Indiana Music: Rusty Bladen finalist in Merlefest songwriting contest

Madison’s roots-rocker Rusty Bladen is a finalist in a prestigious songwriting contest and will travel to Wilkesboro, North Carolina to perform on April 29th at 2pm as part of the four-day Merlefest Music Festival.

“Bakersfield Wine”, a song co-written by Bladen with Louisville’s Mickey Clark, is one of three songs in the country category (though the song is more Americana than the broader country designation) “Chris Austin Songwriting Contest“. Winners will play between headlining acts on the 29th.

Bladen will play at Bloomington’s Four Winds Resort on May 29, and headline the Greenwood Park Mall Concert Series on June 16.

He also hosts a weekly webcast on his website, called “Live from the Living Room” – a 30-minute show presented live on the web and archived for on-demand viewing.

Hear: “Bakersfield Wine” – audio from “Live in the Living Room”

Robert Plant will headline Merlefest festival on May 1.

VIDEO: Bobbie Lancaster: Live at WFHB

Bloomington’s Americana singer/songwriter Bobbie Lancaster visited WFHB radio and performed as part of the station’s fundraising drive. Great sound (and isn’t that what can make this kind of simple video go from good to great?) and a peek inside the spartan and unassuming cool little radio studio that offers a consistently thoughtful blend of new folk/Americana/alt-country music.

Indiana Music: Why Store’s Chris Shaffer

Chris Shaffer looks about the same as ever. The hair. The stance and guitar in front of a microphone. And the voice. He still has that too; a raspy full-throated roar that makes his sound instantly recognizable. And Shaffer has a sorta new album, VIM, that he is proud of, produced by Rusty Anderson, Paul McCartney’s long time guitarist.

Through the golden age of The Why Store in the mid-90’s, they were the band that took Indianapolis (and Muncie) to the rest of the US. After two successful independent, regionally released albums, their self-titled major label debut on MCA Records included “Lack Of Water”, a big song at radio, and the album sold 200,000 copies. They performed “Surround Me” on Late Night with Conan O’ Brien and had videos on MTV and VH1.

Still, band broke up in 2000, only reforming briefly in 2005 before splintering again. Shaffer, after years touring on his own and with his band Shaffer Street, formed his version of The Why Store in 2007, and now fills his show calendar with club dates throughout Indiana. The gigs are Why Store shows, even as the band is a new cast of musicians. Chris enlisted former Ma Kelley guitar player Troy Seele, Jerome Rieskamp on drums, and Dan Hunt on bass to form the new band.

We tracked Chris down on his farm, and talked about music, lawyers and Why Store fans.

ROB: What are you working on or playing live that you really like?
CHRIS SHAFFER: I am currently living on a farm in Rush County, and writing and recording demos. I believe I am working on my best material to date. I am really proud of a song that just came to me one day called “Another One”. It is, in my opinion, the best song I have ever written. I can’t wait to record it, along with a few other gems I am currently working on. The song “Beautiful World” from VIM is taking on a life of it’s own when we play it live. People really seem to take a shine to it, and sing along with the band. It is definitely a highlight of our shows. Continue reading “Indiana Music: Why Store’s Chris Shaffer”

Steve Earle announces summer tour; in Bloomington on July 17

Alt-country badass Steve Earle has announced a summer tour, and it includes a stop in Bloomington on July 17, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. He will be touring in support of his new studio record (to be released April 26) and debut novel, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. Earle will be accompanied by his band, The Dukes, and the group will include his wife, Allison Moorer. One of my favorite shows was Earle and his band at the Vogue for the I Feel Alright tour back in 1996. Loud, and full of attitude, the show rocked, and the song “Hard-Core Troubadour” remains a personal favorite of his post-prison catalog.

The tour will start June 9 in Seattle and includes stops in the Pacific Northwest, Canada and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado before moving down South, to the Midwest, and a run up the East Coast.

June 9 Seattle, WA
June 10 Portland, OR
June 11 Spokane, WA
June 13 Bozeman, MT
June 16 Telluride, CO
June 18 Missoula, MT
June 19 Medicine Hat,AB
June 20 Edmonton, AB
June 22 Northern Battleford, SK
June 23 Swift Current, SK
June 24 Calgary, AB
June 26 Vancouver, BC
June 28 Nanaimo, BC
June 29 Victoria, BC
July 1 Boise, ID
July 4 Tuscon, AZ
July 6 Houston, TX
July 7 Austin, TX
July 9 Fort Worth, TX
July 11 New Orleans, LA
July 12 Mobile, AL
July 14 Birmingham, AL
July 15 Atlanta, GA
July 16 Somerset, KY
July 17 Bloomington, IN
July 19 Chicago,IL
July 22 Chautauqua Bayfield, WI
July 23 Minneapolis, MN
July 26 Lexington, KY
July 27 Cincinnati, OH
July 28 Columbus, OH
July 30 Detroit, MI
July 31 Kent, OH
August 5 Ithaca, NY
August 11 Tarrytown, NY
August 13 Alexandria, VA
August 14 Alexandria, VA
August 17 Boston, MA
August 18 Upper Darby, PA
August 20 Toronto, ONT

free download of “”Waitin’ on the Sky” from his upcoming album.

Bruce on American Idol tonight?

Here’s the big fuzzy buzz on this 4/20:  Time-wasting speculation as to whether Bruce Springsteen will make an appearance on “American Idol” this tonight or Thursday.

The  show, on its official Twitter account, last Friday tweeted: “Holy pride of New Jersey….BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN in the studio right now listening to the idols sing!!!!”

If we are to believe the Twitter post (and why wouldn’t we?  It’s Twitter, dammit), the Boss came in last Friday to discuss some performing tips with the contestants. Was it taped?  Had to have been.  Will we see it? I would bet we will.

Springsteen has a long relationship with Jimmy Iovine that goes back several decades, and Iovine is with Interscope Records, and close to the show. 

And we must never forget that Idol judge Randy Jackson played bass on “Human Touch”, one of the weakest Springsteen albums of his career.

How did it ever take so long?

 The only “huh?” this week is the song selection: Bruce helps out the Idol karaoke singers for “Songs from the 21st Century”. 

Still, he’s a big “get” for the show, and if I were in the Top 7, I’d take that performing advice from Bruce, lock that info deep in my brain, and build a career on it.