Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Memphis Style

A few weeks ago, I came across this article. I can't remember how, but I did.

Craig Brewer, writer and director of Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, is directing $5 Cover, a series of fifteen web based short films in and around Memphis, profiling Memphis hometown heroes and musicians by showcasing them in their element: performance.

These shorts, each approximately eight minutes long, will be built around a particular song by the featured artist of the episode. Some of the musicians featured are:

Ben Nichols of Lucero
Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All-Stars
Amy LeVere
rapper Al Kapone
and many more...

Production was slated to start on July 18th, and as one of my Memphis connections told me today, she happened by the film crew set up outside of one of their locations in Midtown. I can't remember where she said they were at, as I am not too familiar with the Memphis scene. But she is on the lookout for more tapings...hopefully she will get in on the action of a couple of them.

Thanks for the heads up, JN.


Keeping with the royalty theme, and better yet, the FREE theme from yesterday with the Kings of Leon, we now have Tom Petty (or Sir Thomas, as we call him in our circle) giving away a free download of his original/re-united/half-Heartbreakers/quasi-new (to you and to me) band Mudcrutch. All you have to do to download a live version of "Bootleg Flyer", the second single off of Mudcrutch's debut album, is go here and use the code word "Gainesville". Check it out...after all, it's free (at least until 9/30/08).

The Mudcrutch album (which came out months ago in April...yes, I'm behind, but I have had it since there!) is good, but I'd obviously take a good ol' TP & the HBs album any day over this. I would have loved to hear Mudcrutch 35 years ago, before the Heartbreakers, before the money, before (excessive) drugs and fame, before over-produced albums (thanks Dave Stewart). It would have been awesome, probably in the same way that you might have heard Sir Thomas for the first time...whether it was "American Girl" in the 70s, "Runnin' Down a Dream" or "Free Fallin' " in the 80s, "Mary Jane's Last Dance" in the 90s...and I guess whatever he's put out in the 2000s... Only with the original trek of Mudcrutch in the 70s, you would know that TP and the 'Breakers are youngsters by appearance, not by their ability by any means.

Mudcrutch is more of a country rock album- heavier on the country side. Think the Byrds meet Tom Petty (imagine that, it's a stretch, I know) meet a country band of all the old guys that hang out in the neighborhood bar...and one og them plays a banjo.

Don't get me wrong- I like the album; it's good. However, it's no Damn the Torpedoes, Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, or even half of the country, Southern-y Southern Accents album. Hell, it's not even the Traveling Wilburys, which is probably the closest sound to Mudcrutch out of all of these albums and the Petty eras, audio-wise.

Those are what the real Tom Petty is to me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Free Kings

The Kings of Leon have their new album Only By The Night coming out on September 23rd. To promote their new album (their fourth LP), they have released the single "Crawl". You can download it on the KOL's website or myspace.

In other KOL news, they are also releasing a series of "home" videos leading up to the release of the new album. Look for them on their website as well. They are kinda funny.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"That which doesn't kill you makes you stranger"

If you haven't seen The Dark Knight yet, do yourself a favor and go. Brave the long lines and the crowded theaters. You want to see this before everyone does and tells you about it at the watercooler at work, and ruins the best part: Heath Ledger as the Joker. It's worth the lines, crowd and the wait for the late Heath Ledger's performance alone...not to mention there's the rest of the cast and the movie too. If Heath doesn't win an Oscar for his performance as The Joker, (even if he was alive) it will be an absolute travesty.

His portrayal of The Joker is by far the best, and by the term of "best" I mean he was the worst. I don't know if there has ever been a more evil, maniacal and menacing character that will stop at nothing to destroy everything ever in any film. At least there shure hasn't been one like this in quite some time. His take on the Joker, most notably played by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman, is simply unbelievable. You have to see it to even begin to have some sort of a grasp on how good of a job Heath did. And after you see it, you will understand why he alledgedly went crazy at the end of his short life.

However, you will not understand how he took this character that we all laughed at (and with) when Nicholson portrayed Joker, and turned it inside out, twisted it even more, ripped out any sense of compassion and reason, and put it on the screen for us to enjoy. Heath put everything he had into this character for all of us. This was a once in a lifetime role that he put his soul into. And it didn't make it out.

Go see The Dark Knight. And thank Heath for making this movie what it is. And what any future Batman movie (possibly any movie with a villain, or maybe any movie that requires any all) cannot and simply will never be.

Thanks Heath.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What is this world coming to?

I have nothing to say about this...other than goddammit! And why? Actually, I have a lot to say about this, well, rather Everlast covering the Almighty JC, but I will not share it all here... Is nothing sacred anymore? See for yourself, if you can stomach it.

I have no explanation as to why, other than why not. Ideally, it gives any artist extra street cred if you know, like or play some Johnny. Why wouldn't it? JC is a badass, but that doesn't mean that everyone needs to and has the right to cover any song they want. I am utterly speechless. And the fact that he has Cypress Hill's Insane in the Brain as the backtrack.

Hell, Everlast should have covered Stairway to Heaven while he was at it too. He could have sampled House of Pain's Jump Around as it's backing track.

Who let this happen at the Cash camp? Or was it Columbia? Who has the rights to "Folsom Prison Blues" these days? I think it's either House of Cash, Inc. or Sun Entertainment Corporation. Whoever it is, has chosen poorly by allowing Everlast to cover this.

The video is atrocious. Preposterous. Pompous. Blasphemous. I am appalled. Really. My spirit, and more importantly, Cash's legacy, just died a little bit.

I have no doubt that JC is rollin' over here.

(and yes, I took this picture of the Cashs' grave site in my pilgrimage there two years ago.)

Thank God It's Lemmy!

New album, new tour, same ol' Lemmy. Thank God!

Motorhead are releasing their new album Motorized on August 26th! Go ahead and brace yourself and prepare your ears to bleed! Here is the track list for the upcoming album Motorizer:

(Teach You How To) Sing The Blues
Time Is Right
Runaround Man
English Rose
Rock Out
1000 Names
When The Eagle Screams
Don't Die Ashamed
Back On The Chain
Buried Alive

And if that is not enough, Motorhead is touring this summer and fall too. Click here for tickets and see below for dates:


Aug 6/08
Camden, NJ
Susquehanna Bank Center

Aug 7/08
Bristow, VA
Nissan Pavilion

Aug 9/08
Holmdel, NJ
PNC Bank Arts Center

Aug 10/08
Wantagh, NY
Nikon at Jones Beach

Aug 13/08
Toronto, ON
Molson Amphitheatre

Aug 16/08
Pittsburgh, PA
Post Gazette Pavilion

Aug 18/08
Detroit, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre

Aug 19/08
Chicago, IL
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

Aug 22/08
Dallas, TX Amphitheatre

Aug 23/08
Houston, TX
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

Aug 24/08
San Antonio, TX
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

Aug 27/08
Albuquerque, NM
Journal Pavilion

Aug 28/08
Phoenix, AZ
Cricket Wireless Pavilion

Aug 30/08
San Bernardino, CA
Glen Helen Pavilion

Aug 31/08
Mountain View, CA
Shoreline Amphitheatre

w/ The Misfits, Airbourne, Valient Thorr & Year Long Disaster

Sep 3/08
San Diego, CA
House of Blues

Sep 4/08
Las Vegas, NV
House of Blues

Sep 6/08
Denver, CO
The Fillmore Auditorium

Sep 7/08
N. Kansas City, MO
Harrah's Voodoo

Sep 9/08
St. Louis, MO
The Pageant

Sep 10/08
Madison, WI
Orpheum Theatre

Sep 12/08
St. Paul, MN

Sep 13/08
Grand Rapids, MI
The Orbit Room

Sep 14/08
Columbus, OH
Newport Music Hall

Sep 18/08
Baltimore, MD
Rams Head Live!

