Monday, February 28, 2011

Go See Hear: March 1-7 (March roars in like a Lionheart)

If you haven’t caught haunting sounds of Haroula Rose at the Hotel Café, March 1st is the last night of her Hotel Café residency. The 1st also finds Arboretum and Endless Boogie shaking up the Satellite and Bare Wires ripping things up with their Brit-ish glammy garage rock at Long Beach’s Que Sera – and then the Echo on the 2nd. Jukebox the Ghost has a new disc on Yep Roc and gigs at the Echo on the 1st and Anaheim’s Chain Reaction on the 2nd. Loch & Key, one of my favorite discoveries of 2010, will be at the Mint, revealing their interesting interplay between singer Leyla Akdogan and guitarist Sean Hoffman. The 2nd also brings the guitar handiwork of Kaki King to Largo and Ferraby Lionheart (can I rave again about his delightful tune "Harry and Bess") to the Bootleg.

What a difference a “t” makes. That is one way to differentiate between one-time Steely Dan guitarist Elliott Randall and San Francisco-based troubadour Elliot Randall. The latter Randall brings his band the Deadmen to the Viper Room to deliver rough-hewn twang rock as they served notice with the last album, the gritty yet tuneful Caffeine and Gasoline.

Speaking of gritty country, Eddie Spaghetti, from the Supersuckers, shows off his unique take on honky tonk music with his new Bloodshot disc, the Sundowner. He plays the Echo on the 3rd (with Zander Schloss and Sean Wheeler) and then Costa Mesa’s Tiki Bar on the 4th and Redondo Beach’s Brixton on the 5th.

The marvelous Mavis Staples has an intimate show at the Satellite on the 3rd; see if you can get into that one! East Coast roots rocker Stephen Kellogg has shows at the Hotel Café on the 3rd and also the 10th. Coincidence those dates also are the ones that Meshell Ndegeocello will be at Largo for some special shows. The first one is something of a career retrospective show while the second one she’ll be paying tribute to the music of Prince.

The Elephant 6 collective brings their mysterious Holiday Surprise Tour to the Satellite on 3/4. Nearly as intriguing is the group that goes by the name The Conspiracy of Beards, which is a Bay Area choir that performs Leonard Cohen songs. Also on Friday, JJ Grey has a solo show at the Hotel Café, the Concretes will be rocking the Troubadour that night and old time folkie Noel Stookey (the “Paul” in Peter, Paul and Mary) plays McCabe’s.

Soft-spoken singer-songwriter Alexi Murdoch has yet another sold out show at the Bootleg on the March 5. That night, Braids and Baths share the bill at the Troubadour. Sunday, meanwhile, holds Morcheeba at the Music Box. And if you are looking enough to have a ticket for the Drive-By Truckers sold out gig at the Troubadour, then you should have a great night on the 7th.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rufus Wainwright's latest project - parenthood

Word has come out this week that Rufus Wainwright became a dad and the birth mother is Lorca Cohen, who is the daughter of Leonard Cohen. That sets up quite a genetic pool of musical talent. Particularly if you consider that Rufus has a double dose of music in his blood. It does make me wonder if Rufus will write songs about his daughter and parenting as his old man did. Remember Loudon’s tune “Rufus is a titman?” Will Rufus pen an update? Just wondering…

Monday, February 21, 2011

Go See Hear In L.A.: Feb. 22-27 - From Rupa To Ritter

Hope you had a relaxing Presidents’ Day weekend because the workweek gets rolling with a busy Tuesday night.

John McEuen – a founding father of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – will be performing at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. Largo will be again hosting the wonderful Watkins Family Hour, with scheduled guests including Abigail Washburn and Fiona Apple.
The global, gypsy dance band Rupa and the April Fishes return to the Mint; I interviewed Rupa for City’s Best Los Angeles. The delightful duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion spotlight their fine new disc, Bright Examples (I have reviewed it for at the Hotel Café.

Veteran avant noise rockers Yo La Tengo come to the El Rey on Wednesday night. Also on the 23rd, the popular Washington D.C. band Scythian bring their eclectic roots sound to the Mint.

Thursday is another crowded night of music. The reunited Sebadoh revives their beloved slacker rock sound at the Troubadour. Best Coast and Wavves team up to deliver their version of slacker rock to the Music Box. Two up and coming indie rockers The Love Language and Telekinesis share the bill at the Echo. Anne McCue returns to L.A. (her home between Australia and Nashville) to heat up the Mint with a blast of powerful blues-rock on Thursday. The acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe comes to the Coffee Gallery Backstage. Gwyneth & Monko recently released an impressive debut disc recently; they’ll be at the Viper Room. Over at the Hotel Café, you can catch a set from Holly Conlan.

Friday finds a familiar face at Largo as Jon Brion plays ringmaster for an unpredictable night of music. Goldenboy will be having a CD Release show at the Hotel Café while Pepper Rabbit will hop up the crowd at the Bootleg with their moody tunes. Singer-songwriter David Gergen has a show at the TRiP Bar in Santa Monica while the legendary Country Joe McDonald pays tribute to Woody Guthrie at McCabe’s. The top show of the night, however, probably ranks as Justin Townes Earle at the Autry.

The soft, seductive folk sounds of Alexi Murdoch will fill the Bootleg on Saturday. Local faves Local Natives have a big show at Disney Hall on the 26th. I interviewed Josh Ritter for City’s Best L.A. in conjunction to his concert at the Music Box.

If you want to escape L.A.'s Oscar fever, you might want to head to the desert this weekend as the New LA Folk Fest Desert Weekend will be happening at Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For What It's Worth - The 2011 Bonnaroo lineup

Bonnaroo has announced its acts for 2011. If a magic carpet came and took me to the event (which, sadly, is probably the only way I would get there), then here are the top acts I would want to see
Maybe it's my nostalgia talking but the number one band that I would want to see is
Buffalo Springfield. Sure, it wouldn't be like seeing them on the Sunset Strip in 1966 but then that wasn't a possibility anyway.
Here are a "mere" 26 more acts that I would love to see on stage.
Arcade Fire,
The Black Keys
Robert Plant & Band of Joy
Mumford & Sons
The Decemberists
Iron & Wine
Dr. John and The Original Meters
Gregg Allman
Old Crow Medicine Show
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Bootsy Collins & the Funk University
The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Mavis Staples
Loretta Lynn
Wanda Jackson
Abigail Washburn
Freelance Whales
Florence + the Machine
Justin Townes Earle
Ryan Bingham
Hayes Carll
(it would be interesting to see these guys sharing the stage)
The Low Anthem
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Karen Elson
Sharon Van Etten
(and for some reason, it seemed interesting to me if these three also shared the stage)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Go See Hear In L.A.: Feb. 14-21

So the Grammys are over and done (a big wow for Arcade Fire’s victory and congrats to other fave winners like the Black Keys, Lady A, Miranda Lambert, Marty Stuart and Mavis Staples) but the music doesn’t end.

Monday night Jenny O’s Bootleg residency continues with Henry Wolfe and Leslie Stevens (of “and the Badgers”) filling out a fine bill.

I don’t know if there has a been a packed Tuesday as the 15th has to offer. Greg Dulli’s current project The Twilight Singers stop by Amoeba for a free show.
Frank Fairfield brings his old-timey sounds to the Coffee Gallery Backstage, while the Satellite welcomes the Canadian band, Mother Mother.
Two of my favorite Nashville singer-songwriters Todd Snider and Elizabeth Cook take over the El Rey for a rip-roaring time of tales and tunes.
Susan James celebrates her long-overdue (and quite fine) CD Highways, Ghosts, Hearts and Home at the Echo Lounge. Plenty of her pals will be there, including Old Californio, Evie Sands, Tony Gilkyson and Kip Broadman.
More terrific acts will be at the Hotel Café where the awesome all-female group Mountain Man takes a day off from opening for the Decemberists and the alluring Haroula Rose will be playing there again too.

The 16th finds the Generationals at the Hotel Café and Nicole Atkins at the Troubadour, while Lucero delivers their wonderfully raucous garage rock to the Echo on the 17th.

The Hotel Café is busy on Friday with sets from Tom Freund, Cowboys and Indians and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel. Scott H. Biram brings his “dirty old one man band” to the Redwood on the 18th while Cake commences its string of sold out shows at the Troubadour on Friday.

The lovely Living Sisters be appearing at the Broad Stage, while the multi-talented David Lindley will be spending the weekend at McCabe’s.
Sunday finds Ted Leo at Eagle Rock’s Center for the Arts and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McEuen stopping by the Coffee Gallery Backstage.
The Gang of Four has a new album, Content, and shows on Sunday at Anaheim House of Blues and Monday at the Music Box on the 21st. Also on Monday, Austin superstar Bob Schneider comes to the Hotel Café with Joe Firstman & Marianne Keith also on the bill.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brian Setzer - From Rockabilly To Bluegrass?

Word today that Brian Setzer will be covering the bluegrass classic "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" on his upcoming release Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL (out April 19 on Surfdog Records). Having given it a listen, the one-time Stray Cat definitely Setzer-izes "Blue Moon" with some slick guitar licks; however, the tune's roots remain present. Other tracks on this disc, Setzer's first all instrumental album, include "Cherokee" and "Be-Bop-A-Lula."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Remembering Waylon

On Tuesday February 8, Big Machine Records and ScatterRecords are releasing tribute album to the late, great Waylon Jennings, which comes out on the 9th anniversary of his death. The disc, The Music Inside: A Collaboration Dedicated to Waylon Jennings, Volume 1 is first volume of a proposed three volume series. Performers on this edition include Jamey Johnson, John Hiatt, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings, and, a personal favorite, Sunny Sweeney (who does a duet with Jessi Colter on "Good Hearted Woman").

