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Linda Ronstadt back in public eye, and it’s not so easy

Linda Ronstadt doesn’t feel like company much these days. At least, not too much company. And on a recent visit, she is definitely not going to put on clothes and makeup.

Ronstadt is withdrawing from medicine she has been taking for more than three years that was supposed to help control her Parkinson’s disease. She suffers from nausea, vertigo, the works. That means no photo shoot today — though she makes it clear she isn’t a shut-in.

“You have to have a life,” Ronstadt says, “but I have to be very selective about what I do.”

That’s why this year, Ronstadt has chosen to come out in public again after her life-changing diagnosis five years ago. She has returned to public appearances last month in Tucson and Phoenix for “A Conversation With Linda,” where she recollected her career interspersed with snippets of recordings and videos. She even answered questions from the audience. Reviews from those events noted, with some surprise, how funny Ronstadt was, as if she has finally made public the brilliant, chatty, outgoing private self her friends have always known.

She plans to showcase that charm again this fall in three Northern California appearances — Sept. 15 at Dominican University of California, San Rafael; Sept. 21 at Folsom Lake College in Sacramento County; and Sept. 29 at Mountain Winery in Saratoga.

But this morning, her short, reddish hair hasn’t seen a brush yet. Ronstadt is curled up under a blanket on a lounge in her Sea Cliff living room, a scarf around her neck.

Outside her home’s windows, the garden is in full bloom. Her two grown children live in a house in the back, and 1-year-old Tucker, whom Ronstadt rescued as a 5-week-old kitten trying to cross a Los Angeles freeway, stalks the living room magisterially. Her longtime assistant, Janet Stark, is busy in the kitchen. Her daughter, Mary, 28, whose painting of Tucker on a clothes hanger is hanging on the wall, calls to check in.

Read the rest of the article here.

Steven Wilson tour: He really just wants people to enjoy the music, ‘To the Bone’

Steven Wilson was remixing Tears for Fears’ “Songs from the Big Chair” and “The Seeds of Love” when he found himself missing the blend of ambition and pop sensibilities that had defined so many classic albums he loved growing up in the ’80s.

“I did a Simple Minds record around the same time,” Wilson says. “And I did Roxy Music’s first album, all of these records that could be described as arty pop or progressive pop. And I kind of fell in love with that notion all over again.”

Just enjoy the music

One of the qualities he loves the most about those types of records, Wilson says, is that the artists wanted people to enjoy their music.

“They’re not trying to be difficult,” he says. “They’re very accessible records with catchy choruses. But at the same time, there’s no sense of compromise in the ambition. And I really miss those kind of records.”

Outside of hip-hop, Wilson says, “there’s precious little these days which you could say occupies the area that bands like Talking Heads once occupied, or the Police, or an artist like Prince or even Michael Jackson, that idea of being able to make a really ambitious record that is at the same time unashamedly aiming for a mass audience.”

Read the rest of the interview at AZCentral.com by clicking here.

Linda Ronstadt’s Tucson visit about sharing her past, reconnecting with friends

Linda Ronstadt was rummaging through memories tucked in a dresser drawer not long ago and came across a cassette tape from another lifetime.

It was recorded at her home in California near the beach in Malibu in the mid-1970s. Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther had dropped by and the three of them were doing what they usually did when they got together at one another’s homes: playing music.

“We’d sit around and someone would pull out a guitar. ‘You writing any songs?’ ‘Oh, this is a new one,’” she recalled earlier this month during a phone call from San Francisco to talk about her Tucson homecoming next weekend.

On that night, Browne pulled out “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” written by Warren Zevon.

“Jackson was producing his record at the time and he said, ‘You got to learn this song,’” she recalled. “I was always trying to get Jackson’s new song or J.D.’s new song, but they also made their own albums so they would save them for their own records. They were kind of stingy giving them to me, so I would get them after they recorded them.”

But Ronstadt scored a coup: A year after Zevon released his version, she recorded the song in 1977 for her album “Simple Dreams.” The song went on to become her one of her signature hits and the album was certified triple platinum (3 million copies sold).

Read the rest of the article over at Tucson.com, click here.

