Colorado’s historic Red Rocks Amphitheatre has been under fire for its recently announced pilot plans to renovate certain aspects of the outdoor music venue. Specifically, the planter boxes lining the steps within the venue may be paved over with these new plans, causing the two rows of 75-year-old juniper trees to be moved or relocated.Red Rocks Makes Moves Against Scalpers, Implements New Ticket SystemCity Of Denver’s StanceThe City of Denver cites that the venue has been violating safety railing codes for years now and renovating the planting boxers would allow for these safety upgrades to be made. City code states that “Guards shall be located along open-sided walking surfaces, including mezzanines, equipment platforms, aisles, stairs, ramps and landings that are located more than 30 inches measured vertically to the floor or grade below at any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side.”As Brian Kitts, marketing director for the City of Denver Arts and Venues told 303 Magazine, “Bottom line is, we’re not up to code. . . . Right now, the planter boxes are used by patrons for seating/standing during shows. That’s where the violation is.”Kitts also notes that because people sit, stand, and (during the day) exercise in the planter boxes, they are not being used in the way they were designed. Due to beer and other pollutants being spilled in the soil of the boxes, some of the trees in the planters are dying. He continues, “It’s not just about safety, it’s about aesthetics.”Red Rocks Is Hosting Its First-Ever New Year’s Eve Celebration This YearFriends Of Red Rocks’ StanceHowever, Friends of Red Rocks, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and ensuring the dignity of Red Rocks, disagrees with the changes. Since Friends of Red Rocks’ inception in 1999, the organization has successfully protested a number of proposals to renovate Red Rocks that involved removing trees out from the interior of the venue; because Red Rocks is owned by the city of Denver, all construction to the venue must be approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC), requiring that all proposed changes be opened up to a public forum.Friends of Red Rocks is aware of the city’s need to follow building codes. However, they disagree that the safety violations are legitimate in their own right, with Steve Good, a founding member of FoRR, telling 303 Magazine, “[The City of Denver is] claiming that’s a safety concern, and we don’t really buy that, because for 75 years we haven’t had any known accidents of people falling out of the planter boxes, and our view is that by putting up railings you’re increasing distance between body to ground when people will inevitably climb up on those railings.” He continued, “We think that it’s actually increasing hazard to put those railings up.”Ultimately though, FoRR seems most concerned about the juniper trees within the venue, arguing that these original trees should be retained. While the City has said that many of the trees’ health is in decline, the organization brought in an arborist to assess their condition—while none of the trees ranked “excellent”, two were dead, and 11 were in “poor” condition, the arborist noted that some of them could live for another century, with eight junipers in “good” condition and 35 in “fair condition.”Dark Star Orchestra To Debut At Red Rocks With Keller Williams, Honor GD Red Rocks Show 40 Years LaterWhat’s Happening Now?A large public backlash against the planned renovations to Red Rocks has been ongoing, with many speaking out about the removal of juniper trees in the venue. The City of Denver is currently working on a different proposal following the outspoken disapproval by Friends of Red Rocks—Kitts has explained that the new plan will only remove unhealthy trees and replace them with other foliage, while healthy junipers will remain untouched. If the city’s plans are approved, they’ll begin testing railings around the planter boxes by next year.As for Friends of Red Rocks, they are watching these planned proposals carefully. They’re also in the process of creating, as told by Good, preservation guidelines so that when the LPD reviews things, it has a document to go off of.[H/T 303 Magazine; Photo: Andrew Rios]
Mavis Staples gives us a glimpse of the way things could be in a gorgeous new video for the title track from her Jeff Tweedy-produced 2017 album, If All I Was Was Black. Filmed in New Orleans, the video finds the legendary singer watching from a restaurant as a statue of an African-American woman is unveiled where a monument to Confederate leader Jefferson Davis once stood.Mavis Staples – “If All I Was Was Black”Staples’ latest offering comes nearly 10 months after the City of New Orleans removed statues of Davis, Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard (along with a plaque celebrating a post-Civil War white supremacist uprising) following a vote by the City Council. The Zac Manuel-directed piece includes shots of what used to be the bases of those three statues as well as an empty platform that hosted Durham, NC’s memorial for Confederate soldiers until protestors toppled it this past August.If All I Was Was Black may be the most recent politically-charged release from Staples, but it’s far from her first. As a member of her family band The Staples Singers, Mavis achieved international fame with a series of socially-conscious tunes that delivered a hopeful message in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. The group regularly sang at civil rights marches during the 1960s and even performed for Martin Luther King Jr., who was particularly fond of their song “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)”. “That’s the only way I know to get to the people, is through a song,” Staples told Rolling Stone last year. “I’ve lived the life I’ve sang about and I just want to make it better. Music is powerful. Music is power. It can bring us all together as a people, and that’s what I hope to do.”
Federal prosecutors have been trying to get their hands on convicted felon and categorically terrible person Martin Shkreli’s assets since December, a few months after he was convicted of three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Now it looks they’ll be getting one of his more famous holdings: a one-a-kind of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The poster child for the excesses of our new Gilded Age—who rose to infamy after raising the price of a drug used by cancer and AIDS patients by 5,000% in a transparently villainous bid to make a quick buck—purchased Wu-Tang Clan’s comically rare album for $2 million in 2015. The record’s sale itself was something of a social experiment, as only a single copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was ever produced (the album was recorded in secret between 2008 and 2013). Fans of Wu-Tang Clan weren’t the only folks who were upset about the fact that one of hip-hop’s rarest items ended up in the hands of an anthropomorphic ball of slime. Back in 2016, Wu-Tang’s own Ghostface Killah did an interview with TMZ video in which he called Shkreli a “shithead.”Ghostface Killah on Martin Shkreli<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>In any event, Shkreli is currently wasting away in a Brooklyn jail cell awaiting his sentence (which could be as high as 27 years), and a federal judge just ordered him to forfeit $7,360,450 in assets. One Upon a Time in Shaolin will reportedly be among them, and he may also have to fork over other valuables like a Picasso painting and a copy of Lil Wayne’s unreleased album The Carter V. I think we all agree with Indiana Jones that stuff like this “belongs in a museum” or, at the very least, an easy-to-access online music streaming service.[H/T – Consequence of Sound]
Photo: Daniel Ojeda Load remaining images With Dopapod on hiatus and Lotus on a small break, dance-party side project Octave Cat was able to bring their music to Covington, Kentucky’s Octave bar on Thursday. The band seemed thrilled to be the house band for the night, seeing as they hold an almost identical name to the venue. To make it even more special, the unassuming venue was celebrating its one year anniversary, so Octave Cat made sure everyone in the audience could celebrate proper.Eli Winderman, Wurlitzer and Moog operator for Octave Cat, was the shining star of the night. It was his responsibility to provide the melody as Jesse Miller played bass and Charlie Patierno laid down the beats on drums. It was an interesting dynamic, and the latter two musicians always looked to the former to see where the music would take them. Because of this, there were multiple Dopapod teases throughout the night. But that’s not to say that they weren’t playing their own material.Their self-titled album, released one year ago, was featured prominently in the set list. “Limber Up” smoothly segueing into “Spar,” much like on the album, was a highlight of the show, and “Tit Tat” seemed even slinkier live. Their newest single, “Precarious”, which was only released two weeks ago, was also played. The group also laid out a surprising and spot-on instrumental cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium”. The night ended with “Metropolis”, and all was well in Octave.As quickly as Octave Cat began its seven-stint tour, it’s now ending. With only two more nights in Kalamazoo and Chicago, Octave Cat will disappear back into the jam band side-project black hole, at least for now. Hopefully, they can continue to find time to play as a group because they know how to bring a great dance party.Setlist: Octave Cat | Octave | Covington, KY | 3/29/2018Set: Ex Pat, Zero Sum Game, Precarious, Tit Tat, Coins, Fever Subsides, Lithium, Limber Up -> Spar, Darius, 140, Maria, Improv -> Alakazam, Intl Klein, MetropolisPhotos: Octave Cat | Octave | Covington, KY | 3/29/2018 | Credit: Daniel Ojeda Photo: Daniel Ojeda
Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder has announced the forthcoming release of his first solo album since 2012’s Road To Forever. His star-studded album, titled American Rock ‘N’ Roll, is scheduled to arrive on April 5th via BMG. The 11-song album will have a much more of an expansive sound than his last effort, which heard the rock musician playing all of the guitar parts on his own. Felder has recruited the help of a few well-known musicians to play on the album this time around, including Bob Weir, Slash, Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Chad Smith, and Mick Fleetwood.Felder shared the album’s title track to go with his announcement on Thursday. “American Rock N’ Roll” sticks pretty close to the traditional classic rock sound, acting as a tip of the ‘ol cap to some of America’s rock heroes ranging from Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin to Duane Allman and Guns N’ Roses, all of whom are mentioned in the song’s lyrics. The song’s recording process actually featured two different drummers, with Mick Fleetwood coming in first and Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Chad Smith taking over in the latter half. Fans can listen to the audio-only video for “American Rock ‘n’ Roll” below to see if they can hear when Fleetwood’s playing ends and Smith’s begins. Listeners should be warned, though, that an impressive guitar solo courtesy of Slash also comes in just after the song’s halfway mark.Don Felder – “American Rock ‘N’ Roll” – Official Audio[Video: Don Felder]“I wanted to bring in as many people as possible to share the experience with me,” Felder explained in a statement about his desire to work with as many of his musician friends on this album as possible on the new record. “I knew it should be bright, cheery and fun or it wouldn’t be worth doing. It should be a labor of love, not a labor of work.”Related: Sammy Hagar Taps Bob Weir, Dave Grohl, & More For “Acoustic-4-A-Cure” Benefit ConcertFelder kicked off his 2019 concert campaign earlier this month with a show at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California on January 18th. His 2019 winter tour continues next week with a performance in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Fans hoping to catch Don Felder on the road this winter can click here to reference his full tour schedule and ticket information. Fans can also click here to preorder American Rock ‘n’ Roll prior to its April 5th release.[H/T Rolling Stone]
Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival has announced the lineup for their 32nd annual event, set to go down on August 9th-11th at Alta, WY’s Grand Targhee Resort.Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, and The Infamous Stringdusters sit at the top of the impressive bill. Attendees will also be treated to performances from Sam Bush Band, Del McCoury Band, Mark O’Connor Band, David Bromberg Quintet, The Travelin’ McCourys, Tommy Emmanuel & Jerry Douglas, The Lil Smokies, Jeff Austin Band, Town Mountain, and Laney Lou and The Bird Dogs. Multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven will serve as the three-day event’s artist-at-large.Started in 1988, Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival is the grand daddy of bluegrass festivals in the Northern Rockies, combining great bluegrass with the ultimate mountain lifestyle. During the week leading up to the festival, many of the stage performers and artists play host to a very unique camp and music teaching experience by attending the Targhee Music Camp.Tickets for the 32nd annual Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival will on on sale soon, although the exact on-sale time has yet to be announced.Head here for more information on Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival’s 2019 event.
New Orleans five-piece Tank and The Bangas are gearing up to release their sophomore studio album, Green Balloon, due out on Friday, May 3rd via Verve Forecast Records.Brought to fame as the unanimous winners of NPR’s Tiny Desk contest in 2017, Tank and The Bangas have been all aboard a wild ride since the band jumped on the map. Following up the band’s debut LP, 2013’s Think Tank, in April 2018, Tank and The Bangas released “Smoke.Netflix.Chill“, their first release via a major label (Verve Forecast). Led by vocalist and songwriter Tarriona “Tank” Ball, the group continues to evolve in more ways than just music, as Tank continues to grow and develop as a performer and writer.Well-respected producers including Jack Splash, Mark Batson, Zaytoven, Louie Lastic, and Robert Glasper (who also features on three tracks) were all tapped to help create the 17-track LP.Tarriona “Tank” Ball shared her thoughts on the new LP. She explains,‘Green Balloon’ is a sister to ‘Think Tank’. ‘Think Tank’ was 12, and ‘Green Balloon’ is 16 and having sex. She’s out there.Ahead of Green Balloon‘s May 3rd release, Tank and The Bangas have shared a catchy new hip-hop-infused tune, “Nice Things”, which you can listen to below:Tank and The Bangas – “Nice Things”[Video: TankandtheBangas]Head here to pre-order Tank and The Bangas’ Green Balloon LP.For ticketing and a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates in support of their forthcoming record, head to Tank and The Bangas’ website.Green Balloon Tracklist:01. Colors Introduction02. Spaceships03. Dope Girl Magic04. Ants05. Hot Air Balloons (feat. Alex Isley)06. Forgetfulness07. Get Up Interlude (feat. Robert Glasper)08. Too High Prelude09. I Don’t Get High10. Happy Town (feat. Pell)11. Nice Things12. Smoke.Netflix.Chill.13. Floating Interlude14. Mr. Lion15. In London Interlude (feat. Robert Glasper)16. Lazy Daze (feat. Robert Glasper)17. Colors ChangeView Tracklist
On April 27th and 28th, Trondossa Music & Arts Festival will return to Riverfront Park in North Charleston, SC for its second year. The two-day event will feature performances by Umphrey’s McGee, The Wood Brothers, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The Marcus King Band, and more. Of course, the Trondossa artist lineup is anchored by host band Widespread Panic, who will perform four sets over the course of the event.Ahead of this weekend’s Trondossa excitement, Live For Live Music Widespread Panic correspondent Otis Sinclair caught up with frontman John Bell to chat about Col. Bruce Hampton, songwriting, the philosophy of communal improvisation, the band’s early days on the frat party circuit, and the virtue of taking a minute to breathe. You can read the conversation below.Otis Sinclair: (After a dropped call) Sorry about that John, crazy morning.John Bell: It promises to get crazier.Otis: The morning’s still young, right?JB: Yup, at least for me [yawns].Otis: Are you an early riser?JB: I’m a medium riser.Otis: Are you a coffee guy?JB: Little bit. Just to get it started, not enough to 4-putt.Otis: No 4-putts. No 3-putts, even. Have you been playing [golf] this year?JB: Not yet. I was hoping to today, but we got a lot of rain.Otis: Widespread Panic had SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta last weekend. Looking ahead, you have Trondossa Music & Arts Festival in South Carolina. Now, you’ve recently added your traditional spot on New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s second Thursday lineup after the cancellations of both Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac.JB: It was a nice surprise. With the circumstances, wishing everybody a speedy recovery. Mick [Jagger] and Ms. [Stevie] Nicks. All of a sudden, we’re just watching from afar, we had our schedule locked, and we were like “Man, who do you get to replace The Stones?” The answer is, “Nobody!” You don’t think of it that way cause it’s not gonna happen. We just got a call, “If you guys are free, do you want to come play?” It’s as simple as that.Otis: So, Trondossa is next on your list. When will you guys be traveling to South Carolina? Do you have any collaborations in mind?JB: No. We are playing it real loose at this point. Not give ourselves too much to think about. We will pretty much just chit-chat normally and see how our next few weekends are gonna pan out. But it all happens pretty easily without a lot of fanfare.Otis: That’s always how you guys seem to operate—with a business-as-usual, very casual demeanor, but a very intense, very professional performance. None of the coffee house bullshit, just go out there and get it done and play some good old fashion swamp rock and roll.JB: That’s basically the name of the game. You’re going to play the gig. You can’t really make things happen, you can do as much as you can to put yourself in position to have a good show and to communicate well, and stuff like that. But beyond that, you set yourself up for a positive experience and then you also got to lose any rigidity you might have and fall into the music and see where that takes you.Otis: That otherworldly communication. Tapping into that other dimension, it’s very Col. Bruce-like. That connection between the Col. and Widespread Panic is still apparent—Trondossa Music & Arts Festival even takes its name from one of his songs. Going back to the H.O.R.D.E. Tour and before, could you talk about the relationship and history that you guys have with the Colonel?JB: He came into our lives, we knew him just from going to clubs and seeing him play with Tinsley Ellis and various other configurations, The Stained Souls, and Aquarium Rescue Unit. He was also on our first little independent record label, Landslide Records. He had been longtime friends with the [label] president, so we got to know each other that way.We also started doing some gigs together, too. That was the situation, and just by being in each other’s company, all of a sudden, you got a new friend and a new relationship. Again, it happened pretty naturally. Here’s a cat that you have a lot of fun with, you look up to, still look up to him, and he was a good reminder to keep spontaneity and the magic into the experience. Whether you were driving in a van, or if you were playing music. Basically, he was always a reminder to keep your intentions pure and get over yourself.Otis: It seems you embraced a lot of his spirituality and life in another dimension. It’s almost shamanistic the way you improvise your JB-isms or raps or whatever you want to call them. I was wondering if you could touch on how you clear your mind to get into that zone, to focus in on that kind of whacky, anything-can-happen attitude?JB: Sometimes, you just find yourself there. That’s usually when it’s the most genuine. You play in that space while it’s available to you. Then again, if you start naming it or trying to hold on to it or control it, it’ll slip right away from you and you’re back to the mechanics as opposed to the free-flowing. Which is cool, it’s ebb and flow, and not failure of the system. It’s not a given that you’re always in a mode of clarity—communal clarity. You set yourself up to put yourself in that position so you can improvise as eloquently as possible. Like meditation, real slow in and out, if your tension reigns then that’s part of the gig too. And, you know, we got a lot of practice allowing that process to take place. So that helps you reach that place a little more often. But we don’t take it for granted, because it is kind of a special thing, and almost unnameable when you get there. And have fun while you’re there.Otis: There’s plenty of imagery that you create between “hot, hot in the summertime”, the “smell of apple pie”, “the kids running around playing Cowboys & Indians.” It’s very spot-on, and with each one of your additions, it’s almost like a puzzle piece to the full story. Like in “Space Wrangler”, when you say “He passes the jailhouse without tears (‘cus his daddy’s in there).” It’s just a little something that adds to the song that’s unique and helps you appreciate the story behind it and the bigger picture.JB: And the story changes. When you get into an improvisational mode, there are gonna be some similarities. We played these songs before, so some of the same images are gonna reoccur. They are like photographs of your past, those images have come out before and so you might be visiting again, but a lot of times new details come into play. That’s the exciting time when even after twenty years of playing a song, you can close your eyes and the characters come to life and start doing some variations on what they had done in the past. If you’re riding a good wave, musically, then onstage you can kind of capture the development of the story and the characters and report on it. You’re not really writing or making it up, it just kind of happens. Spew some words to describe what you’re seeing in your head. Sometimes, they rhyme. Sometimes, they don’t. Sometimes, you just fall, right on your ass.Otis: Do you have any particular memories, especially of the earlier days, that you would like to talk about?JB: Well, memories don’t always work spontaneously or on command like that. Usually, you kinda putter around through the day and something will trigger a memory or a dream or something that makes you go “Oh, yeah, I remember that!” But what comes to mind a lot is the early, early days. Basically, ’cause your eyes are wide open, and a lot of weird stuff happens. When you’re first starting out, it’s kinda a trip for you and your bandmates. I wouldn’t say “you against the world,” but it’s you in a big ol’ world with surprises around every corner. You get little things like being paid with quarters out of the pool tables at a joint you were playing. A lot of places along the way, a lot of good memories come from folks who used to let our whole crew crash at their place if we were playing in a town a certain