Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mardi Gras Night at Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill


Mr. Postman delivered my copy of Guitar George Baker's new CD, Mojo Lady, and I got to listen to it a couple times during the workday - very unusual, interesting takes on covers of Johnny B. Goode and House of the Rising Sun as well as some funky originals.

The Rotary Club of Southington is proud to announce its 2nd annual Mardi Gras Night to be held on Fat Tuesday, February 28, at Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill. The proceeds of this fundraiser have been designated for relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Chef Barry DePaolo has promised to again serve up some very tasty cuisine (see menu below), which will be accompanied by several interesting wines presented by Beringer Blass Wine Estates. Tickets to the event are $65/person and can be obtained at Anthony Jack's, by calling John Ryan at (860) 276-3843, or from any Southington Rotary member. If you were there last year, you know what a great night it was; if you missed out, do NOT allow it to happen again. BE THERE for great fun while aiding the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Entertainment will be provided by Guitar George Baker and his band, The George Baker Experience. All Music Guide states that Baker "may be one of the best-kept secrets in the mainstream blues world." Hailing from New Roads, Louisiana, Mr. Baker's impressive resume includes stints as music director/guitarist touring with Marvin Gaye for three years and as a member of the house band at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. His new CD/DVD, Mojo Lady just received a 3-star rating by Downbeat Magazine. New Haven Advocate article on 9/1/05 about George Baker.

View 2005 Mardi Gras Night

View 2006 Mardi Gras Night


Mojo Lady reviews:
  • All Music Guide
  • Vince Lewis in Modern Guitars Magazine

    The Evening's Menu

    Hors d'oeuvres
    Cajun blackened shrimp with honey mustard
    Sirloin bruschetta
    Mini oyster po' boys
    Chick crunch with creole mustard sauce
    Andoville sausage stuffed mushrooms
    Mini pulled pork sandwiches
    Spanakopita - spinach and cheese turnovers

    Featured Wines
    Meridian Pinot Noir
    Greg Norman California Chardonnay
    Beringer Pinot Grigio
    Chateau St. Jean California Cabernet
    Wolf Blass Australian Shiraz

    Carving Station
    Roast pork loin with gravy
    and cranberry mayo
    Pasta Station
    Crawfish Monica
    (rotini pasta with crawfish
    and tomato cream sauce)
    Cajun Station
    Choice of jambalaya
    and chicken etouffee

    Pecan pralines

  • Sunday, February 26, 2006

    Hello, Mary Lou, goodbye heart.....

    She's really cute and plays you with the vulnerability angle (and confesses to it), but you can't help rooting for Mary Lou Lord anyway. Sunday night at Cafe Nine, she played a wonderful acoustic hour-plus set to a packed house, seeming genuinely surprised that there were so many in attendance and that they knew her songs.

    Lord is afflicted with spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder that involves involuntary spasms of the vocal cords which can make one's voice sound strained or strangled (similar to that of Linda Thompson, whom she emails daily) and told us that she hadn't performed in quite some time. During the set, she gave a nod to Elvis' Latest Flame with her His Lamest Flame and to Salem's Elizabeth Montgomery (did I note a similarity in face?) with She's Still Bewitching Me (after all these years).

    After the show, I picked up her LIVE City Sounds, which was recorded live (per the liner notes) in the subway at Park Street in Boston and Harvard Square in the fall of 2000. She recorded it herself with a portable DAT.

    I caught an enjoyable slice of the Shellye Valauskas Experience's opening set, but turned down a slice of her Lithuanian (or something like that) birthday cake served shortly thereafter as her many friends/family in attendance serenaded her. It allowed me to sneak into better position near the bar.

    Eric Danton, Htfd Courant rock critic, concert review - here

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    When Black Friday comes....

    When Black Friday comes
    I'll stand down by the door
    And catch the grey men when they
    Dive from the fourteenth floor
    Katy Lied- Steely Dan (1975)

    Perusing the Louisiana Music Factory CD listings and saw Tight Women and Loose Bands 1921-1931.