Here's the official press release


Nashville, TN…(February 7, 2011)…He’s been awarded 2 Grammys, 2 ACM Awards and 4 CMA Awards. With 40 million units sold and 16 #1 singles, Waylon Jennings remains a legendary force across all genres of music.

This week will mark the ninth anniversary of Waylon Jennings’ passing, and to celebrate his enduring legacy, country music's finest are joining forces to pay tribute to the original outlaw on the new CD The Music Inside: A Collaboration Dedicated to Waylon Jennings, Volume 1, releasing Tuesday, February 8.

Recording for the three volume series started over two-and-a-half years ago, and it's been a labor of love for Waylon's widow Jessi Colter, son Shooter Jennings and guitarist Reggie Young, who along with Producer Witt Stewart, have assembled a star-studded roster of artists to pay tribute to Waylon and highlight his undeniable musical and cultural influence.

“There have been several tribute albums made in my father's honor, all of which were great tributes to his legacy. But this one has been a true passion project for a lot of artists and friends who truly wanted to remember and give back to the wonderful man he was,” says son Shooter Jennings. “In the years since my dad passed away, I've grown as an artist and I feel this is the first time I've truly been able to give back to the man who inspired, influenced and nurtured me and my musical passion.”

This first volume features Waylon's most critically and commercially acclaimed tracks, uniquely interpreted and performed by yesterday’s and today's country legends, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Trace Adkins, Patty Griffin, Randy Houser and John Hiatt. Also included are new recordings by Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter and the Jennings classic "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," the first new music in over ten years from super-group Alabama.


Official Track Listing:
1. This Time – Jamey Johnson
2. Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way – Alabama
3. I’m A Ramblin’ Man – Randy Houser
4. Belle of the Ball – Shooter Jennings
5. Good Hearted Woman – Sunny Sweeney and Jessi Colter
6. Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand – James Otto
7. Just To Satisfy You – John Hiatt w Waylon Jennings
8. Rose In Paradise – Kris Kristofferson and Patty Griffin
9. You Ask Me To – Trace Adkins
10. Go Down Rockin' – Waylon Jennings
(Bonus Track) The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want To Get Over You) – Chanel Campbell

THE MUSIC INSIDE: A COLLABORATION DEDICATED TO WAYLON JENNINGS,VOL. I will be released on ScatterRecords and Big Machine Records on February 8th. Volume II is scheduled to release on June 14, the day before what would have been Waylon’s 74th birthday. Volume III is slated to release Fall 2011, the day prior to Waylon and Jessi’s 42nd wedding anniversary.

For more information regarding the project, visit:


Modern music owes much of its broad-based appeal and rugged individualism to Jennings, a man whose career stretched from the mid-‘50s, when he was a protégé of Buddy Holly and throughout four decades later. The one-time radio disc jockey from Littlefield, Texas went on to record 16 No.1 songs and earn 4 multi platinum, 8 platinum, and 15 gold sales certifications, selling more than 40 million records worldwide. Along the way, he captured a string of awards (including 2 GRAMMYs and 4 CMA Awards), scored numerous movie roles, authored a best-selling autobiography and became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

His career exhibited spirit and individualism and helped define a generation of country music and continues today. Artists too numerous to mention-- from established peers to the new generations of rock and country acts-- give credit to him as their inspiration and mentor.

Jennings’ eclectic, raw-edged music created a niche and became part of a movement in the mid-70’s that would change the face of both country and across-the-board music. He was one of the music world’s truly innovative stylists who never became classifiable.

He was the first of his era to sell a platinum album and a quadruple platinum album. While some of today’s artists may sell a lot of albums, too, it’s extremely rare to hear of one who can generate the kind of electricity that Waylon exuded--from the minute he entered a room or on the stage. Waylon Jennings is an American original and remains one of the true giants of this business.

Go See Hear In L.A.: Feb. 7-13

This first full week of February holds the launch of several recommendable residencies.

On Mondays this month, you can find Jenny O at the Bootleg. This buzz-worthy singer-songwriter released a strong EP Home and she will also be welcoming some talented acts to these Monday shows including Everest and The Belle Brigade Feb. 7, Henry Wolfe Feb. 14, Harper Simon Feb. 21 and J. Tillman Feb. 28.

Joseph Arthur
has his own Bootleg residency on Tuesdays (2/8, 2/15, 2/22 and 3/1). He’ll undoubtedly have an intriguing collection of sets and guests; his last disc Fistful of Mercy was a collaboration with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison. This Tuesday, the talented Tom Freund shared the bill.

Leila Broussard
will have shows at the Hotel Café on Thursdays Feb. 10. 17 and 24. Her tune “Satellite” is one of my favorite tunes now (I plan to have more to say on the song in a subsequent blog) and she has a winningly quirky singer-songwriter style.

Lovers of singer-songwriters might also want to seek out David Gergen on Tuesday the 8th at the Viper Acoustic Lounge, Grant Langston (who is working on a new album) is at the Cinema Bar on the 11th, Jackie Greene at the El Rey on the 12th and Chris Velan at Room 5 also on the 12th.

If you are going to see ALO at the Troubadour on the 11th, makes sure you arrive early enough to see Nathan Moore. The East Coast troubadour has an impressive new disc Dear Puppeteer out that is worthy a long listen.

Any conversation on singer-songwriter shows this week must include Kim Richey’s appearance at the Hotel Café on Feb. 10. She is one of the top songwriter in Nashville today and makes her own fine music, which smoothly blends country and pop elements.

The eclectic Mia Doi Todd will be playing at Footsie’s on Feb. 9 and Martha Wainwright has a pair of shows at Largo on Friday and Saturday (11th and 12th) in which she will be singing the songs of Edith Piaf.

The 12th offers more recommendable selections. The Decemberists at the Wiltern on the 12th. The King Is Dead is an early favorite for album of the year. Go early to check out the all-female outfit Mountain Man.

Another terrific album that has come out this year so far has been the debut from Apex Manor, the new band from the Broken West’s Ross Flournoy. The band will be playing tunes from The Year of Magical Drinking at the Satellite on the 12th.

Other Grammy eve show include Trombone Shorty and Los Amigos Invisibles at the Congo Room, Stan Ridgway at the McCabe’s and Leslie and the Badgers at the Hotel Café. The Smith Westerns will be at Costa Mesa’s Detroit Bar after a show on the 11th at the Echo.

Music fans might want to check out a rare screening of the Beatles’ Complete First American Concert (filmed at their Feb. 11, 1964 show in Washington DC) at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Spare Us The Cutter" - Echo And The Bunnymen Return To Tour The U.S.

Just got a press release today that Echo and the Bunnymen will be touring North American on their "Crocodiles & Heaven Up Here" tour. If you know their work, then you know that these are their first two albums. They will be playing them in their entirety. Personally, I think their third and fourth albums, Porcupine and Ocean Rain, better. Maybe they will return to do those. Still, they were one of the cooler UK bands from the '80s and definitely underrated. Ian McCullough is a charismatic singer and Will Sargent a powerful guitarist. You can find out more at
here is the press release
Echo & The Bunnymen Announce North American

Dates for Crocodiles & Heaven Up Here Tour

British post-punk legends Echo & The Bunnymen have announced the North American leg of their acclaimed Crocodiles & Heaven Up Here tour. The band will be playing those two legendary albums in their entirety. The UK leg of the tour saw the band play to rapturous sold out audiences. See a clip of them playing the Crocodiles track “Stars and Stars” at Liverpool’s Olympia here , please repost.

Echo & The Bunnymen toured North America last year in support of their acclaimed album The Fountain. They kicked off the run of dates with a thunderous performance at Coachella and stormed their way from coast to coast. Don’t miss the chance to see this legendary band perform two of their classic albums live!

Echo & The Bunnymen 2011 North American Tour

5/9 Boston, MA @ Paradise Club
5/11 Washington DC @ 9.30 Club

5/12 Philadelphia ,PA@ Trocadero
5/13 New York,NY @Irving Plaza
5/16 Toronto,Canada @Phoenix Theatre
5/17 Chicago,IL @ Vic Theatre
5/19 San Francisco ,CA @ Warfield Theatre
5/20 Las Vegas,NV @ Red Rock Casino
5/21 Los Angeles, CA @Club Nokia Theatre
5/22 Anaheim, CA @ House Of Blues

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Discovering: Gods And Monsters

The names Ernie Brooks and Billy Ficca probably don’t mean a lot to the average rock fan. But to fans of cult bands of the ‘70s/’80s punk and new wave era, those names are associated with some beloved bands: Brooks was the bassist in the Modern Lovers while Ficca drummed for Television and later the Waitresses. Their names surfaced again yesterday in a press release for the group Gods And Monsters. G & M is basically an on-and-off project for guitarist Gary Lucas, who first made his name playing with the late Captain Beefheart - although I admit that I haven't really been familiar with his work.
This new album The Ordeal of Civility (due in May on Knitting Factory Records), was produced by Jerry Harrison, who also was in the Modern Lovers before being in the much more popular group, the Talking Heads. Only heard one tune on myspace, but it is sort of a prog/new wave melding.

Here is the official press release

A thoroughly modern odd-rock ensemble, Gods and Monsters have existed in
one incarnation or another since 1989. Driven by the vision and relentless
spirit of guitar champion Gary Lucas, these defiant avant-punk architects
have always been united in their uncommon mission. As a matter of course
they are artists first and foremost, intrinsically opposed to the path of
least resistance that invariably leads to knee-jerk cultural assimilation
and soul-killing aesthetic conformity.

