Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Paul Kelly: "Spring And Fall" (2012) CD Review

Paul Kelly's new studio release, Spring And Fall, is an album of love songs that manages to stay clear of cheesy or sappy sentiment. And I think that's due to the great honesty of the album. I think cheesiness results from a line or a feeling being forced and false - like when someone says what he thinks he should be feeling rather than what he feels. Paul Kelly completely avoids that trap. I mean, hell, just listen to "Someone New." That song surprised me with its opening lines: "I want to sleep with someone new/Someone I've never met/Knowing it's a foolish thing to do" (though of course it is the presence of cello and violin that really makes me love it).  These aren't all feel-good love tunes. These songs investigate and explore different aspects of love and relationships. (For example, listen to "None Of Your Business Now.")

And let me just say this here and get it out of the way: Yes, there are moments that remind me of Bob Dylan (particularly in "For The Ages" and "Little Aches And Pains").  And that is certainly not a bad thing. This album is quickly becoming one of my favorites of the year.

"New Found Year"

Spring And Fall opens with "New Found Year," which is seriously pretty. Sometimes a guitar can sound so sweet and comforting, and that's how this song - and album - begins. And then Paul Kelly's vocals come in with a wonderful affection to match it. The first line is, "Come with me, love, bring your wine, love." This is an unabashed and earnest love song, about a young love. "Slip your shoes off/Let me help your dress down to the floor." 

"New Found Year" was written by Paul Kelly and Dan Kelly.

"When A Woman Loves A Man"

"When A Woman Loves A Man" describes how love affects a person in her entirety. I love the lines, "When a woman gives herself she goes out on a limb/Her body cannot help but tell the story that’s within." But it's the line "A woman's love seeks its companion" that really struck me as interesting, because it's the emotion that's in control, not the person - like our bodies and minds are along for the ride.

"For The Ages"

"For The Ages" is one of my favorites, partly because though it's a strong love song, its lyrics show a quirky sense of humor (something I always appreciate). Check out lines like "Darling, you’re one for the ages/You’ll never go out of style/You walked into the ball/Dressed by St Vincent de Paul" and, of course, "Long may you live in my rhyme/The years will cut us down/But they won’t keep us in the ground/Out of the grave we’ll climb."  And it's a sweet folk love song with some nice touches on electric guitar by Dan Kelly. This is the kind of song that itself never goes out of style - as long as people still fall in love, as long as we still connect on some meaningful level. This song actually makes me feel better about people - you know?   

"Gonna Be Good"

"Gonna Be Good" begins with a promise: "I'm gonna be good from now on." (To a woman? To himself? I first heard it as the latter.) This is one I immediately felt a connection to, even before the lines, "I wrote a list, I thought it best/Of all that must apply/I wrote a list, it didn’t take long." (Anyone who knows me knows I put everything into lists, and maybe that's part of what delighted me about this song.) This track is kind of simple, and yet perfect in that simplicity.

"Time And Tide"

"Time And Tide" is another really strong tune, perhaps the best of the album. It quietly grabs you and holds you. I love songs that are able to do that. Here is a taste of the lyrics: "Time and tide wait for no-one/And they won’t wait for you or me/You got to know/When to stay and when to go/When to do, when to be."  I'm also fond of these lines: "No matter what you think or do/Sometimes it really isn’t up to you/You just got to get out of the way."  And the whole feel is perfect. There are some excellent backing vocals by Vika and Linda Bull.  This song also features Genevieve Lacey on recorder.

"Sometimes My Baby"

"Sometimes My Baby" is another excellent tune. There is a lighthearted feel to the music (heck, there's even a jaw harp).  But then check out these lines: "Sometimes my baby takes a little trip/She gives me no warning, just gives me the slip/I hold her and kiss her and whisper her name/But she’s somewhere else, I’m right out of the frame/Oh, it’s nothing I’ve done and it’s nothing I’ve said/Nothing to do with my loving at all/I wish I could take out the knives in her head/Like a stone in a pond she falls."  Fantastic, right?  Yet it's the instrumental section two minutes in that really caused me to completely fall for this song. Seriously, you're going to love it.  That's Atilla Kuti on violin.

"I'm On Your Side"

In "I'm On Your Side," Paul Kelly sings, "You’re just hanging on to your pride/Oh, hold on to me now/I’m on your side." Sometimes that's all we need to hear. And I really like the line "I'm on your side though you might not believe it." 

"Little Aches And Pains"

In "Little Aches And Pains" Paul sings about meeting the other person a while after the relationship is over. He sings of how the great pain is now little aches, but they seem there for good. "When all else goes, they remain." It's like things have become better to a point, but that's as good as they will get. And yet the song has a positive end with the line, "I don’t count my losses now, just my gains."

There is a hidden song after "Little Aches And Pains." It begins at 4:07. I am not a fan of hidden tracks on CDs. That being said, I do love this song, titled "Where Are You Roaming."  For those who aren't familiar with this one, it was written by William Shakespeare and is featured in his comedy Twelfth Night. It's sung by Feste in Act II Scene iii, after Toby asks for a love song. I'm a huge Shakespeare fan, and I have to say Paul Kelly does a wonderful job with this song.  Even without this track, Spring And Fall is one of my favorite albums of the year. But one sure way to completely win me over is to throw in a bit of Shakespeare. (By the way, this song is sometimes also referred to as "O Mistress Mine.")

CD Track List
  1. New Found Year
  2. When A Woman Loves A Man
  3. For The Ages
  4. Gonna Be Good
  5. Someone New
  6. Time And Tide
  7. Sometimes My Baby
  8. Cold As Canada
  9. I'm On Your Side
  10. None Of Your Business Now
  11. Little Aches And Pains
(+ Where Are You Roaming)

Spring And Fall is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on November 6, 2012 on Gawd Aggie Recordings.  (It was released in Australia on October 19, 2012.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grateful Dead: "Dick's Picks Volume 28" CD Review

The Grateful Dead were able to tap into some magical realm more often than any other rock band, and in 1973 they basically resided there. For some reason, the shows they did that year were phenomenal. They stretched out, took lots of chances, and played their fucking hearts out.  Dick's Picks Volume 28 features two concerts from that fantastic year (though some songs are missing from the first set of the first show, and it seems at least one song is missing from the second show).  This set includes four discs featuring two excellent versions of "Eyes Of The World," one of my favorites, and a song that was particularly delicious that year. There are also two wonderful versions of "They Love Each Other." Both "Eyes Of The World" and "They Love Each Other" in 1973 had additional sections that were later dropped.  A lot of the songs they played at these shows were relatively new, including a seriously fun version of "Loose Lucy" (which would appear on the following year's studio release, From The Mars Hotel).

Disc One

The first disc opens with "Promised Land," that great Chuck Berry rock and roll number. And this is a good, energetic rendition. The follow it up with "Loser," and this is an unusually powerful version of this song. Listen especially when the vocals come back in - holy moly!  The first disc also features a sweet, soft, pretty version of "Looks Like Rain." Certain lines have always done it for me: "I'll still sing you love songs written in the letters of your name" and "I only want to hold you/I don't want to tie you down/Or fence you in the lines I might have drawn." Beautiful.  There is also an early "Loose Lucy," which they debuted just two weeks earlier. Check out Jerry Garcia's "Woo" in the middle of a line, and then Donna's backing "round and round."  It's got a great groove, and Jerry has fun with this number. This is just wonderful, one of the disc's highlights.

The other highlight is the first set closer, "Playing In The Band."  Oh yes, a 1970s "Playing" means a lot of energy and a great jam and Donna screaming. You can't beat it. And the jam in this version starts off full throttle - no fucking around - and when it eases up (only slightly), things get even more interesting. Light a few candles, have a drink or smoke a bowl, and get loose with this great "Playing."

The second set opens with a groovy, bouncy "They Love Each Other." And this is when there was that extra section to the song that was dropped later.  There is also a very cool rendition of "Tennessee Jed."

Disc Two

The second disc continues with the second set of the first show, beginning with a pretty good version of "Greatest Story Ever Told," with some great energy during the jam. But it's what follows that really makes this disc special. A very cool twenty-five minute "Dark Star" that starts off nice and easy, but with various members pushing it at times, particularly Phil at one moment. But it eases back, as they let the song decide where it will go. And soon they're all heading in one direction. But almost as soon as the jam finds a groove, they dispense with it, let it go, searching for Something Else. Keep the form loose, and let the magic happen. Things get very quiet, the song almost disappearing, but Phil leads it back with a steady rhythm on bass. Jerry and then Keith play over it. And the band finds a great jazz groove. Absolutely wonderful, and definitely magic. Then sixteen and a half minutes in, Jerry draws everyone back to the song's main theme. And a minute later they start the first verse.  I love "Dark Star" from this time because they really play with silence within the verse.  After the first verse, the song seems to be ending for a moment, but really they're just going into more spacey territory.  It may sound ridiculous, but at twenty-five minutes, this "Dark Star" is too short. It's clearly not finished.

But then Jerry eases into "Eyes Of The World," one of my favorites. "Sometimes we walk alone/Sometimes the song that we hear are just songs of our own." This song always makes me so happy, and even in the long jam they keep that great groove. And this version has an excellent and lengthy jam (this track is 19 minutes). Around 14:15 they go into that other section (it's a bit more tentative than some versions, but once they're there, they're there - you know?).  There is also a really great "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad" on this disc.

Disc Three

The second show opens with "Cold Rain And Snow," which I always thought a good tune to kick off a show, with its opening lines, "I married me a wife/She's been trouble all my life/Run me out in the cold rain and snow."  This is a somewhat relaxed version. The band picks up the pace with a quick "Beat It On Down The Line" - only three beats to start it.  And then there is another very groovy, fun version of "They Love Each Other" (again, with that extra section). This is really an excellent version. The good-time vibes continue with "Mexicali Blues." After a good version of "Sugaree," it's time to enter the Phil Zone for "Box Of Rain." It's strange hearing Donna sing backing vocals on this one, and there is that odd stop on "Feel your way," which doesn't quite work. I love this song, but the way they were performing it at this time seems off.

The real highlight of the third disc is "He's Gone." The meaning of this song has changed over the years, but at the time of this show Pigpen's absence must have been felt. (He was seriously ill at the time of this show, and was dead a week later. The liner notes list him among the band members as being "In Spirit.")  This is a great version, though on this one I could do with Donna's random wail. It seems totally out of place, coming as it does after "Going where the wind don't blow so strange." I love the vocal section toward the end of the song - it's always good, but this time there is something really sweet about it. I dig Keith's work on piano during that section. And Donna sounds beautiful. Everything is perfect.

They follow that with a good rendition of "Jack Straw," another that was a favorite of many Deadheads.  The second set begins on this disc, with Robert Hunter's most straight-forward description of an acid trip, "China Cat Sunflower," leading into a good, energetic rendition of "I Know You Rider."

Disc Four

The final disc of this set opens with a sweet version of "Row Jimmy." Things then kick into gear with "Truckin.'" This is when the band starts cooking. The beginning of the jam is straight-ahead balls-to-the-wall rock and roll. And they don't really let up much. Phil Lesh gives some indications early of wanting to go into "The Other One" and there is some great play between him and Bill Kreutzmann. 

And then suddenly we get that great pounding intro to "The Other One." Holy moly! The bloody electricity of the band at this moment is incredible. The faster we go, the rounder we get indeed! Jerry reaches higher, and after a peak, the band brings it down for a bit, mostly to allow it to build again. This song is often best when it's a ferocious unpredictable beast, and it is such a monster here. They go into a verse around seven minutes in, and then the jam gets a bit more strange and wonderful. I have to imagine more than one mind was blown during this show.

And then the song eases into "Eyes Of The World." I know I've already said it, but this is such a wonderful song, and always gets me dancing. That other section comes in around 14:15 again (that's pretty weird, isn't it?).  "Eyes" leads into a glorious rendition of "Morning Dew." I love it when Jerry really goes for it vocally, as he does on this song. I also love how the song then gets so quiet on "I guess it doesn't matter anyway." Beautiful.  And then, of course, there is that powerful ending. Holy shit, listen to Jerry's guitar.

Then there is an energetic "Sugar Magnolia," with a long pause before "Sunshine Daydream." The album wraps up with a pretty a cappella version of "We Bid You Goodnight."

CD Track List

CD One
  1. Promised Land
  2. Loser 
  3. Jack Straw
  4. Don't Ease Me In
  5. Looks Like Rain
  6. Loose Lucy
  7. Beer Barrel Polka
  8. Big Railroad Blues
  9. Playing In The Band
  10. They Love Each Other
  11. Big River
  12. Tennessee Jed
CD Two
  1. Greatest Story Ever Told
  2. Dark Star >
  3. Eyes Of The World >
  4. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  5. Me And My Uncle
  6. Not Fade Away >
  7. Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad >
  8. Not Fade Away
CD Three
  1. Cold Rain And Snow
  2. Beat It On Down The Line
  3. They Love Each Other
  4. Mexicali Blues
  5. Sugaree
  6. Box Of Rain
  7. El Paso
  8. He's Gone
  9. Jack Straw
  10. China Cat Sunflower >
  11. I Know You Rider
  12. Big River
CD Four
  1. Row Jimmy
  2. Truckin' >
  3. The Other One >
  4. Eyes Of The World >
  5. Morning Dew
  6. Sugar Magnolia
  7. We Bid You Goodnight
Dick's Picks Volume 28 was released on August 28, 2012 through Real Gone Music.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Patrolled By Radar: "Cards Gifts & Caskets Vol. 1" (2012) CD Review

Patrolled By Radar's new album, Cards Gifts & Caskets Vol. 1, is an album of covers. There is a wide range of material presented here, including blues, punk, 1960s rock and pop. In most cases, Patrolled By Radar is pretty faithful to the original feel and tone (though still making the songs their own). A lot of these songs have a humorous element to them.  Obviously a tune like "I Like You" is delightfully silly.  But, for example, The Kinks song has the line, "Since you joined the upper class you don't know us anymore," which I think is really funny. And "A Song From Under The Floorboards" (a song originally recorded by Magazine, then covered by Morrissey) has the line, "I know the meaning of life, it doesn't help me a bit."  So the choice of songs helps showcase this band's sense of humor. Not that these are novelty songs - they aren't. And they're also not making fun of any of the songs. These are all earnest renditions.

This band is really talented, and clearly these guys enjoy themselves. Their love of music is so present in each track that you will be even more of a music-lover yourself after listening to this album. This is a band that I've been enjoying for a while now. They were originally called 50 Cent Haircut. Then last year they released a CD titled Be Happy, featuring all original material written by Jay Souza. It's interesting that an album of covers could make me love this band even more than I already did.

