Monday, May 31, 2010

Rock Luminaries Attend Ronnie James Dio's Funeral In Los Angeles

The funeral of Black Sabbath and Dio singer Ronnie James Dio took place on Sunday, May 30, in Los Angeles.

Held at the Hall of Liberty, the service was attended by Glenn Hughes, who, along with Dio, was one of a number of singers to perform with Black Sabbath in the 1980s.

Geoff Tate from Queensryche and Paul Shortino of Quiet Riot also joined 1,200 fans at the service, according to Associated Press.

Dio died of stomach cancer at the age of 67 on May 16.

Speaking at the funeral, Dio's cousin and Elf bandmate David Fernstein said: "He touched all of us with his music and his message and his magic. I know that Ronnie truly loved all of you. He had a great appreciation for your loyalty. I'm talking about all you out there, all the fans."

Several songs from Dio's career were performed by the mourners, including a version of Black Sabbath's "Heaven And Hell," sung by John Payne.

A planned protest by anti-devil religious cult the Westboro Baptist Church - who oppose Dio's supposed links with the devil - took place outside the gates of the venue.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Asia's "An Extraordinary Life” Chosen To Promote NBC show 'America's Got Talent'

The Asia song, "An Extraordinary Life," from the group's 2008 album Phoenix, has been chosen as the soundtrack for promotional spots announcing the 2010 season of NBC's America's Got Talent.

The show's producers reportedly sought out the rights to use the song, written by John Wetton and Geoff Downes. The track was recorded shortly after Wetton survived open heart surgery in 2007.

The promotional spots have already been airing on NBC.

Earlier this month, Asia released Omega. The band will launch a North American tour in August.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rhythm Devils With Mickey Hart & Bill Kreutzmann Announce Summer Tour Dates

For nearly three decades they were the two-headed, eight-limbed, polyrhythmic engine that drove the Grateful Dead. Now, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are the Rhythm Devils, and when the veteran percussionists take to the road this summer, even the most Deadicated of fans will be in for some big surprises.

“The music is quite different,” says Kreutzmann. “It’s real groove-based. It has lots of percussion and electronics. It’s very danceable. It’s gonna be quite a mix up there.”

Hart adds, “This music will take you to a very special place, I think. It’s like a super friendly rhythm snake that has wrapped itself around the world a few times and now it’s coming our way. It’s electric; it’s got rhythm, has words and flies. It’s the Rhythm Devils.”

Joining Hart and Kreutzmann in the Rhythm Devils for this tour will be Nigerian talking drum master Sikiru Adepoju, returning from the last RD tour in 2006, Back Door Slam’s Davy Knowles (guitar, vocals) and Andy Hess (bass). Plus one-man-band Keller Williams (guitar, vocals) makes his first run as a Devil, joining the band on select dates, as does The Mother Hips' Tim Bluhm (guitar, vocals).

The Rhythm Devils name has its origins in the late ’70s. As Hart explains, “I remember Jerry (Garcia) looking at Bill and I one time. He shook his head and just said, ‘You guys are Rhythm Devils.’”

The 2010 incarnation of the Rhythm Devils is guaranteed to be unlike anything that’s come before —the dynamic mix of the musicians’ individual but complementary styles and approaches is sure to lead to some serious sparks.

“It’s a great combination,” says Hart. “You have the deep trance music from Nigeria and West Africa that Sikiru brings to us and there’s Davy who at any moment just might rip the sky apart with his guitar and Andy Hess is a real gem of a bass player. Joining us for the first part of the tour is the 'one man band' Keller Williams and on the second part of our tour is Tim Bluhm, who will bring his ferocious California guitar style and beautiful vocals to the mix.”

While both Hart and Kreutzmann promise that the music will be percussion-driven, another factor contributing to the Rhythm Devils’ special mojo is the troupe’s repertoire: Not only will they be reconstituting some familiar Grateful Dead tunes in their unique way, but the Devils will also be performing numerous tunes written exclusively for them by Robert Hunter, the legendary songwriter whose collaborations with the late Jerry Garcia provided the Dead with their most beloved and durable material.

“Robert Hunter is a major force in all of this. He has written his heart out in these new songs,” says Hart. “There will also be enormous, exciting electronic sections of pulsing, throbbing, beautiful zones. There are places and sounds still unknown and unborn that we will no doubt visit.”

Kreutzmann and Hart have been inextricably entwined as partners since they first met in 1967, two years after the formation of the Grateful Dead with Kreutzmann the sole drummer. On that first night, they literally “played the city,” walking around San Francisco with drumsticks banging on everything in sight. Hart joined them immediately and except for a brief hiatus in the ’70s, the pair remained with the Dead until 1995, when Garcia’s death signaled the end of an era. Since then, Kreutzmann and Hart have continued to make music both together (most recently in The Dead) and apart, but they both agree that a special chemistry takes place when their percussive minds are in sync.

“When we get together and we’re in the groove it’s a tractor beam,” says Hart. “Anyone around that will be drawn in. But we always thought of the Grateful Dead, and anything that we did together, as a work in progress. This too is a work in progress and that’s the best thing you could say. We’re looking to the future with this kind of music. In the Grateful Dead we created a body of work that we’ll not leave behind. But we also have an identity as the Rhythm Devils, and that’s who we’ll be.”

When they’re not working together as the Rhythm Devils, both Hart and Kreutzmann are involved in other projects. Kreutzmann plans to release a new album later this year with his other band, 7 Walkers, which features singer-songwriter Papa Mali (who has also been collaborating with Hunter on new material), multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard, and George Porter Jr. on bass.

Among Hart’s recent endeavors is the tentatively titled Rhythms of the Universe, a project of enormous scope. Hart is currently working with leading scientists to capture raw light waves from Space and then transform those light waves into sound waves. Hart then uses those sounds to compose Universal music. Hart's goal is nothing less than exploring what the universe really sounds like, from the Big Bang to the galaxies, to the stars and planets and beyond.

But for both Kreutzmann and Hart, it’s the upcoming Rhythm Devils tour that’s got them most excited. “It’s part of my lifelong partnership, my 40-year rhythmic experience, with Bill Kreutzmann,” says Hart. “It’s time for Bill and me to get together and explore new rhythms and take it to the next level. We share a unique rhythm and we’ve got some great guys with us who we’re going to explore what it sounds like on this planet…star date; 2010.”

Rhythm Devils current tour schedule is as follows:

Friday, July 16 - Arcata Theatre Arcata, CA*
Saturday, July 17 - String Summit North Plains, OR*
Sunday, July 18 - Britt Festival Jacksonville, OR*
Thursday, July 22 - Ogden Theatre Denver, CO*
Friday, July 23 Steamboat Springs Concert Series Steamboat Springs, CO*
Saturday, July 24 Spud Drive In Driggs, ID*
Sunday, July 25 Red Butte Garden Salt Lake City, UT*
Tuesday, July 27 Orpheum Theatre Flagstaff, AZ*
Wednesday, July 28 Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ*
Thursday, July 29 Soundwave San Diego, CA*
Saturday, July 31 Gathering of the Vibes Bridgeport, CT*
Tuesday, January 4 - Sunday, January 9 Jam Cruise 9 Fort Lauderdale, FL**
Sunday, January 9 Revolution Fort Lauderdale, FL**

* With Keller Williams
** With Tim Bluhm

Stay tuned for more dates to be announced.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Faces, With Simply Red's Mick Hucknall, Planning Tour

Declaring that "this is a band," Ian McLagan says the new incarnation of the Faces is planning to play much more than the just-announced Aug. 13 at the Vintage at Greenwood Festival in West Sussex, England.

"Frankly, I'd be happy to get the band on the road proper and get into the States, Japan, Australia, 'round Europe," the keyboardist, who resides in Austin, Texas, says. "I want to play. It's good to do just one thing, but I want to get on the road."

Initial reports have indicated the group will play more festival dates this year with a full tour to follow in 2011, but McLagan says nothing is concrete yet.

This version of the Faces includes McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones, who co-founded the Small Faces in 1965, as well as guitarist Ron Wood, who joined when the group became the Faces in 1969. The lineup is fleshed out by Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall, who's stepping in for the reluctant Rod Stewart.

McLagan says the lineup started rehearsing in March, after it became clear to he, Wood and Jones that Stewart -- who's currently touring to promote his 2009 Soulbook covers album -- had "lost interest" in working with the Faces. Hucknall was one of the singers who joined the Faces at a British Performing Rights Society benefit in November and, according to McLagen, "knocked us all out."

"Mick surprised us all by ripping through 'Stay With Me,' " McLagan recalls. "I didn't think he could sing like that; all I know about him is Simply Red, and I just thought he's more kind of a soul singer, which is part of what the Faces are, but I didn't think he could rock, and he certainly surprised us all. When we started rehearsing in earnest, that's when his true colors came out. He's not Simply Red; he's simply rock 'n' roll."

McLagan says Matlock was actually his "first choice" to be the Faces bassist when the group started talking about reuniting after issue the 2004 box set Five Guys Walk Into a Bar... He'd worked with Matlock in the late 70s new wave group Rich Kids and noticed at the time how much Matlock was influenced by the late Faces bassist Ronnie Lane. "In the middle of a song I'd hear a Ronnie Lane bass lick and I'd look over at him and smile. I just kept him in mind ever since then.

"When we've done this before it's been Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagen playing Faces songs. But with Glen it suddenly becomes the Faces because he's playing those very important Ronnie Lane bass parts."

McLagan says the Faces have hired a booking agent and are actively seeing other shows. He notes that the Rolling Stones will always exert a pull on the newly sober Wood -- although this year's promotion of the Exile on Main Street reissue has created a window for the Faces to work -- while Hucknall will occasionally have Simply Red responsibilities. But McLagan anticipates the Faces moving forward and was pleased to hear that even Stewart has made some positive noises, wishing the new lineup well during recent concerts in Great Britain.

"It certainly is a lot of fun," McLagan notes. "The great thing is the bunch of us, we're smiling at each other. We're blessed; it's a fucking band, and that's what I love. It's not just getting together to cash in and make a buck. We are the Faces."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

'Bridge Over Troubled Water' To Be Honored At Songwriters Hall Of Fame Gala

Hal David, Chairman/CEO of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, has announced that the 2010 Towering Song Award will be awarded to Simon & Garfunkel's “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards dinner Thursday, June 17 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel. Paul Simon will accept the Towering Song Award for his famed song celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” was written by Paul Simon in 1969 and recorded in 1970 with Art Garfunkel. One of the most enduring songs from the past four decades, it won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1971.

It also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 28, 1970 and stayed at the top of the charts for six weeks. Special Citation of Achievement was presented by BMI to Paul Simon in recognition of the great national popularity as measured by over 5 million broadcast performances attained by "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Aretha Franklin performed a gospel-inspired version which landed at Number One on the U.S. R&B chart and Number Six on the pop chart.

Elvis Presley also recorded Simon’s song and released it on his 1970 album That’s the Way It Is to also include a documentary of Presley creating the album. Presley’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was included in the Golden Globe-winning documentary Elvis on Tour.

Other artists to cover Simon’s song include Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Shirley Bassey, and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. It has been recorded over 300 times. Performances of this song have been by David Foster, Andrea Bocelli, Mary J. Blige, Anita Baker, Clay Aiken, Johnny Cash, Josh Groban and many more.

The Towering Song Award is presented each year to the creators of an individual song that has influenced our culture in a unique way over many years. Previous Towering Songs have included “Moon River,” “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” “Unchained Melody,” “When The Saints Go Marching In,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “What The World Needs Now Is Love” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Richard Thompson Preps New Live 'Dream'

Richard Thompson says "misguidedness" led him to record his next album, Dream Attic -- due out August 31 -- live in concert rather than in a studio.

"I was thinking that, gosh, recording is an expensive process in the studio, and with shrinking budgets it's hard to get the record companies to give you enough to feel comfortable," Thompson says. "So I thought maybe it's cheaper to record on the road, and friends are always saying, 'Gosh, we prefer the live records to the studio albums.' So I thought, 'Well, let's test those theories...

"Of course," he adds with a laugh, "after a short time it became obvious it's just as expensive to do it on the road as it is in the studio -- kind of exactly the same price. So that was a brilliant plan foiled there. But I still really like the quality of live recording."

Thompson and his four-piece band recorded the 13 new songs on Dream Attic during an eight-date West Coast mini-tour in February, with most of the album takes coming from the final three shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco when, Thompson says, "we had relaxed a lot more and weren't so self-conscious about it."

