Photo cred: John Preito

McCoy Tyner, great jazz piano dynamo and longtime member of John Coltrane’s quartet, passed away on March 6. Tyner’s nephew, Colby, announced the news on Twitter. His family also released an official statement:

McCoy Tyner was born in Philadelphia in 1938. By 15, he had already formed his own seven-piece R&B unit. By 17, he met John Coltrane while working with trumpeter Calvin Massey. And by 21, he had joined the Coltrane quartet where he would stay for five years.

Tyner quit the quartet when Coltrane expanded and experimented in such a way that didn’t allow Tyner to hear his piano anymore. He later pursued his own successful career with the McCoy Tyner Trio, and performed with other artists such as Sonny Rollins and bassist Stanley Clarke. Tyner’s two-handed forays and use of modes are recognized as some of the most innovative in jazz history.

Mazzy Star co-founding guitarist and keyboardist David Roback has passed away at the age of 61. A representative of the band announced today that Roback died on Monday, a cause of death not yet released. Roback got his start in the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene in the 1980s, playing in Rain Parade and Opal.

From the ashes of Opal, David formed Mazzy Star with vocalist Hope Sandoval in 1989, and together the two wrote all of the band’s songs. In addition to being the primary songwriter, he also produced the band’s albums. Between 1990 and 1996, Mazzy Star released three albums: She Hangs Brightly, So Tonight That I Might See, and Among My Swan. After a long hiatus, they released Seasons of Your Day in 2013.

Mazzy Star is best known for their mainstream hit, “Fade Into You,” which has appeared in countless TV soundtracks. Sometimes hastily dubbed shoegaze, Mazzy Star brought certain colors, tones, and textures not heard before — a profound interfusion of dream pop, alternative, and neo-psychedelia. 

I’m remembering David Roback tonight with my favorite Mazzy Star songs:

 

 

 

Rick Diamond/Getty

A celebration of life for Willie Nelson’s drummer, best friend and unofficial bodyguard, Paul English, will be held on March 3 at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth. This event will be open to the public. 

The venue noted the following in a press release Thursday: 

“Paul was proud of his Fort Worth heritage. He grew up on the North Side and as a youngster boxed in the Golden Gloves and played trumpet in the Fort Worth Salvation Army band. After graduating from Fort Worth Polytechnic High School, he became a regular at some of our city’s more infamous establishments in Hell’s Half Acre, along Jacksboro Highway and, of course, the Fort Worth Stockyards, where he organized some of the area’s more notorious activities.”

English provided the backbeat and an unequivocal friendship for Willie, dating back to the 1950s. “I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone” is a true testament of the pair’s close bond; the song was written by Willie about Paul’s first wife who committed suicide. 

Another dedication song to English was the partner-in-crime classic “Me and Paul,” a single from Willie’s concept album Yesterday’s Wine. English once stated, “Had it not been for Willie, I would be dead or in the penitentiary.” 

 

The Prince Estate has announced the next surge of reissues, including Prince’s early ‘00s work that’s been largely out of print. These new editions will be made available on April 17. The box set Up All Nite With Prince and his 2001 The Rainbow Children will be reissued by Legacy Recordings.

Michael Ochs/Getty Images

The Rainbow Children will come as a clear double LP with a limited edition custom rainbow slipmat. The Up All Nite With Prince box set will contain The One Nite Alone Collection, One Nite Alone… Live!, The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over, and the DVD Prince Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas in a slipcase with a 48-page book. The One Night Alone… releases will also come in limited edition purple vinyl. The backing band on the live album includes Sheila E., Maceo Parker, Eric Leeds, Candy Dulfer, Greg Boyer, Renato Neto, John Blackwell, and Rhonda Smith.

The Prince Estate recently shared “Pop Life” from the Aladdin show:

 

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have announced a new album scheduled to be released on May 15th. Reunions will be a follow-up to the band’s 2017 album, The Nashville Sound, which won Best Americana Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards. 

