Dylan and Mellencamp Announce Tour, plus Old Crow, WhoaTiger! and Drive-By Truckers

»New Old Crow Medicine Show video for “Caroline” from the Tennessee Pusher album
watch it here

»Chuck Mead, the co-founder of the former band BR549 will release a new album, Journeyman’s Wager, on May 12.

»The New Bluegrass: Five Acts to Watch: From rollingstone.com
Legends Del McCoury and Sam Bush weigh in on Old Crow, Avett Brothers, O’Death and more
read story here

»The folks over at indianapolismusic.net have a post about Whoa!Tiger. Guitar-driven pop/rock/blues. They have some dates at Locals Only on the calendar. Worth a listen.
read article here
Listen to music here

DBTLive at Paste – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
The former Drive-By Trucker doing an acoustic performance of “The Blue” live in the Paste Magazine studio. The cut is from their self-titled sophomore release that came out in February.
watch video here

»Drive-By Truckers leader Patterson Hood will release his second solo album, Murdering Oscar (and other love songs), on June 23.

The most accessible (though derivative) thing that Pricnce has done in a long time is his new “Crimson Clover” (his variation of the title) on one of his new albums released this spring. He melds Tommy James and the Shondells with The Troggs to create a nicely done cover hybrid. And he appeared on Ellen (!) to play it. So let’s go to the video. (For the record, I like this version…)

I’M DIGGIN…Pandora Radio on the web
Pretty simple. Create your own music mix by entering artists and titles, and they make a streaming “radio station” for you. It’s on now as I am writing. Rob’s Roots Rock Radio. It’s quite good, I must say. When I created it, I believe I entered The Bottle Rockets, Bruce Springsteen and The Del Fuegos as core artists and everything was based on similar artists and styles. Since then, I’ve added J. Geils Band, John Eddie, Dan Baird, WIll Hoge, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Chuck Berry, Bob Seger and the Bodeans.

It is streamed at 128kbp, so the sound is about like FM. I like it better than LastFM.com, a similar site. Listening just now, it moved into a classic rocker bender and I heard cut from the J. Geils’ mediocre Love Stinks album, “The Joker” from Steve Miller, a live “Running on Empty” from Jackson Browne and CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” with a gorgeous Hammond B’3 coming through that I hadn’t always heard. But then went more alt-country Bottle Rockets, Uncle Tupelo and then served up a band called Prisonshake.

You can’t rewind. Catch them as they fly by. Fast forward to the next tune if you want. No commercials. Try it if you haven’t. And if they woud just make it possible to upload your own audio pieces and really start to allow users to make it their own, then it would earn my coveted “Best Thing Ever” stamp of approval. It is just shy of that designation now .
hear Rob’s Roots Radio

Called “An uncanny tribute to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, featuring Matt Ryan and American Dream” on their website, the band comes to the Bluebird in Bloomington May 13th and the Vogue in Indy on May 14th. I can’t ever remember a Springsteen tribute band coming through here. I have watched their video online. I think it could be fun for Bruce fans. A band playing a couple hours of Springsteen is OK with me anytime.
watch preview video

Robert Zimmerman»Lengthy and excellent Bob Dylan interview online. He talks about his favorite songwriters, and namechecks John Prine, Jimmy Buffett(!) and more. Check out the dates below…he will play in South Bend and Louisville, if you arew looking for the nearest shows.
read article here
Bob Dylan’s Ballpark Tour Dates:
Bob Dylan has just announced  a new lineup for this year’s summer concert tour. Along with Willie Nelson, this summer, The Bob Dylan Show will also feature John Mellencamp, marking just the second time in the past 24 years that these three performers have shared the concert stage.
Mellencamp: “We’re going out there with the full band and we’ll be playing material from over the past 30 years–a combination of new and old material including songs from Life Death Love and Freedom and songs that haven’t been recorded yet. We’ll be playing for about 75 minutes each night.”
7/2, Sauget, IL (GCS Ballpark)
7/4, South Bend, IN (Coveleski Stadium)
7/8, Louisville, KY (Louisville Slugger Field)
7/10, Dayton, OH (Fifth Third Field)
7/11, Eastlake, OH (Classic Park)
7/13, Washington, PA (Consol Energy Park)
7/14, Allentown, PA (Coca-Cola Park)
7/15, New Britain, CT (New Britain Stadium)
7/19, Syracuse, NY (Alliance Bank Stadium)
7/21, Pawtucket, RI (McCoy Stadium)
7/23, Lakewood, NJ (FirstEnergy Park)
7/24, Aberdeen, MD (Ripken Stadium)
7/25, Norfolk, VA (Harbor Park)
7/28, Durham, NC (Durham Bulls Athletic Park)
7/29, Sevierville, TN (Smokies Park)
8/4, Round Rock, TX (The Dell Diamond)
8/5, Corpus Christi, TX (Whataburger Field)
8/7, Grand Prairie, TX (QuikTrip Park)
8/11, Glendale, AZ (Camelback Ranch)
8/12, Las Vegas, NV (Cashman Field)
8/14, Fresno, CA (Chukchansi Park)
8/15, Stockton, CA (Banner Island Ballpark)

Video: Social Distortion’s Mike Ness, Springsteen Rock Bruce’s 2nd LA Show

Whether you know it or not, I temper my enthusiasm for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Not everyone likes him, and I’m OK with that. Probably have never been to a show, but whatever.

