Monday Morning Desk Clearing: Dylan, Petty, Sturgill Simpson And Yo-Yo Ma

Before we move on to this week, there are a couple of stories I wanted to get to.

A treasure trove of over 6,000 items of Bob Dylan memorabilia has been purchased by by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa for the latter’s Gilcrease Museum. Not coincidentally, Tulsa is also home to the Woody Guthrie Center. Dylan apparently wanted to have his archives near that of his mentor.

Dylan, who turns 75 this May, isn’t just looking to his past, he will be keeping busy in the immediate future too. He is working on a covers album entitled Fallen Angels, which should come out May 20. Dylan also has a tour set up for this summer with Mavis Staples on board. If you have seen the documentary on her then you know that there is a little history between Dylan and her. And if you haven’t seen the documentary, which has been playing on HBO, then you should.


Rhiannon Giddens


If you discovered that Rhiannon Giddens, Bill Frisell, Abigail Washburn, Gregory Porter and Lisa Fischer are all involved in a project, you’ll probably want to hear it, right? Well, they are among the many talented guests appearing on the new Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble album Sing Me Home due April 22 on Sony Masterworks. The new work features Ma and the ensemble collaborating with this diverse lineup of musicians on music drawn from different cultures.

Tom Petty has rounded up his Mudcrutch gang – Mike Campbell, Tom Leadon, Randall Marsh and Benmont Tench – to record a new album and do some concerts this summer.

Two ‘70s arena rock kingpins, Joe Walsh and Bad Company have teamed up for a co-headlining tour that sounds like it will be a blast. In case you are wondering, Paul Rodgers, Mick Ralphs and Simon Kirke are all part of this tour. By the way, on April 29, Rhino will be releasing Live In Concert 1977 & 1979, double live set capturing the classic Bad Company lineup in prime form. There are many great tunes that Walsh played while in the James Gang (before joining that band in California) but here is a nice clip of the trio performing “Walk Away” on the Beat Club TV show.

Record Store Day is just over a month away, and one of the hot titles should be a reissuing of Jimi Hendrix’s Smash Hits on Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings. Besides having a dozen classic Hendrix cuts, it will include a recreation of the album’s original poster and its alternative cowboy-themed album cover.



On April 15, Sturgill Simpson will unveil A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, the followup to his Grammy-nominated 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. Judging from his single, “Brace For Impact (Live A Little),” he seems to be expanding his sound some. You can check it out at


Sarah Jarosz


Another Grammy nominee, Sarah Jarosz also has a new CD in the pipeline. She will be putting out her fourth album, Undercurrent, June 17 on Sugar Hill. Not surprisingly, Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan, her cohorts in I’m With Her, will be on this outing too.

Much further down the road is an Elliott Smith tribute that American Laundromat Records has set for an October 14 release. Entitled Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith, the 15-song set has Waxahatchee, Julien Baker, Tanya Donelly, Sun Kil Moon, Lou Barlow, Juliana Hatfield, Amanda Palmer, William Fitzsimmons, Escondido and J. Mascis among its contributors.


Eli Paperboy Reed


On June 10, Eli Paperboy Reed releases his Yep Roc debut, My Way Home, which draws upon his recent experiences teaching gospel to youths as part of the Gospel for Teens program. E-Street bassman Garry Tallent has his first solo album, Break Time, which includes appearances from Duane Eddy, Nils Lorgren, Doug Kershaw, Kristi Rose and Fats Kaplin.

The words of parenting advice pioneer Dr. Spock set to the music of old-kilter art rockers Red Krayola? Sounds like an April Fool’s joke but it is real. On May 13, Drag City will be releasing Baby And Child Care, a previously unreleased music that the Mayo Thompson-led band recorded back in 1984.


Terry Allen


Texas musician/artist/iconoclast Terry Allen will be re-releasing his first two, the influential but hard-to-find, Juarez and Lubbock (on everything). It is the first time they have been reissued on vinyl, and in the case of Juarez, the first to feature the originally intended artwork, including the art prints that accompanied the first edition.

Congratulations are in order for Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Tom Petty, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards and Chip Taylor, who were announced last week as this year’s inductees into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

And condolences go out to the family and friends of Joey Feek. Feek was in the country duo Joey+Rory with her husband Rory Feek. She lost her battle to cancer on March 4. Here is a rendition of “Amazing Grace” that she sang a few years back.


About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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