Thursday, August 20, 2009

WORLD'S COLLIDE - The end of a 21 year chase

When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, our nation experienced a devastation the likes of which we've never seen, wiping out thousands of homes, taking thousands of lives, and virtually wiping out the rich cultural heritage that is New Orleans. In this time of crisis, the world's musical community has come together like no other time in our history, staging numerous benefit concerts that have raised tens of millions of dollars. As a result, numerous moments that fans could have never anticipated have unfolded before our eyes.

For me, the most memorable moment occurred October 5 in Chicago, when Robert Plant joined Pearl Jam for a show at the House of Blues. Plant and the Strange Sensations opened the evening before Pearl Jam took the stage, performing on the most intimate stage the band had graced in years. While anticipation in the crowd was high, little did anyone know just how magical this night would be by evening's end.

Plant returned to the stage for the final five songs, starting with "Going to California," "Little Sister," and "Money." He and Eddie Vedder harmonized beautifully, trading vocal leads as smoothly as Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks swap guitar licks. After digging down to the roots of their youth, performing Elvis, then the Beatles, the two reached even deeper, into the Led Zeppelin catalogue, pulling out a song that had never been performed live - "Fool in the Rain."

This is the song that literally changed my path in life when I first heard it in 1984. At that very moment, I left behind years of pop fandom (the previous year, I had traveled 250 miles to see the Jackson Five) and discovered the wild world of rock-n-roll. I'd searched for a live version of "Fool in the Rain" for years, only to learn that no member of Zeppelin has ever performed the song live.

I never dreamed that one day Plant would sing this one, let alone sing it with Pearl Jam, a band whose music was introduced to me by Dave Schools just after their debut CD. Dave said the band reminded him of Led Zeppelin (our mutual favorite band). He loaned me his copy of "Ten" and I've loved it ever since, so much so that I would rate the CD as one of my ten (non-Zeppelin) favorite discs of all time.

Listening to the show close with a dead-on version of "Thank You," I was taken back in time. When I realized it was in fact 2005, I felt a circle has just been completed. Zeppelin brought me to rock-n-roll, then I found a band I affectionately call Panic. Hanging at Dave's house, talking about our Zeppelin bootleg collections, telling tales of standing in front of the mirror doing his best Jimmy Page impersonation, I found Pearl Jam. I always trusted Dave's musical advice and, as usual, his comments that Pearl Jam was "the closest thing to Zeppelin" he'd ever heard, I found a new outlet for my wild rock-n-roll side. And now, 21 years after my search for a live "Fool in the Rain" began, Vedder convinces Plant to finally perform the song live.

In the span of five and a half minutes, my 21 year search was no more. In the end, I was left with one thought - there's nothing better than an honest tune live.

First published - Honest Tune magazine, October 2005. Reprinted August 20, 2009 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIR ROBERT!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The initial stages of gathering auction items to raise $250,000 towards the rebuilding of the GA Theatre are going very well. With a few very generous donations from private collectors, as well as the UGA football team, we look to have about $50,000 of items already pledged. Finding the next $200,000 will prove more challenging, and we need your help. Most everyone reading this is either a musician, or a music fanatic with lots of connections. If all of you could help me gather at least three items, and all the music fans reading this can consider donating a single item from their personal collection, then our auction will be a smashing success. I figure we need 500 items (100 at $50, 100 at $100, 100 at $250, 100 at $500 and 100 at $1000), along with one more big ticket item (think of a guitar signed by the original members of The Who, a guitar played and signed by Bob Weir, original reels from the Widespread Panic first recording sessions, an original Jerry Garcia painting, etc.).

To the musicians out there, we can use things like used drums heads signed by your band, signed tour posters or flyers, broken guitar strings (some cool art items to be made from those), signed CDs, VIP passes to your shows – anything that you can spare will be put to good use, and most appreciated.

We are also looking for artists willing to participate in a series of private benefit shows. The idea here will be to two musicians with common interests that do not normally perform together, creating a once in a lifetime performance. Plans are to host these shows in a private location, completely catered with drinks included, and to sell just twenty tickets per show, at $250 a ticket. This will keep these events small and intimate, and ensure that everyone involved is given a total 5-star treatment.

Publicists please ask bands you work with to donate, venue owners and employees, can help too by starting to gather these kinds of items from bands that play at your venue. Just getting signed tour flyers from all the bands that you book can go a long way towards helping the cause, and supporting your fallen brethren. Just contact me to let me know what you can offer, and I will make arrangements to have all items picked up at you convenience.

Please pass this along to everyone you know, post on your wall in Facebook and MySpace, anything whatsoever that you can do to help get the word out. Anyone with ideas or items to donate can email

We anticipate launching the first round of auctions on September 1, so we need your help gathering everything possible in the next 45 days. Thanks in advance for your help!

If you would like to go ahead and donate cash now (it’s needed to get construction underway), please visit Help Rebuild The Georgia Theatre and hit DONATE. Check back for updates soon on additional ways you can help the cause. Here’s to drinking from fresh tap by this time next summer!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pearl Jam Announces U.S. Tour Dates

Pearl Jam will celebrate Halloween early with two concerts at Philadelphia's Wachovia Spectrum to be held Oct. 28 and 30. The shows are part of a brief North American tour which also includes stops in San Diego, Seattle and a four night stand in Los Angeles at the Gibson Amphitheater. With four dates off between the second and third shows in LA, look for the band to add additional dates at the Gibson.

The band will also head to Australia and New Zealand in November, with additional dates expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets to the show in Philadelphia go on sale to the general public on July 17th at 10 a.m. EDT. All other confirmed shows go on sale to the general public on July 18th at 10 a.m. PDT.
Ben Harper and Relentless 7 will open all announced shows except for those in Philadelphia.

The tour dates come in support of Pearl Jam's self-released ninth album, "Backspacer," which will be out Sept. 22. As previously reported, Target will be the exclusive big-box retailer in the United States, while Universal will handle distribution internationally.

The new album's first single, the hard-charging rock track "The Fixer," will hit U.S. radio and digital retailers on July 20. During a June 1 appearance on "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien," Pearl Jam premiered "Got Some," another new song from "Backspacer," and at recent solo shows, frontman Eddie Vedder has debuted three other tracks -- "Unthought Known," "The End" and "Speed of Sound" -- which are expected to appear on the album as well.

On Aug. 8, Pearl Jam will play its first full live show in more than a year at the Virgin Festival in Calgary, Alberta. After a quick four-show run in Europe, the band then visits Toronto (Aug. 21) and Chicago (Aug. 23-24) before headlining the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco on Aug. 28.

Also on tap is a headlining slot on Oct. 4 at the Austin City Limits festival in Austin, Texas. The day before, Pearl Jam will tape an episode of the long-running TV series "Austin City Limits."

Here are Pearl Jam's new tour dates:

Sept. 21: Seattle (Key Arena)
Sept. 22: Seattle (Key Arena)
Sept. 30: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 1: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 6: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 7: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 9: San Diego (Viejas Arena)
Oct. 28: Philadelphia (Spectrum)
Oct. 30: Philadelphia (Spectrum)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Soulive CD with Bonus DVD in Stores Today

2009 has been a busy year for Soulive. The New York-based funk-powerhouse trio formed its own record label, Royal Family Records, released it's latest studio endeavor, UP HERE, which has been available as a download and will now be available on CD with a bonus live DVD July 7. The band has toured nationally this past Spring, launched their own festival, the Royal Family Get Down, and will hit the road again this Fall.

The physical release of UP HERE includes a bonus DVD of footage filmed live at the Blue Note in Tokyo in Summer 2008. UP HERE is the debut release on Royal Family Records. The album was recorded in Soulive drummer Alan Evan's Play on Brother Studio in Hatfield, MA in Fall 2008. "This is the Soulive album I've always wanted to record - I've been hearing it in my head for years," says Evans, who also tracked and mixed the record.