In honest-to-Telecaster truth, I believe Bruce and the band will, 50 years from now, have gone down in history as the most legendary rock and roll band ever. I have never been disappointed at a live show. Never. I have seen 15. And that ain’t many, I realize, compared to the crazies. He is the gold standard; other artists have to give a killer live show or there’s no love from me.

And it really helps if they write great songs.

Those are the rules, fair or not, when you read the Rockforward blog.

Yet, there is a big, big stack of rock and roll/roots rock/Americana artists and music  I love – all non-Bruce. Great music from hundreds of bands. We have favorites. We have music and bands newly discovered. And there’s lots and lots of music that I hear and turn you on to, because it’s what turns me on. That’s the idea and promise.

And right now, I am loving the video posted today (Friday (4.17) of Springsteen and Social Distortion’s Mike Ness at Bruce’s second night in LA Thursday. They are rocking Social Distortion’s “Bad Luck”. The guitar playing is incredibly rockin’ and just when you think it’s all done…

Candy’s Room
Outlaw Pete
No Surrender
Adam Raised a Cain
Working on a Dream
Johnny 99
Raise Your Hand
Proud Mary
Growin’ Up
Hungry Heart
The Promised Land
The Wrestler
Bad Luck (w/ Mike Ness)
Lonesome Day (w/ Jay Weinberg)
The Rising (w/ Mike Ness and Jay Weinberg
Born to Run (w/ Jay Weinberg)
* * *
Hard Times
Thunder Road
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
Land of Hope and Dreams
American Land
Glory Days

Roots Rock Notes: Gaslight Anthem live acoustic, Wilco on tour, Petty kicks back, Son Volt’s new album

I have your audio, your video, the news you didn’t know, and it’s all free. Unbelieveable, I know.
.: Hey, ho, rock and roll. Deliver me from nowhere… :.

•Brian Fallon and his band The Gaslight Anthem are one of the (deservedly so) hot bands right now – schooled in the art of the garage rock and the rock-with-a punk-edge bands like The Replacements. “I don’t think there would be a Gaslight Anthem without the Replacements,” Fallon told SPIN Magazine. He played an acoustic cover of the Minnesota indie band’s “Left of the Dial,” and it is posted on the magazine’s website.
Watch 3 song acoustic session including “That ’59 Sound” and “Left of the Dial”.

WILCO IN BLOOMINGTON w/ Hawk and a Hacksaw opening
•A legendary alt-country band, right? One step removed from Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy and his band are in Bloomington for a show at the Jeff TweedyIU Memorial Auditorium on April 16. It’s not sold out; kinda interesting. The band plays two nights in Milwaukee before coming to Bloomington, and both of those are sold out, though the proximity of Milwaukee to Chicago aids that sale. (you can hear two previous concerts on their website)

According to the band site, a still-untitled next Wilco album is nearing completion. Jim Scott and the band just finished mixing in Jim’s studio in Valencia, California. They list song titles, though the record isn’t sequenced and some titles may change:
Deeper Down
Conscript (aka I’ll Fight)
One Wing
Wilco (the song)
Country Disappeared
Bull Black Nova
Sonny Feeling
You and I

WILCO American Tour Schedule (from wilcoworld.net)

→Son Volt will return this summer with their sixth-full length album. The new record is titled American Central Dust.

→Rosanne Cash is dipping back into her childhood for her next album, “The List”.”‘The List’ is based on a list my father made for me when I was 18 years old,” Cash tells Billboard. “He called it the ‘100 Essential Country Songs’ and said if I learned this list, I would be truly educated. We are culling about 15 songs from the list, and re-interpreting them, with the respect of an archivist…”.

→Ron Wood said that he’s recorded about a dozen songs for a solo album called “More Good News.” Produced by Bob Rock and Wood , with gueststhat include Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

→Sister Hazel plays at the Bluebird in Bloomington on Friday night.

“We played on the last tour and there were some empty seats here and there and, well, there shouldn’t be any empty seats at an E Street Band show,” he told the LA Times. “I hold pride that we remain one of the great wonders of the world . . . so sometimes you got to remind people a little bit.”
read full story

The Beatles whole catalog is going to be digitally re-mastered and released on September 9. The remastered discs will be available individually in stereo and in two box sets – one stereo and another in mono. Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles for Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, The Beatles (The White Album), Abbey Road and Let It Be all get remastered, plus Past Masters I and II.

