Roots Rock: Jayhawks back together, Truth and Salvage Co. to Indy, and Webb Wilder to the Hall of Fame

The Band Perry (with former Seymour, now Indianapolis resident) Thom Daugherty on guitar) will get two high-profile TV gigs later this month. The group appears on Ellen on the 27th, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on the 28th.
The Jayhawks

→ The classic Jayhawks lineup of Gary Louris, Mark Olson, Marc Perlman, Tim O’Reagan and Karen Grotberg has been recording together for the first time in 15 years. Acccording to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the album “…is essentially done. Louris is currently holed up in Tucson, Ariz., working on the final mix of the record at a friend’s studio, Wave Lab.” (read full story) Reissues of the group’s Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass albums come out Tuesday (January 18).

Truth & Salvage Co., which includes ex-Old Pike singer/songwriter Tim Jones, returns to Indianapolis for a gig at Radio Radio on February 19th. Last year’s show at Birdy’s earned the top spot on my list of best shows of 2010. We’ll have an interview with Jones closer to the Radio Radio gig.

“She Really Does it for Me” LIVE at Sun Studios

Social Distortion’s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is also out on Tuesday. It rocks appropriately – Mike Ness and the band done good.
Listen toSocial Distortion – Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes

→ Roots-rocker Webb Wilder will be inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame at a ceremony Tuesday (January 18) night. A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Webb will be in good company alongside inductees such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, the Staples Singers, Sam Cooke, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley.

Long a rock cult favorite, and owner of one minor radio hit, the Associated Press described Wilder’s stage performance as “a glorious amalgamation of grunge chords, killer grooves, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins theatrics, a healthy sense of humor, and great pop melodies.”

Wilder’s most recent studio release is entitled More Like Me.

“Human Cannonball” LIVE

Roots Rock: Mellencamp, Earle Announce Tours; Three Gotta-See Videos; plus Twang News

Rocking at the Crump Theatre, Mellencamp delivered with 90 minutes of sweaty roots rock.
Rocking here at the Crump Theatre in Columbus last fall, Mellencamp is headed out on the road with Dylan and Willie this summer.

John Mellencamp Q&A: on Willie, Bob and a New Album:
Mellencamp hits stages this summer on a bill with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, playing outdoor venues and lots of minor league baseball stadiums, including Louisville and South Bend. (What? No Victory Field in Indy?) I think it’ll be one of the surprise hits of the summer, if you can call those three together drawing big crowds any kind of surprise. But the non-traditional rock venues and the trio make it a bit different than a regular “let’s promote the album by ourselves at 3,000 seat theatres” outing.
From the John Mellencamp website (

Q: What are your feelings about the tour?
JM: I grew up listening to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson! Their songs and records were in my house from when I was pre-teen. So I’m really proud and happy to be on tour with these two artists. Very few people get to grow up and go out and tour with guys they’ve admired for so long.

Q: What can you say about your part of the show?
JM: We’re going out there with the full band and we’ll be playing material from over the past 30 years–a combination of new and old material including songs from “Life Death Love and Freedom” and songs that haven’t been recorded yet. We’ll be playing for about 75 minutes each night.

Q: Any chance you’ll perform with the other guys?
JM: If it happens, it will happen organically.

Q: You perform regularly with Willie at Farm Aid. When was the last time you performed with Dylan?
JM: Bob was going to play a flood relief benefit in St. Louis with me in the early 1990s but we got flooded out, so this is really the first time since the original Farm Aid that we’ll be on the same bill.

Q: You’re still planning to record a new album during the tour?
JM: Yes. We’ll be recording the new album on days off over the course of the tour. It just seemed like a good idea to do it this way: It gives the making of the album a new perspective and context–and it’s something I’ve never done before. I’ve gone into Belmont Studio for the last 30 years to make records, and this is another way to do it.

Q: What about the box set?
JM: It will be a broad overview of my songwriting, and it will be much more about the writing than about the hit records or the versions of songs you may be familiar with.

Q: And what about your participation in the Pete Seeger birthday celebration concert in New York?
JM: You have to admire Pete for persevering for 90 years! He’s the last of the great original American folk singers and has written or performed so many great songs. For just about all of his life, Pete Seeger has stood up for humanity, freedom and the environment.

Austin City Limits announced its Festival line-up, to be held Oct. 2-4 at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. The 130-acts that will be spread across eight stages during the three-day festival. Here’s are the highlights of the bookings  – includes Indy’s Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band:
Pearl Jam
Dave Matthews Band
Beastie Boys
Kings of Leon
Sonic Youth
Ben Harper
Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band
Flogging Molly
The Decemberists
The B-52’s
Levon Helm Band
Raul Malo
Arctic Monkeys
Sara Watkins
Lily Allen
Robyn Hitchcock
Todd Snider
Zac Brown Band
The Avett Brothers
The Felice Brothers
Brett Dennen
Poi Dog Pondering
Asleep at the Wheel
The Virgins
Reckless Kelly

indiana_telecaster_flag150As part of this gig, I come across (and get sent) lots of music from bands and artists who live here in the great Hoosierland.  Lots of it is really good.  I want to share.  So for the next  eight weeks, we will give you a series called Indiana Americana.  A two sentence description and a song that represents what they do best.  Turn it up.. That’s the intention here…  

artist: Gamblin Christmas |  album: Alaska | song: Blue Lights
Gamblin Christmas is Patrick Flaherty and Kurt Franke, harmonizers and folk rockers from Indianapolis… both are Ball State grads…The Alaska album was recorded in Michigan…”Blue Lights” is the one on the album that I cannot get out of my head….best thing on the record, and cut #1. 

Former Wilco member Jay Bennett filed a lawsuit against Wilco-frontman Jeff Tweedy. The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims Tweedy owes Bennett “damages of at least $50,000” for his time in the band. Bennett was out of the band after the 2002 Wilco documentary, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”. Bennett was a key part of the Wilco rise, and it’s all kind of a shame, even after Bennett was looking less than heroic in the film.

Jerry Lee Lewis has been honored with a road. The Tennessee legislature voted to name a stretch of Getwell Road in Shelby County, now called Jerry Lee Lewis Highway. The section runs from the Mississippi state line to Interstate 240. – Good for “the Killer”, although I did like the alternate name suggested on somone’s blog that I read: Their suggestion? “I Humped My Cousin Highway”

Steve Earle, whose new album of Townes Van Zandt songs has arrived in stores, is set to hit the road later this month.
Earle new record “Townes,” comes out May 12. Look for a Bloomington date to be added.
May 28 The Music Hall Portsmouth, NH
May 29 Berklee Performance Center Boston, MAw
May 30 Swyer Theatre/The Egg Albany, NY
June 2 SOPAC South Orange, NJe
June 4 McCarter Theatre Princeton, NJ
June5 Wolf Trap Filene Center Vienna, VA John Prine w/Special Guest: Steve Earle
June 6 Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA
June 7 Chuck Mathena Center for the Performing Arts Princeton, VA
June 9 The National Richmond, VA
June 10 The ArtsCenter Carrboro, NC
June 12 Atlanta Botanical Garden Atlanta, GA
June 13 Fine Arts Auditorium – Armstrong Atlantic State University Savannah, GA
June 14 Florida Theatre Jacksonville, FL
July 22 Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua Bayfield, WI
July 25 RockyGrass Lyons, CO
August 1 Constellation Performing Arts Center Canandaigua, NY
August 2 Susquehanna Bank Center Camden, NJ
September 6 Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Westhampton, NY

A new album that contains some sounds we like….
Tim Easton – Porcupine
Review by Hal Horowitz
The “1-2-3-4” that kicks off Tim Easton’s fifth album (and fourth for New West) indicates the folk-rocker is more in the rock rather than folk mode here. He doesn’t consider it a return to his rawer roots but it’s hard not to see it that way. There is a strong Midwestern rock and roll vibe throughout, augmented by some unexpected musical twists (strings, backing female vocals), honed through the vibrant performances created with few overdubs.
Read Review here

→ Excellent James McMurtry video for “Ruby and Carlos” from his new album “just us kids”, performed at 89.7 WNKU, a terrific public radio station at Northern Kentucky University, with a signal that hits the Cincy area. They have the full podcast available by visiting their website at < a href=””>

→ And just for fun, here is Will Kimbrough in their studios. Again, great combo of video and audio.

→ Can I get me some Webb Wilder? Who remembers the “Human Cannonball” song? Clearly quirky yet oddly engaging and obviously loving the performance, here’s a live video reminder of his magic. He’s still out, rocking the road, as evidenced here:

Bassist Donald “Ean” Evans of Lynyrd Skynyrd died after a battle with cancer. Evans died Wednesday at his home in Mississippi. He was 48. He joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 2001 and had been touring regularly with the band until being diagnosed with cancer in 2008.