Sep 19/08
Philadelphia, PA
The Electric Factory

Catchin' Up

I have been seeing, reading and hearing about Rainn Wilson's upcoming movie The Rocker for quite some time, but actually just saw the trailer for the first time this week. This movie will obviously be extremely silly, but it will be a travesty not to check it least at the matinee price.

Speaking of the Rocker, the word on the street, according to Variety, is that Paramount and Jack Black are gearing up for their next tour, with the School of Rock 2: America Rocks. Black will reprise his role as Dewey Finn, a down and out rocker posing as a school teacher in order to achieve rock god-dom, but this time taking his students, err, band, on a cross country tour.

And while we're on the subject of rock on the big screen, Harmonix and MTV Games have unveiled the setlist for Rock Band 2 this week. Some of the highlights include:

AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
Dinosaur Jr. - Feel The Pain
Guns N' Roses - Shackler's Revenge (from the "upcoming" Chinese Democracy album)
Mastodon - Colony of Birchmen
Motorhead - Ace of Spades
Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
The Replacements - Alex Chilton

Check out the setlist here.

Tonight's the Night

The Man, The Myth, The Legend. Neil Young will be on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight at 11:35pm EST. Also on the show will be The Hold Steady.

Click here for the next two weeks' lineup, including We Are Scientists, Grizzly Bear and Black Kids.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's Good To Be King

Friday night I attended the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show with Steve Winwood at the Verizon Amphitheater in Charlotte. While we missed Steve Winwood, as tailgating beers in the parking lot won out over the $11 tall boys inside, we could still hear the original "purveyor of the High Life" from outside. Since I've never been that big of a fan of Steve's, catching him here and there a few times, but never really making an effort to actually go see him, I wasn't that concerned with missing him...besides, duty called in the parking lot. After downing a couple of cold ones, and squeezing a handful of Red Bulls from the young ladies diving the Red Bull Mini around the lot, we headed on in to catch what was sure to be an awesome show from America's greatest rock band. ...and yes, I just said that. Write it down, take it to the bank.

Sir Thomas and the Breakers, of course, did not disappoint. Do they ever? I've seen Tom a handful of times, and I have certainly never been disappointed...well, at least with the show. Ticket pricing, the crowd, and the length of show are a different story.

I'll start with the ticket pricing. Tom Petty is fairly priced. Actually, I would be inclined to pay a little more than the $29.50 that I paid for my ticket. Hell, I'd go as far as $35, maybe even $40. But, when good ol' Ticketmaster gets involved, and rears it's head, a $30 tickets balloons into the small festival price of $52 and change...for one ticket. Ridiculous if you ask me. The fees amounted to over 75% of the face value of the ticket...I figure I should get 75% more show, or at least a beer or two included in the cost. Not the case. Instead I got:
  • a(n) (in)convenience fee for me bending over so easily
  • a facility charge for the location of the financial molestation and moral degradation of me (and 30,000 others at the sold out TP show)
  • a TicketFast fee, which, luckily, the act and breach of my character and standards of paying an exorbitant amount was all over in just about the relatively short amount of time;(it sure was FAST!)
  • a processing fee for my realization of what had just happened, and the guilt and shame that I will forever live with here on out.

I never thought that I would agree with Eddie Vedder so much...

I have always loved crowds. I like the feeling, the atmosphere, the electricity and the feeling of brotherhood and community that they exude. I went to Bonnaroo and loved it for God's sake. However, as I get older, and (un)fortunately more and more sober at shows (as I am learning that I actually like to remember them now), the crowd seems to get in my way at big shows. I love clubs,small venues and theatres. I like Bonnaroo, but that is a different scenario. For some reason, I felt like the old guy at the club that keeps getting ran over and made fun of for being a "square" when he was trying to enjoy himself out in the crowd. So then I would move over and feel like the nerd on the wall at the dance. I guess I was just the most sober person there, and with the drive back to our friend's afterwards, someone had to be. It felt like a big frat party with all the kids falling all over themselves, and more importantly me. It's no fun, unless it's me doing the falling, dammit.

