani’s longevity more unlikely is that he has relied on his ability to translate new musical ideas with classic Satriani sounds and approach.  There have been dabblings with other sounds and styles – Engines Of Creation being a guitar/techno collage – but he has largely stayed true to his own course succeeding on the strength of his unique gift for wordless storytelling.  He has a way with melody and songcraft, writing guitar-based jams that have the equivalent of a verse-chrous-verse pop composition.  Classic Satriani songs have melodic constructions flexible enough to allow for technically complex guitar solo variations but

Otis Taylor shatters your illusions of what the blues is and what it can be. Clovis People, Vol. 3 confounds and stretches the concept of modern blues by taking on subjects other songwriters wouldn’t touch and using instruments and arrangements others wouldn’t think of.  Many modern blues artists are influenced by the same handful of artists – Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B., Albert, and Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Rush Buddy Guy – and their music bears all those obvious hallmarks. Those are great names and it makes sense they’d inspire future generations to take to the

Comedian Ron White has a fun routine about “truth in advertising” that comes to mind when I think about Joe Bonamassa’s latest effort, Black Rock. The album takes its name from the studio in Greece where Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley holed up to record but there is a lot more than geography at play in that name. Accidentally on purpose, the title gives listeners a clue about what kind of journey they’re about to embark on. While blues will always be at the heart of what Bonamassa does as a singer and guitarist, Black Rock finds him injecting those

Albert Castiglia has taken a streamlined approach on his fifth studio album Keepin On, recording much of it live with minimal overdubs and a mix of covers and originals.  The formula has caught on with blues fans who helped the album hit #1 at blues radio.  The mix of five originals with covers of songs by John Lee Hooker, Mack Rice, T-Bone Walker, Robert Nighthawk, Peter Green, and Bob Dylan and the direct approach to capturing the songs works well, most of the time. Keepin On is easier to absorb in pieces than as a whole because there is a

Many a man has put his guitar down and picked up a Bible, convinced that playing the blues was a one-way ticket to Beelzebub’s eternal beach party.  The blues has long been shrouded in the mystery and voodoo and alleged associations with the devil.  Exhaustive research and numerous books debunk the myth Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to become the world’s greatest bluesman- something you wouldn’t think would actually require such devoted scholarship and yet the fable lives on. In the neverending battle between good and evil, the warring forces have continually co-opted each other’s weapons and

Shorthand has its uses but sometimes we lose things in translation.  Take a name like Kilborn Alley Blues Band.  It’s a bit of a mouthful.  I often clip the name to Kilborn Alley or KABB when writing about them or discussing them with friends and strangers.  There’s nothing wrong with that but it occurred to me the most important word of their name might well be that final “b:” band. Kilborn Alley Blues Band puts a premium on ensemble playing, a tradition that has been obscured in the blues in no small part because of what rock and roll did

Rock and roll history can’t be told without discussing the British Invasion, when British teenagers morphed the imported American blues and R&B records they listened to into one of the most influential sounds ever produced.  The records and artists that sprang forth from that movement continue to shape the constructs of popular music decades later. The story is well chronicled  and seems simple on the surface but as with most things in life gets complicated when you look beneath.  To some, it’s simply one chapter in the ongoing tale of the evolution of music that has been happening around the

Janiva Magness has emerged as perhaps the biggest contemporary female performer on the blues circuit over the past four years. The Devil Is An Angel, Too is her follow-up to the critically acclaimed, award-winning 2008 release What Love Will Do. The first 30 seconds of the title track are revelatory. They validate my criticisms of Do I Move You? and provide some degree of confidence that Devil will be a different story, and for the most part it is. Magness’ voice has changed very little from previous outings but the music, production, and arrangement on the title track have and

You’ve probably heard others express and explain the idea that “the work” is its own reward.  I’ve experienced that in small doses in my own freelance career.  I’ve learned things about myself and the music I love by writing about it and what I took from that means more than any meager — very meager — monetary compensation I may have made in the exchange. I’ve found a new way to be rewarded by the work I’m doing. I started a feature that examines radio play for blues stations from around the world as compiled by the folks at Roots

Hot, young guitarists spring have sprung forth every few years for more decades than I can be bothered to count. Each generation spawns a new crop and while many are momentarily interesting, “guitar god” is a cannibalistic business and very few have much shelf life. There are exceptions and Robert Randolph has taken a bold step forward, daring to join the few and the proud. Randolph is a unique talent as anyone who has listened to the work of his first three albums with his Family Band or his collaboration with John Medeski and the Dickinson boys of North Mississippi

When a sideman steps out on his own he either hogs the spotlight or values having talented friends and shares it.  Rob Stone has been a sideman and played with some of the great names in blues history.  He also works with the high-octane duo Chris James and Patrick Rynn.  Those two now return the favor on Back Around Here.  Also enlisted for this record are pianist David Maxwell, and legendary drummers Sam Lay and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.  Stone didn’t assemble this multi-generational cast of talent just to put their names on the front of the record; he uses

Earlier this year my wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary.  We talked about ways to celebrate and friends asked if we had any special plans and it was an inevitability someone would suggest we take a cruise.  The two of us would nod and smile politely, knowing neither was really up for that sort of thing.  For starters, we don’t like baking in the heat of tropical climates.  We live in Alabama and if there are places in this world that get hotter – and I’m told there are – we don’t want to find them.  We’re not beach

How much was I looking forward to Highway Companion?  Enough to make a midnight run to Wal-Mart to have it at the precise moment of its release.  That, boys and girls, is what we call obsession, devotion, and the lack of anything resembling a life.  Not only did I buy it that night, I stayed up to listen to it from beginning to end.  I will tell you something else – I would do it again.  Some of you have lives.  I have 1,000 CDs and a wishlist filled with 1,000 more.  The title and first single “Saving Grace” gave me the wrong

I learned long ago not to write a review after listening to an album only once. I have penned plenty of reviews panning an album I later came to love. There are also plenty of reviews bearing my moniker where I professed my undying love for a record only to see it later lose some of its luster. I have been curious about Robert Randolph for some time and was eager to take this assignment to listen to his new record. Upon first listen, I was regretting that decision. It was not that I did not likeColorblind, I just did

Being an Otis Rush fan teaches and requires patience.  BB King’s fans are lucky. Their hero is alive, in good enough health to continue touring, and much of his best work is still easily available in the recorded format of your choice.  Buddy Guy’s fans are lucky. Their man is still touring and recording.  Guy had a bad run of luck in the ’70s and ’80s but his fortunes have improved dramatically since.  Rush’s story is different.  His health is beginning to fail (he suffered a stroke in 2004) and his recorded legacy is a bit of a mess. Even when he

The Wife to Whom I’m Married was recently asked by her Kenyan co-worker, Derek, what kind of music I liked and who some of my favorite artists are. Among the styles listed was the blues. Her co-worker was not sure he knew what this was. Her answer:  my husband likes to listen to old, Black men sing about their troubles. Derek found this hilarious. Thanks, dear.  TWTWIM was just having a little fun with that description but there are a lot of people who think of the blues as nothing more than old, Black men singing songs about how their woman done

What do you say about the album that has everything?  I’m rarely at a loss for words, but I’ve spent the past week trying to conjure a method to heap an appropriate amount of praise on Live At The Olympia.  I’m still not quite sure where to begin, but a collection this brilliant demands more than silent admiration.  Attention must be paid. I have many contrived rules and preferences for music and in particular live albums.  I bring this up because Live At The Olympia breaks most of them and yet I’m ready to rate it among the best live

I believe I speak for the majority – and I’m damn sure I speak for all right-thinking music lovers – when I say we desire complete, single-show performances that have been minimally edited and processed.  Am I talking about live albums or chicken? It’s a simple concept, really, and the music industry continues not to get it and wonder why they can’t sell records! You want to put the bootleggers out of business? Steal their business model and do it better than they do! You guys are the music business.  You should be better at selling records than anybody.  How

One of the rewards of this great undertaking of mine – examining so many songs, albums, and artists nominated for 2010 Blues Music Awards – is that it has given me just the excuse I needed to investigate the work of names I recognize whose work I did not. Duke Robillard has been around forever. I was familiar with him by name long before I had even a passing interest in the blues, as a fan of guitar-oriented music. When I began my journey through the blues, his name would come up but I never pulled the trigger and purchased

The Biggest Bang doesn’t seem nearly as boastful when you consider it comes from the self-proclaimed “Greatest Band On Earth,” once you’ve been pummeled by seven hours of footage spread across four DVDs.  Size matters to The Rolling Stones and they again outdo their overblown antics.  Ever masters of overstatement, their unapologetic penchant for excess makes them the butt of jokes, but also sustains them.  The tiny slings and arrows of their critics can’t sink this preposterously large mothership of rock.  The shows get bigger and ticket prices skyrocket, yet they continue to break attendance and earnings records. The biggest

It had to happen.  It’s more reliable than any other regularly occurring phenomenon we have.  If the Stones tour, there will be a live album to document it.  Sure, they released the Biggest Bang DVD box set through (Satan)Best Buy last year, but that was DVD only.  Thanks to Martin Scorsese’s film Shine a Light, we finally have a CD companion to their most recent tour.  The film is in IMAX theaters now and we have to assume it will be made available on DVD in the near future; we can hope it will also come to us on Blu-ray

Nearly every contemporary music genre has some root in the blues; some genres more than others but the relationship is almost always there.  Rock and roll probably owes the largest debt to the blues as evidenced by the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of bands who have merged those two sounds.  There are two common camps in the blues-rock world.  There’s Southern rock as popularized by The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, etc.  There is also what I call the Stones rock approach to combining the blues and rock: The Black Crowes are a good reference point for this

Hubert Sumlin’s most famous – and some might argue most significant contribution to the world of music and the blues is his guitar work for Howlin’ Wolf in the ’60s and ’70s.  Wolf was one of the most successful, important, and influential bluesmen of what is considered the Chicago Blues sound.  The man’s own voice, a sound that cannot be well described in any words I know, is the most memorable ingredient in Wolf’s best songs with Sumlin’s lead work coming in a close second.  Anyone spending much time listening to those great sides, most of which were cut for

I am a big believer in the idea of putting your money where your mouth is.  I wrote a few months back about giving up my free copy of Guster’s Ganging Up On the Sun, an album I declared to be the best of 2006, and went out and bought a copy of my own.  This entire series of reviews of albums and artists nominated for the 2007 Blues Music Awards can be traced back to one album:  Otis Rush – All Your Love I Miss Loving, Live at The Wise Fools Pub, Chicago (that album title is almost long enough for a

There are some familiar motifs and rhythms that any longtime blues listener can spot from a mile away.  Fats Domino might not be the first artist to make use of the bass line to “Blueberry Hill,” but variations upon the theme have anchored countless blues cuts over the decades and the Willie Dixon-penned, Muddy Waters classic “Hoochie Coochie Man” has been ripped off and re-written more than that.  These are but two examples that have formed the basis of thousands of songs, extending back to an era when liberally borrowing from friend and competitor was not a fast track to

I was always a casual fan of Sixpence None the Richer.  I liked them well enough to be curious about a Leigh Nash solo record, but not enough to rush out and buy it the moment it arrived on store shelves.  I was strolling through a music store with a few bucks to burn, it was on sale, and I decided to roll the dice. I listened to it once and thought it was nice.  I was neither transformed nor turned off by Blue on Blue.   It was pleasant, but did not make much of an impression, so it went in

“Good evening. This is off our first record. Most people don’t own it.” And with that acerbic mumble, Nirvana began their performance on MTV’s Unplugged, an event that would become a cultural watershed moment. The first record Kurt Cobain was referring to was called Bleach, released on Seattle-based SubPop records. Cobain was right. Most people didn’t own it when it was first released and they couldn’t be faulted. Nirvana was a local band making inroads through the underground. Locals, like I was at the time, knew of them. College kids and those plugged in to what was going on above, below, and

No one makes hypocrisy more fun than Oasis.  Let’s take a look at the scorecard just for the recently released Dig Out Your Soul.  Noel Gallagher slammed Radiohead for their release/distribution method, but I’ll be damned if Oasis hasn’t copied nearly every page out of the Radiohead playbook. They weren’t giving the album away for free, but you could stream it on their MySpace page.  They also released a super deluxe box set edition complete with album, bonus disc, and vinyl.  Oasis have even taken it a step further and thrown in a DVD, and that’s what makes this fun.

Tour documentaries often leave me cold.  A tour documentary has to balance the needs of a filmmaker while serving the music, the artist, and the audience.  There are several questions that have to be considered to pull off such a delicate balancing act.  Is there a story? Does it need to be told? Can the director tell it? Will the band allow it?  Those are just the basic questions.  Even if they’re all answered in the affirmative, there are still dozens of places to fuck it all up. Don’t Believe The Truth was a sensational record, completing the Oasis comeback

I try to pretend like I am not an elitist prick where music is concerned. Don’t believe it. I am. And I have enjoyed the hell out of being in on one of music’s best-kept secrets: Joe Pernice. He has recorded under at least 231 monikers during his career. He has made incredible records under each of them. I have listened to all of them while the rest of the poor masses have been served teeming piles of Destiny’s Child and the godawful Rob Thomas. The sun shines on a dog’s ass somedays. And make no mistake… it is sunshine

It is inevitable. When bands break up and members go their separate ways comparisons will be made. This happened to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr after the breakup of The Beatles. Mick Jagger saw his stature diminish and Keith Richards saw his increase after they each released solo albums. There are some fans that think none of these musical icons made music as interesting on their own as they did with their arguably more famous bands. It was tempting to read things into the breakup of Toad the Wet Sprocket. Lead singer Glen Phillips embarked on

I’ve got a very serious cynical streak that runs through me and that mindset has turned words like “diversity” into code for some of the sillier sides of political correctness. In the past few days I’ve realized that’s not entirely good because diversity can be a powerful tool for perspective, something society, our culture, and I desperately need. If you get your news exclusively or primarily from some sources, you get the false sense that musicians lead charmed lives that revolve around big houses, fast cars, faster women, and good drugs. If you turn to other sources, you’ll be led

The name of Janiva Magness’ Album of the Year nominee is Do I Move You?  The answer?  Not really.  Janiva Magness has a terrific voice that burns with passion.  It’s a voice that rarely falters; unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the material and the arrangements.  In some instances, the material is just flat bad and no amount of vocal prowess or emotional force can save it.  In other instances, the material is solid but the arrangement pulls the song back.  It’s a shame.  The album opens with “I’m Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Love).”  The title of

Memory Almost Full, the title of Paul McCartney’s new album, is a good summation for the music presented on the record.  This is an album of compact, ornate sketches detailed with a full palette of standard and unusual instruments.  Most of the songs on MAF settle on a single pattern or idea and explore it quickly; only two of the 13 tracks extend beyond the four-minute mark.  Where his previous album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard had a grander, more sweeping feel to it, MAF has a comparatively simpler and sunnier feel. The most interesting thing about the album’s

I may be giving Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich too much credit but the presence of only one annoying, cheeky song on a McCartney solo record is nothing short of amazing. The word here is lean. There are no futile attempts at grand statement (“Freedom”). He resists the temptation to show us all how hard he is with silly bravado or posturing. Even the silly love songs are mostly absent. The album opens with “Fine Line” which also happens to be the song from his Grammy performance that cost me 10 dollars. I called the song pedestrian based on that performance.

Because I can. Sometimes the only reason to do something is to prove that we can. I’m not a scientist or a philosopher, but I believe it is hardwired into our humanity to push every limit just as far as it will go and then to push it some more. These voyages have taken us to all manner of unexpected places, bringing miraculous good to the masses and pushing us to the brink of our own destruction. Sometimes these voyages took us no further than the distance between where the voyage began and where it ended, the journey being more

There have been a lot of film and literary sequels and most of them suck. Sometimes it’s because the idea or premise of the original was so completely terrible that a second or third serving can’t help but suck out loud. Some sadist in Hollywood green lighted not one but two Duece Bigelow films. I wanted to make a joke about the Halloween franchise but I couldn’t comprehend the litany of sequels, prequels, and re-makes to even attempt one. Sometimes that’s because there can be too much of a good thing. The Godfather was great. The Godfather II was great

Before introducing Nick Moss & The Flip Tops, the crowd at Chan’s is asked if they are ready for some Chicago blues. It takes only a few bars of the improvised “Eggroll Stroll” to transport this Rhode Island club halfway across country and back in time 50 years. A recording and performance like this are reminders the blues is not meant to be played in 70,000 seat stadiums or corporate arenas, but in smoke-filled clubs (while they still exist) where the band leader can still make eye contact with the front row of tables. The lineup this night features

Digesting double albums can be daunting, and most would be better off as singles, but Nick Moss makes the task easier by not making a double album so much as packaging two single albums together in the form of Play It ‘Til Tomorrow. Taken one at a time, both discs are a pleasure to listen to. The first features the familiar electric Chicago blues he has explored on his previous albums while the second is acoustic, showing a side of his playing rarely before heard.  The electric disc is the stronger of the two. The material is better and

It makes perfect sense that now would be the time Tom Petty would get the idea to reunite Mudcrutch. The path to this point is easy enough to trace, beginning with his 2006 solo album Highway Companion, a record filled with songs about the passing of time. Characters drift from place to place taking stock of their lives, in some cases looking forward but mostly looking back. After releasing the record, he and his Heartbreakers embarked on a 30th anniversary tour. Around this same time, the work of Petty’s other band was put back in print for the first time

Wow, is this bringing back… memories? No, it’s something more than that. It’s bigger than a handful of memories. This is a fuckin’ time capsule inside a time machine. I can feel my hair getting bigger. I can feel the concrete floors beneath heavy boots. I can smell the sweaty flannel and it’s just as scratchy as I remember. I can taste the flat, cheap beer in sweating plastic cups. My family moved to Washington state in 1988 and we moved to Alabama in ’91. I lived in the Seattle area when what would become known as “grunge” belonged only

There are a lot of people who associate U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind with 9/11.  The anthems, the themes, and some of the lyrics seem to speak perfectly to the aftermath of that terrible day in our nation’s history.  That connection is further cemented by the way they rose to the occasion.  No American band on the scene was capable of the galvanizing performance U2 gave at the Super Bowl that followed a few months later.  When America needed a band and a soundtrack for a moment of grief and healing, it borrowed U2. In that same way,

The Traveling Wilburys is such a preposterously huge idea that it would have to be real because no one would ever really imagine it.  Think about it just for a second: a Beatle, Dylan, Orbison, and Petty? That’s four guys in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for work they did on their own, and I’ve not yet mentioned the very talented Jeff Lynne.  What’s next?  A band featuring Hendrix, Clapton, Peart, and McCartney? That quartet would never assemble, even if Hendrix weren’t dead- although that certainly diminishes the plausibility of it all.  Somehow, The Traveling Wilburys did and

I was skeptical when I learned Tuatara’s new record was going to feature vocals.  I was more than skeptical, I was unhappy.  I had a rigid sense of what a Tuatara record should be.  I knew without having to check the credits in the liner notes that Peter Buck played anything except for electric guitar and Barrett Martin played 15 instruments with unpronounceable names and exotic sounds in addition to some work behind the standard rock drum kit.  That is the Tuatara formula, and it gave birth to four fabulous, unique records. I had no doubt this new music could

There’s something special about an album that takes a listener on a journey to a place they’ve never been before. Every album can be a journey if the listener is open to it, but not every album really takes us somewhere. There’s something special about going along for the ride when we realize the music is going to carry us to a place we’ve never been. Pop music can be great and there’s a place for it, but it just can’t compare to the lifting that comes from feeling your mind transported by the music. Tuatara’s music not only transports

The Twisters have a tragic connection with Metallica.  A semi-truck struck the vehicles transporting the band to Prince George, critically injuring drummer Matt Pease and killing bass player James Taylor.  Taylor is survived by his wife and one-year old daughter.  No one would have blamed the band for calling it quits, and they considered it.  In the end, they decided to forge ahead and After the Storm is the fruit of that perseverance.   The album opens with “I’m Your Man,” a hip re-write of Diana Ross & The Supremes’ “The Way You Do The Thing You Do.” The first

If I have this right, the premise of Chicago Blues – A Living History was to round up a slew of Chicago blues veterans and have them record their own versions of Chicago blues classics.  That’s so crazy it just might work, right? While the idea lacks daring, it’s not without risk. Used CD stores and cutout bins are littered with tribute albums featuring major talents recording major works and all too often the results prove underwhelming. It’s like all the alleged supergroups in rock history; somewhere the math gets in the way and the whole ends up being less

I often wonder why I didn’t start my journey to the heart of the blues sooner than I did.  The more I listen to the idiom’s greatest champions and practitioners, the more I despair at how many days of my life were wasted without these sounds, songs, and artists in my vocabulary. Most of the time, these lamentations are silly expressions of my incurable case of fanboy-itis but there are times it seems a valid question for consideration and I’ve even come up with a few possible explanations.  One that makes the most sense to me is that I just

I guess I’ve bought enough compilations, covers albums, soundtracks, and tribute albums to realize the roster of talents is usually more interesting and inspired than the results. I admit I was curious when I saw the list of artists covering Dylan songs for the soundtrack of the “biopic” I’m Not There and that’s usually enough to get me to buy. When it’s not, a cameo or contribution by Mark Lanegan almost certainly is yet somehow I resisted the urge until now. I’ve been a slow learner, but having been burned enough times made me reluctant to investigate this compilation/soundtrack. Everyone

The most obvious reason to offer up any kind of award is to recognize outstanding achievement. A byproduct of that recognition is pointing listeners in the direction of great music they might otherwise miss. Joe Louis Walker is no newcomer to the blues circuit yet I had never heard of him until I saw he was nominated for five Blues Music Awards including Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of The Year for his Between A Rock And The Blues CD, which also features a song nominated for Song of The Year. That Song of The Year nominee

I knew I had one of the winning releases of 2007 within the first five minutes of hearing this album.  The title track and the beginning of “I’ve Got News” spill such an abundance of blues chops and enthusiasm it seems inconceivable Slim & The Workers could run out of either before the album’s end.  Chops and feeling are arguably the two most important ingredients in great blues, and enthusiasm and passion burst from this record. That enthusiasm is contagious.  I started writing previews of the record and e-mailing my contact and other blues-loving friends, telling them how great The Wheel

Watermelon Slim (aka Bill Homans) has one of the best biographies of any artist of any era, and you get a taste of that life story on his self-titled release for NorthernBlues. The album opens with “Hard Times” and if that isn’t a quintessential blues title, I don’t know what is.  The blues has come a long way when you hear lines like “I’m too frustrated to see my psychiatrist.”  Slim’s lyrics may reflect a degree of modernity, but his marvelous slide work would make the early masters proud. Speaking of traditional, the acoustic slide work on “Folding Dollar

Breakin’ it Up, Breakin’ it Down was approximately one foot and a few days away from being lost forever. Seriously…  how does that stuff happen? Several soot-covered boxes of recording tape – many labeled with Muddy Waters’ name – were nearly thrown away after being more or less abandoned by the now-defunct Blue Sky label.  Fortunately, not only were these boxes saved but the music contained therein is finding its way into the hands of blues lovers the world over. The first gold mined from those boxes came in the form of the deluxe edition of Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live. 

In the final installment of Stephen King’s serial novel The Green Mile, King remarks that he’s not likely to write that way again because it gave his critics six opportunities to kick his ass.  Wilco might feel the same way about Sky Blue Sky.  In a move that seems to ignore the paranoia of the whole file sharing/internet piracy age, the entire album was streamed on the band’s web site weeks prior to its release.  Since radio all but refuses to play anything interesting, this gave people a chance to preview the album.  It also gave fans, bloggers, and critics

Works Progress Administration is a supergroup of another sort.  When we think most supergroups, we think of power names from power bands.  With WPA, we get a group of veteran sidemen (and woman) of diverse musical backgrounds who came together in an organic way with a simple purpose: to make music.  It sounds obvious and naive, but that’s what this collective is.  Former Toad The Wet Sprocket lead singer Glen Phillips, Luke Bulla, and Sean Watkins of the presently on hiatus Nickel Creek form the core of the band.  They are joined on record and often on tour by Watkins’

One of the things I love about the blues is the tradition of the music. Some genres place a premium on innovation and progression and that’s great, but one of the unintended consequences of that emphasis is that a lot of great, veteran artists get pushed out of the way. Pop music is probably more guilty of this than any other genre. There’s such an intense drive on the part of the industry and listeners to find that next big thing that some great artists are discarded and forgotten about, often long before they’ve run out of ideas or things

Louisiana Red (born Iverson Minter) had a busy year.  The 77-year old bluesman recorded two albums, both in contention for some serious hardware at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. He teamed with Little Victor and a host of other top musicians for Back To The Black Bayou, an album nominated for Album Of The Year.   Little Victor rounded up some crack musicians and booked time in a studio designed to take everything we’ve learned about capturing sound in recent years and ignoring most of it for this project.  The facility they used in Norway includes the ’60s Auditronics mixing

Who are the “Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen?”  Who would have the audacity to gloss themselves with that title, considering how many great bluesmen trace their roots back to the Mississippi Delta? Pinetop Perkins, Robert Lockwood Jr., Honeyboy Edwards, and Henry James Townsend may or may not have had anything to do with choosing that title but they sure as hell spent a lifetime earning it.  Historical album? That might be the understatement of the millennium! Pinetop Perkins is a national treasure, most famous for the years he spent on the road touring with Muddy Waters.  The first

Former Screaming Trees frontman-turned solo artist Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell formerly of Belle & Sebastian have united for an album and have released Ramblin’ Man EP as a preview of what’s to come. The title track, “Ramblin’ Man” is the first song on the EP. It is a cover of a Hank Williams song. Isobel Campbell said it is “quite nasty” and that it could work well in a Quentin Tarantino movie. She is right. The reference to a Tarantino film is one I made when I reviewed Lanegan’s solo album of covers, the brilliant 1999 release I’ll Take Care of

Innovation can be overrated. Change for change’s sake is just that, neither inherently good nor bad. You have to read the fine print. Don’t ever bet things can’t get worse, that there’s nowhere further to fall. That’s a sucker’s bet, one that many have lost. There’s a lot to be said for knowing who you are, what you do, and where you live. I’ve always preferred the traditional to the modern when it comes to the blues. I know there are some who argue for the genre to flourish it must grow. Doesn’t it get stale if you never venture

Some music makes you feel good.  Some makes you feel bad, which in turn makes you feel good or at least provides company to your misery.  It can make you feel cool, sexy, bad, or hardcore, but it seldom makes you feel smarter.  Peter Karp’s Shadows and Cracks is one of those rare records. The album is rare on numerous levels.  It’s distributed by Blind Pig – an independent blues label – but this is no hard-boiled blues record.  Karp doesn’t possess incendiary guitar chops like Buddy Guy or Stevie Ray Vaughan and his voice doesn’t pierce skin or bone,

Pop music is dismissed today because it is more commodity than art.  Today’s pop music is like facial tissue: we don’t think about the brand, call it all Kleenex, and throw it away.  Of course the music is disposable! It’s only there to provide a beat for the strip show.  I wonder which is more difficult: staying in tune while wearing clothes or staying in tune while simultaneously taking them off.  It must be the latter, as many elaborate stage performances use canned vocals.  In a world where Fergie can pass for a pop star rather than an unfortunate-looking stripper,

John Lee Hooker’s life is in many ways the quintessential bluesman’s life.  He migrated north from Clarksdale, Mississippi with dreams of making a career playing the blues.  He outlived most of the record labels he recorded for and recorded under more aliases than Prince. Five years after his death, a Herculean effort has been undertaken to make sense of his unruly and expansive discography in the form of a 4-CD box set, Hooker.  The idea that four discs could contain every vital side the man cut in his 50-year career is absurd.  What Hooker tries to do is bring together as many

I was in college when Tony Bennett played MTV’s Unplugged series and remember someone (the insufferable Kurt Loder, perhaps) remarking that Bennett was enjoying a renaissance because college kids were discovering how fuckin’ cool Tony Bennett was. I remember seeing highlights of the Unplugged show and thinking it was pretty cool; there was something about Bennett’s croon and swing but I still thought Loder (or whoever it was… I honestly can’t remember) was full of shit. What was really going on was guys my age found another weapon in the arsenal to get women in bed. Old was the new

It has long amused me that so much acrimony, money, and energy was devoted to resolving the rights to the name Pink Floyd, only for David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason to do so very little with it once they “won” it. Since settling their dispute with Roger Waters, the Floyd made exactly two studio records under the Pink Floyd name (and released two live albums from the respective tours). With the release of On An Island in 2006 – some 22 years since his last solo album About Face – Gilmour may have unwittingly proved Waters’ point. There

There have only been a handful of great debut albums (Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? comes to mind).  It is not the natural order of things for an artist to create a masterpiece on the first attempt and it rarely happens.  The ’90s saw a pair of landmark debut albums.  Oasis’Definitely Maybe and Garbage’s self-titled album are two of the best records of the decade and two of the better debuts (think how much more successful commercially and musically Garbage could have been had “#1 Crush” been included). What is a band to do when they get it right the first time? Bleed Like

“Greatest Hits” albums are generally pretty easy to review because there are only two questions that count: “what’s here” and “what’s missing?”  A greatest hits compilation succeeds or fails on that ratio alone.  So, how does Absolute Garbage score? This is the band’s first hits package, which is worth a couple points because there are some artists out there with more compilations than actual albums.  It’s (mostly) chronologically ordered, depending on how technical you want to get.  The new song, “Tell Me Where it Hurts” is placed in the 17th slot while a remix of “It’s All Over But The

If you think you can’t go home again just listen to Revival, the first album of new John Fogerty material since returning to the label that made and nearly broke him.  The sounds, songs, and themes of Revival are classic John Fogerty, which is (mostly) good news. “Don’t You Wish It Was True” opens the album with him dreaming of looking into heaven and seeing light, beauty, and harmony.  It is another rewrite of John Lennon’s “Imagine” but a tuneful one.  The music shuffles and swings, evoking pictures of porch swings in front of grand, Southern houses and kids playing

I don’t know how many reviews I’ve written in which I’ve ripped a band for repeating themselves but I’ve done it more than once.  Artists are supposed to grow and develop, right? They’re supposed to spread their wings and progress, expand, and refine. I know this to be true. I’ve insisted upon it. I’ve praised bands who do it well and exalted them above all others. One Cell in the Sea, AFF’s 2007 debut, isn’t perfect from a critical standpoint but it struck a perfect chord with me. I bonded with that record. I didn’t know it at the time

Ronnie Earl’s guitar prowess and mastery of the blues idiom are not up for debate.  They are worthy of note and celebration, but there’s not a whole lot of reason to devote endless paragraphs stating the obvious.  His skill is reason enough to plunk down the money for Living In The Light, but there is so much more to this record than some great scales and solos. Living shines its brilliant light on the many dark places life has taken its creator.  The 12 songs on this album reveal a man who has been broken and put back together.  These songs of

I have a nebulous list of Undeniable Musical Truths running around in my head.  One of these days I’m going to have to sit down and write them all out.  I mention this list of truths because The Eagles have decided to take on one of them on their first new album in 28 years. Which truism have the Eagles dared to do battle against?  Most double albums would have been better off as a single album.  So, are The Eagles exceptions to the rule or victims of it?  Let’s take a closer look. The best thing about this record

Welcome to this week’s Big Tent Revival.  I’m here to evangelize your ass, preaching the word and performing miracles on behalf of another record you’re not listening to.  Actually, I’m repeating myself.  I’ve been banging away about this album and fat lot of good it seems to be doing.  Some people would stop banging their head against the wall, if only to avoid the dirty looks.  Add “wall banging” to the long list of things I’ll stop doing the moment I start caring what other people think.  Besides, this isn’t about me.  This is about you and a record you

It’s a bit of a misnomer to call this album Live.   I’m not suggesting listeners sue anyone for truth in advertising.  This is, in fact, a live album and if Shawn Colvin wants to follow in the footsteps of 100,000 other artists and name her live album Live, she’s perfectly free to do that but it feels like there is something missing in the title that doesn’t quite prepare listeners for the journey they’re about to take.  Live is at once something more and something less than a live album. Colvin performs songs from across her career and even mixes

I’ve joked with friends and co-workers that Viva La Vida is either the first U2 record we’re going to hear this year or the best U2 record we’re going to hear this year.  Many critics thought Coldplay had Radiohead ambitions when they first hit the scene, but it’s been increasingly clear over the past several years that Chris Martin has Bono envy.  Coldplay took another step towards emulating their heroes by hiring the legendary Brian Eno – U2 co-conspirator being only one of his many brilliant accomplishments — to produce their new album.   I groaned when I first learned of

One of the amazing untold stories in music these past 20 years is how an artist like Joe Satriani has maintained an audience for this long.  Think about this for a moment.  This is a guitarist/composer whose indie label got bought out by a major and he has been with that label since his first album, Not Of This Earth, in 1986.  This is a guy who, fairly or unfairly, got lumped in with the hair metal crowd of the ’80s and has managed to not only continue to work but has continued to work at a major label. This

Joe Satriani is misunderstood.  That is an amazing thing for an artist like Joe Satriani.  How can artist be around for two decades and still be misunderstood? How can an instrumental artist be misunderstood? It is tough (some would say impossible) to read incorrect meaning into words that don’t exist, although Frank Zappa recorded an instrumental album that received a “Parental Advisory” sticker so you do the math.  What makes Satriani a misunderstood artist is many music critics dismiss him as either a “guitar god” or “heavy metal.”  That is fucking lazy.  It is also not true.  Well, it is

Joe Satriani’s groundbreaking Surfing With the Alien turns 20 and is being re-released in an expanded format to mark the occasion. What’s groundbreaking about Surfing With the Alien? Think of it in Christopher Columbus terms.  Columbus didn’t discover America, if by discover you mean actually arriving here first.  He did, however, get here and the arrival started a chain of events that had a significant historical impact.  Satriani didn’t discover a genre nor did he change the course of human history.  He did expand the language of rock music’s most important instrument – the electric guitar – and took it

We have a surprise contender entering the Album of the Year competition for 2009. Welcome again to the Big Boy Table™, Mark Knopfler. I don’t know why it should be a surprise – least of all to me – but “surprise” is just one of many superlatives to heap upon Get Lucky. What makes it such a surprise? It’s not like he drastically altered his sound, continuing to mine familiar sonic ground with folk, Celtic, blues, country, and Americana elements quilted together to form the recognizable tapestry of a Mark Knopfler record. What makes this stand out is the way

“Mandolin blues? Now I’ve heard it all!” That was my initial reaction when I heard about Gerry Hundt’s debut solo album for Blue Bella Records, Since Way Back.  The thing is, I hadn’t heard it all.  I had never the blues played on the mandolin.  Hundt will be the first to tell you he’s not the first guy to try it, but it was new to me and I was impossibly intrigued by the very idea of it all.  I don’t know the history of mandolin blues, but I’d heard just enough Chicago blues to know it wasn’t the most

I never in a million years would have thought a mandolin could or would be part of a Chicago blues record until Gerry Hundt released Since Way Back. That record was a real eye-opener for me. First, it was a fuckin’ fantastic record in its own rite. I still listen to it and no one I’ve loaned it to has said anything but great things about it. In addition to being a great record, I learned a little bit about the tradition of mandolin in blues. It’s not the most commonly used instrument but it’s not unheard of, either. Nick

