Robert Plant and The Band Of Joy Live From the Artist’s Den DVD (Universal) Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Former Led Zeppelin singer Plant continued the infatuation with Americana he started with 2007’s Alison Krauss collaboration by assembling an all-star group of rootsy musicians for his most recent Band of Joy. Led by veteran guitarist Buddy Miller, the lineup also included multi-instrumentalist Darrell Scott and singer/acoustic guitarist Patty Griffin. When those four vocalists harmonize or take solo turns on a mesmerizing combination of rearranged Zep classics and deeper Plant catalog solo tracks, along with music from the group’s lone release and country classics such as “Satisfied Mind,” the results are transcendent. You can see the smiles and feel the energy in every frame of this somewhat short but thoroughly entertaining 75 minute show. The playing is extraordinary as you’d expect and the gentlemanly Plant allows room for improvisation. Zeppelin gems such as “Gallows Pole” and “Tangerine” are logical choices, but even “Black Dog,” “Ramble On” and a set closing “Rock and Roll” reverberate with fresh vibrancy as the American musicians funnel this British rock through their own sensibilities and history. The terrific camera work and beautifully mixed surround sound are just cherries on top of a riveting and extraordinarily conceived performance.
Neil Young explains the impetus behind his new covers album, Americana:
I started this in about 1964, when I did the first five of the songs, and I was in a band back then, the Squires — before I even met [Stephen] Stills — and we did a lot of these kinds of songs. Never recorded them. And then I got together with Crazy Horse to make a record, and I just finished writing about that time with that band with this book that I’m writing, which is very random — part diary, part projection, part memoir, equal time for past, present, and future, all jumbled together. It comes and goes. So then I got back and went into the studio with Crazy Horse, and I didn’t have any songs of my own. So I said, “Why don’t we do these? I got a bunch of songs in my head, and we can just play them.” So we played them, and we had a great time.
Neil Young And Crazy Horse To Launch First Tour In Eight Years
It took the Buffalo Springfield 43 years to reunite, but when it comes to Neil Young and longtime band Crazy Horse, eight is enough.
Today, Young announced that he and Crazy Horse (Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, and Poncho Sampredo) will tour behind their new album Americana, a collection of reimagined American standards (read our review.) The tour includes stops at Austin City Music Festival and Outside Lands, as well as the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden.
A Decade Of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Part One
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. To celebrate, American Songwriter’s Jaymie Baxley examines the beloved record in this special multi-part series. In part one, we’ll look at the first major upset of Foxtrot’s tumultuous recording process; the replacement of original drummer Ken Coomer with Glenn Kotche. This chapter also includes a brief history of Numbers Stations and outlines a conspiracy theory claiming Foxtrot prophesied the 9/11 terrorist attacks…
Video Premiere: Hurray For The Riff Raff, “Look Out Mama”
Check out the latest video from New Orleans Folk/Americana outfitHurray For the Riff Raff. The song hails from their new album Look Out Mama (out May 1), which was recorded in Nashville and produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes).
“‘Look Out Mama’ was my attempt at writing a happy song,” says vocalist Alynda Lee Segarra. “I wanted to write something that had a good groove and gave people the feeling of a homecoming. When we recorded it the group had only played it one time through, I kinda kept the song secret in my back pocket for a while. I think you can tell we had a good time with it and were still figuring some things out. I like recordings like that.”
Recording Academy Releases Statement On Levon Helm
Following the loss of Levon Helm, who passed away at the age of 71 today after a battle with cancer, the Recording Academy (the organization behind the Grammys) released the following statement:
Three-time GRAMMY® winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Levon Helm was an Americana and folk/rock music pioneer. As a member of what would become the Band, he was an instrumental part of Bob Dylan’s shift to rock music. He was one of rock’s earliest singing drummers, and his unique voice helped bring the group’s well-crafted songs to life. His dynamic career spanned more than five decades and included solo releases and acting credits, such as playing Loretta Lynn’s father in Coal Miner’s Daughter. His passion for performing led him into the recording studio, where he opened Levon Helm Studios and produced many notable works. The music community has lost a gifted and treasured icon, and our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans everywhere.
If you missed Gillian Welch the last time around, here’s a chance to see her perform songs from 2011′s much-talked-about album The Harrow and The Harvest. Welch has announced a two-week U.S. Spring tour with partner David Rawlings. Presales for San Diego, Tucson, Flaggstaff, Santa Fe, Dallas and Germantown, TN start today — head over to Gillian Welch.com for more purchase info.
Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions
It was an idea that never should have worked. A British folk-rocker joins up with alt-country outliers to put music to the unreleased lyrics of Woody Guthrie. It wouldn’t have surprised anyone if it had diminished the reputation of all involved.
Instead, Mermaid Avenue, performed by Billy Bragg and Wilco and released in 1998, was a revelation, proof that Guthrie was far more than the populist, fascist-bashing folkie that he was often perceived to be. He was also capable of startlingly personal songwriting that was far ahead of its time. Volume 2 was released just two years later to more raves.
According to a note posted on Levon Helm’s website, the long-time drummer and singer for The Band is nearing the end of his fight with cancer. The note was signed by his daughter and wife.
Dear Friends, Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.
Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration … he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage …
We appreciate all the love and support and concern.
From his daughter Amy, and wife Sandy
American Songwriter will post more information as it becomes available.