New album coming from Butch Walker. Really.

ButchWalker-1024x680None of Butch Walker’s seven albums have reached the Top 100 on the US charts. His most recent record, 2015’s Afraid of Ghosts, crawled to 104 with Billboard.

Kinda odd, I think, because they sound authentic and of-the-moment but still seated firmly at the table with their influences.  It’s rock and roll.  But it’s shiny pop too, sometimes winding their way around each other in the same song. Sugary.  Truthy.  Hooky.  Holy. Smart.

His audience is cult-sized. Those who know and like, well, are glad they know and like, because his music kinda digs in and finds way into a listeners gut.  And heart.

Walker, raised in Georgia, has found his success with his producer’s golden-boy touch on records by Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Pink, Keith Urban, and worked on the new solo record from Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon.

His go-to sound? Layered vocals that build a wall of cotton candy around a bottle of whiskey. A big-and-loud pop sound. It’s also back to the 80’s.  FM radio.  And AM radio too, full of static and sex.

Not too often that kind of material gets stitched together and heard, like Butch Walker does it, as a big ol’ blanket of 2016 goodness, covering you with a feeling of both nostalgia and like the song may be the newest little treasure that nobody else has found yet.

Walker’s new record, Stay Gold, is due soon. There’s a teaser video out today.   And here’s a couple other of my favorites from him (and his recent work with Fallon) to test drive.

The Hold Steady announce re-releases and old band getting back together

holdsteadyGood news for fans of loud, Springsteen-ian guitar rock and roll with intelligent, soul-grabbing, blue-collar, Lou Reed-ish spoken lyrics, majestic piano, and essential gritty rock that transcends easy classification. The Hold Steady is celebrating their Our Boys & Girls in America album, which turns 10 this year

From the band…

“we are very excited! We will be playing a limited number of live shows this fall to celebrate. Our old friend Franz Nicolay will be joining us. More info on the first few shows will be available Wednesday, May 18. Mark it on your calendar!

“One apology: The plan was that today was going to be the day releasing the precise info on everything. Unfortunately, some details with our co-conspirators changed and it required waiting two more weeks on the details.

“Also, we are finally reissuing Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday on VINYL this fall on Frenchkiss Records.

“Stay Positive! It’s about to get incredible!”

The Hold Steady.

Love that they are getting together with former piano player Nicolay, who lent a certain gravitas to their music and is associated with their glory days….

 

VIDEO: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Best “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. Ever.

petty_wight

From Isle of Wight Festival.  2012.

Epic version.  Slow build that takes flippin’ off.  Petty nails a couple solos that remind you that yes, he is a great rock and roller.  A laconic, and mighty ending seals the Indiana night shut – even from across the pond.

 

Tom Petty Albums: The Essential 7

tom petty1 As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the road for a summer tour, their Indianapolis stop on Saturday night (June 15) is the first after multi-night stands at small theaters in both New York and LA.  The band heads to Bonnaroo the day after  Indy, so this will be the first outdoor/shed/large venue show of the trek – not that it should matter.  Petty always rocks.  This time, however, they have decided to scatter a few hits while hitting  a lot of great forgotten album tracks.  Hell, they are playing “Tweeter and the Monkey  Man”, one of the great, largely buried cuts from the first Traveling Willbury’s album.

tompetty2If there’s one band that best represents American Rock music in the past 30 years, I’d give the title to Petty & the Heartbreakers. Sounding not from one place (belying the band’s strong Florida roots), but from everywhere. It enables them to connect with rednecks and hippies, east coast attitude and west coast shine. They can rock loud. Tom can be acoustic quiet. Lyrics resonate. Petty can sweat and smile at the same time. It is a band that has been making music for almost 40 years, the most recent album, Mojo, released in 2010. That record is both a departure for the band, and a rejuvenating set of music. I’m a big E Street Band and Pearl Jam fan, but still give the nod to the quintessential American rock and roll to Petty and his boys when it comes to the package of  accessibility, passion and sweet-ass rock and roll hooks.

Here for you, my friends, is the Rockforward list of Petty’s 7 Essential Albums (and a couple that were too good to leave off).

Continue reading “Tom Petty Albums: The Essential 7”

VIDEO: Rick Springfield with Dave Grohl and Sound City Players

Highlight of the music weekend: Dave Grohl’s new movie Sound City debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and he had a concert featuring Rick Springfield, John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks and more…but it sounds like Springfield stole the show… (VIDEO BELOW)

from Movieline review: Rick Springfield’s set resonated even more with Sundancers judging from how violently their dancing and jumping shook the club’s floor.  It was an extended moment of pure rock bliss in which all the labels that get applied to music in terms of what’s cool (Foo Fighters) and what’s not (Rick Springfield) fell away and infectious, enduring pop music was celebrated for its essence. Grohl introduced the former General Hospital actor as “the one, the only, fucking Rick Springfield,” and the band played together on a number of the former pop star’s 1980s radio hits, “I’ve Done Everything For You,” “Love Is Alright Tonite” and “Jessie’s Girl.” And watching the beatific look on punk pioneer-turned-Foo-Fighter Pat Smear’s face as he played along to these Top 40 hits was indisputable proof that a good song is a good song.

As Grohl said archly between songs: “You’ve cracked the code, Rick Springfield. You’ve figured out how to write the perfect song. Goddamn you.”

Meanwhile, Springfield rose to the occasion of playing with one of the most balls-out rock bands in show business. In Sound City, he reveals somewhat sheepishly that Pat Benatar’s husband Neil Giraldo was pulled into the recording studio to lay down the famous guitar riff to “Jessie’s Girl” because the song’s producer didn’t think Springfield’s playing was up to snuff.”  But that humiliation was very much in the past at Friday’s concert. Onstage at Park City Live, Springfield behaved like a bona fide guitar god as he traded licks with Grohl.

FROM ROLLING STONE: The supergroup grew out of Grohl’s Sound City documentary, which goes inside the fabled Van Nuys recording studio where Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Metallica and Nirvana recorded some of their most acclaimed albums.