Go See Hear In L.A. April 27-May 3 (the Posies/Catcus Blossoms edition)

Well, April is turning into May, which means that the school year is ending soon, summer is coming and all that entails (sorry, I’m not that profound today). But here are the shows this transitional week that have caught my attention.

Wed. 4/27

Top Show(s): You can be part of music history, in a matter of speaking, at Glendale’s Alex Theater. An all-star cast of players – Jeff Tweedy, Ira Kaplan, Robyn Hitchcock, Mike Mills, Chris Stamey, Mitch Easter and Jody Stephens – will be performing Big Star’s Third album as well as other classic Big Star tunes in concert as part of Thank You Friends, Big Star’s Third.  Concord Bicycle Music will be recording this for an upcoming CD and DVD.


Mitch Easter, Mike Mills, Ken Stringfellow and Chris Stamey in the background (courtesy of Jamie Williams)

Another cult figure, the late British comedian Marty Feldman, will be feted at Largo at a Jeff Garlin-hosted event featuring Monty Python’s Eric Idle. Meanwhile, rock legend Iggy Pop will be at the Grammy Museum along with Josh Homme to discuss Pop’s new album, which Homme produced. Pop plays the Greek tomorrow night. If you don’t have a ticket already for Chris Stapleton at the Greek, good luck. If you do, get there early to hear the terrific Anderson East.

Tarra Layne serves up some bluesy rock ‘n’ roll at Glendale’s Complex. Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Masonic Lodge seems like an appropriate location for Marissa Nadler to celebrate her latest effort Strangers. Black Mountain will open the shows tonight and tomorrow. The Damnwells’ Alex Dezen concludes his Hotel Café residency. Check out his self-titled solo outing; it contains some really good, smart stuff.

Thurs. 4/28

Top Show(s): There’ll be a six-string summit along the Pacific as Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Randolph, Albert Lee, Dale Watson, Randy Jackson and Richie Sambora will be taking part in the Malibu Guitar Festival. Tonight is a benefit at Casa Escobar and the rest of the fest runs through Sunday at several locations. Learn more at www.malibuguitarfestival.com. Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer have a new Posies album. While they are in town for the Big Star concert, they will be playing a mystery show tonight and on the 30th; hunt on Everbrite.com for details. The wonderful Memphis roots rockers Lucero has a show at Pomona’s Glasshouse.

Things will be swinging at the Rose in Pasadena, where the Big Bad Voodoo Daddies will be playing.

Fri. 4/29


Avett Brothers

Top Show: The Avett Brothers’ new album is called True Sadness but it should be anything but sad at the Greek where they will be performing along with the Milk Carton Kids. Susto is one of those bands that you hear the first time and know that they have the goods; these South Carolina-based twang rockers will be impressing folks at the Roxy tonight.

Get down to the Regent to catch the always energetic Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Opening is Seratones, an impressive young band with a full-bodied soul-rock sound (their Fat Possum album Get Gone comes out May 6). I See Hawks In L.A.’s Robert Rex Waller Jr. has a record release show at Taix for his solo covers project Fancy Free; Double Naught Spy Car serves as his opener.  Longtime singer/songwriter Lucy Kaplansky, who has collaborated over the years with Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson, has a show at McCabe’s, while tunesmith Peter Bradley Adams performs a set at the Hotel Café as will the quite promising young singer/songwriter Connor Zwetch. The eclectic Oregon Americana band Fruition shares their latest labor of love, Labor of Love, at the Bootleg with Moonsville Collective also on the bill. And Jon Brion wasn’t going to let the month go by without playing a Friday night at Largo.

Sat. 4/30



Amanda Shires

Top Show: Talented singer/songwriter/fiddler Amanda Shires has a late show at the Mint. She is married to Jason Isbell but she also has a number of great albums of her own.

Considering they had a big hit with “Blood & Roses,” it seems appropriate that the Smithereens will have a show at The Rose in Pasadena. Atlas Genius and The Young Wild can be found at the El Rey.

Sun. 5/1

Top Show: The Grand Ole Echo has a particularly grand bill that includes the Cactus Blossoms and Luke Bell.


Luke Bell

The 26th annual Bob Dylanfest will take place at Torrance’s James Armstrong Theater.

Mon. 5/2

Duran Duran, whose music plays a pivotal role in the fine new film, Swing Street, will be performing at the Belasco Theatre. Tortoise is out behind its first CD since 2009; the acclaimed instrumental outfit headlines the Teragram Ballroom.

Tues. 5/3

Top Show(s): Jackson Browne will do a solo acoustic show at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Spain has a new CD out Carolina and the slo-core pioneers will be residing at the Love Song in DTLA starting today, May 10 and May 27.

Posted in Best in L.A. Shows, Music,, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Desk Clearing: Jerry Lee Lewis, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan, The Dead and the rest (updated)

I wanted to catch up on some recent and somewhat recent news.

It seems like it is a particular popular time for covers albums. You have probably have heard that Bob Dylan is following up last year’s Shadows of the Night with Fallen Angels, which includes his versions of classic American songs like “That Old Black Magic,” “It Had To Be You” and “Come Rain Or Come Shine.”

Richard Barone, from one of my favorite ‘80s bands The Bongos, is working on a project entitled Sorrows & Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s, which salutes the downtown NYC singer-songwriter scene of the Sixties. Among the proposed tracks are tunes from Mr. Dylan, Phil Ochs, Dion, Paul Simon, Lou Reed and James Taylor. You can visit http://pledgemusic.com/richardbarone to find out more details.

Bill Lloyd, the Lloyd in the country duo Foster & Lloyd, shows his love for some of his musical idols on Lloyd-ering, which includes his renditions the Byrds’ “The World Turns Around Her,” the dB’s “Neverland,” Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World,” Bobby Fuller’s “Let Her Dance” the Hollies’ “Step Inside.” Except for a until-now-unavailable take on the Lovin’ Spoonful‘s “Coconut Grove,” the songs are drawn from his contributions from various tribute albums over the years. Since I have been listening to the Raspberries this week, here is Lloyd’s version of “Goin’ Nowhere Tonight.”

John Prine’s trusty guitarist Jason Wilber has gathered a very fine, acoustic album of eclectic covers. The tracks on Echoes range from songs by Prine, Leon Russell and Joni Mitchell to ones by Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and Echo & the Bunnymen.

Continuing in the covers theme – I See Hawks In L.A. frontman Robert Rex Waller Jr. takes on tunes from Daniel Johnston, Neil Young, Nina Simone, Mike Stinson, Oak Ridge Boys, the Hollies and the Doors on his Fancy Free. You can learn more about this CD at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1218631528/robert-rex-waller-jr-fancy-free-solo-covers-lp-pre

Covers also predominate on the upcoming solo outing from the longtime, but now former, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos. His Greetings From Bunezuela! (due June 24) also has guest shots by features Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices), Xeno (original Cheap Trick vocalist), Hanson, Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), John Stirratt (Wilco), Nicholas Tremulis and Alex Dezen (Damnwells). In fact, Pollard sings on a remake of his own tune “Do Something Real.” https://soundcloud.com/eone-music/bunecarlos-do-something-real

And the most conceptual covers album of recent memory is Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out and this 2005 CD has been reissued on Bar/None along with her 1996 solo effort Imaginaryland.


Ken & Jon of the Posies

Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer are back together as the Posies. They have a new album Solid States, which is their first one of new material since 2010’s Blood/Candy. These longtime power pop mainstays call this new CD their “most adventurous to date” so expect some unexpected sonic explorations on Solid States.

Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead is a documentary on the punk pioneers The Damned that MVD Entertainment Group will put out on DVD May 20. Besides the Damned bandmates (Captain Sensible, Dave Vanian, Rat Scabies and Brian James), the film also features Chrissie Hynde, Dave Gahan, Lemmy, Mick Jones, Billy Idol and Nick Mason (yes, from Pink Floyd).


Sing Street

Speaking of films, Sing Street is a delightful movie that is out now from John Carney (the filmmaker behind Once). I describe this movie, which is set in 1985 Dublin, as something John Hughes might have done if he grew up in working class Ireland and not suburban Illinois. The soundtrack, on Republic Records, includes songs from the Jam, Hall & Oates, Duran Duran and the Cure along with some really great original tunes.


Andre Williams

79-year-old cult titan Andre “Mr. Rhythm” Williams will put out his new album I Wanna Go Back To Detroit City, a salute to his adopted hometown, on Bloodshot on June 3.  The King of Swamp Rock Tony Joe White will be releasing his 19th studio album on May 27. Rain Crow (Yep Roc) even includes a writing collaboration with Billy Bob Thornton. Yep Roc is also behind the new work by the Felice Brothers; Life In The Dark has a June 24 due date. I loved a live set of theirs I saw a few years back so I’m curious to hear this disc.

