Legendary rockers JOURNEY have released a new single, “You Got The Best Of Me”. The song is taken from the band’s upcoming album, “Freedom”, which will arrive on July 8. This past February, founding JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon shared the “Freedom” track listing in an Instagram post. JOURNEY’s current touring lineup features bassist Todd Jensen, a veteran musician who has played for various artists, including the bands SEQUEL, HARDLINE and HARLOW, as well as David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Perry, Alice Cooper, and Paul Rodgers.
Also, part of JOURNEY’s current incarnation is returning drummer Deen Castronovo, who shared the drum duties in the band last year with Narada Michael Walden. Walden, bassist Randy Jackson and keyboardist/backing singer Jason Derlatka all joined JOURNEY in 2020 following the band’s acrimonious split with drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory.
Jackson who previously played with JOURNEY during the mid-1980s was forced to miss all the recent gigs because he is reportedly recovering from back surgery.
Prior to JOURNEY’s recent Las Vegas residency, Jackson had been replaced at the band’s 2021 shows by Marco Mendoza, who had played several shows in 2019 with Castronovo and JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon under the “Neal Schon’s Journey Through Time” banner.
“Freedom” will include the single “The Way We Used To Be”, which came out last June. The song was the multi-platinum band’s first new music since 2011’s album “Eclipse”, and the first track released by the band’s revamped lineup. “The Way We Used To Be” marked Walden and Derlatka’s first studio recordings with the band, and Jackson’s first since 1986’s “Raised On Radio”.
The song was produced by Walden at his Tarpan Studios, with co-production by Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain. Since the group’s formation in 1973, JOURNEY has earned 19 top 40 singles, 25 gold and platinum albums, and has sold nearly 100 million albums globally. Their “Greatest Hits” album is certified 15 times-platinum, making JOURNEY one of the few bands to ever have been diamond-certified, and their song “Don’t Stop Believin'” has been streamed over one billion times alone.
JOURNEY was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017, and 2018’s co-headlining tour with DEF LEPPARD was the band’s most successful tour to date, landing them in the Top 10 year-end touring chart with more than 1 million tickets sold, and earning them the prestigious Billboard “Legends Of Live” touring award. March 2019 saw the release of “Escape & Frontiers Live In Japan”, a live DVD/CD set from their concert at the Budokan in Tokyo featuring the band’s first-ever performances of the albums “Escape” and “Frontiers” in their entirety.
JOURNEY has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and were inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall Of Fame. Additionally, the band is the subject of the award-winning documentary “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” about the band’s resurgence upon adding Arnel Pineda as lead singer after founding member Neal Schon discovered the Philippines native on YouTube.
Last August, Schon gave a college radio simulcast interview to WMSC and WNUW where he discussed the progress of the songwriting and recording sessions for the band’s upcoming studio album. He said: “I learned how to play keyboards better than ever during the pandemic, which I’d never really done before. And that’s where our first single [‘The Way We Used To Be’] came from. [I sent it to] Jonathan, and he did the lyrics on it and put a rough vocal on it. And then we had Arnel sing it, and we cut it and re-cut it in the studio, and it was just released. And a lot of people went, ‘Wow, man. I love it.’ 90 percent of people love it; the other 10 percent went, ‘I don’t think it sounds like JOURNEY.’ I go, ‘I never wrote it to be a JOURNEY song.'”
According to Schon, he and his bandmates had written over 30 new songs for the upcoming JOURNEY record. “Some of ’em are unmistakably JOURNEY without sounding like another song that we have; it just sounds like a new version of the band,” he said. “It’s ballistic, man. And there’s no lack of guitar on this record. So, I’m excited about it getting out there. I think any guitar player out there is gonna love this record, because I’m just kind of unleashing on this record like I do a lot live, but sometimes hold back in the studio. I don’t think it’s O.D.ing on the guitar at all and going overboard, but I like to check out the times and where I see music going.
