Go See Hear In L.A. Aug. 26-31 (The BB King/ZZ Ward edition)

Two of my favorite bands are coming to Southern California this week- and on the same bill. The criminally overlooked “No Depression”-era country rock outfit The Bottle Rockets are touring with master pop tunesmith Marshall Crenshaw. I tracked down vintage video of Crenshaw singing “Someday, Someway” on the Merv Griffin show on YouTube

As well as the BotRox doing  “$1000 Car”

Tues. Aug. 26

Top Show(s): The Bottle Rockets/Marshall Crenshaw tour stops at the Bootleg Hi Fi tonight and Hermosa Beach’s Saint Rocke on the 27th. The Hotel Café, meanwhile, says “bonjour” to French Canadian-born chanteuse Geneviève Bellemare, whose new Live and Die EP (on Verve) showcases her lovely chill-out music.

There will be Panic At The Disco at the Greek with special guests Youngblood Hawke and Walk The Moon.

Wed. Aug. 27

Top Show(s): Musician/producer Joe Henry stops by the Grammy Museum to chat and play. He has a exquisite new album Invisible Hour to talk about but there will probably be conversation on the many other great projects he has been involved in. Say what you will about the mega-success of Frampton Comes Alive, Peter Frampton knows how to play guitar. He brings his latest Guitar Circus to the Hollywood Bowl with Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, David Hildalgo and Randy Bachman (you know from BTO and Guess Who)

Jack Johnson will spend a couple nights at the Greek, with Matt Costa opening tonight and Bahamas tomorrow (my choice would be the Bahamas night). Flagship, whose sound reminds me of the National, continues its residency at the Satellite, while BRONCHO (yes, it’s all caps) ride in from Oklahoma to rock the Echo. Check out their catchy, Anglo-vibed tune “Class Historian”


Thurs. Aug. 28

Top Show(s): Ty Segall starts his sold-out run at the Echo (through the 31st). If you can’t get into to his show, you can catch American blue legend B.B. King at the Anaheim House of Blues. Mission of Burma might not have best known Boston New Wave/Punk band of the early ‘80s but they certainly created some terrific music ala Gang of Four. Here is the song that made me discover them (probably one summer day listening to WBCN).

They are back together and make a rare L.A. appearance at the Roxy.

Men At Work’s Colin Hay has a Largo show, while El Cid has a CD release show from Ana Maria Rosales with Sutter Zachman also on the bill.

Fri. Aug. 29

The N. Carolina indie rockers The Rosebuds will blood at the Satellite. ‘80s nostalgia returns to the Greek with a show featuring the Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure (Ultravox), China Crisis and Katrina (“The Waves” aren’t billed so that probably means no Kimberly Rew). I’m sure there will be hairstyle jokes amidst the synth pop tunes.

Sat. Aug. 30/Sun. Aug. 31

Not much to report yet about Labor Day Weekend, at least concert-wise. Although the Made in America festival includes Weezer, Dr. Dog, Kendrick Lamar, John Mayer and ZZ Ward among the Iggy Azalea, Kanye West, Cypress Hill and Capital Cities.

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Random Notes: From Johnny Cash to Johnny Thunders

Did I predict this would happen or what? No sooner than I post Tuesday’s tribute roundup than I pick up the LA Times and see a big Randy Lewis article on a new Johnny Cash tribute. Look Again To The Wind is a remaking of Cash’s historical, and historic, album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian. This record is historical as it examines the world of the Native Americans and historic as it was a controversial concept album for its time. Contributors to this new version include Bill Miller, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, the Milk Carton Kids and, not surprisingly, Cash’s old compadre Kris Kristofferson.

Roddy Frame, who made an immediate cool impression, when he fronted Aztec Camera in the early 80’s, has a new album out this week – it’s his first in 8 years. Seven Dials was put out on AED Records, which is Edwyn Collins‘ label (just to slip in a reference to the fine Scottish band, Orange Juice).

Also, have to say that I listened to the new album by the Ben Miller Band, Any Way, Shape or Form and I was totally blown away by it. High marks across the board for the album. I don’t know how they have not gotten on my radar before. Here is a live, acoustic version of their tune “Twinkle Toes” from their new CD.

Lastly, the late Johnny Thunders is the subject that documentary Looking For Johnny – The Legend of Johnny Thunders.  Slated for an October release, it covers the colorful life of the founding member of the New York Dolls. While “you can’t put your arms around a memory” (to quote one of his song titles), you can re-live your Thunders memories and more in this doc.

here is a version of that tune that I came across on YouTube




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Catching Up With: Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, George Jones, Woody Guthrie and Muddy Waters

I have been meaning to do another roundup on new tribute projects and other archival releases, but every time I sit down to do one, there are new additions. Well, I am drawing the line in the sand today and patched together a sampler of (at least) some of the worthy titles that have popped up on my radar (did I mix some metaphors there?)

Aug. 19 saw the release of a couple cool tributes. Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch, which finds Dr. John and his pals saluting the legendary Louie Armstrong. Randy Lewis did a nice write-up on this Concord release in the L.A. Times. http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81118913/

Kim Wilson, meanwhile, teamed up with Mud Morganfield to honor Morganfield’s father Muddy Waters. For Pops, which Severn Records released this week, salutes the blues great while marking his 100th anniversary.

On a lighter note, longtime Illinois rockers Enuff Z’nuff have done their version of their favorite tunes. Covered in Gold, which came out this past Tuesday on Cleopatra Records, includes tunes like “The Jean Genie,” “All Apologies,” “When Doves Cry” and “Tears of a Clown.”

Shooter Jennings

Shooter Jennings

Earlier this month, Shooter Jennings paid tribute to one of his idols, George Jones, with a dynamite little EP, Don’t Wait Up (For George), which came out on his BCR/Los Angeles label through Thirty Tigers. It contains his renditions of Jones gems like “She Thinks I Still Care” “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me” and “The Door” along with Jennings originals “Living In A Minor Key” and “Don’t Wait Up,” which he wrote for Jones who unfortunately passed away before he could record it. Jennings says his next project is a tribute to producer Giorgio Moroder, best known for his elaborate disco production work.

Coming later this autumn is the most talked-about reworking of Born To Run entitled Dead Man’s Town. Folks like Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Trampled By Turtles, Justin Townes Earle, Low and others have reconceived the songs from this classic Springsteen album in some very interesting ways. It’s like they de-anthemized the songs and brought out new emotional richness to them. It will come out on Lightning Rod Records on Sept. 16 to commemorate the album’s 30th anniversary.

The latest “Red Hot” project will be a salute to the late singer/songwriter Arthur Russell, who passed away in 1992 due to AID-related causes. Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, which has Nov. 21 release date through Red Hot Organization and Yep Roc Records, holds contributions from Devendra Banhart, Sufjan Stevens, Phosphorescent, The Autumn Defense, Glen Hansard, Sam Amidon and many others.


Mr. Bob Dylan is the subject of an intriguing tribute. Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes draws upon long-lost lyrics that Dylan penned in 1967. Producer T Bone Burnett matched up these lyrics with such artists as Elvis Costello, Jim James, Marcus Mumford and Rhiannon Giddons to create 20 new “old” Dylan covers. The CD will come out Nov. 11 via Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records.

Chris Smither might not be as prominent a songwriter as Dylan but he certainly has some well-known friends. Bonnie Raitt, Dave Alvin, Peter Case, Mary Gauthier, Tim O’Brien and Loudon Wainwright III are a few of the folks who have recorded Smither songs for Link of Chain, a project that honors his 50 years of songwriting as well as his 70th birthday. Signature Sounds will release this on Sept. 30.

The Hollies turn 50 this year and Rhino has compiled a nifty 3-CD compilation – 50 At Fifty, which contains 50 (it makes sense, right?) of the British pop group’s top tunes. The collection spans the band’s history, from their first single – “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me” to their recently recorded “Skylarks.” In between are such beloved tracks as “Look Through Any Window,” “Bus Stop,” “On A Carousel,” “Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress),” and my favorite “Carrie Anne.”


Power pop fans should tip their caps to the fine folks at Omnivore Recordings. This week, they released Failure, the breakout 1988 debut from the Posies. This reissue comes supersized with 8 bonus tracks. On October 7th, the label will put out the self-titled debut from TV Eyes, which was only released in Japan back in 2006. The band features power pop vets Jason Falkner, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Brian Reitzell. This CD contains the 9 tracks from the debut album plus 4 cuts from the group’s Softcore EP (which also was a Japanese-only title).

Omnivore doesn’t only mine the archives, they also put out new albums too. On Sept. 30, they will share the latest offering from Lloyd ColeStandards. This CD includes such guests as Matthew Sweet, Joan Wasser and Fred Maher. Cole fans should also note that he is part of the recently released Gramercy Arms album, which features Tanya Donnelly, Dave Derby and Wasser too.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention the upcoming My Name is New York Project: Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town. This 3-CD audio book contains a 2-disc audio walking tour of New York featuring recollections from Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and other, while the 3rd disc holds 16 NYC-centric songs of Guthrie’s and some new discoveries. The Guthrie Archives will release impressive addition to the Guthrie canon on September 23rd.


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Go See Hear In L.A. Aug. 19-25 (Steep Canyon Rangers/In The Valley Below edition)

I could continue on with last week’s nostalgia theme and mention the Hollywood Bowl’s pair of tributes (to the Beatles and Marvin Gaye) as well as an appearance by the Zombies. But I want to make particular mention of some very talented young act. Benjamin Booker has a lot of heat on him for his new album. He’ll be at the Echo on Thurs. Saturday, meanwhile, offers the hard choice between two Americana darlings – Zoe Muth (who’ll be at McCabe’s) and John Fulbright (who will be at the Pasadena Levitt Pavilion.

Tues. Aug. 19

The banjo/cello duo Littlest Birds land at Matt Denny’s Ale House in Arcadia tonight and Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood tomorrow night. The Henry Clay People lead a free tribute show to the Replacements at the Satellite.

Lake Street Dive

Lake Street Dive

Wed. Aug. 20

Top Show:What’s Going On” at the Hollywood Bowl? A tribute to the great Marvin Gaye album featuring John Legend and Sharon Jones & Dap-tones.

Lake Street Dive keeps on going with their phenomenal success of their Bad Self Portraits album. They’ll stop at Santa Ana’s Observatory tonight and then headlining the Wiltern on the 23rd.

Thurs. Aug. 21

Top Show: Benjamin Booker has generated a lot of talk over his fiercely rocking self-titled album. You can hear what all the excitement is about at the Echo. The Zombies can be seen on the Santa Monica Pier. The legendary ‘60s pop band plays the Twilight Concert Series with the Mystic Braves.

You can spend an evening with Lynda Kay at the Three of Clubs in Hollywood.

Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker

Fri. Aug. 22

Top Show: Good and free – that’s the lineup at FIGat7th tonight when The Belle Brigade and In The Valley Below are set to play.

The Hollywood Bowl salutes the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ big concert there with a pair of shows that will recreate this musically historic event. Dave Stewart serves as ringmaster for the event, which includes appearances by Michelle Branch, Billy Ray Cyrus, Martina McBride, Allen Stone and others (it’s a curious non-rock lineup but maybe the Bowl has its reasons). Oh, and Bob Eubanks who produced the concert will be on hand too. Lila Downs and Kinky share the Greek bill while Johnathan Rice & Friends will hold the Largo stage and Keaton Simons has a date at the Hotel Café. The Young Dubliners will deliver spirited Celtic rock – for free – at the Levitt Pavilion in MacArthur Park.

Sat. Aug. 23

Top Show(s): Zoe Muth showcases her wonderful new album World of Strangers at McCabe’s. John Fulbright, one of the rising stars in the Americana scene, plays a free show at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena. Big-time bluegrass stars Steep Canyon Rangers (non-bluegrass fans know them as Steve Martin’s band) has a show of their own at the Roxy.

Zoe Muth

Zoe Muth

Southern rock great Dickie Betts comes to the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Mandolin Orange performs some vibrant roots music at the Hotel Café. The FYF Fest comes to the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park this weekend with a packed lineup that includes HAIM, The Strokes, Slowdive, Slint, Built to Spill and more.

Sun. Aug. 24

Top Show: The Both (aka Ted Leo and Aimee Mann) perform, what is billed as, an “intimate evening” at Largo.

The Grand Ole Echo offers Whispering Pines, Cliff Wagner, Christy Hays and the Ben Reddell Band for your Sunday afternoon enjoyment.


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Take A Listen: The Vaselines’ New Tune – “High Tide Low Tide”

The influential Scottish band the Vaselines have a new album in the pipeline, V For Vaseline, which is slated for an October release on Rosary Music.


The band, which is based around Eugene Kelly & Frances McKee, is best known as being one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite groups (Nirvana famously covered a trio of Vaselines tunes). The Vaselines released only one album during their initial time together in the 1980’s (1989’s Dum Dum). Their sophomore effort only arrived in 2010 (the Subpop-released Sex With An X) so V For Vaseline marks just the band’s third full-length.

Listen to this new track “High Tide Low Tide” and you’ll hear that Kelly & McKee still know how to turn out a poppy punky tune that bursts with ragged charm.