Recording live, he explains, "you sacrifice accuracy for energy, and you just accept that. The up side is the energy and the immediacy...The audience is an incentive to play as well as you can and get the notes right, because they're standing there right in front of you."

Thompson had the songs for the album in place before he decided to record live but says from the get-go he was "writing consciously for it to be a band performance and for it to be...an electric guitar record. Even the quiet songs are electric." He was equally deliberate in choosing the instrumentation, which includes saxophone, flute, violin and mandolin.

"Fairly early on in the process it occurred to me the songs would do well to have another horn-like instrument," Thompson explains. "A couple of the songs on there are dance tunes, and there are other places where it's nice to have two instruments playing those kind of unison lines you hear in traditional music. And I thought the fiddle would blend in well with...the flute and saxophone. I thought it would be an interesting sound and give a little more weight to the sound."

Thompson will be playing "bits and pieces" during the summer, mostly festivals in Europe during June and July and North America in August. A North American tour to support "Dream Attic" is set to start in October. Meanwhile, Thompson is also curating this year's Meltdown festival, which takes place June 12-20 in London and features performances by Elvis Costello, Van Dyke Parks, Broken Bells, Ollabelle and others.

"We're trying to spread a wide neat that really reflects the music that I love and music I"m influenced by and try to bring all that together in one place," Thompson says. "I think we've assembled a pretty nice lineup of things. I'm really looking forward to it."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

U2 Pulls Out Of Glastonbury, Reschedules U.S. Tour

U2 has been forced to withdraw from its headline slot at Glastonbury festival in the U.K., following medical advice for frontman Bono. He will be out of action for at least eight weeks.

The band had been booked to play its first ever Glastonbury festival on June 25, headlining the Pyramid stage. A replacement act has yet to be confirmed for the opening Friday night of the 177,000-capacity event.

Bono called Glastonbury organizer Michael Eavis this morning (May 25) to break the news that, as a result of the serious back injury sustained by the singer last week, the band would not be able to play the festival in a month's time. Bono had emergency surgery after the injury.

"I'm heartbroken," said Bono in a statement. "We really wanted to be there to do something really special - we even wrote a song especially for the festival."

Eavis added: "It was obvious from our telephone conversation that U2 are hugely disappointed. Clearly, they were looking forward to playing the Pyramid stage as much as we were looking forward to watching them. At this point, we have no comment to make about possible replacements for U2's Friday night slot. Instead, we would simply like to send Bono our very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery."

There are reports that Dizzee Rascal will move up the bill to headline, or even that Eavis will get Coldplay to perform.

Live Nation, promoter of the U2360° tour, confirmed that 16 shows from Salt Lake City (June 3) to New Jersey's Meadowlands Stadium (July 19), will be rescheduled for 2011.

The tour is the most expensive ever staged, and any postponement means its huge running costs - including the wage bill - still have to be covered.

"Although we understand the disappointment to U2 fans, first and foremost comes the recovery of Bono," said U2 tour producer/promoter Arthur Fogel, CEO of Live Nation Global Touring, in a statement.

Details on rescheduled dates will be confirmed shortly, according to a statement.

The injury was sustained during tour preparation training.

According to the U2 Web site, Bono has now been discharged from Ludwig Maximilians-University (LMU) Hospital in Munich where he underwent emergency surgery. He is under doctor's orders to start a rehabilitation program and to recuperate for at least eight weeks.

"Bono suffered severe compression of the sciatic nerve," the site quotes Dr Muller Wohlfahrt. "On review of his MRI scan, I realized there was a serious tear in the ligament and a herniated disc, and that conservative treatment would not suffice. I recommended Bono have emergency spine surgery with Professor Tonn at Munich's LMU University Hospital on Friday [May 21]."

Professor Tonn, who carried out the operation, added: "He was already in severe pain with partial paralysis in the lower leg. The ligament surrounding the disc had an 8mm tear and during surgery we discovered fragments of the disc had traveled into the spinal canal. This surgery was the only course of treatment for full recovery and to avoid further paralysis. Bono is now much better, with complete recovery of his motor deficit. The prognosis is excellent but to obtain a sustainable result, he must now enter a period of rehabilitation."

