Assorted news from my musical world:
1. Honky Tonk Heroes – A great story by Jimmy Patterson about the life of Waylon Jennings, and the “outlaw” movement forged by Waylon and Willie that “changed the course of country music and redefined everything about it from how it was made to where it was played.”
2. The Local Scene – The newest House of Blues is set to open in Boston next weekend at the Landsdowne street address formerly occupied by the Avalon & Axis nightclubs. The new HoB will include a 2,400 capacity music hall, a restaurant, and a VIP lounge. The opening will mark a return to New England for the music chain, which first opened doors in Boston’s Harvard Square in 1992 and remained there until it closed in 2003. They plan to do about 300 shows a year.
3. Best New Album this Year (so far) – Speaking of the House of Blues, The Derek Trucks Band is set to play there on April 2. Derek Trucks released their latest album, Already Free, in January and I can’t say enough good things about it. There isn’t a note too many, nor one you could do without. From top to bottom, it’s a wholesome blend of soulful, bluesy, southern-rock infused good music. For the uninitiated, Derek Trucks is Allman Brothers progeny and one of the best guitarists alive today. For the initiated, don’t expect something similar to their last album, Songlines– this album is a departure from the jazz and world music influences on that album.
4. Sadness – Billy Powell, the only keyboardist Lynyrd Skynyrd ever had, passed away on January 28th. “He was one of the best piano keyboardists, rock ‘n’ roll keyboardists, of our lifetime,” said Ross Schilling, the band’s manager. Hank Williams Jr. said: “I will truly miss Billy. We have all lost one of our best rowdy friends.” I like to think Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph all greeted him with “We’ve been waiting on you, welcome to the band.” R.I.P
5. Awesomeness – Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash