Archive for May, 2010

bridging the blues

from left, mike anderson and jill coffman of mike and jill; lindsay olive and greg "g. busy" thomerson of the g. busy blues revue, perform this weekend at blues between the bridges. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

from left, mike anderson and jill coffman of mike and jill; lindsay olive and greg "g. busy" thomerson of the g. busy blues revue perform at blues between the bridges on sunday. staff photo by mark cornelison.

With a month to go before the first notes of music were to be played, the newly re-dubbed Blues Between the Bridges festival was living up a little too closely to its name.

With the heavy rains and subsequent floods that hit earlier this month, the festival site at Riptide on the River, located between the KY 2328 bridge (the “Highway Bridge”) and the massive Clays Ferry Bridge, became largely submerged.

“Riptide really had the blues between the bridges down there,” said festival organizer, harmonica player and all around blues enthusiast Greg Thomerson.

At roughly the same time, one of the festival’s headlining acts, New Orleans funk-style guitarist Mem Shannon, became ill with a blood platelet disorder. Thomerson didn’t hear of his condition until after Shannon had been hospitalized for three weeks.

But Riptides has since dried out and Shannon has returned to the road. That means Blues Between the Bridges is on for a 10 hour blues party on Sunday.

“For a while there, I was a bit concerned – the flood being the first thing, along with Mem’s health,” Thomerson said. “I guess that’s why they call it the blues.”

Blues Between the Bridges is a new edition of a modest blues festival Thomerson staged last year at The Red Mile’s Paddock Park over Memorial Day weekend. Though presented with minimal sponsorship, the day-long event brought in an esteemed national headline act, Chicago’s Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials, and a crowd of 1,050.

Thomerson also compiled surveys from the audience to begin adjustments for what he hoped would become an annual event.

“There was a nice portion of the demographics that weren’t even from Lexington. Some of those patrons would have preferred more local talent with the headliner. The local bands they heard last year got lots of positive feedback. But some of the older blues fans said, ‘It was nice to see somebody we’re all familiar with,’ such as Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials. So they wanted more big names.”

For headliners this year, Thomerson began with Big Bill Morganfield. The son of blues legend Muddy Waters, Morganfield never seriously pursued a career in any kind of music until after his father died in 1983. Even then he earned his living primarily as an English teacher. He third and newest album, 2009′s Born Lover, was produced by one-time Waters sideman Bob Margolin.

Fortifying the festival bill was Shannon, a former taxi driver whose grassroots music career was rediscovered by landmark folk producer Joe Boyd (who helped establish such esteemed non-blues British greats as Fairport Convention, Nick Drake and the Incredible String Band). Shannon’s 1995 debut album, A Cab Driver’s Blues, intersperses recordings of conversations Shannon had with his cab patrons within the songs. His newest album is the 2007 concert document Live: A Night at Tipitina’s

Rounding out the mainstage lineup will be Thomerson’s band, The G. Busy Blues Revue, Lexington guitarist Tee Dee Young and Louisville-based Nick Stump, guitarist for The Metropolitan Blues All-Stars, one of the most prominent voices of blues and country blues music in Lexington during the ‘80s and ‘90s.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of different festivals through the Appalachian region,” Stump said. “They started out small and got bigger every year. But it always takes somebody like Greg to put in some energy and throw some money into it to get something started on a local level. If it does well this year, he can have more and bigger acts next time around. It takes sponsorship. It takes money. And money is tight right now. In fact, the money’s not much better now for musicians than it was 15 years ago.

“Festivals are easy for me because I love playing music. But it takes people with a real dedication to the music to put these festivals on. That’s something I can truly say that Greg has.”

Part of that dedication had to deal with a change of venue. With The Red Mile unavailable this weekend, Thomerson relocated to Riptides. Utilizing the venue’s outdoor grounds, he will be adding a second festival stage of exclusively local acts dedicated to the late Lexington blues artist (and Thomerson’s friend and bandmate) Ron Knott.

Playing short sets there on Sunday between the mainstage artists will be Tom Truly and the Knott Brothers Tribute Band, the Paul Childers Blues Band, Big Boss Man, Sofa King Deluxe and Mike and Jill.

“I just want to grow my little festival year after year,” Thomerson said. “The goal is to keep the blues alive here.”

