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XPN MusicNotes: Hear Elvis Costello perform sweeping new song with lyrics from a Johnny Cash poem

Johnny Cash and Elvis Costello | photo via Consequence of Sound

“There was one lyric that was thought to be one that might suit me. And then I was glancing through the folio and that particular lyric was there on the page, and the next thing I could hear it in a very unusual way” –  Elvis Costello in an interview w/ Rolling Stone re: a song he wrote to a Johnny Cash poem.

Next month an album called Forever Words will be released featuring well-known singers who have taken poems and letters written by Johnny Cash, and have put his words to music. Elvis Costello is one of the performers.  Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Courtney Barnett covers INXS, Laura Veirs sings with Sufjan Stevens, Chris Cornell’s voice appears on a Johnny Cash tribute

Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist
Courtney Barnett | photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist

It’s a terrific Tuesday of new music including Courtney Barnett’s cover of the INXS classic “Never Tear Us Apart”; Chris Cornell’s contribution to a Johnny Cash tribute album, and Laura Veirs’ new song featuring vocals from Sufjan Stevens. Continue reading →

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Watch Peter Frampton’s cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” at The Mann (Talk Box)

Peter Frampton | Photo by Megan Lynch for WXPN | meganlynchart.tumblr.com

Peter Frampton rocked Philly with his performance last week at the Mann Center. Along with his own tunes, Frampton treated the crowd to a cover of Soundgarden’s hit, “Black Hole Sun,” which he dedicated to the band’s late frontman, Chris Cornell.

Before the song, Frampton takes the time to formally tribute the cover to Cornell and the singer’s wife and children. He then dives into his unique, heartfelt take on the track. Beginning as purely instrumental, Frampton fuses his trademark guitar-driven, talkbox vocals about four minutes in before sending it off with an epic guitar solo. Continue reading →

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Review: Chris Cornell plays Soundgarden, solo songs, Beatles covers and rides a bike onstage at Scottish Rite

Chris Cornell | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Chris Cornell | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

For nearly three hours Sunday night, Chris Cornell replaced thoughts of the outdoor chills and the impending turkey madness with his blend of hard rock, grunge and songwriting prowess for all to see at the sold-out Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, N.J. Ripping through his vast catalog of work with Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, as well as his own solo pieces, most notably from 2011’s acoustic Songbook. With his deep, agile vocals still in peak form and his acoustic guitar (actually one of seven guitars, as there were that many to choose from for most of the night) providing sublime accompaniment, the concert was nothing short of fantastic.

Despite his self-deprecating cracks about song content, such as organizing the set into categories of “I’m Sorry” and “I’m Sorry Again,” Cornell was in charge, a showman who knows how to get his audience to sing along when he wants them to. The visual presentation of a semi-performance space complete with a chair, a table with a phone, and a turntable that he used to play the late Natasha Schneider’s piano to back his vocals on songs like “When I’m Done” “When I’m Down” was certainly icing on the cake (with a bonus odd and touching moment as he rode out for the encore on a bicycle that a young fan gave him). Highlights among the 30-odd songs included “Cleaning My Gun,” a Cornell composition that Johnny Cash opted not to record; a fascinating cover of Metallica’s “One” using the guitar riff from U2’s “One”; Temple of the Dog’s “Wooden Jesus” bathed in red lights; an impromptu, partial rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” “Over The Hills and Far Away” with opener Bhi Bhiman joining Cornell; a slow-burn version of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”; and the main set closer, Soundgarden’s “Blow up the Outside World,” complete with looping that shook Scottish Rite to its core.

The encore trio of Zeppelin’s “Thank You,” a glorious “Black Hole Sun” and a riveting cover of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” complete with an introductory story about a teenage Cornell breaking into Seattle’s Moore Theatre, capped off a crowning night of rock. As Cornell waved goodbye, he slipped a record on the turntable to play his exit music to usher in a week already full of thanks for the night’s ear candy.