Blue Oyster Cult at Talking Stick Resort, “I need more Cow Bell”

There was a famous comedy sketch aired on Saturday Night Live with cast members playing Blue Oyster Cult (BOC) and Will Ferrell.  Will played a cow bell on BOC’s hit single, “The Reaper”.  Christopher Walken played Bruce Dickerson (Lead Singer for Iron Maiden) the studio manager/producer and kept demanding “More Cow Bell” during the song.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x64iyhl.  I bring this up because when BOC played that song tonight, guitarist Eric Bloom mimicked playing a cow bell.  The crowd loved it.

The show started with Danny Zelisko coming out on the stage to announce upcoming shows.  He then asked the crowd how many times they had seen BOC.  One person said 68 times and then another person said over 300 times.  Now those are real diehard fans.  This was my first time to see BOC.  I remember them from back in the 70s and early 80s, but for some strange reason I never got around to seeing them.  I have loved their music and this time around I was lucky enough to see them at Talking Stick Resort Showroom which is a great venue to see concerts.  It is small and intimate and the lighting and sound are very good.  An you can even get drinks, yeah…

Read the rest of the review and see concert photos by clicking here!

See John Prine Sing With Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson on ‘Colbert’

Since the early Seventies, John Prine has delivered songs that are often as fascinatingly cryptic as they are thoroughly penetrating. “Summer’s End” is not only the latest of these, it is among the very best on The Tree of Forgiveness, Prine’s first album of new material in 13 years, officially released Friday.

The singer-songwriter debuted the tune, an oblique but devastating meditation on love, loss and, naturally, forgiveness on CBS’ Late Show With Stephen Colbert Thursday night, joined by Brandi Carlile and Sturgill Simpson. Introduced by the host as “a special performance from three of my favorite artists who are performing together for the first time,” the tune featured a backing band that also included Fats Kaplin on lonesome steel guitar.

Throughout the performance, Prine’s weathered rasp is beautifully coated and soothed by harmonies from Carlile and Simpson, although the sting of the repeated refrain “Come on home” remains just below the surface.

Prine will be joined by Sturgill Simpson Friday night at New York’s legendary Radio City Music Hall. On Saturday, April 14th, the folk-country legend will be in Philadelphia, joined by musician Kurt Vile. He’ll continue to tour throughout the spring and summer.

Interview: Alan Parsons talks about the making of his forthcoming concept album

When the Alan Parsons Project had a big hit with their Eye in the Sky album in the early ’80s, fans had to be content just with playing their copies of the album, as the band did not tour. That’s because there was no band. Parsons, the man who engineered the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, worked strictly in studio with writing partner Eric Woolfson and a cast of session players. That changed in the mid-1990s when Parsons assembled the Alan Parsons Live Project and took the show on the road for the very first time.

Parsons is currently working on a new album, his first in more than a decade, while also playing select dates with the Alan Parsons Live Project, including Apr. 26 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (click here for tickets) and Apr. 29 in Orlando, FL at The Plaza Live (click here for tickets). Those shows will find Parsons performing the I Robot album along with greatest hits.

Later this spring the Alan Parsons Live Project will play shows celebrating the 35th anniversary of Eye in the Sky, something that has also been commemorated with a massive box set from Sony/Legacy Recordings. Fans will love Eye in the Sky 35th Anniversary Edition; it includes a half-speed master double vinyl copy of the album packaged in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, three CDs encompassing the album, unreleased bonus tracks and Eric Woolfson’s songwriting diaries, the album on Blu-ray audio, a 60-page book and goodies such as a poster and a flexi disc.

During a telephone call with Parsons he told us about working on his upcoming album, gave us a remembrance of the late Woolfson, and anticipated playing an Eye in the Sky show in-the-round at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. His commentary below is given exclusively to AXS.com.

Read the full interview over at AXS.com, click here.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show returning to America for 30th anniversary tour

Good news, mate! The Australian Pink Floyd Show, long deemed the best Pink Floyd tribute band on the planet, is returning to the US this year for a tour that celebrates the group’s 30th anniversary. The anniversary show is called Time: Thirty Years of Celebrating Pink Floyd 2018, and Aussie Floyd, as the band is familiarly known, will present the program 28 times beginning with a Sept. 6 show in Costa Mesa, CA and wrapping up with an Oct. 16 performance in Madison, WI. Additional tour dates include:

Sept. 8 – Los Angeles, CA – The Theatre at Ace Hotel (Click here for tickets)
Sept. 9 – Las Vegas, NV – The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino  (Click here for tickets)
Oct. 7 – Bensalem, PA – Xcite Center at Parx Casino (Click here for tickets)

