Monday, February 28, 2011

Bob Seger Debuts 'Downtown Train' Single

Bob Seger is releasing the first taste of his new album, a cover of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train," streaming it on his official web site and delivering it to radio stations.

Seger, meanwhile, has been flying back and forth to Nashville to finish work on the album, whose title and release date have not yet been revealed. It will be Seger's first since the Early Seger Vol. 1 compilation in 2009 and his first of all-new material since "Face the Promise" in 2006. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has also been at home in Detroit rehearsing his Silver Bullet Band for a tour that starts on March 26 in Detroit. So far 17 shows have been announced, and the trek, Seger's first since 2006-07, is expected to wrap up during late May in the Detroit area.

"Downtown Train," which Waits released on his 1985 album Rain Dogs, is a song Seger has waited more than two decades to release. He recorded the song in early 1989 but was beaten to the punch by Rod Stewart, who included a his version of "Downtown Train" on his late 1989 box set Storyteller -- The Complete Anthology: 1964-1990. Stewart's version hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Rock and Adult Contemporary singles charts. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award.

Seger, meanwhile, opted not to release his version of the song but noted at the time that he had mentioned recording the song to Stewart during a visit to London in the summer of 1989. "The next thing I knew, a month later he recorded "Downtown Train" in London and two months later he recorded it in the same studio I recorded it in Los Angeles," Seger said. Stewart and his representatives have long denied that he stole the idea to record "Downtown Train," and any hard feelings have settled over the years. Stewart offered an olive branch of sorts by recording Seger's "Still the Same" as the title track of his 2006 covers album Still the Same...Great Rock Classics of Our Time.

The current version of "Downtown Train" was freshly recorded for the new album, produced by Seger in Los Angeles.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Smyth and Everything But The Girl have also recorded versions of "Downtown Train," while Seger has released his versions of other Waits songs, including "16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six" and "New Coat of Paint."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Beatles To Ballet, McCartney Writes For Dance

From the Beatles to ballet -- Paul McCartney is putting the finishing touches to his first original orchestral score for dance.

The former Fab Four member announced that he is collaborating with New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief Peter Martins on a new work to be premiered by the company on September 22.

"I am always interested in new directions that I haven't worked in before," McCartney said on his website.

"I became very excited about the idea. When I got back to England after meeting Peter I started writing music and am now in the very final stages of the orchestral score."

He said the composition work differed from writing songs as it was a more abstract exercise in expressing pure emotion "... so you have fear, love, anger, sadness to play with and I found that exciting and challenging."

Martins and McCartney met at the School of American Ballet's Winter Gala in 2010 and began discussing the possibility of working together on a ballet.

"Like the rest of my generation, I grew up being a huge fan of The Beatles so I was thrilled to meet him," said Martins.

"After I got to know him a bit, and knowing of his great love of composing classical music, I asked if he might be interested in doing something for New York City Ballet, and I am ecstatic that he has agreed to write a score for us."

According to the New York Times, the new work is a love story titled "Ocean's Kingdom."

McCartney told the newspaper it was "basically a romantic story" involving two worlds: the ocean kingdom, representing purity, and the earth kingdom, inhabited by "the sort of baddies."

McCartney, 68, is one of the most successful songwriters in pop history, particularly through his affiliation with the Beatles. He has since branched out, and tried his hand at classical music composition with the 1991 Liverpool Oratorio.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Warren Haynes Mines Soul Roots On Upcoming Album

Gov't Mule co-founder and Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes will shows his roots as a soul man with the May 10 release of his fourth solo album, "Man in Motion" (Stax/Concord Music Group).

The 10-song set, recorded in Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio near Austin, Texas, with regular cohort Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar co-producing, finds Haynes mining an R&B approach steeped in influences from Stax, Muscle Shoals and Memphis' Hi Records.

"My first love was soul music," Haynes says. "The first sound I can remember having an effect on me was black gospel music coming over the radio in North Carolina. James Brown was my first musical hero, then the Four Tops and Temptations, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave. Somewhere along the way I heard Ray Charles and B.B. King.

"So (soul) has always been there for me, and I've waited a long time to really put that across on an album. I just thought it was time to make that sort of record."

In fact, Haynes says that some of the songs on "Man in Motion" date back quite a ways -- 20 years for "Real Lonely Night," and 10 for "Your Wildest Dreams." "Through the years I compiled a few songs that wanted to be captured this way," Haynes notes. "I'd resigned myself to thinking someone else would wind up recording them other than myself, but then this project came about." The album also includes a cover of Stax singer William Bell's "Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday."

Haynes recorded "Man in Motion" with an all-star band that includes several New Orleans musicians -- Meters bassist George Porter, Jr., keyboardist Ivan Neville and drummer Raymond Webber -- as well as Austin-based keyboardist Ian McLagan, singer Ruthie Foster and tenor saxophonist Ron Holloway. "It was the exact band I wanted for the record. Everybody that was first on my list was available, and we made it work," says Haynes, although he had not met McLagan before the sessions.

"Ian was a last minute add-on that Gordie suggested," recalls Haynes, who played a variety of vintage hollow body guitars in addition to his usual Gibson Les Paul on the album. "He was thinking (McLagan) would add a cool vibe, like a soul-music version of the Garth Hudson-Richard Manual thing in the Band. And it freed me up to take more of a B.B. King role, singing and playing fills. I played a little more rhythm than, say B.B., but I wasn't having to think that way all the time. We set up in the studio with everybody looking at each other and recorded live, which is what we love to do."

Haynes debuted the band at his annual Christmas Jam during December in Asheville, N.C., and he's eyeballing a tour that will start in April, most likely in Australia, and run through the summer. Terrence Higgins will be on the drum stool, while Neville and Foster are up in the air at the moment.

Meanwhile, with Gov't Mule taking "a well-deserved break," Haynes is also gearing up for the Allmans' annual March residency at New York's Beacon Theater, which begins March 10. "Everybody's excited to get back in," Haynes reports, adding that he's still waiting on details of a summer tour that Gregg Allman has predicted will also happen this year. "I think everybody would like for there to be one," Haynes says. "But Gregg has a record out. I've got a record coming out. So does Derek (Trucks). Getting all the schedules together is not easy, but if we can get it together it'll be great."

Friday, February 25, 2011

'Concert For George' Streaming For Free Worldwide At GeorgeHarrison.com

In honor of George Harrison¹s birthday today(February 25), Concert For George, the memorable tribute concert in the former Beatle's honor, is streaming for free on GeorgeHarrison.com for 24 hours to allow optimal worldwide viewing across all time zones, beginning at 8AM London time (GMT).

Originally released in High Definition, Concert For George will be released for the first time ever on Blu-ray and via digital download on March 22. The 2-disc Blu-ray set will include the complete concert on the first disc, with a second disc containing the original theatrical version featuring concert highlights, interviews with the performers, rehearsals, and behind-the-scenes footage. The second disc will also include a previously unreleased interview segment featuring Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner and Ray Cooper entitled Drummers.

Concert For George has been certified eight times platinum by the RIAA since its initial release as a 2DVD set in November 2003 and earned a 2004 Grammy® Award for Best Long Form Music Video.

On November 29, 2002, one year after the passing of George Harrison, Olivia
Harrison and longtime friend Eric Clapton organized a performance tribute in his honor. Held at London's Royal Albert Hall, the momentous evening
featured George's songs, and music he loved, performed by a lineup that
included Clapton, Jools Holland, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Monty Python,
Tom Petty, Billy Preston, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, Ringo Starr, Dhani
Harrison
and many more.

Directed by David Leland (whose credits include the feature Wish You Were Here, HBO's Band Of Brothers and the Traveling Wilburys video "Handle With Care"), Concert For George captures stunning renditions of some of the most significant music of the 20th century, including "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (featuring Clapton on guitar, McCartney on piano and Starr on drums), "Taxman" (performed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and "The Inner Light" (covered by Jeff Lynne and Anoushka Shankar).