Wohlfahrt said that "we are treating Bono as we would treat any of our athletes and while the surgery has gone very well, the coming weeks are crucial for a return to full health. In the next days, he will start a light rehabilitation program, with increasing intensity over the next 8 weeks. In our experience, this is the minimum time."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street Back On Top Of The U.K. Album Chart

For the first time in 16 years, the Rolling Stones have topped the U.K. album charts with their reissued 1972 album Exile On Main Street.

When it was first released in June 1972, the album also went to Number 1 on the U.K. charts, then fell to the Number 3 spot in a 16-week run. Now augmented with a second disc of outtakes and new tracks "Plundered My Soul" and "Dancing In The Light," Exile On Main Street is the first record from the Stones to reach the coveted chart position since 1994.

Stones In Exile, a documentary about the making of the album, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last week.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Foghat To Release Blues Album

Foghat is often linked to the classic rock genre, due to “Slow Ride” and “Fool for the City,” but the band has always had their roots in vintage blues. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to longtime fans that Foghat has reconnected with the blues on their latest release, Last Train Home.

Recorded both in New York at EKO Studios and at Foghat’s own studio, Boogie Motel South, the album combines covers of such blues classics as “So Many Roads, So Many Trains” and “Shake Your Money Maker,” as well as a few new originals.

The group’s blues roots can be traced back to the pre-Foghat band, Savoy Brown, as well as Foghat’s first hit single, the classic cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Want To Make Love To You.”

Perhaps the most obvious connection was a star-studded concert the band organized in 1977 at the Palladium in New York, when they hosted a benefit to start a Blues Archive at the New York Public Library.

Foghat was the house band at the show, as many bona fide blues legends joined them on stage, including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, Pinetop Perkins, Paul Butterfield, Honey Boy Edwards, Otis Blackwell, and Eddie ‘Bluesman’ Kirkland.

Last Train Home sees Foghat’s line-up -- Roger Earl (drums), Charlie Huhn (vocals/rhythm & lead guitar), and Bryan Bassett (lead & slide guitar) -- joined by several special guests, including Kirkland, harmonica player Lefty “Sugar Lips” Lefkowitz, and Earl’s brother, Colin, on piano. Due to a prior commitment for the band’s bassist, Craig MacGregor, former Foghat, Savoy Brown and Outlaws bassist Jeff Howell filled in for the recording.

Additionally, another of the bands recent endeavors has been the creation of their own wine label Foghat Cellars. Their first wine was a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, and they will be releasing their 2008 Chardonnay this summer. More info can be found at www.foghatcellars.com.

For details on Last Train Home and upcoming tour dates, go to the Foghat web site.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ronnie James Dio Public Memorial Service To Be Held

A public memorial service to celebrate the life of Black Sabbath and Dio singer Ronnie James Dio has been announced.

Taking place at the The Hall Of Liberty in Los Angeles on May 30, the event will commemorate the life of the frontman who died from stomach cancer earlier this week.

According to the Ronnie James Dio Facebook page, organizers have acquired discounts for a number of local hotels for those traveling in.

Meanwhile, Dio's wife, Wendy, has requested that in lieu of fans sending flowers, that they should instead donate to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund' by sending donations to Niji Entertainment Group, 12400 Ventura Blvd. #624, Studio City, CA 91604, USA.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bono Has Emergency Back Surgery

U2 singer Bono has been hospitalized after having surgery, the band said in a message posted online.

"Bono has today undergone emergency back surgery for an injury sustained during tour preparation training," reads the message on U2.com. "He was admitted to a specialist neurosurgery unit in a Munich hospital, and is under the care of neurosurgeon Prof. Dr. Jorg Tonn and Dr. Muller Wohlfahrt. Bono will spend the next few days there, before returning home to recuperate."

It's unclear how the band’s tour will be affected by Bono's injury. "Once his condition has been assessed further, a statement will be made regarding the impact on forthcoming tour dates," says the message.

U2 is scheduled to perform in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 3 as part of their 360 Tour, then continue performing in North American before heading back to Europe in August for more shows.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

John Fogerty Philosophical After Nashville Floods

Like many musicians, former Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty lost some prized instruments in the recent Nashville floods.

But it could have been worse. In fact, Fogerty recalled at an awards ceremony in Beverly Hills that he has suffered greater calamities.

