Todd Snider: Busy Man Comes to Bloomington

(originally written for NUVO.net (8.31.10)

I hate musical labels. But I can use them. I’d call Todd Snider a roots rocker, having seen him with his old band The Nervous Wrecks, all sweaty and rockin’. Call him folk, or a kind of Prine/Petty/Jerry Jeff Walker/Jagger hybrid. Some of those work for you?

Todd will perform at the 3rd annual Hillbilly Haiku Concert at the Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, Indiana this Friday (September 3rd) at 6pm. TV Mike and the Scarecrows and The Elly Maze open.

The Hillbilly Haiku Americana Music Series is hosted by the Upland Brewing Co. to raise money for the Sycamore Land Trust. All proceeds from the concert’s ticket, food, and beverage sales benefit the Sycamore Land Trust, whose mission is to preserve the landscape of southern Indiana. Working with private landowners to protect their family heritage, SLT has conserved over 5,500 acres on more than 66 parcels and helped plant over 55,000 trees.

After he rolls out of town, Snider will head to the Americana Music Festival held in Nashville beginning September 8, and will fire up a group he is calling Todd Snider’s Rock & Roll Revue, featuring Jason D. Williams, Dan Baird and Friends. Continue reading “Todd Snider: Busy Man Comes to Bloomington”

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New Springsteen “Darkness” Reissue Contains Intriguing Additions

Though grounded in a rock and roll, with a healthy R&B/60’s Soul tradition chromosome, Bruce Springsteen was signed as a folk guy (at least that’s what Columbia Records thought they were getting). As successfully as any artist in modern music, has been able go from folk to rock to soul to pop without losing his ability to write insightful lyrics and embrace rock music.

But the record that has proven to be the strongest, most timeless work is 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town album.   It gets a newly remastered treatment (The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story, a 6 CD/DVD set, due out November 14) with a package that includes two CD’s of unreleased, new/old songs from the original recording sessions; a live concert video from 1978; and a making-of documentary – one that debuts at the Toronto Film Festival September 14, and on HBO in August.

I have the orginal CD in my car.  It’s a favorite on my iPod.  I can still remember the day in 1984 , going to the used record store in Hillsdale, Michigan, and coming out with a used vinyl version.  I still have it.

It a record that has some of Bruce’s meanest guitar playing, down-but still-hopeful lyrics and a core set of songs (“Badlands”, “Prove It All Night”, The Promised Land”) that form the heart of most of the band’s live shows.

He had to wait two years following the release of Born to Run before he could even get into the studio to record the album, because of the lawsuit with his management, and a judge’s injunction against recording with his new manager Jon Landau while the court case dragged on.  Continue reading “New Springsteen “Darkness” Reissue Contains Intriguing Additions”

VIDEO: Dan Baird and Homemade Sin

Fomer Georgia Satellite and longtime member of the turn-it-up-loud Fender Telecaster thinktank, Dan Baird just don’t care what you think. Here’s a video shot close to the stage, with pretty great sound, as his band rocked a bar in Leicester, England earlier this month.  Video notable for it’s sweatiness, disdain for subtlety, and general rock and roll bad-ass-ness – Doing Elvis and one of his own songs.  Brilliantly rough.

Neil Young preps new, old albums; Little Feat drummer dies

Neil Young is in the final stages of mixing his new album, which he recorded with U2 producer Daniel Lanois in a Los Angeles house earlier this year. “We cut a couple of solo acoustic songs, but the rest is very electric,” Lanois told Rolling Stone. “There’s no band, but I got in there with my sonics. There’s nothing else out there like it.”‘ In other Neil Young news, the second volume of his Archives box set is coming out. It will contain at least three unreleased albums (1975’s Homegrown, 1977’s Chrome Dreams and 1978’s Oceanside-Countryside) as well as live recordings from Young’s 1976 tour with Crazy Horse.

Richie Hayward, the drummer best known as a founding member of the band Little Feat, died last Thursday. He had been battling liver cancer. He died from complications of lung disease at a hospital in Victoria, British Columbia while awaiting a liver transplant.

NPR, PBS continue rootsy music dominance w/ Mellencamp, Prine; New Americana music from Mic Harrison

NPR and PBS continue to be among the best at chronicling live music and singer/songwriters.
AUDIO: Hear John Prine (with Indiana’s Jason Wilber on guitar) – Live at Newport Folk Festival.
Listen Here

VIDEO: John Mellencamp has been on the PBS Tavis Smiley program all week, talking Monday about his new album and playing music on each of the next four nights. Mellencamp.com has put together a very nice compilation of the apearances. And what’s the connection between Mellencamp and the host? Smiley went to IU, and used to go to the early John Cougar shows.
Watch video (interview and performances) here

AMERICANA ROCK BAND ALERT: Mic Harrison and The High Score have a new album, Great Commotion. The word is that the Tennessee guys all have day jobs, and took a six month break to write and record the new album. The cut below hits into an Elvis Costello-ish vein, with jangly, rootsy, midwestern guitars and REM drums.

Harrison, a native of Bradford, Tennessee native was a member of the twang/roots-rockers V-Roys, joining just as the band was being signed by Steve Earle’s label. He hung with Scott Miller and the rest of the band for three albums, and toured everywhere before they disbanded in 1999. Mic released two solo albums, and then hooked up with The High Score in 2007.

Great Commotion is the first release totally recorded and produced by the band, and was mastered by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (Dan Baird, Bottle Rockets) – roots rock with power pop.