Archive for March, 2011

When Bowling Green, Kentucky-native Cage the Elephant released their self-titled debut album in 2009, some referred to them as saviors of the whole funk-punk music genre, thanks to hit singles like “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Back Against The Wall,” a pair of songs that has virtually made the band household names after experiencing some moderate billboard chart success coupled with high profile gigs like Bonnaroo, Lallapalooza and an appearance on Late Show with Dave Letterman.

The band is making their return to Kentucky – this Friday April 1st at Headliners Music Hall – in support of their sophomore album Thank You Happy Birthday, which dropped this past January on Jive Records. Debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, Cage The Elephant launched the new year with a ferocious kick of gut-grabbing rock & roll and an album that lead-singer Matt Schultz described as “bringing him back to life.” Whatever that means.

Schultz, who self-admittedly once struggled with a methadone addiction, also struggled to formulate coherent or somewhat interesting responses in a recent interview leading up to their sold-out Louisville show. And although he hinted at a 3rd album that is apparently already in the works, he stopped short of dropping any other interesting tidbits of information on anything he was asked about. Listen for yourself:

So, needless to say, Schultz and the rest of the Cage The Elephant crew will be looking to bringing themselves and their sound “back to life” by the time they take the stage at Headliner’s this Friday, the 3rd date on a lengthy summer tour which canvases the U.S. (including a return to Louisville on May 5th for the Derby festival) and also takes them to Europe, Canada, and Japan. That is of course as long as they can manage to moderate their substance intake while simultaneously building on their path to rock n‘ roll stardom.

Cage The Elephant / Biffy Clyro / Sleeper Agent
Friday, April 1st
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Rd.
7 pm
All Ages

** This preview is also posted at Louisville.com


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Music Break: Conan & Hunter

This shit is awesome.
I hope I go out like this:

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The scuttlebutt QR code


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Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry is a band who knows how to create timeless rock ‘n roll music while introducing new and innovative sounds, and the Edmonton-natives are at it again, announcing a new record titled “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” which is set to hit stores on May 31. This marks their 3rd release on one of rock ‘n roll’s premiere record companies Roadrunner Records.

While the band’s last record, “Folklore and Superstition,” was a compelling tribute to brotherhood and history, the new album is the summation of a year in the life of the band. Every emotion, triumph, loss, romance and everything in between was the inspirational backdrop for “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.”

This marks the first time Black Stone Cherry has not recorded in the South, this time taking up residence in Los Angeles to work with famed producer Howard Benson (Theory of a Deadman, Daughtry, Three Days Grace). The new surroundings allowed them to strengthen their relationships as both band members and friends, ultimately a detail that sets “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” above previous recordings.  The raw intensity that pervades the music on this album harkens back to the early days of Black Stone Cherry, when they were a bunch of blue-collar guys just making music together for the hell of it.

The band admits “When we first began writing music, we hadn’t traveled very far out of our home state of Kentucky.  Now, ten years later, we’ve traveled the world and experienced things we never imagined we would.”

The album’s first single White Trash Millionaire, set to hit airwaves in April, pairs Robertson’s soulful delivery with the urgent and infectious rhythms of his fellow players. Sure, this is Southern rock at heart; but the concept is universal: just take what the world gives you and make that work. You can preview the song now:

Play White Trash Millionaire by Black Stone Cherry

“This album is the culmination of all of the everyday ups and downs life throws at you,” says the band.  “Sonically, you’ll hear some of the meanest sounding guitar riffs we’ve ever laid down, and at the same time, you’ll find ballads that will tug on your heartstrings.  We wanted the album’s intensity to match that of our live show.  We’re very proud of this album and excited for our fans to hear it!”

To celebrate the release of “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” Black Stone Cherry is participating in an ongoing partnership with Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon. The promotion brings 450,000 Black Stone Cherry branded bottles to shelves nationwide through June, including special mp3 offers and a chance to win a trip to meet the band at one of their shows.

Black Stone Cherry is set to have quite the busy spring, with tours with Hinder and Alter Bridge on the horizon:

4/8 @ Lucky Star Casino- Clinton, OK (with Hinder)
4/9 @ St. Mary’s University – San Antonio, TX (Fiesta Oyster Bake w. Hinder, Saving Abel)
4/12 @ Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO (with Hinder)
4/13 @ The Great Salt Air – Salt Lake City, UT (with Hinder)
4/15 @ Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA (with Hinder)
4/17 @ Knitting Factory Concert House – Spokane, WA (with Hinder)
4/19 @ Knitting Factory Concert House – Boise, ID (with Hinder)
4/21 @ Roseland Theater – Portland, OR (with Alter Bridge)
4/22 @ Knitting Factory – Reno, NV (with Hinder)
4/23 @ House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV (with Alter Bridge)
4/24 @ The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA (with Alter Bridge)
4/26 @ SLO Brewing Company – San Luis Obispo, CA
4/27 @ The Grove – Anaheim, CA (with Alter Bridge)
4/29 @ The Great Salt Air – Magna, UT (with Alter Bridge)
4/30 @ Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO (with Alter Bridge)
5/2 @ House of Blues – Chicago, IL (with Alter Bridge)
5/3 @ House of Blues – Chicago, IL (with Alter Bridge)
5/7 @ Metrolina Expo – Charlotte, NC (AVALANCHE 2011 w. Avenged Sevenfold, Godsmack, Theory of a Deadman)
5/8 @ NorVa – Norfolk, VA (with Alter Bridge)
5/10 @ Valarium – Knoxville, TN (with Alter Bridge)
5/11 @ Cannery Ballroom – Nashville, TN (with Alter Bridge)
5/12 @ Piere’s Entertainment Center – Ft. Wayne, IN (with Alter Bridge)
5/15 @ The Machine Shop – Flint, MI
5/17 @ The Palladium – Worcester, MA (with Alter Bridge)
5/18 @ Northern Lights – Albany, NY (with Alter Bridge)
5/19 @ Best Buy Theatre – New York, NY (with Alter Bridge)

Here is a short video of BSC in the studio:

** This press release also posted on Louisville.com

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Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson’s March 4th gig at Horseshoe Casino was billed as an “acoustic performance.” But, upon first entering The Showroom, the first thing I laid eyes on was a couple of Fender Telecasters sitting in their cradles. Good. Looks like The Hag and The Highwayman are going to sing more then just a few campfire country songs and, instead, give us a little of that Bakersfield sound that Haggard made famous many years ago. Maybe they’re feeling good tonight and waited to start drinking after lunch. Maybe that whole “acoustic performance” billing is the promoter’s insurance policy just incase these boys do decide to start drinking before lunch and don’t feel like standing up all night. Maybe. Who knows. Whatever the case was, it worked. Right off the bat, the feeling was we were going to get more than what we thought we would be getting from these 70-something year old country musicians.

So, after this suited casino employee / stage announcer came out and gave his best Michael Buffer “Are you ready to have fun tonight?” impersonation, the ceiling lights dimmed and the stage lighting took over. Then, moments later, before a raucous audience, Kris Kristofferson calmly walked out into the stage light with guitar in hand. An acoustic guitar I might point out. Also joining Kristofferson onstage were six other band members (whose real names I wish I knew) that consisted of a dobro player who looked like Junior Soprano, a young cat probably not older than 25 on one of two Telecasters, and a silver-haired fiddle player that resembled a young Del McCoury. There was also a keyboarder, an upright bass player, and a drummer to round out the rest of the band. Again, hardly an acoustic performance.

Before Kristofferson could lead into the second song, Haggard would suddenly appear from backstage, quickly making his way to the lone Telecaster still sitting in its cradle. He was dressed in a black pinstripe suit, and seemed eager to play as he waved to the audience and stepped up to his mic.

Even though Haggard’s rowdy and outlaw’ish days are long behind him, he still didn’t hesitate to play the songs that once defined that persona long ago, like “Mama Tried,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “Daddy Frank,” and “Okie From Muskogee,” a song that was preempted by some candid comments by Haggard on how he misses Mary Jane and how his wife still teases him today with second-hand smoke. He also played a few of his later songs like “Runnaway Mama.” Pretty typical of what you should expect at a Haggard concert I suppose.

After his sixth song, Haggard finally introduced himself along with Kristofferson and the band. Not that anyone in the audience didn’t know otherwise, but it still came with much applause and enthusiasm by the audience.

Over two hours later Haggard and Kristofferson would conclude with a tribute to longtime friend Johnny Cash, with a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues,” with both Haggard and Kristofferson alternating on the verses and chorus. At the songs conclusion, Haggard and Kristofferson left stage almost as quietly as they both came on, even though their band kept playing an instrumental rendition of Cash’s hit for several minutes thereafter. There was no encore song, but I don’t think many people expected one after a two hour plus performance. I guess when you’ve been recording and touring for nearly a half-decade you gotta start cutting out some of the formalities, right?

** This review also posted at Louisville.com

Photos: C. Michael Stewart Photography

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Louisville’s My Morning Jacket is set to release their sixth studio album, “Circuital” on May 31st. In the meantime, in celebration of “Circuital”, My Morning Jacket will giveaway free weekly downloads via their website (www.MyMorningJacket.com) of live songs recorded from their October 2010 performance at NYC’s Terminal 5. This giveaway is said to last for six weeks and will feature one brand new song from the new album on the last week.

The first song released on March 3rd was a live recording of Butch Casidy off their debut album “The Tennessee Fire.”

“Circuital” was recorded here in Louisville and Nashville, and was co-produced by Jim James and Tucker Martine (R.E.M., Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists). Rumor has it that they have yet again reinvented their sound while remaining close to their roots as musicians.

MMJ will also be launching a busy summer concert season on April 17th at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, KY, and then back in Louisville on May 31st to celebrate the release of Circuital.

But, what is known right now is here:

April 17
Lexington, KY – Memorial Coliseum
May 20-22 Gulf Shores, AL – Hangout Festival
May 31 Louisville, KY – The Palace
June 02-05 Ozark, AR – Wakarusa Festival
June 02-05 Hunter, NY – Mountain Jam
June 09-12 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Festival
June 30 – July 03 Quincy, CA – High Sierra Music Festival

Here is a video from Jim James and Patrick Hallahan’s solo performance of One Big Holiday in December 2010 at Headliners.

** This preview also published at Louisville.com

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It was almost 46 years ago when Merle Haggard released his first album, “Strangers” on Capitol Records. And now, Haggard, 76 studio albums, 73 years, 48 compilation albums, 38 #1 singles, and who-knows-how-many live performances later, will make his Louisville-area return Friday, March 4th at Horseshoe Casino. Joining Haggard, will be another country music great – and former HighwaymenKris Kristofferson. You should probably expect a few duets between the two at some point during the night.

Now when you talk about Merle Haggard, you almost have to note the word legend somewhere in the conversation, considering his countless accolades, infamies and how he essentially initiated the whole outlaw country movement of music back in the late 60’s and 70’s. So that being said, this country music legend, and former San Quentin inmate, will roll into town for yet another shindig, but this time an acoustic one.

So, for those of you who got your tickets before they sold out, knock the dust off your boots, put on as much leather as you own, break out those jeans with holes in them, grease your hair a little, don’t worry about shaving, and just cut loose. Once you get to Horseshoe, make a pit-stop at Legends bar, hit up a bottle of whiskey, crack open a few burley-pops, smoke your favorite smoke, and work on achieving an authenticity for the night, because Merle and Kris are gonna treat you to some of the greatest outlaw country music that those very substances influenced the creation of.

Merle Haggard
Kris Kristofferson
Friday, March 4th
The Showroom at Horseshoe Casino
Elizabeth, IN
7:30 pm

** This preview is also published at Louisville.com

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