Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last post: Shifting blog location

The Off the Record blog will no longer be updated.

All music blogs can now be found at Anniston Star Escapes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The brahphecy has been revealed: Phish is back

After months of speculation that the Vermont jam-icons Phish would be reuniting for a tour in 2009 the news that Phishheads around the world had been waiting for has finally come: 3 shows next year at Hampton Coliseum with more dates to be announced.

With word that the band had played at a friend's wedding last month this news doesn't come as much of a surprise. It will be nice to catch these guys again — they put on one hell of a show!


Phish returns to the stage for three concerts at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia on March 6, 7 and 8, 2009.

A limited number of tickets are available directly through Phish Tickets' online ticketing system at The ticketing request period is currently under way and will end on Wednesday, October 8 at 11:59 a.m. EST.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Saturday, October 18 at 10 a.m. EST and may be purchased online at or by phone at 757.671.8100, 757.872.8100 or 804.262.8100. Tickets will not be available at the venue box office and there is a two-ticket limit per show.

The band intends to announce additional touring in 2009 early next year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From the cradle: Albums transform songs to lullabies

A company has recently come to my attention that has cornered the market in what could be the first rock- (and reggae) to-lullabies CDs out there.

Rockabye Baby! takes classic songs from a wide array of artists and rearranges them as lullabies. Each album is about $17 and might just be the perfect baby shower gift for the expecting music lover.

Parents may also enjoy these tracks as they rock the cradle!

Here's a few of the many of samples:

Speak to Me/Breathe — Pink Floyd

Wherever I May Roam — Metallica (possibly a little too dark)

Stir it Up — Bob Marley

Clocks — Coldplay

Artists include: AC/DC, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Björk, Bob Marley, Christmas Rock Classics, Coldplay, The Cure, The Eagles, Green Day, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, No Doubt, Pink Floyd, Pixies, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Smashing Pumpkins, Tool and U2.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Zep to finally go back on the road?

According to a Daily Telegraph article, Led Zeppelin plans to tour next summer after the success of their initial reunion show.

Zep fans rejoice ... and save up — this one is going to cost ya!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Watch Austin City Limits Music Festival from home

The festival with built-in name recognition cranks back up this weekend. Thanks to the AT&T blue room anyone on earth can feel like they're there. There's sure to be a little something for everybody.

Not only can you watch via the Web cast, you can also listen to XM Radio's coverage of the festival.

Visit ACL Music Festival's Web site for links for the latest photos, setlists and blog posts from the event.

Webcast lineup:

Sept 26.

12:45 PM Dan Dyer
01:30 PM Rodney Crowell
02:30 PM What Made Milwaukee Famous
03:30 PM Jakob Dylan
04:30 PM Jamie Lidell
05:30 PM Gogol Bordello
06:30 PM Slightly Stoopid
07:30 PM Vampire Weekend
08:30 PM Hot Chip
09:30 PM G. Love and Special Sauce

Sept 27.

12:45 PM Yeasayer
01:30 PM Old 97's
02:30 PM The Fratellis
03:30 PM Drive-By Truckers
04:30 PM Man Man
05:30 PM Robert Earl Keen
06:30 PM Spiritualized
07:30 PM Conor Oberst
08:30 PM Jose Gonzales
09:30 PM John Fogerty

Sept 28.

12:45 PM Sybris
01:30 PM Nicole Atkins and the Sea
02:30 PM The Killsstreaming
03:30 PM Flyleaf
04:30 PM Against Me!
05:30 PM Neko Case
06:30 PM Okkervil River
07:30 PM The Raconteurs
08:45 PM Tegan and Sara
09:30 PM Blues Traveler

Until then, take a listen to the ACL channel on AT&T blue room radio.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shine On ... Richard Wright dead at 65

From AP:

Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock group Pink Floyd, died Monday. He was 65.


What a huge blow to Pink Floyd fans everywhere. If you're not familiar with Pink Floyd, Wright had one of the best personalities in the band and was instrumental in the writing of much of Floyd's music, specifically Dark Side of the Moon. He was always upbeat and a great musician. He will be truly missed by this blogger.

Crank up some Floyd in his memory!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready to rock?

AC/DC announces North American tour dates

The Black Ice World Tour is the band's first tour since 2001

Here are AC/DC's North American tour dates:

October 28: Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Wachovia Arena)
October 30: Chicago (Allstate Arena)
November 3: Indianapolis (Conseco Fieldhouse)
November 5: Auburn Hills, Mich. (Palace of Auburn Hills)
November 7: Toronto (Rogers Centre)
November 9: Boston (TD Banknorth Garden)
November 12-13: New York (Madison Square Garden)
November 15: Washington, D.C. (Verizon Center)
November 17: Philadelphia (Wachovia Center)
November 19: East Rutherford, N.J. (IZOD Center)
November 21: Columbus, Ohio (Schottenstein Center)
November 23: Minneapolis (Xcel Energy Center)
November 25: Denver (Pepsi Center)
November 28: Vancouver (General Motors Place)
November 29: Seattle (KeyArena)
November 30: Tacoma, Wash. (Tacoma Dome)
December 2: Oakland, Calif. (Oracle Arena)
December 6: Los Angeles (The Forum)
December 10: Phoenix (US Airways Center)
December 12: San Antonio (AT&T Center)
December 14: Houston (Toyota Center)
December 16: Atlanta (Philips Arena)
December 18: Charlotte, N.C. (Time Warner Cable Arena)

Source: Reuters/Billboard


Friday, September 5, 2008

Beck b-side from 'Modern Guilt' for download

Download the b-side track "Vampire Voltage No.6" from Beck's latest album "Modern Guilt."

The song itself is rather short and has a nice jam at the end. Enjoy!

Beck's Web page

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Buy lots of mp3s?

New music site gives fans a cut of tune sales

From the AP:

NEW YORK — Being a trendsetter can be pricey. As any fashionista or gadget hound knows, the latest frocks and tech toys don't pay for themselves. But a new Web site is trying to make it profitable for music lovers to stay ahead of the curve — by paying them when other people purchase MP3s they've bought.

Berkeley, Calif.-based Popcuts, which publicly launched its Web site in early August, charges users 99 cents per song. Thereafter, whenever someone else buys the same song, those who have already bought it get paid in credit that can be redeemed for more Popcuts music. The earlier you buy a song, the larger your cut of future sales.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Remember records?

If you think you had a lot of records, you probably don't have anything on this guy:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beach Boy bounces back

Beach Boys' Brian Wilson sunny about new album

AP — A lot has changed for the historically reclusive Southern California native, who speaks with a slight slur, a result of his drug-abuse past and medicated journey through mental illness.

He is a second-round father at the age of 66 (musician daughters Wendy, 38, and Carnie, 40, from his first marriage, tour as The Wilsons). Following 2004's long-awaited rock opera "Smile," and a 2005 Christmas release, he has a new, ambitious solo album, "That Lucky Old Sun," due out Sept. 2. He is touring behind the material, pushing through years of stage fright.

"I think the new album is just as good as anything the Beach Boys ever recorded," says Wilson. "Playing these songs live, I feel proud. You know that funny feeling you get in your stomach, like, 'Oh my God, this is sounding great!'"

Two years ago, he says, he recorded 18 songs then chose 10 last year for Capitol Records/EMI. He came up with the album's lush orchestration and music, while 43-year-old bandmate Scott Bennett scribed the lyrics, with colorful narrative interludes by Wilson's longtime collaborator Van Dyke Parks.