Omnivore Recordings has fashioned an Allen Ginsberg box set The Last Word On First Blues, which contains the original double LP (released in 1983) along with 11 previously unissued songs from the 1971 and 1981 sessions and demos and live recordings featuring Bob Dylan and Arthur Russell. The box set (due May 20) also includes writings and drawings from Ginsberg’s archives, a 28-page booklet of photos and an essay from set producer Pat Thomas featuring interviews with original participants.

A “red wine” vinyl version of the 1980 Takoma release Charles Bukowski Reads His Poetry is among the interesting June offerings from Real Gone Music. The archive-loving label will also be putting out a previously unreleased Live In Finland 1971 by Fairport Convention and Got A Mind To Give Up Living: Live 1966 by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band as well as a re-packaging of Loudon Wainwright‘s first two albums (his self-titled debut and Album II), the 2-CD Edgar Winter: The Definitive Collection (which includes his Epic hits “Free Ride,” “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo” and “Frankenstein), and Sam, Hard and Heavy, the star-studded 1971 solo effort by Sam Samudio (aka Sam the Sham).

Here is a track that also features Duane Allman and Jim Dickinson

Meanwhile, Bear Family Records have released Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works, a mammoth box set packed with 18 CDs, plus 2 300-page books. On June 4, Pete, a 1996 album Pete Seeger did with Paul Winter will be reissued as a CD/DVD package that includes some little seen latter day Seeger concert footage.

Rhino has assembled a 12-CD Grateful Dead boxed set July 1978: The Complete Recordings, which includes 5 previously unreleased concert Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO (7/1/78), St. Paul Civic Center, St. Paul, MN (7/3/78), Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, NE (7/5/78), and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison CO (7/7/78 and 7/8/78). Dead-heads will also want to circle May 11 on their calendars. Fathom Events and Rhino are doing its annual “Meet Up At The Movies” and screening the previously unseen July 2, 1989 concert at Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.


Paul Simon (photo by Myrna Suarez

In more music legends news, Paul Simon is readying solo album 13 for a June 3 on Concord Records. Stranger To Stranger reunites him with producer Roy Halee, who has helmed several Simon & Garfunkel albums as well as some of their separate solo records. He also appears in the S&G “A Simple Desultory Philippic” song lyric “been Roy Haleed and Art Garfunkeled.”

The Rolling Stones are said to be putting out a new album that will be accenting the blues sometime this year.


John Mayall’s Bluebreakers circa 1967

Speaking of the blues, Forty Below Records will be putting out John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers– Live in 1967- Volume Two on May 6. The recording come from the Spring of 1967 and John Mayall’s band was comprised of Peter Green (lead guitar), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) before they started Fleetwood Mac. Jeff Beck, another British guitar hero from that era, has a new album and a book lined up for July.

Esme Patterson, who caught my attention with her last album Woman To Woman and her stint with Shakey Graves, has her new album We Were Wild set for a June 10 release.  June 24 is the day for the Avett BrothersTrue Sadness, (American/Republic Records), which has been described as a personal album looking back at the time together.


Sara Watkins

Sara Watkins’ new album Young In All The Wrong Ways will come out on New West on July 1. She describes it as a “breakup album with myself.” Produced Gabe Witcher, the CD has contributions from Chris Eldridge, Jon Brion, Jay Bellerose, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan and Jim James.  James’ band My Morning Jacket will see their 2003 album It Still Moves reissued by ATO Records, beefed up with 13 previously unreleased demos and B-sides.


Jack Ingram

I have been a fan of Jack Ingram since his late ‘90s album, so it is happy news that he has a new one on the way – look for his Rounder debut Midnight Motel later this summer. More recently (like this week)

I was impressed with the video from country newcomer Luke Bell (http://www.npr.org/event/music/474807133/got-a-broken-heart-hit-the-karaoke-bar-with-luke-bells-sometimes) . There’s an endearing mischievousness to his honky tonk tune. Another new honky tonker that I am digging is Nudie, who hails from the land up north (aka Canada).

If you are looking for some laidback folk-y music, you should check out Former Belle (led by singer-songwriter and CRUISR guitarist Bruno Catrambone) and the wonderfully named Wolfie’s Just Fine, a project by musician/comedian/actor Jon Lajoie.


Divine Weeks

If you are looking for something with more of an edge. Divine Weeks, the underappreciated L.A. rock group of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, has reformed for the powerful See Those Landing Lights, their first album since 1991. They will be doing a big (and free!) record release show at L.A.’s Fais Do Do on May 21.

