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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival
The Decemberists cancel rest of tour due to lingering illness
Friday, November 2, 2007
Johnny Cash was known for his share of rabble rousing back in the day, including a notorious stint of public drunkenness in Mississippi circa 1965. But he was also incredibly down to earth, not only for writing the tune "Starkville City Jail" to chronicle his time in the slammer, but entertaining inmates all across America on many occasions (including his performance of that track at the unforgettable San Quentin State Prison concert a few years later). As for the officers who initially arrested him after that Mississippi State University gig, The Man In Black hooked them up with front row seats to his show at the same venue a few years later.
The incident that put the tiny town on the map is long behind the departed troubadour, but he's finally earning a posthumous pardon for the crime, centered around the first annual Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival. Cash's own one time son-in-law and neighbor Marty Stuart is amongst the entertainers taking the stage, backed by highly seasoned band the Fabulous Superlatives. The players have released a steady stream of projects over the last few years, followed up by considerable time on tour, plus recent collaborations with Mavis Staples.
Also along for the celebration is Johnny's sister Joanne, who's likely to share personal memories growing up with the man behind the music, recording several duets with him and working at the House of Cash hit making factory. She's joined on stage by Kevin Max (whom she previously performed with at B.B. King's in Nashville to launch her latest CD Gospel) and the pair is slated to unveil their roots rockin' duet "One Way-One Blood." The event starts tonight and wraps Sunday throughout the city, with full details available at www.pardonjohnnycash.com.
Only two shows in the books and The Decemberists have to cancel the rest of their Long and Short of It Tour due to a band member's lingering illness.
In a statement by the band:
"One of our band members has been ill for a while but we thought all would be well in time for these tour dates. After a couple shows, though, it has become clear that the illness is much worse than we had initially realized. We need to return home so our friend can mend.
It saddens us to disappoint our fans. We hope everybody understands it is only because of an extreme situation that we had to cancel a tour we've all been excited about doing since the idea was originally hatched.
Our deepest apologies but at this time no plans are being made to reschedule the dates. Ticket holders should seek refunds at point of purchase."
(Contributed by Phil Bonyata)
Bellydancing beauty, Marley-related reality show
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Living in the shadow of late great reggae legend Bob Marley can be an incredibly daunting task for any relative, but now the public can see exactly what that's like on BET-J's new reality show "Living the Life of Marley." Sure the concept may appear to cash in on the lengthy lineage, but its star Ky-Mani Marley (Bob's second youngest son) is quickly earning his own artistic stripes. Aside from starring in a few notable indie films, the reggae rocker is in the support slot for Van Halen's reunion with its first front man David Lee Roth.
Miles Copeland may be best known for his pivotal role in I.R.S. Records, plus launching the careers of The Police and Sting. However, he's switched genres all together to embrace the more exotic world of the Bellydance Superstars. The troupe is made up of America's most sought after dancers and has thus far appeared in twenty counties before over a million attendees throughout a mere four years. The group's latest artistic vision is the stage show "Babelesque," touring throughout this month and resuming in late February through March.
Her career has spanned twenty-five years, but the last seven have been all together silent in terms of new studio CDs from k.d. lang. Luckily, that's all about to change with the February 5 release of Watershed, which finds the singer/songwriter stepping up to the production plate for the very first time. A full-fledged North American tour corresponds, launching late January and running through mid-March.
Capitol's latest find, The B-52's are back
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The time elapsed between proper studio projects from The B-52's may be an astounding sixteen years, but the band stayed seasoned on the road, introducing its influential dance rock sounds to younger generations. Come February 26 of next year, the dry recording spell will officially end as Funplex drops on Astralwerks, also the current home to Kraftwerk, Yoko Ono and Sondre Lerche. The project will feature producer Steve Osborne (New Order, Happy Mondays, Doves) and intertwine new wave, punk and party rock (packed with new school touches of Scissor Sisters, LCD Soundsystem and Interpol).
Also in dance-tipped punk circles, Capitol is about to unveil its latest find Katy Perry, only consumers won't have to wait as long to pick up fresh tunes. The newcomer drops the iTunes EP Ur So Gay on November 20, followed by a full-length CD at the start of next year under a production team that includes Dave Stewart (from The Eurythmics), Butch Walker (Pink, The Donnas) and Greg Wells (Rufus Wainwright, Natasha Bedingfield. Perry already found fame starring in music videos for Gym Class Heroes and P.O.D., plus opening for Yellowcard and The Starting Line.
A&E's offshoot network Bio is addressing two departed rock n' roll icons in its most recent "The Final 24" airings. As implied in the title, the program seeks to dissect the last moments of an entertainer's life, this time focusing on Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, complete with insight on their musical pursuits, personal demons and untimely deaths. Morrison's episode premieres tonight and Joplin's story hits the airwaves November 7 (with future investigations as diverse as Keith Moon and Tupac Skakur).
Street Date: Dylan revisited, Queen in concert
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The Bob Dylan product train continues to run at full steam, though as is the case of many re-issues in his stable, it's compelling enough to warrant a purchase. The enduring singer/songwriter turns in the DVD The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 (Sony), which comes on the heels of this year's aptly titled Dylan career retrospective. Expect mounds of unique footage, such as a workshop presentation of "All I Really Want To Do," a special jam with The Freedom Singers, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary on "Blowin' In The Wind," plus plugged in versions of "Maggie's Farm" and "Like A Rolling Stone."
Freddie Mercury and Queen also turn in a few new posthumous projects, starting with the CD release Rock Montreal (Hollywood). The double disc covers a memorable 1981 set featuring ageless hits such as "Under Pressure," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Another One Bites The Dust" and "We Are the Champions," amongst many others. Yet the true treat for faithful fans is DVD footage of the very same show, released in single disc format under the same aforementioned title and as a deluxe edition under the banner Rock Montreal & Live Aid (Eagle Vision). The latter is by far the better prize, featuring the full-fledged Canadian concert, plus 1985's uninterrupted Live Aid set, including rehearsal footage and new commentaries by surviving band members.
Not that it matters from the perspective of musical merit, but two former pop poster pin-ups also drop discs today. Ongoing blooper reel Britney Spears turns in Blackout (Jive), her first new album of all new material since 2003. The disc was originally slated for release next month, but is perhaps being moved up to cash in on the publicity of her current custody battle with even more talentless ex-husband Kevin Federline. The Backstreet Boys are also facing drama these days after loosing a member, but they press on nonetheless as a foursome on today's Unbreakable (Jive).
Weezer and Korn share something in common
Monday, October 29, 2007
All has been quiet in the Weezer camp as of late, but Rivers Cuomo recently spilled the beans on his MySpace page that a solo project was indeed in the works. However, the geek rock pioneer won't be putting on the band's usual studio polish, instead turning to sparse recordings spanning his entire career. "I've compiled a CD of my favorite demos from the years 1992 to 2007 and Geffen Records has agreed to put it out this December, on the eleventh," he writes. "I hope you enjoy it. I may also be able to put out more demo CD's in the near future." As implied, Alone- The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo is loaded with a slew of previously unreleased demos with detailed linear notes.
Though Weezer has very little in common with Korn, the hard rockers also unveiled a similar announcement that front man Jonathan Davis is stepping aside for a solo outing. The move comes on the heels of this summer's Family Values Tour with the band, but is more likely to adapt a stripped down, somewhat intimate approach. Aside from performing Korn material, he promises rarities, fan favorites, cover tunes and selections from The Queen of the Damned soundtrack. The tour kicks off November 9 in Harfort, CT and winds through Las Vegas on December 11.
Even though Barbara Mandrell officially retired ten years ago during a final Grand Ole Opry concert, she pops up in the limelight every so often. Recent achievements include a Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music, plus the BNA Records tribute CD She Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool: A Tribute to Barbara Mandrell. The next notch in her belt comes November 5 when the living legend is admitted into the Music City Walk of Fame, taking place at Hall of Fame Park in downtown Nashville. Other inductees include Rodney Crowell, Bob DiPiero, Vince Gill, Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Killen.
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