Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yes, they are the band whose tune you're tapping your foot to, but haven't the faintest clue who wrote it.  Whether or not you're man enough to admit it, it's hard to argue that Electric Light Orchestra, or simply ELO, wasn't one of the great pop-rock bands of all-time.  With 27 Top 40 hit singles in both the UK and the U.S.,  ELO holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits of any band in U.S. chart history (without ever having a number one single).  Black Eyed-who??  Yet, for reasons unknown to this author, ELO's legacy has failed to be taken seriously except for a niche of audiophiles, music dorks and "superfans" (I guess the spaceship theme didn't help the cause).  Hell, most people born after 1980 probably have never even heard of the band, let alone their prodigious front man, Jeff Lynne.  Lynne, who was sporting the beard, bushy hair, and aviators well before the popularity of the "L" train, single-handedly composed and arranged every one of ELO's infinite catalog of hits.  It's no wonder that he was sought out by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr to work on their respective solo releases at one time or another.  In fact, Lynne was instrumental in helping to arrange and record both "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" for the Beatles' Anthology.  Take that George Martin!

But back to ELO.  I think it's time they seriously considered re-forming and re-touring.  If history has taught us anything, bands go through waves of popularity and if you don't exploit those waves at the right times, you run the risk of falling into the much-dreaded void of rock obscurity.  Take for example, Kiss and Eagles, both of whom famously reunited in the mid-90's and hit it big.  Listening to much of their material as of late, I think ELO has a chance at redemption; a chance to reclaim the respect they once enjoyed.  Why you ask?  Because, first and foremost, their songs are "poppy" as hell.  But more importantly, I think they exude that certain degree of kitsch that would undoubtedly appeal to the younger gens.

But despite their endless incarnations and offshoots, the surviving members of ELO have failed to tour since the early '80's.   The closest we got to a "reunion" tour (in reality, Lynne was the only true member) was in 2001; however, the illness/passing of his close friend George Harrison caused a much distressed Lynne to cancel the tour indefinitely.  So, here we are, roughly 10 years later, and I'm rallying the troops for a comeback.   Why not try a limited schedule and test the market?  Radio City perhaps?  Strike that -- do it right: bring out the full orchestra and play Carnegie Hall.  If Trey can do it, I'd be damned if they couldn't either!

Jeff Lynne fact #47:  He co-wrote the Tom Petty mega-hit, "Into the Great Wide Open."

ELO, "Showdown" Rockpalast (1974)

Friday, February 25, 2011


Happy birthday to George Harrison who would have been 68-years-old today.  Those who regularly (or occasionally) read The Weight might recall that Harrison has been the subject of much reverence as of late.  Everything from, "favorite Beatle" to "coolest Beatle" to "best hair in the Beatles," etc. etc. But corny checklists aside, I think all would be in agreement that George was all-in-all, just a good bloke.  And put aside his music for a minute.  George was a philanthropist -- his Concert for Bangladesh, despite its shortcomings, was one of the first "super-group" benefit concerts tied to an international cause.   He was an avid gardener, a race-car enthusiast, and survivor of knife attacks.  He was a devoted husband to Olivia and father to his twin-like son, Dhani.  He was an accomplished ukulele player and lover of Monty Python.  He was "betrayed" by his good friend Eric Clapton, yet was man enough to remain on the best of terms with him and Pattie Boyd in the years that ensued. In his later years, he bravely fought numerous battles with cancer, from which of course, he ultimately succumbed.  Like his old friend John, he died much too young.  

I think back to the 80's and 90's when I was much younger and recall having only a vague awareness of  who George was.  I knew, like everyone else, that he was the "lead" guitarist of the Beatles and singer of that still catchy pop-tune, "Got My Mind Set On You."   I distinctly remember watching him perform with The Traveling Wilburys in music videos for "Handle with Care" and "End of the Line," but was more interested in Roy Orbison who had recently died around that time.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never even heard of All Things Must Pass until college, and really only started seriously listening to it within the last ten years.  Now, it is probably my favorite album, next to Dark Side of the Moon.  After re-watching Anthology this past month, I saw a different side of George -- a more calloused, more cynical, and maybe even a more embittered George.  I truly believe in his later years, he resented much of his Beatles legacy; that he refused to be perceived as "larger than life," unlike his Beatle compatriots (you know you are), but just a lucky guy from Liverpool, who "used" the Beatles as a means to an end.   But what is evident, is that George adored his friends and family, his undying spirituality and the times when he could bask under the sun and play old tin pan alley tunes on the uke. Or maybe, George was acting, using his sharp wit, which he shared in common with his good friend Eric Idle, as a way of "humanizing" the Beatles and at the same time, humbling himself and his illustrious achievements.  After all, he was the "shy" Beatle.

Happy birthday, L'Angelo Misterioso.

"It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one."  -- George Harrison

"End of the Line," The Traveling Wilburys

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Defending the Dead

There is an unwritten rule amongst Deadheads that true aficionados of the band must only listen to the live albums.  This makes sense in theory since after all, the Dead were at their core, a live band.  Even the band themselves had reservations about spending too much time in the studio and probably only did so in order to honor "corporate obligations" and to help bankroll their endless tours.  And while I, too, am guilty for subscribing to this "dead-code" of sorts, the myth that these albums lack the improvisation, the spontaneity, or even the soul that helped shaped their touring legacy, is unfair at best.  In fact, the Dead’s studio catalog is quite impressive, and taken as a whole, is a rather breathtaking series of accomplishments.  In response to those who snub the studio recordings as flat or emotionless, I think this is an ignorant statement.  I challenge you to listen to American Beauty or Wake of the Flood in their entirety and not feel moved by the pristine musicianship and ethereal vocal harmonies. Nor is there any merit to the claim that these albums are devoid of improvisation.   Listen to "Help->Slip->Franklin's" from Blues for Allah, which is the epitome of modern jazz improvisation; or "Weather Report Suite" from Wake of the Flood, an instrumental masterpiece few mainstream rock bands could pull off.  Indeed, I'd venture to guess that each session varied considerably in terms of the solos, the riffs and the grooves and that no two takes sounded the same -- as opposed to say, the repetitive perfection sought by bands like U2, Metallica, or Sting, for example. Really, the only things missing from these albums are the band’s notorious lyric flubs, bum notes, and intensive, space-out jam sessions, which admittedly are some of the great moments of the live Dead experience.  So despite only owning a handful of their  studio material (as opposed to nearly 75+ live recordings), I refuse to be a hater.  I proudly stand behind the Dead's studio albums and think they deserve greater recognition as being some of the archetypal examples of modern jazz, folk/blues and improvisational rock.

Some of my favorite album standouts include:

"Attics of my Life" - American Beauty
"Stella Blue" - Wake of the Flood
"Ship of Fools" - Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel
"Help->Slip->Franklin’s" - Blues for Allah
"Terrapin Part One" - Terrapin Station

Judge for yourself.

"Stella Blue" - Wake of the Flood (includes backing vocals not typically heard live)

 "Ship of Fools" - Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel

"Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo" -Wake of the Flood (great fiddle part that I don't believe was ever played live)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Flashbacks: The Monkees

On August 6, 1987 my parents took my brother and I to our first rock concert.  It featured 'Weird Al' Yankovic as the opening act for The Monkees and it took place at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD, about 25 minutes from where we grew up in Baltimore.  We sat in the very last row of the pavilion and passed binoculars between us to help us see what was happening on the stage, which seemed like miles away.  I'm pretty sure they decided to take the two of us to this particular concert because we really enjoyed watching reruns of the Monkees' 60s television show, which were being replayed regularly on VH1 at the time.  We also had vinyl albums of both acts,Weird Al and the Monkees, that we used to play on our brown and orange Fischer Price record player.  I don't remember much about the Monkees performance from that night, but for whatever reason I remember Weird Al performing both 'Addicted to Spuds' and 'Like a Surgeon'.  Maybe that's because I was only 8 years old and seeing Al with his long curly hair, costume changes, and cartoon-like songs was a bit more my speed.  There's no doubt that this experience had a significant impact on me.  I didn't get really serious about seeing live music until my friends and I were able to drive a good number of years later, but attending concerts has been my number one hobby for what is now around half of my life and that night was my introduction to it.  I'll always consider Merriweather to be my home venue and I've seen some of my absolute favorite concerts there over the years.  A few that come to mind are Tom Petty on the Wildflowers tour in August 1995, the Allman Brothers Band/God Street Wine in July 1996, and Phish in August 1998.

The reason I am writing and reminiscing about my first concert is that the Monkees today announced that they are going out for yet another tour, this one celebrating their 45th anniversary.  The show I saw in '87 came one year after their 20th anniversary as a band.  The only dates that have been announced for these 2011 shows are in the UK.

Just as was true at Merriweather 24 years ago when I saw them in concert, Mike Nesmith will not be joining his former bandmates Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, and Davey Jones on stage.  A year before I saw them, in 1986, Nesmith sat in with them for a two song encore, which was the first time he played live with the group since 1969, nearly twenty years earlier.  The only other appearances that Nesmith has made with the Monkees in concert are another one-off performance in Los Angeles in 1989, where he sat in for the last 11 songs of the show and a one-month UK tour in March 1997.

I have no idea whether the Monkees, or three-fourths of them at least, will sound any good in concert now that they are in their mid to late 60s, but I do know that they had some great pop songs written for and by them and that their records played a large part in my early years of listening to music.  It's been quite a while since I've spent any time with their songs, but doing just that tonight has brought back some great memories.

Bonus Fact:  In 1967, the Monkees outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined.

Last Train to Clarksville

(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Classic Albums: Joshua Tree

I'm ending my Sunday night by watching an episode of Classic Albums on Netflix Instant dedicated to U2's Joshua Tree.  One of my favorite components of this documentary, as with all of the records that have received the Classic Albums treatment, is watching the artist/producer sitting at the mixing desk bringing up and down different elements of the multi-track recordings.  There are a few instances where they let us listen in on pieces of the recordings that never made it into the actual final album track, like a string section on 'Where The Streets Have No Name'.  In this episode, much of the time is spent with Joshua Tree producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the unsung heroes and architects of much of U2s sound over the years, talking about the process of painstakingly building and layering the songs in the studio. One of the recurring themes that is discussed about this album from 1985 is how different it was from what was popular at the time.  The band eschewed the drum machines and synthesizers that so many other groups were using in those days.

The hour long documentary almost exclusively discusses Side One of the Joshua Tree, and what an amazing set of five songs that is.  The full tracklist, if you didn't already know it is:

Side One
1. "Where the Streets Have No Name"  
2. "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
3. "With or Without You"
4. "Bullet the Blue Sky"
5. "Running to Stand Still"

Side two
1. "Red Hill Mining Town"
2. "In God's Country"
3. "Trip Through Your Wires"
4. "One Tree Hill"
5. "Exit"
6. "Mothers of the Disappeared"

While it would be easy to feature here any one of hugely famous Side One tracks, instead I'm going to post the first two tracks on Side Two.  Both of these songs are on my list of favorite U2 songs, on any album.

Red Hill Mining Town
This is the official video filmed by U2 for Red Hill Mining Town, the song that was supposed to be the second single off of the album.  The band was not happy with how the video turned out (it wasn't released until the 20th anniversary Super Deluxe Box of the Joshua Tree in 2007).  'Where the Streets Have No Name' was released instead.  Red Hill Mining Town has still never been played live.  

In God's Country
Recorded live on 7/4/1987 in Paris, France, four months after Joshua Tree was released. 

With Bono now recovered from back surgery and rehabilitation, U2 have restarted another leg of their 360 Tour with two shows in South Africa over the last week (2/13 and 2/18).  The tour moves on to South America for seven shows in March.  The band will then return to North America for 25 shows beginning in Mexico City on 5/11/11.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bonnaroo's Mr. Irrelevant: Hayes Carll

A few weeks back, we featured last year's 'Americana Music’s Best New Emerging Artist' Hayes Carll, as he was announced as the opener for one of Levon Helm's upcoming Rambles.  I actually only learned tonight that he received that accolade in 2010, but as one of only a few musicians I latched on to after many hours of listening to Pandora over the years, its pretty satisfying to learn about it.

Two days ago, the day his new album KMAG YOYO was released, Carll appeared as the very last name listed on the extensive lineup for this year's Bonnaroo festival, the tenth year of the annual event in Manchester, TN, earning him the title of Mr. Irrelevant for 2011.  Let's hope he takes advantage of the opportunity.

Past years' "Mr. Irrelevant" at Bonnaroo are:
2010 - Warpaint
2009 - Zee Avi
2008 - Your Vegas
2007 - The Biscuit Burners
2006 - Zac Brown Band
2005 - Alexandra McHale
2004 - Donavon Frankenreiter
2003 - Toots and the Maytals
2002 - DJ Z-Trip

Here is a video of Hayes doing his best Tom Joad-era Springsteen impression with his song Rivertown

Hayes Carll

May Your Song Always Be Sung

I'm not into reading poetry or philosophy but I am pretty sentimental.   To mask the sissy factor, I like my "thinking man"'s writings in the form of bad ass rock n roll.  While Bob Dylan doesn't put fear into parents' eyes quite like Marilyn Manson or the Insane Clown Posse or that no good baddie Justin Bieber, he does have a certain mystique and cool that is oh so intriguing to a young college kid.  And I chose to focus on a song that really reached out to me, Forever Young.  After being subjected to the Rod Stewart version of Forever Young on countless bar mitzvah videos, the namesake title was initially ruined for me.  And I'm not even sure on what album or live bootleg that I first heard the tune, but Bob's FY is a masterpiece to me and if I'm in the right mood, it really touches a nerve.

May you grow up to be righteous 
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth 
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous 
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young.

This is serious stuff when you are only 19.  It's life affirming and uplifting and challenging when you try to grasp it.  It sounds like Bob is singing it almost as a lullaby to a young daughter.  But as I was beginning to make my way in the world, I felt like he was singing to me.  And who wants to grow up?!?  I wanted to be FOREVER YOUNG.  Rod Stewart be damned.  Bob was telling me something here!  I got to see Bob perform it back when I was in college probably a year or so after learning of the song.  He played on my college campus (with Joni Mitchell opening) and I was in one of those concert-lover moments of BEING EXACTLY WHERE I SHOULD HAVE BEEN AT THAT TIME!!  Who hasn't said that at a show?  So anyway, that song has always had a special place for me.

Fast forward, oh about...13 years.  I'm at my parent's house watching "mature TV" fare with them after taking a few days off from my stressful NYC life.  And they mention this show on NBC that they like called 'Parenthood'.  It has a guy from Six Feet Under, Erika Christensen from Swimfan, Dax Shepard from Punk'd and banging Sarah Marshall (lucky mofo), Coach himself...Mr. Craig T Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia who was Bruce Willis's wife in Die Hard (and now amazingly is Craig T.'s wife...nice work Coach! Where is Dauber??), the mom from Gilmore Girls, and most importantly Minka Kelly who is honestly insanely good looking.  Almost not human good looking. Wow.

And what is the theme song?  A sped up version of Forever Young sung by John Doe and Lucy Schwartz.  On an NBC drama.  Bob...why oh why?  And who the hell are John Doe and Lucy Schwartz?  I know you like showing up at weird places at weird times Bob.  Victoria's Secret ad, anyone?  And fronting the Mumford/Brothers?  Ok, I kind of get that.  But an hour long, most likely canceled after two seasons, ensemble dramedy on a major network.  You've ruined my song!!

Well, this was my thought before I watched more than 2 minutes.  Hey, this show ain't half bad!  I may WANT to be Forever Young, but most of my friends have kids, I'm trying to grow up, and the human condition stories they are peddling on this show are pretty fascinating.  The grandparents have drama.  The parents have drama.  The kids have drama.  It's like my life!  Wait, what has happened to me?!? Where is my rebellion at these types of song placements?   I guess if Wilco can do it in a Volkswagen commercial...

Looking back, I loved the song Forever Young when I was still wanting to live out my rock n roll fantasies.  But now I love it again...opening this generation's freakin' thirtysomething. Forever Young, my ass.  Now I'm thinking more along the lines of hoping to have Forever Hair.  Or Forever Slim Waistline.  How is that for a tune, Bob?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dancing with the Stones

There can only be one explanation for the ensuing video: endless mounds of cocaine.  In all seriousness, despite the somewhat sheer ridiculousness of their bouncing around like a group of hyperactive 10-year-olds, it is indisputable that the Stones had an uncanny ability to make the absurd look cool.  And as for Mick, I think it's safe to say he was the inventor of a very, very "unique" style of dance, known simply today as "the Jagger."  Indeed, Mick himself has repeatedly acknowledged this much:

"What I'm doing is a sexual thing.  I dance, and all dancing is a replacement for sex.  What really upsets people is that I'm a man and not a woman.  I don't do anything more than a lot of girl dancers, but they're accepted because it's a man world.  What I do is very much the same as a girl's striptease dance."  -- Mick Jagger, 1966 


So, if you need a pick-me-up on this otherwise miserable Tuesday morning, fast-forward to 1:55 and watch in awe as the inimitable Jagger performs some of his all-time best dance maneuvers, including the self-spank, the Ronnie Wood chokehold, the discus throw-cum-sumo crouch,  the Kamikaze, and the ice-cream microcone lick.   Classic.

The Rolling Stones, "She's So Cold" (1980)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Non-Televised Grammy Awards

Here are a few highlights from the pre-televised ceremonies.
Courtesy of Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot's post-Grammy wrap-up

Though nominated for album of the year, Arcade Fire couldn’t win in a lesser category (best alternative album) for “The Suburbs,” losing out to the Black Keys, whose “Brothers” was not found worthy enough for an album-of-the-year nomination by the Recording Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mavis Staples won her first ever Grammy Award for best Americana album (“You Are Not Alone”) and sang the praises of her late father Pops Staples. “You laid the foundation,” Staples said, “and I am still working on the building.” Other winners with Chicago connections included Buddy Guy (best contemporary blues album) and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which upped its lifetime Grammy haul to 62 with victories for best classical album and best classical performance (Verdi Requiem).

Neil Young won his first ever Grammy for music (he had won previously for best recording package). His nod for best rock song (“Angry World”) was greeted with typically wry humor by the straw-haired rocker. “I’m not Mavis,” he said, “but I’m close.”

Mumford and Sons: Live from Bonnaroo 2010

Mumford and Sons put in a great performance of "The Cave" tonight at the Grammy Awards; one that will surely raise their profile even further here in the States. They were immediately followed on the same stage by the Avett Brothers, who played "Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise" from their album I and Love and You.

Last summer at Bonnaroo, these same two bands played their festival sets at the same time, on different stages.  In case you were at Which Stage for the Avetts instead of That Tent last summer in Manchester, check out Mumford and Sons' 2010 Bonnaroo performance, courtesy of NPR.

Bonnaroo's 2011 lineup will be released on Tuesday.

The setlist was:
Sigh No More
The Cave
Awake My Soul
White Blank Page
Nothing Is Written
Feel The Tide
Little Lion Man
Lover of the Light
Thistle and Weeds
After the Storm
Wagon Wheel
Roll Away Your Stone

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Drive-By Truckers: The Movie

One year ago, I had the pleasure of attending the world premier of a documentary film about the Drive By Truckers called The Secret To A Happy Ending.  It was a very special occasion, as the band as well as the film's director were on hand to speak before the movie.  I was also able to meet the guys and get a poster signed.  I've now had the opportunity to interact directly with Patterson Hood on three occasions and he's always been extremely cool.

The film chronicles the band's activities between 2005 and 2007, which was a very tumultuous time for them, as these months included the firing of guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell.  Of course this drama also makes for a great movie.  After some appearances at various film festivals and a number of sporadic showings around the country, the movie is finally being released on DVD on February 15th.  The website describes the documentary with the following:
THE SECRET TO A HAPPY ENDING documents the Drive-By Truckers and their congregation of fans as they explore tales of human weakness and redemption. Filmmaker Barr Weissman followed the band during three critical years of touring and recording — years in which the band struggles to overcome the trauma of divorce and survives a near breakup. SECRET combines band interviews, behind-the-scenes footage on the road and in the studio, along with legendary live performances. Reflective of the band’s roots in Alabama and Georgia, the film explores the changing American South — its tangled past and strange beauty.
You can read the Washington Post's review of the movie here.

A few weeks back I went to see Jason Isbell play the 9:30 Club with his new band the 400 Unit.  First and foremost, they are an amazing rock band and they are one of the few to still carry the torch of real southern rock.  They absolutely killed it on a version of Neil Young's 'Like A Hurricane'.  While I always enjoyed seeing Jason in concert as a member of DBT, he was always the third wheel in that group.  He had the opportunity to step up on the few numbers he wrote for the group, but on most other songs he took a back seat to guitarists and singers Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley.  There was just too much talent on stage to feature all of them.  What's now great about seeing Jason with his own band is that he's clearly the star and he gets to really show off just how good he is as a singer, songwriter, and guitar player.  I'm very much looking forward to hearing his band's new album, set to be released in April.

While there are so many great song's of Jason's to pick from, I'll share with you the one that stands out the most for me.  It's 'Goddamn Lonely Love' from the Drive By Trucker's album The Dirty South:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

American Beauty: In the Pines

If I told you that Lead Belly, Rufus Wainwright, Nirvana, Tiny Tim, Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe, Hole, Dee Dee Ramone and the Grateful Dead all have performed a common song, you'd fairly assume that I had my facts confused and promptly call for my resignation.  But despite the glaring absurdity of my contention, I'm proud to report that I am indeed correct (and if I'm not, blame Wikipedia!).  "In the Pines," a/k/a "Black Girl" or "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (author unknown), is an old Appalachia folk standard believed to have been written in the late 1800's, and is arguably one of the first true American "pop songs." The tune itself has an interesting history; an oral tradition of sorts, it has been passed down from generation to generation, almost always reconfigured and reinterpreted as if it were a game of musical "telephone." And like most American folklore -- especially that conceived in the South -- its true meaning remains somewhat of an enigma, though I suppose that is what keeps it so alluring after all these years.  Take for example 2 of verses:

Black girl, black girl, don't lie to me,
Tell me where did you sleep last night?
In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines,
I shivered the whole night through.

My husband was a railroad man,
Killed a mile, and a half from here.
His head, was found, in a driver's wheel,
And his body hasn't never been found.

The theories about the song's origins are as wide-ranging as the artists who have performed it, though the consensus is that it involves: prostitution, decapitation, a locomotive train, a murder, and of course, a pine forest.   Happy times, no?  And while my intention here is not to interpret or analyze the song -- as I'm clearly not well-versed enough in the subject matter to do so -- I merely wanted to point out that even today, a song as simple as "In the Pines" continues to inspire and enchant us, with its inscrutable history and evocative lyrics.

As for the various renditions, my loyalties lie with the Lead Belly version popularized in the 1940's and the Nirvana version performed in 1993 for Mtv Unplugged (credited as "Where Did You Sleep Last Night"), which continues to mesmerize me since first hearing it upon its release.  Cobain's shrieking vocals were particularly suited for this dark piece of American lore -- especially his last desperate gasps, which I think poignantly revived the spirit of this haunting masterpiece for years to come.

Lead Belly, "In The Pines" (circa 1944)

Nirvana, "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," New York, New York (1993)

The Bridge Blows Up

Baltimore rockers The Bridge have recently released their fifth studio album called National Bohemian, titled after the unofficial official alcoholic beverage of Charm City.  The album was produced by Steve Berlin, sax and keyboard player for Los Lobos.  To support the CD's release, the band shot a video for what is presumably being considered the disc's first single, 'Rosie'.  Rather than simply film a live concert performance of the song, the band donned matching pressed white shirts and skinny black ties and showed up to what looks like a proper soundstage to film an MTV-style music video.  According to an interview with singer and guitarist Cris Jacobs, the shoot was filmed on a day off from touring, over a 4-hour period, in Louisville, KY.

We've covered the Bridge throughout the four years we've been around as a music site and we've been fans of theirs as far back as their inception in the early 2000s.   We've also made no effort to hide the fact that we grew up with some of its members.  They've come a long way since their early days, perfecting their sound through constant, now coast-to-coast, touring.  They've played many of the major summer festivals around the US, including a near-annual slot at Tim Walther's All Good Festival in WV, where in 2008 Phish's Mike Gordon sat in when them and then just three days later he invited the guys to open for him on his solo tour.

We again attended the Bridge's annual pre-Thanksgiving show a few months back in Baltimore and we look forward to doing so again in the fall.

Take a look at The Bridge's new video for 'Rosie':

Listen to the band's new album, National Bohemian, released on February 1st.

Robbie Robertson Honored By Land of Snow

It was announced today that Robbie Robertson is to be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame. With Robertson's induction, for the first time, the Hall will be honoring the entire body of work of a songwriter rather than just a single original song.

In other news, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel were not inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

As much as we like to side with Levon in the infamous great divide between he and Robbie, I'm going to overlook that for just one day and admit that he did write some amazing songs. To commemorate the occasion, I'll offer up the studio version of The Band's 'Acadian Driftwood', a song penned by Robbie which was recorded and released by The Band in 1975.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Paul McCartney: Indie Pioneer

Despite my being a fan of about 98% of The Beatles' catalog (I could truthfully do without "Birthday," "Good Day Sunshine," and "Mean Mr. Mustard"), I sometimes wonder how many of their songs would actually be "hits" by today's standards.  Sure, one could argue "once a hit, always a hit" -- especially with The Beatles, but I think the legacy of their songs has more to do with the band's godly reputation than with the songs themselves.  Take for example, "All My Loving" -- still a finger-snapping, head-bopping, feel good tune -- but a hit? In 2011, no less? Highly doubtful -- unless of course, your goal is to be the most uncool bloke amongst the young ladies.  In reality, The Beatles "seal of approval" gave otherwise forgettable songs that extra sparkle in their eye (I mean, c'mon, if "From Me To You" was a Herman's Hermits get the point).  Nonetheless, it's hard to dispute that a majority of their songs -- and yes, even the early ones (which I admittedly have a soft spot for) -- remain as unique and inimitable today as they did when first released.  I know -- enough stating the obvious -- I do have a point, promise.

