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To no one’s surprise, Green Day made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its first year of eligibility.
Also elected was frequent nominee Lou Reed, who died in October 2013 and was a sentimental favorite even though he's already a Rock Hall of Famer as leader of the Velvet Underground.
Other members of this year's class:
-- Blues-rock guitar heroes Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.
-- Punk champion Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
-- Masterful ‘70s soul man Bill Withers.
-- 1960s blues favorites Paul Butterfield Blues Band, whose keyboardist, Mark Naftalin, grew up in Minneapolis, where his father, Art, was the mayor.
Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong also has a Twin Cities tie-in: His wife, Adrienne, is from New Brighton and the couple has a second home in the Twin Cities. Last summer, he played guitar on a few dates with the Replacements (who, ironically, didn't make the Hall of Fame ballot this year despite their much-heralded reunion).
The 30th annual induction ceremonies will be held April 18 in Cleveland.
The aforementioned inductees were voted in by music industry figures, critics and previous Rock Hall inductees.
A Hall of Fame committee also voted to induct 1950s-60s R&B group the 5 Royales as an early influence, and to give Ringo Starr an “Award of Musical Excellence” (he was previously inducted as a member of the Beatles).
There's been another death in the Replacements family.
John Hampton, who engineered the band's 1987 album, "Pleased to Meet Me," has died at the age of 61 from complications from cancer. Much of his work came out of Ardent Studios in Memphis, where he eventually became part owner.
The list of bands and artists he produced or engineered for include Alex Chilton, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Travis Triff, the White Stripes and John Hiatt.
At this particular end-of-year juncture, just a regular solo set by either Haley Bonar or Gary Louris would be noteworthy. Bonar spent a big chunk of 2014 on tour with a fully electrified band supporting her NPR-buoyed album “Last War.” Louris hit the road again over the summer with the newer version of his old band the Jayhawks to promote reissues of their three 1997-2003 albums.
It was nice to witness both tunesmiths strip things back down again. However, Thursday’s pairing of the two Twin Cities singer/songwriters at the Cedar Cultural Center brought them both down (or up?) to a new level of rawness. Each had to perform three of the other one’s songs, as is the m.o. of the Cedar’s Song Exchange series.
“It’s one thing to play Gary Louris’ tunes in your room,” Bonar said during her opening set. “It’s another to play them in front of Gary Louris.”
She did just fine. In fact, Louris was probably only exaggerating a bit when he declared her cover of the Jayhawks’ “Blue” “the best version I’ve ever heard.” She played it on the Cedar’s old, beat-up yet beautiful-sounding stand-up piano. That's also how she performed her own song “From a Cage,” one of several “Last War” tunes that took on new life unplugged from the highly produced recorded versions (also including the title track and “No Sensitive Man”).
After “Blue,” Bonar returned to acoustic guitar for a perfectly desperate and fragile-sounding rendition of “Big Star” – the Jayhawks’ “Big Star,” not her own song of the same name. Louris himself came out and helped her with his “She Only Calls Me on Sunday.”
Louris’ set was loose and sometimes discombobulated, filled with a handful of new tunes that he plans to record soon (the L.A.-folk-sounding “Useless Creatures” was tops), a few favorites (“Save It for a Rainy Day,” “True Blue”) and a couple lesser-played gems (“Everybody Knows,” “You Look So Young”). He meandered his way through a solo take on Bonar’s “Anyway Rattlesnake” but fared better -- with her help – in “Kid October” and, you guessed it, her own “Big Star.”
The pair actually matched up best in the encore, when they backed each other up on their own songs, “Kill the Fun” and “Tailspin.” They finished on a playful note with one of the most infamously awkward duets of all time, the Frank and Nancy Sinatra love song “Something Stupid,” a smart choice to end a wisely curated songwriters showcase.
The Song Exchange series continues tonight at the Cedar with Astronautalis and Mark Mallman. I seriously hope those two pull off a love-song duet, too.
Is he a crooner or just a croaky voiced geezer? Those questions will be answered when Bob Dylan releases what might be the most unusual album in a long career of surprises—a collection of songs associated with Frank Sinatra.
Dylan’s “Shadows in the Night,” featuring covers of 10 tunes including “Autumn Leaves” and “What’ll I Do,” will be released Feb. 3. Even though he’s considered one of the greatest songwriters in American popular music, he has released albums of cover songs, most recently 1993’s folk-music collection, “World Gone Wrong.”
But never before has focused an album on the songs associated with one artist.
"It was a real privilege to make this album," Dylan said in a statement. "I've wanted to do something like this for a long time but was never brave enough to approach 30-piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a five-piece band. That's the key to all these performances.
"We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking, and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded. I don't see myself as covering these songs in any way. They've been covered enough. Buried, as a matter a fact. What me and my band are basically doing is uncovering them. Lifting them out of the grave and bringing them into the light of day."
On tour recently, including at his three Minneapolis concerts at the Orpheum in November, Dylan closed the evening with “Stay with Me,” which will be on the Sinatra album. Frankly, his crooning on this ballad was one of the night’s highlights, and his often ravaged voice sounded surprisingly musical.
He also posted another song, "Full Moon and Empty Arms,” on his website last spring along with the cover of the album “Shadows in the Night” but no explanation.
The explanation finally came Tuesday from Columbia Records, which will release the new album. The announcement said there are no strings or background vocals on the recording. Dylan produced the project under his pseudonym, Jack Frost.
Here are the songs on the album:
1. "I'm a Fool to Want You"
2. "The Night We Called It a Day"
3. "Stay With Me"
4. "Autumn Leaves"
5. "Why Try to Change Me Now"
6. "Some Enchanted Evening"
7. "Full Moon and Empty Arms"
8. "Where Are You?
9. "What'll I Do"
10. "That Lucky Old Sun"
Target Center sent the rumor-mill spinning among local music lovers today when it announced that it’s going to announce a “major concert” at a press conference Thursday morning. This highly unusual move -- the arena didn’t even do a press conference to reveal Garth Brooks’ record-setting 11-show run last month – signals that it’s either a top-tier music act, or the show itself is something unusual. Here's our line on who the performer(s) might be:
U2. The Irish rockers just announced additional shows in the 19 cities already confirmed on their 2015 all-arena tour, so the next step will be announcing more cities. There are a couple gaps in the North American itinerary where some Minneapolis dates could be added (early June and early July). Or else any local stop would likely fall on a second U.S. leg after the European trek ends in mid-November. Lord knows the lordly Bono likes to do things with fanfare, too, so a press conference seems suitable. Odds: 1-1.
The Rolling Stones. Keith Richards and others around the band have hinted that they will keep touring in 2015 after a trek to South America in February. For its “50 and Counting” tour in 2013, the band signed a new deal with concert-promotions giant AEG Live, which is the company that manages Target Center. Of late, the band has been hitting arenas more often than outdoor venues. The Stones are certainly worthy of a press conference, especially since their last Twin Cities date was back in 2005 at Xcel Energy Center. Odds 2-1.
Another hat act. After Garthmania last month, the arena will probably get excited about any other mainstream country-music star headed their way. Jon Bream reported last month that two other major tours are headed to local stadiums next summer, the Luke Bryan/Florida Georgia Line match-up and a Zac Brown Band trek. Perhaps one of those is getting re-routed indoors instead. Or perhaps it's the rumored road union of married stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, both of whom are already down to play We Fest next summer. Or maybe it’s Garth again. Seriously. Odds: 7-1.
AC/DC: Despite their confluence of troubles, the Aussie rockers are going ahead with plans to tour behind the new "Rock or Bust" album next year. Unless original singer Bon Scott has been found alive in Tasmania or something like that, though, they don't seem to merit a press conference in Minneapolis. Odds: 20-1.
Prince. As we spelled out in our recent article on the “most overdue concerts,” the local kingpin hasn’t played a big local show since his 2007 gig at Target Center, and he's coming off his twofer album release in September. He could also fall into the “something unusual” category to merit the press conference – although it’s certainly not like him to talk to the press. Especially at 10 a.m. Odds: 30-1.
The Replacements. Ah, where would the local concert rumor mill be without a mention of the local boys, even after they finally played here on their reunion run in September? There was one juicy little tidbit going around after their Midway Stadium concert that an inquiry had been made about Target Center’s availability on New Year’s Eve. However, announcing such a show just a few weeks out seems tardy even for those guys, besides the 100 other reasons this doesn’t sound feasible. Odds: 500-1.
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