“If your words add up to nothing / Then you’re making a choice to sing a cover when you need a battle cry,” Jason sings in the Reunions single entitled “Be Afraid.” 

These words take aim at artists who don’t use their platform to encourage action against social injustice. The song is a beautifully lo-fi preview of the new album, and serves as a reminder that indifference is more of an insidious danger than hate. 

The 10-track Reunions will feature David Crosby and Jay Buchanan (of Rival Sons) on background vocals. Isbell and the 400 Unit will play a smattering of dates in the U.S. from late March to mid-September, including Bonnaroo and Boston Calling. 

 

Pre-order and More Info

Time-honored tradition will bring the Rolling Stones back on the road. Today the Stones announced that their “No Filter” tour will return to North America for a 15-city run in 2020. The tour gets under way on May 8th in San Diego and ends in Atlanta on July 9th. Full itinerary below. 

“It’s always a pleasure to return to North America and play for some of biggest and best crowds in the world!” said Mick Jagger in a statement. “We had the best time on the road last summer and we are ready to do it again!,” added Keith Richards.

Tickets for these dates will go on sale Friday, February 14 at 10am local time. A limited number of exclusive VIP packages will be available. American Express Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Wednesday, February 12 at 10 a.m. local time through Thursday, February 13 at 10 p.m. local time.

The tour’s sponsor, Alliance for Lifetime Income, is a nonprofit education organization that educates Americans about the importance of having protected lifetime income.

The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour Dates

USA /Canada 2020

May 8, 2020                    San Diego, CA                SDCCU Stadium

May 12, 2020                  Vancouver, BC               BC Place

May 16, 2020                  Minneapolis, MN         U.S. Bank Stadium

May 20, 2020                  Nashville, TN                  Nissan Stadium

May 24, 2020                  Austin, TX                        Circuit of The Americas

May 29, 2020                  Dallas, TX                         Cotton Bowl Stadium

June 6, 2020                    Buffalo, NY                      New Era Field

June 10, 2020                 Detroit, MI                      Ford Field

June 14, 2020                 Louisville, KY                  Cardinal Stadium

June 19, 2020                 Cleveland, OH                FirstEnergy Stadium

June 23, 2020                 Pittsburgh, PA               Heinz Field

June 27, 2020                 St. Louis, MO                 The Dome at America’s Center

July 1, 2020                     Charlotte, NC                 Bank of America Stadium

July 5, 2020                     Tampa, FL                        Raymond James Stadium

July 9, 2020                     Atlanta, GA                     Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Today PEN America announced Patti Smith as the recipient of the 2020 PEN America Literary Service Award, to be granted at this year’s PEN America Literary Gala, on May 19.

PEN America is recognizing the poet laureate for her fecund and iconic career, across which she’s written luminous memoirs and poetry. Smith is justly lauded for her long-standing achievements in the two worlds of punk and poetry, which she has always paired seamlessly.

Smith has many published books under her belt, including the inspirational memoirs Just Kids, M Train, and the recently released Year Of The Monkey.

PEN America president and author of Manhattan Beach Jennifer Egan said in a statement:

“In all of Patti Smith’s thrilling incarnations—rock goddess, poet, eloquent witness to the bohemian New York of her youth—she has testified to the transformative power of literature in her own life and used her stardom to encourage reading and writing in the legions who revere her. A polestar of my own teenage years, she set an example of badass female artistry, coupled with deeply principled humanity, that I’m still trying to live up to. It will be an almost surreal joy to honor and celebrate the great Patti Smith at our 2020 gala.”

Past recipients of the PEN America Literary Service Award include Stephen King, Stephen Sondheim, J.K. Rowling, Tom Stoppard, Salman Rushdie, Philip Roth, Edward Albee, Margaret Atwood, and Toni Morrison.

The PEN America Literary Gala will take place on 5/19 at the American Museum Of Natural History.

PEN America

A couple days ago, a Change.org petition was created, urging Mike Love’s Beach Boys to drop out of the concert scheduled at the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada on February 5th. The organization encourages trophy hunting for endangered species. Donald Trump Jr. will be its keynote speaker.

Brian Wilson himself has taken to social media in support of this this, hoping that others will join him in signing a petition addressed to Elliott Lott, the Beach Boys’ manager.

The petition states: “We the undersigned pledge to stop buying or downloading all Beach Boys music, going to Beach Boys concerts, and purchasing any Beach Boys merchandise until the Beach Boys withdraw from the SCI Convention and publicly state their opposition to this sick ‘sport’ of killing animals for ‘fun’. We will call on the Beach Boys’ record label, agent and publicists to disown the Beach Boys, and on members of the public to protest at forthcoming Beach Boys concerts, unless they do so.”

Here are Brian Wilson’s tweets from earlier today:

Král, 2nd from right

Ivan Král, a former member of Patti Smith Group, has passed away at the age of 71. He died at his home in Michigan on Sunday, following a battle with cancer. 

The Czech guitarist and producer played with Blondie in 1974, just before teaming up with Patti Smith Group as a founding member. He wrote for and played guitar/bass on some of Patti Smith’s most influential albums: Horses from 1975, Radio Ethiopia from 1976, and Easter from 1978.

Ivan filmed a documentary on the New York punk scene with Amos Poe called The Blank Generation, and he also wrote songs performed by David Bowie and Iggy Pop. 

I’m remembering Ivan Král today with an arresting, immortal work of art — and one of my Patti favorites — which he co-wrote:

 

 

I believe it was Robert Frost who said poguetry is a way of taking life by the throat.

Spider Stacy, tin whistle player/singer of the Anglo-Irish folk-punk band the Pogues, has been playing with the Grammy-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers since 2015 under the name of Poguetry. And cajun music is now the medium through which the Pogues songs are expressed. In 2018 the original Pogues bassist, the storied Rocky O’Riordan, also joined forces with Stacy and the Ramblers, further integrating the sonic elements of the Pogues. 

The Pogues’ faculty for blending just the right amount of Celtic folk to punk may seem like a far cry from a band steeped in Cajun traditions. But the penny whistle, ferocity and poetry of the Pogues set to the eclectic instrumentation of the Lost Bayou Ramblers — a band equal insofar as punk-imbued energy — is really a natural progression when you think about it. It only makes sense that members of UK and Ireland’s premier punk band would merge their multicultural sound with that of Louisiana’s premier Cajun band. 

The story of how Poguetry came to be started at a place called One-Eyed Jack’s in New Orleans. “We moved to New Orleans.” Spider tells me, fresh from a walk around North London. 

“Steve Zahn, who was in the tv show Treme, had a party at One-Eyed Jack’s on Toulouse Street in New Orleans. The Ramblers were playing and I went along. And they were just brilliant. Completely compelling. Within seconds, I just thought if these guys played Pogues songs it would be brilliant. I could see how it would work perfectly. I talked about it for a couple of years, and really it was kind of somebody else getting the wrong end of the stick. A mutual friend, Davis Rogan, who lives in New Orleans was talking to Michot and said, ‘Oh, you’re doing this thing with Spider.’ Because I had said to Davis that I think it would be a great idea to get the Lost Bayou Ramblers to do a set of Pogues songs. That was something I had already discussed. He got the wrong end of the stick. Louis was like, “Who’s Spider?” It kind of fell into place after that. This probably happened in 2015, not long before we did the first show at One-Eyed Jack’s.” 

Stacy has been living in New Orleans for 10 years where he feels deeply connected to the city and its denizens.

“We bought our house in New Orleans in March of 2010. A complete eye opener. It’s like nothing we had ever experienced before. There’s all the music and everything. All the things that one would say about New Orleans. They’re all compelling reasons to go there, but it’s actually the city itself and the people that were the most overriding reasons. We moved to an area where we actually found ourselves part of a community, which is something we had never experienced before.”

