Counting Crows Announce New Album ‘Underwater Sunshine’ (COOKCD561) To Be Released April 9th

Multi-platinum American rock band, Counting Crows have announced they will be releasing their first new album in over 4 years on 9th April 2012.

Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) is a collection of songs, both familiar and obscure, interpreted by one of the most soulful and recognizable bands of the past two decades.

Underwater Sunshine is a testament of a band geek-obsessed with music. “There’s a million great songs written every day that you discover, and wish your friends could appreciate as much as you do,” says singer/songwriter Adam Duritz. “These songs come from bands young and old, stretching from the early 60s to last year. They’re all great and will hopefully be heard by a few more people now.”

Produced by Counting Crows and Shawn Dealey, Underwater Sunshine features tracks written by artists such as Big Star, Gram Parsons, Tender Mercies, Fairport Convention, Kasey Anderson and The Faces. Each rendition offers an entire spectrum of human emotion, delivered with the conviction and intense honesty the band is known for.

As their first independent release, it was the right time for the Crows to make this album. “If you wonder why we didn’t just write our own record, it’s simply because we wanted to do THIS one,” says Duritz, We now have the creative freedom to release albums like this and offer our fans more music than ever.”

In the spirit of becoming an independent band, the Crows will stream the new album, on demand in its entirety prior to release on radio station websites and other digital partners (here is the link to it – http://cltvdv.com/geo-filter/music-player/index.php).  They are also giving away a free download of their new song, “Mercy” on http://www.countingcrows.com/

The Crows also gave their fans the opportunity to design their new album package. Just as the band is interpreting songs from others, fans became a part of this unique album by visually interpreting the Crows. The winning designer is working with the band’s creative director to develop the rest of the album layout. The contest was ran by Creative Allies, and is proving to be their most successful contest to date. To find out more, go to: http://creativeallies.com/contests/314-Design-an-Album-Cover-for-Counting-Crows

Counting Crows will also partner with Indaba Music and Guitar Center to launch a contest in search of the best Counting Crows covers. After listening to all submissions, the band will select 3 winning tracks to be awarded various prizes.  For further info go to: http://www.indabamusic.com/opportunities/counting-crows-cover-song-contest

Underwater Sunshine track listing:

  1. Untitled (Love Song) by Romany Rye
  2. Start Again by Teenage Fanclub
  3. Hospital by Coby Brown
  4. Mercy by Tender Mercies
  5. Meet On The Ledge by Fairport Convention
  6. Like Teenage Gravity by Kasey Anderson & The Honkies
  7. Amie by Pure Prairie League
  8. Coming Around by Travis
  9. Ooh La La by The Faces
  10. All My Failures by Dawes
  11. Return of the Grevious Angel by Gram Parsons
  12. Four White Stallions by Tender Mercies
  13. Jumping Jesus by Sordid Humor
  14. You Ain’t Going Nowhere by Bob Dylan
  15. The Ballad of El Goodo by Big Star

Counting Crows hail from the San Francisco Bay area and consist of Adam Duritz (vocals), David Bryson (guitar), Charles Gillingham (keyboards), Dan Vickrey (guitar), Jim Bogios (drums), David Immergluck (guitar) and touring bassist Millard Powers. With over 20 million albums sold worldwide, including 5 Top 20 studio albums in the UK (3 of them charting in the Top 10) and all 5 hitting Top 5 on the Billboard 200, as well as eight Top 5 Singles in the US, Counting Crows success dates back to their 1993 debut release August And Everything After and the hit single “Mr Jones” (UK 28 & US top 5).  The band’s most recent accomplishments include a US #1 hit with the song “Accidentally In Love,” which was featured on the Shrek 2 soundtrack, as well as nominations in 2005 for a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the track.  In 2004 the band released their first ever “Best Of” set Films About Ghosts which featured songs from every phase of the Counting Crow’s recording career and in 2006 a live record was released,  *New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall 2003, while the band ventured out on a summer tour. Their most recent album, Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (UK album chart 12) was released to critical and popular acclaim in March 2008.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

TAAB 2 – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GERALD BOSTOCK?

Ian Anderson’s follow up to 1972’s classic prog rock album offers some answers

Prog Rock? Prog Rock? In 2012? Are you serious? Well, yes actually – although let’s use the original term ‘progressive rock’. Cast aside all prejudices as Jethro Tull’s singer / flautist / composer Ian Anderson explains what led him to revisit the genre some 40 years after the ground-breaking Tull album Thick As A Brick.

In the early 1970s bands like Yes, Genesis, ELP and King Crimson were pushing musical boundaries. The arrival of punk cast a shadow over a style of music that admittedly was becoming self-indulgent and pretentious, and the term Prog Rock became somewhat derogatory. But, Ian explains, “To me, anything is progressive if you are trying to take things on into a slightly new dimension, and draw upon different influences and push them into something that fits your own sense of inventiveness and your own career progression. So ‘progressive rock’ is a fine title.”

Jethro Tull’s short ‘prog rock’ era peaked with 1972’s Thick As A Brick, a 45-minute continuous piece of music charting the difficulties of a child growing up and confronting a frightening and unfair world. The album was encased in a spoof local newspaper The St Cleve Chronicle, with a headline story that a precocious schoolboy called Gerald Bostock had been disqualified from a poetry competition because of the inappropriate nature of his epic poem, which Tull then allegedly used as the album’s lyrics. Ian explains that the idea stemmed from the critics’ descriptions of 1971’s Aqualung as a ‘concept album’, even though it was just a bunch of songs a few of which had common themes. “In the light of the Aqualung reviews I deliberately set out to do a concept album that would in essence be a bit of a parody of other people’s concept albums and grandiose progressive rock adventures. I thought let’s take this slightly arrogant and pompous way of writing and presenting music to an extreme, with the fiction of a then 10-year old boy having written the lyrics. Of course it’s preposterous and really quite silly, but it was the era of Monty Python, when that sort of surreal British humour was quite well embedded in the British psyche.”

The album was a world-wide success, including a No 1 spot on the American Billboard chart, and excerpts from the piece have regularly featured in Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson live shows. But Ian had steadily resisted record company suggestions that he write a follow-up. It was not until a chance encounter in 2010 with old pal Derek Shulman of Gentle Giant, who nagged him to consider a 40th anniversary sequel, that Ian gave it some serious thought – and surprised himself by not dismissing it out of hand this time. He had noticed that in recent years his audiences had been changing. “It wasn’t just old codgers, it was kind of a mix between old codgers and young codgers. It really struck me that there was this new wave of interest from youngsters who want something that is an alternative and antidote to the X-Factor and the very repetitive rock music that does tend to be the stuff of today. So I began to feel that it was not quite as undignified as I had earlier supposed to be doing something that was more in that kind of progressive vein.”

In February 2011 Ian spent a couple of days sketching out some ideas. “It was predicated on the idea of what might have befallen Gerald Bostock, this precocious child, where would he have headed in life? And the more I started thinking about that the more I thought that there were so many pivotal moments in my own childhood where, often quite by chance, I might have gone in one direction or in some completely opposite direction. I could have been anything from a soldier or a sailor or an astronaut to a thespian or a silviculturist – although when I left school I actually tried first to join the police force and then to be a journalist on the local newspaper, before music took over while I was at art college.

“So I imagined Gerald Bostock as this 10-year old kid entering into puberty who, by the look of the young male model who was photographed in 1972 as the notional Gerald Bostock, was obviously a rather swottish schoolboy who probably wasn’t very popular at school and probably wasn’t very good at sports. What sort of opportunities would he have had, who would he have been, what would he have been led towards? I started to write a number of scenarios, including a piece looking at his possible early life immediately post-puberty, and then another piece later on for each of these characters that Gerald might have become, leading through to adulthood. Then in the latter part of the album I drew all these things back into a common kismet-karma kind of future where, in spite of all these chance interventions, there is maybe some element of fate and we all end up where we were going to end up anyway, in spite of the fact that we may have taken some radically different roads along the way.”

From that loose concept emerged TAAB 2. Recorded in November 2011 with Florian Opahle (guitar), John O’Hara (keyboards), David Goodier (bass) and Scott Hammond (drums), musically Ian has very deliberately echoed the feel of the 1972 album by using many of the same instruments, including a lot of acoustic guitar and lashings of Hammond organ, and to a large extent recording it with the band all playing live together, with the minimum of overdubs and no use of limiters and noise gates and other tricks of the trade, leaving engineer Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) to tweak things himself. And, whilst there are ID points to allow separate tracks to be downloaded from iTunes, it is a continuous 53-minute piece of music with recurring musical themes.

