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Hangout Beach Music & Arts Fest Announces initial 2012 Lineup


With much speculation and countless message board guesses preceding it, today, via Facebook and its website, the Hangout Beach Music & Arts Festival announced the initial lineup for its third installment that will take place on the sandy white beaches of Gulf Shores, AL on May 18, 19 & 20.


Honest Tune is unclear as to when other acts will be announced but are clear on the fact that an additional headliner will be announced soon.


As we will be this year, over the past two years, Honest Tune has been at the Hangout in a major way and the event has historically set the bar high going into the summer festival season with lineups for both its freshman year — with Trey Anastasio, John Legend, Alison Krauss, Zac Brown, Gov’t Mule, The Roots, Franti — and sophomore year — with Paul Simon, Foo Fighters, Widespread Panic, Flaming Lips, My Morning Jacket, Pretty Lights — that were hard to top for those that followed.


In so doing, they have set the bar high for themselves, so the big question for fans was: “Could they outdo themselves yet again in their junior year?”


2012 Hangout Music Fest Lineup (full press release below)


The Hangout Music Fest, which was recently awarded “Best Festival of the Year” honors by leading concert industry outlet Pollstar, is proud to announce its highly anticipated 2012 lineup. Scheduled for May 18th, 19th and 20th on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, the Fest will feature main stage headliners Dave Matthews Band, Jack White, and a soon-to-be-announced third act, along with dance tent headliner Skrillex. General Admission, VIP, Super VIP and Big Kahuna festival tickets are on sale beginning at 12 noon EST/11 am CST/10 am MST/9 am PST on Fri., Feb. 10 at Fans should act quickly, as demand is high for the event — the limited number of “Early Bird” passes sold out within three hours of going on sale in November, and 2011’s festival sold out well in advance.


The festival’s music performances will take place across four stages—featuring two main stages right on the beach and an air-conditioned dance tent. Confirmed artists also include String Cheese Incident, Wilco, The Flaming Lips Perform Dark Side of the Moon, Dispatch, Steve Winwood, Chris Cornell, STS9, Gogol Bordello, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mac Miller, Flogging Molly, Coheed & Cambria, Paul Oakenfold, G. Love and Special Sauce, Randy Newman, Dr. Dog, Young the Giant, Cage the Elephant, Dawes, Alabama Shakes, M Ward, Yelawolf, Switchfoot, Julian Marley, Zeds Dead, Mavis Staples, Shpongle, Gary Clark Jr., Rebelution, Allen Stone, Big Freedia, The Devil Makes Three, Paper Diamond, Futurebirds, Hey Rosetta!, Sleeper Agent, The Lumineers, Archnemesis, Tribal Seeds, Rich Aucoin, Jamie Bergeron and more to be announced (line-up available at


The 2012 Hangout Fest will offer even more room for amenities and the comfort of fans, with capacity capped at last year’s limit of 35,000 attendees per day, but with a considerable amount of new space added to the festival grounds. Hangout takes great effort in making sure that every concertgoer receives star treatment, and that VIPs are treated like royalty.  All fans will enjoy a plethora of amenities including: Hammock Beach, a shaded area with art installations; the Sky-bar tower, offering 360-degree views of the festival; amusement rides; water stations with free refills for all guests; plus live comedy performances and a family-friendly kids’ stage at The Hangout club.


VIP pass-holders will reap such rewards as easy access to the site through special VIP entrances; prime viewing areas, including an in-ground pool with views of the main stage; a shaded VIP Grove with complimentary drinks and food as well as private restrooms; and more. Super VIPs will also receive 24/7 concierge services; access to a private, air-conditioned dining room and lounge featuring exclusive meals prepared by renowned chefs; admittance to the Pre-Fest party; golf cart chauffeur service; priority on-site lodging reservation privileges; and more.  Additionally, “Big Kahuna” pass-holders will enjoy all of the above, as well on-stage access for most performances at the main stage; access to the artist compound at the Hangout; “headliner” status post-show transportation; and much more. Visit for specific amenities included in each level.