"Goin' To The River"

They open Cards Gifts & Caskets Vol. 1 with "Goin' To The River," that cool blues rock tune, and this is an excellent rendition. The vocals lend themselves perfectly to this type of song, and the electric guitar licks have a certain early rock feel to them which is great.  August Poehls joins the band on tenor saxophone for this one


The harmonica sets the tone immediately with its slow, sad, sustained notes, in this country version of "Hateful," a song written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones. That's right, a country version of a song by The Clash. And oddly, it totally works. The band definitely reminds me of Cracker on this one. Here is a taste of the lyrics (for those unfamiliar with the song): "Anything I want, he gives it to me/Anything I want, he gives it, but not for free/It's hateful, but it's paid for/And I'm so grateful to be nowhere." "Hateful" originally appeared on London Calling.

"Talking 'Bout That Girl"

"Talking 'Bout That Girl" is a seriously cool song, with that fantastic late '60s rock feel. Krister Axel plays Hammond on this track.

"Eager Boy"

"Eager Boy" is a fun rockabilly tune written by L.C. Pratt Jr. (and originally recorded by The Lonesome Drifter).  Here is a taste of the lyrics: "Well, I know I'm young/I know I'm right/I'd like to help the weary ones to see the light/I don't believe this world will pass us by/I know we can succeed if we only try."  Some really fantastic work on guitar helps to make this one of my favorite tracks.

"I Like You"

"I Like You" is an odd little gem written and originally performed by Alan Arkin. It's a silly and wonderful lounge-type tune, and Patrolled By Radar performs it as a duet. The presence of female vocalist Nicole Gordon makes it more of a sweet love song, like a delightful running joke between a couple. Nicole Gordon takes the lead first: "I like you 'cause you don't make me nervous/I've not met anyone like you before/Except maybe once or twice/Once or twice, but not very recently." I really dig the way their voices blend on "I'm glad I'm not walking on air/And there are no trumpets blowing in my ear/I'm not saying to myself, Get a hold of myself/And I don't get a rash when you're near."  I absolutely love this track. Krister Axel plays piano on this one.

"Rosie Won't You Please Come Home"

I've been a huge fan of The Kinks since I was a child. Patrolled By Radar does a really good job on their song "Rosie Won't You Please Come Home" (from their 1966 album Face To Face). Kevin Lacey plays bowed bass on this track.


 "Amplifier" is a great song written by Peter Holsapple (and recorded by The dBs). The song is oddly catchy, considering the opening lines are "Danny went home and killed himself last night/She had taken everything, she had taken everything." I really dig Patrolled By Radar's take on this tune, particularly on the "Well, an amplifier is just wood and wire" bit.  Man, these lyrics kill me: "She took everything he thought he liked/And what she couldn't take, she found a way to break/She left his amplifier."

"I Love How You Love Me"

"I Love How You Love Me" might be the most surprising cover on the album. I've always had a bit of a weakness for this song. There might be a bit of humor in this choice of song, but, as I mentioned earlier, they really play it - they're not poking fun here. Though there is some humor inherent in the line, "I love how you think of me without being told to."  I particularly dig the way Patrolled By Radar do the instrumental section toward the end.

"I Love How You Love Me" was written by Barry Mann and Larry Kolber. The Paris Sisters had a hit with it in 1961.

"Outta Place"

Patrolled By Radar concludes this album with "Outta Place," a cool sort of punk song written by John Felice (and originally performed by The Real Kids).  The opening lines are "I should have known/I should have stayed at home/You insist we go through it again/I ain't no actor when I try to pretend that I like your friends/'Cause I hate your friends."

CD Track List
  1. Goin' To The River
  2. Hateful
  3. Talking 'Bout That Girl
  4. When I Ran Off And Left Her
  5. Eager Boy
  6. I Like You
  7. Rosie Won't You Please Come Home
  8. A Song From Under The Floorboards
  9. In The Crowd
  10. Amplifier
  11. I Love How You Love Me
  12. Outta Place
Patrolled By Radar is R. Jay Souza , Bosco Sheff, Ben Johnsen, Bryan Coulter, Bryan Stone, and Mark Bennington.

Cards Gifts & Caskets Vol. 1 is available as a download (for free - though the band accepts donations) on the band's website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jason Collett: "Reckon" (2012) CD Review

Canadian singer/songwriter Jason Collett's new CD, Reckon, is an interesting blend of acoustic and pop tunes. It begins with a wonderfully sad sort of acoustic love song, but is definitely not confined by any preconception or rule of what constitutes "folk music."

Several of the songs on this album are political in nature, but are not preachy. And though timely, these songs likely won't feel dated in any anticipated future.  You can hear a lot of different influences in his approach to music, and the way he addresses or tackles a subject.  And though Jason Collett has cited Bob Dylan as an influence, none of these songs have that sort of rambling storyteller aspect, and none of them have the length of some of the well-known Bob Dylans tunes.  In fact, most of these tracks are pretty short, timing at around two minutes.

"Pacific Blue"

Reckon opens with "Pacific Blue." This song's guitar intro is truly pretty, and this is a gorgeous and sad song about not being able to get over someone. The first line, "I left Toronto in the rain/Landed in Vancouver in the rain," sets the tone, but the lines I really love are "Starting over was our first mistake/Getting free was a chance we didn't take/I should never have hesitated/Getting over you."

"Jasper Johns' Flag"

I've said it before, but I have a serious weakness for cello, and "Jasper Johns' Flag" makes interesting use of that instrument. That's Alex McMaster on cello. The song also benefits from the presence of violin and viola. "Jasper Johns' Flag" is kind of a strange song, with an interesting change just before the end. This is one of the many short songs on this album, at just over two minutes.

"King James Rag"

"King James Rag" is a more upbeat tune. It reminds me of some of the stuff John Lennon was doing in the last couple of years of his life. That is, the sound and feel of the song, not the lyrics, which are an odd collection of cliched phrases like "The salt of the Earth" and "The apple of your eye." It's a happy pop song, and even has some "la la la la" fun to it. This is another short song.

"You're Not The One And Only Lonely One"

"You're Not The One And Only Lonely One" is closer to a dance song, with its good and prominent groove, and that instrumental section, leading to a brief moment with just vocals and percussion.

"Talk Radio"

"Talk Radio" is an interesting, brief look at patriotic person for whom things have suddenly gone wrong. It's an acoustic song, with a simple, repeated bit on guitar. The first line is, "What is happening to me/I had done all the right things." This is one of the more political songs on this release. That is to say, it has social relevance.

According to the liner notes, "Talk radio" is a paraphrased excerpt from an interview with Noam Chomsky conducted by Chris Hedges.

"I Wanna Rob A Bank"

"Talk Radio" goes right into "I Wanna Rob A Bank," and the sudden change grabs your attention because perhaps just for a moment it seems to be the same song, going in a different direction.

"I Wanna Rob A Bank" also reminds me a bit of John Lennon (except for the chorus). This one is also about the current economic troubles (and so is political). This song is seriously catchy, and is one of my favorite tracks.  In this one, he sings, "I want to fill my tank/I just want to fill my tank."

"Song Of The Silver-Haired Hippie"

"Song Of The Silver-Haired Hippie" is an acoustic tune that I love.  It's beautiful, and really sinks its teeth into you.  And then just when I feared it would end prematurely (around two and a half minutes), it kicked in with more force. This is a wonderful song.

"Song Of The Silver-Haired Hippie" is a poem by Damian Rogers, which Jason Collett set to music. The poem appeared in Damian Rogers' book Paper Radio.