→The David Lynch Foundation’s Transcendental Meditation benefit in New York became a Beatles reunion of sorts as Ringo Starr joined Paul McCartney on stage for the show’s three-song finale at Radio City Music Hall
read story here

John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives
John Paul Keith is a native of Knoxville, TN, living in Memphis and has played in a lot of bands (The V-Roys, among others). Listen to his tunes on myspace and if you want to (BOOTLEG ALERT) download a free live album of his work, click on this link
“This was a gig I did in Knoxville at the Corner Lounge about 3 years ago, with a pickup band put together by Jeff,” Keith said. “This was an important gig for me at the time, because I hadn’t played my songs in public in about 2 years, and it was really great to play for the home folks. It really inspired me to get going again. Not long after that show, the One Four Fives eventually got together in Memphis.”

•Inside the randomness that is my digital library. Shuffling the iPod, and we take the first five tunes, starting now:

1. “Lookin’ For Love” – J. Geils Band
From a bootleg recorded in Detroit in 1977. They are the only band I have never seen live that I really wanted to. I grew up in Michigan, so word would filter out of Detroit that the band had played some four-hour show at a club. By the time they went big with Freeze Frame in 1980, the nastiness was a bit worn off. Their live albums before that, especially “Blow Your Face Out”, are essential.

After spending most of this decade on hiatus, they played the new House of Blues club in Boston in February and will return to Detroit to play the Fillmore April 24.. The HOB set was reportedly great, as the Patriot-Ledger described the band as “light-years beyond every expectation, inhumanly tight despite a lengthy hiatus, and palpably enjoying every minute of their return”.

2. “That’s What I Am” – Dan Baird
Off his first solo record “Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired”, this is a party song set to a Chuck Berry-meets-Replacements groove. The hit off this album was the cute but cool “I Love You Period”. I saw this tour in Fort Wayne, with a band that had (speaking of the Replacements) Slim Dunlap on guitar.

3. ” So Hard Done By” – The Tragically Hip
Who the hell is Tragically Hip, you ask? Probably one the most critically acclaimed rock and roll bands to come from Canada. Another show I saw in Fort Wayne (at the same bar as Baird too). Really underplayed on radio stations of America. They are like a Canadian Cheap Trick – been around forever, melodic songs, and great live show. They also harken back to the 70’s with echoes of REO along with a definite 1990’s alt rock taste, yet not overwhelmingly so.  I hear BoDeans in their music too.

4. ”Kiss Me in the Dark” – Randy Rogers Band
Some of that great Red Dirt country rock, out of Texas and Oklahoma. One of my favorite sounds is this little genre. Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney Larue, and Charlie Robison are just a few who have made a career touring Texas. Rogers has now been on Letterman and “The Tonight Show” in the past year.

5. “Fallen Angel” (live) – Poison
I’ve got no problem pledging my love to the golden age of Poison, and it survives, even through the whole Bret Michaels “Rock Bus of Love” thing. Part bubble gum rock, part heartland rock (the band is from Pennsylvania, in case we all forgot), and complete candy. Plus the original members are still together, so that counts fror something. Guilty pleasure? Your call.

Tom Petty
•Excellent interview with Tom Petty on his website from late last year that I just came across. It includes the greatest answer ever to the the following question:
Interviewer: “Tell me about a day-in-the-life of Tom Petty, off the road and out of the studio. What’s on the itinerary?”
Tom Petty: “It could be any number of things. That house I have on a lake plays a big role these days. I get some books, sit around and read for awhile, then maybe go out on my boat and try to catch a few bass, come in and watch a few movies in the evening, maybe smoke one, play guitar or noodle at the piano. But this not working thing is, for me, really harder than working” (laughs).

Read full interview (.pdf) – interviewed by Warren Zanes, former guitar player for Del Fuegos and now a Ph.D who teaches, and was a past VP of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BONUS: I am in Indianapolis. Heartland and shit. So I want to feature some Indiana roots rockers on the blog; there are many around who fit not-so-neatly into the Americana genre.  Look for them here soon.

“Check check. One-two.  Testing one-two…ssss. Ch…ch…Check.” 
Let’s make sure this thing is on…
Blue Flannel Shirt – Rusty Bladen

Friday Roots Rock Notes – Alejandro Escovedo, Neil Young, James McMurtry

Alejandro Escovedo is playing at the historic Danville (IN) Royal Theatre tonight (Friday) at 8pm. He’s from Austin, been around forever, and rocks. Been to one other show at this theatre – great sound. He got on stage with Springsteen in Houston last year for “Always a Friend” from his recent Real Animal album.

(BONUS: see photos from the show HERE)

He’s playing as part of a trio for this show – Check out a great video below…

Neil Young is streaming his new album online for free (a week before it hits the stores). Gotta love Neil.
Hear it here – Man, the guitar sounds good on these cuts. His voice falls in as the 1A instrument behind the star of the show, the chunking, beautiful, scrap metal guitar stylings of Young. Rust-like. “Just Singing a Song” echoes “Down By The River”.

James McMurtry has a killer live version of “We Can’t Make it Here” on his website. He is the very best at what he does – biting rock and roll. This cut is Lou Reed rock and roll guitars and McMurtry’s spit lyrics, in his classic talk singing. His writing is storytelling done beautifully, and he rarely disappoints me. And take a listen to “Just Us Kids” on the website. One-two punch. KO.
website -We Can’t Make it Here
Just Us Kids

That’s it – a quick hitter for a Friday. More later. Turn it up….

Concert Review- Graham Parker – Lafayette, IN


Graham Parker, who played Friday night at Duncan Hall in Lafayette, is one of those rock and roll guys who has written and recorded great music, yet hasn’t risen to the level of being known outside a tight circle of music fans. If you think about it (and I have), he’s kind of like the English John Hiatt – another longtime steady, literate, brilliant songwriter who’s capable of pairing lyrics with memorable melodies that get a bit dirty and soulful. And that’s what Parker did for nearly two hours Friday night.

Known for his pub and punk inflected rock music, he used the intimate setting (seated audience of 200 or so) to play the role of storyteller, introducing most songs and spinning some tales. Playing for the “Friends of Bob” music series, Parker took advantage of the rapt audience, playing no-speakers-needed quiet at times for the politely enthusiastic audience. Parker ran through 21 songs, reaching back to his 1976 debut album Howlin’ Wind and drawing from his most recent effort, Carp Fishing on Valium, a soundtrack to his book of the same name.

In an ode to the times, suggesting that even an old rocker can embrace change, Parker highlighted cuts throughout the night from the Carp release, an album available only on his website. Songs told of a character named Brian Porker, a somewhat fictional (or is Brian really Graham? — only Parker knows) rock semi-casualty of the ’80s. Graham is nothing if not intelligent and quirky. He always has been. Still, the songs stand alone, backstory or not. “Chloroform”, “Brain Surgery” and especially “Custom Fanny” echoed his older, more satirical material.

“They Got it Wrong (As Usual)” from 1996’s Bubblegum Acid was one of a number of forgotten songs that he pulled out and gave a renewed life with the help of an intro that helped endear him to the audience.

And really, it wasn’t a rabid Graham Parker let’s-tear-his-sunglasses-off crowd. There were some hardcore fans scattered throughout, very familiar with Parker’s career. And many more who seemingly understood his significance in rock history. Parker came out of the British pub rock scene with Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, among others, a full year before Elvis Costello would release his debut album. I would affix a label of “legendary rocker” if one were to ask me about his status in rock and roll.

Switching guitars midway through the set, Parker went from acoustic guitar to a Fender Telecaster electric, and hit on the highlight of the night, a heartfelt and in-the-moment performance of “Temporary Beauty” from 1982’s Another Grey Area. On record, it’s as close as he gets to that ’79 sound; live in Lafayette, Parker made it intimate and all his.

A late-set trio of songs from his most critically acclaimed record, 1979’s Squeezing Out Sparks juiced up the audience. It’s the album that most longtime fans would own. (Parker noted its 30th anniversary this year would be celebrated somewhere, possibly Tasmania). He played back-to-back versions of “Love Gets You Twisted”, “Discovering Japan” and a terrific take on “Passion is No Ordinary Word”, pulling the audience into his repeated chorus refrain. It was one of the magical moments of the night.

Parker’s four-song encore included a splendid Zevon-like performance of “Last Stop to Nowhere” from 2001’s Deepcut to Nowhere record. He enlisted the crowd into a hearty singalong for “Local Girls” from the Sparks album and, coming full circle, finished with “Not If It Pleases Me” from his debut record.

My only complaint was that Parker virtually ignored 2007’s Don’t Tell Columbus album, playing just one song from it. It’s as close to Americana/alt-country as Parker gets, with inspired performances of good songs, and a clean, powerful, rocking sound. Excellent songs on an excellent record.

In the end, Parker earned two standing ovations, started one fun singalong and told many stories, sharing some of what he knows from his 30+ years on the road.

The audience got a performer seemingly comfortable with his place in music, with only hints of the “angry young man” he once was labeled. He has matured and built himself a strong, deep catalog of songs. Parker’s voice and guitar sound just like they should. Excellent show, played with just enough attitude to remind us where he’s been and that he still matters.


From the Vaults: The very first MTV Unplugged in 1992, with Graham Parker and the Smithereens