Video – Will Hoge (live performance)

One of the best roots rockers of his generation (there’s a statement that is unfair, eh?), Will Hoge has a new album (“The Wreckage”) out on September 29th.  Here’s a video from the CBS Early Show that is a nice little introductory piece on him – a performance and short interview.  He had a terribly severe accident on his way home from the recording studio last August, and it has taken him almost a year to recover. 

I saw him in Indianapolis last summer  – a free (no shit!) outdoor show at the terrific Rathskeller Biergarten.  Dan Baird, of  Georgia Satellites fame, played guitar for him.  Killer performance. It was, without hestitation, the best show I saw all summer.  Springsteen comparisons are apt, but he’s more like a younger Tom Petty –  insightful, soulful, heartfelt rock and fuckin’ roll.

He’s back in our town Indy on November 21 at Radio Radio.

Rock and Roll into April – Rock Hall on Fuse, The Elms, The Hold Steady, Album Releases

Hey. How’s it goin? Here’s some stuff you might want to know:

100x115fuseThe 24th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be broadcast live on FUSE Television Network Saturday night. The performer inductees are: Jeff Beck, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C. and Bobby Womack. Wanda Jackson gets in through the Early Influence category. The Sidemen Category inductees are two of Elvis’ early bandmates, Bill Black and DJ Fontana, plus Muscle Shoals keyboardist Spooner Oldham, who played on, among many other songs, “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge and “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett .

elmsguitarThe Elms Wrap Up Recording
I got sucked into the oddity and thrilling surprises of Seymour, Indiana’s The Elms. They streamed two different cams (one in the the control room with the biig mixing board, and one in the actual recording studio) and spent about three weeks, mostly Monday to Friday with an occasional weekend evening tossed in. They laid down basic trakcs, overdubbed guitar solos, saved some some killer Owen Thomas double-tracked lead vocals and even rolled in a Hammond B3 on the final weekend to lay down steamy, soulful keyboard chords. We should give them credit; nobody threw a whiskey bottle through the control room window, and there were no fistfights (that I saw). Instead, they are going to have a sweet and nasty little album to release in a few months. It was recorded in Nashville, and Owen, Chris, Thom and Nate have tracked what sounds like a fine batch of heartland rock-infused, completely modern tunes. Will be interesting to see what the final pressing sounds like, but was guilty fun to watch develop. And from the recording session wrap, they loaded up and played SXSW.
Read the play-by-play via Thom’s blog here

Best Show of the Year?
We’ll see. It’s The Hold Steady at Jake’s in Bloomington on Saturday night. They are on a major roll, and the college town gets the show. Lucky kids. Worth the drive from Indy.

ryanadamsThrough the greatness that is the web, l have located a bootleg file of Ryan Adams & The Cardinals’  “last performance”. He announced on January 14th that he was done (only for now, me thinks) with music. You see, he just got married to Mandy Moore. He’s known to change his ond quickly, so we’ll see how long he can stay away from the microphones. Anyway, we have below what could be his last show, from March 20 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.
Download zip file of show here

Steve Forbert (best known for 1979’s “Romeo’s Tune”) has a new one this week, “The Place and the Time”.

→ The Felice Brothers are one of the hot bands in roots rock., and have a new album “Yonder Is The Clock” out on April 7th. Lovely gravel with the sweetness of a great band playing old instruments….they are headed on tour and come as close as Louisville, at Headliners on April 24.
Here’s a new tune:
Download “Chicken Run” | Hear “Penn Station” and “The Big Surprise”

Bob Mould releases his new solo album “Life And Times” on April 7th.

Booker T. meets the Drive-By Truckers, and new album comes out of it….
“Potato Hole,” Booker’s new album, comes out April 21. I think this thing will be way cool, thanks to layers of guitar from the Truckers and old buddy Neil Young, who plays on nine tracks. Like classic Booker T. & the MG’s albums, “Potato Hole” is instrumentals, including covers Tom Waits’ “Get Behind the Mule” and OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” Booker performs with the Truckers at three of this summer’s major concerts: Coachella, Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
read more

Bob Dylan releases his 46th album on April 28th called “Together Through Life”.
download “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”

The Smithereens celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Who’s Tommy by cashing in, uh, creating their own version of the rock opera. “The Smithereens Play Tommy” will hit stores and the Internet on May 5.

Elvis Costello’s newest album, “Secret, Profane & Sugarcane,” has him visiting an American roots music sound for the first time in about 20 years. “Sugarcane” will be released June 2 on Hear Music.


My ipod is on shuffle and here’s the first five songs that come up:
1. “Rumbleseat” – John Mellencamp
Quick little underrated rocker off of Scarecrow. And that’s the album, argue it if you want, that really is the roots-rock/alt-country/americana holy grail. Sure, talk about Gram Parsons and the rest if you like, but the combination of regionalized lyrics, slashing guitars, Kenny Aronoff snare smashes and chart success make this the album that influenced a whole generation of guitar-slinging, lyric-writing cowpunks.

2. “Help Me” – Johnny Cash
What a voice. And what words. “Oh Lord, help me walk another mile. Oh Lord, help me smile another smile” From his “American V: A Hundred Highways” record, this marked the end to his recording career, and was another great vocal recording effort from producer Rick Rubin. Just John’s by-then creaky voice and ruminations on dying. Heavy and brilliant and sad.

3. Sweet Caroline” – Supersuckers
From a bootleg from 2004, this outfit is a Seattle country punk rock band that has never really become as well-known as some less-talented counterparts. I saw them on a Farm Aid show (Lousiville, maybe?) and thought they were eerily similar to Jason and the Scorchers, but a little less accessible, if that could be possible. This cut is from an acoustic show, and is a fast shuffling take on the overdone Neil Diamond song. Thankfully, the audience isn’t heard yelling “bomp bomp bomp”, though I bet they did.
Here’s a video of “That is Rock and Roll” to give you a taste of the ‘suckers

4. ”Let Me Down Hard” (Live)” – John Eddie
From his “Who the Hell is John Eddie” record from about five years ago. That record is one of my ten favorite releases of the past decade. It’s is a slow burning love song to a girl who is about to dump his ass. He writes great hook-filled country-rock tunes, with enough pop sugar to make this record work as a great statement that a rocker at 40 can be viable, even if he is selling records to just his small collection of rabid fans. Was played on WTTS, so give them credit for having a clue. By the way, “Lowlife” from this record ended up on Kid Rock’s most recent records. And the song “Forty” is the hero of the album.

5. ”Itsalwayssomething” (live) – Rick Springfield
A 1999 catchy rocker taken here from a live greatest hits record. And here’s why you should like Rick Springfield: The “Working Class Dog” album from 1981 is a power pop classic. And who’s to say “no way”? If it’s you, then you aren’t listening to the music and just hammering the soap opera image. Listen again. Plus, us guys who went to a concert knew the chicks outnumbered the dudes by a 10-1 ratio. Nice. His output is hit-and-miss these days, but he is still capable of a catchy tune with every album.

MP3 4U- Favorite Bootleg of the Week:
Todd Snider – Viva Satellite Demos
Awesome. Freakin’ awesome. It was 1998 and Todd Snider released Viva Satellite, getting mildly ripped by critics for trying to sound like Tom Petty. I think they missed the pure Chuck Berry-ness of the music because the volume might have masked some of Todd’s lyrics, and all sounded a bit derivative. That’s what I think. And I also think those who couldn’t find the greatness were idiots for writing that (even it was just 2 or 3 reviews that I am remembering. Don’t stop me, I’m on a rant…) And there’s many who would say, and it would be damn difficult to argue, that his career has blossomed because of his non-stop solo tours since breaking up the band. But if I’m voting (and I am, and win 1-0), this is the Todd Snider I fell in love with and that is still best. More like stoned-not-drunk Replacements than just Petty, there’s 16 tracks on the bootleg I have linked to for you, and nearly every one of those 16 rock. Most feature Will Kimbrough’s ripping guitar work (check his “Americanitis” album for a recent whiff of his smokin’ brilliance) and most all sound like a band that has the amps up and the lights down. This is Todd and the Nervous Wrecks at their studio rockin’ best – though the would splinter after the tour for this album. I also think this demo version is better than the official release.
Thanks to for the MP3 blog post.
I’m sharing it… you need to take it. – get it here

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant- “I’m In The Mood”

Motown drummer Uriel Jones, whose hard-driving funk propelled classic tunes by the Temptations and Marvin Gaye, died in a Michigan hospital after suffering complications from a heart attack, a family member said. He was 74.

Dropkick Murphy’s Do Bruce, Todd Snider in Bloomington

VIDEO I LIKE: I watched this thing three times when I found it.  Almost perfect Dropkick Murphy cover version of Springsteen’s “Badlands”  – Played with a little more abandon, a little punkier, but still really true to the roots of the song and the Boss.  And longtime Springsteen fans will know the opening chords played by the band before they kick into the song was the same intro Bruce used withe the E. St. Band during the 1978 Darkness on the Edge of Town tour.

Quick Hits:   Been using the Vimeo web video player for some of the work I do with a couple different musicians.  Though YouTube is the mosnster that we feel compelled to feed to try and hit a wide audience, embedding a video looks better with other services,a nd I like the non-branding the Vimeo’s player gives me.  Plus it is a cleaner, nicer looking video…

part of my morning routine is working at the desk and listening to tunes.  It has been a Pandora-driven experience the past two weeks.  I think I am going to have to remove Will Hoge from the list of artists that I use to build the sound of the station.  I really, really like Will’s music, but by using him as a point of reference has alos give me some Pete Yorn, Sister Hazel and Matt Nathenson.  Not terrible, but not the sound Rob’s Roots Rock Radio is going for.  We just played some Seger from “Live Bullet” a minute ago, so all is now good.  Clik that link above to sample the joys of loud, crunchy, roots, sweaty rock.  It’s good for you too.

…Todd Snider for two shows in Bloomington this weekend.  Friday and Saturday at the Bluebird.  Todd seems to love the club, and it is a cool place to see the East Nashville singer/songwriter/stoner/genius.

Roots Rock: U2, Jack Black, Little Steven, Mat Kearney

u2nolineonthehorizon250U2 is currently streaming their new album, “No Line on the Horizon”, on their MySpace page ( more than a week before its March 3 release. The band will play five consecutive nights on Late Night With David Letterman starting March 2. No word on if this is in response to staffers at Universal Music Australia inadvertently mading the new album available digitally more than a week before release. According to reports, high-quality downloads of the album were briefly made available earlier this week on, a digital store operated by Universal Music’s Australian affiliate. “Horizon” is also now understood to be widely distributed via peer-to-peer file sharing networks. They ended up selling the nine-million copies of 2004’s”How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb”, which was also leaked, so this may be a case study in “Leaking an album just doesn’t matter if you are U2”

School of Rock star Jack Black married into a pretty impressive musical pedigree when he wed singer Tanya Haden. Haden is one of the triplet daughters of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden–best known for his work with Ornette Coleman. Her sisters Petra plays in the Decemberists, and Rachel is a founding member of The Rentals. Last year, the entire family, under the moniker Charlie Haden Family & Friends, collaborated on the American roots album “Rambling Boy”. They are all playing the Opry at the Ryman this weekend. Ricky Skaggs (also a guest on Rambling Boy), Del McCoury, Hal Ketchum & The Infamous Stringdusters will also be appearing.
Click on links below to listen
Opry on GAC
Opry on WSM Radio (online)

Originally expected in April, Dave Matthews Band’s as-yet-untitled new RCA album will now arrive June 2. The group has also announced its annual summer tour, beginning May 27 in Darien Center, N.Y. – They come to Indy for two nights at Verizon Wireless Music Center on Friday, July 31, and Saturday, August 1.

Mat Kearney is set to release his new album, City of Black & White, on May 19, a followup to his major label debut, “Nothing Left To Lose”, Mat recorded in his new hometown of Nashville, TN,

justin_townes_earle150CHOOSE ONLY ONE? This Week’s Indianapolis Live Show Pick: Justin Townes Earle – Saturday February 21 at Spencer’s Stadium Tavern. Earle, son of singer/songwriter Steve Earle, releases his second album, ‘Midnight at the Movies,’ in early March. He proved he has the talent to stand on his own, with or without the legendary roots-rock name. LISTEN HERE

ALBUM CHART: Taylor Swift’s album “Fearless” returns to the top of The Billboard 200. The set moved 92,000 copies on a 44% salesjump, resulting in its nine non-consecutive weeks at No. 1. The last album spend more time at the top was Santana’s “Supernatural,” which was #1 for 12 weeks in 1999 and 2000. Selling 77,000 on a whopping 715% increase, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ “Raising Sand”zoomed from 69 to 2 following its album of the year win at the Grammys. The set debuted at No. 2 in late 2007 with 112,000 and has now sold 1.26 million to date. Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends”rebounds 31-8 with 62,000 sold (+271%); the album generated three Grammys, including song of the year for “Viva La Vida.” Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” falls from 2 to 6 with 65,000 sold.

Springsteen guitarist Steve Van Zandt is about to launch a new hard rock label, Lost Cathedral, with the May 14 release of Crown Of Thorns’ “Faith.” Van Zandt’s garage rock label, Wicked Cool will continue to exist. We basically decided to keep Wicked Cool identifiable as a garage rock label, at least for now,” he told Billboard this week. “In the last couple of years, we’ve gotten a lot of hard rock things submitted to us. A lot of it is quite good — a little bit punkier or hard rock than we do with Wicked Cool.”

bunecarlosTHE REALLY ODD PAIRINGS DEPT.: Ex-Smashing Pumpkin James Iha, Fountains Of Wayne co-founder Adam Schlesinger, Taylor Hanson of Hanson and Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos have formed a supergroup named Tinted Windows. Billboard reports the band has recorded their debut album, set for a spring release, with a SXSW showcase set on tap next month.

Concert Review: Healing Sixes/The Garrison at Radio Radio

healingsixes_album1The Healing Sixes successfully rocked a good crowd of 150 at their Radio Radio show on Saturday night. The Indianapolis band, who have been active for more than a decade, seem on the verge of becoming an “it” band all these years later. So can I give one suggestion to make them even better? Make a sax player, like the one who joined Saturday, a fulltime bandmember.

The band, opening with “Beautiful One” and “Port-O-Let Monkey”, proved adept at blending 70’s rock influences with enough of their own personality to continue to forge an identity that may yet get them into territory once occupied by the Why Store.

Mixing up the setlist with cuts from 2007’s “One Less Friend” album, their work with Joe Bonamassa, and 2002’s “Enormosound”, the band paired some sugary hooks with alt-rock crunch. Plus, they had the elusive likability factor in their favor; You watch and want them to be good because they play with a palpable, relaxed confidence.

Bandmates Doug Henthorn, Eric Saylors, Wade Parish and Jeff Stone channeled Black Crowes, Collective Soul, Led Zeppelin and even a little Cheap Trick, which ain’t ever a bad thing. Their “Fine Tune”, originally recorded with Bonamassa, was another set highlight, with slamming blues riffs and Henthorn’s gruffly sweet vocals carrying the song.

A word to all bands who do mostly original material: good decision. It is the direction best traveled to being taken seriously as a band and finding long-term success. I know that. But throw in a cover song, and some inventive ways to let us know that you know it is only rock and roll. And Healing Sixes did, with a Zep cover and the inserting opening lines from The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”). Well done. Also smart move to experiment on a couple songs with the one-night-only addition of saxophonist Max McAllister. He’s a writer and business owner in the motorcycle racing industry. And a damn good sax man. The addition of a sax gave the group a tighter connection to the crowd and an R&B edge that sparked the crowd and the band.

Now, maybe McAllister wouldn’t be the man, but if I were in Healing Sixes, adding a horn would be a discussion worth having. Sure, a fifth member is dividing the payday one more way, but how many bands are doing new, rough-edged rock with twin chunking and screaming Gibson Les Paul guitars and a sax? In Indiana? Anywhere? I’m just sayin’ think about it. It worked superbly Saturday night.

The show was presented by On the Throttle TV, a motorcycle racing show. Healing Sixes drummer Parish, as well as the lead singer for opening band The Garrison, Scott Smallwood, and his bass player Pete Cline are all racers.

The openers rampaged through 45-minutes of punk-inflected music much like motorcycle racers compete: full of energy and a bit out of control. Not necessarily a bad template, but not completely successful on this night, though they tried hard to connect with the crowd. Smallwood still needs to refine his stage banter, and use more resonating between-song comments to get the crowd motivated rather than chiding them for not getting closer to the stage. But the band was tight and plowed forward, and at their best, had hints of 70’s Police, The Cure, The Clash and even the 80’s band The Godfathers. (Remember “Birth, School,Work, Death”?) At their worst? Faith No More.

Radio Radio is a great music room, with good, clean sound again Saturday, and Healing Sixes, with a couple shows coming up with the 2009 version of the Why Store, seem to be building some nice momentum. Not an easy thing to do for any group, and impressive coming 11 years after releasing their first album, “Maple”. It could be a good 2009 for the band.