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Go See Here In L.A. Aug. 11-18 (The Superchunk/Sonics Edition)

This week offers nostalgia acts in all types of musical shapes. Starting with Bobby Rush and Bettye LaVette on Monday and wrapping up with the Counting Crows and Toad The Wet Sprocket on Sunday. In between, you can see ZZ Top and Jeff Beck, Smashmouth & Sugar Ray and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Speaking of music from yesteryear, I see the film Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday. Besides it being a total blast of comic book action fun, the movie had a wonderfully evocative soundtrack of ’70s songs. One particular highlight was the Raspberries‘ “Go All The Way,” which particularly transported me back to my Cleveland youth. There are a couple of vintage clips on YouTube of the band performing this song but I picked this one from Don Kirscher’s Rock Concert


Mon. Aug. 11

Top Show(s): Two master performers are in town tonight. Bluesman Bobby Rush has a sitdown at the Grammy Museum while R&B queen Bettye LaVette will shake things up at the Viper Room.

 Tues. Aug. 12

Mustered Courage brings their Australian style Americana to the Hotel Café. They recently inked a deal with Travianna Records. Hannah Georgas also has a Hotel Café set tonight. ‘80s nostalgia reigns at the Greek when the Under The Sun tour brings Smashmouth, Sugar Ray, Blues Traveler and Uncle Kracker to town.

 Wed. Aug. 13

Top Show: “Get Up On” to the Hollywood Bowl, which hosts a James Brown Celebration featuring JB Alumni Band, Aloe Backc, D’Angelo, Bettye LaVette, Angelique Kidjo among the performers.

The Greek, meanwhile, will be a guitar lover’s heaven with the twin bill of ZZ Top and Jeff Beck. Things will be a little quieter at the Bootleg where Harper Simon performs.

 Thurs. Aug. 14

Top Show(s): UK songstress Imelda May puts an interesting jazzabilly twist to her music. She’ll celebrate her recently released CD Tribal (Verve Records) at the El Rey. Louise Goffin (the daughter of Gerry Goffin and Carole King) put out a terrific album earlier this summer, Songs From The Mine, which she will undoubtedly be showcasing at her Viper Room appearance.

La Santa Cecilia and Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkestra will keep things lively on the Santa Monica Pier and more Latin sounds can been heard at the Skirvall where Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca team up for a special show. Foxygen will rock the Fonda with Gary Wilson tonight and Santa Ana’s Observatory on the 15th.

 Fri. Aug. 15

Top Show(s) Whether or not there will be a culture class when infamous Texas outlaw troubadour Billy Joe Shaver plays laidback Huntington Beach’s Don the Beachcomer, it is worth seeing Billy Joe for any reason (and he’ll play the Satellite on the 16th). Legendary garage rockers The Sonics will blast off at the Roxy, while indie rock icons Superchunk has a show at Eagle Rock’s Center for the Arts.

The twangy duo Goodnight, Texas shares their new album, Uncle John Farquhar at the Mint. Willie’s kid Lukas Nelson brings his band, The Promise of the Real to the Troubadour. Grouplove, Portugal, The Man and Tokyo Police Club share the Greek’s stage. The local rockers Fool’s Gold has a free show at FIGat7th, Bay Area roots band Blame Sally are at the Pasadena Levitt Pavilion, while Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate have a freebie gig at Grand Performances in downtown L.A.

 Sat. Aug. 16

Top Show: The Bootleg welcomes Quiet Life, whose wonderfully ramshackled EP Housebroken Man features Shovels & Rope’s Cary Ann Hearst.

In The Valley Below previews their impressive debut The Belt at the Village. Singer/Songwriter Sam Morrow shares songs from his debut Ephemeral at Room 5. The Helio Sequence and Liam Finn have a Roxy show. Relive the ‘90s Ska revival when the Mighty Mighty Bosstones play the Fonda, while Smokey Robinson headlines at the Greek. The Americans serve up their American music at McCabe’s. On the free show circuit: Miner and Eagle Rock Gospel Singers play L.A.’s Grand Performances and Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca come to Pasadena’s Levitt Pavilion (and LACMA on Aug. 22).

Sun. Aug. 17

The week of summertime nostalgia tours continues with Counting Crows headlining the Greek with Toad The Wet Sprocket. It’s a show that would be sponsored by KSCA, if this were 1995.

 Mon. Aug. 18

Reckless Kelly rolls into town to serve up some Texas-style rock at the El Rey.