    '50s and '60s Bands Aim to Stop Copycats by SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press Writer
    HARTFORD, Conn. - Doo-wop and rock 'n roll legends are asking lawmakers across the country to stop performances by some not-so-great pretenders. There are hundreds of bands touring the country these days claiming to be The Platters, the Drifters, the Coasters or some other group from the '50s and '60s, according to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa. Most of them have no ties to the original artists. "They undercut the legacy of those artists by pretending to be them," said Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, former member of the oldies band Sha Na Na and head of the hall's Truth in Music Committee. - complete article

    (But then, who will help stop the legendary bands from touring????)

    Sex Pistols Flip Off Rock Hall by Josh Grossberg

    Britain's most infamous punk rabble rousers are giving the big middle finger to the music industry types who've tapped the band for enshrinement in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, issuing a grammatically impaired open letter saying they have no intention of attending the induction ceremony scheduled for Mar. 13 at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

    "Next to the sex Pistols, rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. We're not coming," the band says via a handwritten note posted on frontman Johnny Rotten's Website. - complete article

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    Well, we drank champagne and danced all night....

    In 2003, Ray Davies (former leader of The Kinks - yeah, I know you know), came to the United States to live in New Orleans with the objective of studying our musical roots. And what better place than the Crescent City! In early 2004 he was shot in the leg by a guy who snatched his girlfriend's purse as he chased him down near the French Quarter, so he gets the American city experience as well. On Tuesday, Davies will release Other People's Lives, a solo effort about pre-Katrina New Orleans. David Carr has a fine article in the Sunday NY Times about Davies. - article

    AMG review of Other People's Lives

    New Orleans - the ideal place to get shot by Ray Davies for the Times (London) Online 9/7/05. Away from the partying it was obvious to a dedicated follower of the city that disaster was around the corner. - article

    Gentlemen, start your engines.....

    Oh yeah, big-time gearhead here, wouldn't miss the Daytona 500 for anything. I've got my case of beer and I'm going down to the beach to watch them race today. What????? They don't race on the beach anymore? Oh. Maybe I lost touch somewhere along the line.

    Sister Mary Agnes attended a Daytona 500 Bon Jovi concert, she tells johnnykmusic via cell from her Raceway infield post.

    Hey Johnny Gumbo, Marcia Ball appears at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Monday Night.

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    I can't stop going there!!!!!!

    Another Friday trip to Chicopee and, you guessed it, a quick zip over to Northampton to my new favorite record store. Got caught in a wild wind/rainstorm just as I arrived, but managed a parking spot close by to minimize the damage to my person.

    This week's catch:

    Read My Lips Lou Ann Barton - Anyone who pays any attention to my ramblings knows how much I love Lou Ann Barton, who once sang with Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble. The catch is that she's only recorded a few albums and never tours. Found two CDs today, but one was a compilation with much duplicated product, so I went with the original issue. Great song lyric: "You can have my husband, but don't you be messin' with my man."

    D & B Together Delaney & Bonnie and Friends - But not together for long, for D & B divorced soon after this record.

    Mary Lou Lord (EP) Mary Lou Lord - Kurt Cobain's girlfriend before CL, she will be appearing at Cafe Nine on Sunday, February 26.

    The Complete Animals The Animals - They were playing this comprehensive two-disc compilation as I browsed the store, so when I checked out, I apologized, but told them I wanted that CD! They said, no prob, great choice, and packed it up. You sometimes forget just how good these guys were. Not catchy like the Beatles or the Stones, but really great blues that sound solid today as ever.

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    JazzFest lineup announced....

    The lineups for both JazzFest weekends were announced on Wednesday. Since I will be attending the 2nd, I will miss The Meters, Dr. John Allen Toussaint, Snooks Eaglin, Sonny Landreth (who conspired to keep me from seeing Sarah Borges at the Iron Horse), etc., but will get to see Fats Domino (very cool), Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon (maybe), Robert Randolph, Marsha Ball, The Radiators (saw them at Tipitina's in 1989), Irma Thomas. And more!!! Gumbo and I have vowed (yes, we actually vowed) to take in lots of the lesser known stuff, particularly gospel, which is VERY cool live.

    First Weekend
    The Meters, Dave Matthews Band, Bob Dylan, Yolanda Adams, Allen Toussaint with special guest Elvis Costello, Ani DiFranco, Dr. John, Hugh Masekela, Keb’ Mo’, Yerba Buena, Rebirth Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Galactic, Snooks Eaglin, Cowboy Mouth, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Terence Blanchard, Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters, Sonny Landreth, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, the subdudes, Ritmo Caribeño, John Mooney & Bluesiana, Terrance Simien, Anders Osborne, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Charmaine Neville, Banu Gibson & New Orleans Hot Jazz, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews with special guest Steve Turre, St. Joseph the Worker Choir, Dukes of Dixieland, Eddie Bo, John Lee & the Heralds of Christ, C.J. Chenier, The Iguanas, Luther Kent & Trickbag, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Rosie Ledet, Lil’ Rascals Brass Band, Lil’ Band O’ Gold, Greater Antioch Full Gospel Church Choir, D.L. Menard & the Louisiana Aces, James Rivers Movement, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, NewBirth Brass Band, James Andrews, Leigh “Little Queenie” Harris, Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots, World Leader Pretend, Gregg Stafford’s Jazz Hounds, Shades of Praise Choir, Leah Chase, Jhelisa’s Tribute to Nina Simone, Melody Clouds, Christian Scott, Crown Seekers, Popular Ladies, Nine Times Men, Westbank Steppers, and the Young Men’s Olympians Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, David Egan, Franklin Avenue BC Choir, T-Sale, J. Monque’D Blues Band, Vivaz, Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band, Panorama Jazz Band, Los Sagitarios, Cynthia Liggins-Thomas, One A-Chord Gospel Singers, Andrew Hall’s Society Brass Band, Louisiana Repertory Jazz Band, Jonathan Batiste, Loyola University Jazz Ensemble, Coolbone Brass Band, Hard Head Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Mahogany Brass Band, Tim Laughlin, Jo “Cool” Davis, Lighthouse Gospel Singers, Voices of Distinction, Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Kim Prevost, Leroy Jones, San Severino of France, Higher Dimensions of Praise, Joe Krown, Furious Five and Untouchables Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, Willis Prudhomme & Zydeco Express, The Revealers, Poor Clares, The Elements, Los Vecinos, SUBR Jazz Ensemble, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, Paulin Brothers Brass Band, Don Vappie, Connie Jones, The Jackson Travelers, Tony Bazley, Providence BC Mass Choir, Val & Love Alive w/ the Dimensions of Faith, Chops Funky 7 Brass Band, Unstoppable Gospel Singers, Belton Richard, Inspirational Gospel Singers, Pinstripe Brass Band, Local International Allstars, The Bester Singers, Gospel Inspirations of Boutte, and more!

    Second Weekend
    Fats Domino, Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie, Paul Simon, Keith Urban, The Ohio Players, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Special Ed & Big Daddy Kane, India “The Princess of Salsa”, Irma Thomas, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Doug Kershaw, Little Feat, Koko Taylor, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr. & the Greater St. Stephen Mass Choir, The Radiators, Angelique Kidjo, Pete Fountain, Donald Harrison with special guests George Coleman & Eddie Palmieri, Le Grand Ballet “Ngalam” du Senegal, Yonder Mountain String Band, Buckwheat Zydeco, Deacon John, Nicholas Payton, Chris Owens, The Ladies of New Orleans R&B featuring The Dixie Cups, Wanda Rouzan & Jean Knight, Roland Guerin with special guest Marcus Roberts, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias, Ellis Marsalis with special guest Lew Tabackin, Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk, Tremé Brass Band, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, Marcia Ball, George French, Stephanie Jordan, Hot 8 Brass Band, Sherman Washington & the Zion Harmonizers, Frankie Ford, Tab Benoit, Marva Wright & the BMWs, Lars Edegran & the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, Astral Project, Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band featuring Thais Clark, Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys, New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Theresa Andersson, Bob French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Jeremy Davenport, Papa Grows Funk, Wayne Toups & Zydecajun, Lockport Chapter Choir, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Tony Green & Gypsy Jazz, Bruce Daigrepont, The Johnson Extension, Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, Soul Rebels Brass Band, John Boutté, Thomas “Big Hat” Fields, Rocks of Harmony, Alvin Batiste & the Jazzstronauts, Germaine Bazzle, Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries, Jeremy Lyons & the Deltabilly Boys, Reggie Hall & the Twilighters, New Orleans Spiritualettes, Storyville Stompers, Tornado and Stooges Brass Bands, Scene Boosters, Lady Rollers, Original Men and Ladies Buckjumpers, and Valley of the Silent Men Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, Lil’ Brian & the Zydeco Travelers, Savoy Family Cajun Band, Eric Lindell, McDonogh #35 Gospel Choir, Susan Cowsill, Mem Shannon & the Membership, Kim Carson, Easter Rockers, Tyronne Foster & the Arc Singers, La Bande “Feufollet”, Zulu Male Ensemble, Jeff & Vida, Zion Trinity, Fredy Omar con su Banda, Driskill Mountain Boys, Bamboula 2000, Otra, Little Freddie King, New Orleans NightCrawlers Brass Band, Chris Clifton, Amina Figarova Band of The Netherlands, Pine Leaf Boys, Michael Ward, Dynamic Smooth Family, Imagination Movers, Lyle Henderson, Leviticus Gospel Singers, NOCCA Jazz Ensemble, Harvey Spirituals, Real Untouchables and Smitty Dee’s Brass Bands, Mandeville High School Jazz Ensemble, Pfister Sisters, Second Nazarine Gospel Choir, June Gardner, Golden Wings, Batiste Brothers, Gospel Stars, Highsteppers Brass Band, and more!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    So you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction....