Aussie Floyd are known for putting on a show that very closely resembles the work of Pink Floyd themselves, so remarkably like the original group that Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour once booked the band to play at his birthday party. So fans can expect a note-perfect recreation of Pink Floyd music from all eras of the band’s career, including songs from the very early days when the late Syd Barrett was writing psychedelic pop songs like “See Emily Play.” Two songs that the Aussie Floyd usually play at every show are “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” and “Wish You Were Here;” both songs are about Barrett, who got kicked out of the band when his drug use rendered him unable to play. Barrett blew his mind out so badly that he lived as an invalid for decades until he succumbed to cancer in 2006.

The music is not the only part of an Australian Pink Floyd Show that channels Pink Floyd; the band has an incredible light show and also utilizes psychedelic visuals that are projected onto a screen behind the stage. Pink Floyd was also known for having inflatables appear on the stage, most notably a “flying” pink pig that would zoom over the players during the playing of songs from the Animals album. He doesn’t appear at every show, but Aussie Floyd has an inflatable animal too, a giant pink kangaroo that towers over the musicians.

Aussie Floyd currently consists of guitarists and singers Steve Mac and David Domminney Fowler, singers and bass players Colin Wilson and Ricky Howard, singer Chris Barnes, drummer Paul Bonney, keyboards player Jason Sawford, sax man Mike Kidson and backup vocalists Lara Smiles, Lorelei McBroom and Emily Lynn. The ladies always shine throughout an Aussie Floyd show, but they bring the house down with their soaring and wordless singing when the band plays “The Great Gig in the Sky,” a cut from Pink Floyd’s best-selling 1973 release Dark Side of the Moon. Aussie Floyd are currently on tour in Europe and they have been playing about 20 songs per night there, including all of the cuts mentioned above.

To follow The Australian Pink Floyd Show go here.

John Prine Talks Fatherhood, Johnny Cash, Why Happiness Isn’t Good for Songwriting in Rolling Stone

Since breaking through in 1971 with a classic album he wrote as a mailman in Illinois, John Prine has created some of the strangest, funniest, most surreal and most enduring songs of our time. He’s been covered by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Bonnie Raitt (who popularized his classic “Angel From Montgomery”). But Prine has not always been prolific; on April 13th, he is releasing The Tree of Forgiveness, his first album in 13 years. It comes as Prine is being embraced as an influence by younger Americana artists like Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price. Here, Prine shares the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Read the amazing Rolling Stone interview by clicking here. Don’t miss John Prine in concert in Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson this December. Click here to purchase tickets near you.

Linda Ronstadt: From Tucson to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, her lifetime love affair with music

There’s a scene in Linda Ronstadt’s memoir, “Simple Dreams,” where her sister is playing piano in the family’s Tucson home while her brother, the soprano, sings.

As she writes in the book, “I said, ‘I want to try that.’ My sister turned to my brother and said, ‘Think we got a soprano here.’ I was about four. I remember thinking, ‘I’m a singer, that’s what I do.’ It was like I had become validated somehow, my existence affirmed.”

That affirmation would only increase on the path to becoming the most successful female singer of her generation, selling out “stupid” arenas, as she calls them, thanks to hits as huge as “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved.”

Linda Ronstadt’s music and memoir

She’s won lifetime achievement awards from both the Grammys and the Latin Grammys. Although she prefers singing standards and Mexican folk songs to Elvis Costello, she took her place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

By the time of that induction, Ronstadt had retired. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in late 2012, she’s unable to sing.

But she’s bringing a tour called “A Conversation with Linda” to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on April 26.

 Read the rest of her story over at AZCentral.com, click here.
Photos: Dave Mason at Talking Stick Resort

Dave Mason, a Rock and Rolle Hall of Fame guitar player and founding member of Traffic, performed at the Talking Stick Resort Showroom this past Saturday, Feb. 17.

Mason was playing his greatest hits, showing off his soulful voice and amazing talent on the guitar. Our Art Director Mike Mertes was at the concert taking photos during the performance.

Alvino Bennett on drums, Anthony Patler on keyboards, John Sambataro on guitar and Gretchen Rhodes on vocals joined Mason on stage.

Throughout his decades-long career, Mason has played and recorded with legendary acts like Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix and many others.

Click here to see the rest of the photos!