"Trust me, I love guitars and it was kind of sad to say goodbye to them," he said, referring to the submerged warehouses containing irreplaceable tools of the trade belonging to several music industry players.

"But losing a guitar is really nothing compared to losing a song, or a bunch of songs, or your life savings that was earned by those songs."

He stopped himself from elaborating, but Fogerty's woes are well known. During the late-1960s heyday of Creedence, when the California rockers ruled the charts with such songs as "Fortunate Son" and "Proud Mary," Fogerty -- the band's primary songwriter -- signed away the copyrights to his compositions.

He spent the ensuing decades in legal battles with his then-label boss, Saul Zaentz, to win back the rights, and the litigation went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The best that Fogerty got was royalty payments for his performance on the songs after Zaentz sold his interests to a label co-owned by noted Hollywood liberal Norman Lear in 2005.

Fogerty, 64, is philosophical these days about his copyright woes, and he is not alone, as the key songwriters in the Beatles and the Rolling Stones would attest.

He was speaking at the 58th annual BMI Pop Awards, during which the performing rights group honors the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed songs of the year.

Fogerty received the Icon Award for lifetime achievement, and treated the black-tie crowd to a quick run-through of 10 classics, including "Bad Moon Rising" and "Green River." His band included his guitarist sons Shane and Tyler.

Earlier, he said that of all his hits he was perhaps proudest of a relatively recent solo tune, "I Will Walk With You," from his 2004 solo album Deja Vu All Over Again. The song was inspired by his daughter Kelsey, who was an infant at the time.

"The whole idea was that it's Daddy's message to his child, all about how he will walk with you and look over you and be there by your side through your life," he said. "And I'm real proud of that song. At least at the time, it was an unusual type of song for me."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gary Wright To Release First Pop Rock Album In Over 20 Years

Gary Wright will release Connected on June 8th, his first pop rock album in over 20 years.

Instilling Wright’s vision with the transcendence of his classic hits “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive,” the singer and keyboardist says the album's title is based on his belief that "we are all connected with one another and that our thoughts and actions have a great influence on our planet collectively. We, therefore, all need to work together in making this world a better place by manifesting more hope and more positive thinking wherever we go as well as doing our parts in creating peace and spreading it wherever we see darkness.”

The album's first single “Satisfied,” features Ringo Starr on drums and Joe Walsh on guitar. It is currently available as a digital single. You can also hear "Satisfied," as well other upcoming singles from Connected like "Get Your Hands Up" and "Gimme Some Time" (with Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter on guitar) on Wright's own The Dream Weaver web site.

Two years in the making, Wright recalls the album’s genesis, “Right before I started the last Ringo All Starr tour in 2008 I began to write for what would be this new studio album. I wanted it to be in the same direction that my album The Dream Weaver was; not too over-produced. So I recorded a few tracks with my engineer Rob Calhoun, who was very helpful in running the technology part of the process and then I went on tour with Ringo. That September after the tour was over I went to Sardinia, Italy, where I wrote more songs (on acoustic guitar) and returned home to finish writing and recording the album.”

Wright also spent time perusing his 40 years of archives and unearthed several incredible nuggets. As a bonus to those who purchase the deluxe digital version of Connected at iTunes and The Dream Weaver Web site, Wright is including two songs linked to his friend George Harrison.

One of the tracks “To Discover Yourself,” a ballad co-written by Harrison in 1971 and recorded by Wright on the day of Harrison’s passing on November 29, 2001. The other song, recorded in 1989, is titled “Never Give Up” and the Beatle guitarist on guitar.

"The Way I Feel," a song Wright contributed to the soundtrack for the 1986 German film Fire & Ice, will be included on the deluxe version of the album available exclusively at The Dream Weaver.com.

Along with the new album, Wright is preparing for a busy year with a number of other events and collaborations. He will be joining Ringo Starr for a 30-city national trek as a part of the drummer's All-Starr Band tour from June 24th through August 7th. This fall, Wright will appear in Martin Scorcese’s George Harrison biopic. Meanwhile "Dream Weaver" was featured in the May 18th episode of the hit TV show Glee. The song also makes an appearance in Disney’s upcoming Toy Story 3 in 3-D.