You may not have heard of J.J. Cale as he deliberately avoided the limelight, he spent his career as an “under-the-radar-giant” (New York Times). However he influenced musicians as wide-ranging as Neil Young (who wrote in his autobiography, “J. J.’s guitar playing is a huge influence on me. His touch is unspeakable. I am stunned by it.”); Beck (who, speaking to the L.A. Times, referred to his “effortlessness…restraint and underplaying” as “very powerful”); Eric Clapton (who, in his autobiography, called Cale “one of the most important artists in the history of rock, quietly representing the greatest asset his country has ever had”); and many, many others.
This is reason enough to check him out, but he is also considered to be one of the originators of the Tulsa Sound, a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country, and jazz. In the early 1970s his albums Naturally and Troubadour were always must haves for any guitar player.
Because Music will release Stay Around, the first posthumous album by beloved songwriter, guitarist on 26th April. Stay Around has been compiled by those closest to Cale, his widow and musician Christine Lakeland Cale and friend and longtime manager, Mike Kappus. Because Music has released the official video for the album’s debut single, Chasing You, featuring footage of Cale touring, which he seldom did, and performing across the U.S. The video is a breezily bittersweet glimpse at the life of the artist who died in 2013 and left behind a vital, resounding legacy.
All tracks on Stay Around are previously unreleased, a fact that’s not unusual considering Cale’s modus operandi: often Cale would reserve outtakes from one album for later release on another.
Mike Kappus, who managed Cale for 30 years and has worked with his estate since his passing, explains, “Roll On, the title track of Cale’s last studio album, was 34 years old. He would burn me CDs of demos, and one time I said, ‘You’ve got two good albums on here.’ Some of the tracks had detailed information, some of them had nothing. Some songs might be a full band of his buddies, others were him playing everything. These were songs he really did intend to do something with because they were carried to his typical level of production for release.”
On Stay Around, the only song not written by JJ Cale is Christine Lakeland Cale’s My Baby Blues the first song she and JJ cut as a four-piece combo in Bradley’s Barn studio in 1977, the year they met. She is not only his widow but was a member of his band for many years, she expresses that the song “brings everything full-circle” for her.
In compiling Stay Around, Christine Lakeland Cale pored over songs, both studio and home recordings that the public had never heard. She adds, “I wanted to find stuff that was completely unheard to max-out the ‘Cale factor’… as much that came from John’s ears and fingers and his choices as I could, so I stuck to John’s mixes…You can make things so sterile that you take the human feel out. But John left a lot of that human feel in. He left so much room for interpretation.”
Cale himself said, “I like a funkier sound. I really admire the people who get really good sound. That takes expensive studios, expensive musicians. I delved into that a couple of times, but it’s more fun when I create something to do it myself; it always has a unique sound. If I start doing it standard-wise, it becomes more polished and it doesn’t sound quite as unique; it sounds like everybody else.”
JJ Cale cut his teeth during the ’50s, playing guitar in bars in Oklahoma alongside fellow natives David Gates of Bread and Leon Russell, which is where he was credited with helping to develop the laid-back Tulsa sound, along with other native Tulsans.
He managed to gather a loyal fan following and the admiration of some of the most revered rock musicians while,in the unwavering desire to lead a normal life,eluding fame. It was via other artists recording and performing his songs that he became best known. Eric Clapton recorded After Midnight, Cocaine and several other Cale originals, his admiration culminating with the pair’s Road To Escondido collaboration in 2006, which earned Cale his first Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album and his first RIAA Certified Gold Award.
Among the many others who covered Cale’s songs are Jerry Garcia, Captain Beefheart, Spiritualized, Beck, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mayer, Bryan Ferry, Santana, Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, The Band, Widespread Panic, Freddie King, Phish, Waylon Jennings, Maria Muldaur, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Hiss The Golden Messenger, Dan Auerbach and Lee Fields, to name just a few.
This goes to prove that even though you may not have heard of J.J.Cale, you have almost certainly heard his work and are, probably like me, unaware of the value of his legacy that this hugely talented but modest musician has given us.
On 22nd March Sleeper will release their first album in 21 years. Sleeper enjoyed huge critical and commercial success in the mid 90s: achieving 8 Top 40 singles across 3 Top 10 albums with well over 1,000,000 sales. Their music was characterized by astute, observational lyrics and big, hook driven melodies, typified by their most recognisable single, Inbetweener. Louise Wener was an iconic front-person, heading up a movement that brought women center stage in guitar music. Sleeper split In 1998 and walked purposely away from the limelight. Wener carved out a career as a successful novelist. Drummer Andy Maclure and John Stewart, Sleeper’s guitarist, both became lecturers in music studies. Sleeper’s current line-up are joined by former Prodigy bassist Kieron Pepper.
The 90’s saw an explosion of strong front women in bands, in what was largely referred to as Britpop. Garbage, The Cranberries, Elastica, Skunk Anansie, Catatonia, Echobelly and The Cardigans to name a few. In fact this month The Cardigans releasedall six of their albums on vinyl, two of which are available on vinyl for the very first time.
Another album wasn’t meant to happen. In fact, the band had promised each other it never would.
“We had no plan to get back together. Sometimes life throws you a massive curve ball. You end up jumping off the cliff, just to see what it feels like.”: Singer, Louise Wener
The band spent last summer recording The Modern Age with their long time producer, Stephen Street, a relationship that clicked into place again right away. They tracked live at Metway Studios in their adopted city of Brighton, before decamping to Street’s studio in West London to add the finishing touches. The Modern Age is the outward looking sound of a band revitalized and refreshed. Covering subjects from motherhood and social media to personal loss and, inevitably, relationships. It retains Sleeper’s classic pop sensibilities with a shiny, new, contemporary feel. The first single to be taken from the album is Look at You Now, which was released last December. Initially it appears to be referencing Sleeper’s comeback, but it’s a protest song at heart: a howl for the politically homeless in a landscape where reasoned debate has given way to vitriol. Having had a sneaky preview listen of the album, I can confirm that fans of Sleeper will love it. They have not lost any of the edginess that hey had during their peak, as Look At You Know demonstrates.
Sleeper will be touring the UK from March and will be appearing at various festivals. It has just been announced that they will be at the Cool Britannia Festival at the world famous Knebworth Park in August. More dates are to be announced so keep your eyes peeled.
The PRS For Music Awards are something that I have not been aware of, and we should given the well publicised threat to local small venues up and down the country. PRS for Music, which protects the rights of more than 135,000 songwriters and composers, ensures music creators are represented whenever their music is used or performed in public. The organisation established the PRS for Music Heritage Award in 2009 to celebrate the important role that music venues play in supporting songwriters at the start of their careers, giving them a platform to perform in front of a live audience for the very first time. They are like the famous blue plaques that denote where famous people have lived. A list of previous awards can be found below within this article. These accolades are given to those live music venues across the UK that have played a crucial role in helping to create music history, by giving now-famous acts their first ever gig and helping them on their way to success.It has never been more important to keep music real in these days of manufactured corporate music for the masses played in arenas.
Nigel Elderton, Chairman, PRS for Music, said: “Ten years ago, we established the PRS for Music Heritage Award, to recognise live music venues that have given some of the UK’s most beloved and iconic acts their start. These small, local venues are where artists can earn their first bit of money from making music and often play a life-changing role at the very beginning of their careers, leaving an indelible mark on culture. Those artists go on to bigger stages, and bigger audiences, across the UK and indeed the world. I am delighted that we are honouring the Star Inn that has served as a music venue for more than 400 years – and continues to be a local hub for creatives and music fans alike.”
Legendary British band The Stranglers have presented a 400-year-old local pub in Surrey, the Star Inn, with the prestigious PRS for Music Heritage Award for 2019. Originally from Guildford, The Stranglers first performed at their local hometown pub, the Star Inn, on 21 December 1974, just three months after forming (initially as The Guildford Stranglers), in September that same year. This early act of generosity marked a turning point for the band which would see them become vital instigators of the UK punk rock movement, and release 23 Top 40 singles, 18 Top 40 albums, and a slew of now-iconic hits including Golden Brown, Peaches, No More Heroes and Hanging Around, in the years that followed. A lucky opportunity to play at their local music venue, saw the band attract a dedicated following from the very start, cementing a special relationship between band and venue.
The Stranglers, said: “The space that the Star Inn has created here is incredibly valuable to British music culture, they’ve played a huge role in giving emerging acts, like us at the time, a stage, helping them to thrive. They definitely deserve to be acknowledged with the PRS for Music Heritage Award to mark this pivotal moment in British music history.”
Grassroot music venues like the Star Inn provide a crucial environment for new and emerging acts to harness and develop their talent, try out new songs, experiment with creative identity, and build the foundations for a long-lasting fan base. These venues have witnessed the birth of some of the nation’s most loved music legends. Previous PRS for Music Heritage Awards have been given to venues that have helped the likes of Queen, Madness, Pulp, Spandau Ballet, UB40, Status Quo, Soul II Soul, Sir Elton John CBE, Blur and many more at the start of their musical careers.
Georgina ‘George’ Baker, Owner of the Star Inn, said: “We feel very much part of the fabric of The Stranglers’ history and so it’s an honour to receive this award. We pride ourselves on investing in emerging talent and giving them the platform they deserve and plan to do so for a very long time to come.”
This year’s PRS for Music Heritage Award plaque was unveiled by The Stranglers at a special red carpet ceremony at the Star Inn, Guildford. The unveiling of the plaque sees the start of what’s sure to be a hectic year for the revitalised band as they embark on their upcoming UK tour, Back on the Tracks, spanning 19 dates, 28 February – 30 March 2019.
Full List of PRS for Music Heritage Awards:
2009 Blur – East Anglian Railway Museum, 1989
2009 Dire Straits – Farrer House, Deptford, 1977
2010 Jethro Tull – Blackpool Holy Trinity Family Church, 1964
2010 Squeeze – Greenwich Dance Agency, 1975
2010 Sir Elton John – The Northwood Hills Hotel, 1962
2010 Snow Patrol – The Duke of York, Belfast, 1998
2010 Status Quo – Welcome Inn, Eltham, 1967
2011 UB40 – Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, 1979
2011 James – Fac 51 Haçienda, Manchester, 1982
2012 Soul II Soul – Electric Brixton, 1991
2012 Faithless – Jazz Café, Camden, 1996
2012 Supergrass – The Jericho Tavern, Oxford, 1994
2013 Queen – Imperial College London, 1970
2013 Orbital – The Garage, Highbury, 1990
2014 Spandau Ballet – The Blitz Club, Covent Garden, 1979
2015 Pulp – The Leadmill, Sheffield, 1980
2017 Madness – The Dublin Castle, Camden, 1979
2019 The Stranglers, Star Inn, 1974
I think this is a great initiative and serves to inform us of the fabric of our music industry. If you are local then support these venues. If you are visiting the area then pop into one of the venues if you can and show your support that way. If there is a show on then the current artists will be following in the footsteps of some pretty illustrious predecessors. As a lot of these venues are local hostelries then you might be able to soak up a cold drinks as well as soaking up history.
Masters of their own highly original sound, that combines a brilliant melodic touch with dark aggression and effortless cool, The Stranglers are now recognised as one of the most credible and influential bands to have emerged from the punk era. With record-breaking, sell-out shows and festival appearances in the UK and throughout the world, demand to see and hear the band is at an all-time high, testament surely to their considerable musical talent and enduring quality of their songs.
During a hectic year of touring the Southern Hemisphere, Europe and the UK, The Stranglers have also been busy writing and rehearsing new material; audiences can expect to experience some of these new cuts, alongside classic favourites and lesser performed numbers drawn from their eloquent and extensive catalogue spanning over forty years. www.thestranglers.co.uk
Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Ltd. are proud to announce an exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and the acclaimed Academy Award winning director Sir Peter Jackson. The new film will be based around 55 hours of never-released footage of The Beatles in the studio, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969. These studio sessions produced The Beatles’ Grammy Award winning album Let It Be, with its Academy Award winning title song. The album was eventually released some months later in May 1970, after the band had broken up.
The filming was originally intended for a planned TV special, but organically turned into something completely different, climaxing with The Beatles’ legendary performance on the roof of Apple’s Savile Row London office — which took place exactly 50 years ago today.
Peter Jackson said, “The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about – it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”
Although The Beatles were filmed extensively during the 1960s – in concerts, interviews and movies – this is the only footage of any note that documents them at work in the studio.
The Let It Be album and movie, having been released in the months following The Beatles’ breakup, have often been viewed in the context of the struggle the band was going through at that time.
“I was relieved to discover the reality is very different to the myth,” continues Jackson, “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with. Watching John, Paul, George, and Ringo work together, creating now-classic songs from scratch, is not only fascinating – it’s funny, uplifting and surprisingly intimate”.
“I’m thrilled and honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.”
Jackson will be working with his They Shall Not Grow Old partners, Producer Clare Olssen and Editor Jabez Olssen. The footage will be restored by Park Road Post of Wellington, New Zealand, to a pristine standard, using techniques developed for the WW1 documentary film which has been nominated for a BAFTA for best documentary.
The untitled film is currently in production and the release date will be announced in due course. This film is being made with the full co-operation of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison.
The Executive Producers are Ken Kamins for WingNut Films and Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde for Apple Corps.
Following the release of this new film, a restored version of the original Let It Be movie directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg will also be made available.
The Orchestra of Cardboard is a collaboration between artist and filmmaker Dan Edelstyn and his close allies, Hilary Powell, Nick Graham Smith and Zac Gvirtzman. The album Songs For The Forthcoming War is released on 1stMarch, all proceeds will fund the purchase of dynamite. Yes you read that correctly! Dynamite!
The Orchestra of Cardboard is an artistic cog in a much bigger machine known as the Bank Job; a mischievous feature documentary produced by Dan and Hilary that follows a North London community coming together to make their own currency and open a bank. Taking part is Barn Croft Primary School, Eat or Heat Food Bank, the Pl84U Homeless Kitchen and The Soul Project Youth Project. This act of citizen money creation is both a way of raising real money for some of the poorest in the community and a way of fundraising to buy and destroy £1 million of local predatory debts.
Which is where the Orchestra of Cardboard comes in. The explosives purchased from sales of the album will be used to blow up a cash in transit vehicle stuffed with £1m of local payday debt in an act of economic disobedience and provocation against the establishment.
“Everywhere I look I see the seeds of war, the migration crisis, the rigged right wing press, the threats of global warming, the insidious poverty, the greed and corruption of banks,” Dan says. “Politics are polarising, the markets are soaring away from reality, peoples’ souls are hardening, the streets are full of car horns, the papers are full of fury. People are scared of standing up, we are adrift and lunatics have taken control of the steering wheel.”
The relationship between music, film and story telling is at the heart of the band. Highly cinematic, when playing live songs are performed alongside projected films and the band wears cardboard masks. “These songs are offered to every man, woman and child as a balm in the spirit of fraternal love and equality. They’re sung to a battered and broken world in much need of healing. We hope they will be accepted in the spirit in which they are intended.”
The album reflects Dan Edelstyn’s interest in 20th century history and the music takes us on a journey in styles through theatrical to lullaby. Perhaps a little like the merging of the soundtracks of Cabaret and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with a touch of early Pink Floyd!
There are many stand out tracks including Jazz Girl and I Lit A Fire. One of the real jewels on the album is The Shetlands, which is a love song duet about an imagined escape from London to a quieter life on the remote northern Island and can be seen below.
The album has been produced and mastered by Nick Graham Smith, who used to work with Malcolm McClaren and has been Dan’s music partner for many years.
Priests have announced their new album, The Seduction Of Kansas, alongside a massive world tour and a video for the title track. What is at stake in the seduction of Kansas? Like a gavel or hammer, the question rattles across the second LP from the Washington, D.C. rock iconoclasts. The album is set for release on 5th April via their own Sister Polygon Records.
Entering their eighth year as a band, Priests drummer Daniele Daniele, vocalist Katie Alice Greer, and guitarist G.L. Jaguar remain an inspired anomaly in modern music. A band on its own label jolting the greater music world with early releases by Downtown Boys, Snail Mail, Sneaks, and Gauche, they are living proof that it is still possible to work on one’s own terms, to collectively cultivate one’s own world.
Priests enlisted two primary collaborators in writing, arranging, and recording The Seduction of Kansas. After playing cello, mellotron, and lap steel on Nothing Feels Natural, multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin returned to breathe air into Priests’ demos, serving as primary bassist and a fourth songwriting collaborator on The Seduction of Kansas. The band also found a kindred spirit in producer John Congleton , recording for two weeks at his Elmwood Studio in Dallas. It marked the band’s first time opening up their creative work to collaborate with someone outside of their DC-based community. Priests found a third collaborator in bassist Alexandra Tyson, who has also joined the touring band. The songwriting process found the group once again analyzing the textures and scopes of albums as aggressive as they are introspective, like Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, Portishead’s Third,and Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral.
The first single, is Priests’ purest pop song to date. It is dark and glittering—though there is still something fantastically off about it, decadent and uneasy at once. As journalist Thomas Frank explored in 2004’s What’s the Matter With Kansas?, the ideological sway of Kansas has often predicted the direction in which the U.S. will move, whether leaning socialist in the 1800s or going staunchly conservative in the 1980s.
Illustrating Kansas’ potent place in thier national imagination, as well as “a chorus of whoever is trying to persuade the social consciousness of Kansas”, Greer sings brilliantly of a “bloodthirsty cherub choir” in a cornfield, of “a drawn out charismatic parody of what a country through it used to be,” beckoning that “I’m the one who loves you.” The song does what Priests do best: They make us think, stir us with complexity. As for “seduction,” the word has long evoked pleasure, sex, but it can become propaganda, a tactic of manipulation, a ploy in the politics of persuasion. “There’s something sinister about the idea of seducing a whole state,” says drummer Daniele Daniele. “You’re clearly up to something. Why would you do it?” The title, like Priests, is a moving target, probing questions about the realities and mythologies of America in 2019 without giving in to easy answers.
PRIESTS 2019 TOUR DATES
March 8 – Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Music Festival
March 9 – Birmingham, AL @ The Firehouse
March 11 – Fri. March 15 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
March 17 – Nashville, TN @ Exit / In
March 18 – Knoxville, TN @ The Pilot Light
April 15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
April 16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
April 18 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
April 19 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
April 20 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
April 21 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
April 22 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
April 25 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
April 26 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
April 27 – Omaha, NE @ Reverb
April 28 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
April 30 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
May 1 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups May 11 – Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape May 12 – Bristol, UK @ Rough Trade May 13 – Manchester, UK @ YES (Pink Room) May 14 – Glasgow, UK @ The Hug and Pint May 15 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club May 16 – London, UK @ 100 Club
May 17 – Lille, FR @ Aeronef
May 18 – Paris, FR @ Supersonic
May 20 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique (Witloof Bar)
May 21 – Cologne, DE @ Bumann & Sohn
May 22 – Munich, DE @ Import/Export
May 23 – Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
May 24 – Heidelberg, DE @ Queer Festival (Karlstorbahnhof)
May 25 – Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling
May 27 – Aarhus DK @ Tape
May 28 – Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
May 29 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
May 30 – Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklag (Goldener Salon)
May 31 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret Festival
June 15 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
June 16 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
June 17 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
June 18 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
June 20 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
June 21 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda
June 22 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
June 24 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
June 25 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
June 26 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
June 27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
June 29 – Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
July 1 – Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall
July 2 – Vancouver, BC @ The Bitmore
July 3 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
July 6 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
July 7 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
July 9 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar
July 10 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway