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Showing posts from March, 2012

A Taste of SXSW 2012

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South By Southwest 2012 : Over 2,000 bands and artists, over 90 venues, 4 nights, hour long slots running 8pm - 2am. Once you figure out who you want to see, that's only half the battle; most bands play four or more times on different nights at different venues, at any given hour of the night there are upwards of 90 shows going on simultaneously. Figuring out your plan is a day by day exercise in logistics and prioritization. And that's only the evening hours which are given over to the official SXSW showcases. On top of that you have day parties, barbecues, and sponsored showcases, all of which are put on by commercial companies and organizations like NPR and numerous radio stations. This year there were even morning showcase concerts put on by Austin radio station KUT-FM at the Four Seasons Hotel from the unheard of hour of 7am - noon. KUT carried some of them live on the air but broadcast all of them eventually and archived the recordings on their website where you can li

Bruce Springsteen is on Fire, The Apollo, Wrecking Ball & SXSW

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The Apollo Theater, NYC, 3/09/12: A week ago Friday night, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played Harlem's Apollo Theater in NYC. The event was organized by Sirius XM Satellite Radio to celebrate ten years of satellite radio and they broadcast the concert live. I am about to say two things that I haven't said in over twenty-five years: 1) I listened to the concert live as I recorded it, and 2) the concert was amazingly great, the best live Bruce I've heard since the Tunnel of Love tour. Bruce was energized, the band was tight (even expanded), and the performance was so intense that it left me with the feeling that I had just heard the old Bruce, the guy who in his first ten years made his concert performance a life changing experience. Of the nineteen songs played at the Apollo, seven of them were from the new album, Wrecking Ball. Audiences often don't take kindly to new material, but in this case, all the songs from Wrecking Ball sounded great. The set cons

James Maddock - My Old Neighborhood (2012), New Single, EP, Video & Deluxe CD Reissue

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Photo courtesy of Countesthorpe Parish Council Saturday Video Fun: We love James Maddock's last two albums, think he's one of New York's best singer-songwriters. All those years of great songwriting come through loud and clear on James' new single, "My Old Neighborhood", complete with a really cool video shot in James' hometown, the Village of Countesthorpe in Leicester, England. The My Old Neighborhood EP is an iTunes exclusive and contains the long version of the single, the radio edit, and the video. James' latest album has also been reissued as Wake Up and Dream Digital Deluxe, which adds all three items from the EP to the album that we included on our list of the best albums of last year. The deluxe reissue is also an iTunes exclusive. For a bonus video this week, we've got James and his fine band with a superb live version of the album's title track, from the Rockwood Music Hall, and that's Leslie Mendelson singing backup

Ray Charles - Live At The Olympia, Paris DVD (2000) & the Movie Ray (2004)

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Saturday Video Fun: In general I detest biopics; I would much rather see a documentary biography with real footage of the real person. There is certainly enough film of Ray Charles to tell his life story, but I'm here to tell you that the movie Ray is the best biopic I have ever seen. Jamie Foxx is so good in the part that it's easy to forget that you're watching an actor. The movie does everything right from the casting to the acting, the script, the music, the cinematography, and the direction; it's all first rate movie making about a true musical genius. So I had just finished screening Ray for someone who had not seen it, and I was of a mind to post some live Ray Charles clips to Facebook. Checking to see what I could find on YouTube, I ran across some clips that I had never seen before. I was initially taken by the quality of the performances, plus they had terrific picture and sound. Like so. Maybe because I was wrapped up in Ray's performance of "I&