God Don’t Never Change is a new tribute album to gospel blues legend Blind Willie Johnson. The album features contributions from Lucinda Williams, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Rickie Lee Jones, Luther Dickinson, Cowboy Junkies, two songs by Tom Waits, and others. Continue reading →
On the heels of the 20th anniversary of the first release, Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams comes Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven on Vanguard Records. The last edition in the series since was Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, a collection dedicated to Vic Chestnutt, in 1996. SWIII: Pennies from Heaven features 13 new recordings of songs by an all-star cast that includes Ben Harper, Jackson Browne, Shelby Lynne, Victoria Williams, She & Him, Eleni Mandell, Ron Sexsmith, k.d. lang, Rickie Lee Jones, Joseph Arthur and more. The cover art is by pop art legend Peter Max.
Sweet Relief is a non-profit charity that maintains a fund that professional musicians can draw from when in need of medical care or financial needs. It started after musician and singer Victoria Williams was diagnosed with MS in 1993 and had no way to pay for her medical expenses. Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven is an excellent collection of covers. Some of the highlights include Ron Sexsmith’s gorgeous take on the title song, Joseph Arthur’s reading of “If I Needed You,” Ben Harper’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” and “Don’t Let Us Be Sick” by Jackson Browne. Working on the project, Brown said:
“Musicians are always among the first to give their energy and talent to help other people in times of emergency, though they are very often without health insurance themselves, and need our support when they fall prey to illness and hardship. Sweet Relief has been helping musicians for years, and has helped some whom I am very much indebted to for enriching my life. I am very happy to take part in this CD project, and for the chance to support Sweet Relief’s very soulful work.”
Stream Sweet Relief III in its entirety and watch a couple videos from the recording sessions below.
Purchase Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven here.
San Fran post-punk trio Grass Widow will be playing tonight at The Barbary. The bandmates – who take a firm stance against having a “front person” – are Hannah Lew on bass, Raven Mahon on guitar, and Lillan Maring on drums. All three contribute to vocals. The group started producing a collaborative 7-inch series called Common Chord and also started their own record label, HLR Records, on which they produced their third album, Internal Logic. Their all-ages show tonight begins at 7; tickets are available here. Below, watch a Twilight Zone-inspired video for their song “Goldilocks Zone” from Internal Logic.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3
Part of the business of being an editor is occasionally reading something that makes you feel like your brain is going to explode like that dude in Scanners. Today, that moment comes courtesy of the folks over at Making Time, who put together this sweet beauty of a write-up about tonight’s Warpaint performance at Voyeur (you can read the full version here):
“Dear Philadelphia, About exactly one year ago we had a band called the xx play at Making Time. It was an interesting choice to have a band like the xx play Making Time. No….they aren’t the first band that comes to mind when you think of an all out hyper-rager are they?????…Well…..I’m not sure how many of you were lucky enough to attend that historic Making Time but….the xx helped create an energy that was unparalleled to any Making Time in recent history and not only did they contribute to making an epic night…..they helped make that Making Time on November 16th, 2009 one of the best Making Time parties in the history of Making Time. So….here we are again….one year later and another band has come along that isn’t quite the first band that comes to mind when you think…..HYPER-RAGER but…..Warpaint are making some of the raddest music at the moment and are surely one of the most exciting bands of 2010. So….when Warpaint came to us and asked to play Making Time we were so stoked to have them and the first thing that came to mind was the epic radness of Making Time one year ago with the xx…I believe we truly have another night of epic radness reminiscent of that night one year ago when the xx performed one of the most amazing shows ever at Making Time.“
Warpaint performs at 9 p.m. at Voyeur; tickets to the 21+ show are $12.
Also playing: The Antlers + The Luyas at First Unitarian Church (7:30 p.m., all ages, $13); Dutch + Writtenhouse at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $10); James McMurtry at World Cafe Live (7:30 p.m., $30-$40)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4
Do you like pork pie hats? Linfinity ringleader Dylan Von Wagner does—so much so that he’s seemingly issued one to each of the musicians he picked up to fill out his band. (And, when he ran out, he turned to fedoras.) Luckily for Von Wagner, everyone in the snappily dressed band is also on the same page musically. As noted in the band’s press release, after putting out solo EP and an album’s worth of demos back in 2007, DVW assembled a permanent backing cast, which then “learned how to work together, feeding off each others ideas as drum lines, guitar solos and effects, and string arrangements.” Which, you know, kind of sounds like how every band works. But those bands don’t have cute hats, do they? Linfinity performs with Waking Lights at 7 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $8.
Also playing: Stornoway + Franz Nicolay at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $12); Rickie Lee Jones at Temple University Performing Arts Center (8 p.m., $38-$48)
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5
Tennis + Family Portrait at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $10); Tom Rush at World Cafe Live (7:30 p.m., $35-$45)
This Saturday night WXPN welcomes the legendary Rickie Lee Jones to the Temple Performing Arts Center. Jones debuted in March 1979 with her classic self-titled debut album (the iconic album cover pictured above) which included the Billboard Top 5 hit song “Chuck E’s In Love,” and she picked up a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1980. In 1981 Jones followed up her debut with Pirates which continued to reinforce her importance as a singer and songwriter, increase her popularity and critical acclaim. For this tour that she is currently on, Jones is playing her first two albums in their entirety.
In a recent e-mail interview Jones did with the Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Timpane she explained why she’s decided to perform her first two albums on this tour:
I am doing the first two records because these are the records people most often cite as the most important to their … history. And critics as well, generally. And it does seem like it was on fire then. I like the idea of doing the record as recorded, in sequence. It’s the way I would like to hear some of my favorite artists. Imagine [Van Morrison’s] Astral Weeks as it was. . . . I saw Morrison do Astral Weeks a year ago. Not in sequence, I don’t think. Don’t remember, though. So I am into this giving folks what they need to feel so good, so good. Why not?
On October 25th, 2009, Jones performed a special show for WXPN at World Cafe Live in celebration of the 5th Anniversary of WXPN and World Cafe Live’s move in to 3025 Walnut Street. You can listen to Rickie Lee’s performance from that show here.
Rickie Lee Jones performs at the Temple Performing Arts Center Saturday, December 4th. Showtime 8:00PM. Tickets are $20.00, $38.00 and $48.00.