Blues Between the Bridges begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at Riptide on the River, 9079 Old Richmond Rd. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 day of show. Call (859) 263-3286.

Delta Air Lines forms partnership with EarthLink. website delta frequent flyer

Airline Industry Information November 29, 2001 Delta Air Lines, a US carrier, has formed a new partnership with EarthLink, an Internet service provider, that will enable SkyMiles members to earn miles for subscribing to EarthLink`s services.

SkyMiles members can now earn 5,000 Delta frequent flyer miles when they sign up for EarthLink`s USD21.95-per month dial-up Internet access by calling 1-888-EARTHLINK, entering extension 65256 and mentioning promotional code 10971. go to website delta frequent flyer

Commencing January 2002, Delta SkyMiles members also will be able to receive 5,000 miles when they sign up for a new EarthLink High Speed Internet access account. Certain rules and conditions apply.

((Comments on this story may be sent to aii.feedback@m2.com))

summer album of the week: 05/29/10

Welcome to our second Summer Album of the Week series. As we did last year, we will post a blurb on an essential recording that was first issued during the summer months every Saturday through Labor Day weekend. It’s just our way of honoring, introducing or simply reminiscing about some of the more exquisite sounds of the season. Hopefully, we will trigger a bit of summer fun in the process. Some entries will be familiar, others offbeat. We begin, however, with a classic:

the beach boys: pet sounds (released may 1967)

the beach boys: pet sounds (released may 1967)

Brian Wilson has often remarked that Pet Sounds was his aural reaction to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But Pet Sounds is far from mere competitive art. It beautifully broke ranks with Wilson’s fun-in-the-sun hits for an opera of melancholy, loneliness, abundant teenage restlessness and outright sadness. The music was as regal as could be – a glorious mono presentation of calliope-like keyboards and choral-like vocals drenched in warped doo-wop. Yet smiles abound in the music, even when Wilson is at his most poetically despondent, as on the album’s two masterworks: I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times and Caroline No. Pet Sounds isn’t merely The Beach Boys’ finest hour. It stands as one of the most distinctly emotive pop creations of any age.

COMPASS BANK ROBBED 2ND TIME.

States News Service March 11, 2011 EL PASO, TX — The following information was released by the El Paso Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: this web site compass bank online

At approximately 11:30 a.m., a man walked into the Compass Bank located at 7744 North Loop, El Paso, Texas, approached a teller with a note, and demanded money. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect did not display a weapon and fled the bank on foot headed west on North Loop.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic Male, approximately 25-30 years old, 5’6-5’7″ tall, heavy build, approximately 250 pounds with a black goatee, wearing a dark colored shirt with white stripes, blue jeans and a dark baseball cap. This Compass Bank was robbed by a different subject on January 28, 2011 and that case is still under investigation. in our site compass bank online

This case is being worked by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, which includes the El Paso Police Department and El Paso Sheriff’s Department. If anyone was in the vicinity of this bank and/or has information about the robbery, please contact the FBI at 915-832-5000

in performance: neil young/bert jansch

neil young last night at the louisville palace. photo by mark cornelison.

neil young last night at the louisville palace. photo by mark cornelison.

“I said solo… they said acoustic.”

That’s the slogan that has already become a revealing catch phrase for Neil Young’s Twisted Road Tour, which stopped at the Louisville Palace last night. True to his word, the 95 minute performance featured Young sans band. But anyone thinking this was an unplugged return to the songsmith’s folkie roots was as mistaken as those who believed the show was going to be a by-the-numbers hits recitation.

Initially, “solo acoustic” was the order of the evening. Young opened the show by tracing back through the ‘70s for fine back-to-back readings of My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue), Tell Me Why and Helpless. But he didn’t stayed glued to the past for long. A trio of new and unreleased tunes, highlighted by the topically autobiographical Love and War and a boatload of bass pedal effects, followed. Then Young flipped the switch again by taking his weatherbeaten Les Paul guitar known as Ol’ Black out for Hitch Hiker (an unreleased gem of drug-hazed redemption that is an outgrowth of the Trans-era relic Like an Inca) and a revision of Down by the River that shifted from choruses of swampy ambience to verses riddled with electric shotgun blasts.

Young never touched an acoustic guitar again for the rest of the evening. He offered one song each on upright piano (the new, childlike Leia), pump organ (a hymn-like After the Gold Rush) and grand piano (a reverb soaked I Believe in You).

The rest was all jarring, glorious electricity that reached its zenith with Cortez the Killer, which grew out of whammy bar induced guitar twang and distortion to reclaim its place as one of Young’s darkest, most riveting peace anthems.

The performance ended with another new song (the seventh of the night), the jagged affirmation Walk With Me. Like most of the other new works, it was a fascinating, ear ringing electric playground of a tune. The older works may have been the crowd pleasers. But songs like Walk With Me are far more reflective of an artist facing, and moving, forward.

Show opener Bert Jansch, a cornerstone member of the British folk community for over four decades, was a delight. Still a remarkable guitarist with a deft command of modal style folk, Jansch’s 40 minute set nicely shifted from the elegant atmospherics of Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning to the more wistful Carnival and Katie Cruel.

Echoes of American blues surfaced, as well. But Jansch’s low, whispery singing and clean arpeggiated guitarwork delighted in blurring senses of time and place. This was fanciful, traditionalist folk expertly played by one of its foremost practitioners.

one man montreal

of montreal: dottie alexander, bryan poole, kevin barnes, davey pierce and james huggins. photo by patrick heagney.

of montreal: dottie alexander, bryan poole, kevin barnes, davey pierce and james huggins. photo by patrick heagney.

It is perhaps the antithesis of the everyday rock band design.

Onstage, the Athens, Ga. collective known as Of Montreal revels in a vibrant indie sound rich in retro pop, ‘80s flavored pop-soul and a touch of dance-happy funk with songs that think nothing of shifting rhythmic and/or stylistic course multiple times.

On record, though, Of Montreal is a band of one. Its albums are the self-fulfilled vision of Kevin Barnes. He writes, records and produces (at least, until now) all of the music the rest of the band enacts onstage.

If you happen to be one of those mercenary musicians, as guitarist Bryan Poole has been on and off since Barnes formed Of Montreal in 1996, you learn to live with the separation that comes from being involved in only half of a band’s creative function. That doesn’t necessarily mean you like the situation. But you accept it.

“It’s Kevin’s thing,” said Poole, who will join Of Montreal’s onstage incarnation Thursday at Buster’s. “It’s his band as far as the creativity end of it goes, which I have to say I’m not exactly all that excited about sometimes. But he has his way of working.

“You really could describe Kevin as somebody like Prince. He can play everything and view everything all on his own. I mean, I will get an email with a song from him at 5:30 in the morning sometimes. I’ll listen to it and it will just be amazing. It will be so fully formed. So I kind of understand where he’s coming from. There’s a kind of magic when you’ve done it all yourself.”

One might think such a recording process would shift once Jon Brion was recruited to produce Of Montreal’s forthcoming False Priest album. Brion’s past production clients include Spoon, Rhett Miller, Fiona Apple, Brad Mehldau, Rufus Wainwright and Robyn Hitchcock. So bringing in the big production brass meant Of Montreal became more of a band project offstage when recording sessions commenced in Los Angeles, right?

Well, no.

“Kevin still recorded the whole thing himself,” Poole said. “He is basically mixing it with Jon Brion. Jon has been going through and helping create more space in the recordings and has been kind of livening up the songs by putting them through some amazing analog gear. That helps hone the songs, too, because Kevin can come up with a million ideas for them.”

Poole added that the basic musical ingredients aren’t all that different on False Priest than on past Of Montreal recordings such as 2008′s Skeletal Lamping. There, Barnes references the sleek vocal swell that was a calling card of the Beach Boys (on Jimmy), Prince’s one-man-band party soul (Gallery Piece) and even a touch of Rolling Stones swagger filtered through post-grunge pop (And I’ve Seen a Bloody Shadow). Yet the very singular assembly of such inspirations can’t help but create a hybrid sound of Barnes’ own design.

“The new record continues on the same arc as Kevin’s past songwriting,” Poole said. “It’s still full of soulful, funky kinds of things. It might lean a little more to R&B-type soul than Prince. But it’s all mixed together. Early influences like The Beach Boys, The Kinks and psychedelic bands like The Pretty Things are still there, especially in the harmonies. I mean, if it weren’t for the Beach Boys, Kevin would never have found the kinds of harmonies we have.”

But what of the next step, the one that calls upon Poole, keyboardist Dottie Alexander, drummer Davey Pierce and multi-instrumentalist James Huggins to help transform Of Montreal into a living, touring pop enterprise? How do four other musicians key into a recorded vision they had little or nothing to do with in order to bring the music to the stage?

“Because Kevin has so many ideas crammed into his recordings, it’s our job to break them down into something we can pull off live,” Poole said. “We used to use a lot of computer backing. But that kind of locked us into this grid of basically playing to a pre-recorded backing track. Since the first of this year, we jettisoned that, which is a big relief for me.

“We feel more like a real band now. I know Kevin just wants us to be a band that can express itself in a lot of different contexts rather than getting locked into the same thing. There are spaces for our expression now, room for the rest of us to put our imprint on the music.”

if you go: Of Montreal and Noot d’Noot performs at 9 p.m. May 27 at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom, 899 Manchester St. Ticket are: $25. Call (859) 368-8871.

critic’s pick 125

the black keys.

the black keys.

“Watch what you say,” sings guitarist Dan Auerbach as the killer new Black Keys album Brothers draws to a close. “The devil is listening. He’s got ears that you wouldn’t believe.”

They would need to be massive indeed take in all the sounds, styles and sentiments summoned on the recording. Caught somewhere between the hazy twilight roots music panorama of Ryan Adams and the reverb-laden psychedelia of My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys stake out turf that is distinctly its own.

That’s quite a transformation if you’re still used to the primal blues and boogie Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney used as an initial calling card for The Black Keys. But the nasty, scrappy sound of the duo’s early Fat Possum albums has evolved considerably in recent years. 2008′s Danger Mouse-produced Attack & Release opened The Black Keys music up to more soul-serving psychedelia. Side projects for Auerbach (the fine solo album Keep It Hid) and Carney (the band Drummer) along with a collaborative hip-hop endeavor titled Blakroc further set the stage for Brothers.

But the new album is both a retreat and an expansion. Danger Mouse returns to produce Tighten Up, a party soul piece that quickly loosens to a jittery, roughcut bounce. Beyond that, Auerbach and Carney take things largely on their own by forging some of the broader, bolder soundscapes from Attack & Release into a leaner duo framework.

Soul references abound in such a matrix. The album opening Everlasting Light has Auerbach singing in a Prince-like falsetto over a jagged, swampy guitar line while a cover of Jerry Butler’s 1968 hit Never Gonna Give You Up swells with keyboard ambience, fuzzed out bass and guitar melodies that come wrapped in vintage soul devotion. The results approximate Adams’ wistful Americana contemplations more than the Butler original.

But The Black Keys also summon some mighty darkness on Brothers. Ten Cent Pistol, a tale where “a jealous heart did retaliate” begins with a rolling drum pattern accentuated by maracas and a guitar lead that sounds like Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac channeled through Wilco.

Blurring these journeys further is The Go Getter, a mutated blues that bounces about in an echo chamber full of twisted keyboard colors, oddly punctuated drum grooves and a humid Southern air to give the tune a genuine spookiness.

Similarly moody is I’m Not the One, which is steeped in Rhodes-style keyboards and wild, choral like effects that heighten an early ‘70s, deep pocket-style soul attitude.

In short, this is a move back to the shadows for The Black Keys. But the sound has shifted. Before, Auerbach and Carney bashed about in the darkness on their own. On Brothers, they have invited in a bigger musical universe before turning out the lights.

in performance: alan jackson/josh turner/chris young

alan jackson last night at rupp arena. photo my matt goins.

alan jackson performing at rupp arena. photo by matt goins.

There exists few more unpredictable beasts on the Rupp Arena performance calendar than the country mega-concert that falls on a Sunday night.

Can such an outing pull from the same devoted rural fanbase that it would on a Friday or Saturday? Would it pack the same level of performance intensity? Would it mute the level of audience reception? Would it be an engaging evening for audience and artist alike?

The answers at last night’s Alan Jackson concert were thus: No. Yes. No. Not really.

The attendance was the key: 6,000 – roughly 1/3 less than what the Georgia country traditionalist usually packs into Rupp. The figure is only marginally better than what Jackson drew less than two years ago when he played Applebee’s Park – on a Wednesday.

Not that any of this impacted Jackson’s onstage persona. By his own admission last night he remains a “laid back” performer. The 90-plus minute set bore a slightly more reserved air than usual, though. After a sluggish start with a completely phoned in Gone Country, a tune that now seems to serve as little more than a band warm-up, Jackson adopted a richer conversational tone for Summertime Blues, Livin’ on Love and, later on, a quietly elegant A Woman’s Love.

How did the audience take to all of this? Hard to say. A country music Sunday at Rupp comes complete with beer sales. And last night, business was booming. Given the somewhat modest size of the crowd and Jackson’s thoroughly un-rowdy demeanor, it was a little dispiriting to discover so many pockets of stealth inebriates in the arena.

That factor played into a lengthy sit-down segment where Jackson broke the performance down into a sort of songwriter session. Bits of nearly a dozen hits were performed along with introductory stories a la a VH1 Storytellers special. Aside from the fact that he only offered a verse or two of such sterling country works as Here in the Real World and Don’t Worry About Me, it was a fine retrospective exhibition.

But the segment was long and numerous audience patrons voiced their restlessness either vocally or by simply leaving (the show, with opening acts Josh Turner and Chris Young, was already hitting the three hour mark). Jackson even had to hush a few eager fans near the stage that continually yelled out for Chattahoochie as if they were in a bar.

So, no, audience and artist weren’t always on the same page for this one. Jackson’s often stoic performance probably would have translated better (or, at least, been received more graciously) in a theatre environment. Regardless, an audience has to go a little easier at the ol’ watering hole to make a show like this work anywhere.

Turner’s 45 minute set sported a crisp sounding band and a neo-traditionalist vocal drive capable of sinking to deep bass depths. Too bad his material was so pedestrian. Aside from the expert spiritual Long Black Train and the efficiently rootsy Firecracker, which echoed the muse of country icon Johnny Horton a bit, Turner’s set boasted one coy come-on tune after another.

Young’s blink-and-you-missed-it set (roughly 20 minutes) boasted a livelier repertoire but also a more standardized, pop-rockish sound. Songs like That Makes Me and Gettin’ You Home were exuberant enough, even if any real country sensibility played second fiddle to generic pop accents.

bert jansch rides again

bert jansch.

bert jansch.

It’s one thing when a 40+ year career wins over the respect and eventual contributions of a succeeding folk generation.

That’s part of the newly re-charmed artistic life of Bert Jansch, the Scottish-born folk guitarist, singer and songwriter whose newer recordings have enlisted such youthful stylists as one-time Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and producer/ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler (for 2000′s Crimson Moon album) as well as folk/pop champions Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart (for 2005′s The Black Swan).

But what currently makes Jansch’s extensive folk history all the more remarkable is the renewed appreciation by one longtime, high-profile fan – Neil Young. For his current Twisted Road Tour, which performs in Louisville on Wednesday, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer enlisted Jansch as his opening act. In a 1992 interview with Rolling Stone, Young proclaimed “Bert Jansch is on the same level as Jimi Hendrix.”

Such an estimation might take fans of the soft-spoken Jansch by surprise. While his level of musical influence may be as profound as the great Hendrix, Jansch comes from a stylistic world all his own. His songs are deceptively reserved, almost to the point of being contemplative. Yet under his subtle, whispery vocals sits guitarwork and story songs that mesh British folk tradition, American folk blues and even a touch of intercontinental jazz inspiration.

“There’s been no plan or anything, on my part,” said Jansch, 66, of his continuing career renaissance by phone from his London home. “I think it’s just because of the nature of the music. Being folk-based, it’s music you have heard through your parents or your parents’ music collection. From there, you find something that intrigues you.

“Even in this country, there are players, Bernard and people like that, that have come to my music not through artists of their own generation, but from musicians from the one before it – through people like Johnny Marr. There’s a progression at work.”

Initially influenced by such celebrated British folk guitarists as Davey Graham, Jansch became a fixture of an active folk club community after relocating to London in the mid ‘60s.

“The folk clubs in the early days were very, very popular,” Jansch said. “And that was great, because there wasn’t much going on with radio. The BBC tended to play… well, not exactly rubbish. But I considered it to be middle-of-the-road, sort-of-nothing music. The only way to hear folk music was at the clubs. You either created your own music or you would go to where there were people with as like a mind as your own.”

It was in the clubs that Jansch was introduced to guitarist John Renbourn. Following Jansch’s groundbreaking self-titled 1965 album (a work openly branded by Young as “epic”), an alliance was struck up with Renbourn that led to several esteemed duo recordings that included 1966′s Bert and John. A year later, the two teamed with vocalist and longtime pal Jacqui McShee and a pair of British jazz aces – bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox – to form the groundbreaking band Pentangle. Mixing folk, blues, jazz references and subtle psychedelia, Pentangle released a string of six extraordinary albums before disbanding in 1972. The original Pentangle reunited for a series of radio shows and concerts in 2007 and 2008.

“When we first got together, myself and John were doing a residency at a club called The Horseshoe,” Jansch recalled. “We used to invite anybody and everybody to come play. Pentangle eventually developed out of that club.

“At first, it was a fairly loose sort of thing. It was pretty strange for us to be playing with a jazz bass player and drummer. But Danny and Terry also used to get a lot of grief at Ronnie Scott’s (the long running London jazz club) where they were working. They said they were getting a hard time for playing with those long haired hippies down the road.”

Pentangle didn’t interrupt Jansch’s solo career, though. In 1971, he released Rosemary Lane, an album that remains one of the singer’s personal favorites. “It just has a nice, easygoing feel,” he said.

Hitting the road for a tour with Young this summer, along with a June 26 set at Eric Clapton’s annual Crossroads Festival, is more than a mere kick to such a lengthy and lauded career. The performances will also possess an undeniable air of survival as Jansch was forced to cancel an entire 2009 tour (which was to have included an August concert at The Dame) after being diagnosed with lung cancer. With the disease now in remission and his health restored, Jansch is ready to perform for any and all generations that have followed his folk music journey.

“We had been working with the idea that Crossroads would be our first gig of the summer,” Jansch said. “Then Neil’s management suddenly called up and asked if I would do support for his tour. It was all a bit of a shock, really.

“Everything last year collapsed because of the illness. Now it all just seems to be escalating. It’s fantastic.”

Neil Young and Bert Jansch perform at 8 p.m. May 26 at the Louisville Palace, 625 4th St. in Louisville. Remaining tickets are $85, $125. Call (800) 745-3000.

heroes and floods

josh turner. photo by george holz.

josh turner. photo by george holz.

All was right with the world when Josh Turner and his band took to the road earlier this month to open concerts in Indiana and Illinois for country megastar Alan Jackson.

After all, the South Carolina born traditionalist’s fifth album, Haywire, has been selling plentifully since its February release while its leadoff single, Why Don’t We Just Dance, became a month-long No. 1 country hit.

While Turner and Jackson performed the Midwest, however, the rains hit back home. By the time Turner returned to Nashville the following Monday, much of the city was submerged. It didn’t help that the singer and his crew has parked their cars prior to the road trip near the Grand Ole Opry in an area ravaged by some of Nashville’s worst flooding in decades.

“We were glued to the Weather Channel and looking online at what the weather was doing during those three days on the road,” Turner said. “Everybody was kind of frantic. There was only one of my guys who had the sense to think, ‘Hey, I need to send somebody to get my car.’ When we rolled in Monday morning, all of our cars were under water. But our families were safe.

“There is a strong sense of community down here, though. Everybody’s rebounding pretty good. People have really stepped up and helped their neighbors rebuild.”

One hopes fairer weather, at home and on the road, will accompany Turner when he opens for Jackson on Sunday at Rupp Arena. But it will take an even nastier deluge to sour the fun of getting to tour with a major country music inspiration.

“Alan Jackson is a hero of mine,” Turner said. “He’s a beacon for songwriters like myself.

“I remember when I was 17, I think this was back in ‘95, I bought one of his books with the sheet music and the chord diagrams from his record Who I Am. That’s one of my favorite records. I just lived with that book for months. It was just simple, three-chords-and-the-truth country music. And I think he has stayed true to that.”

Turner has remained just as true to his own hearty traditionalist brand of country music since the spiritually inclined Long Black Train, which doubled as a vehicle for his smoky, unfrilly singing, became a hit in 2003.

“That song opened a lot of doors for me,” Turner said. “It helped me get my publishing deal. It helped me get my record deal. It was the first song I ever played at the Opry. It was the title track to my first album. It was my first hit.

“After Long Black Train became such a huge song and launched my career, you started noticing a lot of those types of songs coming out. Artist after artist were putting out these faith-based, spiritual type songs. It was flattering, but I don’t really consider myself a trendsetter. I’ve always tried to just carve out my own path and walk my own road, like my heroes did – people like Alan, Randy Travis, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. But that song definitely sparked something in the Nashville community.

“I’ve had so many people asking me the same thing after that song hit. ‘Why the faith-based stuff? Why the spiritual songs?’ And I kept telling them, ‘Why are you all so surprised?’ Even back in the early ‘30s, the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and all these great artists were singing about God. And people considered that country music. Same with Hank Williams. Same with Ernest Tubb, the king of honky tonk and Roy Acuff, the king of country music.

“People want to be energized. They want to be lifted up.”

Alan Jackson, Josh Turner and Chris Young perform at 7 p.m. May 23 at Rupp Arena. Tickets are $39.75, $59.50. Call (859) 233-3535, (800) 745-3000.

critic's pick 124

Reissues come and go. For rock ‘n’ roll acts past the age of 20, it’s an inevitable part of keeping albums in print. Exile on Main St., the zenith of a four year drive of diabolically great Rolling Stones music that began in 1968 with Beggar’s Banquet, doesn’t exactly work that way. A bonafide gem revered far more now than it was upon release in 1972, it remains a boozy, bluesy, brassy epic – a double album of the Stones as true demons of the rock art form.

Now, 38 years and one week after its initial release, Exile lives again. Granted, it has been reissued several times over the decades as the Stones jumped record labels (from Columbia, which issued it with a disgusting tin can sound, to higher quality mixes on Virgin and, now, Universal). This week, it comes to us in multiple new editions, including a box set full of books, DVDs and a price tag of $150.

What we will examine here is the more modest two-disc “deluxe edition” which sells for about $26. The first disc is the remastered Exile, 18 songs of bawdy rock ‘n’ roll with Mick Jagger singing with ragged fervency under layers of wicked soul-drenched horns (as on the party finale to Loving Cup), equally nasty guitar tradeoffs between Keith Richards and Mick Taylor (on the Slim Harpo blues variation Casino Boogie) and the full force support of the Stones’ major ace-in-the-hole, Nicky Hopkins, the late session pianist who arguably never sounded better than he did on Exile.

The second disc is the real tease – 10 unreleased tunes from the Exile sessions with some modest modern cosmetics to make them complete. Of the lot, only the sweaty, horn soaked regret of Plundered My Soul approaches the abandon of the original Exile. But the rest still makes for an immensely engaging listen, from the gospel-esque Following the River (which better approximates the Black and Blue-era Stones) to the street wise funk of Passing the Wine (Sophia Loren) and a more somber take on the Exile closer Soul Survivor sung by Richards that enhances all the more one of the Stones’ all-time great guitar riffs.

Again, these tracks don’t so much augment the original Exile as compliment it. They amount to postcards from another time, a hint of the sloppy greatness that percolated in the loose, dangerous grooves of Exile.

For those yearning for the Stones at their best, you can hardly match the devilish charm of the original Exile. For those now hungry for more after championing this classic for nearly four decades, now you have it. In spades.

Steelheads get letter of credit, shot at new life

Post-Tribune (IN) June 22, 2005 | Andy Grimm, Post-Tribune staff writer THIS ELECTRONIC VERSION MAY DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM PRINTED VERSION Gary City Council members Roy Pratt (left) and Ronier Scott listen to public discussion during their meeting Tuesday at Gary City Hall.(PHOTO – Color) (JEFFREY D. NICHOLLS/POST-TRIBUNE) Harris(PHOTO) White(PHOTO) Prince(PHOTO) Hughes(PHOTO) The Steelheads won’t go belly up yet. City Council members on Tuesday night passed an emergency resolution to guarantee a $100,000 letter of credit for the struggling pro basketball franchise. letterofcreditnow.net letter of credit

Council members suspended rules to pass the measure by a 7-2 vote and meet a final deadline imposed by the Continental Basketball Association.

“It really is time to put up or shut up,” said Roy Pratt, at-large councilman. “You’re either for the Steelheads or you want to see them move out (to the suburbs).” Jewell Harris earlier said he would have to fold the team after losing millions during the past five seasons.

CBA officials on Monday formally dropped the Steelheads from the league roster. But the team can be restored to good standing on a majority vote of the other team owners, commissioner Gary Hunter said.

On Monday afternoon, Hunter said he expected no trouble rallying support for the Steelheads.

“I expect it to be a unanimous vote,” he said. “We very much want the Steelheads.” Financial struggles are not uncommon among teams in the minor-league hoops circuit, which feeds its top players into the NBA and overseas leagues. Hunter said only two teams are profitable, and the Steelheads and two other franchises lost money last season.

After the season ended, Harris laid off his front office staff and tried to lure in other financial backers.

Harris in May turned to Mayor Scott King, his political adversary, asking the city to back the line of credit and boost the $150,000 the city pays to market the team’s 24 home games at the city-owned Genesis Center.

“You might as well board up the Genesis Center,” said City Councilman Robert White, D-2nd. “That’s all it’s good for if the Steelheads leave.” The team missed two league-imposed deadlines as King and Harris negotiated on terms of a line of credit. The Steelheads will have to pay back any money drawn on the line of credit within 30 days.

There was more than a touch of drama during the month-long negotiations. Harris was once one of King’s closest political allies, but the two have feuded since a split in 2004.

King said the city moved as quickly as possible, though the team’s status with the league reached it’s lowest point last week after the mayor’s staff failed to submit the resolution to the city clerk. see here letter of credit

Harris remained cautious Tuesday night, noting that league officials have said reinstatement proceedings couldn’t start until they have the letter of credit in hand.

“This is a major step in getting the letter of credit ,” Harris said. “It is over when the CBA gets the letter of credit in their hand.” City Councilman Jerome Prince, D-5th, and council President Chuck Hughes, D-at large, were the only dissenting votes.

“From a fiscal and logical standpoint, if $100,000 is the difference between success and failure, (Harris) is in trouble all ready,” Prince said.

Andy Grimm, Post-Tribune staff writer

in performance: stick men

stick men: michael bernier, pat mastelotto and tony levin. photo by pierre-emile bertona.

stick men. from left: michael bernier, pat mastelotto and tony levin. photo by pierre-emile bertona.

“Here’s a nice, sweet little ballad,” remarked Tony Levin as the regional debut performance of his Stick Men trio headed into the home stretch last night at the Southgate House in Newport.

Those in the crowd knew better. Sure, a crafty stylist like Levin – best known as a veteran touring protege of Peter Gabriel and mainstay member of King Crimson – can conjure a subtle, even bittersweet melody from the multi-stringed electric utensil known as the Chapman Stick. But with very few exceptions – like when Levin and fellow Stick player Michael Bernier harmonized to almost chamber-style effect by playing their instruments with bows – the performance went for the jugular.

The “ballad” turned out be Relentless, an instrumental that quickly shed its pastoral skin and accelerated with thick, percussive and percolating grooves. With drummer and fellow Crimson-ite Pat Mastelotto piloting the jittery tempos, Relentless was something of a joyride – as was the rest of this inventive two set, two hour-plus performance.

The Stick – which creates its string sounds mostly through tapping as opposed to plucking – isn’t exactly a new instrument, just an unexplored one. But Levin has long been one of its most visible pioneers, drawing on his background as masterful bass instrumentalist to unlock the instrument’s textural depth. For the better part of the evening, Levin manned the bass role again. And hearing him roll out the fat, bottom end bravado of Inside the Red Pyramid and Speedbump was a blast.

In contrast, Bernier handled the lion’s share of the Stick’s guitar-like leads, from the prog-ish turns during Scarlet Wheel to the wild advancements that made a 15-minute distillation of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite sound, alternately, like an acid-tinged rave and a cosmic polka dervish.

Mastelotto was the utility man, plotting heavy organic rhythms under the Stick work but also utilizing a battalion of electronic devices and pads as both ensemble ambience and a playful backing chorus.

All of the trio’s fine new Soup album was performed. But the elders in the crowd were rewarded by a pair of Crimson covers that bookended the concert – the opening Indiscipline, with loads of guitar-like squalls that quickly introduced Bernier’s Stick prowess, and the encore of Red, which happily de-evolved into an exquisite electric firestorm full of cunning, heart and, dare we say it, a very rockish Stick-to-it-ness.

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