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May 2008
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July 2008

Emmylou Harris's new album, "All I intended to be"


On her second Nonesuch disc, Emmylou Harris assembles an extraordinary cast of veteran musicians and fellow singers, all of them longtime friends, for a set that indeed showcases this Nashville icon, and 2008 CMA Hall of Fame inductee, as all she has intended to be - a singularly expressive vocalist, a brilliant interpreter of other people's songs, a graceful and confident songwriter. In particular, the album displays Harris's ability to bring new life to songs that may have been overlooked, forgotten or lost along the way. Some of the most affecting material here may be the least well-known - though not for long: John Wesley Routh's celtic/country "Shores Of White Sands" and trucker-poet Mark Germino's heartrending story-song, "Broken Man's Lament." Harris has chosen these songs with conceptual care. Like much of the gently uplifting All I Intended To Be, the stories may be bittersweet, the characters may be downtrodden, but somehow a sense of redemption always vanquishes regret. The shared history of all the artists involved deepens the feeling of hard-won wisdom that informs All I Intended To Be. Producer Brian Ahern was behind the boards for such early Harris classics as Elite Hotel, Pieces of the Sky and Blue Kentucky Girl.

The players and guest stars are not only a veritable who's-who from the worlds of country, bluegrass and folk, but they have each intersected with Harris throughout her four-decade career as a recording artist. They include Dolly Parton, singers Pam Rose and Maryann Kennedy, dobro player (and longtime Seldom Scene member) Mike Auldredge, keyboardists Glenn D. Hardin (of Harris's Hot Band and Elvis Presley's legendary TCB combo) and Bill Payne (of Little Feat). Two songs - the June Carter tribute, "How She Could Sing The Wildwood Flower" and the breathtakingly beautiful "Sailing Round the Room" - were co-written by and performed with Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Singer-songwriter Karen Brooks, whose own eighties-era version of "Shores of White Sands" was the inspiration and thematic jumping-off point for this entire album, contributes backing vocals throughout; Randy Sharp, Brooks' singing partner, did the vocal arranging. (Harris won a 2005 Best Country Vocal Performance Grammy for her rendition of Sharp's "The Connection.") Harris's own songs, like the heartache ballad "Gold" and the elegiac "Not Enough," blend seamlessly with work by Patty Griffin ("Moon Song"), Merle Haggard ("Kern River") and Billy Joe Shaver ("Old Five and Dimers," from which the album title is taken). Harris revives what is arguably Tracy Chapman's most eloquent song, "Fast Car" notwithstanding - "All That You Have Is Your Soul," a cautionary tale with a simple but profound prayer of a chorus. Displaying the maturity, elegance and ease that distinguished All The Road Running, her best-selling 2006 collaboration with Mark Knopfler. Harris has created a riveting emotional and spiritual journey. All That I Intended To Be is everything a listener and fan could hope for.

Return of Balance!


Regarding, Bob Kulick, Peppy Castro and Doug Katsaros are putting finishing touches to the recording of the brand new Balance studio album. The songs written include (not final tracklisting): Breathe; Crazy Little Suzie; Rainbows End; Old Friends; Who You Gonna Love; Winner Takes All; Walk Away; What Have You Done; Forever; Twist of Fate; I Can't Live Without you; The Edge. Brett Chassen played drums on all the songs except on “Liar” (where Jesse Castro took care) and “Who You Gonna Love”, where legendary Aerosmith's drummer Joey Kramer lent his skills. The fans can expect a stunning AOR come back that follows naturally in the footsteps of their two early 80's legendary albums: “Balance” and “In For The Count”. Expect a release for late 2008.

John Mellencamp "Life, Death, Love and Freedom"


John Mellencamp has characterized the album as a collection of "modern electric folk songs." With backing from his legendary touring band, the album's 14 tracks were recorded at his studio in Bloomington, Indiana and mixed in Los Angeles with Burnett behind the boards for all of the sessions. Mellencamp cites Burnett's production as key to "finding the soul of each song." As far as signing to Hear Music is concerned, he noted, "In today's business environment, each artist needs to pursue his own path and determine what works best. For me, Hear is the right way to go for this album. I'm glad to be working with a team of open minded people who seem to be interested in what the music is about and what it sounds like."
"John Mellencamp is true original, a writer and performing artist of passion, talent and spirit who in the course of his exceptional career has maintained a unique and distinctive voice in his songwriting," said Glen Barros, president & CEO of Concord Music Group who oversees the Hear Music label. "The songs on this record are perhaps his most intimate, honest and poignant of his career. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work on `Life, Love, Death and Freedom.'"

Mellencamp toured the U.S. and Canada towards the end of last year and had been performing at least half of the songs heard on "Life, Death, Love and Freedom" for concert audiences who have been extremely receptive to the new material. Earlier, he previewed several of the songs in New York at the annual Farm Aid benefit concert and at a benefit for New York Housing Works. He was a surprise guest performer at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival earlier this fall and joined T Bone Burnett on stage to preview some of the album's songs. In connection with the album's release, Mellencamp is embarking on a month-long tour that kicks off in Philadelphia on July 8.

John Hiatt "Same old man"


New West Records released John Hiatt's new full length album "Same Old Man", his first album since 2005's critically acclaimed "Master of Disaster".
"Same Old Man" was recorded at Highway 61 Recordings and produced by John Hiatt. Appearing on the album are Kenneth Blevins on drums, Patrick O Hearn on bass and Luther Dickinson on guitar, mandolin and national resonator. John's daughter, Lilly Hiatt, sings harmony on the songs Love You Again and What Love Can Do.
John Hiatt's career has spanned more than 30 years and his songs have been covered by everyone from Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and BB King to Iggy Pop, Three Dog Night and The Neville Brothers.

Robert Lamm's new album, "The Bossa project"


Robert Lamm just released his new record "The Bossa Project", a collection of cool, refreshing and relaxing tunes in the jazz/bossa nova style:
"After the success of "Subtlety & Passion", I was thinking about what to do next. There were a couple of tracks on that CD, where producer/guitarist Hank Linderman had played acoustic guitar in the manner of Joao Gilbertro.
Mark Fried, head of Spirit Music group, a publishing firm, heard these tracks and thought he'd like to hear what a complete project of Bossa Nova flavored music would sound like. He approached NYC producer John Van Eps, who called me and asked if I was interested ... and I was! Very!
I was living in New York City, when not touring with my group, Chicago, and by late 2005, John and I began writing and choosing jazz standard songs I have always loved. Mark also was very creative in submitting some songs ideas.
We couldn't decide if this was going to be Bossa Electronic, or Organic/Acoustic, both approaches were sounding good in the early going. We decided to show both sides with John's great 're-mixing' skills, on 3 tracks: Girl Talk, Samba in Your Life, and Nice 'n' Easy.
This project was a labor of love, truly, I could have kept recording for another year, but we were out of time and financing.
I really loved exploring the lower ranges of my vocals, and lower volume and velocity of the Bossa Nova style. I have always had the greatest respect for the Brasilian artists who emerged in the 60's and 70's. This album is my bow of acknowledgment."
Robert Lamm

Buy the CD

"Sabor", Arnold McCuller's new album!


Arnold McCuller talks about the new release: "Sabor is my first project of all original material, every word and melody. It was produced and arranged by my friend, Jon Gilutin. Jon is one of the finest musical directors and keyboard players in L.A. as his playing throughout Sabor will show. John, by the way, is also a brilliant composer. Remember New Attitude? That's the guy! Jon also co-wrote Me Perdonaste and Guru N U with me.

Two of my favourite songs were co-written with Matt Cusson., the baddest most soulful newcomer on the scene, still being discovered worldwide by the fans of Brian McKnight and Christina Aguilera. Matt's responsible for the tender ballad "Love Will Prevail" and our composition "Let's Go Back".

Bill Cantos, my musical director for twenty years, co-wrote "Oil On My Skin". I dedicate this song to Bill's beautiful wife, Mary Falcone, and to long-time relationships everywhere.

The rest of the music was co-written with Andy Abad over a three-year period, when he and I were home from the road. During this time, Andy was touring with Clay Aiken and Marc Anthony; I was out with James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and Lyle Lovett. Nevertheless, we were able to come up with a concept that was true to my dream: A Latin-flavoured collection with enough feeling that I hope will inspire people of all musical tastes.

I chose to name this project Sabor because it means “flavour” or “tasty.” Although these songs don't strictly qualify as Latin Jazz, I love the genre and I wanted to pay homage to this beautiful style of music.

I hope Sabor makes you want to move, be inspired, and, most of all, feel the love of self-expression."