He continues to tell me how the reception of Poguetry has been and how it continues to grow. “It’s a funny one, really. In New Orleans it’s become something that people know what it is. At the last show we did in New Orleans at Tipitina’s, we nearly sold out. The one prior to that — we had another show booked at Tipitina’s which I couldn’t make — the Ramblers also had a really good crowd for that. Obviously they had people come to see the Ramblers anyway, but I think a lot of that was the Poguetry thing. It was interesting when we did it as a guest thing with the Lost Bayou Ramblers at the Brooklyn Bowl. That was really interesting, because it was almost like a small scale Pogues gig in terms of the audience. I think the more people become aware of it the better it’s going to be.”

Cait O’Riordan and Stacy reunited in 2018 when they both played at Shane MacGowan’s 60th birthday celebration. The special night of music and camaraderie at the Irish National Concert Hall seemed like a good time as any to bring up his latest musical endeavor. 

“I just asked her. It was immediately an attractive idea. I said we’re the Cajun band in New Orleans; I told her to check them out. I think she had probably seen stuff on Twitter and Instagram, like the actual gig. She was up for it. Shane’s birthday was the best ground to lay it on, as it were.”

The name Poguetry springs from the Pogues EP title, Poguetry in Motion. Elvis Costello produced the EP in 1986 and also their Rum Sodomy & the Lash one year prior. Another Englishman who produced a Pogues album was co-founding Clash member Joe Strummer on 1990’s Hell’s Ditch. And Strummer actually fronted the Pogues the following year. 

“He did, and he also played guitar twice on a European tour and a North American tour, prior to producing Hell’s Ditch, when Philip Chevron was ill back in ‘89, I think it was. And of course we did Straight to Hell with him as well.”

Stacy looks back on that time now as a one-of-a-kind experience having performed both Pogues and Clash songs with the patron saint of punk. “It was kind of brilliant, really,” he warmly recalls.

“It really was. I love The Clash. To actually have Joe in the band was great. I can really only play the fanboy here. Oh, look. It’s Joe Strummer on stage, with us. At one point, I remember — I think we were in Paris — I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the picture sleeve of ‘Fairytale of New York.’ It was originally a photograph of Sammy Davis Jr. looking out of a window, overlooking 3rd Avenue in New York. He’s got a glass of whiskey in his hand. What they did was crop Sammy out and put me in the same pose holding a shot glass. We made it into a shirt. We were doing this show in Paris or wherever and I just happened to notice there’s Joe Strummer on stage with me on his T-shirt.”

My favorite Pogues song has always been “Boys From the County Hell.” Something about the spaghetti western banjo intro, the attitude in Shane MacGowan’s sonorous vocals, and the dulcet shriek of Stacy’s tin whistle throughout the whole thing. So I had to know if that was one Poguetry included in their set. “We do. And there’s no whistle because I’m singing it.”

Poguetry will embark on a tour in the U.S. starting at the end of February and ending in the middle of March. 

“I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be interesting. We did the thing in Brooklyn with the Lost Bayou Ramblers back in August. We’ve taken it out of New Orleans. Prior to Cait being involved, we did a couple shows in Texas and then we had a small run. We played places like Monroe, Louisiana. We played Little Rock and Birmingham. That was properly organized, but this has a little more organization behind it. We’re possibly slightly more established now. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes and how the crowds turn out.”

Poguetry 2020 Tour
Feb 28 – Tipitina’s New Orleans, LA
March 5 – City Winery, Boston MA
March 6 – City Winery, Philadelphia, PA
March 7 – Black Cat, Washington DC
March 8 – Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY
March 12 – City Winery, Atlanta, GA
March 13 – City Winery, Nashville, TN
March 14 – Ready Room, St. Louis, MO