Band of Horses showed up last night on Letterman to perform “Laredo”. Of note: Tyler Ramsey’s finger pickin’ electric guitar work, Ben Bridwell’s determined delivery, and Bill Reynolds’ get-up. Looks like Bill could have walked out of the Ed Sullivan Theater and straight onto the set of Boogie Knights. Slick, man!
Hats off to Keith Urban for offering up a killer version of “Tumbling Dice” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’s Rolling Stones week. You’ve undoubtedly noticed through some media outlet that the classic 1973 Stones album Exile on Main Street will be reissued this coming Tuesday (May 18th). I’ll be in line for the Deluxe Version.
This week on Jimmy Fallon has been a treat for Stones fans. Monday, Green Day performed “Rip This Joint”. Tuesday was Urban. Wednesday was Sheryl Crow’s version of “All Down the Line” (with Doyle Bramhall, Chuck Leavell and the Roots), which I thought she dulled down a bit. No animation. I mean come on, this is ALL DOWN THE LINE you’re performing Sheryl! Shake it a little…
Tonight, to wrap it up, Phish will take the stage – likely for “Loving Cup”, which they’ve played regularly through the years.
But I really want to highlight this Keith Urban version (also with Chuck Leavell on keys). I’ve only seen Keith here and there on TV, awards shows, etc., and I’ve never been unimpressed. But he just moved up a few notches in my book for taking on this great song – and doing it serious justice.
Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers do not appear to be f–king around people. Their new album, Mojo (out June 15th) is said to be a more bluesy, harder affair – with the band jamming together in the studio – instead of laying down separate tracks. “I Should Have Known It” shows us we have a lot to look forward to with this record. Mike Campbell is a soul possessed…
It’s been almost 2 months since the world lost Tom “T-Bone” Wolk from a heart attack at the age of 58. It’ll be an odd feeling to watch Daryl Hall go forward without T-Bone at his side.
The latest episode of Live From Daryl’s House is bittersweet, to put it mildly. It marks the final time that Daryl Hall and John Oates played with their longtime pal and music director. It takes place at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival early this year. Joining Daryl, John and T-Bone are Maxi Priest and gray-dreadlocked Billy Ocean.
As usual with this great series, the behind the scenes footage between songs is just as enjoyable as the music (as is Shanique, the bartender at Memorabilia bar).
But it’s hard not to feel a helpless sadness as you watch T-Bone, so full of life and good humor at the time, knowing what was soon to come. At the same time, it’s a blessing to have footage like this, documenting his passion for music and life.
Maybe it’ll all make sense some day. For now though, it sure doesn’t. RIP T-Bone.
March of 1960 was a busy, eventful month for Elvis Presley. On March 1st, Elvis shipped off from Germany, returning home after a two year stint in the U.S. Army. Colonel Parker scheduled a train ride from New Jersey to Tennessee, alerting towns along the way that Elvis would be rolling through. Throngs of fans greeted him at every stop.
On March 20th, Elvis and his entourage chartered a bus to Nashville for the first recording session that would become part of the Elvis Is Back album. “Stuck on You” and “Fame and Fortune” were two of the songs recorded, and within 72 hours, 1.4 million records were pressed and shipped out. Along with regulars Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, some of Nashville’s top session pros were brought in to help – including jazz guitarist Hank Garland and piano man Floyd Cramer.
Less than a week later, on March 26th, Elvis was in Miami for a taping of The Frank Sinatra show. Elvis performed “Fame and Fortune” and “Stuck on You”. Sinatra then came out for some awkward banter, followed by a joint medley of tunes: Sinatra’s “Witchcraft” and Presley’s “Love Me Tender.”
What a month… Within 26 days, Elvis had returned from Germany, recorded his first singles, and performed them on Sinatra’s TV show.
How’d he do it? Well, the truth is that by this time, Elvis had discovered amphetamines – the little white pills that were introduced to him while on tank maneuvers in Germany. It’s hard to gauge to what extent drugs had become a part of his life, but there was no turning back at this point.
It doesn’t diminish his stature as a performer though – not in my opinion. Yes, fast forwarding 10-15 years, it’s clear that his lifestyle choices were taking their toll. But in this moment in time – March 26th, 1960 – it’s amazing to see how natural and at ease he is as a performer. Keep in mind that during his 2 years away, he didn’t perform at all. And to deliver something like this just a few weeks after returning stateside… it’s still incredible – fifty years later.
Like many of you, I sat down and took in the two hours of Hope for Haiti Now last night – a music-based benefit organized by overall good guy George Clooney. It was broadcast on most TV and cable networks. This will shock you, but Fox News did not – I repeat, DID NOT – broadcast the show last night. That is completely surprising to – well – nobody.
Well, those Fox News watching fu–tards missed out on some pretty cool moments last night. If you could make it through the awkward celebrity phone conversations with the general public, you saw the likes of Bono, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Bono, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Matthews and Neil Young, Sting, Shakira, and of course the Boss (and many others).
All of the performances can be purchased on iTunes or Amazon.
Here’s a look at my favorite moments from the evening:
5. Bruce Springsteen – “We Shall Overcome”
This classic spiritual was covered by Bruce on his 2006 Seeger Sessions record. Last night, Bruce brought out his backup singers, along with Charles Giordano on accordion and Curt Ramm on trumpet.
4. Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris – “Hallelujah”
I was pleasantly surprised by this. As covers of this Leonard Cohen song go, Jeff Buckley’s stands firmly above the rest. But Justin and Matt last night were spot on with their harmonies, and brought out the true beauty in the song – which is more of a lover’s lament than a song about hope, strength, and inspiration (the general theme of the night). I was most impressed by Matt Morris’s vocals.
3. Shakira – “I’ll Stand By You”
This song is one of my favorite Pretenders tunes, and Shakira nailed it, in my opinion. Of course, my opinion may have been different if she looked like Tiny Tim, but visually and aurally, it was fantastic – especially with the Roots backing her up.
2. Sting w/ the Roots – “Driven to Tears”
What a great version this was. The full, lush arrangement – Sting on acoustic surrounded by the Roots. Questlove, drummer for the Roots, mentioned on Twitter that he was really looking forward to this performance because he’s practiced drums to the Police since he was a kid.
1. Wyclef Jean – “Rivers of Babylon” > Haitian traditional
I’m a big fan of “Rivers of Babylon”, a song written by the Melodians in 1972, and covered by many, including Steve Earle. But when Wyclef shifted gears and launched into the percussive blast of his native Haiti, it was like a load being lifted from our shoulders. He sang in English and his native creole, sang about strength in the face of adversity, sang even about Anderson Cooper and CNN. It was a perfect ending to the night.