VIDEO: Steve Miller – Space Cowboy

Saturday RockBack: Just before classic rock radio stalwart Steve Miller broke big with his Greatest Hits album, he had “Space Cowboy”.  This version is a live, raw TV gig, and a look back at one hell of a fluid, blues-rock guitar player.  And isn’t that Gary Mallaber on drums?  Played with Van Morrison and then Miller for a loooong time?

Twang Rock Report: Jason and the Scorchers reunite for album, New albums from Todd Snider and Low Anthem, plus WTF on the Gaslight Anthem dates?

Jason Ringenberg puts the band back together
Jason Ringenberg puts the legendary Nashville band back together

A Nashville rock/punk/country band reuniting, a Hoosier going beyond back-to-basics, and one the hottest bands in the country avoiding Indy again. All that, and a whole pile more…


Late 80’s cowpunkers Jason and the Scorchers is in the process of getting a new album completed; they reunited for their first recording session since 1998. Jason Ringenberg has been playing a lot of solo gigs (including a cartoonish kids singer named “Farmer Jason”) over the years, and Warren Hodges has been ripping it up on guitar in Dan Baird’s (Georgia Satellites) band.

Have You Heard?
The Pawn Shop Lifters (from Virginia Beach, VA) – American Rock with a little Steve Earle, a hint of Georgia Satellites – you listen and decide a third influence.

Of the Indiana American rock and roll bands I’m diggin, check out what Henry French and the Shameless are doing. Here’s a sample of their goods, from Birdy’s late in 2008, performing a song off their “Swagger and Sway” album.

And speaking of Indiana roots rock – The Elms and the 2009 Indy 500 highlights have been paired for a new cool little video. Pretty well done.


Quick Hit – Upcoming Shows To Know:
June 12 BoDeans – Vogue
June 20 Hoosier Springsteen featuring Tim Grimm, Jennie Devoe. Gordon Bonham and Jason Wilber – Danville Town Square
June 21 Matthew Sweet – Vogue
June 28: Jonathan Richman w/ Vic Chestnut – Radio Radio
July 2 – Yonder Mountain String Band – Vogue
July 2: Vigilantes of Love – Radio Radio
July 17: Shelby Kelley w/ The Common – Radio Radio
July 23 Old 97’s – Vogue
June 26 – Steve Earle- Buskirk Chumley Theatre – Bloomington

Out this week:
The Low Anthem
“Oh My God, Charlie Darwin”
Americana/folk/alt-country/old-timey all rolled into a sweet little album. Gorgeous. They will play at Locals Only on August 6.

Todd Snider“The Excitement Plan”
Less overtly political, more of the Todd that is a brilliant examiner of the human condition. Or stoner guy. Or both. – read Spin review

BTW: How the hell does Indianapolis not get a Gaslight Anthem show? And Cincinnati gets a show…? The band has announced a series of new tour dates and again Indianapolis is not on it. While the band continues to perform in support of 2008’s The ‘59 Sound, this tour is rumored to be the band’s last before heading back into the studio to record a follow-up to that record.
09.08 Pittsburgh, PA: Mr. Small’s
09.09 Cincinnati, OH: Bogart’s
09.10 St. Louis, MO: Pop’s
09.11 Omaha, NE: Sokol Auditorium
09.13 Denver, CO: Ogden Theater
09.16 San Diego, CA: House of Blues
09.17 Los Angeles, CA: Henry Fonda Theater
09.20 San Francisco, CA: Fillmore
09.22 Portland, OR: Berbati’s Pan
10.03 Minneapolis, MN: Epic
10.04 Milwaukee, WI: Turner Hall
10.06 Detroit, MI: St. Andrew’s Hall
10.12 Buffalo, NY: Town Ballroom
10.13 Toronto, ON: Kool Haus
10.18 Philadelphia, PA: Trocadero
10.21 Richmond, VA: The National
10.22 Washington, DC: 9:30 Club
10.26 Columbus, OH: Newport Music Hall

Spin ‘em at 33 1/3 everybody…
Since I have a working turntable for my vinyl after a 20 year hiatus, I pulled the albums out of my parent’s house. I have about four large cardboard boxes stored in a nicely ventilated upstairs attic – thanks Mom.

Not wanting to bring all four boxes home, I grabbed one and pulled some stuff to hear that I hadn’t played since about 1992. Keep in mind that two factors affect my choices: Available inventory (most everything will be 70’s and 80’s), and previous career opportunities. I was a radio jock for 10 years, meaning I bought some of my own stuff to play (I worked at places where I was either in charge and could do what I wanted, or was at a station that still let jocks make music choices – I know, it’s shocking…) Plus, I also kept some records the stations deemed no longer necessary for their success, or records that they weren’t hip enough to know was good shit when they heard it.

Here’s my scratch and pop vinyl love for this week….roll ’em boys.
The Knack – “Get the Knack”
…Because I haven’t listened to it in about 20 years and want to see if there was still some magic nearly 30 years after the release. And despite the misogyny implications, the sound of “Good Girls Don’t” is still damn infectious. And forget the chorus, “My Sharona” becomes great when the guitar solo and entire band get extra -rocking just after the middle of the song.

R.E.O. – “T.W.O.”
Kevin Cronin back on board for this one. Not a killer album, but is a piece of 70’s midwest melodic hard rock from a bar band that had not yet discovered the power ballad.

The Rave Ups- “The Book of Your Regrets”
Ultimately likable but forgettable 80’s alternative rock, from an LA band, redeemed only by their Pittsburgh roots. I hear a Rust Belt/Joe Grushecky influence in some of their phrasing. Obtuse reference? Probably. Look Joe up.

Steve Miller Band – “Number 5”
Guess what album this was for Miller? Not his fourth. This was more like the predecessors and their hard-and-spacey 60’s guitar sound than the radio rock that was to come from Miller. There are hints of his greatness, but the cleaner pop production of “Book of Dreams” and “Fly Like and Eagle” aren’t on here.

Joan Jett – “Bad Reputation”
Her debut record, full of Ramones speed, hints at a Stone-sy attitude. She was turned down by more than 20 record companies before deciding to launch her own label (Blackheart Records) with pal Kenny Laguna. They used his daughter’s college fund, so it’s good things worked out. Laguna and Jett are still friends and regular business partners. Not as powerful as her follow-up, which would make her famous via “I Love Rock and Roll”. (Interesting note – the video for “I Love Rock and Roll” was shot in color, but someone thought it lacked something, so they went down to black and white, so that was how it was released.

Now watch color version!

Greg Kihn Band – “With the Naked Eye”
Man, I was into that power pop thing, wasn’t I? This one has the Springsteen-penned “Rendezvous” as track 1, side 1.

How about St. Louis this week?
One of the older, smaller alt-country festivals of the summer features a great lineup – and St. Louis is a great city.
Twangfest 2009
Wednesday, June 10 – The Pageant
Alejandro Escovedo
Hot Club Of Cowtown
Amy Lavere

Thursday, June 11 – Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys
Bruce Robison
Eilen Jewell
Brothers Lazaroff

Friday, June 12 – Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
Asylum Street Spankers
Andre Williams
Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles
Jon Hardy & The Public
Saturday, June 13 – Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
Daddy (with Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough)
The Deep Vibration