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Go See Hear In L.A. Aug. 5-11 (The smallpools/Wild Reeds edition)

This week holds a couple of big Nashville country bills, some AOR rock icons (Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blue Oyster Cult), a Beatle, a Springsteen sideman and some real music biz characters (Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Rush), among other cool shows. But I wanted to know the passing of guitarist Dick Wagner, a name any fan of ’70s or ’80s rock ‘n’ roll will recognize for his work with folks like Alice Cooper and Lou Reed. Here’s a latter day performance of him doing “Sweet Jane” that has a massive opening guitar solo (5 minutes by my count).

Mon. Aug. 5

Sure, Nils Lofgren is known as the guitarist in Springsteen’s band who wasn’t in the Sopranos. Sure, Lofgren also played in Neil Young’s band before he was 20. But Lofgren put out some mighty fine music (“Cry Tough” immediately comes to mind) on his own and in his band Grin. To coincide with the release of the deluxe career retrospective Face The Music, Lofgren has a sold-out sit-down at the Grammy Museum.

The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rumbles into the Observatory (this show cross references The Wild One with Rebel Without A Cause). Jarvis Cocker is slated to appear at the Cinespia screening of Pulp: The Film at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.

Tues. Aug. 6

Top Show(s). It’s one of the overstuffed weeknights of music. Peter Himmelman and New Orleans-based keyboardist Jon Cleary each have sets at the Mint. Austin singer/songwriter Philip Gibbs visits the Cinema Bar tonight and plays the Grand Ole Echo on 8/10. His new CD Box Canyon Blues is worth checking out for its collection of gritty, space music. Amos Lee and Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers make a fine pair at the Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa tonight and Riverside’s Fox Theater on 8/8.

The Section Quartet celebrates the music of Elliott Smith with some special guest in a Largo show benefitting Free Arts For Abused Children. Heavy metal warriors Deep Purple and Blue Oyster Cult team up for a colorful night of classic rock at the O.C. Fair’s Pacific Amphitheatre. Songstress Naama Kates takes time out from working on a new album to play the Silverlake Lounge. There’ll be a Deer Tick sighting at the Observatory tonight (and tomorrow at the Echoplex) while Arctic Monkeys romp it up at the Staples Center (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will be their openers). Country rockers the Josh Abbott Band play the Troubadour.

Wed. Aug. 7

Top Show(s): HAIM, who has broke out in a big way over the past year, headline the Wiltern tonight and tomorrow. A true original, Billy Joe Shaver will share stories and songs at the Grammy Museum in celebration of his first studio album in 6 years – Long In The Tooth.

Nashville rockers Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah headline the Troubadour and local singer/songwriter Lena Fayre has a CD release show at the voila! Gallery

Thurs. Aug. 8

Top Show: Where else would Spoon celebrate a new album entitled They Want My Soul but at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery?

Cries of “Free Bird” will fill the O.C. Fair’s Pacific Amphitheatre for Southern Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Truth & Salvage Co. has a date at the Hotel Café, while Gardens & Villa has a free show at Fig at 7th. Country music rules at the Greek with a bill of Jake Owen, Frankie Ballard and Leah Turner.

Sat. Aug. 9

Top Show: Jenny Lewis is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so, for her new CD, The Voyager. She’s headlining at the Wiltern. Nashville rockers Those Darlins top the bill at the Echo.

Folk rockers The Wild Reeds will appear at the Troubadour. It’ll be ‘80s night at Pershing Square with a bill of the English Beat and Stan Ridgway. The Cold And Lovely, featuring Meghan Toohey of the Weepies and Nicole Fiorentino (Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt, Spinnerette) have a free show as part of Chinatown’s Summer Nights series.

Sun. Aug. 10

Top Show(s): Sir Paul McCartney plays Dodgers Stadium. No more needs to be said. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre has a big country bill featuring Miranda Lambert, Justin Moore, Thomas Rhett and others.

The Hot Club of Detroit will make merry during their free show at the Pasadena Levitt Pavilion. McCabe’s welcomes veteran singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Grant Langston, Jonny Kaplan and Philip Gibbs are among the Grand Ole Echo’s performers. Smallpools surfaces at the Petersen Auto Museum.

Mon. Aug. 11

Top Show: Bluesman Bobby Rush is 77 years strong. He’ll be at the Grammy Museum to talk about his life and play some music. He earned a Grammy nomination last year for Down In Louisiana.

Aussie band Panama (is there a band in Panama named Australia?) makes its L.A. debut at School Night at Bardot. Sara Bareilles and Hannah Georgas share the bill at the Greek.

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