Roots Rock: Shooter Jennings, Rob’s Shuffle and Pete Seeger

metallica_sxswROOTS ROCK TWANG NEWS:  No, I’m not live from SXSW. Would be cool, I’m sure.  Austin is righteous.  But get this: Metallica played a show at Stubbs BBQ Friday night.  Metallica at SXSW?  That ain’t right.  The word that they were going to play the festival even reached Indy before the show. Still, what was billed as a secret gig at South By Southwest on Friday night (March 20) had the band buzzing through a 13-song set. And the tie in?  It was part of the Guitar Hero: Metallica showcase. Just over 2,000 fans were allowed in.  Reports had the joint guarded by a dozen police officers and 75 security guards.  Yep. Secret gig….

THREE  MORE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:  Nickel Creek’s singer-songwriter and fiddler Sara Watkins is releasing self-titled debut. It is interesting for the wide range of collaborators for its 14 tracks, among them Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas, Tom Petty keyboardist Benmont Tench, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Led Zep’s John Paul Jones produced the album  in L.A. and Nashville. Sara Watkins hits stores April 7.

pete-seegerDave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, John Mellencamp, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen are among the dozens of musicians who will celebrate American folk music legend  Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday with a gala concert at Madison Square Garden on May 3.  Other performers will include Kris Kirstofferson, Tom Morello, Billy Bragg and Ben Harper.

Max Weinberg’s 19 year-old son Jay will fill in on a “small number” of Bruce shows, replacing his Dad, who has a new old gig as the Conan O’Brien “Tonight Show” bandleader when Conan debuts in his new time slot. This will no doubt see a continuing “the world is ending” frenzy among Springsteen fans with too little other stuff, like real life, to do. Our lesson?  That’s just the way life is; you make decisions based on what you can do and make the best of situations that will never be perfect.  It’s only rock and roll, for goodness sakes. It’s the Hippy Hippy Shake.
Inside the randomness that is my digital library. It put the ipod on shuffle and the first five songs that come up each week I share.  Comments always welcome between friends…


revolver1.  “For No One” -Beatles
Not a hit, right?  Yep.  Just another Beatles song, right?  Well, this one little song makes me remember just how freakin’ brilliant these guys were.  I really think nearly every song off of every album (exception? “Revolution #9”) was worthy of being a hit song, or played on the radio or said something profound.  Many times, it did all three.  This song, from Revolver, speaks of lost love and failed opportunity more accurately than nearly all the 2,369,000 songs on the same subject that have come since it was originally put on vinyl.

jethro_piano12. “Open Cages” – Jethro Easyfields
From his Elixir album, I put this on the ipod as I was getting ready to write the story on him for NUVO.  I have come to relish the slow build and the delayed gratification of his songs.  I haven’t a problem with the live feel of the recording and the non-slickness (OK, roughness) of the phrasing. But his writing says something about people who live in Indiana.  To me, it says we are not too city and not too country.  We are Midwesterners.  Like us or move along.

georgia_satellites13.  Battleship Chains” – Georgia Satellites
While “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” was the well-deserved money song from the band’s self-titled debut album, it was “Battleship Chains”  that was the record’s secret bubble gum pop song, rolled in raunchy rock dirt, a little too loud for radio.  But I think it has always sounded good loud. And elicits a volume knob clockwise turn when it comes on. Rick Richards, not Dan Baird, on lead vocal.

john_cougar4. ”Welcome to Chinatown” (Live)” – John Mellencamp
Johnny Cougar playing at a club called Four Acres from a bootleg version that refers to a radio broadcast. The song would appear on his John Cougar album. BONUS: This is shortly before he formed the complete, most important band of his career – the one that would tour and record for the Scarecrow and Lonesome Jubilee records.  DOUBLE BONUS: The Little Bastard dumps in parts of “My Sharona”, “It’s Only Rock and Roll” and tries to get the audience to yell something dirty on the radio.   Power chords, Larry Crane’s rock and roll guitar and even a piano solo paired with that classic Mellencamp “screw you” attitude.  A mediocre song given new life live.  A gem of a bootleg.

recklesskelly_washere5.  “Wicked, Twisted Road” – Reckless Kelly
One of the very best of the Red Dirt genre – bands mainly from of Texas and Oklahoma that are Americana and alt-country with even more twang and in-your-ear guitars.  This one is one of the more intimate numbers.  From the Reckless Kelly Was Here live album.  Think Steve Earle, if he was 30 years old and off of heroin.
Here’s what it all looks like…


In a previous blog. we told you about Neil Young’s new album Fork in the Road, due April 7. 
Watch great interview with Letterman about the car:

Neil now has a bunch of videos related to the record’s release.  And Neil’s weird, man.  A good weird.  Like the “I don’t give a shit,  I’m right” dude who really is right…

Watch the “Johnny Magic” video here in all its lo-fi brilliance. Neil in a car…singing.

shooter_bwAND FINALLY…
CMT Crossroads featuring Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson premieres Monday, March 23) at 10pm on CMT.   I saw Shooter at the Music Mill a couple years ago.  He rawks…
Shooter listed his top 10 songs and albums on  

1. “Seed of Memory,” Terry Reid
2. “Belle of the Ball,” Waylon Jennings
3. “The Writ,” Black Sabbath
4. “She Shook Me Cold,” David Bowie
5. “Sea of Japan,” Earl Greyhound
6. “Astronomy,” Blue Oyster Cult
7. “Feelin’ Better,” Hank Williams Jr.
8. “Wild and Blue,” Jessi Colter
9. “Don’t Run Our Hearts Around,” Black Mountain
10. “Black Helicopter,” Matthew Good

1. White Mansions, Various Artists
2. The Downward Spiral, Nine Inch Nails
3. The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie
4. Ol Waylon, Waylon Jennings
5. White Album, the Beatles
6. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd
7. Seed of Memory, Terry Reid
8. Phases and Stages, Willie Nelson
9. The New South, Hank Williams Jr.
10. Consolers of the Lonely, the Raconteurs

Bonus Shooter: country-frying the Dire Straits…

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