Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The NAMM Foundation Gifts Anaheim Elementary School District With Music

Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images

On Tuesday (January 17), The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation and its member companies shared the sound of music with district and city officials and the students of Patrick Henry Elementary School in Anaheim, California as part of the organization’s Day of Service. Held in correlation with the annual NAMM Show, the global music products tradeshow, the service event celebrated the Anaheim Elementary School District’s (AESD) commitment to music education programs and, in collaboration with NAMM Foundation members and school and district officials, helped to further the district’s efforts to provide and enhance music education for all students through a monetary donation of $10,000.

The donation was presented to Superintendent Linda Wagner and other school and city officials, before a crowd of elementary school students by NAMM President and CEO, Joe Lamond; NAMM Chairman Mark Goff; and NAMM Foundation Executive Director Mary Luehrsen.

Upon receiving the check, Superintendent Wagner shared, “Before we started this program and became involved with The NAMM Foundation, we had no instruments, no music teachers and students who were missing the opportunity for a music in the classroom. Now, we have thirteen music teachers, after-school orchestras, choirs, mariachi bands and so much more, and we’re on our way to bringing music to schools across the district.”

In 2014, the Anaheim Elementary School District launched a plan to reinstate its music education curriculum and orchestral program for its 18,500 students. In 2016, the district continued its hiring of new music teachers with a final goal of 28.  In addition, the District’s Exploratory Wheel Model for Instrumental Instruction continues to expose students to a variety of musical options early in their education.

“We’re very thankful for this donation. As a teacher, I know firsthand the benefits of getting kids involved in the arts as a means to find their passion” commented Ryan Ruelas, President of the Anaheim School Board. “I firmly believe that NAMM is helping us to accomplish that here, and I am very, very thankful that our children have the opportunity to find their passion through music.”

The event marked the third Day of Service in Anaheim for the NAMM Foundation and its members, many of whom participate each year. “I return each year because this is where music starts,” shared David Jewell, Marketing Communications Manager at Yamaha. “To know that music education, and the opportunities presented as a result of this donation can change or enhance a child’s life for the good is so powerful.”

NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond echoed that sentiment: “Members from over 125 countries will soon be in Anaheim for The NAMM Show, all with a common vision of a world where every child has a right to music and arts education. Our time in Anaheim is enriched by our participation in this Day of Service to the students and in working with the talented teachers who have dedicated their lives to this vision.”

The NAMM Foundation’s Day of Service marks the start of activities for The NAMM Show, the annual gathering of 100,000 music products industry professionals.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vinyl Box Set, Book Set For Release On George Harrison's 74th Birthday

The Harrison family is proud to announce the release of George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection (UMe) box set featuring all of George Harrison’s solo studio albums on vinyl in one collection for the first time.

The set includes all 12 of Harrison's studio albums with exact replicas of the original release track listing and artwork. Also included in the box set is the classic live album Live In Japan (2LP), and two 12” single picture discs of "When We Was Fab" and "Got My Mind Set On You."

All the discs are 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and are housed in a high-quality two-piece rigid slipcase box. The original analogue master tapes were used for the new re-masters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios to ensure exceptional audio quality throughout. The individual albums from the collection will also be available separately, with All Things Must Pass as a limited edition title.

George Harrison’s book I Me Mine was originally published by the specialist book publisher, Genesis Publications in 1980.  It became the first of many collaborations between Harrison and Genesis founder, Brian Roylance.

In conversation with his friend and former Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, and in a first-person commentary that accompanies his songs, Harrison's own words recount everything from his upbringing in Liverpool, to early Beatlemania, his spirituality and philosophy.

This new extended version of the book now spans the complete length of Harrison’s career in music, told in his words and through 141 songs with hand written lyric sheets faithfully reproduced in full color. Now stretching to 632 pages it features lyrics to more than 50 songs not previously included, as well as new photographs, many unpublished until now.

George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection vinyl LP box set contains:

Wonderwall Music (1968) | 1 LP
Electronic Sound (1969) | 1 LP
All Things Must Pass (1970) | 3 LP *limited edition piece
Living In The Material World (1973) | 1 LP  
Dark Horse (1974) | 1 LP
Extra Texture (1975) | 1 LP
Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976) | 1LP
George Harrison (1979) | 1 LP
Somewhere in England (1981) | 1 LP
Gone Troppo (1982) | 1 LP
Cloud Nine (1987) | 1 LP
Live In Japan (1992) | 2 LP
Brainwashed (2002) | 1 LP
12” picture disc singles of "When We Was Fab" and "Got My Mind Set On You" (only available as part of the box set)

Also available is the George Harrison Essential III  turntable. This elegant piece is manufactured and designed by Pro-Ject Audio Systems, one of the world’s leading suppliers of record players. The artwork was designed by Studio Number One based on an exclusive 2014 art-print lithograph designed for the Harrisons by Shepard Fairey. This turntable is limited to 2500 worldwide.

Monday, January 16, 2017

New York Venue Where A Young Bob Dylan Played Reopens

Bob Dylan would surely still recognize the low-ceilinged room in Caffe Lena where he played a couple of gigs almost 60 years ago.

But just about everything else about a venue that bills itself as the nation's oldest continuously operating coffeehouse has undergone some major upgrades as part of a $2 million renovation project bankrolled in part by folk music performers themselves.

Dylan performed twice there early in his career, when the young singer born in Minnesota as Robert Zimmerman was just making his way onto New York City's folk scene. The same brown wooden shutters bracket the windows and the same exposed brick wall provides background for the corner where he sang and played acoustic guitar during weekend performances in 1961 and '62.

But the old plank floor worn smooth by countless tapping feet is gone, replaced by a new hardwood version. The narrow staircase leading to the second-floor venue also has been replaced, as has the small stage, sound system, kitchen and restrooms. Seating has been boosted from 85 to about 105, and wine and beer are being served for the first time in the venerable coffeehouse's history.

Yet when the newly installed lighting dims and the night's performer hits the first chord, Caffe Lena still has the intimate setting that generations of musicians and folk music fans have come to revere.

"It's a legendary place," said Jeff Place, archivist for Smithsonian Folkways, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution. "For singer-songwriters, playing there is like playing Carnegie Hall for classical musicians."

Caffe Lena recently reopened after being closed for six months for the renovations. Performances were moved to other nearby venues in Saratoga Springs, the famous resort and thoroughbred racing town 165 miles north of New York City. Under a philanthropic partnership with a local developer, the organization turned over its adjacent small parking lot to the builder, who's constructing a four-story building that will house condos and retail businesses.

In return, Bonacio Construction has put $500,000 into the renovation project, including installing an elevator that will make Caffe Lena fully accessible to the disabled. A campaign has raised another $1 million. Caffe Lena is still raising the final $500,000 for the upgrades, scheduled to be completed this spring.

Among the folk musicians contributing funds: Arlo Guthrie, honorary chairman of the coffeehouse's fundraising campaign. Locally and regionally known musicians have also pitched in, while other performers -- including Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame -- contributed vocals for a fundraising video.

Sarah Craig, the coffeehouse's executive director, said Dylan has been approached for a contribution but "has not yet committed specific support."

Caffe Lena first opened in May 1960, by Lena Spencer and her husband, Bill, bohemian artists from Massachusetts. He left not long after Dylan's performances, but Lena stayed on, gradually attracting a dedicated following and booking an ever-growing roster of folk music stalwarts, including Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Don McClean and Guthrie.

The lean years tended to outnumber the flush ones, and by the late 1980s, Spencer was living in a back room at her coffeehouse, displaced from her Saratoga apartment by rising rent. She died at age 66 in 1989. Volunteers and later the nonprofit group formed in the 1990s have kept her place open for new generations of folk music fans.