The record's opening track "Upright" immediately sets the tone with an undeniable groove featuring Neal Evans on an old upright piano. The band then offers up a few nods to the old-school: "For Granted" is a tip of the hat to Grant Green, featuring guitarist Eric Krasno's licks reminiscent of classic early solos on Get Down and Turn it Out. Guest vocalist Nigel Hall tears it up on the retro-soul number "Too Much," and Krasno makes his guitar sing like D'Angelo on the laid-back grind of "Put On Yo Pajamas." The entire record features tight horn arrangements from long-time Soulive collaborators and friends, Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis.

Soulive's fall tour begins on September 12 at their own festival, The Royal Family Get Down. The line up features Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Charlie Hunter Trio, Nigel Hall and Soulive's own headlining set with special guest John Scofield. Soulive then heads west for a run of dates anchored by stops at the Monterey Jazz Festival and four nights at Yoshi's in Oakland and San Francisco. The fall tour will then head back east for a series of Northeast dates including the Bowery Ballroom in NYC and Burlington's Higher Ground.

July 31 - Celebrate Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 6 - Sunset Concerts Festival - Washington DC *w/ Derek Trucks Band
Aug 7 - Innsbrook Pavilion - Glen Allen, VA
Aug 8 - The Jewish Mother, Virginia Beach, VA
Sept 12 - Royal Family Get Down - Northampton, MA
Sept 17 - The El Rey Theater - Los Angeles, CA
Sept 18 - The Hopmonk Tavern - Sebastapol, CA
Sept 19 - Monterey Jazz Festival - Monterey, CA
Sept 22 - Yoshi's - Oakland, CA
Sept 23 - Yoshi's - Oakland, CA
Sept 24 - Yoshi's - San Francisco, CA
Sept 25 - Yoshi's - San Francisco, CA
Sept 26 - Puerto Vallarta Jazz Festival, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Oct 14 - The Note - Westchester, PA
Oct 15 - The Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
Oct 16 - The Westcott Theater - Syracuse, NY
Oct 17 - Higher Ground - Burlington, VT
Oct 22 - Water Street Music Hall - Rochester, NY
Oct 23 - Revolution Hall - Troy, NY
Oct 24 - The Port City Music Hall - Portland, ME

Jim Byrnes: My Walking Stick

My Walking Stick finds Canadian-based Jim Byrnes reunited with the Vancouver gospel trio The Sojourners, as well as acclaimed producer/guitarist Steve Dawson. Brynes and crew delve into to a number of diverse genres, ranging from gospel and 60’s R&B to country blues and Americana. Though his songs touch on a broad spectrum of the musical horizon, Byrnes’ voice rings true throughout, making this a strong follow up to House of Refuge, which won numerous “Album of the Year” awards in 2006.

Most of the material found on My Walking Stick comes in the form of songs previously performed by others, starting with “Walk on Boy,” enhanced by the soul wrenching gospel vocals of The Sojourners, and an intriguing take “Ophelia,” with a slow, churning tempo quite unlike The Band’s original rendition. Byrnes continues to offer unique tempo changes on “Talk in Circles,” the best of the disc’s three originals tracks.

Brynes truly makes “Drown In My Own Tears” seem like his own, despite the fact that the song was made famous by Ray Charles, as he offers one of the finest vocal performances of his career, while Dawson makes his guitar sing with sounds that are amazingly reminiscent of Derek Trucks. But, the true gem on My Walking Stick is “Lonely Blue Boy,” with Brynes’ vocals suggesting a strong influence of early era Elvis Presley.

Colin Linden: From the Water

At lest count, Colin Linden has performed on over 300 albums, including multiple Grammy winners Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand. Linden’s latest effort, From the Water, is homage to his dear friend and keyboardist Richard Bell, who passed away in 2007 after the duo performed on more than 100 albums together.

From the Water is far more stylistically diverse than the acoustic blues heard on his last recording, Easin’ Back to Tennessee. Here, Linden can be heard stretching much further, exploring groovy funk and soul on some songs, while other tracks are slow blues ballads. The imagery of water is present throughout, specifically on the title track, written the in the wake of the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina.

Though much of the material on From the Water sounds familiar, this album plays like a series of songs dedicated to old friends, making for an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Black Crowes to Release BEFORE THE FROST on September 1

THE BLACK CROWES will release their new studio CD, Before the Frost... on September 1, 2009.

A second album, titled …Until The Freeze, will be given away for free exclusively through a unique download code which is included in Before The Frost… as a “thank you” to their fans for two decades of continued support.

Before the Frost..., and its corresponding free album …Until The Freeze, were recorded over a series of five nights at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. Although both are studio albums, all the new material was performed and recorded in front of an intimate audience of the band’s fans, making them a part of The Black Crowes musical history.

The innovative technique of inviting fans into the studio as part of the process during recording is a rare experience.

Before the Frost... features eleven new and previously unreleased Black Crowes songs including Good Morning Captain, I Ain’t Hiding, Been a Long Time (Waiting on Love), and other original songs that will serve to spotlight the bands ability to make emotional connections through their music. The free album …Until The Freeze is a nine-song collection featuring eight new original Black Crowes songs plus a cover version of the Stephen Stills classic So Many Times.

A limited edition vinyl release of Before The Frost…Until The Freeze, featuring all 20 tracks, will also be available on September 1, 2009.

Chris Robinson conceived the concept of Before the Frost...Until The Freeze.
“I think we fulfilled a musical commitment to continue on the golden road of artistic independence. Approaching 20 years into our careers, we still are ambitious enough to push ourselves to create something unique that we have never done before.”

As The Black Crowes approach the upcoming 20th anniversary of their release of one of rock’s most influential records, Shake Your Money Maker, which produced such hits as Jealous Again, She Talks To Angels and Hard to Handle, they are time and again hailed as one of Rock and Roll’s best live acts.

Before The Frost… (CD Track Listing)
Good Morning Captain
Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)
A Train Still Makes A Lonely Sound
I Ain’t Hiding
Kept My Soul
What Is Home
Houston Don’t Dream About Me
Make Glad
And The Band Played On
Last Place That Love Lives

…Until The Freeze (Free Download Album Track Listing)
Aimless Peacock
Shady Grove
Garden Gate
Shine Along
Roll Old Jeremiah
Lady Of Avenue A
So Many Times
Fork In The River

Before the Frost…Until The Freeze was produced by Paul Stacey and will be released through The Black Crowes label, Silver Arrow Records and Megaforce Records.

The Black Crowes are currently on the road, and will remain on tour through the first week of December, when they close out the year with five shows at San Francisco's Fillmore. For more information, go to

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mountainside Mardi Gras Heading to Red Rocks

Experience Mardi Gras a mile above sea level on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009 as For/Sure Productions presents the first annual Mountainside Mardi Gras music festival.

Grammy Award-winning recording artist Dr. John is headlining the festival of multiple New Orleans-based acts including The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk.

“We are truly focused on bringing the sights, sounds, flavor and flair of the New Orleans Mardi Gras to the amphitheater,” said For/Sure president, Trevor Jones. “We want Coloradans to feel like they are in the Big Easy and New Orleanians to feel at home.”

The full artist line-up includes George Porter Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners, Papa Grows Funk, Big Sam's Funky Nation and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. Festival organizers encourage concert-goers to dress up in Mardi Gras inspired garb, incorporating the traditional green, purple and gold colors as well as beads, masks and feathers. The Krewe of Oak from New Orleans and an authentic brass band will roam the amphitheater as buskers, creating a mini-parade route as they hand out beads and medallions.

Jones, who is a Denver native, came up with the idea for the festival after attending Tulane University. “I really fell in love with New Orleans and its music. I wanted to spread that vibe around—especially to my home music scene in Denver,” Jones said.

Denver based sponsors include KBCO Radio and Westword as well as Louisiana’s own Abita Brewing Company. A portion of profits will go directly to the Tipitina’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the local music community and supporting public school music programs in Louisiana.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

AthFest to Auction Gretsch Guitar Autographed By Widespread Panic

On Saturday, June 20, 2009, AthFest Inc. will place a Brian Setzer model Gretsch Nashville hollow-body electric guitar, complete with a custom hard shell case and signed by all the members of Widespread Panic, on eBay to be sold to the highest bidder. The online auction will end ten days later, late in the evening on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009.

The guitar was donated to AthFest, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, by the Gretsch Foundation. The guitar was originally built in 2000 and has been held in the Gretsch Foundation’s collection. Prices on current Gretsch Nashville models start at $4,100.00. Gretsch, who recently celebrated its 125th anniversary as a guitar maker, is based in Savannah, GA, and has a foundation that donates guitars decorated or signed by musicians, which are later sold to raise funds for music and arts education programs.

The proceeds from the sale of the guitar will be used to fund AthFest AfterSchool, an educational outreach division of AthFest with a mission to educate young people about music and arts. The program brings musicians and music business leaders into local schools to make presentations to classes and to mentor those who are interested in music careers. Last year a similar Gretsch guitar signed by the members of R.E.M. and auctioned on eBay brought in $6000.00 to the AthFest AfterSchool program.

AthFest founder Jared Bailey comments: "Last year's donation from the Gretsch Foundation was the keystone to building the AthFest AfterSchool music education program. We are very thankful that once again Gretsch has stepped up and donated another beautiful guitar. We are also very fortunate to have had the guitar's value enhanced by the autographs of the members of Widespread Panic."

AthFest is the annual arts and music festival held each June in historic downtown Athens, GA, a town long renowned for its thriving music scene. The mission of AthFest is to educate citizens and visitors about the music and arts scene in Athens, GA. Since 1997, AthFest has showcased the incredible musicians, artists, businesses and residents of the Athens community. In addition to live music, this family-friendly festival also includes a juried artisan market, KIDSFest, film events, and much more. From 2005-2009, ATHFEST has been included in the “TOP 20 Events for June” by the Southeast Tourism Society. AthFest 2009 will be held June 25-28, 2009.

For more details on AthFest, including a complete line up of over 200 bands appearing over the course of three days, visit

Anna Ternheim to release record and play 2 NYC shows‏

Multi-Grammy winning Swedish artist Anna Ternheim will be releasing her second American record on August 11th, Entitled "Leaving on a Mayday." The record was produced by Björn Yttling, of Peter, Bjorn and John fame. (Yttling has also produced records by Lykke Li, Primal Scream, Shout Out Louds, Sahara Hotnights and others in recent years.) In anticipation of her new album, Leaving on a mayday, Ternheim has teamed with iTunes to release an exclusive bundle including her new single "What Have I Done," the music video for "What Have I Done," and "What Have I Done" (El Perro Del Mar remix).

Ternheim and her band will be playing two shows this week and next in New York City. On June 18, she will appear at Brooklyn's Bell House and on June 22, she will be at Joe's Pub.

"Leaving on a Mayday" is actually Ternheim's third full-length, as America combined her first two for her debut in this country. For the new record, Ternheim has recorded a set of songs with a new self-confidence and rough authority that she hasn't displayed in the past. Instead of taking the safe road, she and Yttling approached the music without compromise: the songs are crystal clear, direct in their approach and refuse to hide behind any big arrangements or sonic tricks. The instrumentation is sparse, and the focus on Ternheim is total. All the songs were recorded live, including the strings.

Having toured the last record, "playing bombastic, dark pop, it felt natural to walk a different path this time," says Ternheim. "For me, the end of each album recording has been the start of the next album, like some sort of reaction against what you've dug deep into, dreamt about and worked fanatically with...until you get bored and end up not wanting anything to do with it. It was incredibly inspiring to work with Björn. He's reminded me of how I used to sing when I was a child, letting the melodies and voice roam freely."

After many live dates in America with the likes of Joseph Arthur, El Perro Del Mar and Lykke Li, Ternheim decided to move to New York. As a result, though Ternheim and Yttling started the record at Atlantis Studio in Stockholm, they finished Leaving on a mayday at Sear Sound studio in New York. A couple of American musicians participate on the album -- Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, as well as axeman Matt Sweeney, who lately has been Rick Rubin's house-guitarist. Sweeney has played on albums by Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Cat Power, Bonnie Prince Billy and Dixie Chicks among others.

"Leaving on a Mayday" is available now in her homeland of Sweden, and went gold after only a few weeks after entering the Swedish charts at #1. At the Swedish Grammy Awards in Stockholm on January 7, 2009, the record was voted "Album of the year," and Ternheim was named "Female artist of the year."

Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association Presents GABBAFEST This Weekend

GABBA, the Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association, has been helping to preserve the history of the ABB since the early 1990’s through the work of its members and their collaboration with the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Macon – Bibb Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Big House Foundation. GABBA is known for hosting the world-famous GABBAfest, the good time reunion of ABB fans. GABBA is a registered non-profit organization in the state of Georgia. Membership is open to all fans of the Allman Brothers Band.

This weekend, GABBA is hosting their annual GABBA Fest in Macon, GA. The lineup for the event is as follows:


4:00- Registration for GABBA members & anyone wanting weekend or Saturday passes
begins at the Cox Capitol Theatre.
5:00 – Doors at the Cox open for GABBA members & weekend pass holders
6:00 – Doors at the Cox open for the general public
7:00 – “Please Call Home”, followed by a question and answer session
9:30 – The Lefty Collins Band with special guests Pete Vancura and J. P. Vancura

11:00 – 1:30 Big House Tours, presentation of guitar to Wanee Raffle winner
1:00 – 5:00 Grant’s Lounge – September Hase & Member’s Jam
5:00 – 6:00 Dinner break
6:00 – Doors at the Cox open for GABBA members & weekend pass holders
7:00 – Doors at the Cox open for the general public
8:00 – Dianne Durrett, followed by GABBY presentation, live auction, announcement of
winners of silent auctions and announcement of Rose Hill Tree memorial tree to
be planted in the fall, followed by Wet Wille.

12:00 – Rose Hill Cemetery cleanup

GABBAfest 2009
June 19 - 21, Macon, Georgia
Presented in conjunction with
The Big House Foundation
The Cox Capitol Theatre

Special Wet Willie Reunion
Diane Durrett
The Lefty Collins Band with special guests Pete Vancura and J.P. Vancura
September Hase

The Macon Premier of "Please Call Home"
Tours of the Renovated Big House
Member's Jam at the World Famous Grant's Lounge featuring the Historic "Grant's Wall of Fame"
Live & Silent Auctions
ABB Merchandise from Hittin' the Note
The 2009 GABBY Award Announcement
Rose Hill Cemetery Clean-Up
Discounted Admission to Georgia Music Hall of Fame

Ticket prices for a weekend pass to all events: $45
One night tickets will be available for musical events

The GABBA mission statement reads:

"GABBA is a foundation of fans who feel like family, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Allman Brothers Band musical heritage in Georgia by making tangible contributions to projects, programs and plans to insure this heritage is not lost but indeed remembered, revered, and reveled in as an important part of Macon’s, the South’s, the nation’s and even the world’s musical and cultural legacy whose very roots are found here in Georgia. We respect and admire their music and feel as if we are members of their extended family yet still respect and admire their personal families without infringing or imposing on their private lives.

From the beginning to now, through tragedy and triumph, their music has enriched our lives, and we feel we must, and we can, give something back to insure the proper and perpetual preservation of this musical heritage that has so blessed our lives. Our goals include the collecting, preserving, nurturing, and sharing of this music history, contributing to the care and upkeep of Rose Hill Cemetery and recognizing other ABB landmarks in Georgia, and contributing to the development of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (GMHF) and the Big House Foundation Museum."

If you are interested in becoming a member of GABBA, you may contact Greg Potter at, or visit the official GABBA website and print out a membership application and mail it to:

The Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association
P.O. Box 2658
Macon, GA 31203-2658

Keller Williams Releasing New Album, Odd, Track-By-Track‏

Keller Williams will be releasing his forthcoming album, ODD, through his brand new, fan-oriented download feature, ‘The Once A Week Freek.' Visit ‘The Once A Week Freek" ( to download a new song from ODD each week, available in the sequence that the songs will appear on the album - before its official release on August 12, 2009. Beginning August 12, full digital copies and physical copies of ODD will available for purchase at and at Keller's live shows. In addition to weekly song features from ODD, those who choose to purchase and download the album one track at a time, may also receive unexpected and spontaneous bonus content hand-picked by Keller himself. Keller hits the road this summer - both on his own and co-headlining a short run of shows with Dark Star Orchestra.

Long after the new tracks from ODD are released via ‘The Once A Week Freek,' fans can continue to re-visit the site weekly for downloads of never-before-heard original studio recorded songs, live gems from the archives, versions of songs recorded as recent as last night's show, and more. "I'm truly excited to share with you the ton of music that I have been sitting on for so long," says Williams. "The more support we get from this project, the more selections will be available every week."

Undoubtedly, fans will be able to sample some of Keller's new material on his upcoming summer tour. His complete list of summer tour dates is as follows:

June 26 Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Great Barrington MA
June 27 Tarrytown Music Hall Tarrytown NY
July 2 ROTHBURY Rothbury MI
July 5 Nelson Ledges Quarry Park Garrettsville OH
July 9 All Good Music Festival Masontown WV
July 11 Governor's Island New York NY w/ Dark Star Orchestra
July 16 Artpark Lewiston NY w/ Dark Star Orchestra
July 17 Saranac Brewery Saranac NY w/ Dark Star Orchestra
July 18 Vasa Park Mt. Olive NJ w/ Dark Star Orchestra
July 24 Gathering of the Vibes Bridgeport CT Keller Williams and The MD'S
August 1 Celebrate Virginia Fredericksburg VA
August 6 Bottle and Cork Dewey Beach DE
August 12 Spud Drive In Driggs, ID w/ Dark Star Orchestra
August 14 Festival @ Sandpoint at Memorial Field Sandpoint ID
August 15 Frontier Ranch (Shamy Bash) Frontier Ranch Music Center Pataskala, OH
August 21-22 Mishawaka Bellevue CO
August 29 Music on the Mountaintop ~ The Old Fairgrounds Boone NC
September 7 Bumbershoot Festival Mural Amphitheatre Seattle WA
October 8 Sherman Theater Stroudsburg PA
October 17 Park West Chicago IL
October 23 Englert Theatre Iowa City IA

Long considered one of the most unique and prolific performers in all of rock, the Fredericksburg, Virginia native is known for flying by the seat of his pants on stage, utilizing an unorthodox approach that centers around an Echoplex Digital Pro looping unit, which allows Keller to alternate between several instruments on stage.

Tom Morello and Street Sweepers Social Club Release Debut CD Today

Street Sweeper Social Club is the new band unifying Tom Morello (best known for his time spent in Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave) and Boots Riley (The Coup). Their debut self-titled album is in stores and online today through Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. The 11-song set was produced by Tom Morello and features Boots Riley on vocals, Morello on guitar and bass, and Stanton Moore (Galactic) on drums. SSSC's debut tour with Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction wrapped up this past weekend. Look for August/September Tour details coming soon.

SSSC will make their national television debut tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 17th) on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (12:35ET/11:35CST on NBC). MTV will be premiering SSSC's video for "100 Little Curses" this Thursday as both an all day Unleashed on MTV2 and al All Day Premiere on MtvU. SSSC is confirmed for MTV2's The Drop for the week of June 22nd and Tom and Boots are set to co-host MTV2's Rock The Deuce on Saturday, June 27th. "100 Little Curses" is New & Active on the Mediabase Alternative charts thanks to early support for KROQ/LA, 91X/San Diego, Q101/Chicago, KJEE/Santa Barbara, KEDJ/Phoenix, KTNI/Denver and KFMA/Tucson among others.

Street Sweeper Social Club on the web:

Rock The Vote featured Artist of the Week:

SSSC full album stream at AOL's Listening Party here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not music, but let's get healthy with Acai -- More Than Just Hype

The all natural antioxidant/energy drink you have been looking for is finally here. It offers remarkable taste, packs tremendous energy, and delivers health and vitility! Whether your 18 or 80, Efusjon's "RAW," is a delicious energy drink that gives your body exactly what it needs to thrive throughout the day! The rich, smooth flavor of Efujon's "RAW," is a taste you can enjoy anytime - completely guilt free.

So start your day with the delicious, nutritious energy your body and taste buds will crave! Cheers!

Nutrition Facts

The Acai berry is super rich in antioxidants and has proven itself time and time again. The ingredients that make it so healthy include dietary fiber, lipids, amino acids, antioxidants, Omega 3,6,9, phytonutients, anthocyanins, protein, plus minerals like potasium, calcium, iron and phosphorus.

Polluted air, junk foods, even strenuous exercise produces free-radicals in our bodies. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer as well as damage to our immune system are all caused in part by free radicals.

The Acai's antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" to neutralize free-radicals, slowing and preventing the oxidative stress they cause to our cells.

Dr. Perricone's 10 Superfoods

No. 1: Açaí

Nature's Energy Fruit

It may seem odd to start this list of superfoods with one you've likely never even heard of. But studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world! Açaí (ah-sigh-ee) is the high-energy berry of a special Amazon palm tree.

Learn the truth about Oprah and claims about açaí.

Harvested in the rainforests of Brazil, açaí tastes like a vibrant blend of berries and chocolate. Hidden within its royal purple pigment is the magic that makes it nature's perfect energy fruit. Açaí is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Although açaí may not be available in your local supermarket, you can find it in several health food and gourmet stores (often in juice form). A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, and I highly recommend that you choose this form of açaí.

What is Acai?

There is a lot of buzz about acai in the market place, but a lot of people don't know much about the fruit itself. Since Acai Roots ™ was started and is currently operated by Brazilians who grew up with acai with strong Roots in Brasil, they decided to share some of our knowledge about this wonderful fruit.

The Fruit - Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-eeh) is a Tupi (Brazilian indigena language) word that means "fruit that cries". This dark purple little fruit looks very similar to a jaboticaba (another very popular Brazilian fruit), grape or blueberry (very common in the US), with the difference that the majority of the fruit is seed (~ 95%), and only the skin around the seed is utilized to make acai juice or pulp.

Acai Benefits - Acai on the top of the chain when it comes to antioxidant concentration - the berry scores 67% more antioxidants than pomegranate, and over 500% more antioxidants than blueberry, as demonstrated on the chart below:

What are the 59 Health Benefits that Made Acai Berry So Famous?

1. Prolongs Your Life

2. Increases Your Energy

3. Increases Your Overall Strength

4. Helps you Look and Feel Younger

5. Helps You Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure

6. Prevents Cancer

7. Helps You Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels

8. Promotes Normal Blood Sugar

9. Enhances Sexual Function

10. Helps You Lose Weight

11. Relieves Headaches and Dizziness

12. Improves Quality of Sleep

13. Improves Your Vision

14. Strengthens Your Heart

15. Inhibits Lipid Peroxidation

16. Improves Disease Resistance

17. Strengthens Your Immune System

18. Helps Your Body Fight Cancer

19. Protects Your Precious DNA

20. Inhibits Tumor Growth

21. Reduces the Toxic Effects of Chemotherapy and Radiation

22. Helps to Build Strong Blood

23. Helps with Chronic Dry Cough

24. Fights Inflammation and Arthritis

25. Improves Lymphocyte Count

26. Improves Menopausal Symptoms

27. Prevents Morning Sickness

28. Improves Fertility

29. Strengthens Your Muscles and Bones

30. Supports Normal Kidney Function

31. Improves Your Memory

32. Supports Healthy Liver Function

33. Alleviates Anxiety and Stress

34. Improves Your Mood

35. Improves Your Digestion

36. Helps You Maintain Healthy Gums

37. Fights Fibromyalgia

38. Prevents Allergies

39. Protects Children's Health

40. Promotes Overall Wellness

41. Increases workout recovery

42. Increases injury recovery

43. Helps to Reduce Physical Injuries

44. Relieves Arthritis Pain

45. Helps to Clear Skin of Warts

46. Reduces the Occurrence of Seizures

47. Helps Improve & Even Cure Leukemia

48. Fights General Depression

49. Supports Weight Loss through Fat Loss

50. Helps Slow Down the Aging Process

51. Provides all Vital Vitamins

52. Contains Several Important Minerals

53. Is an extremely Powerful Free Radical Fighter

54. Acai has very High Levels of Fibers

55. Cleanses and Detoxifies the Body of Infectious Toxins

56. Helps to Prevent Heart Problems

57. Improves Mental Clarity/Focus

58. Improves Circulation

59. Cures Osteoporosis

In alternative health, açaí is all the rage. While relatively new to the American consciousness, açaí has been around for centuries and has helped many people with its healthful qualities. In order to benefit completely from açaí, however, one must truly understand what it is and what it does.

Get Healthy and Get PAID!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jimmy Herring Band Debuts Led Zeppelin's No Quarter

See the Jimmy Herring Band in just their second show ever perform Led Zeppelin's No Quarter for an encore. Band members include Oteil Burbridge (bass), Jeff Sipe (drums), Greg Osby (saxophone), Scott Kinsey (keyboard), and, of course, Jimmy Herring (guitar). From The Melting Point, Athens, GA, April 25, 2009.

Oldies But Goodies....On the Road with Fred

I've been occasionally posting some of my favorites old stories in my blog. If you enjoy them and want to read more, visit for a little more taste of oldies but goodies from your Friend Named Fred.

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful Mom's out there :)


Jimmy Herring's resume reads like a who's-who of American musical history. As humble of a superstar musician as one could ever meet, Jimmy never dreamed that he would one day he would be presented with the opportunity to play with nearly every one of his heroes.

"I started playing when I was 13," recalls Jimmy, now 38. "I started because of the records that my brothers were playing in the house all the time - Hendrix, the Allman Brothers, the Santana 'Abraxas' album. I got my first guitar when I was 11, but I didn't really try to play it until I was 13. These songs were sticking in my head and I just thought 'I've got to learn how to do that.' The one that really got to me was the live (Allman) Fillmore album. Even as a kid, I'd be walking around humming Dickey Betts guitar melodies, 'Elizabeth Reed,' the solo in 'One Way Out,' the power just knocked me out.

"I really started to get serious when I was about 17," he continues. "My dad sold my motorcycle. I came home from school one day and went out to the shed and my bike was gone. It was a Honda XL350 that my brother had bought that would really move. It was stolen form him, and he got another motorcycle. Then, they found it, so he sold it to my dad for $100. He gave it to me when I was 13. But he busted me riding it on the street a couple times and I came home one day and he had sold it -it was just gone. When my motorcycle was gone, I really lost a lot of my freedom, so I just started playing more and more, trying to learn the songs that were stuck in my head, and it became something that I was really passionate about."

As his passion grew, Jimmy started playing with his friends. He quickly grew frustrated by his inability to find the right singer for his bands.

"I was really into Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers, and Aerosmith. But there was no one around how could sing like that. We could play the tunes, but we couldn't sing. We tried and tried to find a good singer, but you know a good band can really be made to sound pretty bad by a bad singer.

"That's when one of my brothers said 'Why don't you check out instrumental music.' I said, 'What's that? Music without any lyrics? You are kidding me, there are bands that don't have a singer.' So by the time I was 17, I was getting really serious into progressive music like the Dixie Dregs, John McLaughlin Al DiMeola and the Mahavashnu Orchestra. That completely changed my life. From the time I was 17 to 25, I was just a complete Dregs Head.

"The Dregs toured and came through my area constantly," Jimmy recalls fondly. "I was sort of a Dreg addict. I got in trouble a couple of times taking off from school to go see them. Steve Morse is such an imposing figure. He stood up there like a Viking and tore the guitar to bits. Then five minutes later he'd just blow your mind with some poignant, beautiful mellow phrase that he'd play. You'd here elements of classical music with funk, rock-n-roll and bluegrass type influences, which I really love. I think seeing them play that many times while I was such a young age, made me strive to practice a lot."

When he turned 20, Jimmy moved to Georgia, where he befriended a number of up and coming local musicians including Jeff Sipe Charlie Williams, and Kofee and Oteil Burbridge. While the band worked on putting together enough original material to open for bigger bands coming through Atlanta, Sipe wondered to the Little Five Points Pub and found an influence unlike any other - Col. Bruce Hampton.

"The band didn't even have a name and never played a gig," Jimmy recalls. "It never got to that point because Sipe started playing with Bruce and we started seeing less and less of him. Then Oteil stared playing with Bruce, then Charlie too. Then Sipe called me one day and said, 'Man you need to come down to the Little Five Points Pub. We are playing with this crazy guy Bruce Hampton and it is the most liberating musical experience in any of our lives.'

"I went down to hear them, and they had told me to bring a guitar and an amp. I left it in the car, not wanting to seem presumptuous. They played three sets at the Pub without really having any songs. But they did it. I sat there the first set just dying to play because it was so good. Then the second set came and they still hadn't asked me to play. I just set there spell bound, I was just blown away. Finally, on the third set, they asked if I brought my guitar and told me to go get it. I came in and the whole thing just exploded. Right after the gig, Bruce asked if I wanted to join the band. He said it didn't really pay anything, but didn't I care, I jut want to be in this band, it was the best band I've ever heard.

"We were playing at the Pub on Monday nights. Everybody in the band had to scramble just to get their rent paid, but that was the one night of the week where you didn't have any limits on you. You could go to the Five Points Pub and play with Bruce, and you knew you were going to get your ya-ya's out. Because you didn't have any limits. If you wanted to come on stage with one string or tie your left arm behind your head and play the gig that way, you could do it. And you could play anything you wanted and nobody told you what to play or how to play or how to look or dress. It was that one gig that was a total outlet for creativity and nothing else. "

It was during this time, in early 1990, that several members of Widespread Panic found themselves in Atlanta to see what this Monday night madness was all about.

Jimmy says, "If it wasn't for Widespread Panic, no one would have probably ever known about us. JB, Mikey, and David came up to us after the set and said 'You guys are nuts, what happened to you, you're crazy.'

"They invited us to come play with them and it was one of the first gigs we ever did outside of the Pub. After that, they asked us to go on the road. That's when Bruce started in on, 'You're getting ready to go into a whole another world boys,' like he thought we wouldn't last on the road, like we were to wimpy, or that my wife would make me come home."

For several years, ARU played between 280 and 300 shows a year. Before the band broke up, Hampton would actually be the first to leave, a move precipitated by health concerns. While ARU did continue touring for a period of time after Bruce's departure, the band had already made its impact on Jimmy's life.

"Being in that band was the single most important thing I think that has ever happened to me in the development of my musical life," Jimmy says. "ARU is the nearest and dearest thing to my heart because In think that was the whole reason for anything and everything that has happened to me since. I think that Bruce was the most profound influence that I've had in the past 15 years. Although he didn't tell us what to play, I just think his philosophy was a profound influence.

"As a result of playing with them, I got exposed to some great groups like Widespread Panic, Phish and Blues Traveler and got to become friends and tour and play with them. You know, there was a serious musical renaissance going on in the early 90's around here in Atlanta. And it all tied in with the Grateful Dead in a way that I was not aware of at the time.

"Our fans, although we didn't have that many of the time, always thought we sounded a lot like the Grateful Dead in their early days. I never could understand it. I didn't have any of their records, other than my brothers having 'Europe 72.' Oteil certainly never had any Dead records; neither did Matt Mundy or Jeff Sipe. Bruce knew some of those guys and he remembered and respected them, but we never listened to their music a lot. So we though it was funny that people would compare us to the Dead and we didn't understand it.

"Then one day I was home cleaning out my basement when I was home off tour and I had the radio on Z-93 and the Dunham show came on and they played some vintage Dead from like '68 or '69. I had to stop what I was doing and sit down and listen. They were totally improvising and were out there as hell. I heard it and all of the sudden, it clicked that we did sound like the Grateful Dead back in those days.

"What Bruce was trying to get us to do was just fearlessly explore, and that is what the Grateful Dead were doing. And it knocked me out. I called Bruce right after it got done playing and said 'I just heard a 45 minute long improvisation by the Grateful Dead that absolutely knocked me down. I could not believe how good it was and how fearless they were.' He said 'Yeah man, they were unbelievable.'"

Jimmy started listening to some of the Dead's live tapes, but quickly decided to stop. "I was afraid that it was going to influence me," he recalls. "At the time, so many people in our genre were influenced by the Dead. I thought it would be important for us to not be, even though we were and didn't really know it."
The next step in Jimmy's now heralded career came when he received a phone call from one of his heroes, Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks.

"At the time, when I wasn't on the road with ARU," Jimmy recalls, "Derek Trucks would call me up and ask me to come play with him for a month back when he was about 14. We were playing a gig in Florida and Butch came out and said he really liked the chemistry between us. He was looking at putting a band together to play some when the Allman Brothers weren't touring, and he asked if I knew any good bass players. I said 'Man, I know the Michael Jordan of bass players' and told him about Oteil. Little did I know then that he would wind up becoming an Allman. Frogwings had a lot of great moments that I'll cherish forever."

During rehearsals for the second Frogwings tour, Jimmy received a phone call that he will never forget.

"I was actually at a Frogwings rehearsal out in the woods in Gray, GA when the phone rang. It was T Lavitz (whom had become a good friend of Jimmy's during T's stint with Panic) and he asked me if I wanted to play with Bill Cobham and Alphonso Johnson. I said 'You've got to be kidding me, where do I sign up.' He said they where going to fly me to LA to have to audition, but 'as soon as they hear you, they'll give you the gig.' I said 'Oh man, I'm nervous, what do I do.'

"T told me to go buy 'Blues for Allah,' the Grateful Dead album. I was like, 'what?' He said, 'Yeah, we're going to be playing Grateful Dead music.' I said 'You mean to tell me that you, Billy Cobham, and Alphonso Johnson are calling me to come play Grateful Dead songs.' I didn't mean it condescending, I was just shocked. He told me the whole concept, so I said 'ok,' went and bought the album. So, they flew me out for the audition and as soon as it as over the said, 'Jimmy, you're the guy.'

"When I played with them on that first tour, I could barely breathe. Three of my biggest heroes, I was in a band with. I was really knocked out by that. It was an awesome experience to play with those guys."

It was also during this period of his care that Jimmy first immersed himself into the vast catalogue of the Dead.

"I had no real previous exposure to the Grateful Dead, other than the times my bothers would play 'Europe 72,'" Jimmy recalls. "But at the time, when I listened to it as a kid, it didn't hit me as hard cause it was more subtle. At that time, when I was a kid, I needed to be hit between the eyes with excessive testosterone. The Dregs and the Allman Brothers really gave me that. So did Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, because it was rocking hard. The Dead, now that I've been playing that music for a while, it blows my mind the incredible body of music they have. There are just so many songs, and they are improvising. The way they went fearlessly right into unchartered territory with no blockage. It's so funny how things have all comes full circle."

The circle grew much broader when Jimmy received a phone call to come audition for Dead bassist Phil Lesh in January 2000. Jimmy toured with Phil in April 2000, then went home thinking that gig was over.

"When I got home, they tried to get me to go out on the road with Jazz Is Dead for 37 dates, and I just couldn't do it. I needed to stay home and be a father. I told my wife, for the fist time in 12 years, that I was going to stay home and take the summer off. Phil's gig had given me enough to be able to stay home and not work for the summer.

"Then," he says, "the Allman Brothers called me four days later and said 'We're kicking Dickey out and you're the new guy. Butch wasn't going to take no for an answer. I told him, 'Butch, man, I can't take Dickey's spot. He didn't die. Now if he was retiring, and asked me to take his place, or if he had unfortunately passed away, then that's one thing. But Dickey is still a vibrant, unbelievable musician, and his fans are not going to be to thrilled to see me standing there in Dickey's place.' Butch said 'Just shut the hell up and learn the music. We have rehearsal next week. You've got three days of rehearsal before you hit the tour.'

"I called Warren Haynes immediately and asked what to do. He said 'Jimmy, that's really weird. I'm not telling you not to do it, but the Allman Brothers without Dickey?'

"They had to talk me into it. I said no for five days, but they said 'no, you are doing it.' I kept telling them I just couldn't. But two of my best friends were in the band in Derek and Oteil, and I knew they would help me through. I leaned on them and joined the band for a summer. During that summer, I had uneasy feelings the whole time. The press was hounding me, following the bus everywhere we went and trying to get me to say bad stuff about Dickey. I just said that Dickey Betts was the main reason that I picked up a guitar and I wasn't about to say anything bad about him. It was just a really strange place to be because it was sort of the band that was responsible for me starting to play."

At the same time, "Phil is calling me up in my hotel room while I'm on Allman tour and saying, 'Jimmy, we are starting a core band and we want you to be in it.' I was like, 'wow, that's incredible, but what do I do, I'm in the Allman Brothers.' He goes 'man, I'm so happy for you, I think it's great that you are in the Allman Brothers, but we really need you.'

"So, I had to choose between the two. If anybody would have asked me whose music I enjoyed more, man, I grew up in North Carolina, I'm a southern boy, and I've lived in Georgia for 17 years. The Allman Brothers are the pinnacle. That's the stuff that is closest to my heart and was the biggest influence on me.

"But, in Phil's band, I didn't have to replace a living legend. And Warren was in the band too, so it wasn't like I had to replace Jerry Garcia. I talked with Derek and Oteil about it at length, and they told they wanted me to stay but they also wanted me to do what's best for me.

"I let them know that I was going to step down after the summer. That was all I was supposed to do to anyway, but by the middle of the summer, they had more falling out with Dickey and started telling me they wanted me to stay. I was hoping the situation with him was going to get better, but it was getting worse. I really believed with all of my heart that when I stepped down that Dickey and the band would work out their differences and it as going to be the Allman Brothers again the way it was supposed to be.

"Then, Allen Woody passed away a week later. With me stepping down, and Allen passing away, the logical thing for them to do was to call Warren, and they did. Warren, Derek and myself were all kind of passing the hat back and forth, playing both gigs, because they had both played with Phil before I did. I got the audition because of them. Most people think it was because of Jazz Is Dead, but Phil wasn't really impressed with that band. He called me because Warren and Derek told him to.

"In the Allman Brothers," Jimmy continues, "there is not a big outlet for me harmonically because it limits me to a couple certain tonalities. The dorian tonality and the major pentatonic tonality are about the only tones they play in, which limits you, even though you are very free within those parameters.

"In the Phil camp, you have incredible freedom of tonalities. They play so many different styles and at one time or another they will explore nearly all the different types of tonalities. In that respect, that gives you more freedom than even the Allman Brothers. But, in Phil's band, he didn't want a lead guitar player; he wanted a band that always played lead. That's a very difficult thing to do because nobody wants to step on each other.

"In the Allman Brothers you can't play as out and weird. You can do it, you just have to be very careful about how you do it. In Phil's band, you can play out as hell anytime you want. In the Allmans, you get featured, you get to stand up and swing the bat, uninterrupted, for five minutes at a time. In Phil's band, everybody is always soloing and Phil does not want one guy to shine more than another. He wants everybody playing off of each other all the time. He always said that if you find yourself playing in your own space, stop, listen, react. So that was a huge challenge. I'm always up for a challenge, so that's one of the reasons I ended up going with Phil, because I was learning so much from playing with him. That dude knows so much about conventional harmony, he's like a Beethoven. Phil Lesh is a harmonic genius.

"In the Allman Brothers, I was afraid that if I stayed in their band that they would not have a future. I'm not the kind of songwriter who writes songs that Gregg is going to jump on. I knew that if Warren came in, him and Gregg have an awesome rapport. They've worked together for many years, they write songs together very well, and I just figured it as the best thing for the band."

As for his future with Phil's band, Jimmy says, "That's up to Phil. All of us in the band definitely think that Phil is still going to want to do his band. Maybe he'll do it less, but we've been working a lot. Phil is 62 years old. Whenever I would get tired on the road, I would think how could I even say anything, he's 62 and he's not even tired. He blows my mind, his stamina and endurance are just unbelievable.

"Phil once referred to his band as a sports car and playing while The Other Ones is like riding a train. Both are valid, but sometimes you want a sports car and sometimes you want a train. I think that the more that he plays with The Other Ones, the more he's going to want to drive the sports car again."

In many ways, Jimmy finds comparisons between Phil's band and his own, Project Z. "The whole Project Z thing was about was seeing how far we could go without a song. We were just picking up were the old ARU left off. But Phil does it on a nightly basis, too. He'll just pick a key and says 'ok we're going to groove in D-sharp minor until it feels right to move to the next song.' I've learned so much from Phil about the way he does his set lists. My favorite sets are the ones where there is never a pause between songs. Some of my favorite moments in that band were things that went on between songs. It could last 2 minutes, or it could be 20, and I loved that not knowing and totally leaving it up to chance and totally serving off the moment, because that is what we did with Bruce, so I always loved that opportunity. And that's what the Dead guys are doing, too. When they asked me about doing The Other Ones, I jumped on it. Not for the money, but I am learning something here. This is like going to school.

"I really feel bad that I haven't had more time for Project Z," Jimmy adds. "It is a great band and is my true musical calling, I think. I've just been so busy that if I were to come off the road and then rush off the go play with them, I wouldn't have a life with my family. So it's hard to make that happen and still justify it to myself that I'm away form my kids, and missing my son's soccer games, or missing my daughter getting an award at school. My wife has had to deal with all that by her self for so long. She's sacrificed everything so I could be a musician. Now that I'm in a position that I don't have to tour to pay the rent, it's time to give her a break and for me to take the kids to practice and pick them up from school.

But that hardly means that we've seen then last of the Z, let alone Jimmy Herring. "There is definitely going to be more for Project Z," he says. "We are going to do another record, probably in January. I've been writing stuff, but not all of it is really Z material. That is part of my plight, whether to do a really eclectic record or do several different projects. I have all the stuff I'm writing and I'm influenced by the music that I've been playing the past two to three years with the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead camp. That experience has effected me and influenced me as a composer."

When he does return to the studio, Jimmy plans to bring several guests along. "There are a lot of great people I've met over the last few years that I'd like to work with," he says. 'Greg Osby, he's an awesome saxophone player. When he played with us in Camden, he was really holding back because he didn't want to step on anybody. He really loves the philosophy that Phil has were we all play at the same time and work off of each other. I want to work with him, with Robert Randolph, John Medeski, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, and obviously anything I do Jeff Sipe is the man a far as drummers go. But I would also love to do more records with John Molo, Rob Barraco, and Warren.

"But I'm not in a hurry because I want this next record to be really good. The record company has been extremely patient, but I do still owe them two records. They know that the record that I'm doing for them will be better if I'm not spread too thin. They don't want me to come off a tour and go straight into the studio I'd rather be at home because my heart wouldn't really be into it."

There is no doubt that Jimmy Herring has made a name for himself as one of the top guitarist in the world today. He has accomplished so much already, yet he continues to evolve, and seemingly has yet to reach his peak. With that in mind, there is no telling what the future may hold, let alone where Jimmy will turn up next.

** First appeared in An Honest Tune magazine, Volume 4, Issue 2

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Omar Kent Dykes Big Town Playboy

Big Town Playboy, Omar Kent Dykes follow up to his critically acclaimed 2007 release On the Jimmy Reed Highway, finds Dykes surrounded by a number of special guests that help him continue belting out his classic blend of style blues. Two harmonica players stand out amongst the guests, with Chicago-blues great James Cotton joining on the title track, and Lazy Lester adding his distinctive swampy harp to “Dream Girl” and “Hello Mary lee.”

Jimmie Vaughn adds his signature guitar to each of the disc’s dozen tracks, serving as a perfect compliment to Dykes own characteristic guttural growls, while Lou Ann Barton adds smoldering vocals to “Think” and “Close Together,” both sung as duets with Dykes. While Big Town Playboy breaks little, if any, new ground, the disc does solidify Dykes’ place as an excellent modern day purveyor of root based blues, with just enough new twist to sound at home in the modern age.

Ray Charles "Genius: The Ultimate Collection"

The genius of Ray Charles is well documented, with enough chart topping singles to fill numerous Greatest Hits CDs. Ray Charles - Genius: The Ultimate Collection chronicles Charles’ time recording for the Atlantic and ABC-Paramount labels, starting with 1955’s
I Got a Woman” and concluding with his classic 1972 rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

In total, The Ultimate Collection contains 21 of Charles’ biggest hits, including ten that made it to #1 on the R&B chart and three that hit #1 on the pop charts. Though Charles may not have written all of the material (“Hit the Road Jack” was penned by Percy Mayfield, Hoagy Carmichael wrote “Georgia on My Mind,” and “You Are My Sunshine” was a standard credited to Jimmie Davis), Charles had a way of making each song uniquely his own. Whether his was playing the blues, taking on the Beatles (“Yesterday”), or transforming the way we hear gospel, there is no denying Ray Charles’ genius. With The Ultimate Collection, Concord Records reminds us all of just how wide reaching that range of genius truly was.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jess Franklin Travels On

Jess Franklin Soldiers On

While his fellow band mates have taken time away from the road during Tishamingo's extended hiatus, guitarist/keyboardist Jess Franklin has remained busy. For much of the past year, Jess has been recording songs for his first country release, an album that will feature a bevy of catchy songs such as “Write Home,” “Get Hooked,” “Finer Things,” and “The Colors of 2 AM.”

Jess also recently been on stage with Brantley Gilbert, joining the young song writer from Jefferson, GA that ranks as one of the most played unsigned artists on My Space, with nearly 9 million plays. Brantley's music can be described as Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Bon Jovi, with a healthy dose of hell raising Kid Rock attitude to boot.

Currently touring the South through April, Jess can be seen opening the shows performing his own solo material, and then joining Brantley's band, adding scorching lead guitar licks, adding a slide sound the band has never had, as well as tinkling the ivories on his keyboard.

Jess and his old Tishamingo mates are currently planning a three week European tour July 2nd through the 19th. Until then, you can catch Jess on tour with Brantley Gilbert on the following dates:

April 23 Live Oak, FL Suwannee River Jam
April 24 Statesboro, GA Retriever’s
April 25 Columbia, SC Headliner’s
May 8 Swainsboro, GA Pine Tree Festival
May 16 Gainesville, GA Brenau Center * the John Jarred Foundation
May 30 Rome, GA Rome River Jam
June 4 Enterprise, AL Bama Jam

Americana Music Awards Rehearsal IN MY TIME OF DYING and WHAT YOU GONNA DO LEROY

See Robert Plant and Buddy Miller rehearse the afternoon of the Americana Music Awards, 9-18-8, includes IN MY TIME OF DYING and WHAT YOU GONNA DO LEROY.

SUNDAY NIGHT SHOUT! - Mike Farris' Quest for Joy

Mike Farris knows both the highs and lows that can come with a life in rock-n-roll. From the highs of his early career with the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, and the alcohol and drug abuse that often accompanies early major label success, to the depths of despair after your band breaks up and you hit rock bottom, Farris is a musician that has truly seen the extremes in life.

Though hardly proud of those lows Farris is willing to share, knowing that his new found joy has the chance to inspire others. “That is something that my wife and I have battled over,” he says, “because it’s embarrassing. It’s just not a good thing, and is something you want to forget was ever part of your life. But you cannot deny it, and we help each other by sharing our war stories and, not to celebrate, but just to let people draw strength from (my experience) and they say, ‘Wow, if all that shit can happen to this guy and he can make it through, then I can do it too.’

“I don’t stand up and go say ‘look at me, I’m sober,’ but it’s worth it for me to admit it, because some people will come up and want to talk about it, and we will talk about it off the stage somewhere. There is always somebody, always. So, even though sometimes it’s embarrassing as hell at times for my family, it’s always worth it to me. I just want to let people know that the sooner you get through this shit, the sooner you can get to the good stuff, the real good stuff. Man, I wouldn’t go back and trade it for anything.”

These days, Farris has put his addictions and rock-n-roll life style behind him, coming through the other side stronger than ever. Having quit his habits and become a practicing Christian, Farris released his first solo album in 2002. Five years later, his follow up, Salvation in Lights, would again place Farris in the spotlight, transcending boundaries and suddenly embraced by a wide range of audiences, ranging from AAA radio to the Gospel Music Channel and the growing Americana format.

Having released Salvation in Lights, Farris capped off 2007 with an appearance at Warren Haynes’ annual Xam Jam in Asheville, NC, an event he had silently longed to attend. “I’ve known Warren since 1992,” Farris recalls. “He and I co-wrote some material for the Cheetah Willies second record that year when we were touring with the Allman Brothers. My manager Rose was a big part in helping Gov’t Mule get started, helping (Warren’s wife) Stefani break in to the business. (Rose) had just passed away right when I got sober, like15 days after release of Salvation.

“I was plagued when I was high, and when I got clean, everybody was really happy for me. Warren and Stef called me up and said they’d heard the record and said ‘We’re so glad you’re clean, and you sound better than ever, come on down.’

“For years I wanted to be at Xmas Jam but I just wasn’t ready and I didn’t have a reason to be there. I was stoned, out of my mind and couldn’t even function, so of course they didn’t want me there. It really meant a lot to me to be invited.”

Riding the waves of success that was Salvation in Lights, Farris would again be accepted within the inner circle of another community last September when he was named “Emerging Artist of the Year” by the Americana Music Awards.

Farris recalls, “Being embraced by those people has been really special, and somewhat crazy. As I was performing, I looked over and there’s Levon Helm with my son, who is a big Levon fan, and he’s over there having a hootenanny with Levon and they’re dancing. I saw that, and realized that was my reward. I thought, ‘That’s it, right there.’ Just seeing that, man, it was special.

“Then I walk off the stage, and I’m looking down the corridor there, and I see that Robert Plant is coming toward to me to say something. I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, what do I say?’ I didn’t want to say, ‘Hey, I’m a big fan.” He comes up and said, ‘Way to go bro’ that was wonderful,” and I said, “Well, it’s really nice to see you out exploring and making new music. It’s nice to see you here, being down here in Nashville, we’re real happy about that.’ He said, well, ‘it was either this, or being in some fucking desert playing with some fucking prince…”

At the same period in time, Farris and his band, featuring the McCrary Sisters and the Roseland Rhythm Revue, were in the midst of a weekly series of shows, dubbed Sunday Night Shout!, at the Station Inn in Nashville. Most of the shows were recorded for SHOUT LIVE!, a 14-track collection that showcases the utter joy Farris finds in life as he preaches his passionate blend of gospel, soul, folk and rock. The performances at times epitomize the common notion of church, touching on spirit and emotions that folks from all walks of life and religious backgrounds can appreciate.

Farris recalls the process of preparing the album very fondly. “I wanted to make it sound like Sam Cooke live in Harlem Square. But, since we weren’t playing Harlem Square, we wanted the shows to be available for everybody - if you didn’t have any money, you can still come. It started out being free, and we’d pass around the bucket. That wasn’t working out to well, so we tagged on a cover, but if you still didn’t have the money, you could still come in.

“One thing we wanted,” he adds, “was to make it family friendly. We wanted kids to have access to this stuff, which was important to me. Then we got an idea of getting a sponsorship from a music store in town and they provided us boxes full of percussion instruments, shakers, rattlers, tambourines, things to beat on. At the Station Inn, they have these long tables, so every Sunday before the show, we would come in and fill the tables up with the shakers and tambourines and kids would be running all over the place. Rock-n-rollers, musicians, music executives and truck drivers and every walk of life were in there, and these little kids running around making music. It was just amazing.”

The music Farris and his band made those Sunday nights was equally amazing. The resulting live album is an effort Farris, and fans of great music everywhere, can take great pride and joy in. Though he initially says his intent is just to “give people their money’s worth,” Farris knows he’s on to something far more grand.

“I want people,” he says, “to see this music as the fire that everyone is gathering around. I’d like to see it grow and be something that grows into more than the music. If it starts to grow friendships and brothers and sisters, it can be the catalyst to pull people together and then it becomes even bigger than the music. I think that’s what the music is for. It kind of draws people to an area and then the real good stuff starts happening.”

With the rousing SHOUT LIVE!, and its vibrant predecessor Salvation in Lights, Farris has the vehicle to draw the masses to his inspirational blend of gospel. And for that, he is eternally grateful.

“I feel like I am breaking the law,” he says, “getting away with something so much fun. I am just so grateful. A lot of people I know are that way, we feel so fortunate we get to play music, good Lord”.

“I really feel that if there is one thing I can do to inspire people, it would be to say, ‘if you’re not just perfectly happy in this life, and you have to go stop everything, then go on your quest to find that place in life that makes you happy.’ I don’t think we are put here on this Earth to do anything otherwise, so that’s just what I did. I sat down one day and said “Okay, from now on, I’m just going to do what makes me happy and do what I want to do,” and everything has fallen into place. Crazy concept, huh?”

This summer, Farris and his rousing, transcending spiritual show is hitting the road, taking the SHOUT LIVE! revival across the country with stops that will include a second straight consecutive performance at Bonnaroo, as well as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Hollywood Bowl, where Farris will open for the incomparable Patti LaBelle.