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Dale Watson hasn’t yet left that overpriced condo heap known as Austin, Texas, but he might be closer to affording a little lake place here in Minnesota after his appearance last night on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” The old-school honky-tonk hero and Lee’s Liquor Lounge mainstay took to NBC to tout his new album for Red House Records, “El Rancho Azul,” which became the St. Paul label’s first release to ever make it to Billboard’s country album charts (it debuted at No. 57).
Letterman himself reportedly got a listen to the record and made the request to get Watson on the show. You can tell by the clip below he was genuinely excited to have him. The performance might have been the biggest broadcast audience Watson has played to since his last time on “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Dale will be back in our neck of the woods for another Lee’s gig on July 29. He’ll also be at Rollie’s in Sauk Rapids a night earlier. Then he will return less than a month later to the Minnesota State Fair – where he’s a favorite player on the Heritage Square stage – for multiple sets Aug. 22-23.
Anyone who didn’t know or had forgotten how much of a guitar god Prince really is, last night’s two-song performance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” was a lesson that will stick. Members of Fallon’s house band, the Roots, also got an education on never lending one of your prized instruments to the purple guru, because he might not take care of it very well.
Introduced by Fallon as “one of the most legendary and influential musicians of all time,” Minneapolis Celebrity #1 returned to the NBC airwaves for the national unveiling of his all-female band 3rd Eye Girl, the hard-rocking group he debuted on the final night of his three-night stand at the Dakota in January. That’s right: He brought an almost metallic rock band to a jazz club. Got a problem with that?
Clearly, the Fallon crowd didn’t mind the heaviness, as fans ate up his opening song “Screwdriver,” which was released as a single of sorts a few weeks ago via the new site 3rdeyegirl.com. He got even heavier and screwier in the second tune, “Bambi” (reinvented from his 1979 eponymous album), which ended with a crescendoing guitar solo that lifted so high Prince finally let the instrument fly high into the air and crash to the ground. See the video below. Turns out, it wasn’t even his guitar.
According to Roots frontman Black Thought’s Twitter feed, the instrument belonged to their guitarist Kirk Douglas. Here’s one of a few tweets about it via @Blackthought: "#Prince borrows @kirklloyd guitar, uses during @LateNightJimmy show, refuses to autograph THEN slams it to floor in the end! #rockgodstatus"
And another one: "Kirk your sh[**] is BROKE son!...it's bleeding son... BADDD. #theinstrumentformerlyknownas"
Douglas also tweeted a photo of splintered pieces of the guitar afterward. Presumably, there are no hard feelings over the incident, since the Roots guys were all clearly in awe of the appearance. Roots drummer and bandleader Questlove is well known to be one of the biggest Prince fans around, enough to be headed back to Minneapolis next Saturday for ex-Revolution drummer Bobby Z’s second annual tribute/fundraiser bash A Benefit 2 Celebrate Life at First Avenue, featuring other Prince alum and Fallon’s fellow “Saturday Night Live” alum Maya Rudolph’s tribute band Princess. Questlove will get here early enough to spin a DJ set on Friday night.
Another reminder of how much PBS’ “Austin City Limits” has changed its tone since Bob Mould himself called Austin home in the mid-‘90s, the former Hüsker Dü co-leader is featured in this week’s episode of America’s longest-running TV music series. The show will air locally on TPT 2 at midnight Sunday (as in right after “Saturday Night Live”), and again on TPT Life at 10 p.m. Sunday.
The producers for the show -- which was an exclusively all-twang affair up until the ‘00s -- coolly paired the ex-Minneapolitan with Southern Cali rockers the Delta Spirit to fill out the second half of this week’s show, making one excellent episode based on two of last year’s best concerts locally. For the TV cameras, Mould and his feisty bandmates Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster whittled down the set they played on tour last year, with some of Sugar’s “Copper Blue” and one song from the new “Silver Age” album rounded out by three Hüskers songs (you can see the set list here; or better yet, wait for the show).
The “ACL” episode is one of three new ways to see Mould on the small-screen. Ahead of his Feb. 28 “Late Night” appearance, Jimmy Fallon’s website just premiered the surprisingly comedic video for “Star Machine” (from “Silver Age”). Was Wurster a “Second City” cast member before he played in Superchunk, or what?
Meanwhile, the concert film from the all-star tribute to Mould at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in November 2011 -- titled "See a Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould" -- is now available as a $10 stream/download. A DVD version of the movie was also funded through a recent Kickstarter campaign. The show featured Dave Grohl, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler (the Hold Steady), Britt Daniel (Spoon), Ryan Adams, No Age and Grant-Lee Phillips playing his songs, along with Bob himself. You can hear snippets of the songs for free here.
Oddly enough, there happens to be some Hüsker Dü news to report, too: Chicago reissue label Numero Music is prepping a new limited-edition of the band's first single, "Amusement" b/w "Statues" to be released for Record Store Day (April 20). The 7-inch set will also include "Writer's Cramp" and "Let's Go Die," two other tracks from the same Blackberry Way studio session as "Statues." The remastered version of "Statues" is newly posted online. These tracks have gone out to collectors in various forms over the years, but there's excitement for the single nonetheless. Perhaps it's the first baby step in a long-overdue and highly justifiable retread treatment of the band's catalog, which Mould hinted at in our interview with him last year.
It looks as if this might be José James’s year. Or at least it’s looking to be a good day for the Minneapolis-reared jazz/R&B singer, whose new album debuted today at NPR Music’s “First Listen” site -- a hip and prestigious outlet for streaming records ahead of their release -- and who is slated to perform tonight on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” This will actually be James’ second national TV performance in a month, too, as he also performed on “Conan” in December (see below).
All the attention on James is over his fourth record, “No Beginning No End,” which arrives Jan. 22 via Blue Note Records. NPR’s write-up on the album says it “splits the difference between Bill Withers and D'Angelo.” Among the participants in the sessions were co-producer Pino Palladino, who replaced John Entwistle as the Who’s bassist, as well as fellow cutting-edge jazzists such as Robert Glasper and Kris Bowers. The album’s innovative sound might come as a surprise to fans who only heard James’ last record, “For All We Know,” a more traditional jazz collaboration on Verve Records with Belgian pianist Jef Neve. But the smooth-baritone singer also worked with the likes of the Roots, Basement Jaxx and various electronic DJs in prior projects. His first big break was winning a 2006 jazz competition in London, and he proceeded to live there for several years. He has since relocated to Brooklyn.
James, 33, grew up in south Minneapolis with a Panamanian musician dad -- José James Sr. -- who played horns with Willie & the Bees and Ipso Facto, and with the daring jazz guru Carei Thomas as one of his main mentors. The younger James has played the Dakota many times, but his next hometown gig is instead at the Cedar Cultural Center on Jan. 29.
Chris Kluwe takes on Stephen Colbert
It was supposed to be Jimmy Kimmel's big night - and in many ways it was. The shift to an earlier time slot for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" helped guide it to victory Tuesday over "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "The Late Show with David Letterman."
But those looking for Minnesota connections would have been better off tuning to Comedy Central.
On "The Daily Show," a hoarse Jon Stewart went after those who are not insisting we take a serious look at gun control, including fomer Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura who was quoted from a September 2012 roundtable discussion, arguing that taking guns away from owners because some people misuse them is the equivalent of taking cars away from Americans because some people are responsible for drunk driving. Stewart's response-- that Ventura was missing the fact that car use is regulated - got one of the biggest cheers of the evening,
You can see Stewart's rant here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-january-8-2013/scapegoat-hunter---gun-control
A much more hospitable reception was awaiting Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe who guested on "The Colbert Report." Kluwe was there to talk about his support of both gun control and gay rights, but Colbert couldn't resist getting in a dig about his team's loss to the Green Bay Packers.
"You got your lutefisk handed ot you," Colbert said.
Kluwe was relaxed - maybe too much so, sporting a stocking cap, t-shirt, blue jeans and sandals. Sandals?
You can see the entire interview here: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/422719/january-08-2013/chris-kluwe