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BEKEN album releases May 4 on Thirty Tigers Music 

After a long period of waiting and watching, I couldn't be more delighted to finally be able to announce the public release of the Beken project on Thirty Tigers Music!!

BEKEN - Troubadour releases on May 4, but The Utne Reader has just released a preview of the "Kote'w Te Ye (Where Have You Been)" track with accompanying English lyrics on its website.

To all my friends who worked long and hard to see this project come to fruition - I am very much in your debt and offer my most sincere thanks on behalf of all of our team in Haiti.

Felisitasyon, maestro!

Boulder Creek Acoustic Bass review  

Bass Musician Magazine just ran a review of the Boulder Creek EBR acoustic/electric bass I've been using and loving for the last six months.  Based on AEBs I've played in the past I hadn't felt any urgency to own one myself, but this one was too good to pass up for all the reasons I gave to the reviewer.  I use the 4-string model with D'addario XL Chrome flatwound strings for extra warmth and wooliness.  Here's the bass in action during a Tom Jones performance at the Bridge School Benefit Concert from last October:



 

R.I.P. Allen Juste 

Haitian music lost one of its most heart-achingly beautiful voices last week when Lakou Mizik vocalist and accordionist Allen Juste passed away suddenly during a hospitalization in Port-Au-Prince. (Allen's accordion is featured prominently on the soon-to-be-released Beken record I produced back in 2012 for Thirty Tigers.)

Allen's grieving wife and son desperately need our support right now, and fortunately my friends at Lakou Mizik have arranged a fantastic $1 minimum "pay-what-you-can" for Allen's song "Refleksyon" at the link posted below. Allen's wife and son will receive 100% of your generous donations.

"Refleksyon" has affected me profoundly on every listen since I first heard it over a year ago and I'm convinced it will do the same for you. I offer my most sincere thanks to you in advance on behalf of the Juste family and Lakou Mizik:



 

Rock My Soul (PBS) debuts Thursday night on WNPT 

Last September I served as Musical Director for Rock My Soul, a musical event produced by Thirty Tigers Music during the Americana Music Week here in Nashville and taped for future broadcast .  Featured were The Fairfield Four, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, Van Hunt, Leeann Womack, Amos Lee, and my dear colleagues and collaborators The McCrary Sisters.  Joining me in the band were a group of gents I respect tremendously - Derrek Phillips (drums), Kevin McKendree (piano), Colin Linden (guitar), and Ralph Lofton (organ).

I'm excited to announce that Rock My Soul will make its PBS broadcast debut on Nashville's WNPT this Thursday, January 15, at 8pm CDT!   In addition to the live music, the show contains interviews with Robert Plant, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne (among others) discussing the role of Gospel music in the creation of Rock & Roll, Blues, Soul, and R&B.  You can call in to pledge support for NPT and get first access to Rock My Soul premium items, including the official DVD.

I offer heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all of the cast, crew, and musicians for their talent, professionalism, and passion, and for their patience during some long rehearsal days.  (:   

Danni Nicholls Pledge Campaign update 

As of this writing, we're only 15% away from reaching our goal to make the new Danni Nicholls record!

As with 2013's "A Little Redemption", we'll have the most distinguished Will Kimbrough and Bryan Owings at the core of our rhythm section and Stephen Leiweke manning the control panel.  We're scheduled to press "record" on 5 January and wrap it all up by the end of the month.

Check out Danni's Pledge Music page via the link below and feel free to join us in the process:


 

Nashville S3 E7 

Over the last couple of years I’ve gotten to work on a good bit of the music for ABC’s Nashville, but last nights’ episode marked my on-screen debut (along with Patterson Barrett on guitar) which, ironically, I missed during its airing.  Thanks to the friends and family who caught it and let me know.  (:

w/Clare Bowen and Mykelti Williamson

w/Patterson Barrett, Clare Bowen and Mykelti Williamson

w/Clare Bowen and Mykelti Williamson

w/Clare Bowen and Mykelti Williamson


Bridge School Benefit 

After having heard stories about it for years, I finally got to play Neil Young’s Bridge School benefit with Tom Jones in late October.  The concert lineup was formidable – Neil & Pegi Young, Brian Wilson & Al Jardine, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Florence & The Machine, Band Of Horses, and Norah Jones – and every set of music was engaging and refreshingly casual.  Soundgarden and Florence in particular blew me away and, based on what I witnessed onstage and off, Eddie Vedder was the true mensch of the weekend.  

w/Tom Jones, Marco Giovino, Doug Lancio (not pictured - Rob Clores)

 

My favorite non-musical moments – precious family time with my cousins Christian & Eunji Averill (Christian was interviewed for Vice.com’s event coverage - see here), Al Jardine commenting on the strength of my handshake, gear-nerd conversations with Hutch Hutchinson and Bob Lizik, and seeing first hand what a “LincVolt” was.

Music aside, what made the event truly special was the presence of the Bridge School kids and families who shared the stage with every artist, all day long.  In the midst of all that rock-and-roll royalty, their beautiful spirits and smiles were a constant, welcome reminder of life’s beauty and fragility.

I myself took only these few photos during the events but the benefit was certainly well-covered online.

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w/ bassists Hutch Hutchinson (Pegi Young) and Bob Lizik (Brian Wilson)

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Neil Young’s LincVolt car

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Neil & the Bridge School families


Rock My Soul (PBS) 

Rock My Soul group

This was truly one for the books – The McCrary Sisters and The Fairfield Four with special guests Lucinda Williams, Amos Lee, Van Hunt, Buddy Miller, and LeeAnn Womack, live at Downtown Presbyterian Church last Saturday during the AMA conference. The concert was recorded for future broadcast on PBS and will also be available on DVD.

Many thanks to our house band – Derrek Phillips, Colin Linden, Kevin McKendree, and Ralph Lofton – for their professionalism, diligence, and brilliant, soulful musicianship.


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