"My Daddy Was A Rock 'n' Roller"

"My Daddy Was A Rock 'n' Roller" reminds me of early 1970s David Bowie, particularly the vocal patterns. Here is a taste of the lyrics: "He dodged the war 'cause he was nobody's soldier/Settled down here just north of the border/A union man 'til the company sold her/My daddy was a rock 'n' roller." This song also has a reference to Jerry Orbach's character on Law & Order.

"Don't Let The Truth Get To You"

"Don't Let The Truth Get To You" is an overtly political song, and certainly my favorite title of this release.  Check out these lines: "There's no blueblood in the kitchen/There's no blueblood in the mines/There's no blueblood in a soldier's coffin/Comin' home from the front lines/Don't let the truth get to you."

"When The War Came Home"

This album concludes with another political and social song, "When The War Came Home." This one also reminds me of John Lennon, especially with its simple drum beat. This song also features cello, violin and viola.  Here is a bit of the lyrics: "All that tough talk fight for our freedom/Never did stand to reason/The war left us broke/When the war came home."

CD Track List

  1. Pacific Blue
  2. Jasper Johns' Flag
  3. King James Rag
  4. Sailor Boy
  5. Ask No Questions
  6. You're Not The One And Only Lonely One
  7. Miss Canada
  8. Talk Radio
  9. I Wanna Rob A Bank
  10. Where Things Go Wrong
  11. Song Of The Silver-Haired Hippie
  12. Black Diamond Girl
  13. My Daddy Was A Rock 'n' Roller
  14. Don't Let The Truth Get To You
  15. When The War Came Home

Musicians appearing on this album include Jason Collett on vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar; Darcy Yates on bass and backing vocals; Neil Quin on slide guitar, electric guitar, and backing vocals; Jill Daley on violin; Amanda Penner on viola; Alex McMaster on cello; Taylor Knox on drums; Mike O'Brien on acoustic guitar, electric guitar and backing vocals; Carlin Nicholson on piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond organ, accordion and backing vocals; Bryden Baird on trumpet; Howie Beck on bass, electric guitar, drums and percussion; Alfie Jurvanen on electric guitar and acoustic guitar; Danielle Duval on backing vocals; Kevin Drew on backing vocals; and Basia Bulat on backing vocals and autoharp.

Reckon was released on September 25, 2012 through Arts & Crafts Productions.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour DVD Review

Magical Mystery Tour is a film The Beatles shot in 1967, and while there are some obvious similarities with the band's earlier films (A Hard Day's Night and Help!), the differences are much greater. There isn't really much of a plot, and they weren't working from a script.  Also, the band members themselves were in charge of this one, with Paul McCartney directing most of it. The film is really an excellent document of where the band was at that time, and what was on their minds. Who cares that there's no plot? This is The Beatles, and if you're like me, you enjoy basically everything this band ever did. It's such a joy to watch these guys playing. And it's about the imagery and the music and the fun.  It's about dreams and ideas and seeing what happens when you simply jump into a situation.  Now maybe if most people made films like that, we'd have a load of trash. But somehow The Beatles were able to tap into magic on a more consistent basis than other folks.  Magical Mystery Tour is one of the results of that.

As for what happens in the film, well, Ringo buys tickets for a Magical Mystery Tour and gets on the bus with his aunt Jessica (played by Jessie Robins), with whom he's often arguing. There are a couple of tour guides at the front of the bus, and a wonderful group of characters as passengers.  And off they go on their tour.  The rest of the band members are on the bus too, of course. Paul is seated next to a gorgeous gal in a sexy fur coat. She poses for a photo by George Claydon, a midget, and that leads to "The Fool On The Hill," with Paul goofing around in some great locations (shot in the south of France, according to his commentary track).

There are several truly funny bits, including some of the moments between Ringo and Aunt Jessica (such as the "No, don't knit for me" bit). And funny lines like, "where the eyes of man have never set foot" (I have to assume that John came up with that one).  And there is some very silly stuff with a recruiting sergeant at one of the stops. He's played by Victor Spinetti, reprising a role he had in the play Oh! What A Lovely War! And there's an odd race. On "get set," a group of vicars in suits takes off, and a child starts to go, confused.  It's kind of adorable.

Ringo's aunt's food dream is seriously odd (with John Lennon shoveling food onto the table). And I like the bit inside the tent where the guy casually drops the fur-clad girl. The stuff with the group dressed as wizards is probably the silliest stuff.

And because this is The Beatles, it's the music that often is the focus. The tour guide says, "If you look to the left, ladies and gentlemen, the view is not very inspiring." But off to the right, everything is in bright 1960s colors, and the sequence is set to "Flying."  According to Paul McCartney, on the DVD's commentary track, some of the footage in this sequence is outtakes from Dr. Strangelove.  There is, of course, the famous "I Am The Walrus" segment, with pretty little policemen in a row, and the goofy costumes. And yes, it's definitely one of the best sequences in the film. There is also George Harrison's "Blue Jay Way," a deliciously strange song, with some interesting camera work to match.

And The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band perform "Death Cab For Cutie" while a stripper with a tremendous feather boa dances around. Once her bra is off, the word "Censored" covers her best bits.  Then The Beatles do "Your Mother Should Know," another excellent segment, with the Beatles in white tuxedos coming down a great staircase. This sequence features well choreographed movements and a lot of dancers, and is one of the film's best parts. The song goes into a reprise of "Magical Mystery Tour," and that is the end.

Special Features

Whatever you might think of the film itself, this DVD has some seriously excellent special features.  First there is "The Making Of Magical Mystery Tour," a 19-minute feature that includes interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, plus an interview with George Harrison from 1993.  Several other folks involved with the film are also interviewed, including Sylvia Nightingale and Jeni Crowley, who were the fan club secretaries asked to be extras in the movie. Also, cameraman Michael Seresin, editor Roy Benson, musician Neil Innes and others.  There is also a lot of great behind-the scenes footage.  Regarding the "Your Mother Should Know" sequence, there were two hundred dancers working for next to nothing, and when the generator gave out, the dancers were on the verge of walking. So the filmmakers bribed them to stay with autographed photos of The Beatles.  We also learn in this feature that Magical Mystery Tour was originally broadcast in black-and-white (seriously? that's crazy) on BBC1 on Boxing Day 1967 in between The Petula Clark Christmas Special and a Norman Wisdom film.

The second special feature is "Ringo The Actor," which is two and a half minutes of an interview with Ringo talking about how he had been established as the actor in the band's first two films. There is also footage of Ringo singing "Yesterday" on the bus - holy moly!

One of my favorite bonus features is "Meet The Supporting Cast," which, as you might guess, features information and footage of some of the key supporting players, including Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, George Claydon and Derek Royle.  There is footage of Jessie Robins playing drums (and damn, she is good).  In the section on The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, we get to see the stripper without the word "Censored" across her chest. Also, there is a bit of footage of that band performing their hit, "I'm The Urban Spaceman" (a song I never cared for because of the stupid final line). There is also footage of Victor Spinetti and John Lennon being interviewed together. And there is footage of these performers from other films and programs, including Derek Royle in that great episode of Fawlty Towers playing a character who dies during the night.

The special features include a few musical segments, for the songs "Your Mother Should Know," "Blue Jay Way" and "The Fool On The Hill." Each of these has footage from shooting the corresponding sequence for the film. And there is the "Hello Goodbye Promo," with black and white footage of the band, plus four people in the snow popping in and out.