Lynne, Harrison¹s longtime friend and collaborator, produced the audio elements of the concert, while Clapton oversaw the entire proceedings as musical director.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sammy Hagar Shares Hedonistic Tales In Memoir

Sammy Hagar’s new memoir, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, is due out on March 15 and co-written with Joel Selvin. In the book, Hagar writes glowingly about his time with Van Halen in the ’80s and ’90s.

“I was eating in the greatest restaurants, drinking the finest wine, flying on private jets, walking on stage to sold-out audiences going crazy,” he writes. “The only thing missing was ... I don’t think anything was missing.”

Apparently, groupies weren’t missing from Hagar’s rock star lifestyle. The singer writes extensively about his hedonistic touring days, when roadies would fill a below-stage sex tent with “five or six girls” each night. In his book, Hagar talks about what would happen during Eddie Van Halen’s prolonged guitar solo at every concert.

He also writes about his business deals, including the travel agency, fire sprinkler company, and Cabo Wabo Cantina that he started.

“If I wanted to be a billionaire, I probably could,” the 63-year-old rocker says. “It’s probably not that hard. But I’m not interested.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Phish Announces Summer Tour Dates

Phish will once again spend another summer on the road, as the veteran jam band has announced the initial 18 dates for its 2011 tour on their website.

The trek includes an opening three-night run on Memorial Day weekend at the Bethel Woods Centers for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y. on May 27-29. Phish will also spend multiple nights at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J.; Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md.; and Verzion Wireless at Encore Park in Alpharetta, Ga.

General tickets will go on sale Mar. 11, while more summer tour dates for the band are forthcoming.

After reuniting in 2009 following a nearly five-year hiatus, the group spent most of 2010 performing across the U.S., with an extensive summer tour leading into a 15-date fall trek that included a performance at the Austin City Limits festival in October. A fan plummeted 25 feet from a railing during the band's Aug. 18 concert at New York's Jones Beach theater, but luckily survived the terrifying fall.

In addition to the tour, Phish has also announced that it will release Two Soundchecks, a 7-inch live vinyl record, in conjunction with Record Store Day on Apr. 16.

Here are Phish's 2011 summer tour dates:

May 27: Bethel, N.Y. (Bethel Woods Center for the Arts)
May 28: Bethel, N.Y. (Bethel Woods Center for the Arts)
May 29: Bethel, N.Y. (Bethel Woods Center for the Arts)
May 31: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)
Jun. 1: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)
Jun. 3: Clarkston, Mich. (DTE Energy Music Theater)
Jun. 4: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (Blossom Music Center)
Jun. 5: Cincinnati, Ohio (Riverbend Music Center)
Jun. 7: Mansfield, Mass. (Comcast Center)
Jun. 8: Darien Center, N.Y. (Darien Lake PAC)
Jun. 10: Camden, N.J. (Susquehanna Bank Center)
Jun. 11: Columbia, Md. (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Jun. 12: Columbia, Md. (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Jun. 14: Alpharetta, Ga. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre @ Encore Park)
Jun. 15: Alpharetta, Ga. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre @ Encore Park)
Jun. 17: Charlotte, N.C. (Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre)
Jun. 18: Raleigh, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion)
Jun. 19: Portsmorth, Va. (Ntelos Wireless Pavilion)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Beatles' 'Butcher Cover' Sells At Auction For More Than $26,000

The Beatles' controversial album with the "Butcher Cover" has sold for more than $26,000 at the Heritage Auction in Beverly Hills, according to ABC Los Angeles.

The album, Yesterday and Today, was almost immediately recalled after its release in 1966. It featured an image of blood-splattered and chopped up doll parts strewn about the members of the band. The Fab Four were dressed in white butchers' smocks. The album was only released in the U.S. and Canada.

Every copy of this album cover was supposed to be destroyed. At the auction, however, this vinyl LP was still factory sealed and in mint condition, and it went for $26,290. There are thought to be 25 copies in existence of the album with the original album cover.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Alice Cooper Completes New 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' Album

Alice Cooper has finished his new album. The singer’s 25th release is Welcome 2 My Nightmare, billed as the sequel to his 1975 album Welcome To My Nightmare, which was his first as a solo artist, apart from the Alice Cooper Group.

Cooper made the announcement on his radio show, Nights With Alice Cooper, which aired on the Planet Rock station on Saturday night (February 19).

"Welcome 2 My Nightmare is done," he said. "It's just sitting there."

The 1975 album was a concept record based around the dreams of a character called Steven. Cooper said of the sequel: “It's Welcome 2 My Nightmare, and it's the next nightmare. Thirty years later, he [Steven] has another nightmare, and this one is even worse than the last one.”

Cooper added that the new album was produced by Bob Ezrin, who also produced the original.

“I haven't worked with Bob [Ezrin] in a long time," Cooper said. "After the 35th anniversary of Nightmare, I said, 'Why don't we start writing something else?'. And he said, 'Why don't we just do part two?'. We'd never done part two, so I went, 'That's a great idea. Let's get me and you together'.”

The album does not have a release date yet, but is expected in the summer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Keyboard Legend Barry Goldberg's Rarities Album Features Mick Taylor, Carla Olsen, Terry Reid

Among his many accomplishments, Barry Goldberg, a founding member of The Electric Flag with Nick Gravenites and Michael Bloomfield, played on the classic album Super Session with Al Kooper, Stephen Stills and Michael Bloomfield, and wrote songs for artists like Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Gram Parsons, Steve Miller and Gladys Knight , whose version of “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” became a Number One hit song. Goldberg also played on the classic Mitch Ryder tune, “Devil With The Blue Dress."

Now, Goldberg has released a CD of rarities titled It's All My Vault, featuring performances by Mick Taylor, Carla Olsen and Terry Reid.

The story behind this release is that Goldberg took a look around and found that he had all of these tunes just laying around in his "vault" so he turned them over to ItsAboutMusic.com. The label hopes it's only volume one of this series and that he has many more tracks collecting dust they can release in the future.

"Born and raised in Chicago, born and raised to play the blues": A slogan songwriter, producer, composer Barry Goldberg carries with him to this day. Goldberg has written, produced and performed virtually every style and genre of music with great success for all audiences.

Along the way, he has worked with and helped develop the careers of such rock and roll and blues legends as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt and Bo Didley.

Early in his musical career, Goldberg played with Dylan when he first went electric at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. Soon after, he formed the Goldberg/Miller Blues Band with guitarist Steve Miller and released a self-titled album on Epic Records.

Goldberg continued to work as a session musician and producer in New York, performing and playing with Jimi Hendrix, as Jimi James & the Blue Flames, at the famous Cafe Au GoGo. Then he co-founded The Electric Flag with guitarist Michael Bloomfield. This version of The Electric Flag released two albums on Columbia Records and performed at the Monterey Pop Festival during the Summer of Love.

Goldbery later enlisted guitarist Harvey Mandel and drummer "Fast" Eddie Hoh (of Super Session fame) and formed The Barry Goldberg Reunion at the height of the psychedelic "San Francisco Sound". The group spawned two albums, a self-titled debut and Blowin' My Mind, which Billboard Magazine's Gene Sculatti called "Lost gems, two of the real sleepers of the psychedelic pop era."

Goldberg has enjoyed an extensive career writing and composing music for film and television. He has supervised and written music that has appeared in over twenty feature films including the blockbuster hits Forrest Gump and Dirty Dancing. Other film credits include Adventures In Babysitting, Feds, and Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

As a record producer, Goldberg has worked with a diversity of musical acts, from Dylan to the Lemonheads to Percy Sledge. He also produced the debut Universal/France album for 13-year-old guitar prodigy Nawfel Hermi, and has scored and supervised season one of the Sony Pictures TV/Showtime Television Series Street Time.

The keyboardist is currently touring and producing The Chicago Blues Reunion with Nick Gravenites, Harvey Mandel, Tracy Nelson, Corky Siegel and Sam Lay. Their debut 2005 CD/DVD Buried Alive In The Blues, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Blues Chart, received a 4-Star Review by David Fricke in Rolling Stone and was the #1 CD Of The Year in The Chicago Sun Times.

For song samples from It's All My Vault, go to http://www.itsaboutmusic.com/barrygoldberg.html