Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Aimee Blanchette, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.

McCartney, Bonham track to be heard on Wings' reissue

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music, Celebrities Updated: July 28, 2014 - 4:13 PM

Paul McCartney with Wings in St. Paul, 1976/ Star Tribune photo by Jim McTaggart

Paul McCartney with Wings in St. Paul, 1976/ Star Tribune photo by Jim McTaggart

Paul McCartney is reissuing another batch of Wings albums – including an outtake number featuring Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

This fall’s “The Wings at the Speed of Sound” reissue includes an alternative version of “Beware My Love” with Bonham.

Of course, Bonham also played on two tracks on Wings’ final album, 1979’s “Back to the Egg.”

In case you don’t get enough Wings live this weekend when Sir Paul plays at Target Field, “Venus and Mars” and “Wings at the Speed of Sound” will be reissued Sept. 23 with demos, previously unreleased tracks and, on the 3-disc edition, an interview with McCartney and a booklet of photographs..

Gary Louris, Davina Sowers share their recovery stories ahead of Saturday's HazelFest

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, Concert news, Minnesota musicians Updated: July 28, 2014 - 11:28 AM
Gary Louris at South by Southwest in 2013. / Photo by Tony Nelson

Gary Louris at South by Southwest in 2013. / Photo by Tony Nelson

Further proof it’s not your average outdoor summer music bash, HazelFest has issued a series of promotional video clips that show its performers talking about their very personal addiction recovery stories.

The second annual concert takes place again Saturday on the grounds of the famed Hazelden treatment facility in Center City, about 50 minutes north of Minneapolis. As in prior years, the family-friendly festival – whose slogan is “Recovery rocks” -- will feature recovery meetings and guest speakers alongside the musical performances.

This year’s lineup includes the newly reformed ’97-’00-era lineup of the Jayhawks, whose frontman Gary Louris opened up to Hazelden’s Jeremiah Gardner about his recovery experience in a Skype interview made public in three split clips. Davina Sowers of the barreling boogie-woogie band Davina & the Vagabonds did the same in another touching clip issued online. Both interviews (posted below) show a new level of bravery beyond the hard task of achieving sobriety.

“It didn’t just happen,” Louris says about “the miracle of my recovery,” detailing the work put in going to meetings and meditating to stay straight in the second clip. The first clip talks about his painkiller abuse and how easy it is to devolve into alcoholism being a musician. “You’re almost expected to drink before you go to work,” he notes.

Davina Sowers

Davina Sowers

Sowers details her addictions going back to her teens, including what she called a “do-or-die” split from heroin. “I can just not express to you how lucky I am, and how the brilliance of sobriety has brought me to where I am today,” she says.

Louris and Sowers both will return home from European tours in time for HazelFest. The middle-era Jayhawks reunited to promote new reissues of their three 1997-2003 albums, “Sound of Lies,” “Smile” and “Rainy Day Music,” all of which featured Louris as the band’s frontman (following the departure of co-founder Mark Olson). Sowers’ band has a strong new record to promote, “Sunshine,” a playful mish-mash of New Orleans-blown party songs and more tender, jazzy ballads.

Johnny Solomon of Communist Daughter – also scheduled to perform Saturday, as is Milwaukee's Trapper Schoepp & the Shades – has similarly been open about his recovery experience in the past. Tickets to the festival can be bought here for $20 in advance through Thursday, or they will be $30 at the door. Kids 12 and under can get in free. Hazelden’s scenic, lakeside grounds are at 15251 Pleasant Valley Rd in Center City (click here for directions).

Broonzy, brotherly love spell master Blasters at the Dakota

Posted by: Jon Bream under Music Updated: July 28, 2014 - 1:31 AM

Three B’s added up to a grade-A performance Saturday night at the sold-out Dakota Jazz Club.

That would be the brothers Alvin playing the music of Big Bill Broonzy and the Blasters. First, the backstory is in order.

Phil and Dave Alvin, brothers from Downey, Calif., had a terrific roots-rock band, the Blasters, that started in 1979. But like most brother acts, the Alvins didn’t always see eye to eye; in fact, they didn’t get along all that well. So the guitarist, Dave, left in 1986 for what eventually turned into a respectable solo career and the singer, Phil, continued on with the Blasters.

Then, two years ago in Spain, Phil almost died of a respiratory illness. Dave came to his side and their relationship -- and Phil’s health – rebounded.

They found something they agreed on: their love of post-World War I blues giant Big Bill Broonzy. So this summer Phil and Dave Alvin released their first studio album together in about 30 years: “Common Ground: Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy.”

And that’s what they did at the Dakota for two wonderful hours: play and sing the songs of Broonzy, the Blasters and Dave Alvin’s solo career.

Dave, 58, who always wrote the Blasters songs, was the affable spokesman, cracking wise and corny, making fun of his own voice and praising his older brother’s God-given gift of a voice. The brotherly love was as palpable as the talent. Phil, 61, is a great blues/rock shouter who doesn’t really shout, and Dave plays lightning licks on the guitar. Their joy in playing together made the music just that much more enjoyable.

They traded vocals on a few selections, including the opening “All by Myself” by Broonzy, and they exchanged guitar and harmonica licks (Phil was taught by Sonny Terry) during a torrid “Fourth of July,” a favorite by the great L.A. punk band X that was written by Dave Alvin (he was a member of X for about a year).

Dave showed both his sense of humor and love for Phil when he offered the playful, almost ZZ Top-ish boogie “What’s Up with Your Brother,” during which Phil took an acoustic guitar solo after a blistering passage by Dave. That, frankly, was a bit like Tito Jackson trying to follow Micheal Jackson.

Phil is the singer and harmonica ace. His voice had the perfect little hiccup during the Blasters' Mexican-tinged “Border Radio” but nothing could top his squinty-eyed intensity on the encore of the Blasters’ “Marie Marie,” one great blast of punkabilly and the brightest of many highlights on Saturday (see video below).

The Alvins were backed by Dave's combo the Guilty Ones, a trio that featured the occasional hot guitar of Chris Miller. The set included two instrumentals: Broonzy’s “Saturday Night Rub” and the Blasters’ “So Long Baby Goodbye,” the night’s closing number for which the Alvin brothers eschewed the vocals.

For the record, there were nine Broonzy numbers, four Blasters nuggets, four Dave Alvin solo pieces, a Jimmie Rodgers cover, one traditional tune and that aforementioned X song written by Dave Alvin.

Random trivia: another more famous sibling act also hails from Downey, Calif. -- the Carpenters.


Nightingale Trio pays homage to Slavic singing traditions

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson under Music, Classical, Concert news Updated: July 25, 2014 - 4:18 PM

Sarah Larsson of Minneapolis, Rachel LaViola and Nila Bala (left to right), a.k.a the Nightingale Trio, sang last January behind frozen Minnehaha Falls.

They may hail from three far-flung corners of the country, but the Nightingale Trio, three songbirds specializing in Eastern-European folk music , still make time to unite for several weekend concert tours a year, and are bringing four to the Twin Cities area this weekend.

Sarah Larsson of Minneapolis, Nila Bala of Baltimore and Rachel LaViola of Dallas met  when they sang with a Slavic women’s chorus at Yale, where in 2012 they earned degrees in anthropology,  law and film respectively.

“We all grew up liking world music in general,” said Larsson, who works with the recently established Somali Artifact and Cultural Museum. “But when I heard women singing Balkan folk for the first time, I was so drawn to it. There’s a lot of dissonance built into the harmonies. It’s like dance, where there’s almost a crackling  tension and release, stretching away from your partner and coming together again. It’s very satisfying to sing.”

Last January, the trio, aged between 24 and 27, performed on “A Prairie Home Companion” as well as behind a frozen waterfall at Minnehaha Falls, which you can watch on their website.

They will perform 8 p.m. today at the Verdant Tea Tasting Room (2111 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis),  6 p.m. Sat. at the Eat for Equity Festival on Lily Springs Farm (1930 6th Ave., Osceola, Wis.), 10 a.m. Sun. at Wayzata Community Church (125 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata) as part of a worship service, and 2 p.m. Sun. at the art gallery in Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church (511 Groveland Av., Minneapolis). The concerts are free with goodwill donations suggested.


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