“We’ll probably do this for the internet. Unless, you know, something terrible happens and we have to cheer up the world on the TV show.” These are the portentous words of Stephen Colbert preceding a duet with John Prine back in 2016.

Their performance of “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” filmed in the Ed Sullivan Theater, had not been broadcast until this latest at-home episode of The Late Show. 

Colbert unearths the clip with this statement: “I’d like to take a moment right now to send out a personal message to a friend. Last week, our friend and yours, the musical great John Prine was placed on a ventilator with coronavirus symptoms. My thoughts are with John and his wife, Fiona, and his family — and everybody out there touched by this virus. I’d like to share with you right now one of the happiest moments I’ve had on my show or any show. And that’s when John and I sang a duet in 2016 that we never broadcast, but we’d like to now. Happy enchilada, John”

Prine remains in stable condition.

Watch Prine and Colbert below:

 

 

 

Joe Diffie, the hitmaker behind such timeless 90s country songs as “John Deere Green” and “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” has sadly passed away today, March 29, due to complications from COVID-19. Diffie’s rep shared the news of the diagnosis on Friday, March 27.

The Grammy winner and Grand Ole Opry member will be remembered for his great vocal range, and for being an unrivaled interpreter of neo-traditional country music.

“Don’t spread my ashes out to sea don’t lay me down to rest / You can put my mind at ease if you fill my last request / Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die.”

 

 

Bill Rieflin, drummer for bands such as R.E.M., King Crimson, and Ministry has died after a battle with cancer. He was 59.

While best known as a drummer/hired gun, he was also a multi-instrumentalist versed in guitar, piano, and bass. His drum method was regarded as an industrial mainstay, as he played on tracks for Nine Inch Nails, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, and Swans, in addition to Ministry.

Rieflin had also done work with Peter Murphy, Chris Cornell, Pigface, and many others. He joined R.E.M. in 2003 as a touring member, playing with them regularly — live and in the studio — until their disbandment in 2011. And more recently, he was one of three drummers playing with King Crimson, having joined in 2013 and taking a hiatus in 2019.

 

Chrissie Hynde and James Walbourne

The Pretenders have postponed the release of their 11th studio album, Hate for Sale. Due to retail restrictions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, their LP will now be available on July 17. However, the band did premiere their title track today, March 24 (in case you’re like me and have no concept of time now).

Speaking of time warp, it sounds like The Pretenders as I know and love them. Much like the songs on their 1984 album, Learning to Crawl, “Hate for Sale” is yet another Pretenders moment transcending time and space — their punk energy and melodic sensibility live on.

And the musicality of The Damned also lives on in the title track. Chrissie Hynde confirms in this statement: “We all love punk, so I think it would be fair to say that ‘Hate for Sale’ is our tribute to the punk band I considered the most musical of the genre — The Damned.”

Listen to “Hate for Sale” by The Pretenders below:

 

 

 

 

“Who’s gonna play the Opry
And the Wabash Cannonball?
Who’s gonna give their heart and soul
To get to me and you?” 

– From George Jones’ “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”

Photo credit: Mark Mosrie

Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, and Brad Paisley performed together on the Grand Ole Opry stage for its 4,916th consecutive Saturday night show. They played not to a live audience, but rather a live broadcast on the digital multicast network Circle and other TV affiliates. The concert was also livestreamed on Circle’s Facebook and YouTube.

“We will all get through this because we’re gonna stick together,” said TV/radio personality Bobby Bones, who hosted the telecast. “We need to find ways to keep connected, and still be safe, which is why we’re here tonight.”

Facilitated by a skeleton crew, The three Opry members sat at a safe CDC-recommended social distance, swapping stories and playing some of the most revered songs in country music history. It’s worth mentioning that their set included Marty Stuart’s rendition of the trucker classic “Six Days on the Road” and Vince Gill’s breathtaking “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” Gill began writing the song inspired by the death of country balladeer Keith Whitley due to alcoholism in 1989, and finished it after his brother’s death in 1993.

The three also paid a wholehearted tribute to Kenny Rogers, who passed away the night before, by harmonizing together (Gill leading vocals with Stuart and Paisley joining in) on Rogers’ “Sweet Music Man.”

“That’s one of the songs that Kenny wrote,” Gill says following the performance. “He didn’t write very many songs, and it was always one of my favorite songs that Kenny ever did.”

The world’s longest-running radio show has postponed shows with a live house audience until April 4, but they have vowed to continue live broadcasts every Saturday night without an attending audience.

Watch more from the Opry livestream here:

 

If you’re seeking extrication during the new Dark Ages, but you also lead a clean life, Bruce Springsteen has the musical opiate. He’s released his 2009 concert, London Calling: Live in Hyde Park, onto streaming platforms in entirety for the first time. And if the COVID-19 pandemic feels concurrently like a loneliness epidemic, The Boss proves great company. 

Opening with the eponymous “London Calling” by The Clash, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band then kick into classics such as “Badlands,” “The Promised Land,” “Born to Run,” and then favorites “Glory Days” and “Dancing in the Dark” as part of a long encore.

For quality quarantine time, here’s the full London Calling: Live in Hyde Park concert in playlist format:

 

 

 

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the Luck Reunion, the “anti-festival” timed to coincide with SXSW every March, have decided to stage a virtual concert in its place. Luck Presents: ‘Til Further Notice will be live-streamed on Thursday, March 19. Starting at 6:00 PM and ending at 11 PM CT fans can tune in to Luck ReunionTwitch, or Facebook.

