Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
That brand of fiercely unconditional commitment—to the songs, to the sound, to each other—has defined Ida Mae from the start, and it courses through the veins of the band’s brilliant debut, ‘Chasing Lights.’ Blending elements of vintage Delta blues and gritty rock and roll with boldly modern arrangements and fearless punk swagger, the record captures Ida Mae in its purest form, with Turpin and his longtime musical partner Stephanie Jean performing nearly everything live in the studio under the guidance of legendary producer Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling, Kings of Leon). It’s an electrifying collection, the kind of record that feels both familiar and groundbreaking all at once, fueled by dazzling musicianship, breathtaking harmonies, and the sort of versatile, timeless songwriting that’s earned the band tour dates with everyone from Greta Van Fleet and Blackberry Smoke to Marcus King and The Lone Bellow. One listen to “Chasing Lights” and it all seems meant to be, but the record might never have happened if Turpin and Jean weren’t willing to, quite literally, bet the house on themselves.
“We were living in this tiny little place in my hometown of Norwich when we started writing these songs,” Turpin remembers. “We had enough money to live there for six months, so we turned the entire downstairs into a studio and gave ourselves that window to write and demo as much as we possibly could. We knew we had to land a deal in that time or it would be game over.”
Turpin and Jean were no strangers to the music industry by that point. The pair had earned widespread critical acclaim everywhere from the BBC to the NME with their raucous first group, Kill It Kid, but they walked away from it all when their major label deal turned sour. Rather than view the band’s dissolution as a setback, though, Turpin saw it as an opportunity to get back to his roots, to create the kind of sound he’d imagined a decade earlier when he and Jean were still just students attending university in Bath.
“When we met, I was hitting every open mic I could find playing old-time acoustic country blues—Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Mississippi Fred McDowell—and Steph was singing jazz from a similar era: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, that kind of thing,” explains Turpin. “It was like we were two sides of the same coin. One day I heard a recording of Blind Willie McTell and his wife performing together, and I realized that Steph would be perfect, so I asked her to sing with me.”
The first song the pair ever harmonized on was Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee’s “Ida Mae,” and the name seemed like a natural fit when it came time to launch their new project, which just happened to roughly coincide with their marriage.
“Steph and I have been best friends ever since we started playing music together,” says Turpin. “Our relationship was a working one before it was ever a romantic one, and the bonds we formed on the road as bandmates made for a really deep foundation. People ask what it’s like to write and record with your partner, but the truth is that it’s the only thing we’ve ever known. Creatively, artistically, this is the way we’ve done it for our whole careers—I’m often the main writer and Steph is the editor—and we’re incredibly lucky that it works so well.”
The duo’s natural chemistry proved to be an ideal fit for Ethan Johns’ minimalist approach to production. Johns, who also plays drums on the album, pushed the band to record straight to tape with little rehearsal, encouraging them to rely on their instincts in order to capture the songs in the most raw and real manner possible.
“Ethan records live and very quickly,” explains Turpin. “He loves the naïve discovery of early takes. He loves the mistakes and the pure unthinking nature of those performances. It could be terrifying at times, but we always trusted his judgment.”
While the sessions were recorded with an old school approach, the album is by no means a throwback. Juno synthesizers and Korg drum machines flesh out the arrangements with distinctly modern touches (one track even features a percussion loop created on an iPhone), and Turpin often found himself running his historic 1930’s National resonator guitar through pedals and amplifiers to manipulate the sound.
“We didn’t want to just go into the studio and rehash old records,” Turpin says. “Incorporating synths and drum machines and string samples and experimenting with guitar tones was a way for us to offset the traditional roots nature of a lot of the music we were recording.”
That juxtaposition of sonic eras is immediately apparent on album opener “Boom Boom Boom,” a scathing takedown of toxic masculinity that features retro production alongside futuristic guitar work from Dweezil Zappa, who reached out to the band over Instagram to express his appreciation for their music. The pulsating “Higher Than The Light” channels Bo Diddley via Led Zeppelin, while the Beat poet-inspired “My Girl Is A Heartbreak” merges heavy blues and deep funk grooves, and the tender “Easily In Love” pairs moments of hushed intimacy with soaring emotional grandeur.
“A lot of these songs sort of hint at us and our relationship,” says Turpin. “You can’t help but write yourself into almost everything. But most of our work is actually inspired by the people we know and the places we’ve seen on the road.”
While the pair now calls Nashville home, one of Turpin and Jean’s earliest introductions to America was a road trip across the Deep South, which they embarked upon a few years back as something of a musical pilgrimage. Their field recording of the birds above Robert Johnson’s grave opens “Rightfully Honestly,” a soulful, romantic ode to two lovers whose relationship rescues them from themselves, while a sampling of voices captured in a New Orleans dive bar leads into “Feel Them Getting Closer,” a swampy strut about escaping the shackles of normalcy. Perhaps no track sums up the band’s journey better, though, than the gently gorgeous title track, which finds Turpin and Jean’s voices twisting and turning around each other like beautiful, tangled vines.
As long as Steph and I have known each other, this is what we’ve done,” reflects Turpin. “‘Chasing Lights’ is a metaphor for everything we’ve been after, for tracing the footsteps of our heroes, for making a life and a living on our own terms.”
Music and love define the artistry of singer, songwriter and dedicated community activist Brian Owens . These qualities radiate from all of his work, including his duet with five time Grammy-winning and legendary vocalist Michael McDonald on SOUL OF FERGUSON , and the heartfelt interpretation of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which Owen s filmed and recorded with his father, Thomas Owens.
Their powerful performance ignited the internet and has received more than 100 million views on Facebook and Brian’s own YouTube channel.
Owens and McDonald will appear as featured guests on an upcoming episode of Sanborn Sessions , hosted by award- winning saxophonist, composer and arranger David Sanborn from his home studio in New York.
As a community advocate, Owens is the founder and Executive Director of L.I.F.E. Arts Inc (Leadership, Innovation, Faith and Entrepreneurship), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides artistic resources, opportunities, mentoring and positive experiences to help students in under served communities throughout Ferguson and the St. Louis metropolitan area to access consistent and localized programs, experiences and infrastructure. Additionally, Owens serves as the Community Music Artist in Residence with the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Collaborative at the University of Missouri St. Louis.
Owens is announcing the debut of “Cool Water (Justice Runs Down Like)” and “Sparrow” from his forthcoming album, LOVE CAME DOWN. Each song will be available at all major streaming and retail digital download outlets including Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and Spotify beginning May 24, 2019.
“Cool Water (Justice Runs Down Like)” is an inspiring composition co-written by Owens and “Sparrow” is a loving cover of a rare tune by Marvin Gaye. Both songs feature jazz trumpet virtuoso and fellow St. Louisan Keyon Harrold , percussion ace Daniel Sadownick and an all-star rhythm section comprised of Peter Martin, Jon Cowherd, Steve Potts, Sherrod Barnes and Stephan Crump, affectionately named The Royal Five .
Owens continues his mission to inspire through music on each song, delivering uplifting messages over classic, impeccably arranged grooves reminiscent of some of Marvin Gaye’s finest work, Quincy Jones’ jazz aesthetic and other touchstones.
“‘Cool Water’ and ‘Sparrow’ are a true reflection of life’s beauty and trials,” Owens says. “For me, these songs are a constant reminder of what justice and beauty are really all about: GOD.”
LOVE CAME DOWN is a joint release by Owens’ nonprofit L.I.F.E. Arts and Purpose Music Group through the generous support of Steward Family and Salem United Methodist Church.
New West Records will release Richard Thompson’s The Cold Blue – Original Motion Picture Score tomorrow, May 23rd.
The 19-track score was written and arranged by Thompson for the acclaimed filmmaker Erik Nelson’s film of the same name. In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, The Cold Blue will be shown in 750 theaters across the U.S. for one day only — tomorrow, May 23rd — and then will see it’s HBO premiere on June 6th (Tickets & theater information can be found HERE.
In 1943, William Wyler, one of Hollywood’s most renowned and versatile directors, went to Europe to document air war in progress for his film The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. Wyler flew actual combat missions with B-17’s and during production, one of his cameramen, Harold Tannenbaum, was lost along with his plane over France. The footage was filmed during the spring and summer on 8th Air Force bases in England, and on bombing missions over Europe.
Incredibly, all of Wyler’s original 16-millimeter footage shot for The Memphis Belle was recently discovered deep in the vaults of the National Archives. The filmmaker Erik Nelson constructed the new documentary, The Cold Blue, out of the silent material as well as new interviews he conducted with nine surviving B-17 crewmen. The veteran’s voices take us through the harrowing world that Wyler and his cameramen captured in the summer of 1943. Painstakingly restoring every frame, Nelson removed dust spots and scratches, and restored the color of the original footage. A meditation on youth, war and trauma,The Cold Blue stands as a tribute to one of the world’s great filmmakers and the men of the 8th Air Force who flew mission after suicidal mission in the Second World War.
For The Cold Blue – Original Motion Picture Score, Richard Thompson brought together a small chamber orchestra comprised of four french horns, a string quartet, double bass, oboe, clarinet, harmonica and percussion. The orchestra was conducted by Peter Askim and recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
Speaking to NPR, Richard Thompson said, “I wrote almost wall to wall music…Scoring under speech was less of an issue than competing with the noise of the aircraft; I had to be sensitive to the droning of the engines being in (or close to) certain musical keys, and cues were written from this basis sometimes.” Continuing, “Every burst of ack-ack, every empty shell case landing on the floor of the plane, every whine of the Pratt and Whitney engines, all contribute to the emotion of the moment, and it is always the role of the music to push those emotions a little further.”
Of Thompson’s score, Nelson stated, “I’ve known Richard Thompson for close to 40 years, and I should have learned by now never to take him — or his work — for granted. I was stunned at how deep he dove into the nuances of The Cold Blue, to create a whole original score that both speaks to the time of the events depicted, and to our times today. I can’t imagine any other artist capturing the essence of this project in quite the same way, with quite the same articulation and clarity of purpose. And, oh yeah, he DOES know his way around World War Two airplanes.”
Richard Thompson’s musical influence cannot be overstated. Having co-founded the groundbreaking group Fairport Convention as a teenager in the 60s, he and his bandmates invented the distinctive strain of British Folk Rock. He left the group by the age of 21 which was followed by a decade long musical partnership with his then-wife Linda, to over 30 years as a highly successful solo artist. In 2011, Thompson received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. The Los Angeles Times called him the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix and Rolling Stone has named him one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time. He has received lifetime achievement awards for songwriting from Britain’s BBC Awards, the Americana Music Association, and was awarded the prestigious Ivor Novello Award. His song “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Greatest Songs Since 1923.” A wide range of musicians have recorded Thompson’s songs including Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones, David Byrne, Don Henley, Los Lobos, and many more. His massive body of work includes many Grammy
nominated albums as well as numerous soundtracks, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man. Thompson’s genre defying mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar along with engaging energy and onstage wit continue to earn him new fans and a place as one of the most distinctive virtuosos and writers in Folk Rock history. In 2018,
Thompson released his critically acclaimed studio album 13 Rivers, which Uncut Magazine called “His best album in decades.”
The Cold Blue – Original Motion Picture Score will be available for download starting tomorrow, May 23rd, via New West Records.
1. The Cold Blue
2. The Cold Blue Part Two
3. No Tomorrow
4. Fresh Eggs
5. A Sudden Boom
7. Tremendous Workers
8. Beautiful Sight
9. Beautiful Ship
10. Cold Air
11. Over There
12. Big Thunderstorm
14. Kill a Human
15. Red Flare
16. Just Germans
17. I’ll Be Seeing You
18. Family (Guitar Version)
19. The Cold Blue (Guitar Version)
Don McLean, America’s legendary singer and songwriter, will be awarded the George and Ira Gershwin Award for lifetime musical achievement on behalf of the Student Alumni Association of UCLA. In recognition of George and Ira Gershwin’s contributions to American music and in honor of their gift to UCLA, the UCLA Student Alumni Association established the annual George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement in 1988.
“I am such a great lover and admirer of the work of the Gershwin’s that to receive this award is a thrill,” said McLean. “In popular music the modernism of their music put them in a class by themselves.”
McLean will accept the award on Friday, May 17 at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, during UCLA’s 2019 Spring Sing event. The 31st edition of the award is in recognition of the tremendous contributions McLean has made to the music industry throughout his career. Reserved for influential musical figures, past recipients include Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, Julie Andrews, Lionel Richie, Anthony Kiedis, The Who and last year’s recipient, Linkin Park.
“On behalf of UCLA, I am thrilled to present the 2019 George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement to Don McLean,” said Award Director, Isabella Dohil, “whose poetic lyrics have transcended time and remain a staple of American culture. Don’s contributions to music have been profound and he continues to capture audiences both young and old through his dynamic storytelling.”
McLean To Perform During Father’s Day Weekend Concerts At Elvis Presley’s Graceland
Memphis is recognized worldwide as the “home of the Blues” and the “birthplace of Rock ‘N’ Roll,” and Graceland’s Father’s Day Weekend Celebration lives up to those honors with multi-platinum singer/songwriter Don McLean and his chart-topping hits will perform on the Soundstage at Graceland on Saturday, June 15.
“I will be at Graceland for a Fathers Day concert and I will sing ‘And I Love You So,’ a song I wrote which Elvis sang during the last year of his life,” said McLean. “It also appears on his album, Today, released in 1975.”
Throughout the weekend, guests will be treated to tours of the iconic Graceland mansion, Elvis Presley’s Memphis™ entertainment complex and experience the brand-new Graceland Exhibition Center featuring three fantastic exhibits: Muhammad Ali: Greatest of All Time, Memphis Music Legends and A Century of the American Motorcycle. To purchase tickets, please visit GracelandLive.com/don-mclean.
Since first hitting the charts in 1971, Don McLean has amassed over 40 gold and platinum records world-wide and, in 2004, was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Classic hits like “American Pie”, “Vincent (Starry Starry Night)”, “Castles in the Air”, “And I Love You So”, “Crossroads” and “The Grave” propelled McLean into the mainstream. Many of his songs have been recorded and sung by musicians from every genre, including Madonna‘s No. 1 recording of “American Pie” in 2000, George Michael’s rendition of “The Grave” in 2003, and James Blake’s version of “Vincent (Starry Starry Night).”
Having recently honored the 60th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death, and receiving Million-Air certifications from BMI for over 5 million certified airplays of “American Pie” and 3 million certified airplays for “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” McLean continues to bring his classic hit songs to stages around the world.
Don McLean On Tour:
MAY 10 – The Greenwich Odeum / East Greenwich, R.I.
MAY 11 – Paramount Hudson Valley Theater / Peekskill, N.Y.
JUN 07 – South Orange Performing Arts Center / South Orange, N.J.
JUN 15 – Graceland LIVE / Memphis, Tenn.
JUN 29 – Cape Fear Community College / Wilmington, N.C.
JUL 03 – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa / Catoosa, Okla.
JUL 20 – Ponte Verda Concert Hall / Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.
JUL 27 – Dosey Does / The Woodlands, Texas
AUG 02 – The Rose / Pasadena, Calif.
AUG 03 – The Canyon / Montclair, Calif.
AUG 16 – Ojai Libbey Bowl / Ojai, Calif.
AUG 17 – Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center / Valencia, Calif.
AUG 26 – Live at Amsterdamse Bos / Amsterdam, Holland
AUG 27 – Snape Maltings Concert Hall / Saxmundham, U.K.
AUG 29 – Middlesbrough Town Hall / Middlesbrough, U.K.
AUG 31 – Southport Theatre & Convention Center / Southport, U.K.
SEP 01 – Moseley Folk & Arts Festival / Birmingham, U.K.
SEP 08 – Rams Head On Stage / Annapolis, Md.
SEP 20 – The Cabot / Beverly, Mass.
SEP 21 – Tupelo Music Hall / Derry, N.H.
OCT 04 – Golden Nugget Casino / Las Vegas, Nev.
OCT 06 – Coach House Concert Hall / San Juan Capristrano, Calif.
Click here for Don’s most updated tour calendar
The Allman Betts Band has announced that their debut album Down To The River (BMG) will be released everywhere on June 28 . The first single, “ All Night ” is due out on May 17 .
Down To The River was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, AL and was produced by Grammy Award winning Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine and Elvis Presley).
Peter Levin (Gregg Allman’s Hammond B3 player) and Chuck Leavell (former Allman Brothers Band keyboardist and current Rolling Stones keyboardist) make special appearances on the record.
The Allman Betts Band kicked off their world tour on March 27 at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC then went on to sell out twelve of their first eighteen shows on the first leg of their world tour. The band is estimated to play around 200 shows during their World Tour.
The ABB is excited to announce that they will be joining musical legend, John Fogerty on tour for select dates later this summer in the Northeast including stops in Providence, RI, Portland, ME, Boston, MA and a performance at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. “ Anytime you get to play with your heroes it’s a dream come true, but John Fogerty, that’s pretty special. We are beyond honored to share the stage with him on these upcoming dates ,” says Betts. “ As a longtime fan of CCR, I’m so amped up to do some shows with one of the best voices in rock music. ” adds Allman.
The Allman Betts Band is:
Devon Allman- guitar, vocals Duane Betts- guitar, vocals
Berry Duane Oakley- bass, vocals Johnny Stachela- guitar, vocals John Ginty- keyboards
R Scott Bryan- percussion, vocals John Lum- drums
DOWN TO THE RIVER 2019 TOUR:
May 6, Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Theater
May 8, Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theater
May 9, Salina, KS @ Stiefel Theatre
May 10, Dallas, TX @ Kessler Theater
May 11, Houston, TX @ Heights Theater
May 12, Austin, TX @ Mohawk
May 14, Lubbock, TX @ Cactus Theater
May 15, Albuquerque, NM @ National Hispanic Cultural Center
May 16, Tucson, AZ @ Fox Theater
May 17, Flagstaff, AZ @ Orpheum Theater
May 19, Chandler, AZ @ Chandler Center for the Performing Arts
Jun 8, Garberville, CA @ Redwood Run
Jun 14, Lowell, MA @ Lowell Summer Music Series
Jun 15, Utica, NY @ Stanley Theatre
Jun 18, Kent, OH @ The Kent Stage
Jun 19, Three Oaks, MI @ Acorn Theater
Jun 20, Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre Ballroom
Jun 21, Columbus, OH @ Express Live
Jun 22, Kokomo, IN @ Foster Park
Jun 23, McMinnville, TN @ Cumberland Caverns
Jun 25, Bristol, TN @ Paramount Theater
Jun 26, Rocky Mount, VA @ Harvester PAC
Jun 27, State College, PA @ State Theatre
Jun 30, Winter Park, CO @ Blues from the Top
Jul 5, Westhampton, NY @ Westhampton Beach PAC
Jul 6, East Hampton, NY @ John Drew Theater at Guild Hall
Jul 7, Norwalk, CT @ Wall Street Theater
Jul 8, Ocean City, NJ @ NJ Music Pier
Jul 16, Munich, DE @ Backstage Hall
Jul 17, Luxembourg, LUX @ Rockhal
Jul 23, Cologne, Germany @ Kantine
Jul 24, Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
Jul 29, Hamburg, DE @ Markthalle
Jul 30, Berlin, DE @ Lido
Jul 31, Nürnberg, DE @ Hirsch
Aug 9, Providence, RI @ Bold Point Park*
Aug 11, Portland, ME Maine @ Savings Pavilion*
Aug 13, Boston, MA @ Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion*
Aug 15, New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall*
Aug 29, St. Charles, IL @ The Arcada Theater
Aug 30, Fort Wayne, IN @ Sweetwater Performance Pavilion
Sep 1, Lakeville, PA @ Cove Ent Resorts
Sep 13, Colorado Springs, CO @ Pikes Peak Center
Nov 1, Auburn, AL @ Woltosz Theatre
* w/ John Fogerty
May 18, Dana Point, CA @ Doheny Blues Festival
Jun 16, 2019 Bethel, NY @ Mountain Jam
Jun 28, Rochester, NY @ Rochester Jazz Festival
Jun 29, 2019 New Martinsville, WV @ Back Home Festival
Jul 2, Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
Jul 14, 2019 Suwalki, Poland @ Suwalki Blues Festival
Jul 20, 2019 Maidstone, UK @ Ramblin’ Man Fair
Jul 21, Peer, Belgium @ Peer Blues Festival
Jul 25-28, 2019 Scranton, PA @ Peach Music Festival
Jul 25-28, 2019 Breitenbach, GER @ Burg Herzberg festival
Aug 2, Notodden, Norway @ Notodden Blues Festival
Aug 10, 2019 Duluth, MN @ Bayfront Blues Festival
Aug 24, 2019 Arrington, VA @ LOCKN’ Festival
Sep 5-8, 2019 Las Vegas, NV @ Big Blues Bender
Sep 14, Telluride, CO @ Blues & Brews Fest
MORE DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED!