Eruption - Conversations With Eddie Van Halen is a definitive new biography based on 50+ hours of interviews with the man himself

The book, due October 5, also includes chapters on EVH’s guitar builds and personal stories from the guitarist detailing oddities from his gear collection. A new Eddie Van Halen biography entitled Eruption: Conversations With Eddie Van Halen will be published by Hachette next month. Due October 5, the book has been written by Brad Tolinski andChris Gill who – as former editors of Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado, respectively – spent a huge amount of time speaking directly to the legendary guitarist.


The new book sees the authors pool over 50 hours of unreleased interview material with Eddie Van Halen, as well as additional discussions with the likes of Tony Iommi, Steve Lukather and Steve Vai, who reflects on the challenges of tackling EVH’s parts while playing with David Lee Roth.

The biography covers Van Halen’s career, from his difficult early years as an ostracized child of immigrant parents in ’60s Pasadena, through to world-conquering fame via albums like 1984. However, as you’d expect from two guitar journo lifers, the book also goes into extensive detail on EVH’s weird and wonderful gear innovations.

We’re told by the authors that Eruption: Conversations With Eddie Van Halen will examine the guitarist’s pioneering builds and mods, through to his relationship with Kramer and establishing his own firm, EVH. It willalso contain a section featuring pictures and comments on ‘Eddie’s Oddities’, the various unusual or lesser-known instruments he used throughout the years.



“Our goal was to tell the story of Ed’s entire life though his own words, ”says co-author Chris Gill. “We wanted to do it in an entertaining and informative manner for the general music fan while also going deep into Ed’s contributions as a guitarist, songwriter and musical instrument innovator, as well as one of the greatest guitarists and musicians of the20th century.”

Hachette is describing the book as “a candid, compulsively readable, and definitive oral history of the most influential rock guitarist since Jimi Hendrix.” You can pre-order the book now on the link below, however, if you can’t wait until its full publication next month, check out the new issue of Guitar World for an extensive extract on the evolution of the Frankenstein.

Hachette Books: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/brad-tolinski/eruption/9780306826658/

Credits: By Matt Parker – https://www.guitarworld.com/

Belá Fleck’s Homecoming LP ‘My Bluegrass Heart’ Honors HisHeroes While Passing the Torch

“All Along the Watchtower” Jimi Hendrix / Bob Dylan

After years of wandering through the vast musical labyrinth that encompasses country, classical, jazz, pop, and even portions of African tribal music, Belá Fleck returns home with his new collaborative LP My Bluegrass Heart. Released September 10, the album serves as the third chapter in a decades-spanning trilogy that began with the 15-time Grammy-winner’s 1988’s Drive and continued in 1999 with The Bluegrass Sessions. His core group of bluegrass comrades, including mandolinist and fellow New Grass Revivalist Sam Bush, guitarist Tony Rice, fiddle player Stuart Duncan, bassist Mark Schatz and dobro player Jerry Douglas appear on Drive, along with special guests Mark O’Connor and Peter Rowan. Bluegrass Sessions featured John Hartford, Vassar Clements, and Earl Scruggs — all three of which are no longer with us. In memory of Rice, their late friend, and bandmate, The New Grass outfit joined forces once again for Fleck’s new project.



Produced and composed by Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart marks the artist’s first Bluegrass album in over 20 years. Yet, the pioneering artist pulls from two decades of expansive musical exploration, resulting in what might be Fleck’s most dynamic contribution to date. The Flecktones, the project that immediately followed New Grass Revival, recently celebrated 30 years of melding acoustic with electronic and Bluegrass with jazz and funk. Venturing further, Fleck released duo albums and tours with jazz legend Chick Corea and life partner Abigail Washburn, the Brooklyn Rider String Quartet, three classical banjo concertos, an amazing collaboration with Indian musical royalty — Zakir Hussain, Rakesh Churasia, and old friend/bass genius Edgar Meyer. Between these works, the artist also created the award-winning 2009 documentary Throw Down Your Heart, which explored the African origins of the banjo. “I’m being a little braver,”


Fleck tells American Songwriter over the phone in a recent interview about the album project. “Typically, when I do a Bluegrass record, I kind of work within a certain idiomatic way of playing. Even though I play around the edges of it, I don’t go that far. But this album, I decided to include it all — some really traditional stuff, some fairly straightforward stuff, but just be myself the whole way. And then put some of the creativity that I would typically put into a project with Chick Corea or orchestra or Zakir Hussain but put it into a bluegrass context.



My Bluegrass Heart is centered on the tradition of sharing music between generations. The album is dedicated to both Rice and Corea — whose classic My Spanish Heart inspired the title. To honor their musical legacy, Fleck finds the balance by inviting both old friends and new ones from the emerging class of Bluegrass purveyors. Album opener “Vertigo,” sees Fleck reuniting with Bush, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Bryan Sutton of the Telluride House Band — setting the tone of tried-and-true musical tradition in which Fleck rooted his new project. Similarly, “Bum’s Rush” welcomes contributions from Douglas’ dobro and Billy Contreras’ trans-genre fiddle-violin dexterity.



Songs like “Charm School”, featuring 28-year-old guitar-virtuoso Billy Strings and a 40-year-old Chris Thile on mandolin, are carefully crafted tunes intended to carry on age-old traditions while embracing multi-generational neo-folk approaches.

“It’s really fun to play with younger players that care about what you’ve been doing your whole life, and they’re inspired by it. It’s a booby prize, you could say, of getting older,” says Fleck. “In my opinion, Béla Fleck is one of the most important musicians of all time,” Strings shares about the collaboration. “He bridges the gap between bluegrass, classical, jazz, world music, and everything in between. It seems like there’s no limit to what he can achieve on the banjo.”





Similar to what Rice and Bush’s music meant to Fleck before he started playing with them, Fleck is humbled by the reverence with which his predecessors approach their genre contributions. “It’s a great thing, if you live long enough, you find out some small number of people are really moved by what you do,” he continues. “When you interact with them, you realize you’re in them. And when you hear new things, it’s so familiar to me. I could relate to it in that if I started at a later point, that’s where I would be. But since they’re starting with me, that’s where they are.”


Fleck considers that Trischka — his teacher — probably has a similar experience when he hears Fleck’s music. “He’s hearing me taking off from where he started.


 Even though everything he does is as valid as anything I do, it must be interesting for him to hear what I’m up to. It’s the same, I think when I hear Chris Thiles or Billy Strings and everybody that my music and group’s music has had an impact on.” Thiles and Strings line up again for the venturing “Slippery Eel.” And Strings steps further into the project, teaming up with David Grisman on “This Old Road,” and a one-on-one effort with Fleck on “Tentacle Dragon.” The latter pushes the Bluegrass bounds with the help of Strings’ undeniable guitar-driven interpretation.



“Béla Fleck is my hero,” Strings continued. “So, when I got the call to play on this record, I felt like a young Jedi who’s just gotten the rare opportunity to go train with master Yoda. Though it was a challenge to learn the music, it’s an honor to have been trusted to sit in the guitar chair for these songs. To play alongside these fantastic musicians in the studio was a dream come true, and I’ll never forget it.”


Similarly, “Wheels Up” captures another moment of collaboration more breakthrough successors. Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle step up to the plate in this more modern take on a traditional fiddle tune. Other moments like “Strider” and “Hug Point” see the pair checking in with their earliest influences while following Fleck’s avant-garde imprints.




“The album ended up being a wonderful combination of old friends that I pushed to a certain extent, and new people that I pushed maybe harder because they could take it — they wanted it,” says Fleck. “Not that my old friends aren’t capable, they totally are. But at a certain point, I start to feel bad about putting them through the things that I dream up that are time-consuming. It was nice to spread it out because nobody got burned out on the recording. If I had done the whole thing with one band, by the end of it, there would have been some casualties.”



Béla will be touring My Bluegrass Heart throughout 2021 with Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Sierra Hull, Edgar Meyer, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton, Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle and more to be announced.  Tour dates are below, and ticket information can be found on Fleck’s website.



Listen to Belá Fleck’s latest LP My Bluegrass Heart, here.


Credits: BY MADELINE CRONE (American Songwriter)

Eric Clapton ‘The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions’

Eric Clapton returns with a remarkable new release, The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions on November 12. Available via Mercury Studios on multiple formats, the 17 songs find Clapton and longtime bandmates Nathan East (Bass and Vocals), Steve Gadd (Drums) and Chris Stainton (Keyboards) performing acoustic renditions of Clapton standards and an assortment of other numbers encompassing blues, country, and rarified originals.


Overseen by Clapton’s legendary longtime Grammy-winning producer Russ Titelman (James Taylor, George Harrison, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Rickie Lee Jones) and recorded live at Cowdray House in West Sussex, England, the performance finds Clapton and company revisiting such timeless classics as “After Midnight,” “Layla,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tears in Heaven,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and “Key to the Highway.”


In addition to revisiting some of Eric’s best-loved selections from his own extensive repertoire, Clapton and crew also offer their own versions of songs that had a profound effect on his career and those of his contemporaries including the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tracks “Black Magic Woman” and “Man of the World.”

The project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. 


Looking for a viable alternative and hoping to keep his options open, he reconvened with his band to the English countryside and staged a concert in the presence of only the participants themselves while letting the cameras roll.



(Clapton’s wife Melia, the sole outside observer inspired the Sessions title.) The mostly acoustic set was envisioned to be like an Eric Clapton Unplugged II, but not quite, as three songs are played with electric guitars. The result became far more than simply a sequence of greatest hits. Rather, it’s one of the most intimate and authentic performances of Clapton’s entire career, an offering flush with real insight into the make-up of his indelible catalogue.


After his time with the Yardbirds in 1963, Clapton began a career as a professional musician that has seen numerous bands, an abundance of albums, countless worldwide sold out shows, an impressive array of accolades, unwavering critical acclaim, and his consistent display of legendary guitar work.


The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions will be available on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, 4K UHD+Blu-ray, 2 LPs pressed on yellow vinyl, and a Deluxe Edition containing the DVD, Blu-ray & CD packaged in a 40 page 12” x 12” hardback photo book, digital video & digital audio. In addition, a CD-only version will be available exclusively at Target.


Track Listing:

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out * Golden Ring *

Black Magic Woman * Man of the World * Kerry * After Midnight *

Bell Bottom Blues * Key to the Highway * River of Tears * Rock Me Baby * Believe in Life * Going Down Slow * Layla * Tears in Heaven * Long Distance Call * Bad Boy * Got My Mojo Working.


Credits: American Blues Scene Staff

The Doors will release a new full-length concert film later this year

The Doors will release a new full-length concert film later this year. Titled The Doors: Live at the Bowl ’68 Special Edition, the movie will premiere in theaters on Nov. 4.


The film will arrive a month before a 50th-anniversary deluxe reissue of the band’s sixth album. L.A. Woman, their last to feature singer Jim Morrison.


“We are thrilled to bring fans of the Doors together in cinemas worldwide to share in a much-needed concert experience,” Kymberli Frueh, senior vice president of programming and content acquisitions at Trafalgar Releasing, said in a press statement. “The 50-year celebration of L.A. Woman was a perfect opportunity to capture a brand-new performance with current band members, reminisce on that era and share memories from the legendary concert.”


The Doors: Live at the Bowl ’68 Special Edition will focus on the band’s July 5, 1968, appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, which took place shortly after the release of its third album, Waiting for the Sun, and No. 1 single, “Hello, I Love You.” In addition to the concert, the new movie will also include a new musical performance by surviving members drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger with special guests, as well as a conversation with Densmore, Krieger and the band’s manager, Jeff Jampol.


The film has been remastered by Bruce Botnick, the Doors’ original engineer and mixer who recorded the live performance in 1968 and coproduced L.A. Woman. “The magic that has been done to enhance the picture and sound quality of this show will make everyone feel as though they have a front-row seat at the Hollywood Bowl,” Krieger said.


Tickets for The Doors: Live at the Bowl ’68 Special Edition will be available for purchase on Sept. 21.


Credits: ultimateclassicrock.com – Allison Rapp