The outcome is a blend of uptempo pop and piano-based ballads. The title track, a cover of Louis Armstrong's "That Lucky Old Sun," flows into the bouncy anthem "Morning Beat," setting the album's tone.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Blog focuses on mix tapes

Great blog here with near weekly mix tapes for download or streaming. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Free download: Dexateens' latest album

Visit the Dexateens' Web site to download the band's latest album "Lost and Found."

You can go here and listen to more songs by the band.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Press Release: Pink Floyd Themed Cruise Will Feature Think Floyd USA

Kiqstart Music and Think Floyd USA Launch First Annual "Great Gig in the Sea"

NEW YORK, N.Y. (PRWEB) — Kiqstart Music, an entertainment company based in New York, N.Y., and Think Floyd USA, the number one touring production of Pink Floyd in the country, announced plans to host the first Pink Floyd themed cruise aboard a Carnival Cruise Ship to the Bahamas. Dubbed "Great Gig in the Sea," the cruise will allow Pink Floyd music fans to combine sun and sea with an amazing concert experience.

The one-of a kind voyage will feature the music of Think Floyd USA: The American Pink Floyd Show, and will celebrate material from Pink Floyd's earliest days through the present. Think Floyd USA will take listeners on a musical and visual flight through the Pink Floyd galaxy performing all of Pink Floyd's classic hits from legendary albums such as Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and the all time classic, The Wall.

Think Floyd USA: The American Pink Floyd Show goes beyond the typical tribute act with an unparalleled performance and light show. They have performed before Roger Waters at Milwaukee's Summerfest and have received personal acclaim from David Gilmour himself. The band has been performing to packed houses at numerous arenas, theaters, festivals and casinos around the country, and will be the first tribute band to headline a stage at Milwaukee's famed Summerfest this summer.

"This cruise provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Pink Floyd fans to come together and enjoy the exceptional music and memories of one of the most celebrated performing acts of all time, combined with a truly outstanding vacation experience," said Justin Seidenberg, co-owner of Kiqstart Music.

Cruisers should also be prepared to hear special shows each night, such as Dark Side of the Moon performed in its entirety. Dark Side has held the record for the longest duration of any album on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 40 Million copies worldwide. Other unique events will feature "special guests," Pink Floyd trivia, parties and games.

"We are excited to be a part of this unique concert experience. Floyd fans are so passionate about the band and love to get together to celebrate the music ... its going to be a blast," said Mitch Blumfield, vocalist in Think Floyd USA.

Tickets for Great Gig in the Sea are onsale now at Space is very limited and pricing depends upon availability.

For additional information on the cruise, visit or contact Kiqstart Music at 718-302-9800.

Think Floyd USA

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Police's final show webcast

Watch the Police's final performance Webcast, rehearsal footage and soundcheck party from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The rehearsal and soundcheck has already been recorded and the final performance Webcast is tonight at 9:45 p.m. will be streaming three songs from the encore of the capstone performance of the Police's momentus career. The clip will be archived on the Web site as well.

According to Sting's Web site:

In addition to the live Webcast, which includes three of the last four songs in the encore, Best Buy will begin the presale of an exclusive DVD/CD set, "The Police: Certifiable." The set features the band's entire concert from Buenos Aires as well as bonus footage, available in a 2 DVD/2CD standard format or a 1 DVD/2CD Blu-ray format. Also available is a three LP premium vinyl set with an MP3 file key (a one-time free download of entire album).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

RATM to play Twin Cities during RNC

This should make for an interesting couple of days if the band's ideology is taken to the streets by their fans.

The on-and-off-again band nearly started a riot during their Lollapalooza gig. Things could get ugly in the mean streets of Minne.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Couple new albums coming out soon

Two albums that I'll be looking forward to hearing, and they couldn't any more different, are "Death Magnetic" by Metallica due out Sept. 12 and "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today" by David Byrne and Brian Eno which will be available online Aug. 18.

More on upcoming albums from Metallica and David Byrne and Brian Eno.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lollapalooza and Gathering of the Vibes Webcasts this weekend

Click here to watch Lollapalooza Webcast


2:15 PM — Rogue Wave
3:15 PM — Yeasayer
4:15 PM — The Kills
5:15 PM — Gogol Bordello
6:15 PM — Mates of State
7:15 PM — Bloc Party
8:15 PM — Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
9:00 PM — The Raconteurs

1:15 PM — Margot & The Nuclear So So's
1:45 PM — The Ting Tings
2:30 PM — Dr. Dog
3:30 PM — The Gutter Twins
4:30 PM — The Go Team
5:30 PM — Duffy
6:30 PM — Jamie Lidell
7:30 PM — Devotchka
8:30 PM — Explosions In The Sky
9:30 PM — Broken Social Scene
10:30PM — Wilco

1:15 PM — Kid Sister
2:15 PM — The Whigs
3:15 PM — Office
4:15 PM — Chromeo
5:15 PM — G. Love & Special Sauce
6:15 PM — Blues Traveler
7:15 PM — John Butler Trio
8:15 PM — Flogging Molly
9:15 PM — Love & Rockets
10:15 PM — The National

Lollapalooza Web site

Click here to watch Gathering of the Vibes Webcast


2:50 PM — Ryan Montbleau Band
4:15 PM — Porter Batiste Stoltz
5:40 PM — Assembly of Dust
7:10 PM — TBA
9:00 PM — Deep Banana Blackout
10:45 PM — The Black Crowes

11:00 AM — Alternate Routes
12:45 PM — Strangefolk
2:30 PM — New Riders of the Purple Sage
4:15 PM — Bill Kreutzmann Trio
6:00 PM — Dark Star Orchestra (Set 1)
7:30 PM — Taj Mahal Trio
9:00 PM — Phil Lesh & Friends

11:00 AM — Organically Grown Gospel Choir
12:15 PM — Jackie Greene
1:45 PM — TBA
3:15 PM — Donna Jean and the Tricksters
4:45 PM — Umphrey's McGee
6:30 PM — The Neville Brothers

Gathering of the Vibes Web site

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NPR to offer webcast of Newport music festivals

From the AP:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Music fans unable to attend the Newport folk and jazz festivals will be able to listen to some of the concerts online.

NPR Music, part of National Public Radio, plans to stream select performances from both festivals. The webcasts also will be archived and available on-demand.

Current schedule:

* Sat., Aug. 9
* 11:30 a.m.: TBA
* 1:00 p.m.: TBA

* Sun., Aug. 10
* 11:30 a.m.: Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos
* 1:00 p.m.: George Wein All-Stars: With Esperanza Spalding, Anat Cohen, Howard Alden, Jimmy Cobb
* 4:05 p.m.: Herbie Hancock


NPR's announcement >>

Panic on the streets of London

First noted this in Maureen Dowd's Wednesday column.

During his world tour, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama visited with British Conservative Party leader David Cameron. The Brit didn't come empty handed.

We'll let WalesOnline pick up the story:

As the senator swept through Parliament’s gates, it emerged he was given a box of CDs of music by some of Mr Cameron’s favourite British bands, including The Smiths, Radiohead, Gorillaz and Lily Allen.

Are we ready for a world where heads of state exchange Meat is Murder and The Queen is Dead?

Jack White, Alicia Keys on deck for next 007 movie theme song

I'm sure this has some promise — seeing as how everything Jack White does is greatness. Alicia Keys, while very easy on the eyes, is an accomplished piano player with a beautiful voice.

The song is called "Another Way to Die," and was penned and produced by White. He also plays drums on the track and Keys will be on vocals.

The soundtrack for the film, Quantum of Solace, hits stores Oct. 28. The movie will be in theaters on Nov. 7.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Upcoming live music at Brothers Bar in J'ville



















18 THURSDAY BRANTLEY GILBERT $8/10 - $2 Discount w/ Student ID!

Brothers Bar

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Phish set to release DVD of 1997 live show

The Vermont jam legends, on the heels of rumors of a possible reunion, is going to release a new live DVD.

According to Phish's Web site:

On July 22, 1997, Phish performed the second show of their U.S. summer tour at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC through a torrent of rain, thunder and lightning related to Hurricane Danny. Rather than cancel the gig, the band played on with the music mirroring the peaks in the storm's intensity. 1997 was a particularly fertile period in the band's creativity onstage, as exemplified at Walnut Creek. Phish's own JEMP Records is proud to offer the complete Walnut Creek show on DVD, in stores everywhere August 5. Phish's first full concert DVD since 2006's acclaimed Live In Brooklyn set, Walnut Creek features more than 2 hours of 5-camera footage in 5.1 Dolby Surround or optional stereo sound on two DVDs.


Phish's youtube channel has a few clips from the upcoming DVD.

2008 VH1 Rock Honors Award Show

Be sure to check out VH1's salute to the Who. Hell, Tivo it!

According their Web site, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Flaming Lips, Incubus and Tenacious D will all celebrate the band with performances. The Who will play as well!

It airs tonight at 8 Central.

Click here for more >>

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tenacious D album in the works

The band is "one-and-a-half songs" into next album

DETROIT (Billboard) — The irreverent rock duo Tenacious D, featuring actor Jack Black, have begun work on a new album — just don't hold your breath waiting for it.

The project marks the follow-up to the 2006 film project "The Pick of Destiny," which bombed at the box office.

"We probably only have one to one and a half songs right now, and we probably need 12 to 15," Black's bandmate Kyle Gass told "It might take the rest of our lives, but I think it'll be worth waiting for."


Tenacious D Official Site

Monday, July 7, 2008

Top musical acts, from state to state to state

So, name the top band from Alabama -- ever.

Or the top solo act from Alabama -- ever, again.

Now, try to do the same for Florida.

Or Georgia.

Or Tennessee. (Can't pick Elvis.)

Or Mississippi. (Can't pick Elvis, either.)

Or any other state.

This afternoon, Star Editor Bob Davis turned me on to the Web site of the Boston Phoenix, which has produced a quite comprehensive list of the top acts from each of the 50 states. To paraphrase Bob, this is an argument waiting to happen. It's also an addictive exercise -- you can't stop clicking on state after state, just to see which acts they picked. Trust me; I've clicked on about 30 states thus far, and I can't stop.

Click here for the goods.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Coldplay and Crue making waves in the charts

NEW YORK (Billboard) — British rock band Coldplay ruled the U.S. pop chart for a second week Wednesday, while veteran bad boys Motley Crue debuted at No. 4 with the original lineup's first album in 11 years. Click here for article >>

Motley Crue
Billboard's top albums

Dead veterans happy to rock again for Obama

DETROIT (Billboard) — Barack Obama's presidential run might pay dividends for Deadheads this year.

Three of the Grateful Dead's surviving members — Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart — reunited for a February fundraiser for the Democratic contender in San Francisco, and Hart says it could happen again.

"We're not making plans, but I think we stand at the ready to be of service," Hart told "We're all deeply into this, into Barack Obama and the thought of taking this country back in some shape or form, what's left of it — it's probably one thing we can all agree on! So, you bet, I would spend a night with my brothers for that any time, any place."

Click here for more >>

Source: Gary Graff/Reuters/Billboard

Monday, June 30, 2008

Phish's Page McConnell writes letter to phans on reunion rumors

A Letter From Page | 06.26.08

Given the volume of speculation and rumors that have bubbled up recently, I have been asked to make a statement … Here goes.

For me, the last four years have been great. I’ve spent quality time with my family and have watched my daughter grow. I took great pleasure and pride in writing and recording an album. I’m living a healthy lifestyle. I travel as little as possible and I sleep in my own bed. It took a couple of years after the break up to begin talking to my old band mates, but once the conversations began to flow it wasn’t long before the friendships were rekindled. And I can honestly say that I’m closer with all of them now then I’ve ever been in our 20-year relationship.

Recently the conversations have turned toward the possibility of spending some time together. Currently many of us have plans and projects already in the works, most notably Mike, who made a great album and is about to hit the road in support of it. Given that I might not even see some of the guys for the next six months, I would say that the announcement of a reunion is premature. However, later this year we hope to spend some time together and take a look at what possible futures we might enjoy. In fact the only real decision that has been made is that when we do get together, it will only be the four of us, hopefully with no distractions. I am really looking forward to that.

I want to say just a few more things. The prospect of Phish reuniting is something I consider very seriously, and I think about it a lot. And lastly, as always, there is plenty of misinformation floating around. Try not to focus too much on secondhand sources and random gossip. If there is anything real to announce, it will come from the four of us as a group.

Until then,

— Source:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kanye speaks out about Bonnaroo

In case you weren't aware this year's Bonnaroo was slightly marred by a late appearance by Kanye West. A couple of factors were at play here: Pearl Jam played an hour over their time slot, breakdown of their stage and setting up West's elaborate set took time. Some say he showed up late even after his stage was set up. It was something like 4:25 a.m. when Kanye hit the stage.

Many Bonnaroovians showed their displeasure with chants, banners and graffiti suggesting that "Kayne Sucks!" Whether or not he got a raw deal is debatable.

Here's his response to his treatment: "This Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life," West wrote. "This is the most offended I've ever been ... this is the maddest I ever will be."

Click here to read more about this contraversy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New STS9 downloads

STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9) has released two songs from their upcoming album "Peaceblasters" for download. The files are in mp3 format.

Shock Doctrine

Beyond Right Now

If you like what you hear click here to download a bunch of hour-long, live STS9 podcasts. I highly recommend the Vol. I podcast. These podcasts are very high quality and great for mp3 players.

STS9's homepage

Bonnaroo streams and downloads

Click here to download many of the live performances from the 2008 Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival.

Many of the shows are in .flac format.

Enjoy audiophiles!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Purported new Guns N' Roses tracks hit the Web

The songs were only up a short time before the band made them take the songs down.

I heard one song sometime last year I believe and it was OK. Anyone heard these songs (Rhiad and the Bedouins," "If the World" and an unnamed track are the previously unheard tracks that were leaked)?

Click here for more >>

Monday, June 16, 2008

City Stages kicked the BamaJam blues

My faith in Alabama music festivals has been restored after going to City Stages last night. This was my first visit to this Birmingham favorite, and it was great. While the line-up for the weekend as a whole was less than stellar (I guess that's what happens when it's on the same weekend as Bonnaroo), City Stages ended the festival on Sunday with a blast ... literally. 

I'm a newbie when it comes to the Flaming Lips, but I've heard stories about the crazy antics at their shows.  More theatric than music, the Flaming Lips had a ball (once again, literally) with blasts of orange confetti, huge orange and yellow beach balls, dancing aliens onstage and frontman Wayne Coyne crowd surfing inside a giant bubble. The huge screen behind them flashed psychedelically with colors and random video of cars and hitchhikers. It's easy to see why they're listed as one of the top 50 bands to see live. Here's a (long) video that will give you an idea of just what they are about.

While the Flaming Lips was an awesome sight to behold, the aural pleasure came from the reggae, funk, rock, jazz, folk, hip hop tunes of Michael Franti and Spearhead. This group from San Francisco knows how to pump up a crowd for hours of hippie dancing. You can check out some of their music here

This festival is on my list to attend next year and years to come. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Water, water everywhere

Bonnaroo, as I’ve said before, is all about soaking it in. Well, yours truly was drenched last night, both literally and figuratively.

Packing the first good night of sleep I’ve had since even before I left, I hung in like a trooper through the sizeable downpour to watch nearly three hours of My Morning Jacket. Trust me, it wasn’t because I was a fan — I’ve never heard any of their stuff. Honestly it was worth it, especially when Kirk Hammet, guitarist for Metallica, joined them on stage for a very non-Metallica song. Myself and two good friends were the only ones of the bunch that stayed until the end. We would have made it longer had it not been for the cool wind that kicked up — being soaking wet, it got downright painful.

Pearl Jam, BB King and Kanye West are tonight’s big draws. I’m going to be a trooper again. At least that’s what I hope — Kanye doesn’t start until 2:45 a.m.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One day down

Sorry about the lack of a second post on Thursday. If you were here, you'd understand. We didn't really get everything set up (tents and getting settled) until well after 6 p.m.

By that point, once we got something to eat (first time since breakfast) and got to see the sights, I couldn't find the media area. That's the only place that had power and wi-fi.

What I did get to see was some good music.

Vampire Weekend is a newer band, that has been described as "preppy rock". They weren't bad, to my surprise. Real happy music. But it was still odd to see someone with dreads dancing around to four guys singing in Izod polos.

The second band we saw was Dark Star Orchestra, a Greatful Dead cover band. Their deal is they play complete Dead show from the first to the last song. As a casual Dead fan, they were incredible.

The hardcore Deadheads looked pleased as well.

The show ended around 1:50 a.m., and from there we went to the disco. That blew my mind, not only because there was a disco at a "Hippy Jam Band" festival, but the D.J.'s were first class. One guy was scratching on the turntable with what looked to be a choregraphed Olympic routine.

But while it was amazing, the body odor on the floor was more than you could imagine.

I have no idea what I'll see today. I've learned already to make no plans. But I do know I'll be mad as a wet hen if I don't get to see Willie Nelson and Chris Rock (no they won't be performing together.)

"It's a cosmic experience," one of my friends said. "Take it in and flow."

Last tidbit, the weatherman lied. There's no way it was 68 degrees here last night.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bonnaroo Webcast this weekend

Seeing as how many of us aren't stuck in line to get into the sprawling farmland that plays host to Bonnaroo ... never fear! You too can get in on the action through the AT&T Blue Room's Webcast from June 13-15.

Click here for more information >>

Bonnaroo's Web site

Update: Fuse TV will also be broadcasting live from Bonnaroo. It looks like they're going to show the headliners.

Click here for more info >>

Hank Jr. and BamaJam

As I mentioned before, Hank Jr. is arrogant. But now you don't have to take my word for it.

Here's what he had to say about BamaJam: "This was a 'sleeper' show for me. It was gonna be a show in the middle of a field, for cryin' out loud ... I really had no expectations. I was shocked when I saw the crowds. It looks like more than just my rowdy friends (and neighbors) turned out."

Good to know that he wasn't excited to play here. I bet he didn't know there was a festival for his father going on only 65 miles away in Georgiana last weekend, too.

Lines, lines, everywhere lines

Dictated by Bran Strickland:

Imagine the lines at Six Flags and the traffic Sunday morning at Talladega. Now multiply that by 10 or 20 and throw in 1,000 hippies.

Fair citizens of Annie's Town, I bring you Bonnaroo.

Traffic is like nothing I've ever seen and this is coming from someone who's overslept for Talladega more than once. It's not just sitting in it that makes it so bad — I've seen where it starts and where it ends.

To pick up my credentials this morning I drove past all the traffic, which has been moved to the shoulder of Interstate 24. My lovely wife counted the line in miles: 17. It's crazy. People (and by people I mean hippies) are scattered along the grass, doing all the things that hippies do.

Our group, which numbers 18 strong, are in a line of eight vehicles. Wish us luck. At this rate, we may be at the campground by nightfall.

The other side of BamaJam

So there's a whole other side to BamaJam that I haven't written about, nor has anyone else in the media, it seems. I give BamaJam props for putting on a great inaugural music festival -- but that's where the fun ended, the music.

Ted Hacker, the event producer for Ronnie Gilley Entertainment, called the festival "redneck heaven." I prefer to think of it as redneck hell. The rednecks who attended BamaJam ruined it for me.

Most of the time, when I use the term redneck, it's in a loving way. I'm from East Tennessee and I've spent almost all my life in the South. I like to do stereotypical redneck things -- drink beer, get loud and rowdy -- hell, one of the reasons I went to this festival was to act like a redneck with 100,000 other people (that, and to see Ralph Stanley!).

So here's where my story begins. It's Friday afternoon, and we've recently arrived at our campsite. I'm walking through RV-land, heading back to the tent after a visit to the porto-john. I was smiling, having a good time ... other than the almost unbearable heat, things were looking great. I was drinking beer, hanging out with friends, and getting ready to see some of my favorite musicians.

I wasn't surprised when a late 50, early 60 year-old-man invited me over to his "porch" (it was an RV, so there wasn't really a porch) for a hamburger and some friendly conversation. I declined the hamburger, but did accept a beer. It was about 5 p.m., 90-something degrees out and the man was already half lit.

Most of our conversation has already faded from my memory -- he hit on me repeatedly, I repeatedly turned him down, mentioning my husband at every convenient moment. He talked about where we were from, what we did. I was telling him about working for the newspaper. Just when I had enough (my beer was warm) and was getting ready to leave, my husband came up in conversation again.

"Is your husband black?" the man asked me. I don't know why he asked — maybe I said something to arouse his suspicion.

"No," I said. "But not that it matters."

"It does matter," he said, with an accusatory tone. "Have you dated black men?"


"Get out of my camp." He stands, pointing me toward the dusty path on the other side of his RV. I stood, thanked him for the beer, and stuck out my hand for him to shake. He looked at me like I was a leper, the girl he had been flirting with only moments ago gone in his mind.

I left, muttering curse words and flipping his camp an hand gesture that went unseen.

I accept the fact that there are racists out there. I'm not blind to the world. But if I can accept their beliefs, however backwards and outdated they might be, why can't they accept mine?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 10:00 p.m.

ABOVE: Hank Jr. rocking the crowd. Not only is he broadcast on multiple Jumbo-Trons, but he's wearing a jersey that says "Bocephus #1."

Hank Williams Jr. rocks! And 100,000 thousand other people agree with me. This first-time festival has definitely made it's mark on southern Alabama.

Beach balls and rebel flags printed with Hank's face fly above the crowd. This is the man that inspires thousands of people every day ... but in what ways makes me uncomfortable. Along with Hank's face are the words, "If the South would've won, we'd had it made."

Hank Jr.'s arrogance is incredible. These people worship him -- I saw them bowing to him after he swaggered onstage, rocking out "My Name Is Bocephus." Behind him, the Jumbo-Tron and it's accompanying mini-Jumbo-Trons flash his flame-engulfed moniker.

He knows how to give them what they want -- his hard-edged, outlaw rock gets them dancin' and hollerin, and queching thousands of beers to keep their vocal cords going for the next hour -- Hank Jr. made sure this festival will see it's second year.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 4:35 p.m.

ABOVE: Props to the Del McCoury band for wearing suits while it's 100 degrees out.

So there's three stages here at BamaJam -- the bluegrass stage, the alternative stage and the country stage (although it's not just country -- ZZ Top played there last night, and Skynyrd plays there tonight). Like most music festivals, the acts overlap, but I'm doing my best to catch most of them.

I'm at the bluegrass stage now, listening to the Del McCoury Band pick. Del was one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys many years ago. He's still picking along, now with his sons Robbie and Ronnie and a few other folks.

This crowd loves the bluegrass. It's definitely a different mood than you find at the other stages, even if the fans are the same. You can't rightly do a jig to ZZ Top.

I'll probably only post one more time tonight ... my MacBook's battery is going quick, and I've got no electricity.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 3:52 p.m.

ABOVE: Dan Tyminski Band ... you can't tell but they're drenched in sweat.

We skipped out on early on Marc Broussard to grab a frozen lemonade and catch Dan Tyminski. Even though you might not know his name, you know his music -- he played "Man of Constant Sorrow" for "O Brother Where Art Thou."

His mandolin player, Adam Steffey, summed up the festival: "Where else can you see bluegrass and Lynyrd Skynyrd?" The bluegrass stage has a great lineup ... we'll be back over there in a minute to see Del McCoury before I head back to camp for a quick dinner, then I'll be back again to catch Ricky Skaggs.

We left the bluegrass stage after about 30 minutes to catch Railroad Earth, an Americana/bluegrass jam band. We got an extra treat, though, because as we walked through the BamaJam Saloon (a really big outdoor bar), the Miss BamaJam competition began.

The "competition" consisted of seven girls strutting around in bikinis and answering some of the dumbest questions I've ever heard, like "What's your favorite color and why?" Only one of the girls gave an answer that made any sort of sense at all ... The winner gets $300, a year of free tanning and a cowboy hat. They all get featured in the Miss BamaJam calendar ... I'm still trying to figure out how they are going to make a 12-month calendar out of photos from seven girls.

I think the mullet competition tonight will a little more entertaining -- Railroad Earth definitely was.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

BamaJam -- Saturday, 2:13 p.m.

It is so hot!!! Even though we've got layers and layers of sunscreen, we're still burning ... This festival is not for the faint at heart. We went into Enterprise this morning to do a little shopping and it was 97 degrees ... and that was before noon!

Just a note: The boll weevil statue was not what I expected at all. I thought it would be just a giant bug, but it's actually a fountain/statue of a woman holding the weevil in the middle of an intersection downtown. I'd post a photo, but the my computer and camera are still fighting. I guess I'll post them all on Monday when I get back to the office.

Speaking of computers, I've got to tuck this back away in my bag. The sand and red clay dust are already coating everything.

Tonight we'll be checking out Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Gov't Mule, Skynyrd and Hank Jr ... this festival is great!

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

BamaJam -- 10:17 p.m.

ABOVE: Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.

** While I type this, it's almost 11 p.m. and I'm sitting in the unlit media tent, just a few feet from ZZ Top onstage. I pause for a moment to look at the huge crowd in front of them. While the media tent is positioned so I can't actually see the band, I have a full view of the thousands of people rocking out to "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide." Our camera and my computer have decided they aren't getting along at the moment, but we'll keep trying.

We rolled into the event grounds at about 8 p.m., just in time to catch Old Crow Medicine Show, who put on a fantastic show, as usual. Fiddles, banjos, a standup bass ... young people jumping around ... old time music with love.

This festival is a redneck Woodstock -- or "redneck heaven," as Ted Hacker, event producer for Ronnie Gilley Entertainment said. And that's not an insult by any means. A lot of thought went into creating the lineup for this inaugural festival.

It really is like a bunch of people from the race at Talladega decided to go to a Phish concert. I love it. Everyone needs to embrace their inner redneck every once in a while.

"It's all about the synergy of the music and the feeling we get from all the acts," Hacker said of the blend of southern rock, country and bluegrass. "There's no other concert like this in the country ... it comes from the heart."

That can be seen especially with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys show. As I sat down to listen to them pick, I hear the guy in the row next to me explain to his friends, "That's Ralph Stanley. Him and Doc Watson are like Godfathers of bluegrass."

I listen to a mean breakdown onstage, twang versus twang, until the crowd finally overtakes the music with a thunderous standing ovation. I didn't see the crowd react like this to Trace Adkins, even though there were thousands more people watching.

Ralph Stanley drew a younger crowd than I expected, though most of the hippy/rednecks were across the way dancing to Old Crow.

ZZ Top is pretty badass, I have to admit. I'm not a huge fan, but I can appreciate some good Southern rock. And these Texas boys have perfected that art. Singer Billy Gibbons sounds like he's drunk whiskey and smoked cigarettes every day of his life -- a true Southern boy.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

Off to BamaJam

Only 2 hours and 40 minutes until I hit the road and head to Enterprise for BamaJam, Alabama's newest music festival. Well, it's not just me -- Assistant Metro Editor/Business Editor Mary Jo Shafer is my photographer, and my husband's along for the ride, too.

We've got the truck loaded down with camping gear and firewood and the cooler's packed with ... drinks ...

While BamaJam officially began last night (I missed out on Darryl Worley and Randy Owens), I think the real fun will begin tonight -- I'm gonna see Old Crow Medicine Show, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and ZZ Top all in a 4-hour time slot.

Tomorrow's headliners are going to be a bunch of fun too -- Skynyrd and Hank Jr. I can already hear the crowd yelling for "Freebird" and flicking their Bics.

I'll be posting more later today from the festival, so stay keep checking back for more (including photos).

If you want to learn more about BamaJam, including the full lineup of acts, click here.

Update: Click here to view an audio slideshow from BamaJam 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP Bo Diddley

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday after months of ill health. He was 79.


Listen to some of Bo Diddley's music:

Bo Diddley

Good bit of bootlegs

At first glance it appears to be a blog of nothing but live shows available for download.

A good bit of the bootlegs found here are from bands that you rarely find recordings of. Enjoy

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

But what's with the growling???

So my husband and the features writer (Brett) are having this musical male-bonding thing. It's been going on for about two years now, with Phillip serving as Yoda keeper-of-knowledge to Brett's jedi absorbtion of all the musical stuff that Phillip's apparently been dying to share with someone, and I just haven't been a good enough candidate over the last 15 years. In that time, I'll point out, I've seen Megadeth (or maybe it was Metallica?), Warrant, Tesla (I like them), so I've hung in there. I've even grown to appreciate the humor and tallness of Ted Nugent.

However, as a musical buddy, I'm lacking. Brett has taken up the yoke admirably, and apparently it is a light load to bear.

Anyway, into this exchange of musical culture comes something called Opeth -- a Swedish band that's opening for the show they're going to hear in Atlanta tomorrow. They growl. Which, I understand if you can't sing. But in the moments when this guy (Opeth's lead singer, who's probably named Lars...) sings, he's got a nice voice. Interesting music, but I don't get the growling.

Their summer of music continues in New York on Father's Day weekend. Both are fathers, by the way, which automatically makes both of their wives saints for sanctioning these outings, right?

Friday, May 16, 2008

NKOTB performs again

They're not so new, nor are they kids but one could argue they were on a block outside of the NBC studios. I can't believe I'm posting this ... the things I do for you people.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rodney Atkins could take 6 ACM Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rodney Atkins is still surprised when people recognize him in the grocery store nowadays. But give it time.

With six nominations for Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards, including biggies like male vocalist, album of the year and song of the year, his shopping trips are about to get a lot dicier. He's also scheduled to perform at the show, which airs live from Las Vegas at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NIN new album is a free download

It seems like Trent Reznor and Radiohead are going head-to-head to change the music industry. 

Monday, Reznor announced that the newest NIN album, The Slip, will be available for free download at their website. 

Click here for the download form. Why not? It's free. 

You can read more about it here.

Also, check out a review of The Slip in tomorrows Escapes section. 

Friday, May 2, 2008

Jazz Fest Webcast

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest) Webcast is right around the corner! Live on the blue room May 3rd and 4th starting at 2 p.m. EST. Featuring the best performances from the festival, the live Webcast will include taped highlights from the first weekend.

Saturday Line-Up
Roddie Romero & The Hub City All Stars
Zac Brown
Wayne Toups
Jon Cleary
Dr. John
Voice of the Wetlands All Stars featuring Tab Benoit, Dr. Cyril Neville, Dr. John and others
the subdudes
Theresa Andersson
Susan Cowsill
Kim Carson
Irma Thomas
Tim McGraw
Jimmy Buffett
Widespread Panic (Woohoo!)

Sunday Line-Up
Salvador Santana Band
Alejandro Escovedo
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
Porter Batiste Stoltz
Papa Grows Funk
Art Neville
The Neville Brothers

— Info from

Monday, April 28, 2008

Remember, live music festival in Anniston this weekend

The Noble Street Festival is this weekend in downtown Anniston, and you're gonna get sick of us reminding you of it -- especially the Hot Blast MusicFest.

If you don't remember, here's the lineup. Music starts at 2. Thanks to the festival Web site for the info.

Keitha Williams, 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Solo Acoustic singer/songwriter. A longtime local favorite!

Lonely Pines, 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Blues Rock

McPherson Struts, 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Caribbean Chrome, 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Steel Drum Band

Distant Cousins, 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Bluegrass. Featuring Kelli Johnson & Jim Marsh

Ethan and the Ewox, 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. until!
Having opened for such artists as The Dave Mathews Band, Drivin 'n Cryin, Chris Whitley, and others, Ethan and the Ewox recently moved from Jacksonville, Alabama to the big city of Atlanta, where they are developing quite a fan base. The band is fronted by the passionate vocals of Ethan Baker. Add to that the distinctive lead and slide techniques of guitarist Rob Bruce. Bassist Lafrandin Minchew's evocative tenor voice keeps the background vocals dripping with soul. Renaissance-man Gary Chumney fills it out with his incredible drumming and talent for being able to play any instrument he picks up. From blistering rock to fusionistic funk to searing swampy blues to contemplative folk and soul, Ethan and the Ewox occupy a distinctive space in the music world.

This time, Chesney's really the man

Gotta hand it to Kenny Chesney -- you don't hear this type of story every day.

Chesney, the country music star, got his foot stuck in an elevator during his show this weekend in South Carolina. He finished the show, even though reports from the event say Chesney crushed bones in his foot and was in considerable pain. No kidding, right?

It's quite an amazing read. There were about 45,000 people at the show -- held at the University of South Carolina football stadium -- and Chesney played the entire show without medical assistance instead of stopping the show and disappointing the crowd.

Wow. It's all over the Internet, but you can read about it here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Coachella Webcast this weekend

Watch a select group of bands each day of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Previous years have rivaled Bonnaroo and this one is no different.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hip-hop on tour

I love tooling around on the Internet for what other blogs are writing about the music industry and such, and today I found a fascinating story from the Detroit Free Press on the history of hip-hop tours. Here are the first few lines:
Hip-hop had a problem.

By the early 1990s, the style born in the Bronx had become a bona fide national phenomenon, a cultural force with the hits to match.

But the mammoth success enjoyed by rap music in record stores and on the airwaves wasn’t being equaled in the nation’s concert venues. For the most part, successful live hip-hop was a no-show.
Click here to read the rest, which goes into the current Jay-Z/Mary J. Blige tour and its significance for the hip-hop touring industry.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I bet Snoop and Willie are best friends

Like odd duets?

How about Nelly Furtado and Keith Urban?

Read about it here.

Or -- ready ... -- Snoop Dog and Willie Nelson?

Read about that here.

We can't make this stuff up. And Lord knows we can't make up the idea of Snoop hanging with Willie in Amsterdam. I mean, think of the possibilities: Willie, Snoop, the Red Light District, legalized ... Oh, well, you get the idea.

Get your tickets now

The diligent crew here at Off the Record has noticed that it's been quite a few days of announcements of this summer's concert tours.

So we've tried to make things easier for OTR devotees and put together some sort of compilation. Of course, we failed. This isn't an authoritative list. But it's worth reading, at least.

Singer/songwriter John Mayer has released dates for a summer tour with support from Colbie Caillat and Brett Dennen. No word on whether Jennifer Love Hewitt of "Your Body is a Wonderland" fame will be on the bill or not.

Read about it here.

Judas Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motorhead and Testament will unite for the Metal Masters Tour this summer. Now, I have no idea why anyone would want to listen to 60-year-old guys scream -- there's irony here, if you can figure it out -- but apparently these guys still have a following.

Read about it here.

Eighties rockers Night Ranger have announced the first set of dates for an international trek in support of the band's first studio release in a decade, Hole in the Sun, and its 25th anniversary. Today, Night Ranger. Tomorrow, A Flock of Seagulls?

Read about it here.

More later, if we can find time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Leave well enough alone

They were the cautionary tale, the beautiful losers whose songs of youthful pathos and wasted potential gave birth to the "alternative nation."

The Replacements. Possibly the greatest band that nobody's heard of ... or at least the band that nobody's heard enough of. Fueled by alcohol and hopelessness, these Minnesota rockers knew no middle ground, living by the old Neil Young mantra, "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

And they surely burned out. But not before leaving the world with some of the most haunting hard rock ballads ever written. Their first, at best, effort "Let it Be," along with a short catalogue of earlier albums is set for "deluxe edition" remastering by Rhino Records. And while this is a record that absolutely everyone should own (along with several major label releases that are set for the same treatment later this year) "Let It Be" is the pinnacle.

But with such attention come the rumours of a reunion. And that would be a horrible mistake. With only two of the four members still in music - song writer Paul Westerberg and wunderkind bassist Tommy Stinson - The Replacements have long been given offers to reunite.

This was a band beloved for being a drunken mess - either brilliant or wasted - it's something that cannot be recaptured. It would taint a legacy that's fine just the way it is. So go and buy the record and do like so many before have done ... Imagine how great these guys could've been.

Beam me up, Scotty! Let's go to (the) Enterprise!

I have to admit that the Off the Record crew is not well versed in the fine town of Enterprise, Ala., or that it has its own music festival. That's our fault.

Enterprise's festival is called BamaJam, and it released its lineup of acts for this summer's shows on Sunday. Take a look:

Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Nanci Griffith.

ZZ Top.

Trace Adkins.

Little Big Town.

Of all the Alabama festivals that we've seen the lineups for, this one seems to have the most star power -- even if you're not a fan of Southern rock or country music.

Read more about it here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A true loss

Though he's certainly not the most recognizable or even most talented member of the E Street Band, without organist and keyboard player Danny Federici Bruce Springsteen might have never become "The Boss."

And now that signature sound - famous on such Springsteen classics as "Born to Run," "Jungleland," and "My Hometown" - has been permantely silenced.

Federici died Thursday after a three year battle with melanoma. Despite the disease, he never stopped recording, laying down tracks for Springsteen's latest "Magic." But he had been forced to drop out of the band's North American tour.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Original Jane's Addiction to play show

Fans of Juana's adiccion rejoice! The original lineup is getting together for a performance at the NME Awards on April 23. This will be the first time the band has performed with their original players since 1991.


Might as well go to McClellan this weekend

Sometimes, the large staff of Off the Record makes a mistake.

This is one of those times.

Not a correction, mind you, but an innocent omission.

We should have included this weekend's Mountain Longleaf Festival at McClellan when we've blogged about upcoming festivals in the area and across Alabama. We're sorry. Thirty lashes, please.

Musically speaking, there's something for everyone, including shows by the Sterling Silver Band (rock), the JAXPAN Steel Drum Band, Foggy Hollow (bluegrass), Maybe Later (Southern rock), Dustin Howard (rock) and Laura Dodd and Tom Walker (country).

The Star's Escapes crew had a neat update on the goings-on at the festival in today's edition. Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Predictin' Priest

Who says heavy metal acts aren't smart.

In the most obvious partnership since Ted Nugent wore a loincloth, Metal Gods Judas Priest have reportedly completed their long-rumoured concept album "Nostradamus."

Wanna guess what the concept is?

Set to drop in June and followed by a series of festival dates where the leather-clad Brits will likely work in a few new tracks amid their hits, "Nostradamus" will be a double-disc effort with some special editions coming complete with a 48-page book ... all about the life and times of the 16th century prophet.

Enter Spinal Tap reference here ...

Taylor Hicks is coming to 'Dega

OK, I'm not going to make any comments about Taylor Hicks, an Alabama guy, or American Idol, the successful U.S. TV show. Form your own opinions here. (Mine may come later.)

Anyway, this just came in from the good folks at Talladega Superspeedway.

Get your tickets now.

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Taylor Hicks, who won the fifth-season of the American Idol competition, will sing the National Anthem prior to the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, April 27 at Talladega Superspeedway.
The 31-year-old Hicks, born in nearby Birmingham Ala. and raised in Hoover, captured more than 63 million votes to win the fifth season of American Idol, which has a tradition of producing today’s greatest singing stars.
“We’re proud to have one of Alabama’s favorite sons in Taylor Hicks perform the National Anthem prior to the Aaron’s 499,” Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey said. “With his raspy, soulful voice, race fans should expect a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.”
After winning the fifth season of American Idol in 2005, Hicks’ first single “Do I Make You Proud” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100, the Single Sales chart and the Pop 100 with more than 190,000 copies sold in its first week of release. His self-titled major-label debut album arrived in late 2006 and “Live at the Workplay Theatre,” a concert album recorded in summer 2006, was released in 2007.
Tickets are still available for the Aaron’s Dream Weekend by calling the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA, (1-877-462-3342) or visiting For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725).

Our CMT Awards recap

Since there are apparently hundreds of Taylor Swift fans who are dedicated readers of Off The Record, we might as well blog about Taylor's night at the CMT Awards on Monday.

The girl did well.

Swift won video of the year for "Our song," and was also a hit just because she was there. Here's what she told The AP:

"I wrote that song in the 9th grade for a talent show," said the 18-year-old Swift, who won the night's top honor over Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Sugarland. "I never thought it would be on an album, never thought I'd record it, never thought it would be a single, never thought it would be No. 1 and certainly never thought it would win video and female video of the year."

Other cool stuff of the night was the Hannah Montana sighting -- OK, that was a joke -- and the Allison Krauss/Robert Plant duet, always an interesting mix.

Monday, April 14, 2008

songs to rock your baby

They say that music soothes the savage beast. This is especially true if said savage beast is a fussy 3-month-old baby girl.

But thank heavens for i-Tunes, for it seems that this baby is gonna have her daddy's obsession for music. And just in case there may be other fathers out there in need of some silent lucidity, here's just a sampling of musical options that put my bundle of bellowing into a much better mood:

Tom Waits - especially the crooner stuff - "Time," "Martha," "Hope I Don't Fall In Love with You," "Alice" "Innocent when You Dream," "Train Song" and some of the weirder stuff "Children's Story," "What's He Building in There."

Dream Theater - particularly "Scenes from a Memory."

"Home Sweet Home," both the demo, radio and instrumental cuts from the reissued version of Theater of Pain

And John Lennon's "Plastic Yoko Band" album ... save for "Do the Oz." Woke here up screaming.

Return of the Crue

It appears that the rumours are true, the Godfathers of LA Sleaze Rock have returned.

Motley Crue - Tommy Lee and Mick Mars (yep, he's still alive) - have reportedly, this according to lead heathen and songwriter Nikki Sixx, have delivered the new record and if this first single, "The Saints of Los Angeles" is any indication, the boys have lost much of their swagger. God, could it be that in the same 12-month span would could actually see both Van Halen reunite and the REAL Motley Crue drop a new record. Heck, even Trixter getting back together again. And let's not forget the excellent Scorpions album, Humanity.

Now ... if only Guns 'n' Roses would get back together again ... never hurts to dream

Anyway, check out the new single here:

Who's coming to Noble Street?

It would be downright unfair if we did all this blogging about the music festivals in Alabama this spring and summer and we didn't mention Anniston's very own Musicfest that's part of the Noble Street Festival on May 3.

So, we're mentioning it.

Here's the lineup. (Comments are from the festival's Web site, not from the massive editorial staff of Off the Record, most of whom took the weekend off and left me to do all the blogging.):

Keitha Williams
2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Solo Acoustic singer/songwriter.
A longtime local favorite!

Tony Yardley & Donnie Geir
3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Classic Rock

McPherson Struts
4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Caribbean Chrome
5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Steel Drum Band

Distant Cousins
6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
Featuring Kelli Johnson & Jim Marsh

Ethan and the Ewox
7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. until!

The good news is the bands are local, which makes sense, in a way, to showcase local talent at a local music festival. Got no problem with that. The Ewox play up in Jacksonville all the time, so as a headliner there's quality in knowing them, but also a little disappointment that the festival folks didn't fork out some cash to bring in someone who doesn't play Calhoun County frequently.

Oh, well.

All music festivals will have their critics, including this one.

Still, seems worth supporting, certainly. Read all about it here. As most folks know, there's a lot more to this festival than just music.

Hey, Morris Day's coming to Montgomery!

As everyone knows, Montgomery has one of these spring/summer music festivals, too. The Capitol City's is called Jubilee Cityfest, though it's not necessarily anything to be jubilant about more than any of the others.

The Montgomery festival is slated for May 23-26.

Here is the lineup thus far:

Taylor Swift.

Angie Stone.

Erykah Badu.

Morris Day and The Time. (Recently added, so that's called breaking news.)

Huey Lewis and The News.

Paul Thorn.

And, hey, American Idol auditions, too!!!

Click here if you want more info.

Soon, I'll put together some sort of master list of all the acts coming to the summer festivals in Alabama and Atlanta, if I can find the time.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The polls are open

This week's music poll is ready.

You know the drill, there at the top of the page on the right.

Point. Click. Vote.

Go ahead, go to Gadsden. But come back

It's not exactly breaking news here, but I've found the lineup for this year's Gadsden Riverfest to be quite interesting.

In case you haven't heard, here's the folks on the bill, in no particular order:

Clint Black
Billy Ocean
Sister Hazel
The Last Goodnight
Jeremy Lesley
Earl Thomas Conley
The Little River Band

It's interesting, too, that again and reworked soft-rockers REO Speedwagon were scheduled to headline the "rock" night of Riverfest, but for some reason the band cancelled some of its summer shows, including the one in Gadsden. (Gotta pull out "High Infidelity' ... ) Billy Ocean -- seriously -- was hired to replace Kevin Cronin and the boys.

The dates are June 13-14.

Read all about it here.

And here.

Live music, caught on tape

What do these guys have in common?

The Who.


Bruce Springsteen.

The Ramones.

Bob Dylan.

Daft Punk.

The Grateful Dead.




Give up?

They're all on Rolling Stone's 25 greatest live albums of all time.

Let me admit this: I love live recordings. In most cases, I'd rather listen to a live recording than a studio one. It's a basic premise: I enjoy listening to the musicianship of pros when they're on stage. Can they pull it off? Do they miss their cues? Can they hit those crazy, insane notes that are easy to produce in the studio?

Anyway, the RS list is interesting. The rest of the list includes some Zeppelin, Johnny Cash (of course), and unless I missed it, it does not include Frampton Comes Alive!, which many consider the best of the arena rock live recordings of the 70s. There's also no heavy metal (Zeppelin doesn't count), and there is an acoustic recording of an influential grunge band. You can probably guess that one.

There's also another live recording that did not make their list, but I'll leave that rant for another time.

Oh well, check it our for yourself.

Going to the Temple

Anyone who follows rock music probably heard the recent news that Scott Weiland was booted out of Velvet Revolver. Too much weirdness. I think one of my mates has blogged about that.

Anyway, weird Weiland has rejoined Stone Temple Pilots -- a band I particularly like, but not love; especially the band's jazz-influenced guitar chords -- where apparently they have big, big plans.

Take this, Slash!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Phair enough

It's hard to believe that it's been 15 years since Liz Phair released her indie smash "Exile in Guyville" - a record that would really set the tone not only for aggressive songwriting women in rock but the entire independant record label movement that would spawn everyone from Sonic Youth and Mudhoney to Soundgarden and Mazzy Star.

And it's still a nice, naughty low-fi gem that gets all too often overlooked, save for Phair who's been unable to escape its shadow despite a decent catalogue of follow-ups.

But Guyville is the record that she will always be compared against. And now it's getting its full due.

In June Guyville will be re-issued and remastered with bonus tracks and a cool documentary. It's an absolute necessity for anyone who knows Phair only by those cheesy ballads that have been paying the bills for far too long.

Read the whole story here:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

stop singing 'bout your body

By nature, I'm not a prude. Unless certain situations force me to be prude-ish. Things, that, for example, involve my 11-year-old step daughter and the songs that she sings.

Like any precocious pre-teen, Sarah's all about whatever disposable pop music is getting heavy rotation on the radio (namely the Q and by "pop" I mean "booty shakin' music"). Most of it is fairly innocuous - or at least the sexual puns are way over her head.

Not so with Maria Carey's latest, "Touch my Body."

Again, I'm not easily offended, but my guard goes up when I see a little girl to whom I'm responsible for helping to mature into an intelligent, grounded and independent young woman, strutting around the kitchen purring lyrics like, "Touch my body/Put me on the floor/Wrestle me around/Play with me some more."

Oh no, that'll make a step-dad lose his ever-lovin' mind. But now, after we've told her not to sing the song and change the station if it comes on (which she does), she can't escape it. And now, it's not only stuck in her head but everyone else's in the house too.

Dang you Mariah!

Axl Rose delivers "Chinese Democracy" to Geffen

I'll believe it when I see it. Obviously there's a few tracks floating around the Net but it's almost hard to believe that this album could finally come to fruition.


Guns N Roses have reportedly finished work on 'Chinese Democracy', the album that Axl Rose has been working on for the past 14 years. reports that Geffen Records, the band's record label, have confirmed they have received a finished copy of the album, and are currently haggling over money and rights issues with Rose.


Put a fork in him ...

It was one of those late-night moments that was so surreal as to be confused as a dream. Lying in bed, weighing through channel after channel of commercials, I happened across Meatloaf selling cell phones.

Before the point, first a confession - I'm something of a Meatloaf fan (both the singer and the hamburger loaf). Bat out of Hell, and heck, even Bat Out of Hell 11, had been guilty pleasures for a long, long time. Face it, Meatloaf can wail.

But this ... This commerical makes a mockery of selling out. It's a take-off of Meat's epic hit "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights," only it's a weird musical argument featuring Meat's kid (Mini-Meat) who wants a cell phone ... "let me sleep on it."

If it was done this badly, this cheesy on purpose - it's brilliant. If not, it just might be the worst commercial ever made.

check it out here

Elvis, live from the Garden

If you're a fan of all things Elvis -- count me as one of those, and not necessarily just because of his music -- then this is some cool news.

A few new photographs of The King have been found that document one of his legendary Madison Square Garden shows in New York in 1972. In some ways, there's nothing there that Elvis fans haven't seen before.

Nevertheless, it's still a neat view into his career -- and before his health and appearance declined so rapidly before his death in 1977.

Click here for more.

For 100 bucks, you can see the Spice Girls, too!

Courtesy of The AP and our friends at -- this week's top concert tours.

All I will say is that the touring music biz is in an odd state of affairs when the top five on this list includes an aging 80s rock band and the Spice girls -- THE SPICE GIRLS!

See for yourself.

The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week’s ranking is in parentheses. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

1. (New) Bon Jovi; $2,615,869; $88.69.
2. (1) The Spice Girls; $1,665,476; $108.68.
3. (New) Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band; $1,373,761; $92.02.
4. (2) Van Halen; $1,256,744; $103.84.
5. (3) Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus “Best Of Both Worlds”; $1,020,975; $57.02.
6. (4) Rascal Flatts; $800,367; $71.24.
7. (New) Keith Urban / Carrie Underwood; $717,796; $67.33.
8. (6) Trans-Siberian Orchestra; $676,400; $42.32.
9. (7) Michael Buble; $594,741; $70.80.
10. (8) Mana; $594,018; $45.33.

For the rest of the list, click here and poke around.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I want my music good -- and free!

If you're old -- I started out with LPs and 8-tracks, for the record -- then this next story will hold special relevance. It's courtesy of

Will owning music go the way of 8-track tapes, Walkman cassette players and 78 rpm records? For most of the 20th century, music fans were often distinguished by their record collections, and those who found music to be an important part of their lives had shelves upon shelves of vinyl to prove their dedication to the art.

The author goes on to discuss the issue of paying for music vs. getting it for free. If you care about the future of the music industry -- if not for the artist, then for the consumer -- then read this little tome. It's worth your time.

Bite into THIS Apple

I ran across something this morning that absolutely boggled my mind.

Here's a snippet, courtesy of the AP and the LA Times:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple Inc. has surpassed Wal-Mart to become America's No. 1 music store, the first time that a seller of digital downloads has ever beaten the big CD retailers.
I've blogged about this before. It's one of the top competitions in the music industry today -- who will dominate and rule the downloading part of the business. Looks like Apple's desire to rule the world is possible.

Read about it here. Send a thank-you card to the LA Times, too.

Go vote. It's an order.

The Star's new music poll has been uploaded. (Yes, it's right there on the right, at the top of the page.)

So do your duty. Now.

Um, sorry, Chicks ... You lose

So, let it be said.

"Goodbye Earl," the Dixie Chicks' ode to, well, you know, is not the "most notorious" country music song of all time. The Off the Record poll voters overwhelmingly said that's a joke.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Just look at our earlier posts on "notorious" country music songs, and you'll see what's up.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The future of country music

I'm not a huge expert on country music, but I have found a recent post on CMT's Web site to be fascinating.

Here's the intro:
So, are my Chicken Little friends, who say the sky is falling in terms of country music's quality, correct? Do they have a valid argument? I think we should look at the record over several years and compare things before coming to a decision.
It's a great read. Check it out if you care about the current state of country music, as I know many of The Star's readers do.

Download this

If you like to download music, there may be another top-flight option for you soon.

MySpace has announced its new music service, which could allow it to compete with iTunes in this lucrative market.

Read about it here, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Jay-Z's going to the bank

If you happen to know Jay-Z -- really, if you happen to know Jay-Z -- you might want to give him a shout and see if he can help you out with the mortgage payment this month.

He's apparently now a very, very, very, very rich man.