Thursday, February 28, 2013

Elton John Premieres ‘The Most Piano-Orientated’ Album of His Career

Follow the link to Ultimate Classic Rock to learn more about Elton John's latest studio release, The Diving Board.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bonnaroo 2013 Announcement

The lineup for Bonnaroo 2013 was finally announced last week.  Please follow the link to the official Bonnaroo site to see all of the scheduled artists, bands, and comedians that will converge on Manchester, TN this June 13th-16th.  Enjoy Jimmy Fallon's announcement below.
Jimmy Fallon

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On the turntable this Sunday...Spirit of Eden

Spirit of Eden is an album by the English band Talk Talk, released in 1988. Critical reception on release was mixed, and it was not a commercial success; though its reputation has improved over the years, and it is now seen by some critics as influential to post-rock, a music genre that developed in Britain and North America in the 1990s. The songs were written by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene, and performed by numerous musicians using a diverse combination of instruments. The album developed from a lengthy recording process at Wessex Studios, London during 1987 and 1988: often working in darkness, the band recorded many hours of improvised performances, edited them down heavily, then arranged the remaining pieces into an album using digital equipment. The end product includes elements of rock, jazz, classical, and ambient music. The album, the fourth by the band, was released on the Parlophone record label, an imprint of EMI.

In 2008, Alan McGee of the Guardian wrote: "Spirit of Eden has not dated; it's remarkable how contemporary it sounds, anticipating post-rock, The Verve and Radiohead. It's the sound of an artist being given the keys to the kingdom and returning with art."

Critics often view Spirit of Eden as a departure from Talk Talk's previous albums. Compared to their 1986 hit The Colour of Spring, it was commercially unsuccessful. While upon release it received mostly mixed to negative reviews, it has been acknowledged as being an influence in the musical development of a number of later alternative rock musicians and subgenres.

Talk Talk, led by singer Mark Hollis, formed in England in the early 1980s. From the start, Hollis cited jazz and classical artists like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Béla Bartók, and Claude Debussy as major musical influences. But Talk Talk's first two albums, The Party's Over (1982) and It's My Life (1984), did not readily reflect such influences; critics compared the band to contemporary New Wave groups, especially Duran Duran. Hollis partly attributes the shortcomings of their early music to a financial need to use synthesizers in place of acoustic instruments.

Although critics did not favour the band's early output, the first two albums were commercially successful in Europe. This gave Talk Talk the money needed to hire additional musicians to play on their next album, The Colour of Spring (1986). The band no longer had to rely on synthesizers. Instead, musicians improvised with their instruments for many hours, then Hollis and producer Tim Friese-Greene edited and arranged the performances to get the sound they wanted. A total of sixteen musicians appeared on the album. The Colour of Spring became Talk Talk's most successful album, selling over two million copies and prompting a major world tour. At the same time, minimalist songs like "April 5th," "Chameleon Day," and the outtake "It's Getting Late in the Evening" pointed towards the band's next direction.

It was very, very psychedelic. We had candles and oil wheels, strobes going, sometimes just total darkness in the studio. You'd get totally disorientated, no daylight, no time frame.

For the success of The Colour of Spring, EMI rewarded Talk Talk with an open budget and schedule for the recording of their next album, Spirit of Eden. Talk Talk were given complete control over the recording process; their manager and EMI executives were barred from studio sessions. Recording for Spirit of Eden began in 1987 at Wessex Studios, London and took about a year to complete.  Engineer Phill Brown has also stated that the album, along with its successor, was "recorded by chance, accident, and hours of trying every possible overdub idea."

By early March 1988, the band had finished recording Spirit of Eden and had sent a cassette of the album to EMI. After listening to the cassette, EMI representatives doubted that it could be commercially successful. They asked Hollis to re-record a song or replace material, but he refused to do so. By the time the masters were delivered later in the month, however, the label conceded that the album had been satisfactorily completed.

Despite their reservations towards Spirit of Eden, EMI chose to exercise their option to extend the recording contract with Talk Talk. The band, however, wanted out of the contract. "I knew by that time that EMI was not the company this band should be with," manager Keith Aspden told Mojo. "I was fearful that the money wouldn't be there to record another album." EMI and Talk Talk went to court to decide the issue.

The case centered on whether EMI had notified the band about the contract extension in time. As part of the agreement, EMI had to send a written notice within three months after the completion of Spirit of Eden. The band said that EMI had sent the notice too late, arguing that the three month period began once recording had finished; EMI argued that the three month period did not begin until they were satisfied with the recording. Justice Andrew Morritt ruled in favour of EMI, but his decision was overturned in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Talk Talk were released from the contract and later signed to Polydor.

Spirit of Eden's moody, experimental nature made it a challenge to promote; one critic said it "is the kind of record which encourages marketing men to commit suicide." Tony Wadsworth, Parlophone's marketing director at the time, told Q: "Talk Talk are not your ordinary combo and require sympathetic marketing. They're not so much difficult as not obvious. You've just got to find as many ways as possible to expose the music." Evaluating some masterpieces of the eighties in a 2004 article for The Guardian, John Robinson calls Spirit of Eden, like David Sylvian's Brilliant Trees, "triumphant, [but] completely unmarketable."

Although the band did not originally plan to release a single, EMI issued a radio edit of "I Believe In You" in September 1988 (the previously unreleased "John Cope" was included as the B-side). The single failed to breach the UK Singles Chart Top 75. Around November, Tim Pope directed a music video for "I Believe In You", featuring Hollis sitting with his guitar, singing the lyrics. "That was a massive mistake," said Hollis. "I thought just by sitting there and listening and really thinking about what it was about, I could get that in my eyes. But you cannot do it. It just feels stupid."

The band did not tour in support of the album. Hollis explained, "There is no way that I could ever play again a lot of the stuff I played on this album because I just wouldn't know how to. So, to play it live, to take a part that was done in spontaneity, to write it down and then get someone to play it, would lose the whole point, lose the whole purity of what it was in the first place." They would never tour again.

Spirit of Eden was released worldwide in 1988. It did not enjoy nearly as much commercial success as The Colour of Spring. The album spent five weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at #19.  The album cover depicts a tree festooned with seashells, snails, birds, and insects. It was illustrated by James Marsh, who did Talk Talk's artwork throughout their career. The booklet provides reproductions of Hollis' handwritten lyrics. The album was digitally remastered by Phill Brown and Denis Blackham in 1997. A hybrid Super Audio CD (without surround sound) surfaced in 2003.

Although the album is noted for its tranquil soundscapes, Graham Sutton of Bark Psychosis notes "Noise is important. I could never understand people I knew who liked Talk Talk and saw it as something 'nice to chill out to' when I loved the overwhelming intensity and the dynamics."

Spirit closed with the line "Take my freedom for giving me a sacred love" – it sounded like Hollis had been boning up on the renegade, mystical Christianity of William Blake.

Mark Hollis' lyrics contain religious and spiritual references. Though Hollis acknowledges that his lyrics are religious, he says they are not based on a specific religion, preferring to think of them as "humanitarian."  "I Believe in You" has been described as an "anti-heroin song." When asked whether the lyrics are based on personal experience, Hollis replied, "No, not at all. But, you know, I met people who got totally fucked up on it. Within rock music there's so much fucking glorification of it, and it is a wicked, horrible thing."

Spirit of Eden has been both acclaimed and panned by numerous music critics. Marcus Berkmann of The Spectator in a 2001 retrospective felt that the album was "almost wilfully obscure", with a musical style close to free-form jazz that was too far removed from The Colour Of Spring for fans to enjoy.  Roy Wilkinson of Sounds felt that the band had "evolved into contemplative muso-techs", and while their lyrics were a weak point and the second side did not fully work, the first side achieved "magnificence".  Chris Dafoe of The Globe and Mail was largely unimpressed: "At its best, this can be evocative and slightly unsettling. More frequently, however, it sounds like dreary New Age miserablism. Yawn Yawn."

In the 1992 Rolling Stone Album Guide, J.D. Considine rated the album 1 star out of 5: "Instead of getting better or worse, this band simply grew more pretentious with each passing year. . . . by Spirit of Eden, Mark Hollis's Pete Townshend-on-Dramamine vocals have been pushed aside by the band's pointless noodling." Simon Williams of NME noted the album's pretentiousness and aimlessness, but found it forgivable, commenting, "...they're resolute and determined, flaunting commercial rules with fascinating disregard for understanding or acceptance." A review in Q criticized the band for not even trying to create the hit singles they'd led the record label to expect, but concluded that "If Spirit Of Eden often recalls the pastoral epics of the early 70s, it has a range, ambition and self-sufficiency that enables Hollis and co to step out of time and into their own."PopMatters's retrospective review was less qualified in its praise, calling Spirit of Eden "an album for the ages." Pitchfork Media named Spirit of Eden the 34th best album of the 1980s.  In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #31 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".  In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #56 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s."

Some music critics consider Spirit of Eden and its 1991 follow-up Laughing Stock influential to post-rock, a music genre that developed in Britain and North America in the 1990s. In a review of Bark Psychosis' album Hex, where the term "post-rock" was coined, Simon Reynolds opined that Hex aspires to the "baroque grandeur" of Spirit of Eden.  Andy Whitman of Paste magazine argues that Spirit of Eden represents the beginning of post-rock: "The telltale marks of the genre—textured guitars, glacial tempos, an emphasis on dynamics, electronica, ambience and minimalism—were all in place, and paved the way for bands like Sigur Rós, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Low and latter-period Radiohead." Simon Harper of the Birmingham Post adds, "Certainly, their combination of jazz, classical, rock and the spacey echoes of dub, using silence almost as an instrument in its own right, lends itself to the vernacular of post-rock, and there can be little argument that Tortoise and their Chicago-based compatriots would hardly sound the same were it not for the staggering achievements of Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene." Music historian Piero Scaruffi believes that with Spirit of Eden, Talk Talk "invented a new form of music, one in which a complex atmosphere is created out of slow, inorganic, inarticulate streams of simple sounds. The six lengthy, free-form, brooding and cataleptic ruminations pioneered 'slo-core'." Numerous bands and artists, ranging from Catherine Wheel to Sarah McLachlan, to Matthew Good, Graham Coxon, Doves and Elbow, have praised Spirit of Eden or have cited it as an influence in their own music. Indie folk group Bon Iver covered "I Believe in You" during a 2008 show in Dublin and Edinburgh.

Track listing
All songs written and composed by Tim Friese-Greene and Mark Hollis.

No. Title Length 
1. "The Rainbow"   9:05
2. "Eden"   6:37
3. "Desire"   7:08
4. "Inheritance"   5:16
5. "I Believe in You"   6:24
6. "Wealth"   6:35

The track times reflect the original North American version of the CD. UK and European releases of the CD present the first three songs, "The Rainbow", "Eden" and "Desire", as a single track, totaling 23:11. The North American version of the album, and subsequent international reissues, divide the suite into three tracks, although they are still presented without an audible break. There is a forced silence of just over 30 seconds between "Desire" and "Inheritance". Working titles of the songs were "Modell", "Camel", "Maureen", "Norm", "Inheritance", "Snow in Berlin" and "Eric".

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Jimi Hendrix Track, ‘Earth Blues,’ Streaming Online

Follow the link to hear the newly released track, 'Earth Blues', online before the latest posthumous Jimi Hendrix album, People, Hell & Angels arrives on March 5th.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brad Blackwell w/Troy Suggs Live at the Bijou Feb 22nd

Named East Tennessee's Best Local Artist by the Knoxville News Sentinel in 2010, Brad Blackwell is one of the most gifted singer/songwriters on the independent music scene today.  

Brad Blackwell will be back at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, TN tomorrow night (Friday, February 22nd)  for his "Combustible" EP release party with our friend, Troy Suggs opening the show.  

The show is also a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and special guest, Coty Sensabaugh-defensive back for the Tennessee Titans will also be participating in the festivities.  

There are only a few tickets left, so be sure to purchase your tickets now at or

Jim James Opens Solo Tour in Philly

Jim James kicked off his solo tour earlier this week at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia.  Read more here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Robert Plant Hints At 2014 Led Zeppelin Reunion

Robert Plant recently appeared on the Australian edition of '60 Minutes' and hinted at the possibility of a Led Zeppelin more here

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Radiohead Will Return to the Studio in September

Radiohead will return to the studio to begin work on their 9th studio album later this year.  Read more here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Christine McVie Not Returning to Fleetwood Mac (UCR)

Read more here about what Fleetwood Mac has been up to recently and whether Christine McVie will ever re-join the band or not. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

On the turntable this Sunday...Field Day

Field Day is the second Marshall Crenshaw album.

Shortly after the release of Field Day, Marshall released an EP in the UK with five songs, four of which were remixes of the Steve Lillywhite produced songs on the album and one which was a live tune.

Track listing for Field Day:

1."Whenever You're on My Mind" - 3:19
2."Our Town" - 4:13
3."One More Reason" - 3:36
4."Try" - 3:10
5."One Day With You" - 5:01
6."For Her Love" - 3:02
7."Monday Morning Rock" - 3:34
8."All I Know Right Now" - 3:52
9."What Time Is It?" - 2:53
10."Hold It" - 3:45


Robert Crenshaw – drums
Marshall Crenshaw - lead guitar, vocals
Chris Donato – bass guitar
Mike Osborn - percussion
Tom Teely - background vocals
Bob Miller - background vocals
John Crenshaw - background vocals

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Widespread Panic add June dates, return to Knoxville

Widespread Panic have recently added a few June dates to their spring tour schedule. The shows will take place around the band's previously confirmed headlining spots at Ozark, AR’s Wakarusa Music Festival and Hunter, NY’s Mountain Jam Festival. 

Widespread Panic’s June tour dates:

June 1 Ozark, AR—Wakarusa Music Festival
June 3-4 Knoxville, TN—Tennessee Theatre
June 5 Vienna, VA—The Filene Center at Wolf Trap
June 7 Hunter, NY—Mountain Jam Festival
June 8-9 Raleigh, NC—Raleigh Amphitheater 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Elton John, Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons and more pay tribute to Levon Helms

Check out the Levon Helm tribute at the Grammys with Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown, T-Bone Burnett, and Brittany Howard performing “The Weight.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wilco Set To Record, Jeff Tweedy Benefit Dates Announced

Follow the link to read more about Wilco's recent announcement and plans to record their follow up to 2011's The Whole Love as well as Jeff Tweedy's solo dates...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On the turntable this Sunday...A Flock of Seagulls

A Flock of Seagulls is the eponymous debut album by the New Wave band, A Flock of Seagulls. It was released in 1982 on Jive, and featured the international hit single "I Ran (So Far Away)", which reached the Top 10 in the U.S. and New Zealand, as well as #1 in Australia. The song "Space Age Love Song" also managed to score radio play. On the success of the singles, the album reached #10 in the US.

The album received good reviews upon its release. It is generally recognized as a concept album about alien abduction with the tracks thus following a sequential story line.  In his review for Allmusic, Tom Demalon gave the album 4.5 stars, calling it "great fun and a wonderful collection of new wave ear candy." Prominent critic Robert Christgau was also happy with it, giving it an A- and saying that it is "so transparently, guilelessly expedient that it actually provides the hook-chocked fun most current pop bands only advertise." Other reviews pointed out the bands "pioneering sounds, compelling hooks and undeniably addictive gimmicks."[2]

The band, and particularly this album, were influential during the 1980s, for their memorable image[3] and also for their surprisingly effective production techniques, which at one point garnered the respect of legendary record producer Phil Spector, who in the 1980s called the album "phenomenal."

The album track, "D.N.A." won a Grammy Award in 1983 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Track listing (All songs written and composed by A Flock of Seagulls, except where noted.)

1. "I Ran (So Far Away)"   5:05
2. "Space Age Love Song"   3:45
3. "You Can Run" (Don Covay, Willie Dennis, A Flock Of Seagulls) 4:28
4. "Don't Ask Me"   2:46
5. "Messages"   2:51
6. "Telecommunication"   2:31
7. "Modern Love is Automatic"   3:49
8. "Standing in the Doorway"   4:41
9. "D.N.A."   2:30
10. "Man Made"   5:38

Read more at Wikipedia

Friday, February 8, 2013

Don Henley to Release New Solo Album, ‘Cass County,’ in May

Don Henley is keeping busy lately putting the finishing touches on his new solo album, Cass County, and autobiography, all forthcoming.  Read more at Ultimate Classic Rock.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

On the turntable this Sunday...Beautiful Friction

Beautiful Friction is the tenth studio album by British New Wave band The Fixx, released on July 17, 2012. It marks the return of longtime bassist Dan K. Brown.

Track listing (All songs written by Cy Curnin)

1."Anyone Else" – 3:50
2."Just Before Dawn" – 4:36
3."Take A Risk" – 3:47
4."Beautiful Friction" – 5:43
5."What God?" – 4:14
6."Second Time Around" – 4:16
7."Follow That Cab" – 3:20
8."Shaman" – 4:16
9."Something Ahead Of You" – 6:16
10."Girl With No Ceiling" – 4:03
11."Small Thoughts" - 4:35
12."Wasted" (iTunes Bonus Track) - 3:41

Personnel: The Fixx

Cy Curnin - lead vocals
Rupert Greenall - keyboard
Jamie West-Oram - guitar
Adam Woods - drums
Dan K. Brown - bass

Saturday, February 2, 2013