Also echoing the 1972 album, and the St Cleve Chronicle newspaper sleeve, the 2012 album is housed in a mock-up of a local news website www.StCleve.com, which Ian designed himself in a deliberately not-too-professional pastiche of community websites (and which will be accessible online, with an area where fans can add their own spoof local news stories). ”It’s light-hearted most of the way through StCleve.com, with lots of fairly vulgar schoolboy smutty stuff, but there are also some serious bits and things that are quite observational of the parochial home counties way of life. There will be some familiar characters like Max Quad, and Angela de Groot who runs a fitness centre now. And there will also be various people known to me and known to the world, although their names are slightly twisted around. But you’ll know who they are….” And the 18-month world tour, starting in the UK on April 14th, will also nod to 40 years ago and what Ian describes as the “amateur dramatics village hall” 1972 stage show with a new theatrical presentation involving videos and character actors.

What is Ian’s view of the finished project? “Unlike the original 1972 Thick As A Brick, the mood of the album is not really a spoof. It’s not a funny thing; some of it is quite heart-aching and serious, and sometimes a bit intellectual, and sometimes a bit upbeat and amusing, but not in a spoof-fun way. It’s an altogether rather more serious work, and even when you think it’s being light-hearted and funny there’s a seriousness behind it.

“It’s observational about stereotype characters. And one of the stereotypes I chose not to make Gerald, at least on the album, was a politician, as it seemed too obvious – although he does appear on the album sleeve as a recently unseated Labour MP who’s come to live in the St Cleve vicinity. He does however appear in other guises like a corrupt Christian evangelist, as an overpaid investment banker with huge bonuses and the kind of person we love to hate these days, and as a casualty of war as a repatriated serviceman helping those less fortunate than himself to acclimatise back into the real world with obviously a very bitter sense of the futility of war. Those are down moments and scary moments. But you need to take people through it. So you sometimes do it in a light-hearted way.

“Somebody may draw the parallel with Quadrophenia, but that’s completely wrong. This is not split personality, this is about totally different characters that we all might have become in our lives. If we’d walked on the other side of the road, or picked up the ‘phone, or read that article in the newspaper, things like that could have changed our lives. And that unmistakably is what happens to people in their lives, the friends they make, the relationships they enter into, perhaps in marriage or whatever else. This is all about – as it says in a couple of places – the what ifs, the maybes and might have beens moments in life.

“One of the pivotal moments on this album is the piece A Change Of Horses, which fans will recognise from our stage shows over the last year or so. It’s about that point in your life where you say, if there’s ever going to be a change it’s got to be now. That happens to a lot of people perhaps in the forties or fifties, and I rather like the idea of this re-gearing, this re-evaluation, and there being a second part in your life where fate draws you to some conclusion. But it’s not just looking back, it’s also about looking forward. The what ifs and maybes were rich and exciting moments in my teenage years, filled with a mixture of promise and sheer terror, because it’s a scary world out there. So that’s what I’m exploring, and I think it works for people at both ends of the age spectrum, for the middle-aged Waitrose trolley-pushing shopper and the pubescent youngster who’s facing some decision-making.”

So just to confirm, from a 2012 perspective, is TAAB 2 a concept album? Ian is emphatic in his response. “Yes, it is very much a concept album! It is a concept album that I think is fairly grown-up and mature, but I think it should ring bells for people of all ages. It’s an intellectual proposition. I’m not sure how many people are going to be ready for that kind of a thing, but I think there will be enough people for it to be a worthwhile record to make. But it’s unashamed in its asking you to think about it and listen to it. Some of the music is pretty straight-ahead which you can just kind of groove to, and some things work without your being too cerebral about it. But the overall concept and indeed lots of the lyrics and parts of the music you are going to have to make a bit of an effort with. I think that some of us like to do that. Combine that with all the detail that’s gone into the peripheral aspect of presenting the album with the artwork, the stcleve.com website and so on, it all wraps up into a big package that I think will give people a lot of fun.” Martin Webb January 2012

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

The official Jethro Tull website: www.jethrotull.com

PAUL BRADY – DANCER IN THE FIRE: A PAUL BRADY ANTHOLOGY

‘Dancer In The Fire’ is a rich and diverse double CD of Paul Brady’s favourite recordings, personally chosen by the artist and serving as a companion to ‘Nobody Knows – The Best Of Paul Brady’, a single CD compilation released in 1999.   Paul will be touring the UK in April and May.

The idea to put together this collection came as a result of being asked many times over the years, what are my own favourites out of all that I’ve done? I’ve always found it hard to answer. I’ve gone through so many musical shapes over my 45 year career that I’m never sure which incarnation the question relates to. Sometimes I feel compelled to name those songs or recordings that are the best known, imagining that if I mention one less familiar or from a different genre to where the questioner is coming from then there won’t be a lot more to say.  Or maybe too much to say!

Since I went solo in the late 70’s I’ve released 15 albums, 140 songs or so, most of them new compositions. In the late 90’s I put out a best-of-to-date, ‘Nobody Knows’, featuring 14 of the most popular recordings from the previous two decades. Undoubtedly a lot of those were favourites of mine too.  But like many artists I know, I don’t always feel the most popular songs or the most successful recordings are necessarily the best things I’ve done.  Sometimes you find yourself neglecting songs you absolutely loved when you wrote and recorded them, simply because they never really seemed to connect with the listener at the time.  Or maybe you just thought they didn’t. It’s complicated and a mystery to me!

With this record I decided to focus on songs and recordings of mine I’m personally fond of, mostly those that might not have got a lot of attention or been all that well known. Some recordings have been out of circulation for years. In a couple of cases I’ve remixed a well known song. The only area I’ve left alone is my most recent album ‘Hooba Dooba’ and those recordings already on the 1999 best-of.

To anyone coming to my music for the first time this may seem an eclectic collection. I’ve grown up in the rich musical environment of Ireland from the 1950s to the present day; a unique and heady mixture. I feel very lucky to have formed my musical identity before the rigid categorisation introduced by marketing and the media in the 70s. The stylistic diversity of this record bears witness to that fertile ground. Paul Brady, Dublin January 2012.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

MOULETTES – new album ‘The Bear’s Revenge’ release date May 2012

Described as a turbo-charged roots ensemble for the 21st century, Moulettes are an entrancing combination of strings and celestial harmonies; woodwind and weirdness; rhythm and devilry has lead to comparisons with the Unthanks, Tom Waits and Shostakovitch. But, they have a sound and presence very much their own.

Cellist Hannah Miller, bassoonist Ruth Skipper and Ollie Austin (guitar, drums) have been playing and singing together for several years. But with the addition of violinist Georgina Leach and percussionist Rob Arcari in 2008, the Moulettes’ sinewy, melodic sound has come into true focus.

The band have shared stages, recordings, and personnel with the likes of Mumford & Sons (Ted Dwane of the Mumfords used to be their bassist) Mystery Jets, Band of Skulls (Emma Richardson guests on the album), Liz Green and even the Ting Tings – supporting the latter on tour as three-quarters of electro-pop band Modernaire. And they can count the Unthanks, Noisettes and Robert Plant as fans.

In the meantime, their previous album (available below) was described as the most ambitious ‘folk’ album you’ll hear all year (back in 2010). It splices together strands of classical, gypsy, jazz, alt.-rock and even some avant-garde to create a complex yet accessible whole. Highlights include the epic, atmospheric story-song “Devil Of Mine” (which boasts a mind-blowing video included as an extra on the disc); the Zepplin-esque folk-metal of “Requiem” and the entrancing prog-pop of “Wilderness.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

The boys are back in town… Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley…

Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley have been bringing their unique sound to audiences across Europe and America since the early 1990s, when a chance meeting at a music session created one of folk music’s most enduring partnerships.

Known for their soul-stirring songs, exhilarating tunes and a love of the craic, Chris (concertina) and Denny (guitar and vocals) ensure that no two concerts are ever the same.

Chris grew up surrounded by folk music of all kinds – his home was a regular haunt for passing folk singers and musicians. Denny, born in Co. Limerick, is drawn to the inheritance of age-old slides, slow airs, slip jigs and wild reels.

Founder members of the band Last Night’s Fun which received international acclaim and a loyal fan base over 11 years together, they have in recent years returned to their roots as a duo. Continue reading The boys are back in town… Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley…

Older Than My Old Man Now – Loudon Wainwright III – New Album Out April 16th on Proper Records

As his new album’s title relates, Loudon Wainwright III is Older Than My Old Man Now — his old man, of course, being the late Loudon Wainwright, Jr., the esteemed Life Magazine columnist and senior editor.

“Singer-songwriter contemporaries of mine have recently taken to writing memoirs and autobiographies,” notes Wainwright. “I decided I would try to tell the story of my swinging life in a three and one-half minute song.”

He’s speaking specifically of the album’s lead track “The Here & the Now,” which features jazz guitar great John Scofield and backing vocals from all four of Wainwright’s children — Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche and Lexie Kelly Wainwright — as well as two of the three moms, Suzzy Roche and Ritamarie Kelly. But the album as a whole reflects the stage he’s reached in his life, and as he so wryly puts it, the “death ‘n’ decay” that inevitably accompanies it.

One track which cuts directly to the issue, “The Days That We Die,” remarkably brings together three generations of Wainwright males.

“My Dad wrote the recitation, and I’m singing with No. 1 son Rufus,” says Wainwright. “That’s my grandson Arcangelo Albetta — Martha’s kid — I’m walking with on the beach photo that’s part of the CD artwork. Not only that, but Loudon Wainwright I is referenced in the title track, so in fact there are five generations represented on the album!”

Wainwright’s father, who died in 1988, also wrote the recitation that introduces the album’s title track. “Please believe me when I say that collaborating with my long gone progenitor at this late date felt pretty damn big,” says his son, who also lifted the opening line of “Double Lifetime” from one of the notebooks that his father used to carry around with him to write in.

Another key family member who is no longer living, Wainwright’s ex-wife Kate McGarrigle (the mother of Rufus and Martha), is represented by “Over The Hill” — “the one song we wrote together, way back in 1975.” Martha Wainwright accompanies her father vocally on the track, as does multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Chaim Tannenbaum, his “musical sidekick and sounding board” for over 40 years. Suzzy Roche returns to sing on “10,” and even Wainwright’s lab/pit/chow mix Harry, who’s been featured (in the lyrics) in a number of his songs in the last few years, appears on “Ghost Blues” and the bonus download track for the album “No Tomorrow.”

But Older Than My Old Man Now, which was produced by Dick Connette (producer of Wainwright’s 2009 Grammy-winning High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project), boasts stellar participants other than family.

“One voice singing a lot about death ‘n’ decay can be a bit wearing so Dick and I brought in other singers to help with the heavy lifting,” says Wainwright. “The venerable Chris Smither testifies with me on ‘Somebody Else,’ for which High Wide & Handsome alum Rob Moose wrote the string arrangement. Barry Humphries, a.k.a. Dame Edna Everage, does a duet with me on ‘I Remember Sex.’ He and I were romantically linked in two episodes of Ally McBeal a few years back, and I’ve been besotted ever since. There is no greater living and performing legend than Barry Humphries, for my money. And he’s even older than I am!”

Older than Wainwright, too, was another personal hero who guests on Older Than My Old Man Now — folk music legend and 2 time Grammy winner Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

“After making pilgrimages to Jack’s shows for half a century now, for me to sing and play with him on an album was nothing short of a dream come true,” he says, referring to “Double Lifetime.” “Recording this song with him — perhaps my foremost musical father figure — was a gas.”

One other old friend is noteworthy: Robin Morton, a founding member of legendary Celtic group the Boys of the Lough.

“We’ve known each other since the early 1970s when we were young hell raising/up-chucking Turks on the folk music scene together,” recalls Wainwright. “It was great fun to begin recording Older Than back in May at Robin’s studio in the tiny Scottish village of Temple — just a wee bit south of Edinburgh.”

And from High Wide & Handsome also came the likes of guitar and banjo player Matt Munisteri, cellist Erik Friedlander, pianist Paul Asaro and bassist Tim Luntzel. Together, the new album’s personnel create song treatments ranging from basic guitar-and-vocal to sophisticated string settings — together with some swinging funk provided by Scofield.

Loudon Wainwright III came to fame when “Dead Skunk” became a Top 20 hit in 1972. Born in Chapel Hill, N.C. in 1946, he had studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon University, but dropped out to partake in the Summer of Love in San Francisco.

He wrote his first song in 1968, “Edgar” (about a lobsterman in Rhode Island) and was soon signed to Atlantic Records by Nesuhi Ertegun. Clive Davis lured him to Columbia Records — which released “Dead Skunk.” His recording career now consists of 25 albums, also including last year’s five-disc retrospective 40 Odd Years and his most recent studio album 10 Songs For The New Depression (2010).

Wainwright’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, and Mose Allison, among others. He has collaborated with songwriter/producer Joe Henry on the music for Judd Apatow’s hit movie Knocked Up, written music for the British theatrical adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen novel Lucky You, and composed topical songs for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and ABC’s Nightline.

Also an accomplished actor, Wainwright has appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Christopher Guest, Tim Burton, Cameron Crowe, and Judd Apatow. He has also starred on TV in M.A.S.H. and Undeclared, and on Broadway in Pump Boys and Dinettes.

Made me howl with laughter one minute and then emotionally take me to places were other CD’s fear to tread… Darren Beech folking.com

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.