I’d have been on top of the world! I’ll get my coat.
Sad news this morning as Neal Casal, former Cardinals guitarist and member of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood has passed at 51 years old. Always enjoyed his solo work. 51 is no age.
What does it sound like?:
For me Bruce Springsteen has always been more interesting when he’s taken it down a notch. It was Tunnel of Love where it all clicked into place for me and the one I play most regularly, and this new album, on first few listening’s, is going to be similar. Bombast is replaced by lush string arrangements, the voice, smoother and quieter, delivers the usual stories of travel and restlessness, lost love and redemption but delivered with a lighter touch than usual. The tales are cinematic, bright Californian colours projected in widescreen, but edged with a darker hue, familiar shadows hiding pain and regret. I’m on my third straight listen since the album arrived this morning and each listen is revealing more. It joyous and it pulls at the heartstrings, it’s everything I love about Bruce and more. At 69 Bruce has delivered his best work of the past 25 years. I hope you enjoy it as much as I currently am.
What does it all *mean*?
Bruce still has the capacity to surprise.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
Burt Bacharach, 60’s crooners
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Landmarks like these are becoming more common for our beloved rock stars as Nils Lofgren celebrates 50 years of touring with 15 dates across the UK. As with the 2015 Face the Music tour he is joined by multi-instrumentalist Greg Varlotta in the stunning auditorium that is the Liverpool Philharmonic. Opening with Wonderland, Nils and Greg cover songs from his time with Grin and his solo records, interspersed with stories of hooking up with Neil Young and David Briggs in the early days to how the song Black Books was used on the Sopranos soundtrack. Most of these stories, as Nils himself admits, are common knowledge to his fans but his laid back and engaging delivery perfectly suited the tempo of the evening. Most interesting was how the piano part in the middle and end of Southern Man, from After the Goldrush, came from Nils and Ralph Molina practicing and Nils adding a polka style to the playing of the part. Highlights were a stunning rendition of Buffalo Springfield’s Flying On The Ground which Nils thought was the first time he had ever played live and the biggest cheers of the night for » Continue Reading.
O2 Apollo Manchester
Like most I first became aware of Future Islands via the viral video of their performance of Seasons on David Letterman. 3 years, 2 albums and numerous failed attempts I finally get to see them in the flesh. Entering to a darkened stage the opening notes signal a transformation into a red backdrop, the up lights marking Sam T Herring as some possessed preacher fighting demons’ song by song for the next 2 hours. Each synth pop opus sees him gyrating and sliding across the floor, his voice switching from a smooth baritone to death metal growl in an instant. Punching, pleading, winning each battle against the unseen hordes before taking a breath and starting all over again. He is not alone in his endeavour, watched over by William Cashion (bass), Gerrit Welmers (keyboards) & Michael Lowry (drums) who propel the tales of melancholia along with sublime dance beats. The crowd cheering and dancing, willing Sam on to reach the heights. It truly is a site to see. Promoting the current album, The Far Fields and covering much of the Singles album you cannot help but get caught up in the whirlwind before » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
27 years after its original release, this 3 cd/DVD set arrives 10 months after the death of George Michael on Christmas day 2016. The original release in 1990 was 4 years after the triumphant Final concert of Wham! at Wembley Stadium and the release of Faith in 1987 where George morphed from teen heartthrob to one of the biggest artists in the world determined to prove to everyone he was a serious musician with something to say. Faith was a behemoth, spawning 7 singles, A world tour consisting of 137 shows multiple awards, including the Grammy for Best Album, and breaking him in America although the British press still eyed him with suspicion as a boyband member trying to overstep his station. At the 1989 American Music Awards he became the first white artist to win the Favourite Soul/R&B Male Artist award (besting Bobby Brown and Michael Jackson). He had transcended the norms of popular music by being played on both black and white radio across the US, but not everyone was happy. Many black artists, notably Gladys Knight, questioned the award, he had gone too far. The preceding years caught up to him » Continue Reading.
Liverpool Cavern Club & O2 Academy
I not only got the opportunity to see Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul on Tuesday night, but I also was invited to a very special lunchtime show at the Cavern Club where the full band performed a short set of Beatles tunes. So I was met at the back door of the Cavern Club by Steve’s Tour Manager who ushered us into the legendary crypt where sound check was under way (working their way through Good Morning). Trying to fit 15 members of the band onto the stage was a non-starter so they were split into two groups with the horn section and the backing singers stationed to the left of the main stage. I was front and centre when the doors were opened and was joined by a couple who had been queuing since 5.30 that morning and a guy who had been there since 7am. That’s dedication. Little Steven and the band took to the stage and ripped straight into Magical Mystery Tour. Steven talked of his love of the Beatles and how if his religion was rock and roll then he was in his Mecca » Continue Reading.
And rather splendid it is too.
If anyone is interested Jason Isbell has tweeted he’s performing on this mornings Andrew Marr show. Maybe he will wade into the Brexit debate. Something more than free?
I’ll get my coat.
Albert Hall Manchester
This was the opening night of Jason’s European tour, and he couldn’t have picked a finer venue to start with. It was my first visit to the Albert Hall, a grade 2 listed former Methodist central hall with a beautiful baroque ceiling and stained glass windows.
Opening with Hope The High Road the set (listed below) consisted mainly of tracks from their latest album The Nashville Sound and Jason’s previous solo album Something More Than Free and two Drive By Truckers tunes, Decoration Day and a blistering Never Gonna Change trading licks with the excellent Slater Vaden on guitar. Amanda Shires wasn’t with the band tonight but her fiddle parts were filled in with some sublime slide guitar again from Slater. The whole band were excellent and all seemed to be enjoying the night as much as the audience.
Highlights for me were Cumberland Gap, Speed Trap Town the aforementioned Never Gonna Change and the closing cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Refugee.
Just a quick mention as well for the enchanting and wonderful Tift Merritt who is opening for Jason on this tour. It was the first time I’d » Continue Reading.
O2 Apollo Manchester
“The most fun you will have listening to sad songs”. 27 songs packed tightly into a 2 hour set, Ryan and the Unknown Band put their foot down with the opening Do you still love me and continued at a pace with predominantly songs from the latest album, Prisoner and Cardinals era interspersed with crowd favourites,To be young and When the stars go blue (full list below). Ryan clearly enjoying himself, throwing guitar god poses in the huge clouds of dry ice (occasionally disappearing, particularly during the closing number! Roadies a bit heavy handed with the switch!). The band were tight and accomplished and T’Ben Alleman added some nice touches on keyboards. Sound quality was excellent and it was nice to come away without my ears ringing for days after!
Set List Do You Still Love Me To Be Young Gimmie Something Good This House IS Not For Sale Two Outbound Train Doomsday Prisoner Everybody Knows Dirty Rain Halloweenhead When The Stars Go Blue Anything I’d Say To You Now Breakdown Broken Anyway Cold Roses Fix It Invisible Riverside Let It Ride I Just Might Magnolia Mountain I Love You And I Don’t » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Originally recorded as a HBO special in 1987, Roy’s sons have co-produced this HD remastered version which is so much more. Expanded to include the full set of 19 songs and in the order they were performed originally and utilizing 7 different camera angles showing longer shots of the individual performers during and between each song it is stunning. In fact the edit gives the whole show are more intimate feel, showing the interplay between the band and the fun they are all having and the astonishment on their faces on during some of Roy’s vocals is a joy. As for the band, well if someone had chosen this line up in their weekly Fantasy band league they would surely be runaway winners. The core is made up of Presley’s TCB band, James Burton (Guitar), Jerry Scheff (Bass), Ron Tutt (Drums) and Glen D Hardin (Piano), they are assisted by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen on keyboard and guitars. Backing vocals are provided by J D Souther, Jackson Browne, Steven Soles, Bonnie Raitt, k d Lang and Jennifer Warnes. The set contains all the hits you would expect, and a song written » Continue Reading.
Blue and Lonesome Deluxe cd with 72 page book and post cards available on Amazon as part of a 3 for £20 offer. Currently retailing at £34.00. Other options are limited but worth a look.
What does it sound like?:
After a turbulent few months that sees a split with his wife of 38 years and the dissolution of his 48 year friendship with David Crosby, Graham Nash has released his first album in 14 years, This Path Tonight. Produced by guitarist Shane Fontayne, the 10 songs cover doubt, loss, memories and hope and contain some of Graham’s most personal and introspective lyrics. The album poses more questions than answers beginning with the title track, “Where are we going?” and in the following songs Graham goes on a journey unsure of the destination and with continuous glances over his shoulder at where he has come from and what he has left behind. ‘Beneath The Waves’ appears to relate to Crosby and their relationship and comments in recent interviews. “Fifty years before the mast, how long will it last before sinking?” before closing with “holding my breath, it’s causing me pain, for so many years”. Shades of Joni Mitchell in Fontayne’s playing on ‘Target’ one of the most uplifting tracks on the album. A gentle paean to a new love. The final three tracks, loosely connected, cover the subject of beginnings and endings. ‘Golden Days’, » Continue Reading.