Francophiles keep an eye out for Juniore. Fronted by brainchild of French singer/songwriter Anna Jean, the group has a cool, cinematic sound that is a little dream-like and “un peu triste.” Check out this track that is up on thefader.com http://www.thefader.com/2016/04/21/juniore-album-announcement-burger-records

Lastly, I want to note the passing of guitarist Lonnie Mack. While Prince’s death has deservedly gotten huge coverage. Mack, who was 74, ranks as one of those guys who is beloved and exulted by his peers but little known to the public. The blues-rock guitarist was a big influence on Stevie Ray Vaughan, that’s some high praise there. Here is a clip of him playing on AM Cleveland. It might not be the best Mack clip but, hey, I’m from Cleveland and it is a fun clip.



Posted in Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go See Hear In L.A. April 19-26 (The Damned/Those Pretty Wrongs

Tues. 4/19

Top Show: Dan Auerbach leads The Arcs, his super side-project, into town with a show at the Fonda tonight and Pomona’s Glass House on the 22nd.

Wed. 4/20

Top Show(s): Punk pioneers The Damned perform at Pomona’s Glass House tonight and the Roxy on the 21; their doc. Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead comes out on DVD on May 20. Judah & The Lion bring their “Folk Hop N Roll” (that’s the name of their David Cobb-produced CD) to the Troubadour with the Saint Johns’ opening. The Theatre at the Ace welcomes another side-project tonight: The Last Shadow Puppets are led by Miles Kane and Arctic MonkeysAlex Turner.  Long Beach-born Mexican music star Julieta Venegas plays Anaheim’s House of Blues tonight and tomorrow and the Wiltern on the 22nd. American Idol survivor Casey Abrams arrives at the Mint in support of his Concord Records debut. The Grammy Museum hosts a talk with photographer Daniel Kramer whose Dylan photos are currently on display.

Thur. 4/21

Top Show(s): The Teragram Ballroom will be filled with the glorious guitar sounds of Bombino, the Tuareg musician is touring behind his recently released Azel. Susanna Hoffs, Sara Watkins and Jon Brion are among those participating in tonight’s edition of Sweethearts at Largo.

It might be hard to remember that at one point in the early ‘80s, the Welsh band The Alarm was looked at as the next U2. The band’s frontman Mike Peters will perform at McCabe’s tonight. Heather Nova, who was part of the Lilith Fair scene, will do a set of songs at the Hotel Café. International star Asah Avidan showcases his unique song stylings at the Teragram.


Fri. 4/22

Top Show(s): Some great songs just deserve to be better known. Garland Jeffreys’ “Wild In The Streets” is one of them. The New York street troubadour is out on tour with West Coaster Chuck Prophet.


McCabe’s should be the site of a fine show tonight. Those Pretty Wrongs, featuring Luther Russell and Big Star’s Jody Stephens, has a show at the Echo. Rock legend Graham Nash showcases his new album This Path Tonight at Beverly Hills’ Saban Theatre.

Roger Clyne brings his western rock ‘n’ roll to Hermosa Beach’s Saint Rockne while the Americana outfit Dead Winter Carpenters play Claremont’s Kohoutek Music Festival.


There is a big musical festival this weekend. Yes, other than Coachella. The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers a great lineup of musical acts. Friday night holds, Don Edwards, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and The Quebe Sisters in three different concerts. Saturday’s concerts include one with Hot Club of Cowtown and Sourdough Slim and another with rockabilly man James Intveld while Sunday features The Americans and Don Edwards again.


Sat. 4/23

Those fine fiddlers The Quebe Sisters headline the Irvine Barclay tonight, while veteran folkie Eric Andersen visits McCabe’s. Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley has done his first solo outing, which he will present at Anaheim’s House of Blues tonight and the Troubadour on the 26th. America’s Got Talent alum Jonah Smith serves up his rootsy tunes at Mrs. Fish.


Sun. 4/24

Top Show(s): Alejandro Escovedo celebrates the 15th anniversary of his classic A Man Under The Influence at Don The Beachcomber in Huntington Beach. Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady will discuss the Jefferson Airplane at the Grammy Museum.

Tom Brosseau and Don Heffington share the McCabe’s bill tonight.


Tues. 4/26

Top Show(s): Holy Holy is a David Bowie tribute concert put together by two longtime Bowie colleagues: producer/bassist Tony Visconti and bassist Woody Woodmansey. They had done this show for the past few years and isn’t something that was organized after Bowie’s death. Lissie shares her new CD My Wild West at the Grammy Museum.

Posted in Best in L.A. Shows, Music, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Up For Record Store Day

I won’t bore you all with why I have been absent of late but it involves computer woes that hopefully are behind me. I was going to do a round up of this weekend’s shows (and I still might) but I wanted to spotlight some of the releases for Record Store Day, which is happening this Saturday.

The Feelies (who have seen a couple of their old albums reissued by Bar/None recently and are working on a new one) will put out an EP of covers called Uncovered. It features their previously unreleased commercially renditions of “Seven Days” (Bob Dylan), “Take It As It Comes” (The Doors), “Dancing Barefoot” (Patti Smith), and “Bar Stool Blues” (Neil Young). In more covers news, ABKCO will give the first US release to The AnimalsAnimals Tracks EP, which back out abroad in 1965. This EP’s covers are Chuck Berry’s “How You’ve Changed,” Ray Charles’ “I Believe to My Soul,” Shirley & Lee’s “Let The Good Times Roll” and Big Maceo Merriweather’s “Worried Life Blues.”


Yep Roc has a trio of RSD releases: an Eli “Paperboy” Reed single that comes with a cool vintage-looking sleeve, a big 4-LP vinyl boxset of the Canadian instro band, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet (familiar to all Kids In The Hall fans) and a new 45 from the always-good-to-hear-from Fleshtones.


Merge is reissuing a compilation of Superchunk’s early singles Tossing Seeds (Singles 89–91), while the archival label Tompkins Square is putting out Beyond The Confession, which finds Kid Millions from the band Oneida re-interpreting the work of micro-cult guitarist Harry Taussig.

Rhino’s releases include Buddy Guy & Junior Wells: The Criteria Sessions (12-inch 180-gram vinyl), Ethan Hawke with The David Braid Quartet: My Funny Valentine b/w I’ve Never Been In Love Before (from the Born To Be Blue film that is well worthy checking out), Son Volt: Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96 (2-LP set on 180-gram vinyl), Allen Toussaint: Live in Philadelphia 1975 (12-inch 180-gram vinyl) and Nuggets: Hallucinations – Psychedelic Pop (2-LP set on 180-gram purple marbled vinyl swirl).


They have something big for Monkees fans (10-LP set on various color vinyl The Monkees: Classic Album Collection) and something smaller: (The Monkees: Saturday’s Child 7-inch Monkees logo-shaped picture disc). Plus their contributions to the Side By Side Series include Willie Nelson / Uncle Tupelo: Truck Drivin’ Man (Live), Albert King / The Paul Butterfield Blues Band: Born Under A Bad Sign (7-inch bone inside swamp green vinyl) and Warren Zevon / Flamin’ Groovies: Werewolves Of  London (7-inch picture disc).


Tom Petty fans can thank Warner Brothers for having a Mudcrutch black vinyl 7″ showcasing two new songs “Trailer” and “Beautiful World” are from their forthcoming album as well as Tom Petty And The HeartbreakersKiss My Amps Live Vol. 2, which holds deep tracks, hits, and handpicked covers recorded live during Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ 2013 tour.

WB will also put out a 3-LP version of Emmylou HarrisWrecking Ball includes the original Daniel Lanois-produced album, remastered, along with several bonus tracks first released on the 2014 three-disc Nonesuch reissue of the album.


I also looked over Amoeba’s massive list (that you can find online) and found titles like Lucinda WilliamsJust A Little More Faith & Grace, Big Star’s Complete Columbia: Live At University Of Missouri 1993 (2LP), Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 Box Set (3LP/3 7″s/3CD), Jay Farrar’s Sebastpol (2LP White Vinyl) and a blue vinyl release of All Aboard The Blue Train With Johnny Cash, There are a pair of Langhorne Slim releases (When The Sun’s Gone Down and Live at Grimey’s) as well as two from Alejandro Escovedo (2-LP Gravity and 2-LP Thirteen Years). On the singles front, there are a couple of items from punk’s early years: Pere Ubu’s 30 Seconds Over Tokyo b/w Heart Of Darkness and the RamonesJudy Is A Punk (the lost 1975 demo versions).


You can find the full list of their offerings online.

I’m sure there are many more worthy releases to mention but this should be a good start for RSD shoppers.

Posted in Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go See Hear In L.A. March 24-29 (the Sunshine Bean/Black Lillies edition)

The concert scene is heating up again post-SxSW, or for whatever reason. Before I get on with the shows, I did want to mention that the Hank Williams bio-pic I Saw The Light opens this weekend along with the Chet Baker movie Born To Be Blue. Also opening this weekend is Take Me To The River, which seems to have no obvious connections to either Al Green or the Talking Heads.

Thurs. 3/24

Top Show: Sunshine Bean has a captivating sound that is part shoegazing and part jangly pop. They released their debut Human Ceremony last month and will be at the Echo tonight.

There will be a Ra Ra Riot at the Teragram Ballroom tonight as the synth-leaning indie rockers come to town to play. Big Thief showcases music from their Masterpiece debut on Saddle Creek at the Echoplex with Yuck. Local singer/songwriter Emmett Sky will be playing at the Soho House. Expect to hear plenty of Pink Floyd mind-expanding classics at the Hollywood Bowl tonight and tomorrow night when David Gilmour performs; just don’t expect Roger Waters. The playfully-named Portland band Guantanamo Baywatch comes down from Portland to play their brand of surf-y indie pop at Non Plus Ultra with The Memories and Gooch Palms.

 Fri. 3/25

Brett Harris

Brett Harris

Top Show(s): McCabe’s welcomes Eleni Mandell and Brett Harris. The local jewel Mandell needs no introductions but Harris also is well worth your time. He has played on several of the Big Star tribute shows and his wonderfully well-crafted indie pop Up In The Air was released earlier this month. Joanna Newsom will fill the Orpheum with her exquisite music tonight and tomorrow; her album Divers was one of the best reviewed albums of 2015.

Largo stalwart Jon Brion returns to the club for one of his regular eclectic Friday shows. You can experience Murder By Death at the Echoplex. The vet. group is out supporting their latest twang-tinged CD Big Dark Love. The Young Dubliners keep the St. Patrick’s Day spirit alive at Pasadena’s The Rose, while the X Ambassadors have a Wiltern appearance

Sat. 3/26

Top Show(s): Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli, always an interesting cat, has a solo outing at the Teragram Ballroom; he will share the bill with the Texas poet/literary stylist Derrick Brown. There might not be tickets for the They Might Be Giants El Rey show but I still wanted to mentioned that these American originals are playing tonight.


They Might Be Giants

Jam band mainstays Umphrey’s McGee deliver their sophisticated roots music to the Wiltern, with TAUK as their openers. L.A.’s own Pan-American ensemble La Santa Cecilia has a big concert at Disney Hall with the Spanish flamenco singer Buika also performing. More multi-cultural music can be enjoyed at the Regent where Dengue Fever brings their unique sound, which mixes Cambodian musical influences into their indie rock grooves. The Groovy Rednecks will enliven your Saturday night at Viva Cantina. Scott Yoder has taken a break from his band The Pharmacy to make a solo album, Looking Back In Blue; he’ll play the Blind Spot tonight. Master blues guitarist Guitar Shorty has a gig at Harvelle’s in Santa Monica and the blues will also laid down at McCabe’s, which hosts Doug MacLeod and Lawrence Lebo. Merge’s Vertical Scratchers bash out some old school-inspired garage rock at the Echo with Rob Crow in tow. The female-fronted indie rockers TEEN will be part of the Breezer Vol. 1 concert at Club Fais Do-Do. The Smashing Pumpkins will be doing acoustic shows at the Theatre at Ace Hotel tonight and tomorrow, with Liz Phair also on the bill. Meanwhile, New Wave pop stars Missing Persons can be found at the Rose.

Sun. 3/27


Sarah Gayle Meech

Top Show: It’s Grand Ole Echo time again and today’s main attraction is Sarah Gayle Meech, who was terrific when I saw her open on the San Monica Pier last summer for JD McPherson.

Mon. 3/28

Top Show: The Black Lillies are a great little roots group out of Tennessee who will headline at the Mint. Also on the bill are the Midwestern folk-rock duo Future Stuff and buzzed about British songstress Athena.

Speaking of UK up-and-comers KLOE will be playing Bardot; she got a lot of English press for her recently released EP Teenage Craze.

Tues. 3/29

Top Show(s): Lissie will play her lovely folk-ish pop at the El Rey with Skrizzly Adams opening. Your Friend (aka Taryn Miller) has more of an electro sound on her new CD Gumption. She’ll be at the Echo tonight and Santa Ana’s Constellation Room on the 31. Tonight at the Constellation Room will the spirited young British rock band The Struts.

Posted in Best in L.A. Shows, Music, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Desk Clearing:

Amidst various computer challenges, I did come across some interesting music news items this week that I wanted to share.


Pride And Joy, the documentary that heralded filmmaker Robert Mugge made on Alligator Records in 1992 gets its Blu-Ray release from MVD Entertainment Group on April 22. The film features performances by Koko Taylor, Elvin Bishop, Lonnie Brooks and Katie Webster culled from the label’s 20th anniversary tour. The Blu-ray edition contains bonus material including 10 additional songs.

April 22 also finds MVD putting out Johnny Winter With Dr. John Live In Sweden 1987 on DVD, CD, vinyl and digital formats. The release captures the two music legends live in a Swedish studio. As a bonus, there will also be an archival 1972 performance of “Prodigal Son.”

If you like your gospel old school, then you will like the new Daptone release Panola County Spirit by the Walker Family Singers. Panola County is in Mississippi so you will getting be gospel from the original source. Bluesman Mike Eldred, from Stray Cat Lee Rocker’s Big Blue band, recorded his new album Baptist Town at Sun Studios with David Hidalgo, Robert Cray and John Mayer lending support.

Let The Record Show Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul is the upcoming release from Kevin Rowlands’ current Dexy ensemble. The album, which Rhino will release digitally on June 4, mixes interpretations of Irish tunes with some new originals.


On May 20, 4AD will release a new benefit collection for the Red Hot Organization will showcase covers of Grateful Dead tunes. The 5-disc Day of the Dead set includes contributions from Mumford & Sons, Lone Bellow, Wilco with Bob Weir, Courtney Barnett, Jenny Lewis, Jim James, Sharon Van Etten and the National – and that is just disc 1.

PBS’ American Masters series has a pair of music documentaries slated for May. On the 3rd, they are will be screening Amy Berg’s acclaimed Janis Joplin doc Janis: Little Girl Blue, while the May 27 program will be The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End, about the country supergroup that included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.


The Highwaymen – Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment/Photo By Jim McGuire


May also finds some cool new reissues from Real Gone Music. They have packaged together the final two ‘60s albums by the influential San Francisco band Beau Brummels. One is Triangle, which was produced by Lenny Waronker, and the other was their pioneering country-rock offering Bradley’s Barn, which was done in Nashville with some of Music City’s top side men.



Beau Brummels

Two of the Staples Singers’ mid-Sixties’ efforts, Amen! and Why have been combined into a single CD. These two album, which were their first studio albums for Epic, were produced by the great Billy Sherrill. It is the first time either has come out on CD.

Sherrill also has a hand on many of the Johnny Paycheck cuts that you will find on Take This Job and Shove It—The Definitive Collection, a 40-tune set of music he made for Epic. On the lighter side, there’s Dan Fogelberg’s Definitive Anthology contains 28 tracks selected from 11 of the soft-rock troubadour’s albums.

Saxophone titan Cannonball Adderley made two albums with the innovative producer David Axelrod: The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free and Music, You All, and both are will be making their CD debuts in May.

In the vinyl-only category, Real Gone are reissuing of the debut from the rock supergroup Cactus. Not heard of them? This 1970 album featured Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, Amboy Dukes vocalist Rusty Day and guitarist Jim McCarty (not the Yardbirds drummer but the guy who played with Mitch Ryder and Buddy Miles, among others). The soundtrack for the 1985 horror fest Return of the Living Dead includes some blazing punk rock from the likes of including The Cramps, 45 Grave, The Flesh Eaters, The Damned, Roky Erickson and T.S.O.L.

Columbia/Legacy celebrates the 90th anniversary of the birth of music god Miles Davis with a pair of releases. Everything’s Beautiful (due May 27) is a Robert Gasper-led project that has guest spots by Bilal, Illa J, Erykah Badu, Phonte, Hiatus Kaiyote, Laura Mvula, KING, Muldrow, John Scofield and Stevie Wonder. On April 1, the label will release soundtrack to the bio-pic Miles Ahead, which combines some classic Miles material with new soundtrack music.


Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker

Miles Ahead isn’t the only jazz bio movie coming out this Spring. Born To Be Blue looks at the life of the troubled jazz great Chet Baker. Having seen the film, I can say that Ethan Hawke does a marvelous, memorable job portraying Baker in this film, which is a lyrical look at his life focusing mainly on his mid-Sixties comeback. IFC Films releases the film on March 25, while Rhino is putting out the soundtrack CD.

Good news/bad news (well, disappointing news) about the upcoming Joe Walsh/Bad Company tour. Rich Robinson, who know him as the Black Crowes guitarist, will be joining Bad Company for this tour. The disappointing news is that Mick Ralphs has decided to sit out the tour. So the original riff master won’t be playing but he will have a very talented substitute. In other tour pairings, Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd are hitting the road together. Don’t forget Frampton get his start in the bluesy British rock band Humble Pie.

Condolences go out to a number of musician’s families this week. Perhaps more prominently, rock-wise, is the death of keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson of an apparent suicide. He was 71. His band Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the prime movers in the prog rock scene. While growing up in the ’70s, I was never a big fan of that style of rock but I certainly can appreciate his talents. Here is an interesting clip of ELP from their Cal Jam appearance in 1974

Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Ernestine Anderson, whose career covered 6 decades, passed away at the age of 87. Louis Meyers who helped co-found SxSW died on the eve of the conference. Noted Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos died at the age of 71. Frank Sinatra Jr. died of a heart attack before a scheduled concert in Daytona Beach, FL; he was 72. Gogi Grant topped the charts in 1986 with the tune “The Wayward Wind;” she passed away at the age of 91.


Posted in Music, RIP, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go See Hear In L.A. March 17-22 (the Son Little/Chamber Brothers edition)

You might have thought I am late with this week’s concert rundown because I am in Austin enjoying SxSW. But, alas no.  I’m late because of dreary computer woes. Still, here are shows that caught my attention this week (including two Paul McCartney references).

Thurs. 3/17

Bruce Springsteen continues his River Tour (and Sports Arena send-off) tonight and the 19th. On a somewhat smaller scale, singer/songwriter Ben Rector has a show tonight (the Fonda) and on the 19th (Anaheim’s House of Blues). Vlaud and the Villains will make for a merry St. Paddy’s Day at the Mint. You can spend the night with Rusty Anderson Afternoon, a collaboration between Rusty Anderson (who has been in Paul McCartney’s band) and Todd O’Keefe (who has played with Ray Davies).

Fri. 3/18


Carla Olson

Top Show: McCabe’s hosts a very interesting bill featuring Carla Olson (who performed with ex-Byrd Gene Clark), one-time Byrd John York, Del-Lords co-founder Scott Kempner, I See Hawks In L.A.’s Rob Waller and a young up-and-comer Lael Neale.

Jazz fusion legend Herbie Hancock has a concert at Disney Hall. Susie Glaze & the Hilonesome Trio returns to play old-timey tunes at the Coffee Gallery Backstage with Jon Pickow and special guest Joellen Lapidus. Parlour Tricks will work their magic at the Troubadour tonight and Santa Ana’s Constellation Room on the 19th with Electric Six in tow.

Sat. 3/19


Leon Bridges

Top Show(s): Leon Bridges and Son Little bring some wonderful classic R&B-inspired music to the Wiltern tonight and the 20th (but they are sold out).

Country-leaning Americana singer Sunny Ozell showcases her fine upcoming album Take It With Me at the Hotel Café, while troubadour Willy Porter will be joined by Carmen Nickerson at McCabe’s.

Sun. 3/20

Top Show(s): It’ll be a hot time at Long Beach’s Alex’s Bar where the Rev. Horton Heat, Cadillac Tramps, Unknown Hinson and Viernes share a bill. Denny Laine (ex-Moody Blues and Wings member) will perform Band On The Run at McCabe’s. Opening will be John Wicks from the great power pop band The Records.

Peter Erskine will re-interpret Weather Report’s music at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica.

Mon. 3/21

Top Show(s): Check out Nap Eyes at the Echo. The band, who just released Thought Rock Fish Scale, has a really interesting sound that’s like a more acoustic, laid-back Velvet Underground. Heralded garage punk rockers Le Butcherettes will be appearing at the Grammy Museum to chat and play some music.

K’s Choice and A Fragile Tomorrow have a show tonight at the Viper Room while Nada Surf and Prism Tats perform at the Teragram Ballroom.

Tues. 3/22

Top Show(s): Time has come today for the Grammy Museum to welcome the legendary group the Chamber Brothers. Acclaimed young mandolinist Sierra Hull will share music from her latest album at the Hotel Café.


Sierra Hull

Indie pop rocker Quilt will be playing the Echo.

Posted in Best in L.A. Shows, Music, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment