Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black Country Communion 2 Artwork

Black Country Communion has released the cover art for their second album.

[caption id="attachment_1034" align="aligncenter" width="431" caption="Used by Permission: click for full size"]bcc2-cover[/caption]

The track list for BCC 2 was released last week:

  1. The Outsider

  2. Man In The Middle

  3. I Can See Your Spirit

  4. The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall

  5. Save Me

  6. Cold

  7. Smokestack Woman

  8. Faithless

  9. An Ordinary Son

  10. Little Secret

  11. Crossfire

  12. Crawl

BCC2 will be available June 13 in the UK, June 14 in US and Canada.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Black Country Communion 2 Track List

Black Country Communion’s second album, due for release June 14 in USA and Canada (June 13 in the UK), will feature 12 songs and run 70 minutes.bccuktour

Previously bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes has said BCC2 is a “rock ’n roll rollercoaster… organic… darker than ‘1.‘”

The track list for BCC2 has now been released:

  1. The Outsider

  2. Man In The Middle

  3. I Can See Your Spirit

  4. The Battle For Hadrian’s Wall

  5. Save Me

  6. Cold

  7. Smokestack Woman

  8. Faithless

  9. An Ordinary Son

  10. Little Secret

  11. Crossfire

  12. Crawl

No word on whether Save Me is the 1979 Brian May penned song from Queen's The Game album.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Joe Bonamassa - Dust Bowl

Joe Bonamassa is first and foremost a blues guitarist. He toured with Buddy Guy when he was 12. He has played with BB King and Eric Clapton. The blues is his milieu. Dust Bowl, Bonamassa’s 9th solo album and his sixth with Kevin Shirley producing was recorded in Greece, Nashville, Malibu and Los Angeles. It is a blues album through and through, although at first blush it may not seem so.folder

In sixty-three minutes, Dust Bowl rolls through twelve songs that range in styles from country to Stevie Ray Vaughan boogie, bluegrass tinged rock to pop, without ever leaving the blues influence behind. And throughout Bonamassa’s virtuosity shines through.

Beginning with the sound of a train leaving the station, Slow Train is a slow hard blues, the band driving a great groove, Bonamassa ripping through cool blues licks. Leading into the title track, another slow tempoed but hard driving song, Dust Bowl is punctuated by a laid back western guitar lick.

Bonamassa’s singing is excellent throughout the album, as is his song writing. There are, none the less, three tracks with a guest singer and the third song Tennessee Plates is the first. John Hiatt shares the singing duties on the up-tempo country track, while Vince Gill fills the song with hot country guitar licks. Gill also plays and sings on the country boogie song Sweet Rowena. The guests are filled out by Bonamassa’s Black Country Communion band-mate Glenn Hughes, who co-sings the Free song, Paul Rodgers’ Heartbreaker.

But it is the Bonamassa songs that really shine. The mandolin led Black Lung Heartache, the Spanish infused slow blues The Last Matador of Bayonne, or the dirty sounding The Whale that Swallowed Jonah. Bonamassa is a storyteller, weaving tales in his writing that enhance his songs but don’t overshadow his strong band or his flawless guitar playing.

You Better Watch Yourself is a Stevie Ray Vaughan shuffle that at first hearing was intimately familiar. My first thought was that it was one of the standards, something Vaughan or Eric Clapton have covered previously. It is, however, a Bonamassa original and the albums best song. Beginning with Bonamassa riding his wah-wah pedal with a Hendrix like riff, he keeps on the pedal throughout and gives a performance that is so Stevie Ray like it seems a sure thing it was played on a Stratocaster.

The album ends on a surprising note, the Karen Lawrence/John Desautels song Prisoner. Formerly known as the Love Theme from “The Eye’s of Laura Mars” (prisoner), Bonamassa and producer Kevin Shirley take the Barbara Streisand ballad and turn it into a slow, sultry blues. It is what Jimmy Page’s Prisoner’s Blues aimed to be, but failed.

If you’re a blues rock fan waiting it out until June for Black Country Communion to release their 2nd album, Joe Bonamassa’s Dust Bowl is a must have album. It is a showcase of the blues in it’s many variants by one of it’s most prolific and virtuosic performers.

    Track Listing
  1. Slow Train

  2. Dust Bowl

  3. Tennessee Plates

  4. The Meaning of the Blues

  5. Black Lung Heartache

  6. You Better Watch Yourself

  7. The Last Matador of Bayonne

  8. Heartbreaker

  9. No Love on the Street

  10. The Whale That Swallowed Jonah

  11. Sweet Rowena

  12. Prisoner

The Return of the Led Zeppelin Experience

Last fall, Jason Bonham hit the road with a show called The Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience (JBLZE). Put together by the guys who did The Beatles Rain show, JBLZE combined the music of Led Zeppelin with pictures and home movies from his own life.jason

Between songs, Bonham would stand at the edge of the stage and talk about his life with his father, his life as a member of the Led Zeppelin family. Whether talking about his father, or about the “greatest night of his life,” Dec 10, 2007 at the O2 arena, JBLZE is a tribute to the father from the son.

When he announced the JBLZE tour last fall, Bonham suggested the band would do 30 shows, to pay homage to the fact it had been 30 years since his father’s death. The number of shows, however, became a bit fluid and the thirty shows never stood. Now Bonham is taking the JBLZE back on the road for 18 more shows (as currently announced - more could be added), and it looks like JBLZE may be a more or less permanent side project for the drummer.

Bonham appears to be taking the same band out on the road as he did in the fall. Bassist Michael Devin is the bassist of record for Whitesnake, who also have dates supporting their new album, Forevermore, beginning in May. Many Whitesnake dates coincide with the JBLZE experience shows.

The rest of the band is Stephen LeBlanc on lap steel guitar/guitar/keyboards, Tony Catania on guitar and James Dylan on vocals.

A review of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience performance in Kitchener last October can be found here. Steve Sauer at Lemon Squeezings has the full slate of shows Bonham is doing with JBLZE, as well as with Black Country Communion and Paul Rodgers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kevin Shirley Interview

Grammy nominated recording engineer Dave Rideau sat recently with Kevin “The Caveman” Shirley at Shirley's studio, The Cave in Malibu. In the interview for Solid State Logic, Los Angeles based Rideau talked with Shirley about his career, and his recording methods, including working with Led Zeppelin and Black Country Communion.

The resulting 39 minute interview was published in three parts on YouTube.

In part 1, he discusses working on the Led Zeppelin DVD and the live CD, How the West Was Won. Jimmy Page and Kevin Shirley did not always, it seems, get along perfectly:
I got to the studio and it was like, well there’s room full of old tapes, going back from 1968 to 1980. And we’re going to do something with them and it was like, what are we going to do with them. And Jimmy Page at that point was like, “well, I want to be in New Orleans in 8 weeks time to see my son. So we need to do something in 8 weeks.”

And I looked at them, and I opened up the first tape which was like, 1968 recording of The Royal Albert Hall and the tape was falling apart. I said, “We gotta’ bake these tapes.” and he was furious, he was like, “Why do you have to bake the tapes?” And I’m like well, there’s oxide and tape and glue and it’s coming off, and storing in mouldy old England, it’ll do that to you. And he was livid, and we finally had to bake the stuff, had to bake everything and transfer everything so that alone took us about 3 or 4 weeks to get done.

So we started off on the wrong foot

It’s a theme that would carry into the second video:
When we worked at Sound West, and Jimmy would be upstairs, and he’d come downstairs and say, “what you doing?” And I’d say, “well, I’m just working on this thing over here, I just repaired this one guitar thing.”

He’s like, “Don’t you dare, let me hear it.” And then I would play it to him, he goes, “let me hear how it was.” Then I’d play it back to him, he’d say, “let’s hear what you did to it.” and then he’d listen back, he’d go, “I’m going upstairs to smoke.” And then he goes, “I don’t wanna know, I don’t wanna know. If it sounds better, that’s good but I don’t wanna know.”

Repairs? On Jimmy Page’s guitar work? Surely not? Well, yes, and call me Shirley:
There’s one obvious one in the Zeppelin DVD where, that great fanfare that marks the end of the solo in Stairway to Heaven. He goes up high and he does that fanfare right at the end of the solo. If you watch that performance on the DVD, which I think is from Earls Court, the high string breaks, and so he has to go and play the fanfare down an octave… I have taken the liberty of pinching the fanfare from another performance and putting it on there. So if you look you can see that it’s played an octave down, but sounds an octave up.

Shirley explains, too, that there is, in fact, lots more Led Zeppelin material sitting in the vault. Not all of it, however, is useable:
I got to the studio and it was like, well there’s room full of old tapes, going back from 1968 to 1980... And by the time we started looking at it, it really wasn’t that much. There was some really shaky performances, and there was a lot of drug use going on in the band in the 70’s. So there were performances that really weren’t good at all.

The Caveman, as Shirley is known, didn’t just work with Led Zeppelin. He was instrumental in putting together, “these guys called Black Country Communion,” and shares the story of “crafting” their first album:
I booked the studio down the road, and we just booked two days, and I had everyone come into the studio…
Shangri-La, Just down the road here. And they came in for two days, and… Joe and Glenn had written nuggets of ideas, so we cut it all in bits and pieces… And then, they all went away, and in the evenings I cut it all up together when I was working on an Iron Maiden album in the Bahamas and I had time to spare. I put the headphones on and my laptop and I edited it all up, and that’s how this record came about…

It’s interesting… to see like 10,000 reviews that, “you can hear that these guys are all playing live,” well they are playing live, it’s just, they weren’t playing quite as you hear.

The third part is more technical, but still a fascinating watch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Robert Plant Over Europe

After finishing his North American run of shows with three festival appearances, Merlefest in May and Bonnaroo and Telluride in June,mainimage Robert Plant and the Band of Joy will embark on a European tour beginning mid-July.

Beginning in Italy, the Band of Joy has ten shows scheduled into August. After starting in Italy, the tour runs through France, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Belgium. More shows are expected to be added, including some shows in the UK.

The following dates are confirmed, with tickets on sale now:

  • July 19: Rome, Italy - Capannelle Fiesta.

  • July 20: Milan, Italy - Arena Cvica.

  • July 22: Nimes, France - Les Roman Arenes.

  • July 23: Nyon, Switzerland - Paleo Festival.

  • July 27: St. Petersburg, Russia - New Arena.

  • July 29: Moscow, Russia - Crocus Hall.

  • July 31: Kiev, Ukraine - Palace of Sports.

  • August 2: Warsaw, Poland - Torwar.

  • August 3: Berlin, Germany - Zitadelle.

  • August 5: Lokeren, Belgium - Lockersee Festival.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Free Whitesnake Song

Former Jimmy Page partner David Coverdale has reformed his old band, Whitesnake. The Coverdale-Page singer has a new album coming out, and tour beginning May.

Playing in the current incarnation of Whitesnake is Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience bassist Michael "Denim" Devin.

Playing drums in the band is Devin's pal Brian Titchy, who last fall, and again in January, put together The Groove Remains the Same, (JBLZE utility man Stephen LeBlanc was also involved in those shows).

With so many Zeppelin connections, it is reasonable to hope the new Whitesnake has something of a Led Zeppelin vibe to it. The first single has been released, and can be downloaded free (below).

Whitesnake's tour begins May 12 in Hartford. For full tour details go to Whitesnake's webpage.