Roots Rock: U2, Jack Black, Little Steven, Mat Kearney

u2nolineonthehorizon250U2 is currently streaming their new album, “No Line on the Horizon”, on their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/u2) more than a week before its March 3 release. The band will play five consecutive nights on Late Night With David Letterman starting March 2. No word on if this is in response to staffers at Universal Music Australia inadvertently mading the new album available digitally more than a week before release. According to reports, high-quality downloads of the album were briefly made available earlier this week on Getmusic.com.au, a digital store operated by Universal Music’s Australian affiliate. “Horizon” is also now understood to be widely distributed via peer-to-peer file sharing networks. They ended up selling the nine-million copies of 2004’s”How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb”, which was also leaked, so this may be a case study in “Leaking an album just doesn’t matter if you are U2”

School of Rock star Jack Black married into a pretty impressive musical pedigree when he wed singer Tanya Haden. Haden is one of the triplet daughters of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden–best known for his work with Ornette Coleman. Her sisters Petra plays in the Decemberists, and Rachel is a founding member of The Rentals. Last year, the entire family, under the moniker Charlie Haden Family & Friends, collaborated on the American roots album “Rambling Boy”. They are all playing the Opry at the Ryman this weekend. Ricky Skaggs (also a guest on Rambling Boy), Del McCoury, Hal Ketchum & The Infamous Stringdusters will also be appearing.
Click on links below to listen
Opry on GAC
Opry on WSM Radio (online)

Originally expected in April, Dave Matthews Band’s as-yet-untitled new RCA album will now arrive June 2. The group has also announced its annual summer tour, beginning May 27 in Darien Center, N.Y. – They come to Indy for two nights at Verizon Wireless Music Center on Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1.

Mat Kearney is set to release his new album, City of Black & White, on May 19, a followup to his major label debut, “Nothing Left To Lose”, Mat recorded in his new hometown of Nashville, TN,

justin_townes_earle150CHOOSE ONLY ONE? This Week’s Indianapolis Live Show Pick: Justin Townes Earle – Saturday February 21 at Spencer’s Stadium Tavern. Earle, son of singer/songwriter Steve Earle, releases his second album, ‘Midnight at the Movies,’ in early March. He proved he has the talent to stand on his own, with or without the legendary roots-rock name. LISTEN HERE

ALBUM CHART: Taylor Swift’s album “Fearless” returns to the top of The Billboard 200. The set moved 92,000 copies on a 44% salesjump, resulting in its nine non-consecutive weeks at No. 1. The last album spend more time at the top was Santana’s “Supernatural,” which was #1 for 12 weeks in 1999 and 2000. Selling 77,000 on a whopping 715% increase, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ “Raising Sand”zoomed from 69 to 2 following its album of the year win at the Grammys. The set debuted at No. 2 in late 2007 with 112,000 and has now sold 1.26 million to date. Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends”rebounds 31-8 with 62,000 sold (+271%); the album generated three Grammys, including song of the year for “Viva La Vida.” Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” falls from 2 to 6 with 65,000 sold.

Springsteen guitarist Steve Van Zandt is about to launch a new hard rock label, Lost Cathedral, with the May 14 release of Crown Of Thorns’ “Faith.” Van Zandt’s garage rock label, Wicked Cool will continue to exist. We basically decided to keep Wicked Cool identifiable as a garage rock label, at least for now,” he told Billboard this week. “In the last couple of years, we’ve gotten a lot of hard rock things submitted to us. A lot of it is quite good — a little bit punkier or hard rock than we do with Wicked Cool.”

bunecarlosTHE REALLY ODD PAIRINGS DEPT.: Ex-Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, Fountains Of Wayne co-founder Adam Schlesinger, Taylor Hanson of Hanson and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos have formed a supergroup named Tinted Windows. Billboard reports the band has recorded their debut album, set for a spring release, with a SXSW showcase set on tap next month.

Roots Rock Blog: Pat Green, Henry French, Album Charts, 20 Questions with Cross Canadian Ragweed

From my blog for NUVO  in Indianapolis (nuvo.net) – check it out there a couple times a week for show reviews and info like this:

On the Americana airplay chart from Radio & Records, Otis Gibbs was at #5 with his “Grandpa Walked A Picketline” album. The Gourds “Haymaker!” album is in the top spot, as last week’s #1 album, “Little Honey” from Lucinda Williams falls to #4.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ “Raising Sand,” which won album of the year at the Grammy’s on Sunday, re-entered the Billboard album chart at No. 68, with sales of 9,000 last week. For the chart, most gains are a result of downloads on Sunday night after the show. The Fray earned its first #1 on The Billboard 200 with its sophomore self-titled album selling 179,000. Last week’s #1, Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream”, slips to No. 2 in its second week with 102,000 sold.

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Great little “20 Questions” interview with personal fave Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed. They blew the roof of the Vogue in late 2008 and defy simple music pigeonholing – they just rock in an American rock and roll way. Check out interview here….

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Choose Only One? Live Show Pick: Henry French and the Shameless  rocked Birdy’s on Saturday night (2.14). They have a great EP “Swagger and Sway”. One of those bands (Bodeans, Swinging Steaks, Replacements) that make hook-filled, guitar-driven, songwriting-strong heartland rock records. Hear more here.

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Though he has always been my Bryan Adams of country music, I have liked Pat Green for a long time. CMT.com says his new song “Country Star” (and watch some sidestage video – they come out to “Eminance Front”…) is “hooky, catchy and funny enough to move him from edgy Texas rocker to full-on Nashville phenom. And it’s about time.”He is great live, and I love Texas music, even if Pat has watered his down for more mainstream success. Jack Ingram has done the same. Still, would rather listen to those two than most of the glossy, sugary, disposable country music that is on the radio and dominate awards shows. Dann Huff produces (Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts are two other clients) so that means no rough edges. Still, worth staying on board with Green. Oh, and I liked Bryan Adams until he started to suck.

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Randy Rogers Band received an Academy of Country Music nomination this week for vocal group of the year. They will lose to Rascal Flatts, but nice to have a rowdy Oklahoma/Texas/Red Dirt band get noticed.

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Finally, an interesting into-the-head blog from Springsteen on his official site. Bruce blogging? Multiple albums in one year? Ten years ago, who would have thought those two could happen? Actually, a terrific blog. (Read it here) Bruce rarely writes prose, instead does interviews and writes songs. So it is a bit unsettling to read. But behind-the-scenes is what we want, right? Plus a striking photo gallery from Danny Clinch.