On Sunday, LeAnn Rimes proved once and for all that she has outgrown the child prodigy country music label that launched her career at age 14(!) with the release of the mega-hit record "Blue," making her the youngest artist ever to win a Grammy (she won two).
Some artists transcend description, best they are not compartmentalized into a specific genre of music. Miss Melanie De Biasio is a Belgian artist that incorporates jazz, classical, nufolk, even electronica into her musically rich vocabulary to create her truly unique and atmospheric sound; not unlike Sigur Ros or Bjork or Joni Mitchell's jazz-informed work in the late '80s. This song was released on her 2014 album No Reply, an album I just got turned on to by my dear friend Michael Naso. This version of the song features strings and was recorded in a cathedral in Brussels. The arrangement is fantastic and it features a wonderful Gregorian contralto co-vocal by Romain Dayez. In fact, as much as I like this string-driven version of the title track, her song "The Flow" from that album is even better. It's got a killer groove. Think '70s era Gil Scott-Heron. And if that wasn't enough to take in, her new effort Lilies drops on October 6th. Check out her new single "Gold Junkies" -- one of the tracks from that album -- here. Take a deep breath and enjoy her wonderful music. I suspect the rest of America will be catching up with this extremely talented artist very soon. peace, Dusty
Lynn Castle Rose Colored Corner Light (Light In The Attic)
Coming across visually as a prototype Nancy Sinatra about to enter The Valley Of The Dolls, Lynn Castle in the 1960s was an entrancing and beguiling entity. Her debut album finally appears a few years shy of her turning eighty, and it is a tremendous affair, an index of splendid and unrealized possibilities, as stark as it is haunting.
Much is being written that Nick Cave's current tour of Skeleton Tree may be his best yet. Seeing Mr. Cave and The Bad Seeds' performance last night at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, I would agree. Playing every song from that album except "Rings of Saturn" plus another eleven classic songs (set list here) from his catalog, it was a show that will be difficult to rival by any touring act this year or quite possibly until Mr. Cave decides to tour again. Quite remarkable given that he's a few months shy of his 60th year on Earth.
I was stoked have scored a ticket for the limited-run (one week) theatrical screening of the new Grateful Dead documentary at IFC Cinema in the West Village. A four-hour love fest for Deadheads young and old, and more importantly for those music fans and the curious who just never got "it" and what it means to be a Deadhead. Expertly handled by director Amir Bar-Lev, there is so much to mine here that I can't imagine how much was left on the cutting room floor. (Props to executive producer Martin Scorsese, too.) Jerry's Frankenstein story frames the movie in a way that initially seems odd but by the end of the film makes perfect sense. After all, like the Monster, the band was "assembled" by the various parts (members, friends, fans, staff) that comprised it. Messy, joyous entropy in action; seemingly random, but actually spiritually connected on a very profound and metaphysically level. This could have easily been a 6 - 8 hour mini-series. Heck, I could have watched another hour just on the various keyboard players that brought their craft to the Dead. Or how the band would curate their set lists from show to show, never repeating a set list while on tour. But these are minor quibbles. This is a must-see film.
Fifty years on and it is time to remember one of the most innovative albums ever impressed onto wax. A delicious dark and jagged confection of nihilism and sulky sophistication unlike it's Liverpudlian counterpart Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, also now fifty, but which was sunny, funny and a bit vaudeville. Both represent a pair of wildly different bookends. The Velvet Underground and Nico was then a monumental, commercial flop, whilst the Beatles album sold in the millions. With half a century under its belt of shiny studded leather, the Velvets album now has an arc of influence that continues to reach into the hearts of those who wish to create a positive noise.
The annual pilgrimage to the Beacon Theatre became a winter event that my friends and I relished each and every March, something to brighten up the dull blues of winter. The Allman Brothers Band were more than just a "jam" band. And while they defined the Southern Rock ethos and kick-started the whole jam band movement, they were more than that. Yes, they were improvisational monsters, but they also wrote and played highly melodic music, music that stands the test of time; and they owned the covers they performed as well. Only The Grateful Dead could rival them as a live act with staying power, albeit cast in a different Americana psychedlic haze.
I've always been a fan of the Mississippi-born Marty Stuart. The dude can play just about any style of Americana and his latest effort -- Way Out West -- expands his musical universe to include some real tasty surf 'n' twang. Produced by Tom Petty and The Heartbreaker's guitarist Mike Campbell, you know the amps are going to be cranked, but crisp, the playing tight, but not too tight, and the tunes catchy as hell -- not a clunker in the lot. Happy to report you can check all those boxes. Add Marty's "fabulous" backing band, His Fabulous Superlatives, who are just that, and you have the recipe for some real fine ear candy. And let's give props to guitarist Kenny Vaughn who has always been one of Nashville's guitarists guitarists, and as usual he gets to shine. On the surfabilly instrumental "Torpedo" you can frug to the two guitars, bass and drums attack. It's like Duane Eddy meets The Ventures. Watch out for that giant wave, ya landlubbers! And the trippy cinematic "Way Out West" song is pure Wall of Voodoo meets Angelo Badalamenti. Hey, Mr. Music Supervisor, this song is perfect for David Lynch's Twin Peaks reboot. Come to think of it, all of the tracks are worthy. Marty and the lads will be touring this fall with Chris Stapelton and their own shows right now -- click here for dates. In the meantime, pick up a vinyl copy. Your turntable will be stoked that you did. peace, Dusty
If you dig Peaches, then you'll love "Take One Thing Off" and the above video. I wasn't familiar with comedian Scout Durwood's work, but she's clearly got chops, can sing, and can take the piss -- as they say in ol' Blighty. Millienials know her from the Snoop Dogg produced Mary + Jane MTV comedy series about two Hollywood gals whacky weed biz, as well as her well-documented standup comedy schtick. So she's got a new album of comedy and music breaking on May 19th on Blue Élan Records. Had I produced this single, I might have added Fred Schneider of The B-52s in a campy cameo vocal and video appeareance. Regardless, this is one seriously infectious tune. Crank it, then "dance this mess around." peace, Dusty
What keeps A Mexican Affair -- cabaret show headlined by Rafa Reyes and backed by a fine Latin group -- going? It is the immense personable charm and contagious self-delight of Rafa himself, coupled with the powerful support he receives from the quintet behind him. This young singer from Mexico, who came to the United States to attend New York’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy, certainly has “that something” and it bespeaks of the kind of presence that compels an audience to stay with him and see what will unfold. That’s no mean feat in the world of solo cabaret performing (or in solo performing of any kind). The seasoned New York cabaret audience knows immediately if the performer in front of them is up to something, something that deserves more than casual attention and polite applause. A Mexican Affair delivers.