Keith Urban’s recovery, Bono’s bravery and the Happy Together tour
By Steve Smith
Keith Urban plans return
Country star Keith Urban is still recovering from the throat surgery he had late last year to remove a polyp. However he announced that he’ll be sufficiently recovered to make his first concert appearance since November on Feb. 3 at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, according to the Boot.
The surgery forced the postponement of the 44-year-old Aussie singer-guitarist’s third annual “All For The Hall” all-star show benefitting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The bash has been rescheduled for April 10. Other performers included Alabama, Vince Gill, Allison Kraus & Union Station, Rascal Flatts, Miranda Lambert’s side project The Pistol Annies and Lady Antebellum.
Bono appears despite risk
Bono appeared at an African music fest despite considerable dangers involved, reports Britain’s Telegraph.
In past years, the Mali Desert Music Festival in that African’s ancient city of Timbuktu, drew thousands of music fans each year. However, years of violence and strife with neighboring Niger as well as terrorism from the Saharan branch of al Qaeda and the frequent kidnapping of tourists and international aid workers have done much to curtail attendance at what was a major world music gathering.
Bono flew in to lend his support for the festival and despite Mali and Niger ending hostilities several months ago, only about 300 paying music lovers saw the U2 singer’s appearance on opening night, where he sang with African musicians.
Allman Brothers fest set
Each year, The Allman Brothers host the Wanee Music Festival at Suwannee Music Park I Live Oak, Florida. This year’s fest, set for Apr. 19-2, is a bonanza for fans of The Allmans and The Grateful Dead.
The Allmans will be joined by The Electric Hot Tuna; The Grateful Dead spinoff Further with singer-guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh; The Mickey Hart Band, led by the former Grateful Dead drummer; Allman Brothers’ guitarist Derek Trucks’ spinoff group, The Tedeschi Trucks Band that he leads with his wife, blues singer Susan Tedeschi; another Trucks band, Gov’t Mule; Allman Brothers drummer Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson’s Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band; blues legend Buddy Guy, former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek with The Roy Rogers Band; The North Mississippi Allstars; Cajun bluegrass band Leftover Salmon; Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphumk; Bruce Hornsby, who played keyboards for The Dead from 1988 until the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995; and Trigger Hippy, featuring Joan Osborne, who sang with The Dead in 2003.
Among the new CD releases and re-releases are “Head: Limited Collector’s Edition,” a 3-CD set from The Monkees; a remastered and expanded “The Concert Sinatra,” from Frank Sinatra; “Decades of Worship” from Christian singer Michael W. Smith; and “Three” from The Refugees, featuring rocker Cindy Bullens, former Animal Logic singer Deborah Holland and singer-songwriter Wendy Waldman.
“Music From & Inspired By Pan Am,” contains songs used on the ABC TV show.
Among the artists and `50s and `60s standards emblematic of the times during which the series takes place include “Around The World” by jazzy lounge singer-pianist Buddy Greco, “Blue Skies” by Ella Fitzgerald, “Call Me Irresponsible” by Bobby Darin; “The Girl From Ipanema” from jazz saxman Stan Getz and “New York City Blues” from Peggy Lee. Other performers featured include jazz and blues singer Dinah Washington, pop singer Connie Francis, Count Basie and His Orchestra, rockabilly, country and pop singer Brenda Lee, and Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66.
Garth Brooks trial
Trial proceedings resulting from a lawsuit by Garth Brooks against Integris Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon, Oklahoma, has begun. The jury selection process has started, according to Tulsa World. Brooks is claiming the hospital reneged on its promise to name a building after the country superstar’s late mother in exchange for a $500,000 donation. The hospital denies any wrongdoing, claiming Brooks’ contribution was “anonymous and unconditional.”
John Sebastian honored
Former Lovin’ Spoonful leader John Sebastian was awarded the 2012 Silver Eagle Patriot Award by the United States Armed Forces in a ceremony in Oceanside at the Mira Costa Concert Hall.
Sebastian, who left The Spoonful in 1968 for a solo career, still stays in touch with the band’s bassist Steve Boone. Boone resurrected The Lovin’ Spoonful in 1991 with singer-drummer Joe Butler and singer-pianist Jerry Yester, formerly of The New Christy Minstrels and the brother of The Association’s Jim Yester. Boone told the Ocala, Florida Star-Banner, “Every time I sit down with John, it’s like no time has passed.”
The 68-year-old bassist said of Sebastian, “he was one of the premiere songwriters of the era”; and of the group, “We went out of our way to make our music radio friendly. We were the kings of singles.” He’s right. The Spoonful’s first seven singles all hit the Top 10, including their 1965 debut, “Do You Believe in Magic,” and subsequent hits like “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice,” “Daydream,” and “Summer in the City.
The Lovin’ Spoonful just played two shows in Florida. Sebastian, 67, continues to perform as well. He’s got concerts set in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York in March and April.
Houston livestock show lineup set
The big Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced its lineup. The annual event, set this year for Feb. 28-March 18, will feature some of the biggest names in country music, including Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Alabama, Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, The Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Jason Aldean, and rockers ZZ Top, pop artists John Legend, Train and Enrique Iglesias.
Springsteen shows up
As he’s done on many occasions over the past dozen years, an unannounced Bruce Springsteen performed at the 12th annual Light of Day Parkinson’s benefit at the Paramount Theatre in his hometown of Asbury Park, New Jersey, according to Rolling Stone. The bill included `70s singer-songwriter David Bromberg, reggae rocker Garland Jeffreys, singer-songwriter Willie Nile, and fellow Jersey Short rocker Southside Johnny and his new band, The Poor Fools.
Highlights from the marathon 7 and 1/2-hour concert included Bromberg closing his set with Sam the Sham & The Pharaoh’s 1965 party anthem, “Wooly Bully; Springsteen’s guitar work backing Jeffrey’s on his biggest hit, “Wild In The Streets,” from 1973, and his getting the crowd going with his cover of Question Mark & The Mysterian’s 1966 garage rock classic, “96 Tears.”
Nile blistered through a Ramone’s medley of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” and “California Sun that was a biggie for The Riviera’s in 1964.
The Boss performed a solo acoustic take on “Incident on 57th Street,” from his second album, “The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle.” He was then backed by his Pittsburgh-based friends, Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, with whom he’s played several shows in recent months. When they performed the event’s theme song, “Light of Day,” E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg ran onstage and handled the drumming. The night ended with an extended rave up on “Twist and Shout” and a sing-along version of “Thunder Road.”
Velvet Underground sues
The Velvet Underground, i.e., Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker, was managed and produced by pop artist Andy Warhol and was the house band at his studio in New York City. Nearly four decades after its breakup in 1973. Morrison died in 1995 at 53.
The members of the band are suing the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, saying the foundation didn’t have the right to sell Warhol’s iconic banana image on the cover of the group’s 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” to the maker of cases for Apple, Inc. iPods and iPads, reports the Wall Street Journal. The foundation has yet to comment.
Velvet Revolver reunite
Velvet Revolver, the rockers comprised of former Guns N’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland and rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner, reunited for the first time in four years, reported Rolling Stone. The group helped raise money by headlining a benefit concert at the West Hollywood House of Blues for the family of Kushner’s best friend, composer John O’Brien, who died recently.
Other acts performing included Maroon 5, local alt-rockers Fishbone, and guitar wizard Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, who performed as The Nightwatchman. Stephen Stills joined Cheryl Crow for four songs. The duo’s set included Stills’ Buffalo Springfield 1967 classic, “For What It’s Worth,” about the teenage riots on the very Sunset Strip that is home to the benefit’s venue, that Stills dedicated to “the 99 percent.” They also ran through Still’s 1970 solo smash, “Love the One You’re With” and a couple Crow biggies, “If It Makes You Happy” and “Everyday Is a Winding Road.” The evening ended with Velvet Revolver appropriately covering Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”
Classic acts from the `50s, `60s and `70s continue to perform. Here’s what some of them are doing.
The Association has a couple shows set in mid-February in Virginia and Maryland.
The Turtles will hit the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon near San Diego on March 31 with guests 38 Special, and again on April 1 with their pals The Grass Roots.
Mickey Dolenz announced that he’s on board again for The Turtles’ annual Happy Together Tour with tour repeaters The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams and newby Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. The Happy Together Tour will make a stop on July at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa.
Speaking of Dolenz, the other Monkees are also busy. Peter Tork just played gigs in Delaware and Arizona and Davy Jones is set to play shows in New York and Oklahoma in February before headlining a March 31 concert at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Little Anthony & The Imperials will undertake a five-night residency at Feinstein’s At The Regency in New York City beginning on Valentine’s Day. Also, you can make your reservations now when he headlines the gala New Year’s Eve 2012-13 show at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon.
Country legend Charley Pride will be in Oklahoma for two shows next week, before heading to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for a couple nights the first week in February. He’ll be across the pond on Feb. 26 at London’s Wembley Arena for the International Festival of Country Music that also features Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, Asleep at the Wheel, Rockabilly Hall of Famer with the falsetto Narvel Felts, Lonestar, Cajun singer-accordionist Jo-El Sonnier, and Sandy Kelly with `50s teen idol and the International Ambassador of Country Music George Hamilton IV.
Johnny Winter has a half-dozen gigs in New England before the end of the month before playing a couple shows each in Texas and Louisiana in early February. Then, it’s off to Europe for 17 shows from Feb. 23 – March 18. He’s playing the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point on May 19.
Diana Ross is heading to the Deep South at the end of February. She’s got six concerts in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina through March 3.
Tommy Roe, who scored with major hits like his first, “Sheila,” in 1962 through “Dizzy” in 1969, has two concerts set at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa in early April.
Tommy James was only 15 when he recorded “Hanky Panky,” in 1964. The song hit No. 1 in 1966 when he was hardened music vet of 17. He and his band The Shondells notched 13 Top 40 hits between that time and 1969. James and The Shondells will appear next weekend in Rama, Ontario, Canada, at the Casino Rama Entertainment Centre.
Percy Sledge will be singing his No. 1 standard from 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” at the Dunn Center For The Performing Arts in Rocky Mount, NC, on March 10.
Van Halen, The Wabo’s and Chickenfoot singer Sammy Hagar got his start fronting guitar great Ronnie Montrose’s group, Montrose. The guitarist performs four concerts in northern California and in Reno beginning next weekend.
Sergio Mendes was the toast of the cool set in the late `60s and `70s with his jazz-infused Bossa Nova pop hits such as “Mas Que Nada,” and his and his group’s suave takes on he Beatles’ “Fool on the Hill,” Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “The Look of Love,” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.” Mendes will bring those hits to Florida for five shows in April.
Engelbert’s coming. Engelbert Humperdinck continues to draw the big crowds at age 75. He’s playing the Pala Casino, east of Carlsbad, this weekend as well as at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm at the California-Nevada state line. In April, he’s set for two shows in Palm Desert at the McCallum Theatre and one show in Laughlin on April 21 at the Edgewater Casino.
In between, he’s giving concerts in Singapore, the Philippines, Lebanon and the United Kingdom.
Latin R&B kings, Tierra, hit the Top 20 in 1980 with “Together.” The guys from Los Angeles will be in san Jose on Feb. 11 for the Super Love Jam.
The Kingston Trio was one of the most important factors in the folk music boom of the late `50s and `60s. They’ll be at the Riverside Hotel & Casino in Laughlin all this weekend through Sunday.
*Former Box Tops and Big Star leader Alex Chilton did not drown when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005; Chilton died of a heart attack in a New Orleans hospital on March 17, 2010 at age 59.