Neil Young and Jack White to perform together on ‘The Tonight Show’ next week

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Jack White will perform together on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon next week.

The pair will chat to Fallon and perform a song from Young’s new covers album ‘A Letter Home’ on Monday (May 12). Comedian Louis CK will also appear on the episode.

Earlier this year Young released ‘A Letter Home’ on Jack White’s Third Man Records. It features covers of tracks Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Everly Brothers and more. Young recorded the album in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at the Third Man shop in Nashville, Tennessee.

A statement on Young’s website describes the record as: “an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever”.

The ‘A Letter Home’ tracklisting is as follows:

‘Changes’ (Phil Ochs)
‘Girl From The North Country’ (Bob Dylan)
‘Needle of Death’ (Bert Jansch)
‘Early Morning Rain’ (Gordon Lightfoot)
‘Crazy’ (Willie Nelson)
‘Reason To Believe’ (Tim Hardin)
‘On The Road Again’ (Willie Nelson)
‘If You Could Read My Mind’ (Gordon Lightfoot)
‘Since I Met You Baby’ (Ivory Joe Hunter)
‘My Hometown’ (Bruce Springsteen)
‘I Wonder If I Care As Much’ (Everly Brothers)

An All-Star Grammy Tribute To Joe Strummer

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Joe Strummer

“Joe was into the individual: You’ve got to do what’s right for you,” said Slattery. “You’ve got to follow what’s in your heart and not what’s in someone else’s heart. Tuning in to your own spirit: that’s what people should take from Joe.”

Who doesn’t love a supergroup? That’s a rhetorical question — we all do. For instance, if you had the option of watching a band made up of Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, and Steven Van Zandt take the stage, how could you say no?

You don’t. You can’t.

But wait, it gets so much better. What if this fab foursome came together to honor the late Joe Strummer? At the 2003 Grammy Awards, just months after Strummer’s untimely death in December 2002, they did just that, bound together in solidarity to honor a fellow iconoclastic rock giant with one of the most iconic songs in rock and roll. “London Calling” always had a certain grandiosity to it, but that night it took on a whole new kind of awesome righteousness. There they were, the Four Horsemen of Rock if there ever was one, standing side by side, trading off verses one by one in memory of Strummer and The Clash. It was enough to bring a tear to the eye of every self-respecting punk.

Tributes are nothing new, especially on a stage as big as the Grammys. Still, when they’re done right and with true grit and spirit, it makes for an indelible memory that stays with you even a decade later. For all of the bombast and over-indulgence that can often saddle big award shows, all it takes is a moment like this to make it all worthwhile.

Artists

Various Artists: Released! — The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 [American Songwriter]

M_ReleasedAmestyConcertSetBoxed

American Songwriter

Various Artists Released! — The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998
(CD/DVD)
(Shout!Factory)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Plowing through over 16 hours of music, documentary footage, interviews, home movies, videos and background information in this mammoth 6 DVD set (also available as a slimmed down double CD) of Amnesty International concerts from the titular years, it becomes difficult to separate the box’s substantial historical importance from its artistic qualities. Anything that brings more attention to this long standing human rights organization, that serves in part to release political prisoners, is a worthwhile endeavor. This lavish, sprawling long awaited release with its 14 hours of previously unreleased material will certainly accomplish that.

But on a purely visceral level, how often you’ll actually play the thing, even to cherry pick some of its best moments, is another question. The six discs adequately cover highlights of the 1986, 1988 and 1990 concerts held in various parts of the world, with some later clips to carry us through to 1998 and beyond. Many of the usual suspects such as Jackson Browne, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Tracy Chapman and Bruce Springsteen are here multiple times and their sets range from pretty good to pretty great.

The opening 1986 show from Giant’s Stadium in New Jersey—which accounts for 5 ½ hours of playing time– is symptomatic of some of the problematic issues. The show was originally recorded on videotape and even with current technological enhancements, both video and audio still sound like you’re watching VHS quality reproduction. The performances and some of the bands are not surprisingly dated (the Hooters, anyone?) which will tax even the most patient viewer.

Thankfully the recording quality improves as the years wear on, as do the hairstyles, clothing and camera work. Also, when playing to crowds this large, the performers tend to reach for the back row which, unless you are U2 or Springsteen, often doesn’t do justice to music that loses nuance in this setting. Some tunes are extended way past their breaking point, which might have made for an intense show, but can get tiresome in your living room. The producers obviously strove for diversity when choosing who made the cut, which means New Kids on the Block get sandwiched between Wynton Marsalis and Sinead O’Connor in the 1990 recap. The ’98 show programs world/hip-hoppers Asian Dub Foundation next to the country pop of Shania Twain and Alanis Morissette often heated musings. And while the hours of documentary footage are never less than enlightening, how often are you going to watch them?

Still, there are many inspired moments dotted across the discs such as Radiohead’s riveting 1998 set, Springsteen and Sting paring up for “The River” and almost everything by the always dependable Gabriel. If you are a fan of these acts, are looking to grab a previously missing piece of musical history, or simply want to support the worthy Amnesty International cause, this is something worth exploring more thoroughly. But for the casual listener, these artists have often done better live work elsewhere and sifting through hours of video to find the gems within, just may not be worth the effort.

Documentary: 20 Feet from Stardom (trailer)

20 Feet from Stardom

‎1hr 30min‎‎ – Rated PG-13‎‎ – Documentary‎
Director: Morgan Neville – Cast: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill, Tata Vega

Showtimes
City Cinemas Village East Cinema
181-189 Second Avenue, New York, NY

The untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack are intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few.

Trailer

Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, the Black Keys and John Mayer join the Rolling Stones for final show @ Prudential Ctr New Jersey

So long, we'll see you again soon!

So long, we’ll see you again soon!

With Lady Gaga

With Bruce Springsteen

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With John Mayer

With Mick Taylor (former Rolling Stones band member)

With The Black Keys

The Black Keys perform with The Rolling Stones at the Prudential Center on December 15th, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.

The Black Keys perform with The Rolling Stones at the Prudential Center on December 15th, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey.

The Rolling Stones @ Prudential Center, Newark, NJ dec 15, 2012

The Rolling Stones performing at the 12-12-12 Sandy relief concert at the MSG

The Rolling Stones performing at the 12-12-12 Sandy relief concert at the MSG

The Rolling Stones’ Last U.S. Concert @ Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

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Associated Press – Musician Bruce Springsteen, center left, performs with, from left, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012.

Sunday December 16, 2012

You could say Bruce Springsteen, guest-starring at Saturday’s Rolling Stones show in Newark, returned good for ill.

One of a battalion of “surprise” visitors that kicked the Stones’ second Prudential Center show into high gear, Springsteen came on late in the evening and proceeded to turn “Tumbling Dice” into what amounted to a Jersey shore anthem. “You got to ro-ho-ho-ho-holl me” he sang, in his best Asbury rasp.

All this after Mick Jagger, earlier in the night, had the cheek to crack Jersey jokes. “Anybody here from New Jersey?” he asked the boisterous crowd, being filmed for a pay-per-view special. “The Garden State! I like an ironic [license] plate.”

He was easily forgiven – especially after he turned the last of three metro-area shows into a rollicking all-star jamboree. In addition to the previously-announced “surprise” guests – Springsteen, Lady Gaga, The Black Keys – there were surprise “surprise” guests. John Mayer, who had appeared Thursday with the Stones, made an unexpected reappearance Saturday, along with guitar ace Gary Clark Jr., who played with The Stones in Brooklyn last week. The two of them, trading solos with Ron Wood and Keith Richards, turned “I’m Going Down” into a spectacular four-way guitar-off.

Lady Gaga didn’t emerge from a chrysalis on this occasion, but she did reveal – who knew? — a formidable blues voice as she wailed “Gimme Shelter” with Mick. Of course, she was still Gaga – complete with skin-tight outfit and outrageous platform shoes.

The Black Keys jammed with the Stones on the old Bo Diddley classic, “Who Do You Love?” It was one of several additions to a set list that mostly adhered to previous ones at Prudential and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Another welcome addition was “Dead Flowers” – the winner of an “audience request” lottery.

Two things the Stones didn’t do, on an otherwise memorable night: they didn’t bring their guests back onstage for an all-star finale, and they didn’t make any earth-shaking announcement about their future plans. Some have been suggesting that this golden anniversary “50 and Counting. . .” tour could be their endgame. For now, it’s wait and see. “This is the last show of the anniversary tour, and it’s been fun,” Jagger said. “We hope to see you again soon.”

Rolling Stones Set List – Prudential Center:

1. “Get off of My Cloud”

2. “The Last Time”

3. “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)”

4. “Paint It Black”

5. “Gimme Shelter”

6. “Wild Horses”

7. “I’m Going Down”

8. “Dead Flowers”

9. “Who Do You Love?”

10. “Doom and Gloom”

11. “One More Shot”

12. “Miss You”

13. “Honky Tonk Women”

14. “Before They Make Me Run”

15. “Happy”

16. “Midnight Rambler”

17. “Start Me Up”

18. “Tumbling Dice”

19. “Brown Sugar”

20. “Sympathy for the Devil”

21. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

22. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

23. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

Jim Beckerman – AP Staff

Bruce Springsteen, “Brilliant Disguise”

September 10th, 2012

American Songwriter

Coming off the mega-success of Born In The USA, Bruce Springsteen could have easily churned out another ten rock and roll anthems and continued down that lucrative road endlessly. Instead, he turned inward with an album that delved into the deepest crevices of one of the most mysterious and terrifying places on earth: The human heart.

That album, Tunnel Of Love, is now adored by The Boss’ faithful for its uncompromising and unflinching look at relationship trauma, the same traits that might have turned off some of the casual fans back when it was released in ’87. Bruce chose “Brilliant Disguise” as the song to introduce this dark classic to the world, and the song still stands as one of his most compelling some 25 years after it was first released.

“Brilliant Disguise” reached #5 on the pop charts, helped along by a soaring arrangement featuring E Streeters Max Weinberg, Danny Federici, and Roy Bittan, that’s reminiscent of classic Roy Orbison. The sugary sound surely helped the medicine go down, because it’s rare for lyrics so bleak to invade Billboard’s rankings.

As Springsteen said when performing the song on VH1’s Storytellers in 2005, “I guess it sounds like a song of betrayal — who’s that person sleeping next to me, who am I? Do I know enough about myself to be honest with that person?” Indeed, the song’s narrator incriminates himself as much as he does his wayward significant other.

Bruce quickly shatters expectations by introducing the romantic scene of the couple dancing and then undercutting it: “What are those words whispered/Just as you turn away.” With the tone of paranoia set, it’s no surprise that this guy can’t escape his suspicions, not even in his home, not even in his bedroom.

At least he is self-aware enough to understand that his issues have more to do than with just his choice of lover: “I want to know if it’s you I don’t trust/’Cause I damn sure don’t trust myself.” Nonetheless, he gets drawn into the deceptive give-and-take. In the final refrain, he tells her, “So when you look at me/You better look hard and look twice/Is that me baby or just a brilliant disguise?”

If that wasn’t dire enough, Springsteen throws in an epilogue in which the narrator surveys the crumbling kingdom of his love and musters enough useless wisdom to give advice to anyone listening: “God have mercy on the man/Who doubts what he’s sure of.” It’s one of the best closing lines in rock.

In hindsight, many people read Springsteen’s own marital problems (he divorced actress Julianne Phillips a year after the album’s release) into this song and some of the others on Tunnel Of Love, but that somehow diminishes his accomplishment. “Brilliant Disguise” is relevant to anyone who has ever experienced the lonely feeling that occurs when you realize the person you love most is the person you trust least.

“Brilliant Disguise”

I hold you in my arms
as the band plays
What are those words whispered baby
just as you turn away
I saw you last night
out on the edge of town
I wanna read your mind
To know just what I’ve got in this new thing I’ve found
So tell me what I see
when I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
or just a brilliant disguise

I heard somebody call your name
from underneath our willow
I saw something tucked in shame
underneath your pillow
Well I’ve tried so hard baby
but I just can’t see
What a woman like you
is doing with me
So tell me who I see
when I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
or just a brilliant disguise

Now look at me baby
struggling to do everything right
And then it all falls apart
when out go the lights
I’m just a lonely pilgrim
I walk this world in wealth
I want to know if it’s you I don’t trust
’cause I damn sure don’t trust myself

Now you play the loving woman
I’ll play the faithful man
But just don’t look too close
into the palm of my hand
We stood at the alter
the gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours
Well maybe baby the gypsy lied
So when you look at me
you better look hard and look twice
Is that me baby
or just a brilliant disguise

Tonight our bed is cold
I’m lost in the darkness of our love
God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he’s sure of

– Written by Bruce Springsteen