Everyone’s favorite outlaw country outlier, Willie Nelson, hosts the annual event and collective. Willie, his family members, and personal team strive to preserve traditions in American roots music, food, and craftsmanship. With six stages and under 4,000 attendees, the event offers respite from the sometimes overwhelming nature of SXSW. Luck Reunion is situated in the old west town of Luck, TX, A.K.A. Willie Nelson’s backyard on the outskirts of Austin. Luck, TX was built in 1985 as the backdrop for Red Headed Stranger, the film version of Willie’s breakthrough concept album of the same title.

Luck Productions co-founder Matt Bizer made this statement: “Everyone in our community is gutted. We are gutted. We couldn’t just sit around on Thursday when our event was supposed to take place, knowing that other producers and artists in our industry are also isolated and out of work. This is our effort to bring back a bit of the Luck spirit, and to try to raise money for the people and charities we care about so deeply.”

The performers of ‘Til Further Notice, including Jewel, Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, etc., will play call-in sets from their respective homes. The artists will donate digital tips from fans to charities of their choice. Also confirmed for ‘Til Further Notice are Lucinda Williams, Paul Simon & Edie Brickell, Nathaniel Rateliff, Margo Price & Jeremy Ivey, Randy Houser, Paul Cauthen, David Ramirez, Ida Mae, Tre Burt, Ian Ferguson, Devon Gilfillian, Early James, and Sunny War. 

“While the majority of the acts will be performing and recording from living rooms, bedrooms, or home studios, a small number of local acts are slated to (safely) broadcast from Austin’s premier recording facility, Arlyn Studios. Luck and Arlyn are working in tandem to do what they can to preserve the energy and camaraderie that is intrinsic in Austin’s creative community.” – Luck Reunion

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page circa 1970 New York. (Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images)

A US appeals court has ruled in Led Zeppelin‘s favor after a lengthy copyright dispute over whether the band ripped off the opening riff in “Stairway to Heaven.” The song in question is called “Taurus” by the band Spirit. “Taurus” was written in 1968, three years prior to “Stairway to Heaven.”

Zeppelin was accused back in 2014 of plagiarizing the opening part when journalist Michael Skidmore filed suit on behalf of the estate of Randy Wolfe, Spirit’s late guitarist/vocalist. The lawsuit claimed that the notorious intro was too similar to Spirit’s “Taurus.”

After a Los Angeles jury cleared Page and Plant in 2016, appeals court judges ordered a new trial in 2018. And now the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has upheld that the English rock band did not infringe the copyright of “Taurus.”

You be the judge:

 

 

Wilco and Sleater-Kinney have announced a co-headlining tour, spanning from August 6 to August 29. Their “It’s Time” tour begins at the First Interstate Center for the Arts in Spokane, Washington and ends at the Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, Wilco’s hometown. Opening for most of the dates is multi-instrumentalist NNAMDÏ.

 

Both Sleater-Kinney and Wilco are fresh from releasing new albums last year. Wilco put out Ode to Joy, and Sleater-Kinney put out The Center Won’t Hold.

Pre-sales begin on Wednesday, March 11 at 10 a.m. local time using “ODE” as the code. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, March 13 at 10am.

Watch the funny teaser video announcing the “It’s Time” tour starring Jeff Tweedy and Carrie Brownstein:

Tour dates for August:

6 – Spokane, WA
8 – Big Sky, MT
11 – Morrison, CO*
13 – Kansas City, MO*
14 – Saint Louis, MO*
15 – Atlanta, GA*
16 – Nashville, TN*
18 – Asheville, NC*
19 – Richmond, VA*
21 – Columbia, MD*
22 – Queens, NY*
23 – Philadelphia, PA*
25 – Boston, MA*
26 – Portland, ME*
27 – Lewiston, NY*
29 – Chicago, IL*

*with Nnamdï

Bob Dylan has announced a 2020 tour in the U.S. with soulful roots rockers Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Hot Club of Cowtown, a Western swing trio who toured with Dylan back in 2004, will also be supporting the bard. Nathaniel recently released a solo album, And It’s Still Alright, and is presently on a headlining tour.

Dylan’s tour commences June 4 in Bend, Oregon and ends at the site of the original Woodstock, The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, on July 12. Dylan’s 25-date Never Ending tour includes two nights in Berkeley, California on June 13 and 14. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 13 at 10am with presales beforehand.

Bob Dylan 2020 US Tour Dates:

June 4 — Les Schwab Amphitheater, Bend, OR
June 6 — Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre, Ridgefield, WA
June 7 — White River Amphitheatre, Auburn, WA
June 9 — Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR
June 12 — Harveys Outdoor Amphtheatre, Stateline, NV
June 13 & 14 — Greek Theatre, Berkley, CA
June 17 — Pechanga Arena San Diego, CA
June 18 — Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
June 20 — Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV
June 21 — Gila River Arena, Glendale, AZ
June 23 — Tingley Arena, Albuquerque, NM
June 24 — Amarillo Civic Center, Amarillo, TX
June 26 — The Pavilion at Toyota Music Center, Irving, TX
June 27 — Simmons Bank Arena, Little Rock, AR
June 28 — BankPlus Amphitheatre at Snowden Grove, Southhaven, MS
July 2 — Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
July 3 — Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, Alpharetta, GA
July 5 — Veterans United Home Loan Amphitheatre, Virgina Beach, VA
July 7 — Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, PA
July 8 — Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, NY
July 9 — Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, NY
July 11 — Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction, VT
July 12 — Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel Woods, NY