It’s Friday. How about some tunes?

ipod-classic-accessories-3Here’s what I’ve been listening to in shuffle mode today as the end of the work week approaches. Have a great weekend everyone. Hopefully the weather will co-operate wherever you are.

As of the time of this posting, here are the last 15 to come up in the rotation.

1. Only Us–Peter Gabriel

2. Lovers Jamboree–Nick Lowe

3. Business Time–Flight of The Conchords

4. Roll Away The Stone–Leon Russell

5. On Green Dolphin Street–Oscar Peterson Trio with Milt Jackson

6. Always On The Run–Lenny Kravitz

7. The Real Feeling–Ace

8. None But The Brave–Bruce Springsteen

9. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window–Joe Cocker

10. Memphis–Chuck Berry

11. Golden Sorrows–Blackie & The Rodeo Kings

12. Johnny Guitar–Pearl Jam

13. Lincoln Town–John Hiatt

14. Synchronicity I–The Police

15. Hey Bartender–The Blues Brothers

Admit it. You always wanted to be a back-up singer.

twentyI love a good music documentary. In recent years, some of my favourites have been Rush’s Beyond The Lighted StageFoo Fighters’ Back and Forth and Dave Grohl’s Sound City which took a fond look back at the famed recording studio. Earlier this year, there was another music doc that premiered at Sundance but unlike the Rush or Foo Fighters films that focused on the performers at the front of the stage, this one bypasses the main performers and points the camera at the back of the stage.

As described on the Sundance festival website, Twenty Feet From Stardom “juxtaposes interviews with industry legends (Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, and others) and the relative unknowns who support them like Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and Judith Hill as they illuminate the art of melding their own distinct voices with lead vocals and reveal their desires for careers as solo artists. Twenty Feet from Stardom traces the backup singers’ history—from those Phil Spector–produced pop tunes and soul-inspired British Explosion acts (Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones) of the 1960s, to their reversal of fortune when the recording industry changed in the 1990s, and into today. Filmmaker Morgan Neville’s unprecedented look at the moving personal journeys of these normally uncelebrated artists pays tribute to their indelible role in popular music.”

After playing at the festival circuit in recent months, the film will see its theatrical release on June 14th. Based on the trailer below, I think this is definitely worth seeing:

Two Awesome Double-Bills Heading North


Now these are the kinds of announcements I like. One of my all-time favourite singer-songwriters, John Hiatt, has a new disc out next Tuesday entitled “The Open Road”. While his last outing, 2008’s Same Old Man was a little on the introspective side, the new disc finds Hiatt back in rock mode. And he’s heading North. Hiatt’s tour will be making a stop at Toronto’s Massey Hall on June 29th. Tickets go on sale Monday and range from $52.50-$75.50 plus the usual fees. While Hiatt has toured with such artists as Lyle Lovett in the past, this time around he has paired up with the voice and keeper of the beat of the legendary The Band, Levon Helm. Helm’s latest disc, Electric Dirt, won the 2009 Grammy for Best Americana album. According to the Massey Hall website, “the evening will begin with a full set by John Hiatt and his Combo performing both new and old material, followed by a full set from Levon Helm’s Ramble who will then be joined by John Hiatt in the second half of the evening.” Sounds like one helluva show. You can listen to two tracks from Hiatt’s new album here, and even download a free MP3 of the title track.

Here’s a great clip of Hiatt in concert recently performing the terrific “Have A Little Faith In Me.”

And an amazing clip of Hiatt performing with Helm doing The Band’s “The Weight”. Just outstanding.

And another great double-bill heading North: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers along with Joe Cocker or Crosby, Stills and Nash. Petty’s new disc, Mojo, the first new full-band album in 8 years hits stores this spring (exact date TBC) and you can preview a new track, Good Enough, here. Petty’s tour starts May 6th and will make five Canadian stops:

June 8: Vancouver, GM Place (w/ Joe Cocker)
June 15: Calgary, Pengrowth Saddledome (w/ Joe Cocker)
June 16: Edmonton, Rexall Place (w/ Joe Cocker)
June 19: Winnipeg, MTS Centre (w/ Joe Cocker)
Aug. 25: Toronto, Air Canada Centre (w/ Crosby, Stills and Nash)

Tickets for most of the shows go on sale March 8th. And here’s a great bonus: According to Petty’s website, every online ticket purchased to the tour comes with an MP3 download copy of Mojo. Plus, fans who purchase tickets online and download Mojo will also receive 8 tracks recorded during the 2010 Tour to be delivered after the tour. Members of Petty’s “Highway Companions Club” will receive an additional 6 live tracks. (Costs about 45 bucks to join.)

As I write this post, the only show ticketmaster.ca has posted is the Winnipeg show, with ticket prices ranging from $63-$157. Expect Toronto to be pricier because of the addition of CSN on the bill. I don’t believe CSN have any new music on the way but it’s sure to be a crowd-peasing evening between their classics and the amazing catalogue that Petty has to choose from.

Classic Petty:

Classic CSN:

Classic Cocker:

“Hello Cleveland!”

Concert%20CrowdAs much as I enjoy listening to, discussing and sharing music, I’ve always felt that there’s nothing like seeing your favourite artist in concert for the first, second or in the case of Bruce Springsteen, the 10th time. There’s the thrill when you first find out your fave is coming to town, the anticipation of waiting for the tickets to go on sale, and then… the utter disappointment when you get screwed by Ticketmaster when the website says ‘sold out’ at 10:01. But, if you are fortunate enough to score those prime seats, the memories of a great (or bad) show stick with you forever.

Geek that I am, I’ve kept (almost) all of my ticket stubs, going back to 1977. I thought I’d use this blog as a good opportunity to share some of those concert memories with you, and I’d like to hear about yours. I won’t necessarily focus on the best shows I’ve seen; in fact the bad ones are sometimes more fun to write about.

So while the collection of stubs goes back to ’77, the first concert I ever went to was actually in the summer of 1976. My uncle took my older brothers and me to see Joe Cocker. (Ironically, I saw Joe Cocker again in the ‘90’s and I don’t have the stub for that one either.) I remember that I only knew one song, “You Are So Beautiful”, which was a hit single at the time.  Otherwise, I was pretty bored but I would chalk that up to age. I’m sure my uncle and my brothers (who were 17 and 19 at the time) enjoyed it. I would compare it to me dragging one of my kids today to see someone like John Hiatt. I would love it. My kids? Not so much. However, once Joe Cocker released his “Greatest Hits” album the following year I became a big fan of his, and still am today. Guess I matured.

Last week Joe turned 65 and he will be touring throughout the summer. Below is a live clip from 2002 filmed at the Queen’s Jubilee Concert. Check out the backing band, which includes Brian May from Queen on guitar and Phil Collins on drums.

Next time I’ll talk about the concert associated with the oldest ticket stub in my collection. The date was July 12, 1977. The band? I’ll give you a hint: They may be from New York, but they’re partial to Detroit…Rock City.

“The Shuffle Report”

Here just for fun are the last 10 songs I’ve listened to in shuffle mode on my iPod at the time I wrote today’s post (no editing):

1. Spanish Dancer–Steve Winwood (Arc of A Diver)*

2. Walk Like A Man (You Can Call Me Your Man)–Grand Funk Railroad (Grand Funk Hits)

3. Satisfy My Soul–Bob Marley (Legend)**

4. Burning Down The House–Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense–Live)

5. Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin III)

6. You’re So Fine–Little Walter (His Best)

7. Every Night and Every Day–Cheap Trick (Rockford)

8. You Got Another Thing Comin’–Judas Priest (The Essential Judas Priest)

9. Freedom For The Stallion–Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint (The River In Reverse)

10. Goodbye Girl–Squeeze (Singles, 45’s and Under)

* One of my favourite album covers of all-time. Great artwork.

**The first compact disc I ever purchased, back in 1988.