All of which brings us to "The Ordeal of Civility," [their latest album,
due out this May on Knitting Factory Records] the title of this collection
and a reference to John Murray Cuddihy's book of the same name. Published
in 1974, Cuddihy's arcane meditation on Jewish identity in an anti-Semitic
20th Century focuses on the unlikely Jewish triumvirate of Sigmund Freud,
Karl Marx and Claude Levi-Strauss, how their revolutionary theories,
philosophies and strategies defied the established order accepted and
promulgated by Gentiles and further describes the Jewish population's
knotty integration into mainstream/European/Christian/Western Society.

[the band is comprised of Gary Lucas - guitars & vocals, Ernie Brooks
(Modern Lovers, Flying Hearts) - bass , Billy Ficca (Television) - drums,
Jerry Harrison (Modern Lovers, Talking Heads) - production, Jason Candler
and Joe Hendel - keyboards] Sift through your mind's archive and surnames
snap into focus: Lucas, along with Brooks, Ficca and Harrison' as well as
Messrs Candler and Hendel' are all clearly compelled towards personal
independence and artistic insurgence. Together, they came to inhabit and
exhibit the ultimate living protest, that is, thinking freely and playing
creatively' onstage and in the studio' generally unfettered by vain
commercial anxieties, lemming trends or other cookie-cutter solutions.

So, what exactly is Lucas trying to say here?

Just that, like his rebellious brethren of yore, he has been out there
musically innovating for many a year (and over 20 critically acclaimed
albums in a variety of genres), in spite of and in opposition to the
pressure to conform to accepted norms and market forces, creating
revolutionary sounds both as a guitar slinger without parallel and
Grammy-nominated songwriter-- kicking against the pricks in what is
genteelly referred to in the standard industry text book as 'this
business of music.' Creating music his own way, music of the highest
quality fitting no known category other than Other, touring relentlessly
and patiently gathering a worldwide fan-base of like-minded folks tired
of the same old same old, be it Mainstream or what is quaintly referred
to as Alternative.

Produced with Jerry Harrison at the controls (savvy hands and expert
ears), The Ordeal of Civility is a razor-sharp effort reflecting Lucas and
co.'s sensibilities without sacrifice or concession. The opening
'LuvzOldSweetSong' is a softer exhibition, nimbly driven by the
Ficca/Brooks rhythm team and Hendel's resonant keyboards burbling low in
support of Gary's understated vocal and hypnotic guitar motif. The sage
advice found within 'Chime On' enjoys the classic twang of a
country-blues, incorporating snatches of forgotten Americana along the
way. 'Swamp T'ing' is a slashing blast of Blank Generation rawk straight
outta NYC' and that's the way, the way that it is.

Throughout this disc the earnest wordplay of Gary Lucas is served up with
great feeling' and consistently illuminated by his unique fretwork. The
folk-ballade "Lady Of Shallott' boasts a medieval feel that should have ye
olde fans of acoustic Thompson and Jansch weeping with joy, while the
screaming slide on 'Peep Show Bible' reminds us why the late great Captain
Beefheart chose Gary to occupy a guitar chair in his last and final Magic

And for the technique freaks, there are three instrumental tracks 'the
steady-rolling 'Whirlygig' showcases Gary's trademark guitar flourishes,
'Hot & Cold Everything' features G&M's kicking horn section with some
gnarly, high-decibel fingerbusting from Señor Lucas, and the kinder,
gentler solo guitar of 'Lazy Flowers' provides an introspective pause
before the ominous closing opus,

Jedwabne is Gary's outraged commentary on the Jedwabne pogrom that
occurred in July 1941, where the horribly organized killing of
approximately three hundred Jews exposed Poland's (long-denied) complicity
with Nazi Germany at that time. Some of Gary's relatives were among the
three hundred burned to death in the barn that day in Jedwabne. The grave
tone of this account j'accuse is unavoidable, but the message is, as
always, never forget. And for those who still try to deny or doubt or
excuse, well - real monsters walk among us whether you believe it or not.

Anyway, this is Gary Lucas, Ernie Brooks, Billy Ficca, Jerry Harrison,
Jason Candler and Joe Hendel 'Gods and Monsters, first, last, and always.

Mitch Myers New
Years Day, 2011
for more information and materials contact:

Howard Wuelfing
Howlin' Wuelf Media

Monday, January 31, 2011

Go See Hear In L.A.: Feb. 1-6

It’s hard to believe that the first month of 2011 has come and gone. February is starting off on an eclectic note.
There are hip young acts like Baths (Amoeba in-store Feb. 1), School of Seven Bells (Conga Room, Feb. 1) and Tennis (the Echo, 2/4) arriving in town as well as reunited hipsters (of the cocktail nation variety) Love Jones (Largo, Feb. 2). The 2nd also is the night when Amoeba hosts JD Samson’s new project Men.
The terrific, somewhat underappreciated Australian rock band, the Church puts on a mega-show at the El Rey on 2/2 in which they plan to play a trifecta of albums (Untitled #23, Priest=Aura and Starfish).
Thursday the 3rd offers an opportunity to see Bobby Long, whose impressive ATO debut, A Winter’s Tale, comes out on the 1st. On this disc, Long shows that he is long on talent, with his literate tunes and his rich voice.
Thursday also is the night that Shadow Shadow Shade start its month-long residency at the Satellite. Their always inventive debut disc was one of my favorite rock albums of 2010.
Friday holds a handful of good concert-going choices. Popular local singer-songwriter Tom Freund checks into the Hotel Café. Another local favorite Kristian Hoffman has a big, guest-studded show at the Steve Allen Theater.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals bring their rootsy tunes to the El Rey and cool Icelandic chamber popster Ólafur Arnalds will be playing the Echoplex.
Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses show at the El Rey tops Saturday night’s shows. Bingham, who grabbed last year’s Oscar for Song of the Year, is one of the best young Americana songwriters. Another good young singer/songwriter Tony Lucca will be playing the Hotel Café.
Shawn Colvin and Loudon Wainwright III bring their impressive catalog on songs to the newly opened Valley Performing Arts Center. Over at Harvelle’s, blues master Guitar Shorty will be showing why he’s been such influential guitarist.
Another notable show on the 5th is the Autumn Defense’s appearance at the Troubadour. The Autumn Defense is the side project for Wilco mates John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone. Their recently released Yep Roc disc Once Around comes stocked with low-key but sophisticated music.
Last but not least, the intriguing, unpredictable Cat Power closes out the first week of February with a show at the Music Box.

Keepin' An Eye On: Lynn Miles

Lynn Miles is a name from my listening past. I recall her early albums in the late ‘90s - Slightly Haunted and Night In A Strange Town as being really strong country-rock outings. I have lost track of her along the way but I was glad to get an email announcing a new album (Fall For Beauty) was just released on True North Records.

Here is the press release:

"Fall For Beauty" is the eighth album from songstress Lynn Miles, just
release on True North Records. There is something to be said for
experience, for taking the time to grow into your own skin. All sturdy
things need time to root firmly into the ground to find their strength.
Lynn Miles is one of Canada's most accomplished singer/songwriters,
oftened compared to the likes of Emmy Lou Harris and Lucinda Williams.
With seven albums to her credit, the winner of multiple Canadian Folk
Music Awards, and a 2003 Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year, she has certainly found her strength over time.

Through a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and
back again, with stops in Nashville and Austin, she has always written
music with unbridled feeling and vulnerability. Miles has consistently
been unflinching in putting herself out there. Now with her eighth studio
offering Fall For Beauty the voice of her experience has truly elevated
her songwriting to its richest depth of emotion.

While her melodies undulate between traditional country and folk roots, on
Fall For Beauty, it's her sensitivity to the world around her that pours
itself directly into Miles' music to make it stand out. “Love Doesn't
Hurt” was written as an emotional plea for people in abusive
relationships. “I wrote this song after watching Oprah do a show about
domestic violence. She kept repeating "love doesn't hurt", and even though
I've written plenty of songs about how emotionally painful love can be, I
wanted to put this crucial idea right up there beside my other songs, for
balance, and clarity.” says Miles. “I've been playing the song live and
have been approached by several people who work at women's shelters who
tell me it's a powerful song, and that they want to play it for their
clients. There's no better compliment than that.”

Therein is the powerful secret behind Miles' music - her astute
observations of life, its trials and triumphs, are the hallmark of
sincerity in her music. The gritty honesty of her music never falters –
neither does her unshakeable ability to make even the most melancholy
lyrics sound as if they are brimming with hope and grace. “Little Bird”
infuses her lyrics with an assertive and encouraging voice. “I wrote this
song after reading "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Gabor Mate. It's the
best book on addiction and articulates the need for compassion when
dealing with addictions. The song about what I call The X Factor, the
initial source of pain that can cause a person to seek solace in alcohol
and drugs.”

Lynn Miles is a musician in the rarest sense of the word, an unmistakable
talent, an eye for both the subtle and sweet that can only be unearthed
with experience.

For more information and materials contact:
Howard Wuelfing
Howlin' Wuelf Media 215-428-9119

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Go See Hear In L.A.: Jan. 18-25-31

It’s just a busy week that I am only getting to this on Tuesday (it makes sense in my mind).

Iron & Wine will be showcasing their new, full-bodied album Kiss Each Other Clean with shows at the Wiltern Jan. 25-26 (are they sold out already?). Great but different openers each night. Laura Marling on the 25th and Low Anthem on the 26th.

The terrific WPA (that’s some Watkins, Glen Phillips and whoever else they pull in to play) is at the Hotel Café on the 25th.

Lizz Wright plays the Roxy on the 26th. A wonderful singer and song stylist, Wright doesn’t get enough recognization. Check out her fantastic recent release Fellowship.

Social Distortion celebrates Hard Time and Nursery Rhymes with a string of shows at the Palladium Feb. 27-29. Chuck Ragan opes all the shows with the Aggrolites playing on the 27th and the awesome Lucero on the 28-29.

Ty Segall is an interesting cat, playing weird, distorted punkabilly as far as I can tell. See for yourself at the Echoplex on the 27th. Other interesting shows to catch on the 27th: Grouplove’s Amoeba instore, Amos Lee at the Music Box and Wovenhands at the Bootleg.

Daniel Lanois
brings his new project Black Dub to the El Rey on the 28th.

The fun and energetic Free Energy returns to town to play the Roxy on the 28th too,

The husband and wife duo called Hymn to Her pull into Molly Malone’s on Friday while more Americana can be found that night at the Mint’s Sin City’s Cosmic American Road Show.

The Handsome Family has a pair of shows this weekend. Eastside at the Bootleg on the 28th and Westside at McCabes on the 29th. Opening for them at McCabes is Sean Rowe, who also plays the Hotel Café on the Feb. 1. His cool debut disc Magic is out on Anti.

Other options Friday are Peter Case at the McCabes, Deena Carter at the Hotel Café, Les Savy Fav at the Echoplex and Ween at the Wiltern (although that one seems to be sold out).

The legendary Ian Hunter has a “Saturday Gig” at the El Rey

On the 29th, Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Hall hosts Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concert with living blues heroes Honeyboy Edwards and Hubert Sumlin along with Cedric Burnside, Lightnin’ Malcolm and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Also, Yann Tiersen performs at UCLA’s Luckman Auditorium, Darwin Deez is at the Satellite with (the band) Friends and Ari Shines plays Labries in Glendale.

Peaking into next week, singer/songwriter John Shipe showcases his new disc Villains with the CD release show at the Viper Room on Monday night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CD Review: Alexa Woodward - Weary

CD Review: Alexa Woodward - Weary

Back in 2009, I was taken by Alexa Woodward’s album Speck. While she is New York City-based, Woodward’s spare, rustic sound feels drawn from her Southern roots (she grew up in Virginia and South Carolina).
Her latest offering It's a Good Life, Honey, If You Don't Grow Weary (available online in February) is a joy to listen to. She does a terrific job of gently fleshing out her sound while retaining its delicate Americana sound. Woodward plays banjo and ukulele; however, her songs make use of vibephones, cello, washboard, percussions and even some electric instruments. An electric guitar, for instance, howls in the background of “Wolves” to compliment its title and its eerie tale.
Her music nicely balances old-timey and contemporary elements. Her songs, which are frequently relationship-based, mix images of the past and the present “All That Sugar” holds the line “and I bet you don’t have good sex/when your blood’s all full of gold,“ while in “Elephant,” she tells an ex-lover that “I hope Nina treats you right/that Copenhagen’s kind /that you sleep sound every night” among fanciful imagery of traveling over mountains and water.
Throughout the disc, Woodward displays a strong lyrical command. She begins “O Tornado” with “drive across the county line/Salinger and Andrew Wyeth/betwixt, between the time/where the frozen clocks are awful quiet” and doesn’t come across as a freshman lit major. “Pillar of Salt” similarly shows a deft poetic touch as she mixes biblical references and emotional revelations.
When Woodward harmonizes with frequent collaborator Linky Dickson, they suggest a more rural version of the Roches. Abigail Washburn and Gillian Welch also serve as touch points here; however, Woodward forges her own sound – something that’s modern and timeless, lilting and melancholic - during this thoroughly delightful disc. With her exquisitely crafted third effort, Woodward seems on poised for big things.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Go See Hear In L.A.: Jan. 18-23

Where has this week gone to? Since I am late here, I will just be brief and to the point.

The Infamous Stringdusters – super Americana pickers – are at the Mint 1/19

The highly talented, locally based singer/songwriter Tom Freund plays the Hotel Café 1/21. The 21st is also when Cowboy Mouth and Dash Rip Rock rip things up at the Mint (they will be at Hermosa Beach’s Sainte Rocke on the 19th). Also, the Old 97’s will be at the Music Box that night. I did a Q&A with Rhett Miller that you can find at

Legendary folkie Tom Paxton has two night at McCabe’s 1/21-22, while a slightly younger folkie Ellis Paul is there on Sunday night.

Suzanne Vega will be re-interpreting her catalog in a series of acoustic CDs, so you can expect a sampling of this project at her Largo show 1/22.

Wanda Jackson is experiencing a welcome career revival courtesy of a new Jack White-produced CD. She has shows at the El Rey 1/23-24.

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl bring their beguiling The Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger project to the Troubadour on 1/23.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back When Clapton Was “God”

DVD Review: Eric Clapton: The 1960’s Review

The DVD Eric Clapton: The 1960’s Review came out last fall and, despite its rather vanilla title, it does make for interesting viewing. The 2-hour documentary covers arguably the most exciting time in Clapton’s illustrious career – his formative years from the start of the Yardbirds to Cream and Blind Faith and ending with Derek And The Dominos. The era when “Clapton Is God” was a familiar rallying cry.

Even without the advantage of new Clapton material, the filmmakers utilize well-chosen old Clapton clips, new interviews from Clapton’s musician colleagues (like John Mayall, Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones and Bonzo Dog’s Neil Innes) and journalists (including Cream biographer Chris Welch and Yardbirds biographer Alan Clayson) to stitch together an insightful and engaging look into this very exciting, greatly influential time period of Clapton’s career. It’s hard to imagine that he was just 24 at the end of Cream.

The unauthorized biography also is jammed with some marvelous archival footage, from photos of Clapton as a kid through his time in Blind Faith. There also are some nice vintage clips of Clapton influences Muddy Waters, Freddie King and Jimi Hendrix, as well as a special segment on Sonny Boy Williamson in the Extras. Also, you can have fun of seeing Clapton’s wide range of Sixties hairstyles (short crop, long locks and curly afro) too.

The DVD doesn’t pretend to be a definitive look at Clapton’s storied career. It does, however, prove to be a highly successful look at his early career – packed with information and an entertaining array of footage. Any Clapton fan, and fan of Sixties rock ‘n’ roll, would find this DVD a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening flashback to this golden musical era.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Go See Hear In L.A.: Jan. 9-16

This week starts off on a relatively quiet note. The Hotel Café has a couple interesting shows during the week. Singer/songwriter Henry Wolfe, whom the LA Times hailed as one of their people to watch in 2011, plays there with the local band Willoughby on Tuesday night. Then on Thursday night, Nicole Simone has a gig there. Her music reminds me of Eleni Mandell’s Tom Waits-style chanteuse vibe.

Things really pick up when the weekend comes. Largo hosts a tremendous songwriter summit on Friday night when Jesse Winchester, Jimmy Webb and Tom Russell share the stage and share songs. There isn't enough space to mention all of the classic tunes that they have written. If you appreciate expert songwriting, then this is a can't miss show.

Otis Taylor has a show out at the Arcadia Blues Club on the 14th. Taylor is a creative, unique bluesman. A banjo player, Taylor fills his albums (which he gives names like Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs) with non-traditional blues instruments to bring to life his compelling, heartfelt, hard-lived tunes.

Jake La Botz also plays the blues - blues inspired by Delta blues and Chicago blues. While he once did a tour of tattoo parlors, this Friday, he’ll be at the Redwood Bar with his band.

John Doe will be performing at McCabe’s Friday and Saturday night. The X and Knitters frontman has put out a string of potent solo efforts, including 2009’s covers-based collaboration with the Sadies, Country Club.

Andrew Bird
has a pair of sold-out solo shows at Largo this weekend. So if you want to see him, hopefully you have a ticket already.

The Bad Books is a collaboration between the Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Kevin Devine that has drawn a lot of critical raves. They’ll bring this new project to the Troubadour on 1/15.

Midwestern folk-rocker Lissie will be headlining the Music Box on the 15th. Her Catching A Tiger disc garnered a lot of praise last year and she has become a KCRW favorite.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Newbie Quickie: The Daylights "I Hope This Gets To You"

The Very Short List clued me into a terrific video and song by the L.A. band, the Daylights, entitled "I Hope This Gets To You." The song is wonderful love letter, full of aching longing and jangly urgency. The song is a little like Brit pop with a pinch of grit. It also clocks in a classic pop length: 2:33. The video is equally marvelous in its minimalistic simplicity - hands "acting out" the songs. Watch it here:

Go See Hear In L.A.: Jan. 3-8

Hope everyone had a fine holiday time and fun New Year.
It’s only the third day of the year but it seems like already there is so much to do.

I am probably too late to get the word out on Guards'’ show at the Bootleg Theatre Monday night but I wanted to mention the band anyway because their sound is as vibrant as their name is commonplace. The brainchild of Richie James Follin, Guards creates glorious rock that is arty but hooky, and vice versa. You can check out their music at

Drivin’ N Cryin’ make a couple of stops in Southern California this week. They’ll pull into the Mint on 1/5, the Brixton on 1/16 and Anaheim’s House of Blues on 1/7. Kevn Kinney has been leading these roots rock road warriors since the ‘80s. They were part of the REM-led movement of Southern college rock bands and are still going strong. In 2009, they released the terrific Great American Bubble Factory, a disc well worth tracking down.

Exene Cervenka
was recently in town playing with her X mates. She’ll be at McCabes for a show on 1/8, where she’ll probably play some music from her upcoming The Excitement of Maybe. In an interview that I did for City’s Best LA, she described it as folk/pop with some twang along with horns and violin. The fine Paul Burch opens the show.

It’s be like the old days at Molly Malone’s when the Sin City All-Star play there on Saturday night. Molly’s was the All-Stars’ home for many a moon. Joining them on the bill will be Old Californio and Gaucho Gil. Making for a terrific trio of Americana music.