- On Monday, we had one of those evenings when we remember why we live here. The Shelebration, a tribute to Shel Silverstein was held at Millennium downtown. The weather was perfect. We brought a picnic and jug of vodka and juice. The band was Bobby Bare Jr, Nora O'Connor, Patrick from My Morning Jacket, Chris Scruggs and others. Guests included Sally Timms, Will Oldham, Bobby Bare Sr and Jon Langford. Check out the video Jon's version of the Shel-penned A Boy Named Sue here.
- What do YOU think of when you add up Salt Lake City and a Metal record store? That's right: WAYNE HANCOCK! Turns out the dudes dig themselves some Wayne at our new buddies The Heavy Metal Shop store in SLC. Check out these videos from an in store performance he did with Joe Buck Yourself here.
- Some Great tour announcements this week for our overseas buddies: Deadstring Brothers will be in the UK in September behind their new album SÅo Paulo and Justin Townes Earle announced some Austrailian/New Zealand dates ("down under" I believe it is called) also in September. So, that's plenty of time to make your plane reservations...
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: Gale Street Inn on Milwaukee. Every year, several friends and I congregate SOMEWHERE for strong drink, meaty meats, conviviality and the All Star Game (for BASEBALL, you Visigoths). The AL won in part due to the triple by Tigers' outfielder Curtis Granderson. Oh yeah. The ribs are of the meltinyourmouth variety. Not smoked. Just tender and addicting. It being Chicago, our appetizer for the table (actually the horseshoe part of the bar near the TVs) was a FRIED CHICKEN. Yes, a whole fried chicken. Pass the toothpicks. Say hi to the owner George, he's got the classic Chicago-Belushi-ish vibe. By the way, the leftover ribs are one of the only things that heat up well in a microwave. And Go Tigers!
Your weekly or semi-weekly peek into the swirling vortex of weirdness that is life in the Bloodshot Lane. So, stop tweeting about the King of Pop for a few minutes, relax (the boss ain't watching) and catch up. All items guaranteed to be Sequined Glove Free.
- Wayne Hancock on Sirius/XM. The Train is performing and being interviewd on the fancy satellite radio. Show will on Tues June 30th @ 9pm eastern and Thursday July 2nd at 11pm eastern time. Outlaw Country on Sirius 63 and XM channel 12.
- Justin Townes Earle's new, arty and beautiful video of "Midnight at the Movies" is up on Vimeo and YouTube. Have a gander. It's keen, as the kids say (or said).
- What music do musicians listen to? This age-old question was posited to Ha Ha Tonka's Luke Long at SXSW this year and our friends at Rhapsody. Check out the answer here. Personally, I do not think his answer could be more wrong. It's a BAD album. I'll take it up with him later.
- While the blogosphere has its up sides, one glaring downside is the crappy writing. "Reviews" of records that are more half-cocked diary entries like "oh dude, i was up all night doing Jager bombs and watching The Wire on Hulu and was, like, no way was I up for listening to this band" that have precious little to do with the music. Thus, we are pleased when lengthy, well-crafted critiques come across our desks, like this one from Cheeky Chicago regarding Ha Ha Tonka's new one. Read it, but beware, you may gain some actual insight on the music.
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: Nhu Lan Bakery. Everyone's got that place (or, pity if you don't) in their 'hood that is just so good, so cheap, so GO TO, that you kinda take it for granted and, POOF, one day you are reminded, scolded almost, to NOT take if for granted. Today, I atone for this and sing its praises. Proving that not all colonialism was bad (ok, settle down, it's a joke), this Vietnamese sammich shop on Lawrence Ave in Chicago combines the fish sauce of the east with the crusty baguettes of ol' France. They are cheap, very tasty, very filling. The owners are super nice, the coffee nerve-endingly strong. The flat screen TV over the drink cooler (lemon grass soda, anyone?) alternates between CNN and Asian Lingerie shows. Some swear by the pate and head cheese sammiches, but they're a little rich for me. I go for the BBQ pork. Lots of cilantro, daikon radish and hot peppers. Check it out, but don't neglect your own GO TO spot in your hood in the process. Never forget those.
Next week, we'll be coming at you from the first of our 15th Anniversary Beer-B-Q's in Pittsburgh. Got any suggestions for excellent breakfast places?
As we in Chicago continue to build our Ark and sweep the rising tide of frogs out the front door, we bid you WELCOME to the Friday digest. Lots of fun things to look at and read about, so QUIT WORKING for a second.
- Ha Ha Tonka had a high-quality live shoot at the fabulous Off Broadway in St Louis on May 6th as part of the Born Small Town Tour kick-off party. Take a peep.
- Here's a fantastic piece on Scott H. Biram from the Austin Decider, it's got an interview and embedded links to videos and live performances. Read about his whiskey benders and all the metal in his legs.
- Tired of rooting around the Interweb for all those CLASSIC Robbie Fulks songs? Our buddies (and fans) over at Glorious Noise put together a sampler to make life easier and boost your productivity. So, here's a BRAINLESS way to get a whole mess of Fulks tunes in one spot. Then you'll want more, and you'll want to legally support one of the best songwriters and performers to ever call Chicago home.
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: The movie Up! Look, I hate popular culture more than any of you, so when something makes billions of dollars at the box office, i can usually safely assume it's pureed mush for the masses, but this is art. If you are not weepy and amazed at the depth of feeling and the economy of story telling in the first 10 minute segment, you have a heart of tar. AND i haven't gut laughed that often at a movie in months. AND it's in 3D. See it. Check your hipper-than-thou baggage at the door and soak in a great movie.
Ok, back to filling sandbags.
- Here's an entertaining read by the ever-entertaining Jon Langford; he tells the folks at Pitchfork about the most influential albums during different times of his life.
- WORLD PREMIERE VIDEO! As of midnight last night, Amazon.com is airing EXCLUSIVELY (through June 19th) the new video for Justin Townes Earle's title track Midnight at the Movies. Check it out, it's rather fancy pants.
- With the imminent release of Ha Ha Tonka's new album, the band wanted to share a video of the "Making Of..." Get the inside skinny! See all the drugs and dancing girls that went into its production! Is that a donkey in the studio? We can't be sure! Oh, the depravity! (We kid, they are very nice and polite.)
- Dex Romweber Duo+Jack White+vinyl= Yeah, baby! Perhaps you remember a few weeks back we told about Dex Superfan Jack White recording a single with the DRD. Well, the fruits of that labor have arrived, and it didn't take no stinkin' nine months either. The 7" single is our busy little hive, awaiting your fevered order!
- The first of our 15th anniversary Beer-B-Qs, featuring FREE ADMISSION, FREE food, beer specials galore and lots and lots of music has been confirmed in PITTSBURGH on July 4th. Lots more to come!!
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: Rob has no recommendation this week. The unparalleled lousy weather in Chicago, persistent overcast, 20 degrees below normal temperatures, insidious chilly lake breeze---all this as we are purportedly heralding the arrival of summer, has put him in a fouler than usual mood. Thus, no recommendation. He is sitting in his basement with a wool blanket over his head cursing the buckled jet stream and will not come outside again until he can do so without needing some sort of rain gear or heavy jacket. So, nyaah.
Here's a few interesting tidbits as you set out on this holiday weekend (and by holiday, we mean Bloodshot Rob's Birthday):
- Justin Townes Earle was snagged three nominations from the Americana Music Association: Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Emerging Artist.
- BASEBALL HATS are back in! Just in time for summer, and due to popular demand, we've re-stocked on our fabulous black caps.Check 'em out here!
- To whet yer appetite for Ha Ha Tonka's new album coming in June, they did a video interview at SXSW with our pals over at PopMatters. See it here. They're cute, so enjoy!
- Bobby Bare Jr interview on this week's edition of the Beechwood Reporter. He talks about Justin, his dad, and the upcoming Shel Silverstein tribute in Chicago. Read and see videos of Bobby when he performed at the Opry when he was 5.
- Rob's recommendation of the week: Since the warmer weather is upon us, it's time summertime drinks. Since there is only band with a drink named after them, we thought it would a good place to start. Thus, we give you the Ha Ha Tonka:
1 oz vodka
1 oz amaretto
1 oz sloe gin
1 oz southern comfort
Use 16oz cup, fill ice, pour in alcohol, then top with orange juice. Skol!
Til next week....
Justin and touring sidekick Cory Younts stopped by the studio of Seattle's KEXP and performed 4 songs, including two from his recent album Midnight at the Movies.
Have a look and a listen right here.
Loosely based upon Ozark myth, the video for "Caney Mountain" is a visual and artistic feast. Created by Barkley Motion Design and Effects, go here for a behind the scenes look at the animation effects and how it all came together.
On Halloween 2008, Bobby played at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with Drive By Truckers and The Hold Steady. Looky here for video of another Ryman appearance by Bobby. It's with his dad in, like, 1975. If this don't warm your heart, you ain't got one.
Scott H Biram's balls-out video to "Hit The Road" can be found on the DVD Bloodied But Unbowed. This DVD features 31 videos and live performances from the likes of Ryan Adams, Bobby Bare Jr, Deadstring Brothers, Detroit Cobras, Graham Parker, Old 97s, and the Waco Brothers, 8 short films with appearances and performances by Split Lip Rayfield, Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, The Meat Purveyors and others, plus a photo and poster gallery .