    Right on the heels of the new Johnny Ryan disc (see below), comes Dick Cheney's timely release of The Woman Within, which features a hot new hip-hop version of Barry McGuire's classic Eve of Destruction. Sung/spoken in his very hip Wally Ballou style, Cheney sends chills up and down the spines of his listeners with each 'note'. A sample from Arizona Killer:
    I killed a man in Dallas,
    And another in Cheyenne
    But when I killed the man in Tombstone
    I overplayed my hand

    A must-buy for hard-core Cheney aficionados (and favor-seeking lobbyists).

    The playlist:
    1. I Fought the Law (They Said I Needed To Buy a Fucking Permit)
    2. Guns Don't Kill People, I Do
    3. Shotgun (Shoot Him 'Fore He Run Now)
    4. Eve of Destruction (duet w/ the late Barry McGuire)
    5. I'm Sorry, Dan, I Thought You Were a Quaill
    6. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (He Wasn't The Bravest of Them All, After All)
    7. Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Bang, Bang)
    8. Arizona Killer
    9. The Streets of Laredo
    10. Cheney's Gotta Gun (duet w/ Steven Tyler)
    11. Shot Through the Heart and You're to Blame (You Give Love a Bad Name)
    12. Annie Get Your Gun (Dickie's Coming For Lunch)

    Sunday, February 12, 2006

    Unsung, but not unhung.....

    Following up on the surprising success of last year's cult favorite The Hope Song (recorded live at the Brass Guitar), John Ryan releases Unsung Gumbo to a small, but fiercely loyal fan base thirsting for more. And he delivers. Fueled by obvious frustration with his lack of commercial success despite being a critics' darling, Ryan lashes out at a tasteless record-buying public with If I Flashed, Would You Buy?, a clever, bitter nod to his androgynous good looks and the state of the music industry. P.S. I Faked It Too is an ode to bruised egos of love gone bad, while Dat's Going To Be a Tough Row to 'Ho chronicles the difficult life of a sweet young thing turned pro.

    His tight backup compadres include Boz Scaggs (guitar/backing vocals), Rodney "Plaid' Greaves (bass guitar/slide trombone) and Wil Suzkins (drums/percussion). David Sanborn (sax) and Stevie Ray Parsons (muted trumpet), billed as the Horny Horns, texture several of the tracks nicely. All in all, a very fine effort from a largely undiscovered gem of an artist (and a peach of a guy).

    The playlist:
    1. If I Flashed, Would You Buy?
    2. JohnnyFest
    3. Struttin' Down Center Street
    4. P.S. I Faked It Too
    5. Psychologically I'm Fine, But I Could Use Some Fresh-Ground Pepper
    6. How Do You Like Them Apples?
    7. Dat's Going To Be a Tough Row to 'Ho
    8. You Ain't Tina, Honey, But I'll Slap Your Face Anyways
    9. I Brought the Dog Home, But She Wasn't Trained
    10. Lazin' On Magazine

    All songs written/sung by John Ryan; copyright 2006 Johnny Gumbo Music

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Norah has been doing Willie Nelson....

    By Melinda Newman

    LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - When you have snared a trophy case full of Grammy Awards in one sitting, including ones for album of the year and best new artist, it is a little hard to fly under the radar. But that is exactly what Norah Jones and her friends are trying to do with the self-titled debut from the Little Willies, out March 7 on Milking Bull Records/EMI.

    The album is a loose-limbed collection of country classics by artists such as Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson, with four originals sprinkled in. For a brief while, the Little Willies were able to keep the crowds at bay during their semi-regular gigs at New York's Living Room, a small club on Manhattan's Lower East Side. But as word spread of the band's lineup -- Jones, Lee Alexander, Richard Julian, Jim Campilongo and Dan Reiser -- the lines out the door got longer and longer.

    Although the band is named for its devotion to Willie Nelson, its members certainly were not beyond having a little good-natured fun with the name. "After a while, people recognized the Little Willies name and the shows were getting too crowded, so they changed to the Well Hungarians," says Zach Hochkeppel, VP of marketing for EMI Jazz and Classics. - complete article

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Turn it up....louder

    More great stuff at $8 a shot from this wonderful joint in Northampton, MA (website):

    Roadrunner Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - compilation of JR's early stuff including 3 versions of that quintessential cruisin' title song - but, alas, no Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.
    Corkey Siegel's Traveling Chamber Blues Show Corky Siegel - CD case asks "Is it blues? Is it classical?" Veteran bluesman and front half of the old Siegel-Schwall Band.
    Over Under Sideways Down Yardbirds - Collection of 28 tracks (75 minutes!) covering 1963-1968 featuring the big three guitar studs Clapton, Beck & Page.
    Ramblin' Lucinda Williams - Cindy's first, recorded in 1978, shows her interpreting Robert Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Hank Williams (no relation, really)
    Carney Leon Russell - Released in 1972, features This Masquerade and Tightrope, but with so much more. Leon is very, very good and has appeared in these parts within the last couple months. Shame on you (and me) for missing him.
    Music From Big Pink The Band - The classic early Band album with added alternate/outtake tracks.
    The Loon's Desire Laura Nyro - Two-CD live set of concerts recorded at the Bottom Line in 1993 and 1994 with just LN, her piano and her soulful harmony group.

    Previous week's catch
    How Long Has This Been Going On? Van Morrison with Georgie Fame & Friends - Van and Georgie doing jazz standards, receiving indifferent reviews from all but me - I like it.
    Day Dreaming at Night Sir Douglas Quintet - a reincarnation of this legendary band; harder rocking than other Doug Sahm music I've heard and my initial reaction is that I don't find the music as interesting - but not a throwaway.
    Daring Adventures Richard Thompson - This guy doesn't get the mainstream attention, but those in the know respect the hell out of him. The disc is a mid-eighties release.
    Funk Is In the House Walter 'Wolfman' Washington & the Roadmasters - Some nice New Orleans funk!
    A Turtle's Dream Abbey Lincoln - Ever since I saw her at a Hartford Jazz Society concert in the mid-1980's, I never hesitate to pick up an Abbey Lincoln disc. She has a unique, tasty manner of phrasing.

    G-Man comments on the Grammys

    Get past the green carpet? and Ryan Secrest (the most famous lesbian alive) and the first Grammy of the night is announced by real musicians Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. This will possibly be the highlight of the night - the best music of the night as the two sing a Stevie song dedicated to New Orleans and the first lady of the civil rights movement. A good start. And the best female vocal (i think) award goes to Kelly Clarkson. This should be a crime. - complete article

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    CBS gets the 'Monkey' off its back....

    Variety reports that CBS has shelved Tom Cavanagh's Love Monkey after just three airings as part of a Tuesday-lineup shuffle. Taking over the 10 pm/ET slot is The Amazing Race (which premieres Feb. 28), clearing the way at 9 pm for The Unit, the new drama costarring Dennis Haysbert. Does that mean that Wayne Jensen (Teddy Geiger) never gets discovered? And after Tom made that great music video all by himself!

    E! Online story -

    Variety review of show

    Local man shares his photos of rock ’n’ rollers

    By Ralph Hohman, Record-Journal staff

    Tom Hearn remembers the Ramones at the old Arcadia Ballroom in New Haven, in 1976. “It was like a paradigm shift,” he says, in his music universe. The Ramones, with their rough, rapid-fire, two-minute assaults, were a lurching return to rock ’n’ roll. “I always preferred Paul Revere and the Raiders to Led Zeppelin,” Hearn says. “I thought I was the only one.”

    Hearn had his camera at the Arcadia, taking many of the shots that go into a photo exhibition, “Pictures of the Ramones and other rock ’n rollers,” hanging throughout February at The Picture Framer, 96 Elm St., a gallery owned by Hearn’s wife, Ann Hearn. A reception for the show is Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. The exhibition was still taking shape this week, but Ann Hearn says that when it’s all framed and hung, it will include about 40 photos, newly scanned and printed. - complete article

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Tuesday morning -

    The Rhino Musical Aptitude Test - "The trivia buffs in your area, in cooperation with the FCC, have designed this system to keep you informed in case of a pop culture emergency. If this had been an actual R.M.A.T., you would've puzzled over 305 multiple choice in one sweat-inducing hour. This concludes this test of the Rhino Musical Aptitude Test. " - Show them you know your shit here.

    Unfortunately, I will not be blogging the Grammys this year because I will be taking in the UConn Huskies v Syracuse Orange(men).

    Love Monkey tonight. I liked it; Jonathan & Garrett hated it.

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Lost Highway Records celebrates five years...

    PRNewswire - Lost Highway Records, the Nashville-based home of such acclaimed artists as Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and the catalog of Hank Williams celebrates its Five Year Anniversary in 2006. Founded in 2001 by current UMG Nashville Co-Chairman Luke Lewis, Lost Highway is part of Universal Music Group and has built itself with a boutique label mentality, providing an artist-oriented environment. Since its inception, Lost Highway has released 50 albums, and by the end of 2005 has received 44 Grammy Award nominations, winning 11.

    ...2006 has the potential to be Lost Highway's most impressive year to date, starting off with the release of Van Morrison's "Pay The Devil" on March 7 and Willie Nelson's "You Don't Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker" on March 14. Also, look for Lost Highway releases in 2006 from Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Donavon Frankenreiter, Tim O'Reagan (The Jayhawks) and the first album from Golden Smog in eight years. - complete press release

    Lost Highway website

    Sunday, February 05, 2006

    Are you ready for some football....music?

    The National Anthem offered a particularly odd partnership — Aaron Neville and Dr. John (in a tribute to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans) with Detroit favorite Aretha Franklin. Neville sang half of the song in his feathery-soft voice, then was never heard from again when Franklin blew the dome's roof off. - complete article

    Helter Skelter in a summer swelter
    The birds flew off with the fallout shelter
    Eight miles high and falling fast

    It landed foul on the grass
    The players tried for a forward pass
    With the jester on the sidelines in a cast

    Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
    While sergeants played a marching tune
    We all got up to dance
    Oh, but we never got the chance

    'Cause the players tried to take the field,
    The marching band refused to yield.

    Do you recall what was revealed,
    The day the music died?
    We started singing

    Bye, bye miss American Pie
    Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
    And good ol' boys were drinking whisky and rye?
    Singing this will be the day that I die
    this will be the day that I die

    Football halftimes are for players to have a short respite from their labors and to endure a lecture of how badly they sucked in the first half. Football halftime entertainment is meant to be a background distraction while we fans alternately unfill and refill. Football halftimes used to mean watching uniformed college marching bands playing John Philip Sousa tunes or, if the bandleader was feeling randy, a Burt Bacharach number (Raindrops Are Falling on My Head). Smart formations, nothing earthshaking, but nice, comfortable. Keith Jackson halftimes. And games were preficed with standard, if mundane, renditions of our national anthem.

    But that was too square, so we were given "Up With People" shows of painfully happy young people dancing around with colorful streamers while singing about how wonderful the world could be if we would only sing together. Am I the only person who ever, if only for a brief moment, wanted to take an AK-47 and wipe out the entire population of those mindless smiling idiots? I'm not sure when they finally stopped the 'UP' movement, but it existed so long that I avoided halftimes like the plague (although, I must admit I have never actively avoided the plague, so that may not be an apt statement to make).

    When I checked back, the national anthem had become the first American Idol format, a stage for any artist to showoff his/her 'soulfulness' with each gut wrenching final verse - even if the correct words frequently eluded them. But even that wasn't enough. Now, because halftime is showcase time (blame rests squarely on the New Year's Day bowl committees), mega rock stars, wannabees and has-beens Milli Vanilli their way through 20-30 minutes of music you can't hear, staged so ridiculously that the music isn't even the point.

    So why am I going to watch this Sunday's pre-game and halftime? Because I'm shamelessly curious. The anthem is to be sung by Aaron Neville, his mole and Aretha Franklin. Other pre-game music will feature Dr. John (no, not John Ryan, Ph.D.) and Stevie Wonder. The Rolling Stones have the daunting task of appearing relevant at the break. I'm luke-warm on the badboys at this stage of their career, but they've got to be light years ahead of Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson. Here's hoping anyway.

    Lady (Stuffed) Sole......

    by Richie Unterberger for AMG

    Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records — "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others — earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since. Yet as much of an international institution as she's become, much of her work — outside of her recordings for Atlantic in the late '60s and early '70s — is erratic and only fitfully inspired, making discretion a necessity when collecting her records. - complete biography

    Now here's your over/under on Aretha's gametime poundage:

    450 big ones! WHATCHA GOT?

    I've got the Steelers......and 475 lb

    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    I'm walkin' to New Orleans.....

    Just received an email from the New orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announcing that "the most important Jazz Fest in history" will be held April 28-30 and May 5-7. Tickets are available at nojazzfest.com.

    This year's official poster (at left) features Fats Domino in "Rockin' to New Orleans" by James Michalopoulos.

    Press Release

    New Orleans, LA (January 31, 2006)—After months of anticipation, organizers of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival today officially confirmed the 2006 dates for the Jazz Fest they say will be the most important in the history of the event. The first post-Katrina Jazz Fest will be held on April 28-30 and May 5-7 at its traditional home, the Fair Grounds Race Course.

    Jazz Fest Producer/Director Quint Davis said, “We’re dedicating this year’s Festival to the people of New Orleans and inviting everybody who cares about this city to come to Jazz Fest and play a meaningful role in bringing back the city’s culture, which is the soul of America. Jazz Fest 2006 will be a homecoming party for thousands of New Orleans musicians, Festival chefs and craftspeople, and we want the world to join us in welcoming them back as we present the celebration of a lifetime.”

    Sponsorship of this year’s Festival, according to Davis, is one of the major reasons why the Festival is happening as planned. “In light of the great financial challenges of presenting the 2006 Festival on the grand scale everyone is accustomed to, we simply could not have produced Jazz Fest without unprecedented corporate support from Shell, who becomes the Festival’s first-ever Presenting Sponsor.”

    The Edge and U2 Offer Aid to New Orleans By SOLVEJ SCHOU, Associated Press Writer

    LOS ANGELES - With a long-held affection for New Orleans, a city he calls "very unique and very special," U2 rocker The Edge felt compelled to try to help it recover from Hurricane Katrina. The result: Music Rising, an organization that provides instruments to musicians blasted by the storm. The city especially took hold of his heart in 2001 after he and the band, while playing there, suffered a tragedy back home. A storage area in Dublin where they kept a lot of instruments was wiped out in a flood.

    "Luckily," he recalls, "my main guitars were with us in New Orleans ... the Gibson Explorer that I've had since I was 17-years-old, and the amplifier I've used on every album for every show since we got a record deal." Four years later, after Katrina blew through New Orleans, the memory of that good fortune led him to create Music Rising, along with Gibson Guitar, the Guitar Center Music Education Foundation and the MusicCares Foundation. - complete story

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