VIDEO – Justin Townes Earle- “Mama’s Eyes”

To prove that not all kids of famous people are riding the coattails of their parents, Justin Townes Earle (Dad=Steve) proves his understated brilliance again, with this live studio performance recorded at Paste Magazine earlier this month. He just came through Indy again and is on tour. Great voice, with hints of Dad, but….well, just watch and listen.

Tour Schedule/Website

VIDEO – Bruce Springsteen – Hope for Haiti – “We Shall Overcome”

One of the musical highlights of the night. Gorgeous version of the classsic song “We Shall Overcome”, with great solos in the middle from Charlie Giordano (E Street keyboardist who sits where Danny Federici used to) and Curt Ramm (trumpet player who toured with Bruce on the back end of 2009, adding another layer of excellence to the band). The song was part of the repertoire of the Seeger Sessions Band a few years ago for Bruce.

Roots Rock News: Shooter, Stephen King, Henry Lee Summer, Paul Simon’s Kid

From the roots-rock home office – bits of news from my NUVO posting this week:

Stephen King and Shooter Jennings will release “Black Ribbons”, a 70-minute album, with King providing the voice of Will O’ The Wisp, a late-night talk radio host who is in the last hour of his final broadcast before the airwaves are overtaken by government-approved and regulated transmissions. According to the news release, “With nothing left to lose, the radio host lets loose with a series of rants, punctuating his diatribes with 14 selections from Jennings. ” We love Shooter, and and this could either be the train wreck of the year, or could be jsut odd enough to be interesting.

One of today’s folk groundbreakers, Ellis Paul, visits Indianapolis on January 16 as part of the Indy Acoustic Cafe series. The show will be at the Wheeler Community Art Center, 1035 Sanders Street. Paul is part of the Boston school of songwriting – call it romantic folk-pop, call it acoustic intelligence, or I just call it good tunes with an acoustic guitar. Doors open at 7PM, Show at 7:30 PM. Tickets $17 advance and $20 at the door.

Got a chance to see Henry Lee Summer perform with ex-bandmate Zanna’s great little classic rock side project “4 On The Floor” in early January at Moon Dog’s in Fishers. Henry is releatively fresh out of rehab, and a bit rusty, but I will give him his due here: he seemed more engaged than the last time a saw him, which a has been a couple of years. His shows with his own side projects had become boring and I wanted more fire from Henry, even if he wasn’t going to play his own music with the Alligator Brothers or Candybomber. This time, there were flashes of his intensity and brilliance as a singer and bandleader, and my hope is that he keeps going forward, stays positive and knows he has fans and people who will support him again. And he should get a band (or even go solo with a guitar) and play his own music, ’cause we love that most. Our best to Mr. Swartz. Nice to see him back on a healthier road.
Henry Lee Summer – LIVE – Superstar Concert Series
North Manchester, IN – 1988
“Hey Baby”

Harper Simon :: REVIEW – from
Fair or not, the vocal comparisons between Harper and his father, Paul, are evident as soon as he opens his mouth. It’s really uncanny how similar his voice is with the layered echo-like lyrics- sounding a little like singing from the bottom of a well. Part folk, part country, many of the songs are obviously very heavily influenced by the humor and lyrical style of Simon and Garfunkel- albeit Simon and Garfunkel with a steel guitar. On the surface, that might seem like a strange or bitter combination- at once not original and original at the same time.
Read Review

A series of classic album covers has been issued as a set of stamps by the England’s Royal Mail (their version of the US Postal Service). Other well-known record sleeves to have been made into first-class stamps include Pink Floyd’s Division Bell. The design on each of the 10 stamps shows a vinyl record coming out of its recognisable album cover.
See Stamps

Three country acts who are sure-fire draws and have played the fair recently will be back in 2010 at the Indiana State Fair. The State Fair has announced that Rascal Flatts will perform August 7, Keith Urban on August 14 and Sugarland on August 20. Sugarland is always good, and Urban is one of the best country rockers, though has been here a few times now, some the excitement might wane for this, though the show will be killer. Rascal Flatts, however, is imitation vanilla, bland and full of fake sugar. Whatever. The State Fair does a pretty damn good job each year, between the free stages and the new Indiana Opry Barn and the main Grandstand. So make that point clear.

Urban won Best Male Artist at the recent People’s Choice Awards. However, he also gave the word to illegally obtain music.,saying “I don’t even care if you download it illegally, give it to your friends, I really don’t care.” has an interesting and misguided letter and commentary posted, upset about what Keith said:
“I wonder what his label, Capitol Records Nashville, has to say about his statement?” Cliff Doyle writes. “And what about his co-writers and other songwriters on Music Row whose talents he depends on to continue with his hugely successful career? Can they afford to work for free?”

Here’s the deal: His label can’t say anything of value. Urban is in a position that doesn’t require a label, just distribution. Capitol pissed? He can go somewhere else. And his magic is on stage, where he is the best guitar player/performer/showman in country music, and maybe (outside of Springsteen) all of rock music. Good for Keith. Tougher for those who haven’t made it yet to succeed without a label? I say no. – not for the ones that matter. The bands that hit the road/clubs/festivals and do it on their own are usually the best. Look no farther than Jennie Devoe right here in Indianapolis. Sure, she has fans in those who run labels, and many covet her music, but she sees what others like her know: control + talent+ drive = success on your terms.  Just a different path, and different way to measure success,  than 10 years ago.

VIDEO: Cracker – Happy Birthday to Me

Here’s one of those bands that just keeps making very good music. I love Cracker. They live in that musical place of bands who are road rockers, just a little good crazy but smart too, and like to play that three-chord two-guitar rock and roll, and do it dirty and inspired. A friend sent this to me today. I give to you. Enjoy the simplicity, the sentiment and the backbeat.