Field Reportings from Issue #50
LINEUP SHAKEUPS: Multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach has bid adieu to Wilco. Bach played keyboards and guitar with the band for five years, contributing to the band’s Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot albums. Wilco is currently working on their next album; keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen, who joined them onstage in shows promoting Foxtrot, is contributing to the new record but has not been announced as a member of the band, which now consists of leader Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt and drummer Glenn Kotche….
My Morning Jacket recently parted ways with guitarist Johnny Quaid and keyboardist Danny Cash. They have been replaced for the band’s recent round of touring by guitarist Carl Broemel and keyboardist Bo Koster….
Bassist Earl Hicks has left the Drive-By Truckers, with Shonna Isbell (wife of guitarist Jason Isbell) taking his place. The band is working on a new disc for New West Records, tentatively titled The Dirty South.
FORWARD THEIR MAIL: After seventeen years of making the Washington, D.C., area his home base, Bill Kirchen is packing his bags for Austin, Texas. Kirchen, whose half-dozen albums in the past decade have showcased the roots-rock guitar wizardry that has been his trademark since his days with Commander Cody, is heading south with his wife Louise to care for an aging family member….
New York City roots-rock band the Hangdogs are on hiatus as frontman Matthew Grimm attends to family matters in Iowa…
Guitarist Warren Haynes apparently has little interest in staying at home. He has signed up with the Dead, while planning to continue performing in Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers.
ESCOVEDO UPDATE: The overwhelming response from musicians wanting to participate on the Alejandro Escovedo tribute album has led Or Music to expand the project into a 2-CD set. Confirmed participants include Los Lobos, the Jayhawks, Whiskeytown, the Flatlanders, Cowboy Junkies, Jackson Browne, John Cale, Ian Hunter, Billy Corgan, Beth Orton & M. Ward, Los Lonely Boys, Chuck Prophet, Peter Case, Howe Gelb, Calexico and Jennifer Warnes, in addition to Alejandro’s niece Sheila E. and brother Pete Escovedo. The tribute project, to be titled Por Vida, will raise money for the Alejandro Escovedo Medical & Living Expense Fund, to help cover the artist’s medical expenses from complications related to Hepatitis C. No release date has been announced.
ALSO ON THE MEND: A broken wrist has sidelined Ryan Adams, who fell off the stage during a January 22 concert in Liverpool, England. Adams was scheduled for surgery to repair the wrist in early February; in the meantime, the rest of his European tour was nixed, and all previously announced United States dates through March were canceled….
Bluegrass fiddler Rhonda Vincent underwent gall bladder surgery on January 20, just a couple weeks after she had emergency surgery on her pancreas….
Country crooner Freddy Fender is recuperating from a January liver transplant; it was only two years ago that he had a successful kidney transplant.
COMING SOON: A new Loretta Lynn album produced by Jack White of the White Stripes is due out this spring, with a tour planned in support of the record….
Lost Highway plans to issue a new Willie Nelson in the spring….
Yep Roc plans a late-spring release for the solo debut of fiddler Amy Farris, known for her work with Kelly Willis, Alejandro Escovedo and others. The album was produced by Dave Alvin, who is working on his next disc….
On April 6, Red House Records will issue a live album from folk singer Rosalie Sorrels with guest contributions from Loudon Wainwright III, Peggy Seeger and Jean Ritchie….
Folk-rock trio the Mammals, featuring Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Michael Merenda and Ruth Unger, release Rock That Babe on Signature Sounds on April 27….
Also due April 27, on Koch, is Dreamland, the latest from Austin honky-tonker Dale Watson….
Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Richard Thompson are among the guests on The Ride, a new Los Lobos album arriving May 4 on Hollywood Records….
May 11 is the release date for Vanguard’s Creole Bred, an Ann Savoy-organized tribute to Creole and Zydeco music featuring performances by David Hildalgo, Taj Mahal and Geno Delafose….
Also slated for May are a new Steve Forbert album on Koch; the Two Dollar Pistols’ second Yep Roc release, Hands Up; and Darden Smith’s Circo, on Dualtone….
Another upcoming Dualtone release is a collaborative effort between Jim Lauderdale and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. The Old 97’s have hooked up with New West and plan to release their next album in June.
WORKS IN PROGRESS: The Cherry Bombs, the legendary Nashville group that served as Rodney Crowell’s road band in the late 1970s, have reunited. Original members Crowell, Vince Gill, Tony Brown, Richard Bennett and Hank DeVito all are participating on an album that they plan to put out on Universal South later this year….
Lost Highway artist Lucinda Williams recorded some of her west coast tour dates at the end of 2003 for possible inclusion on an upcoming live album….
Lucinda’s former guitarist and producer, Gurf Morlix, is completing his follow-up to Fishin’ In The Muddy….
Morlix also recently produced a new album for singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier; label and release date are still to be determined….
Signature Sounds will soon release a solo album by Tracy Grammer featuring ten previously unreleased tunes from her partner, the late Dave Carter….
Syd Straw is looking for a home for Pink Velour, her first album since War And Peace in 1996….
The husband-and-wife duo of Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion spent January and February in the studio recording their first duo album, with the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris producing. No label or release date have been set yet.
BOOKS & FILM: Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy issues first book of poetry, Adult Head, in March as part of Zoo Press’ Nightingale Editions series….
Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver has signed a deal to write his autobiography, which should come out next year on University of Texas Press….
Filmmaker Kathy Conkwright, who made a recent DeFord Bailey documentary, will next turn her attention to the Carter Family for a PBS project….
Tying into the recent theatrical release of Cold Mountain, Sugar Hill Records is repositioning Songs From The Mountain, originally released in 1999 on Tim O’Brien’s Howdy Skies label as a companion to Charles Frazier’s best-selling novel (on which the movie is based). The album features a combination of traditional and original tunes performed by O’Brien, Dirk Powell and John Hermann.
ANNIVERSARY ACTION: 2004 marks Bloodshot Records’ tenth year of delivering insurgent country music to the masses. As part of their anniversary celebration, the label is asking for the public’s help. They are looking for film, video and/or photos of Bloodshot shows and parties that can be used in a grand project they’re putting together. For more info, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org….
Austin’s Cactus Cafe, the late Townes Van Zandt’s self-declared home club, celebrated its 25th year in February by booking many of its top draws over the years, including Guy Clark, Shawn Colvin, Robert Earl Keen, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and other secret surprise guests. The club played an integral role in the early careers of Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith.