The Railroad Revival Tour [with a stop in Chandler, AZ]

I haven’t been this unabashedly giddy about an upcoming show in quite some time. News of the Railroad Revival Tour swept across the web Monday morning like a Japanese bullet train (train reference, pow!). It’s a short, exclusive train tour featuring three great bands: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

And for once, an exclusive tour that includes the Phoenix area as one of its few stops – and it’s Chandler, for cryin’ out loud, right in my own back yard…

For a week in late April, the three bands will travel in vintage rail cars pulled by two locomotives across the southwest U.S.A. – from Oakland to New Orleans. Chandler Arizona’s big day is Saturday, April 23rd, as the train pulls into the Arizona Railway Museum for a show. Thanks to some pre-sale luck this morning, I was able to grab my tickets. I am pumped!

Can’t wait to finally see Old Crow Medicine Show…
Looking forward to checking out Mumford & Sons (need to dig into their album a little more).
And this’ll be my third time seeing Edward and his Magnetic Zeros (I’ll also see them a week after at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival).

Tickets for all stops go on sale Wednesday, March 9th at 11am CT / 9am PT. According to Railroad Revival Tour’s Facebook page, the Chandler museum stop will have a show capacity of 8,000 people.
For me, it’s a can’t miss experience.

Railroad Revival Tour: Web Site | Facebook | Twitter

Old Crow Medicine Show – “I Hear Them All”

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – “Home”

Mumford & Sons – “Timshel”

[Ick’s Pick] Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine

I discovered the treasure trove that is the music of John Prine back in the early 90’s, during my last year of college. The Missing Years about knocked me on my butt, with its witty wordplay, catchy cadences, and gorgeous melodies. The album led me directly to Great Days: The John Prine Anthology, which gave me a crash course in this American treasure, the postman turned folk singer from Maywood, Illinois.

In reading the liner notes of the new tribute album, Broken Hearts &Dirty Windows – Songs of John Prine, I found out that Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) had the same experience – growing up in Wisconsin and happening across the Anthology; getting to know John Prine through classics like “Sam Stone”, “Paradise”, “That’s The Way That The World Goes Round”, and “Hello In There.”

With the release of this fantastic new tribute album, it’s clear that Prine has had a similar impact on a host of younger artists – and it’s interesting that the artists on this record rank among some of my current favorites: Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket, Old Crow Medicine Show, Deer Tick, Drive-By Truckers… it makes sense now: we’re all rooted in Prine’s music, and as they’ve matured and made music of their own, its these same roots that have pulled me into their music.

The common theme is humble, genuine, gritty, homegrown American music.

The standouts for me on this record include Deer Tick’s “Unwed Fathers”, featuring the sandpaper vocals of John McCauley and the sweet accompaniment of Liz Isenberg; Josh Ritter does “Mexican Home” from 1973’s Sweet Revenge. Ritter takes Prine’s uptempo version. and slows it way down – exposing the song’s melancholy core:

“My father died on the porch outside
On an August afternoon
I sipped bourbon and cried
With a friend by the light of the moon
So its hurry! hurry! Step right up
It’s a matter of life or death
The sun is going down
And the moon is just holding its breath.

Drive-By Truckers do their thing, taking The Missing Year‘s “Daddy’s Little Pumpkin” and shifting it into overdrive; My Morning Jacket also do a Missing Years tune, “All The Best”, which Jim James and Prine recently performed on Letterman (worth a look); the Avett Brothers pick what I think is the perfect song for them: “Spanish Pipedream”; and Old Crow Medicine Show take the beautiful “Angel from Montgomery” and add their old timey flavor to it.

The big surprise for me was the album’s finale – “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian” as performed by Those Darlins, a female trio from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. First off, it’s one of Prine’s most hilarious songs, the innuendos flying left & right. And then you add a sexy rhythm, an island feel, and the sensual and sassy singing of Those Darlins. Play this at a BBQ this summer, it’ll be a guaranteed hit. It’s such a fun ride, and a fitting finale to what amounts to a great tribute to good ol’ John Prine.

Good things from Old Crow Medicine Show

You can count Old Crow Medicine Show among those bands that I like more and more each time I hear them. They may have the “old timey” label affixed to them, but it’s only one facet. The guys  play quintessential American music – folk, rock, bluegrass – and they have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.

On August 18th, OCMS will release their first live DVD, Live at the Orange Peel and Tennessee Theatre. I’ll soon have a copy to give away to one of you fine folks. In the meantime, see this excellent clip from the DVD. Talk about a loose band having a good time together. This is live music…

This one’s called “Down Home Girl”..

You can catch up with the guys at their Official Site.

And get this, they’re launching the Big Surprise Tour on August 4th, along with The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, and the Dave Rawlings Machine (feat. Gillian Welch). Now that’s a traveling show. These are the dates so far. Hopefully they’ll creep their way west…


04 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Casino Ballroom
05 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues
06 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
07 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
09 – Charlottesville, VA @ Charlottesville Pavilion
10 – Cary, NC @ Koka Booth Amphitheatre
12 – Louisville, KY @ Waterfront Park
13 – Nashville, TN @ Riverfront Park
14 – Knoxville, TN @ World’s Fair Park

You can also catch them later this month opening for the Dave Matthews Band along the Eastern seaboard.

President Obama

What an amazing day. All of the majesty, symbolism, and History behind today’s inauguration of Barack Obama was nothing short of breathtaking. Thanks to, I was able to catch the Oath and the speech at work. It’s a very large corporation, with layers of security, firewalls, web filtering software and the like, so I was happy to see that at least one web site’s streaming video of the ceremony was working.

I must say though, I wasn’t impressed that: a) there was no acknowledgment by the company, no communication to its thousands upon thousands of employees, that addressed the magnitude and significance of the day.; and b) there was absolutely no enthusiasm, chatter – no nothin’ – from my co-workers. Sure, the economy sucks, everyone has a job to do, work work work, focus focus focus, blah blah. But to go the entire day at work with no one (around me, at least) even opening their mouth to talk about this historic day? Well, I was a little disheartened and disappointed. I figured my enthusiasm for the day would be matched at least by some people. Maybe they were out there, but they sure weren’t verbal about it.

But let my rant end there, and let me sum up by saying how refreshing it will be to wake up tomorrow with President Obama at the helm. I’m proud of my country, and I have the utmost confidence that this President will be a great leader through these very tough times.

Old Crow Medicine ShowI Hear Them All (mp3)

Did anyone see Old Crow Medicine Show on Austin City Limits recently? Great set, and prompted me to dig out some of their stuff. This song is fitting for the moment, in my opinion.

I hear leaders quit their lying
I hear babies quit their crying.
I hear soldiers quit their dying, one and all.

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all