Field Reportings from Issue #16
LET’S MAKE A DEAL: The Bottle Rockets have been released from their contract with Atlantic. An Atlantic spokesperson suggested there were plans to re-release last summer’s 24 Hours A Day on another label, but Brian Henneman, in Nashville recently for a show with Robbie Fulks, indicated the situation was changing day to day….
Emmylou Harris will release a live album with Spyboy, her backing band of the last couple years (featuring guitarist Buddy Miller, drummer Brady Blade and bassist Daryl Johnson). Miller also produced the album, which should be out in late summer or early fall. Harris also filmed a show for a long-form video on May 31 at Nashville’s Exit/In, the same venue that played host to last year’s sessions for the recently released Jason & The Scorchers live disc and video….
The Del McCoury Band has signed a deal with Skaggs Family Records, the new Ricky Skaggs-run label distributed by Rounder. The group has been busy working as the backing band for the next Steve Earle album at Nashville’s Room & Board Studio….
Rykodisc has signed Austin singer Kelly Willis, whose short-lived affiliation with A&M on the heels of her three-album MCA stint produced a memorable EP (on which she collaborated with Son Volt, the Jayhawks and 16 Horsepower), but no full-length album. She has a new record in the can that Ryko plans to release in early 1999….
Minneapolis indie label New West has signed Shaver (Texas songwriting great Billy Joe Shaver and his guitarist son Eddy). The duo’s debut for the label, Victory, is due out July 14 (see this issue’s “Waxed” section for a review). New West also has signed Austin songwriter-guitarist-producer Stephen Bruton and Vancouver artist Bocephus King; both have records due in September….
Dolly Parton’s latest record, co-produced by her cousin Richie Owens and featuring Owens’ band, the rock ensemble formerly known as Shinola (somebody in Washington state owns the name), will now be released in August on Decca. It was one of several projects rescheduled by the sinking of Rising Tide….
Marvin Etzioni called to report that a long-awaited two-disc Lone Justice compilation will be coming out on Geffen late this summer.
HOLDING PATTERN: As a result of the scattering of the members of Raleigh band the Backsliders to other N.C. Triangle acts (see this issue’s “Miked” reviews of Whiskeytown and Two Dollar Pistols for details), the group’s sophomore Mammoth Records release Hicktopia, which was recorded in Louisiana earlier this year with producer Eric Ambel, appears to be in limbo. It’s possible the album may still come out more or less as it was recorded, with frontman Chip Robinson recruiting a new cast of backing players to tour in support of it. In the meantime, Robinson is playing several solo dates in June and July on the East Coast along with Six String Drag leader Kenny Roby….
Delayed from a previously scheduled summer release is the Almo Sounds sophomore release of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. The duo recorded an album with T Bone Burnett in March at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, but re-entered the studio a couple months later (again with Burnett) to record a few more tracks….
Son Volt’s third album for Warner Bros. also is apparently in purgatory. The group canceled a European tour that had been planned for June, ostensibly to re-enter the studio for additional recording….
RCA has pushed back the release date of a new disc from Indiana band Mysteries Of Life. Advance CDs for Come Clean were sent out to press in January, but the label has since asked the band to make changes in the album and has delayed its release indefinitely….
Nearing a full year on hold is the sophomore release by Houston honky-tonker Jesse Dayton. Originally titled Hey NashVegas and planned for a release in mid-late 1997 on Justice, it was retitled Letter To Home and set for early 1998. Now it’s reportedly undergoing a third name change and still doesn’t have a firm release date.
CANINE COLLABORATION: Most of the Black Dog Records roster spent a week in mid-June at Route 1 recording studio in Monticello, Mississippi, recording an album to be released by the label sometime in the near future. Participants in the sessions were Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt of Blue Mountain, John Stirratt of Wilco, singer-songwriter Noah Saterstrom, and members of Philadelphia band Marah.
BAD NEWS BINKY: Calamities came in pairs recently for the roster of New Orleans label Binky Records. Oklahoma songwriter Bob Childers lost his house in a fire on May 26; though he escaped uninjured, he lost nearly all his possessions. Binky owner Chris Maxwell says Childers is particularly interested in tracking down copies of photographs and of his first five albums. Meanwhile, on May 11, fellow Okie songwriter and Binky labelmate Tom Skinner suffered a heart attack and had quadruple-bypass surgery four days later. Maxwell reports that Skinner “was back onstage (very briefly) on May 22. The entire Oklahoma musical community showed up to support Tom, with the notable exception of Tom’s old bandmate Garth Brooks. Skinner is recovering nicely and plans to resume touring in July.”
FESTIVITIES: Wise, Virginia, will host this year’s Dock Boggs Festival Sept. 12. The festival, which began in 1969 to honor Boggs and local ballad singer Kate Peters O’Neil Sturgill, will feature performances by Mike Seeger and Blue Highway, among others. The festival is held at the Country Cabin, built by the WPA in 1937-38 on the O’Neil property. (Box 67, Wise, VA 24293)….
Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music will host the first Chicago Folk & Roots Festival July 18-19. Set for North Lincoln Avenue (between Wilson and Montrose), the festival will include the Robbie Fulks Band, Chris Smither, the Del McCoury Bluegrass Band, the Asylum Street Spankers, and a multitude of ethnic ensembles. The event is free, with a suggested $4 donation for adults….
Son Volt leader Jay Farrar has been booked for a solo appearance at the Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada Aug. 6-9. Other performers on the bill include Buddy & Julie Miller, Richard Buckner, Emmylou Harris, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and the Dead Reckoners.