John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett: two men, two guitars and a boatload of amazing songs (I’m talking to you, Toronto and Ottawa)

Hiatt:lovettEach has amassed an incredible catalogue of music over the last 25+ years. Each is a remarkably gifted songwriter and performer. Lyle Lovett is a Texan who musical foundation lies in country but he also mixes in jazz, blues, and sly humour like no other. John Hiatt, a native of Indianapolis, is also no stranger to country influences but his music also weaves folk, blues and good old rock and roll and the result is…well…killer.

I’ve been a huge fan of both of these guys for years. I’ve seen Lyle Lovett once with his Large Band and I’ve seen John Hiatt a number of times, both solo and with his combo, most recently on the bill with Levon Helm at Toronto’s Massey Hall a few years ago. They’ve toured together in the past in an acoustic setting and they’re in the middle of another such tour right now in the States, and now comes word that this amazing pair is heading North.

Toronto’s Massey Hall (could you ask for a better setting?) will host the duo on Saturday February 1st while the next night will see them up the 401/417 at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday October 25th @ 10 am.

For a taste of what to expect, check out the extended clip below of them performing in a showcase for KGSR Radio in Austin two years ago.


What are you listening to today? #nowplaying

ipodHere are the last 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

1. Frosty–Albert Collins

2. Pilgrimage–R.E.M.

3. Jailbreak–AC/DC

4. That Girl–Stevie Wonder

5. Skinny Legs–Lyle Lovett

6. All Around The World–Garland Jeffreys

7. Jailbreak–Thin Lizzy

8. Roll Over Beethoven–Chuck Berry

9. Let It Be–The Beatles

10. The Trouble With Never–Van Halen

The “It’s Friday. Finally.” Shuffle Report


The Shuffle Report: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

Ok, so the weather forecast for the weekend is iffy, but who cares. It’s the weekend. Just the thought of sleeping in a little made the subway ride today all the more tolerable.

1. Take It Inside–Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (Hearts of Stone) [Great New Jersey rock n soul.]

2. Gone At Last–Paul Simon (Still Crazy After All These Years) [A little bit of gospel. Bet you can’t sit still through this one.]

3. Jump Up Behind Me–James Taylor (Hourglass) [A good album from JT. Recommended.]

4. Another Day (That Time Forgot)–Neil Diamond (Home Before Dark) [A killer tune. Really.]

5. Drowned–The Who (Live at the Royal Albert Hall) [One of my favourite Who songs. Pete’s amazing on this one.]

6. Blues In The Night–Quincy Jones (Quincy Jones’ Finest Hour) [Great ’60’s big band from Q.]

7. I Wanna Marry You–Bruce Springsteen (The River) [The Boss is such a romantic.]

8. Place To Be–Nick Drake (Way To Blue: An Introduction To Nick Drake) [Seems every year new people are discovering the genius that was Nick Drake.]

9. I’m So Proud–Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions (The Anthology 1961-1977) [Classic soul.]

10. Nothing But A Good Time–Lyle Lovett (My Baby Don’t Tolerate) [Catch him at Massey Hall in Toronto this summer. Sorry, couldn’t find a link for this track.]

U2, Christina Aguilera Postpone Dates; Toronto to get Kiss’d, Lyle Lovett

Tour news is on the agenda today. First up, both U2 and Christina Aguilera have postponed their North American summer tours until 2011.

In the case of U2, this is due to Bono’s recent back surgery and the time needed to recuperate. At first only a couple of the dates at the start of the tour were postponed but it seems Bono is going to need more time off. According to band manager Paul McGuinness: “Our biggest and I believe best tour has been interrupted and we’re all devastated. For a performer who lives to be on stage, this is more than a blow. He feels robbed of the chance to do what he does best and feels like he has badly let down the band and their audience. Which is of course nonsense. His concerns about more than a million ticket buyers whose plans have been turned upside down, we all share, but the most important thing right now is that Bono make a full recovery. We’re working as fast as we can with Live Nation to reschedule these dates.” Canadian dates affected are June 23rd in Edmonton, July 3rd in Toronto and July 16th & 17th in Toronto. No word yet on new dates.

As for Christina Aquilera, whose new disc “Bionic”  drops June 8th, her outing is being postponed because the singer has stated she needs more time to prepare for the tour. The only Canadian date affected is a July 20th date in Toronto. New dates are expected to be announced later this year. Refunds for her show as well as the U2 shows are available at point of purchase.

With respect to newly announced shows, it looks like Toronto is going to get a return visit from KISS. Less than one year after blowing the roof of the Air Canada Centre (not to mention the sound system), the elder statesman of all things over-the-top have just announced a new North American tour entitled “The Hottest Show on Earth” tour. So far Toronto is the only Canadian stop on the trek which gets underway at the end of July. They’re booked for Friday September 10th at the Molson Amphitheatre; tickets go on sale June 4th.

And way at the opposite end of the musical spectrum form KISS, one of my favourite singer-songwriters Lyle Lovett has added a Toronto date to his current summer tour. He’ll hit the Massey Hall stage Tuesday August 10th. Ticket info has not yet been announced so keep checking the Massey Hall website.


Christina Aguilera:


Lyle Lovett:

2010 lineup for Massey Hall continues to grow

Ever been to a concert at Massey Hall in Toronto? I love seeing performers in a theatre-setting like that one. Sure, the building is showing its age (hell, it was showing its age 25 years ago) and the seats are a little on the snug side. And while a sell-out means just over 2700 in the hall, it’s still a remarkably intimate venue. Over the last 100+ years, the grand dame of Toronto concert venues has seen an incredible range of performers grace its stage, from Canadian icons like Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Oscar Peterson and Rush to a who’s who of American and international performers. I’ve seen a handful of shows there, including Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon and most recently, Steely Dan.

For 2010, the roster is building nicely. Already scheduled are homegrown faves like Colin James (January 26th), Jann Arden (January 27th-30th) and Blue Rodeo (February 2nd and 3rd). Blues legend Buddy Guy comes to town on April 9th, and another guitar virtuoso, Mark Knopfler plays later in the month on April 29th.

Now comes word of three new additions to the Massey Hall calendar, with tickets all going sale within the next week. First up, Canadian rockers Our Lady Peace will play two shows on March 12th and 13th. Tickets are $42.50-52.50 and go on sale to the general public Saturday December 12th @ 2:00 p.m. ET at According to the Massey Hall website, the band will perform their album “Clumsy” in its entirety on March 12th, and “Spiritual Machines” on March 13th. Each show will be rounded out by selections from the OLP catalogue.

On March 23rd, singer-songwriter Norah Jones takes the stage to promote her latest cd, The Fall. Tickets are $55.50-65.50 and go on sale to the general public Monday December 14th @ 12:00 p.m. ET at You can listen to music from the new cd streaming on Jones’ website here.

And then on May 13th, the always interesting jazz guitar legend Pat Metheny hits the stage for a solo show, of sorts. Metheny’s new disc, Orchestrion, will be out in January. According to his website, the disc is described as follows:
“With Orchestrion, Metheny dramatically redefines the concept of the solo album. He is indeed the only live musician on this recording, but it’s the opposite of, say, the austere 2003 One Quiet Night, in which Metheny hunkered down in his home studio to explore the musical possibilities of a single new guitar. Here Metheny works with a magical set-up of acoustic and acousto-electric instrumentation, assembled for him by a far-flung team of mad musical scientists and digital dreamers. ”
Make of that what you will. I am a huge fan of the Pat Metheny Group (featuring long-time collaborator, keyboardist Lyle Mays) and have seen them in concert a couple of times. This is probably the configuration for which he is the best known and popular. Tickets for the Metheny show are $42.50-85.50 and go on sale this Friday December 11th at 10:00 am on

All good stuff. Can’t wait to see how the rest of 2010 fills out.

Our Lady Peace:

Norah Jones:

Pat Metheny Group:

New albums a-comin’…


The Fall is always a busy time of year for new album releases, and this year is no exception. Today I thought I’d highlight three upcoming releases that you may find of interest.

“Natural Forces”–Lyle Lovett (October 20th)

Two of my favourites, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, will be starting a co-headling tour tomorrow night in the U.S. and that will run through October 18th. Lovett will then kick off his own headling tour on October 26th to promote his 12th release “Natural Forces”. That tour will make two Canadian stops: November 13th in Toronto and November 14th in Ottawa. I saw Texas-native Lovett at Massey Hall in 2000 with his Large Band and it was a lot of fun. His music isn’t just country but also touches on blues and jazz which makes for a very entertaining evening.

“Natural Forces” includes four Lovett originals, along with covers of tunes by other Texas songwriters including Townes Van Zandt’s “Loretta.”

A taste of Lyle Lovett’s new release:

“Good Evening New York City”–Paul McCartney (November 17th)

Recorded during his three-night stand at Citi Field (home of the New York Mets) this past July, “Good Evening NewYork City” will be Paul Mcartney’s sixth (I think) live album of his post-Beatles career. The only one I ever owend was Wings Over America released in 1976. That one was ok due to less-than-stellar sound quality but I thought the packaging of the triple(!) album was great, including poster plus the “every one of the six record labels is different” geek factor. (Hey, no snickering. I told you when I started this blog that I always liked that kind of thing.) 🙂

And just so McCartney fans can have a choice on how to spend their hard-earned cash, the album will be available in two formats: a 3-disc (2 CD/1 DVD) standard edition and a 4-disc (2 CD/2 DVD) deluxe version featuring expanded packaging, as well as a bonus DVD including McCartney’s July 15 performance on the Ed Sullivan Theater marquee (including bonus songs not aired on the “Late Show with David Letterman” broadcast). High-quality vinyl editions will also be released.

Song selection will include Beatles and Wings material so expect cuts like “Drive My Car,” “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “The Long And Winding Road,” “Blackbird,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Back In The USSR,” “Paperback Writer,” “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude,” “Helter Skelter,” “Band On The Run,” “My Love,” “Let Me Roll It” and “Live And Let Die.”

Paul McCartney at Citi Field:

“Battle Studies”–John Mayer (November 17th)

John Mayer’s next all-new studio release, a follow-up to 2008’s “Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles” hits stores on November 17th. According to a press release, the album will incorporate “the warmth, melodies and simplicity of 70’s and 80’s California rock/pop. The album’s first single, “Who Says” challenges conventional standards of what one can accomplish or undertake — despite society’s constraints. Battle Studies also showcases universal themes on “Heartbreak Warfare,” “Assassin,” and “War of My Life,” while flexing guitar chops on “Rock Song,” and a reinterpretation of “Crossroads.” The famously collaborative guitar player also invited one of music’s brightest new talents, Taylor Swift, to appear on “Half of My Heart.”

For Mayer fans (count me in), this sounds promising. A 2010 North American tour is going to be announced soon.

John Mayer from the Live in L.A. release:

The “Just Because” Shuffle Report


Haven’t done one of these for a little while, so I figure I was due. Here are 10 tunes that kept me company on the way into work this morning.

1. Backstreets–Bruce Springsteen (Born To Run) [Nothing like a little Boss to start the day.]
2. I Thank You–Sam & Dave (The Best of Sam & Dave) [Classic ’60s soul.]
3. Summer’s End–Foo Fighters (Echoes, Silence Patience & Grace) [Love the Foos. Next release in the Fall reported to be a ‘best of’ with a couple of new tunes, one of which they played for Obama at the White House recently.]
4. Tears Are Not Enough–ABC (Absoultely ABC: The Best of ABC) [Always thought Martin Fry was a great frontman. Saw these guys live. Beter than you might think.]
5. Another Man’s Woman–Supertramp (Crisis? What Crisis?) [The follow-up to ‘Crime of The Century’. Pretty good album.]
6. Sweet Rosalyn–Sheryl Crow (Sheryl Crow) [Probably her best album.]
7. Feelin’ Good–Nina Simone (Verve Remixed) [Classic jazz remixed. Not all the songs in this series work, but this one definitely does. Forget Michael Buble; go back to the source.]
8. Stranger To Himself–Traffic (John Barleycorn Must Die) [Phenomenal early Steve Winwood work.]
9. Is She Really Going Out With Him? (Acoustic Version)–Joe Jackson (Live 1980/86) [There’s three versions of this hit on the Live 1980/86 compilation, each one very different from the other, and all intruguing in their own way.]
10. She’s No Lady–Lyle Lovett (Pontiac) [Interesting mix. If she’s really going out with him, then she’s no lady? There’s a joke in there somewhere. Lyle hits Toronto in November. Still waiting for ticket info. Anyone want go?]