Steven Tyler Goes Country

When Aerosmith came out, there were the immediate comparisons to the Rolling Stones. Particularly with the Tyler/PerryJagger/Richards combos. Steven Tyler has taken another step – rather late in the game – to draw even closer to Jagger by doing a country single. Haven’t heard the single, “Love Is Your Name,” but it would be hard to top “Dead Flowers.” In fact, is seems like the song’s sentiment is the opposite of the Stones’ tune.


Better comparisons probably would be the country turns by rockers like Bret Michaels and Kid Rock. And this shouldn’t be a surprise since Tyler did a Crossroads a while back with Carrie Underwood.

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Go See Hear in L.A. May 12-18 (The Blue Rodeo/Blue Oyster Cult Edition)

So much music, so much to do this week, so I’m just jumping into it.

Tues. 5/12

Top Show: Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) is getting a bunch of attention for her new album Sprinter, a raw, emotionally-charged set of songs that suggests P.J. Harvey crossed with Tori Amos.

Kelley Deal, of Breeders fame, lands at the Satellite with her new band, R. Ring. Walker Lukens returns to town, headlining at the Troubadour. His new CD was produced with Spoon’s Jim Eno – which gives you a sense of his sound. The Wombats and Life In Film play the Fonda tonight and the Constellation Room on the 15th.

Wed. 5/13

Top Show(s): Shake Some Action is one of the greatest power pop albums of all time. The legendary cult band, The Flaming Groovies are back performing that record, with a stop at the Roxy, The Grammy Museum has a terrific program, spotlighting the pioneering A&R work of Ralph Peer did with American Roots Music during the 20th Century. Peer biographer Barry Mazor is among the guests and Gaby Moreno and the Americans are scheduled to perform. Mike Scott did his recent Waterboys in Nashville, which gave the CD a fresh, trans-Atlantic rootsy sound; they have a show at the Fonda.

Largo hosts another Watkins Family Hour as the release for their wonderful debut album draws closer. The alluring, atmospheric slocore sound of Timber Timbre can be experienced at the Regent with Xiu Xiu opening.

Thurs. 5/14

Bombino will whip up wild desert rock at the Regent. Michael Dean Damron, of the band I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House, has an intimate solo gig at the Mid City Lounge. Say Lou Lou, a Swedish/Australian electro-pop sibling duo plays the Bootleg, while another sibling duo, Satellite Sky, delivers some garage glam rock at the Viper Room. UK troubadour James Bay has a sold out show at the Fonda

Fri. 5/15

Top Show: Liz Longley seems poised for a breakthrough with her self-titled Sugar Hill debut. She’ll share her folk/pop songs at McCabe’s with opener Anthony D’Amato, whose New West debut The Shipwreck From The Shore also is an impressive effort.

The Austin-based outfit Sour Bridges play their rocked up bluegrass at Room 5. Lenny Kravitz plays a rare small hall show at the Fonda.

Sat. 5/16

Top Show(s): The Doheny Blues Festival has an excellent lineup this year. The weekend-long fest features Bonnie Raitt, Paul Rodgers, Boz Scaggs, Valerie June, The Mavericks, Dave & Phil Alvin, Otis Taylor, Candye Kane, North Mississippi All-Stars, Kim Wilson – need I go on? When I was in college, a pal played me an album by a guy named Dirk Hamilton. It was probably Thug Of Love. I don’t remember the details but he left a favorable impression with his smart, rough-edged folk/rock. In my memory, I group him in with guys like Willie Nile, Elliot Murphy and, the only one with a hit, Steve Forbert. He has soldiered on over the years, making music, and you can find him at McCabe’s with another veteran singer/songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill. Discover what Lord Huron has in store on Strange Trails, their follow-up to their mighty Lonesome Dreams CD. They play the Wiltern with Family of the Year opening.

Another blast from the past – Blue Oyster Cult – will serve up their classic rock at the La Mirada Theatre. The Roxy welcomes fast-rising blues/folk/rockers Two Gallants. The eclectic Nellie McKay plays Largo, while Alexa Melo has a gig at Loaded Hollywood in advance of her debut.

Sun. 5/17

Top Show(s): The great Canadian roots rockers Blue Rodeo comes to McCabe’s. The Grand Ole Echo hosts new Southern rockers Banditos, who will hear more about with their Bloodshot debut. Jimbo Mathus, the main man of Mississippi roots music, brings his band, the Tri-State Coalition to the Mint.

Mon. 5/18

Top Show(s): The Milk Carton Kids have a sold out appearance at the Grammy Museum to showcase their new CD, Monterey. The Tallest Man In The World also has a fine, new album Dark Bird Is Home; he’ll have a concert at the Wiltern.

The Wooden Sky swings through Southern California with a stop at Bardot tonight and Santa Ana’s Constellation Room on the 20th. Joining these ragged roots rockers at Bardot tonight is the Nashville group Coin.

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Go See Hear In L.A. May 4-11 (The Gold Star/Sonics Edition)

This week’s shows make me think, with varying degrees of nostalgia, of the Hayward-Lodge Band, Royal Trux and Lords of the New Church. And they also make me wonder how anyone could see half of this week’s top shows.

Tues. 5/5

Top Show(s): I am really impressed with Dark Days, the debut disc by Gold Star (aka Marion Rabenreither). Wonderfully timeless SoCal country rock, a little laidback, a little mournful, a little Gram and a lot of good listening. Harvard & Stone hosts a Tuesday night May residency for Gold Star. Los Lobos and Dave & Phil Alvin – a pantheon of roots music royalty. This Cinco de Mayo benefit takes place at the Regent.

The Moody Blues, featuring John Lodge, Justin Hayward and Graeme Edge, plays the Greek Theatre in support of their recently released 8-disc boxset: The Polydor Years 1986-92. Personally, I prefer the Deram//Theshold years 0f 1967-72. Days of Future Past indeed.

Wed. 5/6

Emily West is a little more musically adventurous than your typical America’s Got Talent finalist. You have four chances to check her out as she plays the Hotel Café every Wednesday this month in advance of her debut release, All For You.

Thurs. 5/7

Top Show(s): There’s a spare, haunting quality to Lady Lazarus’ music. So it’s appropriate that she’s doing an intimate show at the compact Mid-City Lounge to showcase her new CD Miracles. Greyhounds are a very cool soul/rock duo out of Austin. They’ll be groovin’ at the Mint tonight. A duo of the folk variety – the Littlest Birds land at the Coffee Gallery Backstage where they’ll play their delightful acoustic music. A mainstay of the L.A. country/roots music scene, Kip Broadman will have a CD release show at El Cid while the eclectic jazz bassist (and Grammy winner) Esperanza Spaulding headlines the El Rey. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion was a big indie thing in the early ‘90s with their lo-fi arty “blues-rock.” 2015 finds them with a new concept album, Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015, and an Echoplex show.

The Regent Theater hosts a screening of Heaven Adores You – A Documentary Film about the Life & Music of Elliott Smith.

Fri. 5/8

Top Show(s): Largo hosts a show tonight and tomorrow billed as The Last Piano/Vocal Performances by Van Dyke Parks. I don’t know what this means but a Van Dyke Parks show is an immediate must-see and these ones also features scheduled appearances by Kimbra, Maya Rudolph, Gaby Moreno and others. The band Dead Men Walking features the Alarm’s Mike Peters, The Damned Captain Sensible, the Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom and the Living End’s Chris Cheney. The sum certainly can’t live up to the parts but it should be a fun, memorable show. They play Santa Ana’s Constellation Room tonight and the Troubadour on Saturday night.

Jessie Baylin has a fine new CD Dark Place and a show at the Troubadour. The young New Orleans funk outfit Flow Tribe will be jammin’ at the Mint, while Louisiana legends Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet play McCabe’s. Revolt Revolt hits Pasadena’s Old Towne tonight and Santa Monica’s The Trip on 5/10. Last month The Mowgli released Kids In Love; tonight they play the Regent. The Egyptian Theatre screens the film The Ocean of Helena Lee, which is notably here because Maria McKee co-stars in it and she will perform after the screening and filmmakers Q&A.

Sat. 5/9

Top Show(s): The marvelous Rhiannon Giddens has a great debut disc, Tomorrow Is My Turn. Her concert at the El Rey stands as one of the season’s most anticipated shows. Bhi Bhiman will be opening. Joan Armatrading. In a solo show. Man, this takes me back to her albums like Walk Under Ladder and Me Myself I. Hopefully, she’ll live up to the memories. Stephin Merritt is on a solo-ish tour. He’ll be accompanied by long-time collaborator Sam Davol at the Masonic Lodge in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The legendary Sixties garage rockers, The Sonics have just released their first album in over 40 years. They are performing at the Regent Theater; the dynamic Barrence Whitfield is also on the bill.

The Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars come to the Valley Performing Arts Center to play the global music. The stars of Nashville are on a real tour; their L.A. stop is at the Nokia Theater. Perla Batalla’s show at the Broad Stage is entitled “Sings For Everybody and their Mother,” just in time for Mother’s Day.

Sun. 5/10

Top Show: Grant Lee Phillips and Steve Poltz should add up to an especially entertaining night at McCabe’s.

Olin & The Moon’s Everyone You Know really grabbed my interest. The L.A.-based country rockers are on the Grand Ole Echo bill. Matt Lax will be performing with his brothers Anthony and Paul (of I See Hawks In LA) at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

Mon. 5/11

The Grammy Museum not only will screen the blues documentary Born In Chicago but they’ll also host a performance featuring Sam Lay, Barry Goldberg, Corky Siegel, Jimmy Vivino and Marcy Levy.

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R.I.P. Ben E. King

Reports are out today that the great singer Ben E. King has passed away at the age of 76. King is best known for recording the classic tune “Stand By Me.” Just earlier this year, King’s version of “Stand By Me” was added by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry. King first rose to prominence as a member of the Drifters. He sung on that group’s hits like “This Magic Moment.”

My personal fave King is this first solo hit, “Spanish Harlem,” which was written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector with Lieber producing it with his partner Mike Stoller.

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Go See Hear In L.A. April 28-May 4 (Manic Street Preachers/They Might Be Giants edition)

Am I the only one wondering how May is already at my doorstep. While you ponder that, here are the shows that made a mark on my radar. And see if you can notice the various Saturday Night Live cast members popping up this week…

Tues. 4/28

Top Show: Katie Crutchfield’s project Waxahatchie has gotten a lot of good press for their new album, Ivy Tripp. You can check them out at the Roxy with Girlpool. The Bluegrass Situation presents Della Mae and the Wild Reeds at the Echoplex.

Katie Crutchfield is Waxahatchie

Katie Crutchfield is Waxahatchie

Andrew Bird, Tom Brosseau and Becky Sharp are among the “friends” scheduled to appear with John Reilly at Largo. The Weepies showcase songs from their new CD Sirens at an Amoeba in-store. Matt & Kim start a two-night stand at the Fonda.

Wed. 4/29

Top Show: The Regent will have a Scandinavian air tonight and tomorrow as José González and Ólöf Arnalds share a bill.

Susanna Hoffs returns to Largo with Maya Rudolph and Petra Haden as her guests. The Hotel Café welcomes Billington Sea, the new project from Hayley Sabella and Jake Hill. Canadian rapper Buck 65 will stir things up at the Roxy. The Grammy Museum has another night of Celebrity Autobiography, with Debbie Harry, Laraine Newman, Fred Willard and Jennifer Tilly among the cast of performers.