The renovations were long overdue in a 120-year-old building that wasn't up to code, Craig said.

"Now we have a place in line with our reputation for the type of music that happens here," she said.

For George Ward, a folk musician and longtime Caffe Lena performer and supporter, the face-lift hasn't erased the venue's downhome vibe.

"It had to change just in order to be safe and comfortable," said Ward, 78. "It so far it feels really good."

Friday, January 13, 2017

Roger Waters Previews New Album

Roger Waters has previewed music from his first solo album in 25 years.

The former Pink Floyd bassist previously confirmed that he’s working on a new record, his first since his 1992 LP Amused To Death, with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.

Waters has now posted a video of himself playing guitar in the studio with Godrich, as well as a photo of the pair together. See below.

A video posted by Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) on

“We’ve got some really good work in the can,” Waters previously said. “Nigel’s really good. He said to me, ‘People always want to do these long records. How long was The Dark Side Of The Moon?' I said 38 minutes.”

“But there are no constraints on records now because nobody pays you anything for them. So everything’s off the table. I so feel for young musicians, knowing that all of your work will be stolen, and nobody wants to pay you. It also means you can say anything you want. Well, I’ve always said anything I’ve wanted anyway.”

He continued: “I wrote this whole thing – part magic carpet ride, part political rant, part anguish. I played this to Nigel, and he goes, ‘Oh, I like that little bit’ – about two minutes long – ‘and that bit’. And so we’ve been working.”

“I’ve also been falling in love, deeply in love. So the record is really about love – which is what all of my records have been about, in fact. It’s pondering not just why we are killing the children. It’s also the question of how do we take these moments of love – if we are granted any in our lives – and allow that love to shine on the rest of existence, on others.”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Heart's Ann Wilson Hitting The Road For 20-Date SoloTrek

Heart singer Ann Wilson has announced her 2017, 20-date solo tour, which kicks off Tuesday, March 8 at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, It goes onto Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, Englewood, NJ and New Orleans, among other cities. Tickets go on sale on this Friday, January 13. 

"The stage is a magical place where I can be beautifully in and out of control, where I can build a fire and then jump into it," Wilson says. "The stage is where I have always lived; where I've expressed my deepest emotions and supreme joys. I suppose I am addicted to it. I've never been much good at talking, but I can sing, and when I sing I connect with people in a much deeper, higher way."

Musicians on board for the tour include Craig Bartock on guitar (Heart member for a dozen years, who also performed in the Ann Wilson Thing for two years) from San Francisco; Andy Stoller on bass (the Ann Wilson Thing member for two years) from Seattle; Denny Fongheiser on drums and percussion (Heart member in the 1990's for two years) from Los Angeles.

Here is the current itinerary:

Wed 3/8 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
Fri 3/10 - Berkeley, CA - UC Theatre
Sun 3/12 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theatre
Tue 3/14 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up
Wed 3/15 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
Thu 3/16 - Salina, KS - Steifel Theatre for the Performing Arts
Sat 3/18 - Lake Charles, LA - Golden Nugget
Sun 3/19 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
Tue 3/21 - Wilmington, NC - Cape Fear Community College Theatre
Wed 3/22 - Charleston, SC - Charleston Music Hall
Thu 3/23 - Greenville, SC - Peace Center for the Creative Arts
Sat 3/25 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
Sun 3/26 - Annapolis, MD - Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts
Wed 3/29 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
Thu 3/30 - Westbury, NY - The Westbury Theater
Sat 4/1 - Peekskill, NY - Paramount Hudson Valley
Sun 4/2 - Londonderry, NH - Tupelo Music Hall
Tue 4/4 - Englewood, NJ - Bergen Performing Arts Center
Thu 4/6 - Philadelphia, PA - Keswick Theatre
Fri 4/7 - Providence, RI - Park Theatre PAC