There is not much point in trying to conjure up words not already written about Johnny Cash.  To say Johnny Cash is unique is true but is inadequate because the word “unique,” like so much of our language, has been robbed of its power by overuse and incorrect usage (I will save the language rant for another day).  Unique.  Icon.  Mystique.  Legend.  If you were to describe Johnny Cash you might begin with those four words but you would not be the first to do so.  All the good words to describe the man and his recorded legacy have been used. And what

I understand less than a teaspoon of the total jazz output, and that has succeeded in keeping me well beyond an arm’s length of even trying. I don’t know why I treat jazz and classical differently, like they’re not still music but I do. There’s something about jazz and my perception of its culture that keeps me from trying to get my ears around it, and consequently I’ve lost out on some great music. One of the great advantages of doing this thing I do is that sometimes music I wouldn’t go looking for finds me. Such is the case

Eddie C. Campbell waited a long time to begin his solo career. The 70-year old native of Mississippi started playing guitar when he was young and spent years banging around Chicago playing with the A-list talent like Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, Koko Taylor and a host of others. He didn’t record his first solo album until 1977, not long after Taylor brought him to the attention of Willie Dixon. When I wrote about Tinsley Ellis I talked about the nebulous point where blues become rock. It’s something Eddie C. Campbell has thought about as well. On the back of

The genesis of his career is like countless others; stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  Burns began playing guitar in church, and moved from Mississippi to Chicago.  He knocked around the Chicago scene throughout the ’50s and ’60s finding limited success.  He recorded sporadically for small, independent labels and touring regionally.  With his music career stagnating and a family to support, Burns’ story deviates from the well-worn path of so many of the legends who came before and after when he chose family over music.  He realized he was going to have a difficult time supporting a family

One doesn’t need to unwrap Mississippi Number One, Eden Brent’s first record for Yellow Dog Records, to know this is an album filled with vintage sounds. Talk of opening a jewel case makes me feel vintage, too.  The cover art for M#1 reminds us there was a time when CDs were the young whippersnappers and vinyl was the established veteran medium of music buyers.  That the album artwork arrangement would feature a photo that looks yellowed with age suggests something about intent.  The opening sounds of opener “Mississippi Flatland Blues” provide evidence there has been no bait-and-switch.  The photo may

I love when bands take chances. It’s good for a band to abandon the comfortable ruts of the normal working environment and see what else might be out there. I don’t always love the results of the experiments (U2’s Pop comes quickly to mind) but I applaud anyone for taking a chance. If you don’t occasionally fall flat on your face, you haven’t stretched at all. The problem with experimentation is that artists we love want to/have to do it on our dime. They want to try something new and they want us to pay for it. That’s fine and

You’ve really got to hand it to The Black Crowes.  It takes balls to add a slide player like Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) to the lineup when you’ve been chided your entire career for being a Rolling Stones/Faces cover band.  The Robinson brothers have never been afraid to shoot the bird at their critics – or each other, for that matter – and Warpaint is their latest middle finger to the world.  These guys never run out of hands, do they?  The album opens with the fantastic “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution,” a song with the kind of catchy

I know it makes me sound like an old codger when I bitch about what makes waves at radio these days and what the kids are listening to.  I swore I’d never become one of those people but I have and I’m learning to embrace it.  I spent this past weekend helping my nieces download songs from iTunes for their new iPod shuffles and experienced repeated and continued souldeath as they told me which songs they wanted to buy. Songs that tell stories and transport listeners are becoming a rarity on radio as the hip hop sound becomes more and

The Painted Desert is one of the most important records for me of this decade, as it opened my ears to sounds and textures in music that had previously eluded me.  The Painted Desert made the impenetrable world of jazz seem like something I could reach and experience for myself.  Desert was followed by the equally wonderful Earthspeaker.  As with all the great artists whose music inspires and entertains me, I found myself growing more and more impatient to hear more.  I hope my neighbors weren’t watching as I ran/speedwalked/skipped from the mailbox to my apartment the day Zenga arrived. 

I tell people I don’t like surprises but I’m not sure that’s entirely true.  Journeys and destinations are inextricably linked.  It’s been my experience I appreciate journeys that lead to pleasurable or rewarding destinations.  Voyages to pain, misery, or disappointment?  Yeah, I’d just as soon pass on all that.  Do I like surprises?  It depends on what you have in mind. I was shocked by Barrett Martin’s solo debut The Painted Desert and more shocked that surprise turned out to be the kind I liked.  I don’t buy many jazz or World music CDs on purpose.  Those are musical galaxies

Barrett Martin has been fortunate in his friends throughout his musical career.  The Olympia, Washington native has played behind two of the most distinguished voices of the 90s alternative generation.  His work with Mark Lanegan and Screaming Trees came during the band’s commercial peak.  Internal squabbles, personal differences, and other stresses brought Trees to a halt.  He drummed (as well as contributing other instruments) on the Mad Season album with Layne Staley and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (as well as Lanegan and Baker Saunders).  McCready had hoped to make Mad Season on ongoing project.  Sadly that was not to be. 

It would be hard to find a more extreme shift from the rainy Emerald City in the Pacific Northwest to the desert southwest but that’s where Barrett Martin found himself when he traded Seattle for New Mexico shortly after the turn of the century when Screaming Trees bid each other and their fans farewell. The same can be said for the musical journey on which Martin embarked upon leaving the city. He traveled to the far corners of the world in pursuit of academic and spiritual learnings and turned the attention of his music from the heavy rock sounds and

I love learning history.  I particularly love it when history and music collide.  I get all Indiana Jones and reach for my debit card as I go racing through the Amazon jungle in search of lost treasure.  I’m pretty hardcore that way.  Indy deals with snakes in a motherfucking temple.  I deal with more choices than my Visa will allow and impatience as I wait for my treasure to arrive. My study of the blues has been every bit a history lesson, and I have been rewarded with real some good booty.  Each discovery opened a new web of possible roads to

It is tempting to say our Barenaked Ladies are growing up before our very ears, but is it true?  Maybe.  The clown princes of pranks and shticks always had a serious side to them.  Since 1992’s Gordon, fans and critics have had to wrestle with the question of whether BNL are jokesters with a serious side or serious musicians with a good sense of humor.  They have probably been both throughout their career.  With Everything to Everyone and now Barenaked Ladies are Me it is becoming increasingly apparent they would like to be thought of as the latter, not the former. Few bands

How long has it been since we’ve been able to have a musical discussion about Pete Doherty in the present tense? I’m shocked and pleased by this development.  I guess I’m one of those largely tabloid-averse folks who finds Pete’s music more interesting than his drug habits.  I chose the word “interesting” because listening to Pete can be glorious and brilliant. It can also be a chore because that indulgent streak that runs through the man can also manifest itself in his music. Shotter’s Nation reminds me a lot of Goldilox, The Three Bears and the table of porridge

I don’t know why I’m admitting this — I hate admitting things like this — but I started listening to Arctic Monkeys because of the hype.  I have a soft spot for British music and when I learned this band was setting records and taking the British music scene by storm I had to know what the fuss was all about. Whatever You Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not didn’t get released in the US until some months after it had been a certified smash in the UK, but I was there the day it hit our shores.  I

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way at the top: yes, it all sounds the same. Are you happy? Now that we’ve dispensed with that nonsense, let’s talk about Black Ice, the first new album from AC/DC in 8 years. It’s unspeakably funny to read critics trash an AC/DC record – without a hint of irony – for being more of the same. They’ve been writing the same review of every AC/DC record for a quarter century and the band is the problem? Of course Black Ice sounds like an AC/DC record. It’s supposed to! Do you

Buddy Guy has been around so long we seem to need constant reminders of not only how great he was but how great he still is. He delivered his comeback album Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues in 1991 and it was powerful enough to overcome more than a decade in relative obscurity.  He joined the Rolling Stones on a ferocious cover of Muddy Waters’ “Champagne & Reefer” last year and took them back to school! Listen to the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s Shine a Light or watch the film and you’ll witness the timeless force of nature that is

Every album Buddy Guy has released for Silvertone records (beginning with Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues) has had some sort of angle, shtick, or concept.  Guy has managed to record some memorable music despite these contrivances but this approach begs the question: What might Guy’s albums sound like if people quit trying to reinvent him and if he quit allowing them to do it? What is the concept behind this album?  You might call it Supernatural II.  Hell, they even invited Carlos Santana but that is the lone similarity between Bring ‘Em In and Santana’s Grammy-winning blockbuster.  Clive Davis and Santana

Nick Moss decided it was time for a little change with his eighth album Privileged.  The traditional Chicago blues sound of his previous efforts can still be heard but it is the jumping off point instead of the destination.  Muddy Waters famously named rock and roll the offspring of the blues in one of his songs and Moss has now traveled that same road. This isn’t a pure rock and roll record but Moss and his bandmates have cranked the volume just a little louder and rock their blues just a little harder, drawing inspiration from great bands of

I love pondering the competing, contradictory, complementary, and random elements found when the musical atom splits and all its elements are laid before you.  To borrow from Jagger and Richards, “It’s the singer, not the song.”  Or is it?  That’s where the role of the performer and performance come into play.  Music, drama, and comedy were at one time by necessity live action activities.  That changed with the ability to capture sound and video but “live” hasn’t disappeared and continues to be part of the equation, particularly in music.  How important is “performer” in the anatomy of an artist? It’s

I am naïve enough to believe there was a time when music labels did not refer to albums as product or units; that there was a time when the music part of the music business triumphed over the business end of it. I certainly don’t see many signs of it these days. Maybe my romantic notion never existed, but releases like Live at Theresa’s 1975 fill me with hope. How many more treasures like this are sitting in a vault somewhere, waiting to be excavated? When the Mt. Rushmore of The Blues is carved one day, Junior Wells’ mug won’t

It will come as a surprise to casual fans that Steve Miller has a blues side.  His hit singles remain staples of classic rock radio and they still sound fantastic.  I love “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Rockin’ Me,” and “The Joker.”  I crack up singing along with “Take The Money And Run.”  These are staples of FM radio but they don’t bear any significant blues influence.  I groaned and winced when I learned Bingo!, the first studio album from SMB in more than a decade, was going to be a blues covers collection.  Sure, a young Steve Miller jammed with

Buddy Guy is a blues immortal and a musical treasure loved the world over.  He’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Blues Hall of Fame, and earlier this year received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Blues Foundation at the 2010 Blues Music Awards.  Guy learned and helped shape many of the blues traditions that make the idiom the pillar of Western music that it is.  He learned them, shaped them, defied them, and sometimes follows them such as the tradition of bluesmen to continue on even when they could safely rest on their laurels.

The Blues Foundation purchased has selected its first permanent home in downtown Memphis earlier this week, just in time to announce the nominees for the 32nd Blues Music Awards. Artists and albums are nominated in 26 categories.  This year’s nominees include 12 first-time nominees and they will be competing with a pair of legends as Blues Hall of Famers Buddy Guy and Charlie Musselwhite tied for the most nominations with five apiece.  BMA-winner Janiva Magness received four nods and Derek Trucks, Eden Brent, Joe Louis Walker, James Cotton, Nick Moss, Paul Oscher and The Mannish Boys pulled three nominations apiece. 

British-born Joanne Shaw Taylor combined intense guitar chops and a voice aged beyond her youth to impress critics and win fans on both sides of the Atlantic on her 2009 debut White Sugar and she now returns with the sophomore effort Diamonds In The Dirt. Sophomore records are notoriously difficult for artists extending all the way back to the beginning of recorded music.  We’ve all heard the cliché about a lifetime to write the first record and 18 months to write its successor.  Some artists have tripped up overthinking things and trying to evolve too much too soon while others

I wonder how many fans in attendance at Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers show at Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre in Atlanta remember the show began with “Listen to Her Heart.” “Listen to Her Heart,” a good song and minor hit from You’re Gonna Get It, was followed by “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Won’t Back Down,” and “Free Fallin.'” As Petty & Co. rolled through those next three songs I remember thinking to myself, half-joking, “Save some for later.” Petty and his Heartbreakers are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their self-titled debut. Despite rolling through three of the biggest hits of his

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