weekend. We wouldn’t have been able to do those gigs if it weren’t for those folks extending their hospitalities, ya know, ’cause there was no affording hotel rooms. Dave [Schools]’s mom was a real good one for that. She let us all stay up in the attic on the third floor at her place when we played Richmond, Virginia. We had some friends in Macon who let us crash at their place. And that usually meant doing the gig and then going and partying all night long, and then coming back and playing the next day after eating some local food and healing up a bit.Otis: Sounds almost like the premise of “Diner” right there, waking up on a park bench a little early.JB: That happened a good many times before we got consistent lodging.Otis: From some earlier research, you were in Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity [at University of Georgia] and you played at some fraternity parties. Were those shows at your frat or others?JB: No, it’s interesting ’cause we didn’t play our fraternity ’til later on, way after we graduated out of college. The ones I remember most were in the S.E.C. area. Clemson used to be in the A.C.C. There’d be Clemson, University of Georgia, there were a couple of fraternities that would have us once or twice a year, and that was a big deal cause you’d make a thousand bucks for a gig and that would keep you at Waffle House for a little bit. At club gigs, you get paid by what was coming through the door or some kind of deal that you’d make with the club owner, and sometimes that could just add up to twenty, thirty bucks a piece by the end of the night. So frat gigs sometimes were a little unruly and crazed as the evening wore on, but they did help keep us afloat. Over in Alabama, we had some experiences. It was a lot of work, and sometimes all your gear got really trashed—because of liquor, food, and beer, and people flying around—but it kept us playing.Otis: I was wondering if you cared to talk about the A-Frame House. That is one of the earliest streams on Panicstream.com. Can you talk about the history of the A-Frame House? Did it have any special meaning to you?JB: That was one of the first gigs. Me and Mike [Houser], and later on Dave [Schools] joined us. Just playing at a party and nothing really special, it was just a little different. We had records playing, and, yes, those were the days of records. So a friend of ours, Neal Becton, who I just saw up in D.C. He is a DJ up there. So he say “Come on over, plug in.” We’d play. Those are where you first cut your teeth on performing and getting comfortable in a public setting and seeing how that felt. Very, very, very humble beginnings and a lot of fun, too. I think I remember having to rescue my guitar out of the bonfire a couple of times.Otis: Let’s talk about your slimmed-down touring schedule. You guys went from playing five or six shows a week to three shows a weekend in different cities, which gives you guys some more off-time. With three nights in one city, you have the “same, rowdy crowd” coming back night after night. How do you perceive the difference in the touring these days?JB: It’s a different way to apply yourself. [When] you go in there really fresh and it’s been no more than a month, then you’re still ready to go as far as being familiar with the songs and your hands are all warmed up. I’m not saying we used to pace ourselves, but you just get into a different flow, different rhythm if you are on the road for 8-10 weeks as opposed to leaving home, blowing into a city, and going straight into rock and roll mode for three days and then blow back home for a few weeks. It has its own explosive element of coming out and playing three shows in a city, about 60-70 songs to go filter through and have fun with. Kinda a mini-marathon within those few days.Otis: When I interviewed JoJo [Hermann] recently, he was saying how good it feels playing in the band and how you guys were all gelling right now, how the old songs kept coming back and everything felt really good to play right now. “Bayou Lena” returned in Durham, and “The Waker” came back in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve for the first time since Mikey passed. Can you talk about the decision in bringing that back?JB: It’s not a big decision. You’re not looking for any kind of response or outcome. Very simply, Duane [Trucks] mentioned the song. He started out with this band listening to a lot of our records. So, he picked up on that and said, “Do you guys ever play that?” “Nah, we haven’t since Mikey passed.” And that song was a little personal. It was written by Mikey for his son, Waker. We hadn’t visited that yet, but with Duane’s prompting, we said, “Oh yeah, sure. Let’s do that.” It’s kind of cool to have a song you haven’t played in fifteen, seventeen years, something like that.Otis: Going back to your original collaborations with Mikey, what writing strategies do you employ? Do you like to write in the morning as opposed to the