In any event, there is one song in particular that I think stands in a category apart from the rest; a tune so dissonant, hypnotic, and disturbingly elegant, that I have no doubt it would serve as a modern anthem amongst the current hipster/indie/hard rock scene: "Helter Skelter."  As edgy and raucous as it must have been when released in 1968 (to put things in perspective, Led Zeppelin I was released in 1969 and Black Sabbath's Paranoid in 1970), "Helter Skelter" completely enraptures us with Paul's grating vocals, George and John's lo-fi, sonic guitar riffs, and Ringo's uncharacteristic smashing about, all against a backdrop of  pure unadulterated, cacophonous beauty. Panic sets in.  Wasn't I just listening to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da?" "Blackbird?" "Honey Pie?" "I Will?"  What the fuck is going on?!? This is--is-- fucking BRILLIANT!

Little did he know it, while attempting to make the "heaviest" song known to man (in response to The Who's  "I Can See For Miles"), Paul McCartney in effect, invented indie rock -- the same sound popularized years, even decades, later by bands like The Stooges, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Strokes and The White Stripes.   That my friends, was the genius of The Beatles (though, I imagine George Martin must have had a coronary at the time).  So cheers to Paul, who despite his unabashed vanity and massive ego, albeit a deserving one, paved the way for a new generation of modern rockers; from Seattle to Manchester to Brooklyn and elsewhere.

And while I recently revered George Harrison as being the "coolest" Beatle, Paul was pretty hip himself -- stringy and bearded, thrashing around while an uber-cool Ringo goes cymbal crazy.  Speaking of, rumour has it Paul and Ringo are playing a secret show at Music Hall of Williamsburg this weekend...

The Beatles, "Helter Skelter"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


A deluxe package is set to be released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Derek and the Dominos’ essential Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Rod Stewart and Jeff Back are currently collaborating on new material in the studio for the first time in 25 years

Kiss drummer Peter Kriss to write autobiography with Larry 'Ratso' Sloman

The original lineup of Black Sabbath are set to record their first album together since 1979 with a possible tour to follow

Amos Lee achieves the accolade this week of having the lowest selling #1 album in Soundscan's history

Pearl Jam reissuing Vs. and Vitalogy to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the band

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Jesse Colin Young is an American singer/songwriter who is most well known for being a founding member of a folk/rock band called The Youngbloods.  The Youngbloods' cover of "Get Together" has become synonymous with the peace and love movement of the 60s, featuring an uplifting, memorable, anthemic chorus of "Come on people now, smile on your brother / Everybody get together and try to love one another." 

In April 1974, Young, at this point a solo act, released a new studio album called Light Shine which included an original song called 'Let Your Light Shine', featuring an uplifting, memorable, anthemic chorus.

In 1994, the Allman Brother Band released a new studio album called Where It All Begins, featuring a new original song written by Warren Haynes called 'Soulshine', featuring an uplifting, memorable, anthemic chorus.

Why is this all relevant?  Well, I'm sure many of you are well familiar with Warren's Soulshine, as its been a staple of Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule concerts for over sixteen years now.  I've always enjoyed hearing Warren sing Soulshine, despite its ubiquity.  After all, it's a great piece of songwriting by him....or is it?

Take a listen below to Jesse Colin Young's original song 'Let Your Light Shine".  Then, if you haven't heard it before or just want a refresher, listen to the the Allman Brothers' Soulshine.  There shouldn't be a debate in your mind as to whether the latter song is a direct copy of Young's 'Light Shine'.  The question is though, does it matter?  Should Warren have given Young a songwriting credit on Soulshine?  Would it be appropriate for him to introduce the song before he plays it as inspired by a Jesse Colin Young tune?  Let us know what you think. 

I can't take credit for discovering this musical connection, as I first read about it on PhantasyTour a few months back, but I figured now that The Weight is back in business, it would be interesting to bring this bit of music trivia to the attention of our readers.

Jesse Colin Young
Let Your Light Shine

Allman Brothers