HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
Just before Christmas, we asked people whether we should bring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient & the greatest Hammond B3 master of all time, BOOKER T. JONES, to Beverly’s Larcom Theatre. Response was overwhelmingly positive, so we’ve done it and tickets are now on sale to the public, but they’re selling fast. Get your tickets here and don’t miss out on Booker T.’s only New England appearance on this U.S. tour. You may remember him from Booker T. and the M.G.’s, with hits like “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight,” and “Melting Pot,”. While at Stax Records, Booker T. also wrote “Born Under a Bad Sign” with William Bell, which was recorded in 1967 by Albert King and later by Cream and Jimi Hendrix and covered live by many others. Here’s Booker T’s powerful version with his excellent touring band!
And here’s Booker T. with Gary Clarke Jr. and John Mayer live at the 2013 Rock and Roll Induction Ceremony
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this year, you already know that 2014 is the 5oth anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on Ed Sullivan. I begged my parents to let me stay up and watch the show — and they agreed. (Kids went to bed earlier in those days.)
It was a thrill! Most everybody on my block was already a Beatles fan and the next day, we were utterly devoted. We all started saving up for the next record. Being the 5oth anniversary of what CBS billed as “The Night That Changed America”, you’ve also probably seen lots of Beatles tribute bands playing around. Next Friday (April 25), Top area musicians come together (yes, pun intended) to help raise money for Gloucester’s UU Meetinghouse as The Number Nines — but this is no tribute band. Rather, it’s three top Gloucester singer/songwriters: 3rian King, Chelsea Berry and Renée Dupuis, joined by Boston‐based multi‐instrumentalist Meff and guitarist Brendan Burns with Gloucester’s favorite rhythm section: Dennis Monagle and Joe Cardoza. They’ll perform their own originals plus fresh takes on The Beatles, like this soulful interpretation of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” featuring Chelsea Berry on vocals:
So, we can all agree that The Beatles are the greatest rock band ever, right? “Not so fast,” quips Vickie. “What about Jimi Hendrix?”
“What about him?” I reply.
“You’re always saying he’s the greatest rock guitar player, who ever lived.”
“Well, of course he is.” [Here’s one of my Hendrix favorites]
“So how can The Beatles be the best rock band ever?”
“Oh come on. I can’t choose between The Beatles and Hendrix!”
So the next night, April 26, our friend Jon Butcher is bringing his powerful new show, The Jon Butcher Axis: Celebrating the Music of Jimi Hendrix to the Larcom Theatre for their Boston area debut. Check out Jon’s version of another one of my favorite Hendrix tunes:
I’ll be at both. You can be too. You don’t have to choose.
Do you have tickets to tomorrow’s sold out Experience Hendrix show at Hampton Beach Casino? If so, we’ve got a job for you. Our friend Jon Butcher (who moved to Cape Ann a year or so ago) has been asked to join Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Billy Cox (from Band of Gypsys & Jimi Hendrix Experience) and numerous other stars on stage at tomorrow’s show and we want YOUR photos of him.
So, if you’re there, shoot a photo of Jon Butcher on stage and put that photo (or a link to it) in a comment to this post. We’ll select the best photo and give the photographer 2 tickets to The Jon Butcher Axis: Celebrating the Music of Jimi Hendrix show down the road at Beverly’s Larcom Theatre one month from today (Sat, April 26). Of course, this show will sell out too, so if you can’t shoot Jon Butcher tomorrow, get your tickets today!
Here’s a taste of what you can expect at the Jon Butcher Axis show on April 26:
Recent events should make it fairly clear that the war on drugs is a dismal failure. Debate rages (as it should) about what might work and today it seems fitting to look at how creative people help in profound and very personal ways.
Now, you might assume that creative people tend to be more susceptible to addiction than the rest of us — think Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Philip Seymour Hoffman … the list goes on. But creative people may also offer the best solution to the problem by expressing their personal experiences through their art in a way that touches us deeply and gives those of us who might fall into addiction something to hold on to.
One of my favorite young artists, Tristen, who’s appearing at Brighton Music Hall tonight with Jeremy Messersmith, has a wonderful song with a catchy tune and simple, profound lyrics that express, through pop music bliss, her resolve not to feed her friend’s habit while continuing to love and care for him — Here’s the chorus.
I will never falter, I will never fear
For I’ve seen the demons love can conquer disappear
Watch her video
Closer to home, local rising star, Chelsea Berry’s song You Me and Mary shows us how drugs can ruin a relationship. Listen here:
Oliver Stone, in his cautionary movie The Doors, demonstrates how drugs and excess killed one of rock music’s most creative geniuses. This is the best anti-drug experience you could ever give your kids. Make them sit through the whole thing before they’re 12.
If recent events aren’t enough to convince you the war on drugs is folly, watch Steven Soderbergh’s brilliant film Traffic. As Roger Ebert says in his 4-star praise of this extraordinarily creative film, “This war is not winnable on the present terms, and takes a greater toll in human lives than the drugs themselves.” Watch this trailer:
Calvin Cooke, leader of The Slide Brothers and known as the B.B. King of gospel steel guitar, will be Aurelia Nelson’s guest on her North Shore 104.9 FM show Curtain Up tomorrow (SUN) at 9am. Calvin calls in from the road where he and his band are touring the U.S. in support of their new CD Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers.
Guitar Worlds says, “The Slide Brothers … tackle rock, funk and blues with a ferocity that will startle fans of Duane Allman, Derek Trucks and Muddy Waters.” Listen to this amazing version of the Allman Brothers’ classic Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ from their new CD.
The Slide Brothers’ only New England concert is next Saturday, Nov 2 (after the Red Sox will have won the World Series) just down the road at Beverly’s fully restored, historic Larcom Theatre. There are still some good seats left (especially in the gorgeous horseshoe Balcony — see here).
Local virtuoso and recent Berklee grad, Michael Thomas Doyle opens the show with his band — Cody Nilsen on guitar/vocals, Bill Spencer on bass, and Steve Russo (of Runaround and Mile 21) on drums . This will be your only chance to catch the greatest living masters of Slide Guitar so close to home — and support one of our local rising stars at the same time. Get tickets now. Watch them play the Hendrix Classic, Foxy Lady!
Benjamin Verdery does it all. When Karen Herlitz from Rockport Music sent me the program for Sunday’s concert with Ben Verdery, I said, Really? Bach & Hendrix in the same concert? Mozart & Prince? Elivs? Actually he’ll play Don’t Be Cruel
written by Otis Blackwell, who also wrote Elvis hits All Shook Up & Return to Sender, along with Great Balls of Fire & Breathless for Jerry Lee Lewis. But it’s Fever, which he co-wrote with Eddie Cooley, that makes Otis Blackwell one of my favorite songwriters. You can listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing Fever here (my favorite version for a lot of reasons) … But I digress …
How can anybody play such a diverse repertoire in a single concert without losing the audience in a swirl of confusion. Well, just listen to this:
Now don’t you want to hear what he does with Bach, Mozart, Prince and Otis Blackwell? Well you can on Sunday in one of the most acoustically perfect places on Earth. Aren’t you glad you live nearby? There are still good seats left. Get them here.
Just for fun, here’s Hendrix’s version of the song live in 1970.
Inspired? Now check out this weekend’s spectacular live music schedule with 35 live shows on Cape Ann starting tonight.