night? Do you always carry a notebook?JB: It’s good to carry something around. Every song has a little voice memo. I used to keep a little handheld, baby recorder. I even used one with the little tapes in them back in the day. In case you had a thought or a melody line or something, you can catch that and go about your day and not worry about trying to remember it. Like having that little notebook in your pocket, if you want to write something down if any inspiration was to come about. Personally, I enjoy waiting for the inspiration and working from that. Sometimes, you push yourself, sit down and try to articulate the ideas brewing and see where the songs go. Kind of push them along. Usually, it’s me, all in the name of discovery, more than actually steering where stuff goes. You start out to write a song but actually the song kinda just takes off on its own. For me, that’s how the songwriting process goes. As far as collaboration goes, you just have to remember to let go a little bit, especially if you got two different people with two different imaginations happening at the same time. You have to let that other person in and let the other ideas in and see how the tune melds together into one scene.Otis: That’s good advice. Are you still writing? “Sundown Betty” is new. You also debuted a new song, “Sacred Moments”, at a talent show in North Carolina. Can you talk about these two songs and how they came together?JB: Same way. You feel like writing a song and you could hear it in your head. So you just put it down in some kind of form, and then play with it a little bit. We have lots of songs in various stages of birth. We have a lot of things that are gestating right now with no real agenda on our part.Otis: Schools has been spending a lot of time producing music, on the other side of the glass in the studio. I’ve been wondering if you’ve been working on other things too or just reading or spending time with the family.That’s basically it. More homebody stuff and relearning how to do that. It’s mid-1980’s, you kind of throw the regular stuff away and just work on the music and the band. All of a sudden, you wake up thirty-five years later, and now I’ve got to relearn how to chill. Or find your life’s purpose. Right now, my life’s purpose is chilling. It’s good to do other things too. No matter what your beliefs are. This is the lifetime I’ve got to work with, and there’s a lot of stuff on the fey line. This is a nice time along with the music, we get to reunite with our friends and take a minute to breathe while you’re sitting on the back porch. It’s pretty cool. It helps you be a little more well-rounded, and you can bring that back into the music, too. That’s the name of the game. We didn’t start playing rock and roll to be slaves to the alarm clock. For sure. It’ll give me a chance to catch up on my mail.Don’t miss John Bell and Widespread Panic at Trondossa Music & Arts Festival on April 27th and April 28th alongside Umphrey’s McGee, The Wood Brothers, The Marcus King Band, and more. For more information, or to grab your tickets today, head here.You can also enter to win a pair of weekend passes in the contest below!
Veteran guitarist Steve Kimock has announced a special Steve Kimock & Friends Northeast run in celebration of the group’s 25th anniversary. The lineup for the upcoming 2019 fall run with feature longtime collaborators from throughout Kimock’s impressive career, including keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, bassist Reed Mathis, Steve’s son and drummer John Kimock, along with unannounced special guests.Steve Kimock & Friends will open up the run at Ridgefield, CT’s Ridgefield Playhouse on Wednesday, September 25th, followed by performances at Beverly, MA’s Cabot Theatre (9/26); New York City’s (Le) Poisson Rouge (9/27); and Ardmore, PA’s Ardmore Music Hall on Saturday, September 28th.The show announcement notes that the band will also share some new music throughout this run, along with a plethora of material from Steve’s extensive catalog.Head to Steve Kimock’s website to grab your tickets now!Below, you can get a taste of what’s to come with a video of Steve Kimock & Friends performing “Five Before Funk” at Sweetwater Music Hall earlier this year. Subscribe to Kimock’s YouTube page for more new video content coming soon.Steve Kimock & Friends w/ Jeff Chimenti, Reed Mathis, John Kimock – “Five Before Funk”[Video: Steve Kimock]
A collection of scholars painted a complex, complicated, and rich picture of the nation’s 16th president during a two-day symposium at Harvard April 24-25.To honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the Houghton Library, the Lincoln Forum, and the Lincoln Group of Boston co-sponsored the event, titled “Abraham Lincoln at 200: New Perspectives on His Life and Legacy.”The bicentennial celebration was complemented by an exhibit at the Houghton Library, on view from Jan. 20 through April 25, with a display of more than 80 articles, including letters, art, and ephemera. The materials are a small part of Harvard College Library’s vast Lincoln holdings, composed of the major Lincoln collections that were donated by Alonzo Rothschild in 1916 and William Whiting Nolan in 1924.John Stauffer, Harvard’s chair of the the History of American Civilization doctoral program, and professor of English and African and African American studies, opened the symposium with an examination of Lincoln’s relationship with famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The distinguished pair’s three meetings at the White House, noted Stauffer, represented “a rich symbol of democracy in a multiracial nation,” adding that while they didn’t share the same politics, they were “working together for a common goal in society.”Stauffer, whose most recent book is “Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln,” noted that Douglass’ rhetoric changed over time. His severe criticism of Lincoln, sparked by his frustrations that the president didn’t move faster on emancipation, his conciliations to slaveholders, and his effort to colonize the slaves, softened after the Emancipation Proclamation, even though the two continued to disagree on many issues.Still, Stauffer argued, Douglass never believed that Lincoln or any single person was responsible for emancipation.“Neither Lincoln nor any other individual had freed the slaves,” Stauffer said. “Slaves freed themselves with help from Union soldiers, Republicans in Congress, Lincoln, and many others.”Where exactly Lincoln stood on the issue of race is a question that continues to engage scholars and historians. Theories range from Lincoln, the true abolitionist and great emancipator, to Lincoln, a white supremacist. Various speakers, including Edna Greene Medford, associate professor of history at Howard University, demonstrated that there is no easy solution to the question.Medford noted that Lincoln had a reputation for treating certain individual African Americans with dignity and respect, yet his attitude toward their race overall proved more ambiguous. His deference and great admiration for Douglass was well-documented, said Medford, but his opinion of slaves in general was more consistent with the prejudice of the times.“Lincoln shared with the Southern white man, indeed with white Americans in general, the caricatured image of black people that suggested not only limited intelligence but a kind of innate servility. The idea that the average slave could think for and elevate himself would have been difficult for him to comprehend.”Lincoln’s shrewd political savvy, the topic of a discussion by Matthew Pinsker, is revealed in much of Lincoln’s recently released correspondence, noted the historian and associate professor of history at Dickinson College.“Abraham Lincoln is a great moral force and his rhetoric is worth all the study that we give it, but I think that behind the speeches there is another side to Lincoln that deserves equal attention,” said Pinsker, who noted that in his letters Lincoln is constantly giving other politicians advice that reads more like “orders.”In her talk, author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin offered a vivid image of a man with an almost inhuman capacity to rise above the corrupting influence of power, ambition, and personal enmity. His insight and intelligence, strength of character and decency, she said, allowed him to surround himself with his bitter enemies to help better the country.“The night of his election as president was the night he could not sleep, when he made the decision that would define his presidency: to put … [his] chief rivals in his cabinet,” said Goodwin.When asked how he could give his adversaries such power, Lincoln, Goodwin noted, offered a simple reply.“He said, ‘It’s simple. The country is in peril. These are the strongest men in the country. I need them by my side.’”Said Goodwin, “Lincoln offers us a template for leadership.” She noted that his ability to shoulder the blame for failure, an awareness of his own weaknesses, his readiness to share the credit for success with others, and his capacity to listen to alternative points of view were just some of the many qualities that made him a truly great leader.The discovery that surprised her most during research for her popular book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” was Lincoln’s tremendous sense of humor, Goodwin remarked in an interview before her talk.When she began her research 10 years ago, she said, she didn’t appreciate “the extraordinary sense of humor he had and the extent to which he was able to laugh at himself and to get out of his sadness by either telling funny stories or going to the theater or going to a friend’s house or reading something. … I think we [historians] overplayed his depression and underplayed the [fact] that he knew how to get himself out of his sad moods. He had enormous resources.”[email protected]