There are three deleted scenes: "Nat's Dream," "I'm Going In A Field" and "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush."  "Nat's Dream" is a sequence directed by John Lennon starring Nat Jackley, in which he chases a series of girls, set to accordion music. "I'm Going In A Field" is a deleted scene starring Ivor Cutler as Buster Bloodvessel sitting down at an organ in a field and performing the song.  A little bit of both of these sequences was also included in the "Meet The Supporting Cast" feature.  "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush" is a deleted scene featuring the band Traffic pushing a giant globe.

And of course the DVD features a great commentary track by Paul McCartney.  He talks about how they found the actors: They used a directory called Spotlight, and cast them based on their faces mostly, so as to avoid any lengthy audition process.  He says that the project was a nightmare for the editor because they hadn't bothered with a clapboard (though you can see a clapboard in the "I Am A Walrus" sequence).  And yes, Paul talks about the walrus and the false clues for those who read into Beatles lyrics.  The restaurant scene came from a dream that John had. Paul talks about "Blue Jay Way," about the street in Los Angeles, and how the rest of the band was late meeting George at a house there. And for those who might still believe that Paul is dead, in the "Your Mother Should Know" sequence, Paul has a black flower only because he was last to get one, and they were out of red.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grateful Dead: "Dick's Picks Volume 27" (2012 re-issue) CD Review

After concert promoter Bill Graham died in 1991, the Grateful Dead stopped performing their famous New Year's Eve shows. Their hearts weren't really into it without Bill Graham there to run things and ride in on a some wild contraption. Instead, they did a run of shows in early to mid-December at the Oakland Coliseum. So 1992 was the first year of that (there would only be two more, unfortunately, as Jerry Garcia died in August of 1995).  Dick's Picks Volume 27 contains the complete show the Grateful Dead on December 16, 1992. The third disc also contains four songs from the next night, including the encore of "Baba O'Riley" into "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Disc One

The first disc is the first set the Grateful Dead played that night. The show kicks off with a pretty good version of "Feel Like A Stranger," a song I've always enjoyed. It was a good choice for a show opener because of the line, "You know it's going to get stranger, so let's get on with the show." That promise of things getting stranger was usually fulfilled, much to the fans' delight. And then the repeated line, "It's going to be a long, long crazy, crazy night." Which is just what we all wanted every time. Plus, the jam in this version has some interesting stuff.

They follow that with a pretty sweet version of "Brown-Eyed Women," then go into a low-down rendition of "The Same Thing." Sometimes it's great when Bob Weir dips into the blues, and this version has a nice little mean edge, which comes across in its slow tempo. Plus, there are some nice touches by Vince Welnick on keys.

"Loose Lucy" is such a deliciously fun and silly tune. And it's a good one to dance to, especially if you've a cute little thing next to you. Oh yeah, "Thank you for a real good time." Jerry Garcia always seems to get into this one, and you can certainly hear it in his vocals on this rendition. It's pretty awesome, and for me, it's the highlight of the first disc.

There is a weird sound during "Row Jimmy" at the 4:27 mark. Is it a random voice? Did someone come in early? It's strange. The band's vocals blend really well toward the end of this rendition.  The first set then ends with an energetic (if at times overly busy) version of "Let It Grow."

Disc Two

The second set opens with "Shakedown Street," and that first big chord makes the audience go nuts.  This is another that is always fun to dance to. This version isn't the best-sounding "Shakedown" I've ever heard (and I do miss Brent Mydland on those backing vocals - he had died two years earlier).  But the jam gets pretty groovy toward the end.

I love the drumming to begin "Samson And Delilah." This version has a great intro before kicking in.  From there they go into a pretty good version "Ship of Fools." I love the line, "And all that could not sink or swim was just left there to float."  In this version, Jerry sings "with fifty years upon my head." (He turned fifty earlier that year.)

The second set features a rousing rendition of "Playing In The Band" (though with one obvious fuck-up early on). Bob's vocals are excellent. He's really belting this one out. But it's the jam, of course, that is the real highlight of the song, and of the second disc. There is some pretty wild and unusual stuff here.  And that leads into a really good "Drums" segment. That attack at the beginning must have scared some of the folks who were tripping. And the drummers go into some really interesting areas, playing with silence at moments, pulling you in with pauses as much as with great rhythms. And then things get weird, leading nicely into "Space."  This section ("Playing" > "Drums" > "Space") is seriously good, and is probably one of the main reasons for this show being released.

Disc Three

The third disc begins with the end of "Space" before going into "Dark Star." Actually, it's only the second verse (they'd played the first verse a few days earlier).  Still, it's a really good version, reminding me at moments of some early versions of this tune.

After "All Along The Watchtower," they go into a gorgeous and moving "Stella Blue." This is one of my favorite songs, and once at Shoreline it had me (and everyone around me) in tears. It's that kind of song. Jerry really shines on this one, and it is one of the highlights of the show. Just wonderful. I only wish Bob Weir hadn't come in so early with "Good Lovin'," that he'd allowed "Stella Blue" to actually end properly. Though it's a seriously fun version of "Good Lovin'," and Bob gets really into it.  The encore is "Casey Jones," and the audience goes a little bonkers. That's because the band only started playing this tune six months earlier after not doing it for eight years. Plus, it's such a fun tune, and this version is great.

The filler is from the end of the next night's show. Is it me, or is there something oddly relaxed or subdued about this version of "Throwing Stones"? I love Bob's delivery on the repeated "on our own." Perfect. That goes into a nice, energetic rendition of "Not Fade Away." The jam is powerful.  Vince Welnick gets to shine on the encore, which is The Who's "Baba O'Riley" into The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows."  It's pretty wild, and there is a little nod to Talking Heads at the end.

CD Track List

CD One
  1. Feel Like A Stranger
  2. Brown-Eyed Women
  3. The Same Thing
  4. Loose Lucy
  5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
  6. Row Jimmy 
  7. Let It Grow
CD Two
  1. Shakedown Street
  2. Samson And Delilah
  3. Ship Of Fools
  4. Playing In The Band >
  5. Drums >
  6. Space >
CD Three
  1. Dark Star >
  2. All Along The Watchtower >
  3. Stella Blue >
  4. Good Lovin'
  5. Casy Jones
  6. Throwing Stones >
  7. Not Fade Away
  8. Baba O'Riley >
  9. Tomorrow Never Knows
Dick's Picks Volume 27 was released on October 2, 2012 through Real Gone Music.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Vince Guaraldi Trio: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (2012 re-issue) CD Review

A Charlie Brown Christmas is the best Christmas special ever made, and one of the main reasons for its lasting appeal is the wonderful music by Vince Guaraldi. It's what makes me love that special and want to see it every year. And I'm always happy to hear this music on the radio during the holiday season (How many Christmas tunes can you say that about?).

There are several original compositions on this album, which were written for the special. There are also several traditional Christmas songs, to which Vince Guaraldi gives his own delightful spin. These renditions are undeniably Guaraldi's, instantly recognizable as his, and also instantly recognizable as being related to the Peanuts gang.

The tracks have been remastered for this special re-issue. And there are new liner notes by Derrick Bang, author of Vince Guaraldi At The Piano. The liner notes also include a Peanuts comic strip used to advertise the special in TV Guide.  This CD has three bonus tracks that were not included on the original vinyl release.

"O Tannenbaum"

A Charlie Brown Christmas begins with Vince Guaraldi's arrangement of the traditional Christmas tune "O Tannenbaum." This is by far the best rendition I've ever heard of the song. It begins with a truly pretty piano solo of the song's main theme. And then the song takes on a cool jazz groove, while retaining the piano's beauty from the opening moments. Vince Guaraldi certainly makes this song his own, and in doing so greatly improves upon it. And I dig that great work on bass.

"My Little Drum"

"My Little Drum" is an original composition by Vince Guaraldi, but clearly a take on the "Little Drummer Boy" theme. "Little Drummer Boy" has long been one of my favorite Christmas tunes (I love Joan Jett's version). And though "My Little Drum" begins with that theme, it departs into some other wonderful territory. There is also some seriously cool (and yet understated) work by a choir.

"Linus And Lucy"

"Linus And Lucy" is that great famous Peanuts theme, a composition that brings a big smile to my face every time I hear it. This song was also included on The Very Best Of Vince Guaraldi, released just two months ago. This is one of those songs that is so good, it feels like its existence has made the world a better place. And don't try to pretend that you don't do those silly Peanuts dances when you hear it.

"Christmas Time Is Here"

"Linus And Lucy" is followed by "Christmas Time Is Here," the other famous theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas, this one being that slower, sadder, gorgeous tune. When people talk about the peaceful feeling of Christmas, I always think of this song. Because for me Christmas always seems to be a stressful time, and this song is the one thing related to the holiday that really does have a calming effect. It's the one indication or glimpse of that peace that is often spoken of. It has a special warmth that really affects me every time I hear it.  "Christmas Time Is Here" was also included on The Very Best Of Vince Guaraldi. This song features more wonderful work on bass.

The CD also has the version with the vocals, sung by St. Paul's Church Choir. This is a much shorter version, but of course just as gorgeous and wonderful.

Bonus Tracks

There are three bonus tracks on the CD. The first, "Greensleeves," is a longer take with some wonderful work by Vince Guaraldi on piano.  And then the album ends with Peanut themes from two other holidays. Those songs are "Great Pumpkin Waltz" and "Thanksgiving Theme."

CD Track List
  1. O Tannenbaum
  2. What Child Is This
  3. My Little Drum
  4. Linus And Lucy
  5. Christmas Time Is Here (instrumental)
  6. Christmas Time Is Here (vocal)
  7. Skating
  8. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
  9. Christmas Is Coming
  10. Für Elise
  11. The Christmas Song
  12. Greensleeves
  13. Great Pumpkin Waltz
  14. Thanksgiving Theme
A Charlie Brown Christmas is scheduled to be released on October 9, 2012 through Concord Music Group.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott: "We're Usually A Lot Better Than This" (2012) CD Review

Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott's new CD, We're Usually A Lot Better Than This, is a live album with tracks from two different concerts, one in 2005 and one in 2006. These were shows performed at The Grey Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina. Both concerts were benefits for The Arthur Morgan School (they each had children attending at the time). This is their second album together. The first was a studio album titled Real Time, which was released in 2000.

If their names sound familiar, but you can't quite place them, Darrell Scott has performed with Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Guy Clark, and Robert Plant, among others. Tim O'Brien has played with Mark Knopfler, Steve Martin and Steve Earle, and has also released more than a dozen solo albums. He also won a Grammy in 2005.

Their new live album features some originals, as well as some covers. I'm a big Gordon Lightfoot fan, and these two do a really nice job on one of Lightfoot's prettiest tunes, "Early Morning Rain." They also do an impressive a cappella rendition of "House Of Gold," a Hank Williams tune.  Yet, as excellent as their vocals are, it's often the instrumental sections that really excite me (and the audience as well, judging by its audible reaction to those sections).

This is a really good folk album, and these guys clearly need to do more recordings together.  By the way, the album's title comes from a comment they make just before "Mick Ryan's Lament": "I wanted to tell you all we're usually a lot better than this."

"Climbing Up A Mountain"

We're Usually A Lot Better Than This opens with "Climbing Up A Mountain," a great, bright bluegrass tune written by Tim O'Brien.  The vocals sound great, with lots of energy, noticeable right from the song's opening line, "I've been climbing up a mountain since the day that I was born." And they sing how they're "tired and worn," but they certainly don't sound it. Their playing is brisk and engaging. And despite the song's initial description of a struggle, the song is positive, with lines like, "Just listen to your heart to hear what you need to know." "Climbing Up A Mountain" is a great opening track.

"White Freightliner Blues"

I've always loved "White Freightliner Blues" (and I was fortunate to see Townes Van Zandt perform live once).  I've heard a lot of folks cover this one over the years, and Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott do a really good version. It has a tough edge to it that really works. This rendition is pretty intense (seriously), and is one of the disc's many highlights.

"With A Memory Like Mine"

"With A Memory Like Mine" is a really good song that Darrell Scott co-wrote with his father. He explains it at the beginning of the track, that the song has his father's lyrics, but that he added the last verse. Here is a taste of the lyrics: "I watched him leave that Friday morning/It was in the month of May/I told my son to be a good soldier/But return again some day/He did return just one year later/Lord, I'll not forget that day/The baggage car is where he traveled/In a casket where he lay/Train man, keep your whistle blowing/Make it moan and make it whine/You make a man feel mighty lonesome/With a memory like mine." This track features some really nice work on banjo. I'm particularly fond of the instrumental section, which has the feel of a jam.

"Long Time Gone" is another original by Darrell Scott, and this one too has a really cool instrumental section. Two, actually. This song also has a bit of a pop feel, and it's one that I like more and more each time I listen to it. I love the bit about what artists are being played on the radio: "We listen to the radio to hear what's cookin'/But the music ain't got no soul/They sound tired, but they don't sound Haggard/They've got Money, but they don't have Cash/They've got Junior, but they don't have Hank."  Great, right?

"With A Memory Like Mine" and "Long Time Gone" were both on Real Time.

This collection also features Darrell Scott's "The Hummingbird," a song about a guitar. This one is also related to his father, and he talks about that in the song's introduction.

"When There's No One Around/Will The Circle Be Unbroken"

This album ends with "When There's No One Around," a song that Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott wrote, and that Garth Brooks covered. I really love this song. Here is a taste of the lyrics: "Now this is a man that nobody sees/He wears my old clothes/He looks just like me/And if he'd learn how to fly, he'd never touch down/It's the man I am when there's no one around." This is another in the long list of songs that take place at four in the morning.  They then go right into "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," that wonderful ever-reliable folk tune.

CD Track List
  1. Climbing Up A Mountain
  2. House Of Gold
  3. White Freightliner Blues
  4. Mick Ryan's Lament
  5. With A Memory Like Mine
  6. Early Morning Rain
  7. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning
  8. Long Time Gone
  9. You Don't Have To Move That Mountain
  10. The Hummingbird
  11. Mom And Dad's Waltz
  12. Hambone
  13. When There's No One Around/Will The Circle Be Unbroken
We're Usually A Lot Better Than This is scheduled to be released October 9, 2012 on Full Light Records.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Bill Evans Trio: "The Very Best Of The Bill Evans Trio" (2012) CD Review

The Very Best Of The Bill Evans Trio a strange collection, in that it takes tracks from only four albums, two of which - Waltz For Debby and Explorations - have been rissued in the last couple of years (both with several bonus tracks). But of course the music is fantastic. This trio - Bill Evans on piano, Scott LaFaro on bass, and Paul Motian on drums - really put out some great music in the short time they were together (only eighteen months). Scott LaFaro, at only twenty-five, died in an automobile accident in 1961, putting an end to this group.

Before forming the trio, Bill Evans had played with Miles Davis on Kind Of Blue, and there are two Miles Davis compositions in this collection (neither of which are from that album), as well as one composition credited to both Davis and Evans (that one was featured on Kind Of Blue).  In addition to those, there is one Bill Evans composition and one Scott LaFaro composition, as well as several other covers.

"Autumn Leaves"

The Very Best Of The Bill Evans Trio opens with "Autumn Leaves," a delightful tune from Portrait In Jazz, the trio's first record. What I love about this group is that the bass and drums aren't just backing the piano. Right away in this collection you can hear they're on equal footing. There is an interesting conversation going on between piano and bass in this song.  And then there is a bass solo less than a minute in. There is nothing typical about the way this tune is structured. And it certainly comes in lively after that bass section. There is some truly wonderful work by Bill Evans on this tune. And there is another brief bass solo toward the end.

"Autumn Leaves" was written by Jacques Prevert, Johnny Mercer and Joseph Kosma.

"How Deep Is The Ocean?"

"How Deep Is The Ocean?" is an Irving Berlin song that was originally included on the trio's Explorations. This song is pretty, and it's one that is really led by Bill Evans throughout.

"What Is This Thing Called Love?"

Evans, LaFaro and Motian seem to be having a blast (or at least a gas) on "What Is This Thing Called Love?" and as a result it's a lot of fun to listen to. There are surprises throughout, and great work by all three musicians, each adding a distinct voice. There are moments in Scott LaFaro's bass lead that are actually funny. And Paul Motian adds a brief, but cool drum solo.

Written by Cole Porter, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is one of my favorites from this release. It was originally included on Portrait In Jazz.

Miles Davis

A different version of "Blue In Green" appeared on Kind Of Blue. There is something gorgeous about this song. Though attributed to both Miles Davis and Bill Evans, Neil Tesser in the liner notes to this collection argues that it is much more Bill Evans' piece. Whoever wrote it, it's a great tune.

Two Miles Davis compositions appear in this collection: "Nardis" and "Solar." The first is from Explorations. The second is from Sunday At The Village Vanguard, and it closes out this collection. It's also the longest track on this disc (quite a bit longer than the original Davis version from Walkin') and is a really interesting composition, sounding a little more chaotic than the rest of the tracks at moments. It features more great work by Scott LaFaro on bass.

"Gloria's Step"

"Gloria's Step," written by bassist Scott LaFaro (his only composition in this collection) originally appeared on Sunday At The Village Vanguard, a live album recorded on June 25, 1961. As you might surmise, this track features some great work on bass, including an excellent lead section. But there is also a lot of wonderful stuff from Bill Evans and Paul Motian.

"Waltz For Debby"

"Waltz For Debby," the title track from the trio's fourth and final album, was also recorded at that same performance on June 25, 1961. This is the only composition written by Bill Evans to be included in this collection, and it's one of my favorites. This is such a wonderful tune, and it raises my spirits whenever I listen to it.

CD Track List
  1. Autumn Leaves
  2. How Deep Is The Ocean?
  3. What Is This Thing Called Love?
  4. Blue In Green
  5. Beautiful Love
  6. Nardis
  7. My Foolish Heart
  8. Gloria's Step
  9. Waltz For Debby
  10. My Man's Gone Now
  11. Solar
The Very Best Of The Bill Evans Trio was released on August 7, 2012 through Concord Music Group. Also released on that date were Cannonball Adderley: The Very Best Of,  Dave Brubeck: The Very Best Of: The Fantasy Era 1949 - 1953, Vince Guaraldi: The Very Best Of, and Thelonious Monk: The Very Best Of.

October 2012 Concert Calendar

Here is a list of concerts you might be interested in for the month of October. Most of these are bands that I've reviewed, though some are some bands that I haven't yet written about, but really like. If you can, try to check out at least a few of these shows. I will be adding listings throughout the month, so please check back again later.

October 1, 2012  (Monday)
Samantha Crain  -  The Highline, Seattle, WA
Diana Jones  -  Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, TN - 7:30 p.m.
Los Lobos  -  The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
(Special performance of Kiko)

October 2, 2012  (Tuesday)
Anita And The Yanks  -  Finn McCool's Pub, 2702 Main St, Santa Monica, CA  -  9:00 p.m.
Christa Couture  -  The Cornerstone, Guelph, ON
Furthur  -  SDSU Open Air Theatre, San Diego, CA
Gaelic Storm  -  Pella Opera House, Pella, IA
Emmylou Harris And Her Red Dirty Boys  -  Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Aimee Mann  -  Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR

October 3, 2012  (Wednesday)
David Bromberg  - IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ
Leonard Cohen  -  Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain
Christa Couture  -  Melody Bar, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Dig  -  Red Palace, Washington, DC
Gaelic Storm  -  Lied Center, Lincoln, NE
Aimee Mann  -  Neptune, Seattle, WA
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  WFCU Centre, Windsor, ON
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC

October 4, 2012  (Thursday)
Samantha Crain  -  Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO
The Dig  -  Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA 
Steve Forbert  -  The Green Hotel, Kinross, Scotland
Further  -  The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Aimee Mann  -  Egyptian Theatre, Boise, ID
Martin Sexton  -  Bear Tooth Theatre Anchorage, AK
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA

October 5, 2012  (Friday)
Leonard Cohen  -  Palais, Desportes, Madrid, Spain
Samantha Crain  -   The Granada, Lawrence, KS
The Dig  -  The Basement, Northampton, MA
Free Show
The Dunwells  -  Performing Arts Center (Macey Center), Socorro, NM
Steve Forbert  -  St. Andrews in the Square, Glasgow, Scotland
Furthur  -  Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Gaelic Storm  -  Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
Ellis Paul  -  Me & Thee Coffeehouse/Unitarian Church, 28 Mugford St., Marblehead, MA
Martin Sexton  -  Blue Loon, Fairbanks, AK
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival, Chattanooga, TN
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  K-Rock Centre, Kingston, ON

October 6, 2012  (Saturday)
Samantha Crain  -  Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, MN
The Dig  -  Cameo, Brooklyn, NY 
The Dunwells  -  1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO
The English Beat  -  Canyon Club, Agoura Hills, CA
Entrain  -  Sunday River Ski Area Fallfest, Sunday River, ME
Steve Forbert  -  Thorner Victory Hall, Leeds, England
Furthur  -  Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Gaelic Storm  -  Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO
Aimee Mann  -  The State Room, Salt Lake City, UT
Patrolled By Radar  -  Cinema Bar, Culver City, CA  -  10:00 p.m.
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Minglewood Hall, Memphis, TN
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  The John Labatt Centre, London, ON   

October 7, 2012  (Sunday)
Leonard Cohen  -  Pavilhao Atlantico, Lisbon, Portugal
Samantha Crain  -   Bottom Lounge, Chicago, IL
The Dunwells  -  Sante Fe Railyard Plaza, Santa Fe, NM
Steve Forbert  -  Greystones, Sheffield, England
Furthur  -  Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA
Stephen Marley  -  House Of Blues, West Hollywood, CA

October 8, 2012  (Monday)
Samantha Crain  -   Majestic Theatre, Madison, WI
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  Wolstein Center / Cleveland St. Univ., Cleveland, OH

October 9, 2012  (Tuesday)
The Dunwells  -  Community Concert Hall (Ft. Lewis College), Durango, CO
Gaelic Storm  -  Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ
Aimee Mann  -  Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, KY
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA

October 10, 2012  (Wednesday)
Christa Couture  -  The Boathouse, Kitchener, ON
Samantha Crain  -   The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids, MI
The Dig -  Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, PA 
Steve Forbert  -  Whelan's, Dublin, Ireland
Gaelic Storm  -  Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ
Go Betty Go  -  Howl At The Moon, City Walk, Universal City, CA  -  8:00 p.m.
Diana Jones  -  Red Clay Theatre, Duluth, GA
Aimee Mann  -  Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, CO
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  The Blue Note, Columbia, MO

October 11, 2012  (Thursday)
The Dig  -  Kobo, Columbus, OH
The Dunwells  -  Wanderlust Live, Austin, TX
Steve Forbert  -  Errgile Inn, Belfast, Ireland
Gaelic Storm  -  Anthology Lounge, San Diego, CA
Diana Jones  -  Eddie's Attic, Decatur, GA
Aimee Mann  -  The Lensic, Santa Fe, NM
Ellis Paul and Chris Smither  - Century Theater, 3021 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH
Martin Sexton  -  Redstone Room, Davenport, IA
Keller Williams  -   The Cabooze, Minneapolis, MN
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Harvest Fest, Ozark, AR
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  United Center, Chicago, IL 

October 12, 2012  (Friday)
Samantha Crain  -   Harriet Brown House, E. Lansing, MI
The Dig  -  Tonic Room, Chicago, IL
Gaelic Storm  -  Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
Harpeth Rising  -  Private Event, Blacksburg, VA
Aimee Mann  -  Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ
Martin Sexton  -  Deluxe at Old National Center, Indianapolis, IN
Keller Williams  -  Majestic Live, Madison, WI
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Harvest Fest, Ozark, AR

October 13, 2012  (Saturday)
The Dig  -  Tidball's, Bowling Green, KY
Entrain  -  Dante's, Marlboro, MA
Steve Forbert  -  Bush Hall, London, England
Gaelic Storm  -  Slim's, San Francisco, CA
Aimee Mann  -  Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
The Nields  -  Iron Horse, Northampton, MA  - 3:00 p.m.
Family show
The Nields  -  Iron Horse, Northampton, MA  - 7:00 p.m.
CD release show
Ellis Paul  -  Mockingbird, 123 West Beverley Street, Staunton, VA  -  2:00 p.m.
Special Family show
Ellis Paul  -  Mockingbird, 123 West Beverley Street, Staunton, VA  -  8:00 p.m.
Martin Sexton  -  Kent Stage, Kent, OH
Keller Williams  -  Park West, Chicago, IL
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Harvest Fest, Ozark, AR

October 14, 2012  (Sunday)
Samantha Crain  -   Al's Bar, Lexington, KY
The Dig  -  The Basement, Nashville, TN 
Fur Dixon  -   Far West Music Conference, Santa Monica, CA  -  2:00 p.m.
(Ric Taylor is also playing)
The Dunwells  -  Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, TX
The Nields  -  Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, CT  -  2:00 p.m.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  Tulsa Convention Center Arena, Tulsa, OK

October 15, 2012  (Monday)
Steve Forbert  -  The Junction, Cambridge, England
Gaelic Storm  -  Historic Elsinore Theatre, Salem, OR

October 16, 2012  (Tuesday)
The Dig  -  Proud Larry's, Oxford, MS

October 17, 2012  (Wednesday)
Christa Couture  -  Cagibi, Montreal, Quebec
The Dig  -  Hailey's, Denton, TX
Gaelic Storm  -  Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA
Patrolled By Radar  -  Joe's Great American Bar, Burbank, CA - 9:30 p.m.
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee, WI
Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Los Lobos  -  Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA

October 18, 2012  (Thursday)
David Bromberg Big Band  -  Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY
Christa Couture  -  The Elmdale, Ottawa, ON
The Dig -  Mohawk, Austin, TX
Entrain  -  The Green Parrot, Key West, FL
Gaelic Storm  -  Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Harpeth Rising  -  Cafe Carpe, Ft. Atkinson, WI
Keller Williams  -  20th Century Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Vogue Theatre, Indianapolis, IN

October 19, 2012  (Friday)
Christa Couture  -  The Branch, Kemptville, ON
The Dig  -  The Limelight, San Antonio, TX
Entrain  -  The Green Parrot, Key West, FL
Gaelic Storm  -  Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Harpeth Rising  -  Foundry Hall, South Haven, MI
Patrolled By Radar  -  Farmers Market, Los Angeles, CA  -  7:00 p.m.
Ellis Paul  -  May Memorial May Memorial U/U Society, 3800 East Genesee St., Syracuse, NY
Keller Williams  -  Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  House of Blues, Chicago, IL

October 20, 2012  (Saturday)
David Bromberg Big Band  -  Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ
Christa Couture  -  EVAC, London, ON
The Dig  -  The Hoppy Monk, El Paso, TX
Entrain  -  The Green Parrot, Key West, FL
Steve Forbert  -  Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
Harpeth Rising  -  Maple Street Chapel, Lombard, IL
Ellis Paul  -  The Balcony Ballroom at The Oneonta Theatre, 47 Chestnut Street, Oneonta, NY
Keller Williams  -  Headliner's Music Hall, Louisville, KY
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  House of Blues, Chicago, IL

October 21, 2012  (Sunday)
Samantha Crain -  Guthrie Green, Tulsa, OK
The Dig  -  The Rogue Bar, Phoenix, AZ
Entrain  -  The Green Parrot, Key West, FL
Ellis Paul  - Bridge Street Live, 41 Bridge Street, Collinsville, CT
(with Rebecca Loebe opening)

October 22, 2012  (Monday)
Steve Forbert  -  Dakota, Minneapolis, MN
Kaki King  -  El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

October 23, 2012  (Tuesday)
Christa Couture  -  House concert, Onanole, MB
The Dig  -  The Royal House, Las Vegas, NV
Free show

October 24, 2012  (Wednesday)
The Dig -  The Bootleg, Los Angeles, CA
Aimee Mann  -  Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Higher Ground, Burlington, VT

October 25, 2012  (Thursday)
The Dig  -  Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, CA
Entrain  -  The Schooner Wharf, Key West, FL
Steve Forbert  -  Ashland Coffee & Tea, Ashland, VA
Aimee Mann  -  Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
Keller Williams  -  Bluebird Nightclub, Bloomington, IN
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Higher Ground, Burlington, VT

October 26, 2012  (Friday)
David Bromberg Quartet  -  State Theatre, State College, PA
The Dig  -  Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT
Entrain  -  The Schooner Wharf, Key West, FL
Steve Forbert  -  The Arts Center, Carrboro, NC
Aimee Mann  -  Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
Keller Williams  -  The Intersection, Grand Rapids, MI
Yonder Mountain String Band  -  Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA

October 27, 2012  (Saturday)
David Bromberg Quartet  -  Fur Peace Ranch, Pomeroy, OH
Samantha Crain  -   The Blue Door, Oklahoma City, OK
Entrain  -  The Schooner Wharf, Key West, FL
Harpeth Rising  -  Doss Barn House Concerts, Evansville, IN
Aimee Mann  -  Town Hall, New York, NY
Keller Williams  -  Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH

October 28, 2012  (Sunday)
The Dig  -  Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO
Donovan  -  El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

October 29, 2012  (Monday)
Aimee Mann  -  Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY

October 30, 2012  (Tuesday)
Aimee Mann  -  Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York, NY
Bob Mould  -  El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Patrolled By Radar  -  The Echo, Echo Park, CA

October 31, 2012  (Wednesday)
Leonard Cohen  -  Bass Concert Hall, Austin, TX
The Dig  -  Halloween Party, 400 Bar, Minneapolis, MN