Ok, the length of the show was two hours. That is great. My only complaint is that Sir Thomas isn't still playing nearly four days later. I could listen to the Heartbreakers all day and all night; all week even. They are the tightest band in the land, hands down. Want to argue? Argue. What'd ya got? Respond below.


You Wreck Me
Listen To Her Heart
I Won't Back Down
Even The Losers
Free Fallin'
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Cabin Down Below
End Of The Line (Traveling Wilburys)
Breakdown (with a "Give It To Me" freestyle verse or two)
Saving Grace (jammed out!)
A Face In The Crowd
Honey Bee
You Don't Know How It Feels
Learning To Fly
Don't Come Around Here No More


Runnin' Down A Dream
Mystic Eyes
American Girl

Tom never disappoints, and I hope he never will. I'm just glad he's out there still doing it, and doing it better than ever. Better than anyone today. Yes, I said it, again. What you got?

Thanks to KC for the "Look arrow" graphic.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Goodbye, Big Russ

Again, my M.O. is sometimes being a little late. Which, probably won't help me in this area of my life. A couple of friends sent this link to me a few weeks and I forgot all about it. This is from Tim Russert's Memorial a few weeks ago, with Tom Brokaw and Tim's son Luke Russert introducing the next piece. Apparently Russert was a big Bruce Springsteen fan from way back in the day when Bruce and Tim were unknown faces to the world.

Watch the Boss plays "Thunder Road" for Big Russ, as he called him, via satellite from Europe. My friends all agreed that if this didn't make you tear up just a bit, you have no soul.

Well, do you?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The JC Special

Most of my friends are Johnny Cash fans. Actually, they are fanatics, as am I (but who isn't a self-proclaimed JC fanatic these days?). Even the girls are. But most all of my buddies hold Cash up to a higher level of like and respect, as there really isn't anyone live or dead that can compare to the Man in Black. (Insert your own comment or begin your argument here. I'm ready. Trust me.)

So, two weekends ago, one of the aforementioned buddies had his bachelor party in Tunica, Mississippi. And being that Tunica is just a short ways from Memphis, I naturally wanted to stop by and see Sun Studios, Graceland, Beale Street, etc... Alas, there was no time for that, as we had other vices that needed tending to rather than another rock n roll history tour...maybe next time.

After the weekend was over, we all went our separate ways back to Atlanta, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and a few other places that we have spread out to over the last few years of adulthood. Two of the gentlemen in attendance held a seven hours Johnny Cash marathon on the ride back to Atlanta, complete with Live from Folsom Prison, American Recordings I-V, and I think one of the multitudes of his greatest hits collection. During this epic listening session of Cash, one of the fellows brought to the attention of another of the fellows that he had come into contact with a friend of a friend that was not versed in the ways of Cash, at all. This is obviously a travesty, even in the eyes of a day-to-day, casual, in passing acquaintance of Cash's music and catalog. (If you too are not versed in the House of Cash, please let us know, and we'll see if we can get you caught up to speed)

As a result of the discussion, and fueled by the 7-hour enduring Cash-athon, a one-disc, listener takes all, greatest hits compilation would be made for the unenlightened person of discussion in hopes of reversing their misfortune of ignorance and to fill a void that is certain to exist in their heart and and certainly in their soul.

Upon a group email to the core of the Cash-heads of the group, an invitation was extended for suggested tracks, or for a full disc's worth of Cash material: career encompassing. My first thought: It can't be done. My second thought: No way in hell. There's no way. No way to squeeze 50 years of music into less than 80 minutes of bliss. Yes, 80 minutes is easy. All encompassing for the non-believer, not so much. But nevertheless, we continued in the debate. A debate that is still going as a matter of fact. One that is at 60+ emails in a group of five or six great debaters. Individual songs were discussed and tossed around at first, then handfuls of the obvious, the not-so obvious and a few hidden jewels and gems of the Man in Black.

The taxing debate then turned to full on track listings of the mythical "perfect Cash collection". Everyone had a full list. Consequently, everyone had revisions, corrections, additions and subtractions after seeing other lists, and remembering that perfect song that they had forgotten during the first rounds of their official rough draft. Every era was included of course, and probably weighed heaviest on the American Recordings songs, as they seemed more likely to convert not only a Non-Cash fan, but a naysayer of country music altogether, due to the reasoning that if JC doesn't speak one's soul on the American songs, then no soul existed to begin with and the listener was destined for damnation anyways.

Some are wanting to make it the run of the mill, typical greatest hits disc with a few deeper cuts and not so familiar tunes. Some are wanting mostly obscure Sun tracks, a Columbia Records take or two and a few criers from the American series. Some have suggested a collection of all time periods, with equal representation from all time periods from the 1950s on through now, as there still seems to be "new" Cash material still popping up every year or so, even nearly 5 years after his death, Tupac and Biggie style.

As of today, this imaginary disc is still in the works. It's still a toss up. I have my track suggestions that I will review once more and will post tomorrow. If I remember correctly, I believe that it's at 24 tracks and right at the 80 minute threshold of a compact disc.

If you have a suggestion, please send it in. All eras of Cash are fair game; however, do not send in suggestions of "Ring of Fire", "Hurt", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Walk the Line" or any other JC song you'd hear at a frat party or on the radio. We already have them covered, and probably have discarded a few of them as deemed appropriate. Please note that this also includes "A Boy Named Sue".

This boundless task has been hard to nail down, my friend. And it will continue to be...

Dog Days

Tomorrow, Boston's own Street Dogs put out their new album, their fourth full length LP, and their first on Hellcat Records. The Street Dogs have been streaming the entire "State of Grace" album on Warped Tour's website (in which they are apart of all summer long), but it seems, of course, that it has been taken down on the eve on its release and when I finally sat down to post about this...a week later than I should have.

However, you can still check out the first video for the single "Two Angry Kids" here. While you're clicking and wasting time at work or at the crib, stream some of the new tunes at their myspace. See what you think.

The Street Dogs have toured for years and have opened for many big names in the "punk" community such as Social Distortion, Tiger Army, Rancid and Bad Religion. The SDs are just now really gaining widespread appeal with a growing following, as they make their debut on the main stage this year at the Warped Tour this year. After seeing them last fall in Atlanta with Tiger Army, and having their albums, I can honestly say that seeing the Street Dogs live will grab your attention, have you bouncing up and down, and pounding your arms in the air to their bar room sing alongs, rants and anthems much more than a casual listen of one of their albums will. That's what makes the Street Dogs special- their ability to make the audience feel like a member of the band; you're one of the guys, one of their gang. And that's just what their music sounds like too: a gang of four or five of your best friends that you get rowdy with at the bar and that'll carry you home afterwards or fight 'til the end with and for you in the streets.

Think of the movie Good Will Hunting. Will and his buddies/brothers are shown all around a certain town, oh wait, it's Boston too (coincidentally). The brothers stick together. They work together. They live together. They drink together. They fight against and for each other, together. Like a band of brothers; a gang. Except rather than the five guys in the Street Dogs, there was "Marky, Ricky, Danny, Terry, Mikey, Davey, Timmy, Tommy, Joey, Robby, Johnny, and Brian...and Willy", and they would do anything for each other, as would the Street Dogs. As a listener and a fan of them, one feels like they belong to something special, a tight, close-knit group of brothers, even if no one is actually related by blood. This is due to the cliched growing up songs (that the Dogs pull off I might add), dealing with everything from school bullies, partying, girls, getting into trouble, etc. The songs go back to the basics of adolescence, but touch on the undeniable and unforgetable facets of growing up and moving onto the next level of life with and without your crew. However, the ol' gang is still in tact, as they are bound by a common bond of unity, a sense of belonging and one of brotherhood.

Oh, and if you think they sound alot like another Boston band by the name of the Dropkick Murphys, there's a good reason...See why.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

No Joke-r

Watch the first five minutes of The Dark Knight here. For real.

**Thanks to JN for sending in the link

Shaken, Not Stirred

New Bond trailer for Quantum of Solace, in theatres on November 7th.

And yes, Daniel Craig is a hard ass. He might not be as quote-unquote suave as Connery and others before, but he still pulls it off, and adds another layer of ruggedness and badass-ity that Bond typically doesn't display.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Friday @ Bonnaroo coming soon, as well as Saturday and Sunday...There was just so much that went on there that it has taken a while, and is still taking a while, to get it all put together, especially sifting through 400+ pics and videos from the 'Roo.

Upcoming Friday highlights, for better or for worse:

Drive-By Truckers
Tegan & Sara
Les Claypool
The Raconteurs
Willie Nelson
The American Plague
Chris Rock
My Morning Jacket

Meanwhile, check out My Morning Jacket's already legendary, 4-hour late night set on Friday night in the rain-soaked fields of Manchester, Tennessee.

**Thanks to The Steam Engine for the MMJ link and graphic

Better Late Than Never...

Check out a few new Beck songs from his forth-coming album Modern Guilt, to be released next week on 7/8. You can preview a few songs here if you haven't already...

Justin Townes Earle - Live on WDVX's Blue Plate Special - Friday, June 20

Justin Townes Earle graced Knoxville with his presence again for the third or fourth time that I can think of in the last six to eight months. This time, he did double duty that day at WDVX's long-running daily live program "The Blue Plate Special" that airs at noon Monday through Friday. You can check them out and listen here if you are interested in hearing everything from bluegrass to country, traditional and standards, folk and hillbilly, and a little bit of everything else that is just left (and sometimes right) of center. More importantly, you probably won't hear most of this music anywhere in town...especially live, and for FREE.

Here's his six song set that I taped in three segments:

Hard Livin' and Ain't Glad I'm Leaving

The Ghost of Virginia and Biscuits

Lone Pine Hill and South Georgia Sugar Babe

Justin and company went on to play a great show later that night at the World Grotto, too, but I felt that this performance felt more like home and more indicative of JTE and what his music feels like, sounds like and strangely enough, looks like.

What makes JTE so unique is that he is ironically, unique. He is not trying to be his Daddy. In all actuality, he is completely different from his Daddy, musically (their personal lives and bad habits are somewhat synonymous with each other, as both have led lives on the road and battled drug addictions for many years). As Steve's music has changed over the years from county and rock, to folk and faux new-age, the younger Earle's music harkens back to days of old, where your family and you, after Saturday night dinner, would crowd around a small radio that the father saved up for for months and bought with savings from his hard work in the fields or at the factory. After dinner, you would rush over to the radio to tune in to the one station that that small wooden box with the bright light in the center could pick up. But what a big, bright sound that small radio would make, and that big, bright sound would sound something like JTE sounds today: Tales of love and leaving, death and destruction, addiction and salvation; complete with his southern drawl and fast-talking lines that creep out of the side of his mouth as if they have been sneaking out for years.

And it helps that Justin doesn't resemble his famous Daddy at all. He is slender, and tall. And by tall, I mean tall. At least 6'5". When he puts on his going-out-on-the-town suit for his evening shows, his sly smile, long, slender body and silver tongued honky-tonk and occasional desolate and despair-ridden lyrics from times gone past might just maybe remind you of someone from yesteryear.

And his name was Williams.

Check JTE out at:

BloodShot Records