TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

If it’s true that a rich man leads a sad life / N’ that’s what they say from day to day / Then what do all the poor do with their lives / On Judgement Day? With nothing to say

I’ve been beat up, I’ve been thrown out / But I’m not down, I’m not down / I’ve been shown up but I’ve grown up / I’m not down, I’m not down

So you rock around and think that you’re the toughest / In the world, the whole wide world / But you’re streets away from where it gets the roughest / You ain’t been there, oh

Well, I’ve been beat up, I’ve been thrown out / But I’m not down, I’m not down / I’ve been shown up but I’ve grown up / I’m not down, I’m not down

Yesterday was the summer solstice, and boy was I in a lazy mood. Believe you me, I wasn’t the only one. Seems like the entire office just wanted to lay around and watch the World Cup. And why not? What a fine way to prepare for last night’s midsummer’s night’s dream.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 6/17

It was a sizzling Father’s Day here in Chicago, and not just because of the weather. Rock god Robert Plant and his band—the (truly) Sensational Space Shifters—played one of my favorite sets of 2018 at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

The set list was heavy on the Led Zeppelin tunes (no complaints here) but also highlighted Plant’s musically expansive (and underrated) solo career. If you’re wondering if he’s still got his iconic pipes? Hell yes he does! Time has been kind to Plant’s vocal chords and his stage presence is still commanding.

Also impressive was his band, The Sensational Space Shifters, who live up to their name and then some. Plant’s tour heads to the west coast next before hitting select cities abroad. Do yourself a solid and grab a ticket.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
John Coltrane,
The Atlantic Years
in Mono

Sound reads, all summer long.Ed.

John Coltrane’s Atlantic period presents an arresting convergence of circumstances. It was a time of raised profile and of considerable transition, the artist’s confidence audibly growing as he united jazz tradition and experimentation; most of all it was an era of major breakthroughs establishing the saxophonist as a leader in his field. The Atlantic Years in Mono doesn’t include the entirety of his work for the label, but it does ably document a thrilling era that brought Coltrane to a mainstream audience. Don’t be scared by the audiophile angle; Rhino’s 6CD/6LP+7-inch set is a splendid acquisition for both newbies and longtime fans. One gets to hear the thriving mastery as it was originally released.

By the time John Coltrane hooked up with the Ertegun brothers he’d already chalked up a significant list of achievements, serving as a powerful voice in post-bop’s development via the bands of Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, guesting for a track on Sonny Rollins’ Tenor Madness, teaming with Hank Mobley, Al Cohn, and Zoot Simms for Tenor Conclave, and leading bands for Prestige and for one LP Blue Note. Top billing came with Coltrane in 1957, and next was Blue Train for Blue Note, which many consider to be his first great album. John Coltrane with the Red Garland Trio followed in ’58 (aka Traneing In for its ’61 reissue), and Soultrane retained the services of the Garland band. As Coltrane’s fame grew Prestige would later release nearly a dozen albums under his name from unissued sessions and elevated sideman dates, in turn possibly lending a false impression of the saxophonist as unusually prolific during ’57-’58.

Coltrane was constantly playing but was nowhere near popular enough to have that many albums produced in such a short span; indeed, his two ’58 records with Wilber Harden as co-leader, Jazz Way Out and Tanganyika Strut, are rarely discussed in spite of their being positioned directly before Coltrane’s move to Atlantic. Well, not quite; the closest correspondent recording to his ’59 Atlantic debut Giant Steps is Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Wolfhounds, Hands In The Till: The Complete John Peel Sessions in stores 7/27

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Originally formed as teenagers in 1984, The Wolfhounds released four critically acclaimed LPs and numerous singles, appeared on the NME’s influential C86 cassette, extensively toured the UK and continental Europe, finally disbanding in 1990. The band reformed in 2006 at the request of St Etienne’s Bob Stanley to celebrate 20 years since the release of C86, and inflicted a severe guitar noisefest on an unsuspecting indiepop crowd at London’s ICA. Since 2012 they have been recording and releasing new material.

At the peak of media attention over the new bands promoted by the C86 cassette, The Wolfhounds recorded three four-song sessions for the BBC’s legendary late-night John Peel Show between March 1986 and January 1987, capturing all the excitement and youthful exuberance of a band just catching the public imagination. With an energy born of sweaty, rammed gigs in the function rooms of London pubs and a willful experimentation nurtured in suburban bedrooms and garages away from watchful eyes, The Wolfhounds blasted their raw live sound straight to tape with little in the way of overdubs or the more considered studio polish of their excellent albums.

Every song from these sessions is now gathered together on Hands In The Till, making a surprisingly coherent whole despite the heady disorganized thrust of the times and a couple of line-up changes in the meantime. More wiry and angular than most of their C86 peers, The Wolfhounds had more in common with The Fall than The Byrds, and Hands In The Till shows them at their caustic best.

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The TVD Storefront

Barbudo,
The TVD First Date

“I always remember my mum putting on disco records when I was a kid, I always thought they were nostalgic and maybe a bit cheesy and didn’t really appreciate the great songwriting, the arrangements, and the vocal harmonies until later on. I especially remember liking the soundtracks for both Saturday Night Fever and Grease, they just made me want to get up and dance. C’est Chic by Chic is another album I distinctly remember being played a lot along with the early Michael Jackson records.”

“Later on in my life I rediscovered the art of buying vinyl and started off building my collection by searching eBay and charity shops. The first album I bought was Loaded by Velvet Underground which really got me hooked on the band. I once went into a charity shop and bought a bulk load of records and some of them turned out to be first pressings, like Please Please Me by The Beatles and The Doors’ self titled album.

Since getting into vinyl more and more I’ve really got into scouring various record shops, be it Sister Ray in Soho, Pie and Vinyl in Portsmouth, or Flashback Records in Shoreditch where I found my original copy of Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. Pie and Vinyl is such a great shop, who would have thought of putting Pie AND Vinyl together and it going so well?

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Adam and the Ants,
Kings of the Wild Frontier

Who’s better qualified to talk about New Wave legends Adam and the Ants than a real, live ant? Or better yet, anthropomorphic cartoon superhero Atom Ant? I recently caught up with everybody’s favorite atomic-powered New Frontier insect at a retirement anthill outside Phoenix, Arizona, and took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the band that invented Antmusic.

Before we start, how’s Secret Squirrel?

Squirrelly. Very squirrelly. All of that International Sneaky Service stuff went to his head. I was always having to remind him it was only TV. I occasionally get coded letters from him with handwritten return addresses from places like Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But they’re all postmarked Erie, Pennsylvania.

So what do you think about Adam and the Ants’ striking visual image?

It’s a disgrace to Family Formicidae. Real ants don’t wear make-up, although we do have our fair share of Goth Kids. Don’t get me wrong; in one sense their look is a return to the campy outrages of Glam Rock, and I don’t know a single ant who doesn’t love him some Glam. Hell, even their patented two-drummer Burundi beat is a salute of sorts to Gary Glitter.

What was your response to the “Antpeople Phenom”?

I took it as a left-handed complement to our eusociality and this mythical notion that we share some kind of “hive mind.” Hell, if that were true we’d all like straightedge–if that ain’t a terrifying example of programmed hive behavior, I don’t know what is. But speaking for myself, I think Antpeople are good people. You could do worse than imitate us. Let’s face it: acting human certainly hasn’t gotten the human race very far. The shit you people do on a daily basis is appalling. Cooperation and peaceful crisis resolution just aren’t your thing. Remember the episode where arch-enemy Karate Ant and I faced off and ended up having a friendly chat? Donald Trump would have called him “Little Rocket Man” and escalated that little contretemps into WWIII.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/22/18

Wilkes-Barre, PA | The Last Song Event for “Specialty Records”: Lackawanna County’s Mid-Valley ‘revolutionized’ the entertainment industry. A lot of that attributed to the Marquardt Family. “In 1916 Frank Marquardt had the idea to take a Scranton button, Frank had developed an idea, a concept of making a molding press and it turned into a record,” said Douglas Long, a 36 year employee. That one record would pave the way for Specialty Records. With a third generation, Marquardt in control, Specially Records on North Valley Avenue in Olpyhant took off. “I was the first one to listen to the Eagles albums because we used to get vinyl lacquer,” Said Mary Ann Novak.

Hong Kong | Hong Kong Records to close shops at Pacific Place and Harbour City, marking end of era in city’s music scene. An institution of Hong Kong’s music scene that counts former governor Chris Patten, ex-No 2 official Rafael Hui Si-yan and fashion magnate Dickson Poon as customers will close its doors for good next week because of heavy losses and a bleak outlook, its owner said on Wednesday. After 29 years in business, Hong Kong Records in Admiralty will close on June 27 while the firm’s other store at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui is expected to follow soon after, Siu King-chin said. “Everything has an end,” Siu, 70, said. “We have lost money in the past three to four years, and the operating environment was particularly difficult in the past 10 months. There is no future in the industry.”

Toronto, ON | Long-time record store owner and music volunteer Taras Ostashewsky dies: Those of a certain vintage will remember Ostashewsky as manager of S.U. Records in HUB Mall for over a decade, ending in the early 1990s. For several decades he put much of his energy into volunteering for the Edmonton Jazz Society, and then as public relations officer for the Jazz City International Music Festival for some 25 years. He was also a long-running radio host on Wait Until Dark on CJSR-FM, a film reviewer on CBC Radio, a member and recent president of the Edmonton Film Society, and employed to stock jazz for The Gramophone. Through all these venues and in his many friendships Ostashewsky’s passion for jazz and other music, film and the arts generally was always at the forefront. It often seemed that he found his duty in promoting what he felt to be new, important or obscure names. Many lives were enriched from his efforts. He will be missed.

Detroit, MI | Third Man Records offers goodies for donations to immigrant services: …On Wednesday, the company announced that any fan who visits their Third Man stores in either Detroit or Nashville with proof of a $50 donation to any organization raising money to help children that have been separated from their families will receive a free limited exclusive record from the Third Man stash, while supplies last. Among the charities the company suggested are RAICES, the largest immigration legal services non-profit in Texas; the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, which provides legal aid to refugee families and the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, which provides pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the U.S. government. A list of other charities was tweeted out by Third Man on Wednesday.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: U2 at Capital One Arena, 6/17

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSIt was only last year when U2 hit the stadium circuit for a kind of nostalgia immersion with the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree. The give and take for the band’s 2018 tour boasts smaller venues—if hockey arenas can be considered small—and a largely lesser known album to promote, last year’s Songs of Innocence.

Eight of its 13 songs made it on the band’s 24-song setlist at the CapitolOne Arena in Washington Sunday, an event that drew both former secretary of state Madeline Albright and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell to the very section I was in (making me feel so young!). Yet the charismatic and ever-political Bono largely strayed from the topical world—aside from a roster of protest posters projected on the arena-length cage before the show. Compromise was the word he stressed; not love (not sure how well that one was landing in the epicenter of the divide).

By now you can take the band out of the stadium but not the stadium out of the band, in a show which stressed as much if not more of the video screens, special lighting, catwalks, and B-stages as they did on football fields. The setup was complicated to figure out even if you were watching it, but it involved a main stage on which the four members only occasionally performed together as one, a smaller one at the other end of the area that took up a lot of the second half of the show, and between them a walkway with 80 feet of screens on both sides that illustrated each song differently and allowed the band members (but mostly Bono) to walk through a video projection instead of just having it behind him.

It was spectacular, yes, and the sound was ringing. Hats off to a band that has solidly maintained its original lineup for so long and has not augmented it with a dozen players on stage just because they could (on the other hand, it wasn’t immediately clear where all the synthesizer washes were coming from on some songs; playing along to tape is not a good alternative).

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Ted Hawkins, Watch Your Step vinyl reissue in stores 8/3

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Craft Recordings celebrates the reissue of Ted Hawkins’ 1982 album Watch Your Step. This release marks the first-ever official vinyl reissue of Watch Your Step, available on August 3, 2018 (8/3). From his obscure beginnings in Biloxi, Mississippi, to playing on the streets of Venice, California for small change, to experiencing notoriety in Europe as thousands flocked to his concerts before his untimely death: Ted Hawkins lived what he sang; of that, there is no doubt. His powerful, soulful voice awed listeners as he shared his beautifully troubled world. For the first-time fans can experience Watch Your Step on 180-gram vinyl.

More about Ted Hawkins: Consider the unlikely story of Ted Hawkins. When he signed with Rounder Records in 1982, he had no manager or booking agent, and his only gig had been performing on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, California, where he sat on a milk crate and played for tips. At the time of his signing, he was also incarcerated at the California State Penitentiary. Yet, Ted’s music was so soulful and compelling that there seemed to be no choice, especially for a label that did not measure success in sales or chart position.

Ted’s songs are quirky and personal, addressing despair and contrition in relationships (“I Gave Up All I Had,” “If You Love Me”), abandonment (“The Lost Ones”), alcohol addiction (“Sorry You’re Sick”), and even a hypothetical jingle for an airline company (“TWA”). There was also pure exuberance, if sometimes tainted with a dark edge, on songs such as “Watch Your Step” and the humorous “Who Got My Natural Comb?”

The album, Watch Your Step, went on the receive a rare five-star Rolling Stone review, and was an artistic coup for Rounder. As esteemed author Peter Guralnick wrote in his album notes, Ted’s music was a “rural adaptation of contemporary soul music,” influenced especially by Sam Cooke. Hawkins was a soul singer of the first rank, tapping county, folk and blues along the way. He had a rough-voiced authority that, under other circumstances, might have made him a star.

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TVD UK

Needle Drop: Kid Cupid, “Unholy Ceremony” EP

Following the success of last year’s cinematic single “Easy,” London’s Kid Cupid have now shared their impressive and immersive debut EP, “Unholy Ceremony.”

A euphoric fusion of sounds based around conversations you’d have with a friend in pain, the EP kicks off with the whirring hooks and tribal beats of “Low.” Addressing the theme of codependency and the effect this can have on someone, the track flows with a majestic, sweeping emotion.

Continuing the blissful atmospherics, “Better” is an instantly catchy, feel-good anthem. Celebrating all the qualities we love about someone we care about, it exudes a twinkling grace; showcasing front-woman Laura Shaw’s vocals at their richest, as they soar with a subtle, soulful power.

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The TVD Storefront

Lucy Rose,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up listening to the radio. I had a few CDs that I shared with my sisters but no record player in my house. When I moved out and headed to London over 10 years ago, my mum let me go through her old vinyl collection and take some with me. I remember she had so much Barry White and Rod Stewart. That was the beginning of my record collection.”

“I was also really lucky with my mum’s friends. As their kids weren’t so into records, I was given a fair few to start me off. For a while I didn’t have a record player but loved looking at the artwork and reading all the notes inside. By then I had some of my favourite records, Blue, Harvest, and desperately wanted a record player. My birthday came around and my parents had found the perfect record player for me in eBay selling for £4! They drove to Leeds to pick it up and I still think to the day it’s one of my most treasured possessions.

It now sits in my kitchen. It’s an old ’60s cabinet record player with speakers built in either side—open the lid and their lies the record player. It’s become a big part of my life, putting on old and new records, sitting down and enjoying the quality of music and character that you can only get from listening to vinyl. It’s something I can’t explain but somehow everything means more when I listen on vinyl and study the details in the artwork that the artist has spent so much time considering.

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The TVD Record Store Club

Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores, June
2018, Part Three

Part three of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for June, 2018. Part one is here and part two is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Norbert Rodenkirchen / Robbie Lee / James Ilgenfritz, Opalescence (Telegraph Harp) As part of the ensemble Sequentia, Rodenkirchen is a heavyweight medieval music flautist. Lee’s a woodwind specialist who likes bringing early music instruments into contempo settings; amongst others, he’s played with Mary Halvorson and Brian Chase. Ilgenfritz is a bassist, composer, and leader of The Anagram Ensemble; of collaborators and credits, he has a ton. Although flute is a hard sell for me when not played by Eric Dolphy or Roland Kirk, this LP proves to be a non-stop pleasure, largely because it resides in an avant zone where clichés, flute or non, are absent. That doesn’t mean medieval/ early music aspects aren’t perceptible amid the post-jazz thrust, there’s just no grafting. Sweet. A

Arp, Zebra (Mexican Summer) Artist-producer-DJ Alexis Georgopoulos is Arp, and his latest is a consistently engaging and occasionally delightful tour of an instrumental landscape that’s more than slightly reminiscent of the post-Eno/ Jon Hassell progressive-ambient ‘80s, with definite nods toward the era’s global adventurousness. There are elements recalling rainforest New Age, rhythms African and Reich-like, Multikulti jazz, mellow kosmische, Japanese avant-pop, and a boatload of fluttering, burbling, and swirling electronics. Employing a wide array of instruments, maybe the most appealing being double bass, Georgopoulos isn’t merely striving for period synthesis here, with a few moments bringing The Necks and The Books to mind. “Halflight Visions” and “Fluorescences” are amongst the standouts. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: V/A / Hugh Tracey, Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music (Dust-to-Digital) The reports of the compact disc’s demise are greatly exaggerated. While I’m no fan of the format overall, the recent proliferation of CD-books is a cause for great cheer, especially when assembled by the folks at Dust-to-Digital. These 84 pages spotlighting field-recordings made in the titular regions from 1950-’58 is an information trove, and the emphasis on the work of pioneering ethnomusicologist Tracey, a native South African who established the International Library of African Music in 1954, is surely admirable. but it’s the two CDs of wide-ranging and unswervingly beautiful music, all 47 tracks of it, that makes this essential for fans of African sounds. A+

V/A, Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris (Dust to Digital) Dipping into the substantial life’s work of audio recordist, filmmaker, folklorist, and professor William Ferris, this offers a 120-page hardcore book teeming with insights and photos illuminating African-American art and culture, a DVD of his documentary films (one of which covers the fife and drum master Othar Turner), and three CDs, the first focused on a wide variety of blues, the second offering a wonderful serving of gospel, and the last loaded with storytelling from an array of voices including a handful of the contributing musicians (plus B.B. King and Pete Seeger) as well as authors Barry Hannah, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Allen Ginsberg, and Robert Penn Warren. The cumulative effect is staggering. A+

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/21/18

Warwickshire, ENG | Back in business: Leamington record store Head re-opens under new management: Independent record store Head has re-opened in Leamington’s Royal Priors shopping centre after many believed it had closed for good. Customers were left shocked in January when staff announced via the shop’s Facebook page that it was to close for good after its parent companies Vivid Fusion Limited and Indulge Retail Limited, which traded in the UK and Ireland as Head, went into administration. But Leamington branch manager Simon Dullenty has re-opened the store as its new owner saying that there is still a huge demand for vinyl and that it would offer DVDs and CDs at prices in line with online shopping.

Las Vegas, NV | L.A. Nightlife Kings Jonnie and Mark Houston to Open First Las Vegas Club: Debuting New Year’s Eve, On the Record, located inside Park MGM, will be fronted by a fully functioning record store. On the record, twin-brother L.A. nightlife impresarios Mark and Jonnie Houston are coming to Las Vegas with their new nightlife concept, On the Record. Known for creating multilayered entertainment spaces — such as Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Black Rabbit Rose and the carnival-themed, politics-tinged Madame Siam Sideshow Emporium — that blend drinking, dancing, design, socializing and cool hidden “speakeasy” entrances, the fraternal twins have been considering Las Vegas for years. But a space in Park MGM (formerly the Monte Carlo), a resort developed in partnership between MGM Resorts and Sydell Group, helped seal the deal.

Los Angeles, CA | Amoeba Music Plans Move, Marijuana: Amoeba Music will move from its current space at 6400 Sunset Blvd. to a new space nearby and owners hope to add marijuana to the retailer’s offerings of recorded music, movies and other pop-culture paraphernalia, according to Variety. Marc Weinstein, who co-owns the record store with Dave Prinz, told the entertainment magazine that the store will move to a new space near its current location, where the retailer has been since opening in 2001. The current space is slated to be redeveloped into a mixed-use high rise. Weinstein also told Variety the company hopes to get a marijuana dispensary permit for the new Hollywood location. Last month, the company opened a dispensary called Hi-Fidelity adjacent to its Amoeba location in Berkeley.

Kansas City, MO | Hallmark Launches New Vinyl Record Birthday Cards Featuring Legendary Warner Music Group Artists: This summer, Hallmark is expanding its collection of Vinyl Record Cards with new birthday cards featuring songs from legendary Warner Music Group (WMG) artists such as Tina Turner and The Cars. Each card includes an exclusive 7-inch vinyl record with two songs from each artist built into a sleeve on the card’s cover. “Both music and cards are unique in that they can uplift and bring people together, and our hope is that these new vinyl record cards will help do both,” said Tom Brantman, creative director – Hallmark Greetings Innovation. “At Hallmark, we believe that a card has the power to change someone’s day, and music can have the same effect.”

Bromsgrove, ENG | Next Vinyl Record and CD Fair coming to Bromsgrove this Sunday: The next Vinyl Record and CD Fair is coming to the Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa, Birmingham Road, from 10am to 4pm this Sunday, June 24. The event is a sell-out with the traders so there will be more than 40 tables, from classics to obscurities and everything else in between. Proces start from 50p a record and for residents who do not want to miss the World Cup group game England v Panama at 1pm, the hotel has installed a large projection screen to show the match next to the bar. Visit www.midlandsrecordfairs.co.uk for more information on the event.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots:
Robert Plant and
The Sensational Space Shifters at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 6/12

Last Tuesday evening, Merriweather Post Pavilion played host to a rock ‘n’ roll legend in the truest sense of the term, and when Robert Plant walked onto the stage to begin his performance, the vibe of the venue was filled with pure excitement. It was just over 49 years ago when one of the most classic double bills in the venue’s illustrious history took the stage. On May 25,1969 Led Zeppelin opened for The Who at Merriweather, and ironically enough, on the same evening as Plant’s show at MPP, The Who’s lead man, Roger Daltrey was performing at another DC area venue, Wolftrap in Vienna, VA.

There are few performers in rock n’ roll who echo the spirit of the genre itself as much as does Robert Plant. His talents and stage persona within Led Zeppelin cemented his legacy as a bona fide “Rock God,” and the ultimate frontman. Fortunately for us all, Robert Plant’s music continues to thrive years after Zeppelin’s abrupt end. Plant, now 69 years old, could easily (and contently) rest on past accomplishments, but it’s his drive to create new music and experiment with new sounds that have kept him vital and on stages all these years.

Writing and performing with artists Alison Krauss, Patty Griffin, and Welsh folksinger Julie Murphy, Plant has consistently chosen projects that are just outside the comfort zone of most rock singers. Most recently with backing bands Strange Sensation, Band of Joy, and currently with The Sensational Space Shifters, Plant has cemented a reputation for ever-evolving.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Dave Alvin
and Jimmie Dale Gilmore at the Birchmere, 6/14

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore had known each other for years on the Americana circuit, but it wasn’t until they joined forces for a brief acoustic tour last year did they find that they also cut their musical teeth watching blues greats at the old Ash Grove club in Los Angeles. They decided to cut an album together for Yep Roc, Downey to Lubbock, that represented their respective hometowns and have gone out on tour together as a duo with the backing of Alvin’s band The Guilty Ones.

“I thought I was retired,” Gilmore, 73, said from the stage in explaining his gratitude at this late life venture. But the hollow wail of his unique tenor sounds just as compelling as it did in the Flatlanders. Together, their trading off of verses featuring personal traits on the album’s title song made for as entertaining a show theme song as you’d hope for. Then they followed largely with covers of songs by artists they both admired (and put on the album) as well as the best of the songs they’re known for.

That meant the lovely and enigmatic “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown,” “Dallas,” and “My Mind’s Got a Mind of Its Own” (jumped up to a rockabilly beat) from Gilmore; and from Alvin, “Fourth of July” a couple weeks early, “Dry River” and “Marie, Marie”—the sole Blasters song.

They made an odd-looking pair—Gilmore tall and gangly; his long white hair adding a ghostly appearance, opposite the solid and shorter Alvin, clad in his usual cowboy gear. Their two voices couldn’t be more different either. Gilmore’s high, keening lonely sound was opposite Alvin’s deep Western baritone. Trading off on songs meant a concise punch of their best stuff.

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