Field Reportings from Issue #57
HAWKS AND SMOG: Earlier this year, Gary Louris told a reporter the JAYHAWKS were calling it quits, but now it seems the retirement might just be an extended hiatus while other projects are pursued. Louris has been keeping quite busy; after producing the New West debut of Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, he toured in February and March with former Jayhawks cohort Mark Olson, with possibilities of more dates and perhaps some studio work. First up, however, is a new GOLDEN SMOG album that is being recorded in Spain. Louris, Olson, Dan Murphy, Kraig Johnson and Jeff Tweedy are all involved, with Louris and Tweedy collaborating on several songs for it. The album is set to be issued by Lost Highway; a release date has not yet been scheduled.
ODE TO BILLY JOE: He may have turned 65, but BILLY JOE SHAVER shows no signs of slowing down. This year already he has seen his autobiography, Honky Tonk Hero published, appeared on the big screen in the film The Wendell Baker Story, signed on as a spiritual adviser to Texas gubernatorial “candidate” Kinky Friedman, and gotten married. May finds him the subject of a live tribute album on Compadre Records, featuring contributions from Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen and others. Not one to rest on his laurels, Shaver has started recording his next studio album, which Compadre has slated for an early 2006 release.
JUNE SEVENTH HEAVEN: June 7 is shaping up to be a banner day for new releases. Nonesuch issues Chaves Ravine, a long-in-the-works conceptual piece by RY COODER about the Los Angeles neighborhood uprooted to create Dodgers Stadium….
Sony Nashville presents The Outsider, the latest opus from RODNEY CROWELL….
The second Bloodshot release from GRAHAM PARKER is titled Songs Of No Consequence….
MICHELLE SHOCKED offers up a trio of new discs on her own Mighty Sound label: the rock-oriented Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a western swing take on Disney music called Baby Mine, and a salute to Memphis Minnie appropriately titled The Memphis Minnies….
TEENAGE FANCLUB marks the stateside release of Man-Made on Merge Records….
Rounder offers Marbletown, the latest from acclaimed bluegrass outfit BLUE HIGHWAY.
ALSO PLAYING: Bill Callahan (aka SMOG) ventured to Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio to record A River Ain’t Too Much To Love, due out May 24 on Drag City….
May 24 also is the date DBK Works issues Good Things, a new but posthumous release from the late EPIC SOUNDTRACKS….
Kenny Vaughan, Sam Bush and Matthew Ryan all guest on the new JEFF BLACK album Tiger Lily, due May 31 on Dualtone….
Bayou legend BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO hits with Jackpot on June 14 on Tomorrow Records….
MICHAEL PENN examines post-World War II Los Angeles on Mr. Hollywood Jr. — 1947, which his own Mimeograph Records releases via Spinart on June 28….
Also on June 28, Americana songtress SHANNON MCNALLY releases her latest on Back Porch….
Look for the latest from the WHITE STRIPES in June from V2.
SOUNDS OF THE SUMMER: Shawn Colvin, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Slaid Cleaves all helped ELIZA GILKYSON create Paradise Hotel, due in August from Red House….
Lost Highway and the Country Music Hall of Fame have assembled a second double-disc volume of Night Train To Nashville, which should be out by summer’s end….
Leftover Salmon co-founder DREW EMMITT has recruited Del and Ronnie McCoury and Little Feat’s Paul Barrere for his solo outing set for summer release on Compass….
ADRIENNE YOUNG re-teams with producer/guitarist Will Kimbrough for her follow-up to Plow To The End Of The Row. Look for the new disc in July on her own Addiebelle label….
Former Husker Du and Sugar frontman BOB MOULD releases Body Of Song July 26 on Yep Roc….
Mod housewife AMY RIGBY has a new disc coming on Signature Sounds in August….
Capitol Nashville introduces the Utah-based Americana group RYAN SHUPE & THE RUBBERBAND on August 16….
The NEW AMSTERDAMS, the Americana-tinged side-project from Get Up Kids frontman Matthew Pryor, have a new disc due in August from Vagrant….
JAY BENNETT concludes his recent CD trilogy in August with The Magnificent Defeat on Undertow.
STUDIO TIME: John Carter Cash is producing the Dualtone debut from O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack sweethearts the PEASALL SISTERS….
Kentucky’s MY MORNING JACKET is spending time in a Woodstock-area studio with producer John Leckie (Radiohead, XTC) to record their next album….
Old 97’s frontman RHETT MILLER is working on a new solo album for Verve Records….
JAMES MCMURTRY has been in the studio to follow up last year’s Live In Aught Three; Compadre anticipates a late-summer release….
Second-generation blues star SHEMEKIA COPELAND is working on her next Alligator effort with producer Steve Cropper….
Canadian ensemble the NEW PORNOGRAPHERS have reconvened to make a third album for Matador, expected to be out by autumn….
The BODEANS have been doing some recording with drummer Kenny Aronoff…Lucky Dog honcho Pete Anderson is producing an album for his label’s new signee CHRIS JONES. The record will expand upon Jones’ bluegrass background….
More than 30 years after her debut album, eccentric English art-folkie VASHTI BUNYAN has started recording her sophomore record.
MUSEUM PIECES: Venerable southern rockers the ALLMAN BROTHERS will use funds raised at their March 22 New York City show to transform “The Big House” (their early 1970s Macon, Georgia, home) into a band museum….
Blues icon B.B. KING plans to play some benefit shows to help fund his museum, which should break ground this summer in his home town of Indianola, Mississippi….
Plans are also under way to turn the Los Angeles recording studio of RAY CHARLES into a museum and education center….
The COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME has teamed up with The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to host a country music festival next year in the nation’s capital.
FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT: While big-name festivals like Bonnaroo, Telluride and Bumbershoot are familiar to concert-goers, many lesser-known festivals are also worthy of attention. Victoria Williams and Tim Easton are among the array of musicians playing the third annual JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL in the California desert May 13-15….
Buddy Miller, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer top the bill at the GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL July 15-16 in Greenfield, Massachusetts….
The second WAKARUSA FEST features a lineup including Wilco, North Mississippi All-Stars and Neko Case; it takes place June 17-19 outside of Lawrence, Kansas….
Bluegrass fans will flock to the FESTIVAL OF THE BLUEGRASS June 9-12 at the Horse Park Campground in Lexington, Kentucky, with Doyle Lawson, IIIrd Tyme Out and King Wilkie among scheduled acts.