I usually have a pretty good gut instinct about it, and I feel like the late ’60s, the time and era of early Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart and [LED] ZEPPELIN when they first came out, Jimi Hendrix, the CREAM with [Eric] Clapton and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, that whole era, there’s a lot of younger kids out there, younger generation, that never got to experience that era. So, I’m feeling like that is the era that I grew up in and that’s what I truly love doing and the type of music I love playing, so I’m going more there and I’m writing for that, to be able to do that on stage. And I think it’s really gonna trip some people out, when we finally do get this album out there and can combine it with all the hits that we do have.”
He continued: “There’s certain songs that are being mixed by Bob Clearmountain, that mixed our ‘Raised On Radio’ record, and he’s made it sound really amazing, really pulled it together. You have mixers out there sometimes that have this incredible ability to take work that you’ve done throughout a year, even though they were recorded at separate times, and different sounds here and there, and they pull it all together and they make it sound like it’s a tight album that has a focus sound-wise.”
Neal added: “The whole album, there’s not a filler on the record; that’s what I can tell you. I look at it, and I’m listening to it now, and many others that have known our music for a long time that have very good ears have said, ‘Look, this is the modern-day-and-age ‘Escape’. I think this could be the next ‘Escape’ for you guys.’ And I think that’s a bold statement, but honest to God, I feel like it’s that good.”
Six years since her last studio album, the veteran singer-songwriter and slide guitarist returns with a collection of robust professional rock that may inspire deep dives into her back catalog.
If the young feel hard and forget fast, adults feel hard and remember long.
To her credit, Bonnie Raitt has never courted the youth market. Avoiding disco strings and guest raps, the slide-guitar legend has amassed a body of work immersed in the blues and fully committed to the Well-Written Song; both her chosen repertoire and the material she’s penned herself adduce a belief in adulthood as a well-earned grace.
Her sunny, wide-open voice and the sparkling correctness of her playing have kept bathos at bay ever since she invested Eric Kaz’s “Love Has No Pride,” one of her chestnuts, with an aw-shucks sensual abandonment: She’s in love, yet damn straight she keeps her pride.
Thirty-three years after Nick of Time, which yielded perhaps the most career-changing Grammy coronation in history, and six years since her last studio album, Dig in Deep, Raitt returns with Just Like That…, a self-produced effort boasting most of her strengths: a fidelity to the material that borders on the idolatrous, a penchant for leading mostly male pros through unfamiliar paces, and the exquisite precision of her guitar.
As for weaknesses? well, she could have ventured further afield with the covers, as she did with Dig in Deep’s sly take on INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” Still, she sounds good, she plays better, and her band, co-led by longtime foil George Marinelli, simmers. A fine career summation should she choose to stop, Just Like That… is robust professional rock, a demonstration of Raitt’s vitality, like, say, Catherine Deneuve’s recent film work.
Her 18th album cedes a few of the solos she and Marinelli might have played to Glenn Patscha, a first-rate organist whose fills have the lightness of Charles Hodges. On her own “Waitin’ for You to Blow,” she lays down the guitar so Kenny Greenberg and Patscha can exchange solos over Ricky Fataar’s hi-hats.
“Something’s Got a Hold of My Heart” gets a lift from Patscha’s Fender Rhodes colors, given a mixing boost by Raitt and Ryan Freeland (the funereal “Blame It on Me” is the only lapse into heavy-handedness). A chugging little thing familiar to fans of her 1973 cover of Martha and the Vandellas’ “You’ve Been in Love Too Long,” her band’s take on the Bros. Landreth’s “Made Up Mind” greases up a melody “like a rainstorm tin-roof symphony.” But they falter with a static reggae-lite version of Toots and the Maytals’ “Love So Strong”; it has a skank but not much else.
When Raitt keeps things fresh with narrative writing, the cleanness of her melodies and lyrics deepens her empathy. With the help of an acoustic lick that’s the stepchild of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Patscha’s shimmering organ, “Down the Hall” examines a man’s stint in a prison infirmary; he observes Tyrone, “cancer eatin’ him inside out,” takes time to shave Julio’s head and, “crackin’ him up,” wash his feet. The Springsteen of Nebraska might have smiled with recognition, but Raitt’s contralto repels attempts to imbue “Down the Hall” with existential portent. Its just-the-facts approach is closer to Springsteen influences like Bobbie Ann Mason than Nebraska.
Just Like That… may inspire catalog deep dives. Many fans’ relationship with Raitt began with 1991’s Luck of the Draw, the septuple-platinum follow-up to Nick of Time that remains a landmark of boomer pop outreach as much a generational touchstone as Paul Simon’s Graceland, the sort of album Mom and Dad played on vacation road trips because here was a woman Mom’s age having fun making her most powerful music at middle age.
In a summer when Bryan Adams strangled the top 40 with a mousy ballad sprung from Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, “Something to Talk About” was a well-deserved hit, sexy in a mature, fully cognizant way; you’d have to go back to Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies” to find as worldly a Top Five hit sung by a fortysomething white woman.
And her take on Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” is the kind of recording that comes along just once in an artist’s career, though it’s echoed in the pungent aphorisms of Just Like That…’s “Down the Hall”: “I don’t know about religion/I only know what I see.” It’s okay if few performances on Just Like That… match that highlight.
Most of her albums contain time bombs; even records like 1986’s Nine Lives, regarded as misbegotten, have miracles of grace like “Crime of Passion” that reward the digging. But Just Like That… will do ostensible hand me downs like the Stones-y “Livin’ for the Ones” shame that band’s recent output, for example. The album title is the giveaway. Pros know their shit.
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Credits: By Alfred Soto
The record produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach – arrives August 26 via American/Republic.
Blues guitar master Marcus King has announced his second solo album, Young Blood. Like his previous solo effort – 2020’s El Dorado – the record was produced by fellow bluesman and The Black Keys leader Dan Auerbach, who revealed in a statement that every song was recorded live, something that’s “rare in this day and age.”
“Music runs so deep in Marcus’s blood he might not even realize how born to do this he is,” Auerbach says. “He’s the real deal. Marcus has Southern soul as part of his foundation. If you’re going to play rock ‘n’ roll with Marcus, you have to understand that element. It’s just who he is. These songs are live performances. The whole damn thing is live – the solos and everything.”
Kicking off proceedings, the 26-year-old blues wizard has shared the album’s first single, the swaggering and anthemic Hard Working Man. Crunchy palm-muted chugs sit underneath King’s perfectly blues-tailored vocal lines, before he lets rip with a suitably show-stopping solo from the 1:54 mark. Check it out below.
“We tour almost 200 days of the year, and even when I’m home, I’m doing something,” King explains. “Working hard is just the way I was raised. It would make my grandfather proud to know I’m a hard-working man and I’ve worked for everything I have. It’s an anthem for the people. You’ve got the folks who work all week and spend their hard-earned money just to come see us. It’s a real blessing.”
Thematically, Young Blood is about “looking at tough times in your rear-view mirror,” as King explains.
“I was going through a lot during the album with addictions, breakups, and addictions because of breakups,” he recalls. “I was overindulging in everything. It’s not a big secret to my friends. I was in a real rough place for a while. I was trying to process the death of family members and I was on the wrong medications.”
King – with Auerbach – sought to create an album that sought to harness the sounds of the classic blues-rock power trios of the ’60s and ’70s.
Recorded at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, Tennessee, Young Blood features Chris St. Hilaire on drums and Nick Movshon on bass. Its songs were written by both King and Auerbach in collaboration with Desmond Child and Angelo Petraglia known for their work with Aerosmith and Kings of Leon, respectively.
Young Blood arrives August 26 via Rick Rubin’s American/Republic. You can preview its track list below, and preorder it here.
DEEP PURPLE guitarist Steve Morse has been collaborating with Los Angeles art team SceneFour on the creation of fine artwork built from performance. A groundbreaking approach to making visuals on canvas, each piece in this collection showcases a new dimension to the instrument, a visual one.
SceneFour is primarily known as the team responsible for the “rhythm-on-canvas” medium, having released art collections over the last several years with a highly select group of drumming legends, including Bill Ward, Rick Allen, and Dave Lombardo. SceneFour, a Los Angeles design and branding firm, uses LED technology to transfer the musicians’ unique style onto a canvas. The art reportedly provides a “musical fingerprint” that is as unique as an artist’s autograph.
“Each guy’s artwork looks drastically different because their styles and techniques are different,” Cory Danziger, who co-founded SceneFour in 2004 with Ravi Dosaj, a graphic designer, told The New York Times”.
“Bill Ward’s artwork is dark and there’s kind of a foreboding element to it, whereas Chad Smith’s has kind of a light and airy feel to his playing. His arms are open, and those pieces have a butterfly effect,” Danziger said. Morse effectively took over Ritchie Blackmore’s DEEP PURPLE slot in 1994 and has since been in the group longer than Ritchie.
In a 1997 interview, Blackmore stated about Morse: “I’m just glad they [DEEP PURPLE] found a guitar player to carry on because I thought I was going to be shackled to this band for the rest of my life. It was like a ball-and-chain thing, and luckily, they said, ‘Well, we found someone.’ ‘Thank God, I can get out!’ “I haven’t listened much [to DEEP PURPLE’s recent recordings]. I just know that Steve Morse is a brilliant player. I remember Steve Morse with the DIXIE DREGS; they’re fantastic.”
Morse’s solo career has encompassed rock, country, funk, jazz, classical and fusion. Having started playing guitar around the age of 11, he later on attended University of Miami’s School of Music, where he studied classical guitar and jazz. A “guitarist’s guitarist”, he was voted “Best Overall Guitarist” in the Guitar Player Readers’ Poll for five consecutive years, before being removed from eligibility to open the award to other musicians and being inducted into their Gallery Of Greats. His work has received seven Grammy Award nominations, and he has appeared on over 200 albums.
DEEP PURPLE’s latest album, “Turning To Crime”, came out in November via earMUSIC. The LP contains DEEP PURPLE’s versions of great rock classics and musical jewels including songs originally recorded by Bob Dylan, FLEETWOOD MAC, Bob Seger, CREAM and THE YARDBIRDS carefully chosen by each member of the band.
Due to “a family matter,” Morse will be taking a temporary hiatus from DEEP PURPLE live shows but remains a full member of the band. Steve’s replacement for PURPLE’s upcoming dates in May, June and July 2022 will be guitarist Simon McBride, who has previously toured with both Ian Gillan and Don Airey, among others.
For more information, visit SteveMorseArt.com
Watch Steve Vai and Nile Rodgers help create the iconic ‘Halo 2’ theme
After being told to “just vibe”, Steve Vai improvised a solo that would feature on the main theme for ‘Halo 2’. A studio recording of guitarists Steve Vai and Nile Rodgers creating the now-iconic theme for Halo 2 has been shared by the series’ original composer, Marty O’Donnell.
Today (April 19), O’Donnell announced that a dispute regarding royalties for his work creating the Halo soundtrack has been “amicably resolved”. Along with the announcement, O’Donnell shared footage of Vai and Rodgers working together on their contribution to the main theme for Halo 2, which includes instrumentals from the pair.
Within the video’s 27-minute run-time, there are plenty of moments that detail how the pair came up with Halo 2‘s guitar-led theme – including Rodgers explaining that he wants to create something “really true” to the game’s original soundtrack. At 0:53, fans can spot Rodgers listening to the string-led portion of Halo 2‘s theme, before picking up his guitar and improvising a chord progression to play with the piece.
After Rodgers’ rhythm section drew praise from Vai, Rodgers joked that “I was doing something like this with [Eric Clapton], he sat there and went “okay, now what am I gonna play?” he said, “you’re covering all the harmony and all the rhythm, what am I supposed to do?” Around the 8:30 mark, a conversation between Vai and Rodgers shares a glimpse into the pair’s approach to collaborating on the Bungie project.
Rodgers tells Vai he wants it “to sound like you’re there with the orchestra” but doesn’t want to change the theme too much as “the original thing is so well-known”. When Vai tells Rodgers to “produce me, baby”, Rodgers instructs him to “just vibe, just groove on it for a minute” to see what he can come up with.
Remarkably, Vai’s improvisation – which begins at 9 minutes in the video – creates the solo that went on to be largely used in Halo 2‘s main theme, much to the approval of Rodgers. The footage was filmed while recording at Seattle’s Studio X, which has been used by artists ranging from Nirvana to Macklemore and Soundgarden.
– Credits: NME – Andy Brow
Eric Clapton and George Harrison were life-long friends. They shared the same love for music, and although they also shared the same love for a woman, nothing came between them. So, when George died of cancer in 2001, Clapton was beside himself. He had to do something to honor his friend, even if that meant doing something George would never have wanted.
Eric Clapton organized Concert for George in 2002.
After George died, Clapton wanted to do something to pay tribute to his life-long friend. So, he came up with Concert for George, a star-studded tribute concert. “It was [Clapton’s] idea,” George’s widow, Olivia, told Rolling Stone.
“He phoned me not long after George died and said, ‘I’d like to do something.’ Eric was a very deep friend of George’s, so I felt confident and relieved that it was Eric coming to me.”
“Olivia had given me this job of being musical director,” Clapton added, “to single out people for certain songs, and I found that really hard.
We were all quite protective of our relationships with George.” Fans and a vast group of George’s closest friends gathered on Nov. 29, 2002, exactly a year after George died, at London’s Royal Albert Hall for Concert for George. They filmed it and released it in theaters and on DVD a year later.
Among the performers were Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Preston, and Paul McCartney. George’s only son, Dhani, played acoustic guitar through most of the performance.
Shankar told the crowd that he believed George’s spirit was with them. However, George would have been uncomfortable with the tribute concert.
Eric Clapton said George Harrison wouldn’t have liked Concert for George
Clapton thought of what his friend would have said about the tribute concert during rehearsals. He realized George wouldn’t have wanted Concert for George. However, Clapton said he didn’t care what George would have thought.
He needed to grieve. “I thought that if he were here, he’d probably say, ‘Thanks very much Eric, but I don’t really want this,’” Clapton told the LA Times.
“I thought, ‘What would I say if he said that?’ “And I then thought, ‘Well I’m doing this for me, actually.’ And that’s more the truth of it; I needed to do it for him, but it was for me most of all because I needed to be able to express my grief in that kind of way.”
The guitarist found it hard to communicate his feelings to the ex-Beatle
After everything George and Clapton went through together, Clapton was never entirely able to show his friend his feelings.
“A lot of times during our relationship, I found it very difficult to communicate my feelings toward George my love for him as a musician and a brother and a friend because we skated around stuff. I was probably dealing with that, too, making amends.”
It was a little late, but Concert for George allowed Clapton to tell George how he felt about him finally. Clapton needed to show George, he loved him by celebrating George’s life.
Hopefully, Concert for George allowed Clapton to mourn George properly and to say all the things he never got to say to him.
Credits: Hannah Wigandt – Showbiz CheatSheet
Tyson Fury, who will take on fellow Brit Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium on 23rd April live on BT Sport Box Office, famously performed American Pie after defeating Deontay Wilder in Fury v Wilder II in 2020. The song has since become synonymous with the boxer who is not afraid to showcase his musical talent.
The latest iteration of the song sees McLean singing the verses to “American Pie”, perfectly articulating Tyson’s comeback story, before he’s joined in the chorus by the Gypsy King himself. The Morecambe-based fighter is no stranger to jumping on the mic, having previously appeared on Robbie Williams’ song “Bad Sharon” in 2019.
Ahead of Fury v Whyte the song will be aired on BT Sport to promote the fight and will be played in the stadium on fight night as 94,000 fans pack into Wembley stadium to witness the first all-British heavyweight world title fight for a generation.
In addition to celebrating Fury’s homecoming, the duet coincides with the 50th anniversary of American Pie – both the album and single – as well as the release of a children’s book, documentary about the pop culture impact of the song, and a world tour which will come to the UK and Europe starting in September 2022.
Fans will be able to watch all the build-up, undercard and the main event of Fury v Whyte exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office.
Don McLean is a Grammy award honoree, a Songwriter Hall of Fame member, a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and his smash hit “American Pie” resides in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry and was named a top 5 song of the 20th Century by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA).
Credits: Tim Peacock – Udiscovermusic.com