Thurs. 4/30

Top Show: Not surprisingly, the Sleater Kinney show is sold out. Besides the return of this landmark band, the show also features Ian Rubbish (aka Fred Armisen) and Kim Gordon’s new project Body/Head. Shelby Lynne is never shy about speaking her mind so she should make a fascinating guest for The Drop at the Grammy Museum. Her new album is entitled I Can’t Imagine.

Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne

The SoCal rootsy duo Dead Rock West previews tunes from their upcoming It’s Everly Time at the Hotel Café. French singer/songwriter Keren Ann pays a visit to the Skirball.

Fri. 5/1

Top Show: “Make a hole with a gun perpendicular/ To the name of this town in a desk-top globe” I heard “Ana Ng” the other day and it made me smile. I don’t know if They Might Be Giants will be playing that tune at the Regent but it will undoubtedly be a fun show (they’ll play Anaheim’s House of Blues on 5/2).

In advance of his May 5 Merge release MCIII, Mikal Cronin plays Eagle Rock’s Center for the Arts with WAND, Golden Daze and Mild High Club. Singer/songwriter Tony Lucca drops into the Hotel Café. Tennis will volley their hooky tunes at the Troubadour; a deluxe version of their breakthrough album Ritual In Repeat comes out May 12. The Bootleg HiFi will be all light up by the psych rockers of Austin’s The Bright Light Social Hour.

Sat. 5/2

Top Show: John Cooper Clarke is not big name in the States but in his native U.K. he is known as the “godfather of punk poetry.” To say he’s making a rare appearance in L.A. is an understatement. He hasn’t toured the U.S. in 35 years.

John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke

Another “big in Britain” act, Manic Street Preachers, will perform at the Fonda. The Decemberists celebrate What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World at the Greek Theater with Lucius serving as their openers. OK Go is known for the great videos but they’re pretty good with the music too. They headline the Wiltern with Kitten opening. Bay Area soul singer D. Edward has a set at Room 5.

Sun. 5/3

Top Show: Translator hasn’t been much of anywhere in recent years. The ‘80s band, best known for the great tune “Everywhere That I’m Not,” has reunited in honor of Omnivore’s new rarities collection Sometimes People Forget. You can remember their old tunes when they play Molly Malone’s.

One of my daughter’s current fave bands, All Time Low, will be playing the Hollywood Palladium. She doesn’t like concerts so I doubt if I will be taking her to the show.

Mon. 5/4

Walker Lukens, whose new CD was produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno, will play School Night at Bardot while the shoegaze-y dream popster Shana Falana plays pehrspace.

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My Guide To Stagecoach

If I were going to Stagecoach this weekend, here are the acts that I would try to catch. Some are obvious – Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, ZZ Top, Hot Rize, Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert. And some not so – Lindi Ortega, Lydia Loveless, Nikki Lane, Caitlin Rose, Daniel Romero, John Moreland, Lone Bellow, Andrew Combs, Handsome Family, Ben Miller Band, Devil Makes Three…oh, let me just stop there and give you my picks.


Merle Haggard Plays Friday Night

Merle Haggard Highlights Friday Night

Lindi Ortega 1-1:35

Haden Triplets 1:30-2:05

Pegi Young 1:50-2:40

Lydia Loveless 3-3:50

Handsome Family 3:20-4

Lone Bellow 4:10-5:00

Parker Millsap 4:20-5:10

Sturgill Simpson 5:20-6:10

Kacey Musgraves 6:10-7

Time Jumpers w/Vince Gill 6:30-7:20

Steve Earle 7-8

Merle Haggard 7:45-9


Daniel Romero is a fine way to start off Saturday

Daniel Romero is a fine way to start off Saturday

Daniel Romero 1-1:35

John Moreland 1:45-2:25

Nikki Lane 2:40-3:25

Caitlin Rose 3:20-4

Mac Davis 3:40-4:25

Anais Mitchell 4:20-5:10

Eli Young Band 6:05-6:55

Gregg Allman 6:50-7:50

Devil Makes Three 7-8

ZZ Top 8:15-9:30

Dierks Bentley 8:45-9:45

Miranda Lambert 10:15


The reunited Hot Rize are a Sunday must-see.

The reunited Hot Rize are a Sunday must-see.

Andrew Combs 1-1:35

Maddie & Tae – 1:15-1:45

Jason Eady 1:30-2:05

Logan Brill 1:50-2:30

Ben Miller Band 3:20-4:10

Outlaws 3:40-4:25

Chatham County Line 4:40-5:30

Eric Burdon and the Animals 4:45-5:35

Hot Rize 6-7

George Thorogood and the Destroyers 7:15-8:30

I’m sure that I missed a few gems in there. And, not surprisingly, more of my picks are early in the day than the nighttime headliners!

If you’re heading out to Indio – enjoy the shows and be safe out there.

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Go See Hear In L.A. April 21-28 (The Nikki Lane/Caitlin Rose Edition)

Well, Coachella is finally behind us but Stagecoach now is galloping in this weekend. But there is plenty of music to keep you occupied whether you are tired from Indio, headed back to Indio or ignoring Indio all together

Tues. 4/21

The popular Aussie rock band The Cat Empire will be prowling around the El Rey with the Canadian outfit Current Swell opening. Willis Earl Beal is an eccentric cat who makes, as I can best describe as, atmospheric soul music. Check him out at the Echo. The always busy Ty Segall drops into the Satellite with The Cario Gang’s Emmett Kelly and Wand’s Cory Hanson also on the bill.

Nora Jean Struthers

Nora Jean Struthers

Wed. 4/22

Top Show(s): The delightful Nora Jane Struthers brings her band The Party Line to the Hotel Café to share their rootsy tunes from their fine new Wake. More impressive Americana can be heard at the Mint, where The Grahams will be previewing songs from their impressive upcoming album, Glory Bound, which is bound to attract them some attention.

Thur. 4/23

Top Show(s): The local duo Big Harp will share their big indie pop-ness at the Echo, which will also host the alluring Lady Lamb. You can depend on a great show from the Drive-By Truckers, who will roar into the Regent.

Nashville garage rockers The Turbo Fruits party had at the Roxy in support of their just released CD No Control. Eternal Summer will open for them. Another strong double bill take places at the Troubadour where indie rock vets Matt Pond, PA and youngsters Young Buffalo will be performing. Things will be humming at the Hotel Café, where The Bluegrass Situation will present Humming House and Moonville Collective; the bands will be playing in Costa Mesa on the 24th.

Humming House

Humming House

Fri. 4/24

Top Show: The Bluegrass Situation will also be presenting the terrific Nashville-based performer Caitlin Rose at the Fold.

The eclectic instrumentalists Double Naught Spy Car share their latest, all-improv’d CD, Panorama City, with their hometown fans at Taix. The intense singer/songwriter Damien Rice headlines the Greek Theatre, while Australia-born troubadour Stu Larsen plays a set at the Hotel Café and Delicate Steve returns to town with a show at the Bootleg HiFi. Jon Brion will be during this thing – with his band and his special guests – at Largo.

Sat. 4/25

Polaris, the real fake band from the cult TV show The Adventures of Pete and Pete, lands at the Echoplex. Stephen Stills, Neil Young, The White Buffalo, Chris Stills and Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle are slated to appear at the Pantages for Light Up The Blues Concert, which benefits Autism Speaks. Folk music icon Jim Kweskin will dig into his deep reservoir of music at McCabe’s. BritWeek brings the Kaiser Chiefs to the Wiltern.

Sun. 4/26

Top Show: The Roxy tonight hosts a powerhouse Americana lineup: the dynamic Nikki Lane headlines with the fiery Lindi Ortega and up-and-comer John Moreland also on the bill.

Lindi Ortega

Lindi Ortega

Louise Goffin, a talented singer/songwriter who also is the daughter of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, has a show at McCabe’s.

Mon. 4/27

Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin has a solo gig at Largo.

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