Archive for October, 2011

in performance: james mcmurtry


james mcmurtry.

“You’re not all hardshell Baptists, I know,” remarked James McMurtry last night at Cosmic Charlie’s. Maybe that was the standard response one gives a hearty audience turnout at a Sunday night show, especially when assorted libations are being dispensed in the same room. But McMurtry was very much attuned to his own spiritual connections during the 15 song, 100 minute performance. Backed by his long running Heartless Bastards band (not to be confused with the indie rock outfit of the same name), McMurtry slapped together two appealing electric segments of songs that luxuriated in the darker corners of rural life and, occasionally, in sunnier terrain where the tales managed to find celebration in the midst of oppression.

The first half of the show was all swampy, jagged fun with McMurtry and band operating as a trio. Bayou Tortous (“just another night with the missus and me, sitting on the couch watching Court TV”) kicked everything off. But it was when the trio dug into the title tune from McMurtry’s outstanding 2008 album Just Us Kids, a tale of small town restlessness and the increasing inability to run from it as age sets in (“Just us kids hanging out today, watching our long hair turning gray”), and the boogie fortified Choctaw Bingo, that the show was placed in wonderfully spirited motion. “This is not high art,” McMurtry remarked when introducing the latter.

Following a solo acoustic reading of Ruby and Carlos – a fatalistic urban romance that came across as a mash-up of two early John Prine classics (Donald and Lydia and Sam Stone), the Bastards grew to a quartet, mounted a more varied and expansive guitar attack and soared into overdrive. Childish Things kicked the latter segment off. But the political barnburner We Can’t Make It Here (an eight year old tune that remains eerily topical), the Buddy Holly-meets-Little Feat flavored Fraulein O. and Neil Young-ish versions of Levelland and Too Long in the Wasteland took the show to a boil.

Another solo number, the restless and unsettling travelogue Lights of Cheyenne, was served as an encore and brought McMurtry’s Sunday night service to a brittle but immensely satisfying conclusion.

critic’s pick 198

As we peruse the fine new country-roots excavation The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, one question comes to mind – how does all of this music by classic American songsmiths go missing in the first place?

Over the years, we have witnessed all kinds of instances where lost fragments of songs – usually lyrics without written musical accompaniment – have surfaced by numerous iconic artists. Woody Guthrie springs to mind along with the volumes of unpublished lyrics that turned into the two Mermaid Avenue albums by Billy Bragg and Wilco.

That certainly doesn’t trivialize The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, a recording built around exactly what its title implies – a cardboard box containing four notebooks of hand-written lyrics by the country legend, along with notes scribbled on hotel stationary and the like, that date back over 60 years. After being passed around between various publishing companies, the lyrics have now been given music and life by the performers on The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams – Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Jack White, Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Merle Haggard and Kentucky’s own Patty Loveless, among others.

It’s tough not to head straight for the Dylan track, The Love That Faded, which is played as a dizzy waltz. Add to that the front porch country stomp White provides You Know That I Know and you have two technically imperfect voices exquisitely enhancing the fragile emotional terrain of Williams’ lyrics.

In fact, The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams openly embraces some of the most pronounced emotive designs of the late songsmith’s music – namely, the prevalence of serious heartbreak. We’re not talking the candy coated self-pity that passes for county today, but the kind of misery that leads to life-and-death regret and hopeful repentance.

Such strife is put on brilliant display with poetic simplicity during I Hope You Shed a Million Tears, an absolutely lethal duet that swings between sung verses by Gill and spoken passages by Crowell. “I loved you like there’s no tomorrow,” states Crowell dryly in one of the tune’s more sobering turns, “and found out that there’s not.”

The delights hardly stop there. Helm offers a regal Cajun country waltz (You’ll Never Again Be Mine), Jakob Dylan serves up a light acoustic reverie that recalls his dad’s Blood on the Tracks days (Oh, Mama, Come Home) and Haggard forges out a solemn country spiritual (The Sermon on the Mount).

The Williams family is represented by an oil-and-vinegar pairing between granddaughter Holly Williams and her dad, Hank Williams Jr. (Blue is My Heart). Far more effective, though, is Loveless’ powerfully confident performance of You’re Through Fooling Me. The latter is the kind of stuff that lets you know Williams’ lost dog lyrics have finally found a worthy home.

in performance: imelda may


imelda may

“Johnny got a boom-boom?” asked Irish songstress Imelda May as her riotous roots music parade headed down the home stretch last night at the Singletary Center for the Arts. The question could have passed for a query from a mother to a young, curious child were it not for the fact it doubled as the title to one of May’s more boisterous hits. But luckily, what Johnny wanted, Imelda delivered with a big beat balance of swing, rockabilly, jazz, blues and even a little folkish fun.

Opening with Pulling the Rug, one of many tunes propelled by the turbo-charged double bass of Al Gare, May presented herself as a cool, commanding roots music priestess with a deep vocal roar and an ultra keen sense of how to use it.

For a cover of Howlin Wolf’s Poor Boy, the singing was lacquered with divine blues authority. For the new, unrecorded original Gypsy, May opted for a serene roots country accent laced with a touch of Buddy Holly. And for a highly spirited take on The Beatles’ Oh Darling, she was a commanding belter that molded Paul McCartney’s original rock moan into a belting blues-jazz lead.

As fun as May was, whether she was banging a tambourine like a bongo throughout the show or conjuring the noir-like torch song mood of All for You, her backing musicians (“me luv-lee band,” as the Dublin born singer described them) proved to be just as big of a blast.

Drummer Steve Rushton continually initiated monstrous grooves and backbeats (and even some fun vocal howls during Psycho), guitarist Darrel Higham (May’s husband) offered the sort of twang and jittery solos that would do Gene Vincent proud and bassist Gare shifted from the walking bass invention of Smokers’ Song to the pile-driving groove of the set closing Johnny Got a Boom Boom.

But the ace-in-the-hole was trumpeter Dave Priseman, who opened up an entire avenue of brassy sass fun during Go Tell the Devil (a May original recorded for Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon’s Saints & Scoundrels album) that proved to be one of the band’s most arresting musical accents.

The big prize came with the encores – a light serenade of Blue Moon of Kentucky (performed as a duet by May with Gare on ukulele) and a blast of Elvis Presley classics (My Baby Left Me and That’s Alright Mama) that affirmed this Irish singer’s ability to make American rock and roots go boom.

A trio version of local country-soul faves Coralee and the Townies opened the evening. Its relaxed, torchy set magnified vocalist Coralee’s resilient wail with the pedal steel colors of Fred Sexton and equally complimentary guitar support of Smith Donaldson. All in all, a fine Americana addition to the evening.

meyhem strikes


imelda may

As a teen, Imelda May took a serious listen to the music that had rocked America.

Sifting through her brother’s cassette collection, the Dublin-born singer discovered the rebel roots music of Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly. Never mind their heyday fell decades earlier. The blend of rockabilly and rampaging pop she heard triggered a course that has made her one of Ireland’s most vibrant musical exports.

“That was the music that really turned my head around,” May said last week by phone from Boston, where she began a North American tour that will bring her to the Singletary Center for the Arts on Saturday. “I had never heard anything like that before. It was scary and crazy and brilliant. And as a teenager, it was the perfect music to hear, you know? It was rebellious and electric. I just went crazy for it.

“Scary and crazy and brilliant” – you could safely affix all three tags to May’s own music. Or you could borrow the title of her newest album for an apt description: Mayhem.

The recording is a blast of roots rock vitality that runs from torchy reserve (the elegant Too Sad to Cry) to folk-fortified blues (the country-esque Proud and Humble) to deliriously frightening, twang drenched, backbeat driven rock ‘n’ roll (the superb Psycho).

Through it all, May’s singing is as diverse as the styles of music she engages in. Her vocals shift from hushed, almost demure reflection to scalding rockabilly howls that shove Mayhem straight into the red zone.

“The music kind of melts together in a good way because my influences go from rockabilly to jazz to blues and country, skiffle, ska – all of that,” May said. “It all works for me and the band. We have a great time.”

While her musical inspirations may span the decades, May is no revivalist. She writes nearly all of her material – specifically, 13 of the 15 songs on Mayhem. She also produced the album, which is almost unheard of for a singer still relatively new to many audiences outside of Ireland.

Back home, she became the first female singer to top the album charts since folk-pop songstress Mary Black two decades earlier. Her previous album, Love Tattoo, also managed to go double platinum there. But once May signed to the Universal-distributed Decca label for a more worldwide pop assault, the right to serve as her own producer had to be earned.

“I made Love Tattoo without a record company,” she said. “I couldn’t get a deal from anybody so I went and made it myself. I had no money, really – none at all. But it was a good experience producing it myself, getting it all together and pulling in the band. Then Love Tattoo went on to do really well. I got my record deal after the company heard Love Tattoo, so it became a really a positive experience.

“When it came time to make Mayhem, the record company was looking to call in a big name producer, which is the normal way of doing things. But I knew what I wanted it to sound like and I knew I wanted to push the music a little bit further, so I fought hard to produce it. Once the record company heard what I was doing they became very supportive and backed me up.”

The release of Mayhem last year capped off a very fruitful 2010 for the singer. May started the year by playing the Grammy Awards with guitar legend Jeff Beck. As a merry memorial to the late guitar pioneer Les Paul, the two performed How High the Moon, which was popularized in 1951 by Paul and vocal star Mary Ford.

May went on to contribute several tunes to Beck’s Grammy winning Emotion & Commotion album before participating in a full blown New York tribute to Paul spearheaded by Beck at the Iridium, the jazz club Paul performed at weekly until his death. The concert was released as a CD/DVD recording this year titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Party. A collaborative tour that teamed Beck with May and her band (guitarist/husband Darrel Higham, trumpeter Dave Priseman, double bassist Al Gare and drummer Steve Rushton) followed this spring.

“Jeff has been so supportive. I have a great love for him. He has such a great enthusiasm for music that a jam session with him becomes such a joy. We bounce ideas off each other all the time. And it all came from singing How High the Moon at the Grammys.”

To underscore just how infectious the tune was, May began humming its light, swing-savvy chorus over the phone.

“I sang that song when I was in a jazz band. That’s how I got introduced to Les Paul and Mary Ford. I just love their music. So Jeff and I got chatting. He loves Les Paul’s music so much and was looking to do a tribute. All of a sudden, we’re at the Grammys and the Iridium.”

“Today, I still have that kind of fun with my own band. We are all so passionate about music. I do think that comes across, don’t you?”

Imelda May performs at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Tickets are $22, $27, $32. Call (859) 257-4929 or go to

bert jansch, 1943-2011

bert jansch

How very sad it was last night to hear of the passing of the great Scottish-born folk stylist Bert Jansch. For close to a half century, Jansch defined masterful British and Scottish folk traditions through largely acoustic recordings full of extraordinary guitar technique and a vocal style rich with contemplative mystery. Whether it was though his earliest solo albums from the mid ‘60s, duet works with fellow folk traveler John Renbourn, his sublime music with the landmark folk/jazz/blues troupe Pentangle or recent collaborations with new generation folk stars like Devendra Banhart that signaled a significant career renaissance, Jansch’s artistic influence was incalculable.

Jansch had been battling lung cancer for several years. He was 67.

Among his more longstanding and devout fans: Neil Young, who invited Jansch to serve as opening act for his 2010 and 2011 tours. You can read my recent interview with Jansch here and a review of his 2010 Louisville concert with Young here.

Elaine Ramage Warton go to website ft myers fl

The News Sun – Waukegan (IL) December 20, 2003 Elaine Ramage Warton, age 95. Longtime resident of Waukegan, IL, and Ft. Myers, FL. Died December 18, 2003 at Victory Lakes Continuing Care Center, Lindenhurst, IL. She was predeceased by her husband, Marion V. Warton in 1985; one sister and four brothers. Immediate survivors are her daughter, Heather Ann King, Edina, MN; two granddaughters, Holly Elizabeth Randall, Bloomington, MN, and Dr. Melissa Leigh Randall, Sherman Oaks, CA; and two great grandchildren, Joey and Sarah Elaine of Bloomington, MN.

Before her retirement, Mrs. Warton enjoyed a three-decade career as Lake County School Nurse and later as Assistant County Superintendent of Schools in the office of Dr. W. C. Petty. Her volunteer activities included serving as both Deacon and Elder at the First Presbyterian Church, Waukegan, and as a Board member of Victory memorial Hospital. She was a past member of Zonta and other professional organizations and into her 80’s, she helped teach a women’s Bible class at First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Myers, FL. site ft myers fl

A native of Langdon, ND, Mrs. Warton attended Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, and received a bachelor of arts degree from Lake Forest College. She was a registered nurse with a graduate degree in public health.

A memorial service honoring and celebrating her long and productive life will be held this spring at The First Presbyterian Church, Waukegan. Private interment services will be held in Minneapolis, MN. Notes of condolence may be sent to Heather King, 5901 View Lane, Edina, MN 55436. Arrangements under the care of PETERSON-PATCH FUNERAL HOME, 408 N. Sheridan Rd., Waukegan.

critic’s picks 197

Sunday will mark what would have been the 71st birthday of John Lennon. While the re-release of the Beatle’s solo catalogue was spotlighted last year at this time, the 2011 festivities center around something far less marketable – specifically, how the music of Lennon and the Beatles permeate, in very different ways, new recordings by two of today’s most industrious jazz guitarists: Bill Frisell and John Scofield.

Frisell’s All We Are Saying… brings full circle an examination of Lennon’s music that began in 2005 as a commissioned trio project for the Cite de la Musique in Paris and again in 2010 with a series of quintet arrangements that now make up the beautifully impressionistic All We Are Saying… album.

As usual, Frisell delights in bending, elongating and reconstructing pop melodies within the material he interprets. In some instances, the playful rock pedigree of the material is modestly embraced, as on an efficiently propulsive version of the early Beatles hit Please Please Me. Mostly though, Frisell favors looser, more ambient arrangements of Lennon tunes that already possess a vivid atmospheric charm.

On Number 9 Dream, the wistful melody is delivered by Frisell and violinist Jenny Scheinman in a series of slow waves. Similarly, Frisell lets the gorgeously echoing accents of pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz dominate a luscious reading of Beautiful Boy.

Only on the dark, chiming Mother – possibly Lennon’s most corrosive post-Beatles hit outside of Cold Turkey – does the music turn foreboding. But even here, the inherent warmth of Frisell’s playing shines through, making All We Are Saying… a complete and highly original interpretation of Lennon’s work.

Calling Scofield’s A Moment’s Peace a Beatles tribute of any kind is simply false. He also covers Gershwin, Carla Bley, Billy Eckstine and five of his own fine compositions on an album that strives for (and arrives at) a state of soul-saturated cool.

But the Fab Four’s imprint is immediate on a cover of The White Album’s I Will, which is recast in a slow, percolating setting. Curiously, the mood is more reminiscent of Booker T and the MGs than The Beatles, thanks to the sleek interplay between Scofield’s gloriously unhurried guitar lead and the churchy organ orchestration of Larry Goldings.

Scofield has taken to reinventing himself with nearly every album over the past few decades. A Moment’s Peace, though is something really new. Even 1997’s Quiet, the closest he has ever come to such consistent cool before now, was more a show for his acoustic playing. From the summery sway of the very Frisell-like Simply Put to the lovely, churchy finale of I Loves You Porgy, Scofield lets A Moment’s Peace deliver exactly that.

in performance: peter frampton

peter frampton performing last night at the EKU center for the arts. herald-leader staff photo by mark cornelison.

Putting your past on display the way Peter Frampton did last night at the EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond can be viewed as a pretty gutsy move.

For instance, the first set of the 2 hour 40 minute performance was devoted to most (but, despite advertisements, not all) of his classic 1976 concert album Frampton Comes Alive! Throughout the set, images of a younger Frampton served as a video backdrop for today’s Frampton. There was less hair on the latter and perhaps slightly less swagger. But the most striking and immediate similarity that spanned the ages was exuberance. The entire show was built around vibrant pop melodies and a guitar sound that was inexhaustibly inventive.

Not that there weren’t a few bumps along the way. Frampton was visibly irked at audience members near the front of the stage during the wistful Lines on My Face, the Frampton Comes Alive! tune that best bridges the ages.

“There’s just a few people in the front row that are being rude,” he said at the song’s conclusion. “I don’t know why you want to laugh in the middle of Lines on My Face.”

Whatever happened seemed to briefly derail Frampton’s otherwise cheerful drive. But by the time he and his four piece band (which included Frampton Comes Alive!-era bassist Stanley Sheldon) tore into (I’ll Give You) Money, Frampton was alive again, engaging in a ferocious instrumental jam with co-guitarist Adam Lester.

It was, despite the audience interference, a fine set. But complete it was not. The show was advertised as featuring a full performance of the songs featured on Frampton Comes Alive! to commerorate the album’s 35th anniversary. But by the set’s end, four tunes – It’s a Plain Shame, I Wanna Go to the Sun, Shine On and Frampton’s version of The Rolling Stones’ Jumping Jack Flash – went unplayed.

Those that even noticed (and there didn’t seem to be any) could have hardly considered themselves shortchanged when Frampton returned for a second set devoted initially to music from his Grammy winning 2006 instrumental album Fingerprints and his more autobiographical 2010 recording Thank You Mr. Churchill.

In many ways, the second set possessed a greater sense of urgency and freshness than the more familiar and unavoidably nostalgic Frampton Comes Alive! music. The immensely electric Asleep at the Wheel and the corporate greed-themed Restraint (both from Churchill) were rockers framed by heavy, chiming guitar work and crisp lyrical vitality. The instrumental fare, though, was the real treat. Stylistically, it shifted from the loose Pink Floyd-ian slips of Float to the more upfront, cranky crunch of the Jeff Beck-esque Boot It Up (both from Fingerprints).

But the set also possessed its own unique nostalgic flair when it skyrocketed to a more distant pop past for two songs.

The first was a revisit to Frampton’s Humble Pie years with a rocking, boogie-fortified revision of Four Day Creep. The second, an almost traditional show closer these days for Frampton, was a loving cover of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The latter was full of sublime dynamics with solos of deep, quiet intensity that burst into massive, anthemic might.

The first set may have been advertised as being “alive,” but it was during these closing numbers that the versed, crafty and exuberant Frampton exuded a vitality that was unstoppable.

Dell Responds to the Crapware Column; Opinion: There really are a lot of configuration options when you set up a Dell system, yet there are things you can’t configure.

eWeek June 12, 2007 | Seltzer, Larry I guess you haven’t been to in a while to see how customers now have a huge amount of control on the amount of third-party software that comes with the system.

We have been working diligently to improve the OOBE [out of box experience] for customers. I would challenge you to find another PC manufacturer that matches, or even offers customers the amount of latitude Dell does in software choice at time of purchase. go to web site dell coupon code

For our XPS systems, most SW options, e.g. security, productivity, games and entertainment, and ISPs, are set by default to “No software installation.” These come pretty close to being the “naked Windows PCs” you ask for in your article.

For our Inspiron and Dimension systems, customers can opt out of third party SW at time of purchase for any or all of these as well.

Beyond that, we also now include a Dell Uninstaller Utility on all shipping systems, that makes it easy and efficient to uninstall third party programs in one easy step, vs. having to go into Add/Remove programs and uninstall each program individually.

If you’d like to discuss this more in depth, we’d be happy to set up a briefing with a member of our software marketing team. Ultimately we’ve taken these steps because as you noted our customers have asked for them, and we are committed to deliver a great customer experience.

Also, feel free to take a quick tour configuring a couple of systems on and let us know if you have any questions.

It had been about three months since I had configured a system at Dell so I took her up on it, configuring a computer I really am thinking of buying for my daughter.

It’s true that I had a lot of choices about what to put on the system, but they weren’t so flexible about antivirus. There is a variety of Symantec and McAfee software options, but the only $0 option is “No Security Subscription (Norton 30-day) [Included in Price].” So, for example, if I want to run Kaspersky, I have to first uninstall the Norton 30-day trial. (I wonder if the Dell Uninstaller Utility will do this for me…) Dell’s response on this point is that it’s a good thing that they force their users to buy security software, even just a trial version, and that their support calls have gone down a lot since they started this. Perhaps, but beside the point.

There’s also no mention of the Google software, the “Browser Address Error Redirector,” mentioned in the article. Is it in the system? Are there any other programs not mentioned at system configuration time? Does the Dell Uninstaller Utility handle them? go to site dell coupon code

Dell says, “Since all systems come with a browser, we include the Google tools (desktop, toolbar and URL redirector). Feedback so far has indicated that most mainstream users find these tools useful. More sophisticated users find them easy to modify, or even remove. This, I believe is the only other SW component included on the systems that we don’t support with a no install selection.” I guess the picture is complicated. Ms. Camden also says that users can’t opt out of ISP software on Inspiron systems, although they can on the XPS. She’s confirming these points.

Dell says that it will start selling consumer notebook computers at more than 500 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Click here to read more.

In the end, I don’t think I’ll buy the computer now because it’s more money than I want to spend at the moment, although the cost is my fault and Microsoft’s, not Dell’s. The big problem is that I have a domain here, so I can’t use any of the Vista Home SKUs so I end up with Ultimate. Therefore, I end up upgrading the hardware to have a good Ultimate experience, and in the end it’s about $775 for the system (without a monitor, which she already has). Maybe later, I’d be happy to buy the computer from Dell; I own several Dells and I’ve never had a real problem with any of the desktops (now my Dell server, that’s had lots of problems; good thing I bought a long service contract).

I’ll confess ignorance for the most part about other vendors, at least for the last couple of years. In that time I’ve only bought Dells, Thinkpads and kit systems I’ve built myself. The kits are a pleasure to work with once they’re set up, which obviously takes a lot more time than with a pre-packaged system like a Dell. I love Thinkpads, but they are definitely full of annoying utilities; many are necessary, some are redundant with Windows utilities. I think they do a terrible job of explaining what they are.

Incidentally, searches for “Dell Uninstaller Utility” on the Dell site yield no hits. I found no hits on Google either. Dell says that the utility just began shipping in May. I really do think that Dell is moving in the right direction, but it’s a shame that revenue pressures prevent them from offering simple, easy options like “naked Windows.” Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983.

Check out’s Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer’s blog Cheap Hack More from Larry Seltzer Seltzer, Larry

alive again

peter frampton. photo by gregg roth.

In devising a tribute to his landmark concert album Frampton Comes Alive!, Peter Frampton had the idea of a concert program that started with the sweet stuff.

“We decided to give them dessert first,” said the Grammy-winning British singer/guitarist, who performs at the EKU Center for the Arts on Tuesday. “So we open the show with what they are expecting. And then we give them something they are not expecting.”

Frampton’s concert serving of “dessert,” which makes up the first set of his current performance repertoire, is Frampton Comes Alive! – the entire album. As the 1976 recording included some of his most defining and lasting pop and rock hits – specifically Baby I Love Your Way, Show Me The Way and Do You Feel Like I Do – the set immediately spotlights the Frampton music people know best.

“That’s the music the audiences are there for. But they seem to be satisfied enough with that to come back after the interval and say, ‘OK. Let’s see what else you’ve got.’”

The second set of Frampton’s current shows are devoted to everything that happened before and after Frampton Comes Alive! – meaning the fearsome early ‘70s blues-boogie music he created with Humble Pie as well as instrumental works from his Grammy-winning 2006 album Fingerprints, newer original works from 2010’s Thank You Mr. Churchill and a few longtime concert favorites, including his cover of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

“The general consensus from fans seems to be, ‘Yes, we knew you were going to do Comes Alive. We were thrilled we got to see that. But the thing that blew us away was the second set.’ That was the goal. And it seems to be playing out the way I was really hoping it would.”

A point of clarification on the Frampton Comes Alive! set: Fans that committed the album to memory (and many have, right down to the stage banter), will notice a difference in the running order of the songs in Tuesday’s performance. That’s because Frampton won’t be recreating the album sequentially. He instead will perform the exact same setlist of songs that he used for the 1975 concerts that were source material for Frampton Comes Alive! All of the record’s music will be performed, but in a running order that reflects those mid ‘70s shows rather than the original album.

“Remember that on vinyl albums, because of timing, you to split the song order up a bit,” Frampton said. “So now we’re putting them back in the same order that we performed them in 1975.”

Given its lasting popularity over the decades, many fans have come to view Frampton Comes Alive! as a work unto itself, when in fact it is a concert compendium of songs pulled from Frampton’s first four solo albums – 1972’s Wind of Change, 1973’s Frampton’s Camel, 1974’s Something’s Happening and 1975’s Frampton – plus an earlier song from his Humble Pie days (Shine On). Frampton views the years when he launched his post Humble Pie career with those four albums as a period of exuberant and naïve discovery.

“It was a very innocent period, really. I was writing songs without really knowing what I was doing. But happy accidents happened, and that, I think, is how great music comes out. I get a nice smile when I listen to those early records – not all of them, but some of them.

“Some songs don’t have choruses. Some had two bridges. I just wrote the way that I felt. Sometimes, I suppose, too much knowledge can be a hindrance. At that point, everything was just so fresh for me. It was so exciting to write. As far as I was concerned, there were no rules.”

Frampton’s Humble Pie tenure was filled will similar excitement. The veteran British band placed the young guitarist alongside Small Faces alumnus Steve Marriott, a singer with an almost combustible soul-drenched intensity. The band’s popular cover of the Ashford & Simpson R&B classic I Don’t Need No Doctor, with its razor sharp guitar riffs, remains a defining moment of the band’s early recording career. Frampton has regularly featured the song in his set lists over the years.

This fall, Frampton and Jerry Shirley, the only other surviving member of the original Humble Pie lineup, will present a lifetime achievement award from Classic Rock (a major British music magazine) to the family of Marriott, who died in 1991.

“Oh yes, Humble Pie. Very timely, actually, this question,” Frampton said. “It’s been 20 years since Steve has passed. He taught me so much. What an incredible performer he was – and a one of a kind singer. He just exuded confidence onstage, but not so much offstage. But that’s usually how it works, isn’t it?

“Humble Pie set me on a course for the rest of my career. It was definitely the place where I came up and helped define my guitar style. I can’t quite put into words how great it was to be in that band.”

So what is the next step? After revisiting and honoring the past as well surveying the scope of recent albums on his current tour, what will make Frampton come alive down the road?

“I don’t know, and that’s the way I like it. The next thing I write in its entirety that really excites me… that’s when we will be off and running. That will be the new direction. That process has always been the same for me, but the music always changes.”

Peter Frampton performs at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the EKU Center for the Arts, 521 Lancaster Ave, Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. Tickets are $75-$125. Call (855) 358-7469.

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