Gulf Shores offers a wide range of lodging options, from luxury to budget to family-friendly, many within walking or biking distance of the site – packages are available at Travel package information is available at


The Fest has teamed up with ReverbNation for the “2012 Hang Loose Band Competition” to find one more band for the event. The winner will perform at the festival, and receive three-day passes to enjoy the whole experience. Competition submissions and rules can be found at


ABOUT THE HANGOUT MUSIC FEST: The inaugural Hangout Music Fest was launched on May 14-16, 2010, and featured performances from Trey Anastasio, The Zac Brown Band, John Legend, The Roots, Ben Harper and Relentless7, The Black Crowes, Alison Kraus and Union Station, and more.  Singer Grace Potter described 2010’s Fest as “Coachella on the beach.” The second Fest, which hosted a crowd of 35,000 concertgoers per day, took place on May 20–22, 2011, with performances from Foo Fighters, Paul Simon, The Flaming Lips, Widespread Panic, My Morning Jacket, Cee-Lo Green and The Black Keys, among many others. The 2011 event was estimated to have generated approximately $30 million for the Gulf Shores area economy, while Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl remarked that “This is the funnest festival I have ever been to in my entire life.”



Suwannee Springfest announces additional artists and special sets


With only 8 weeks to go before the 16th Annual Suwannee Springfest kicks off at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL, today festival promoters announce another round of artist additions. Springfest is pleased to welcome to the lineup San Francisco rockers Tea Leaf Green, as well as Packway Handle Band, Bobby Miller & The Virginia Daredevils, Grant Peeples, Sanctum Sully, Red June, Taylor Martin’s Engine, Tennessee Firearms, Short Straw Pickers and Uproot Hootenanny. They join more than 30 other artists including Yonder Mountain String Band, Donna the Buffalo, Justin Townes Earle, Emmitt-Nershi Band and others.


Additionally, Springfest is proud to host two very special sets with Tony Rice, who will sit in with Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and also with Infamous Stringdusters. Full lineup details are listed below and on the newly re-launched website,


The 16th Annual Suwannee Springfest will be held March 22-25, 2012 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Three-day weekend passes are available now for only $150 and children age 12 and under are free of charge. Discounts are offered for students and retired and active military. On March 15, weekend passes go up to $165 so buy early and save. To purchase tickets online or to find out more, please visit


2012 Suwannee Springfest confirmed lineup below:


Yonder Mountain String Band
Donna the Buffalo
Justin Townes Earle
Emmitt-Nershi Band
Guy Clark
Verlon Thompson
Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings
Tea Leaf Green
Hot Buttered Rum
The Gourds
Tony Rice
The Mosier Brothers
Tornado Rider
Greensky Bluegrass
Infamous Stringdusters
Great American Taxi
Ryan Montbleau Band
Roy Book Binder
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
Jim Lauderdale
Joe Craven
Larry Keel & Natural Bridge
Dread Clampitt
Grant Peeples
Randall Bramblett with Geoff Achison
Split Lip Rayfield
Ralph Roddenbery Band
Elephant Revival
Two Man Gentleman Band
The Pinkham Family
Saltwater Grass
Jubal’s Kin
Larkin Poe
Big Cosmo
Habanero Honeys
Packway Handle Band
Bobby Miller & The Virginia Dare Devils
Sloppy Joe
Two Foot Level
Grandpa’s Cough Medicine
Mickey Abraham’s Traveling Acoustic Ensemble
Uproot Hootenanny
Short Straw Pickers
Tennessee Firearms
Bibb City Ramblers
Lefty Williams Band
Donna Hopkins Band
Sanctum Sully
Red June
Taylor Martin’s Engine
Lizzy Ross Band
Honey Blue


Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is also home to other Big IV Productions, including the Blackwater Music Festival, the Purple Hatter’s Ball and the Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival. Hosted each November, the 2011 Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival lineup featured Trey Anastastio Band, Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, The Funky Meters, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, John Scofield & Piety Street, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Lettuce, George Porter, Jr., Jon Cleary, and the Pimps of Joytime. For more information on the Bear Creek Music & Arts Festival go to:


About Big IV Productions:


Big IV Productions is owned and operated by Paul Levine and Lyle Williams, founders of the Bear Creek Music Festival and co-producers of the new Blackwater Music Festival with Blackwater Music, LLC (a company owned by Williams and Judy Van Zant / owner of Jacksonville Beach, FL’s Freebird Live). In 2011, Big IV Productions added Suwannee Springfest to their family of festivals. Deeply engrained in the Florida music scene, Big IV Productions is also partners in Tallahassee’s Engine Room as well as Suwannee River Jam, and producers of the Purple Hatter’s Ball.



Social Distortion Announce Dates Behind ‘Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes’

Beloved influential Southern California rock ‘n’ roll band Social Distortion have just announced a series of North American live dates in further support of their new hit album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes.  Beginning in Portland on April 10th the band will be performing shows with Texas rockers The Toadies , Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega, and dates in Texas with rising punk outfit Riverboat Gamblers. Tickets go on sale for these shows Friday January 20th at 10AM local time. This tour follows dates with acclaimed English troubadour Frank Turner and his band The Sleeping Souls and UK punk rockers Sharks.

Social Distortion formed in the late seventies in the working class Southern California suburb of Fullerton. The hard living band has pioneered a reinvigorated and heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll style merging outlaw country, classic punk rock and swaggering blues. It is a sound that has only flourished, with the band’s new album proving their highest charting so far.


Apr. 10 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater  with Toadies
Apr. 13 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Theater with Toadies
Apr. 16 – Vancouver, BC – The Commodore Ballroom with Toadies
Apr. 19 – Calgary, AB – MacEwan Hall with Toadies
Apr. 20 – Edmonton, AB – Edmonton Events Centre with Toadies
Apr. 21 – Saskatoon, SK – The Odeon Events Centre with Toadies
Apr. 26 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue with Toadies
Apr. 28 – Sauget, IL – Pop’s with Toadies
May 01 – Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall with Toadies
May 02 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues with Riverboat Gamblers
May 04 – Houston, TX – House of Blues with Riverboat Gamblers
May 05 – Corpus Christi, TX – Concrete Street Amphitheater
with Toadies
May 06 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre   with Riverboat Gamblers
May 08 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom with Toadies
May 10 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater with Toadies

Jan. 27 – Las Vegas, NV – The Joint @ Hard Rock Hotel with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Jan. 31 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 01 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 03 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 04 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 06 – Reno, NV – Knitting Factory with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 07 – Reno, NV – Knitting Factory with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls
Feb. 09 – Santa Cruz, CA – Santa Cruz Civic Auditoriumwith Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 10 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater  *SOLD OUT with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 11 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 13 – Chico, CA – Senator Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 14 – Modesto, CA – Modesto Center Plaza with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks
Feb. 16 – Ventura, CA – Majestic Ventura Theatre with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks * SOLD OUT
Feb. 17 – Pomona, CA – Fox Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks * SOLD OUT
Feb. 18 – Pomona, CA – Fox Theater with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls & Sharks * SOLD OUT

Boxers or Briefs? A Galactic Parody presented by Honest Tune & Wakarusa

As part of our continued efforts to deliver some of the most compelling content within our scene, this year Honest Tune is joining hands with several events to bring our readers, viewers and listeners exclusive material that you will absolutely never see anywhere else. One of these events is Wakarusa.


Wakarusa is an event that has been held near and dear to the Honest Tune heart since its inception and this year, our role at the event will be even further than in years previous. Hence, the goodies that we will be bringing home from the festivities — that happen in Ozark, AR on May 31-June 3, 2011 — will sweeter than ever.


Leading up to the event, Honest Tune will occasionally be releasing some “outside the box” content from some of our favorite artists and friends. Fresh off the heels of Jam Cruise, we felt that it would be most appropriate to kick things off with a little something from Jam Cruise and funk-jam stalwarts that also happen to be a band that are close to our heart, Galactic. 


Though Galactic is not on this year’s (amazing yet still not fully announced) Waka lineup bill, they definitely know the site, having played and hung out there on many occasions. So when asked, they were more than happy to join in on the fun.


Galactic also just so happens to be releasing a studio album in mid-February (Carnivale Electricos) and are subsequently launching a massive tour across the United States.


So sit back, relax, enjoy and (hopefully) laugh as we present Galactic: Boxers of Briefs?



Boxers or Briefs?

A Galactic Parody Presented by Honest Tune & Wakarusa

For more on Wakarusa, visit
For more on Galactic, visit
For more on Jam Cruise, visit



U2 documentary to hit Blu-ray, DVD in U.S. this January

From The Sky Down, a documentary film about the making of U2’s Achtung Baby, will be released worldwide on Blu-ray and DVD on December 12th, 2011, ahead of a U.S. release on January 24th, 2012.

Early in 2010, U2 returned to Hansa Studios in Berlin to discuss the making of Achtung Baby. From The Sky Down, is a documentary film directed by Academy Award winning director Davis Guggenheim (It Might Get Loud, Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth).

Screened in the UK as part of the BBC’s Imagine Series, From The Sky Down was the first ever documentary film to open the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. Now set for release on Blu-ray and DVD, From The Sky Down includes bonus footage of So Cruel, Love Is Blindness, and The Fly shot last May during the band’s visit to Hansa Studios to mark the 20th anniversary of Achtung Baby; as well as a Q&A with Bono, The Edge and Davis Guggenheim filmed at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2011.

Twenty years after the release of U2’s Achtung Baby (1991), Davis Guggenheim charts the path toward this groundbreaking album. Guggenheim uses animation and unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin alongside conversation to reveal what is now a key chapter in U2’s career.

“In the terrain of rock bands – implosion or explosion is seemingly inevitable. U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction… this band has endured and thrived. From The Sky Down asks the question why.” Davis Guggenheim

Big Head Todd and the Monsters kick off 2012 with club tour

Big Head Todd and The Monsters kick off 2012 with a slew of club appearances. The band begins the winter club tour – their first in over three years – at Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse. For the show the band will play a very special first set featuring their breakout album, Midnight Radio, performed live in its entirety. Only a handful of select markets on the winter tour will offer this special performance – which debuted last summer at the band’s sold-out show at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre – including New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Austin TX and others.


The complete list of winter tour dates is as follows:
Saturday, December 31 House of Blues Chicago IL with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven
Friday, January 13 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA*
Saturday, January 14 Cannery Ballroom Nashville TN
Sunday, January 15 Headliner’s Music Hall Louisville KY
Wednesday, January 18 Infinity Hall Norfolk CT
Thursday, January 19 Theatre of the Living Arts Philadelphia PA
Friday, January 20 Calvin Theater Northampton MA
Saturday, January 21 Irving Plaza New York NY*
Friday, January 27 9:30 Club Washington D.C.
Saturday, January 28 House of Blues Boston MA*
Wednesday, February 1 Super Bowl Village 2012 Indianapolis IN
Thursday, February 2 Turner Hall Ballroom Milwaukee WI
Friday, February 3 Varsity Theatre Minneapolis MN
Saturday, February 4 The Pageant St. Louis MO
Friday, February 10 Crystal Bay Club Crown Room Crystal Bay NV
Saturday, February 11 The Fillmore San Francisco CA*
Sunday, February 12 Saint Rocke Hermosa Beach CA
Tuesday, February 14 Coach House San Juan Capistrano CA
Wednesday, February 15 The Canyon Club Agoura Hills CA
Friday, February 17 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR*
Saturday, February 18 The Neptune Seattle WA*
Sunday, February 19 Knitting Factory Concert House Spokane WA
Thursday, March 1 House of Blues – Dallas Dallas TX
Friday, March 2 House of Blues – Houston Houston TX
Saturday, March 3 Stubb’s BBQ Austin TX*
Thursday, March 8 State Theatre St. Petersburg FL
Friday, March 9 House of Blues Lake Buena Vista FL
Sunday, March 11 Culture Room Fort Lauderdale FL
Sunday, March 11 Florida Theatre Jacksonville FL
Wednesday, March 14 Handle Bar Greenville SC
Thursday, March 15 Music Farm Charleston SC
Friday, March 16 The Fillmore Charlotte NC
Saturday, March 17 House of Blues – Myrtle Beach Myrtle Beach SC
Sunday, March 18 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh NC

* Includes a performance of Midnight Radio in its entirety with second full set

Additional dates to be announced.

Bowerbirds take flight with ‘The Clearing’

The best songs of North Carolina’s Bowerbirds have always seemed eternal. Coruscated by Beth Tacular’s bird song and Phil Moore’s environmentalist empathy, “In Our Talons” (off Bowerbirds’ Hymns for a Dark Horse) was, at its core, a quest for solidarity in a world of closing shadows. Upper Air’s “Northern Lights” painted a pained portrait of love shrouded in doubt as perfectly as Cash, Dylan or Cohen ever have. These felt like more than songs; they felt like treasures.

But those recordings were made on the quick and the cheap, with nylon-stringed guitars, fiddle lines and drum patterns that became comfortable. You could imagine these songs as old stateside standards, because, really, that’s how they sounded—campfire anthems sung by a couple clinging to very deep love.

The Clearing is the third album by the Bowerbirds, and as is often the case for bands that have found steady success, they had more time and better resources to make it. This is a bigger record, with bolder sounds, a broader scope, and more complicated songs. “Tuck The Darkness In,” for example, surges in its final two minutes with a wall of electric guitars and drums, while other tracks feature restless vibraphones, pianos and drums. Thing is, these songs don’t cede to the increased production demands. The guitars and strings, codas and bridges simply make these thoughts more urgent, more vital and more necessary, but not one bit less permanent.

The Clearing is more than a third record for the Bowerbirds. Between 2009’s Upper Air and this one, Beth nearly died after a mysterious illness that put her in the hospital. They rescued and adopted a dog that ran beneath their tour van’s tires. Beth and Phil even ended their long relationship but began it again after realizing that, despite their own shortcomings, they didn’t want to be with anyone else. Mostly, though, they returned to their cabin in the woods of North Carolina to nest—to make soup and walk dogs, to make art and write songs, to realize that this was their life and find contentment in it. For the Bowerbirds, The Clearing represents the perfect realization of a fresh, timely outlook. Here, there’s acceptance with ambition, patience with aspirations, understanding with intelligence. On The Clearing, Phil and Beth sing of the best and most important moments of their life and, in turn, create new ones.

Bowerbirds’ The Clearing is available on Dead Oceans starting March 6, 2012—and, subsequently, forever. See them live all over North America this spring.

Ruthie Foster Readies ‘Let It Burn,’ 2012 Tour

Those who have followed Ruthie Foster’s eclectic musical history know that she can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. And when Grammy Award-winning producer John Chelew suggested she record an album in New Orleans — with support handpicked from the Crescent City’s overflowing pool of talent — it was an opportunity for Ruthie to infuse fresh spices into her already rich sonic gumbo. The result is Let It Burn — slated for January 31, 2012 release on Blue Corn Music — a recording that smolders, sizzles and ignites with an intensity born from her vibrant voice and indelible presence.

Ruthie’s astonishing voice has taken her on an amazing ride. She came from humble church choir beginnings in rural Texas, followed by a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy Band, and ended up in New York City with a major-label development deal that went sour. After she moved back to Texas to care for her ailing mother, Foster took a break from singing professionally for a couple of years. When she resumed her music career in Austin, she became a regular nominee at the Austin Music Awards, winning Best Folk Artist in 2004-05 and Best Female Vocalist in 2007-08. Broadening her sound by blending blues and soul aspects into her folk roots, Ruthie added a Grammy nomination to her list of achievements (Best Contemporary Blues Album for her last studio release, 2009’s The Truth According to Ruthie Foster). And, in a nod to her astounding range, she then won seemingly contradictory Blues Music Association awards for both Best Traditional and Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist in back-to-back years.

In addition to leading her own band and touring it around the world, Foster has also collaborated on stage and recordings with a diverse list of artists including Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Bibb and Paul Thorn. She’s a regular favorite at an equally diverse list of festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Monterey Blues Festival, Merlefest and the Kate Wolf Festival.

The ingredients for Let It Burn, recorded at New Orleans’ Piety Street Studios, start with some of that city’s most respected players: The Funky Meters’ rhythm section of bassist George Porter Jr. and drummer Russell Batiste, guitarist Dave Easley, and renowned saxophonist James Rivers collectively infuse the tracks with the groove-based, in-the-pocket vibe that comes naturally to New Orleans-bred musicians. The addition of Hammond B3 wizard Ike Stubblefield, who has toured and recorded with everyone from Curtis Mayfield to Eric Clapton, gives the album a jazzy organ-combo feel. Finally, legendary gospel singers the Blind Boys of Alabama and soul icon William Bell add extra depth to the project’s surprisingly eclectic collection of cover songs and fresh originals.

Besides the New Orleans location, there was another significant “first” associated with these sessions. “This is the only album I’ve done where I don’t play an instrument, which is really different. It gave me a lot more freedom vocally. Without a guitar, all I did was concentrate on singing,” Foster explains. “Sometimes I tried to channel Mavis Staples vocally, but I also wanted to bring a kind of Cassandra Wilson/Sade sultriness to some of the songs.”

The results are powerful, defining performances of Adele’s anthemic “Set Fire to the Rain,” John Martyn’s poignant and sensual “Don’t Want to Know,” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” all of which take on new vibrancy with distinctive musical arrangements and Ruthie’s commanding presence. The achingly beautiful, atmospheric ballad version of “Ring of Fire” is at the heart of this album, and potently showcases Foster as one of the finest interpretive singers of our time. “When it comes to songs, often older ones, I love it when they find me and that’s what happened with ‘Ring of Fire.’ I put myself inside of that song, which speaks to the passion of a new relationship,” she says.

Ruthie mines other tunes from a variety of sources such as the Black Keys (“Everlasting Light,” given a sparkling and righteous treatment), Pete Seeger (a dynamic, ominous swamp/jazz reimagining of “If I Had a Hammer”) and Los Lobos (the rambling, haunting “This Time”).

The church is never far from anything Foster touches as her spiritual original “Lord Remember Me” with the Blind Boys, featuring a sanctified slide solo from guitarist Easley, makes clear. The album’s opening and closing tracks also spotlight the Blind Boys and bookend the project with a devotional approach. “I haven’t lost my gospel in the way I approach a song,” explains Ruthie.

Another new Foster song is “Aim for the Heart” (a co-write with Jon Tiven), which works Porter’s funky bass, Stubblefield’s expressive organ and Easley’s snake-like guitar into a groove which supports the deeply personal motto (“Aim for the heart/And you’ll never go wrong”) that Foster has exhibited in both her life and music.

Rounding out this smoldering collection of tunes are covers of The Band’s melancholic “It Makes No Difference,” David Crosby’s politically charged “Long Time Gone” and William Bell’s classic “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (with Bell dueting on a slow, jazz/blues version of the standard, augmented by a stunning Rivers solo), all of which further display Ruthie’s uncanny knack for finding the simmering essence of any song.

On Let It Burn, Ruthie Foster takes the listener on her most personal journey yet, sounding like she is pouring her heart out late at night, and her deeply soulful vocals create a spiritual soundscape to support her testimony. This is the album her fans have been waiting for — and that the rest of the world will listen to in wonder.

Sat., Jan. 14      NORFOLK, VA   Attucks Theater
Sun., Jan. 15    CHARLESTON, WV  Mountain Stage
Sat., Jan. 21     CROCKETT, TX     Crockett Civic Theater
Tues., Jan. 31     LOS ANGELES, CA     Grammy Museum
Wed., Feb. 1    LOS ANGELES, CA     Grammy Museum
Thurs., Feb. 2    PORTLAND, OR    Aladdin Theater, with Paul Thorn
Fri., Feb. 3   SPOKANE, WA   The Bing Crosby Theater, with Paul Thorn
Sat., Feb. 4   SEATTLE, WA  The Triple Door, with Paul Thorn
Mon., Feb. 6   CHICO, CA   Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., with Paul Thorn
Tues., Feb. 7   ARCATA, CA   Humboldt State University, with Paul Thorn
Wed., Feb. 8    NAPA, CA    Napa Valley Opera House, with Paul Thorn
Thurs., Feb. 9   SAN FRANCISCO, CA   Great American Music Hall, with Paul Thorn
Fri., Feb. 10   SANTA BARBARA, CA   UC Santa Barbara, with Paul Thorn
Sat., Feb. 11   PHOENIX, AZ   The Compound Grill, with Paul Thorn
Sun., Feb. 12   TUCSON, AZ  Berger Performing Arts Center, with Paul Thorn
Tues., Feb. 14  STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO  Strings Music Pavilion, with Paul Thorn
Thurs., Feb. 16  DURANGO, CO   Fort Lewis College, with Paul Thorn
Fri., Feb. 17   BEAVER CREEK, CO   Vilar Center for the Arts  with Paul Thorn
Sat., Feb. 18   DENVER, CO    Swallow Hill Music Presents @L2 Arts & Culture Center, with Paul Thorn
Thurs., Feb. 23   THE WOODLANDS, TX   Dosey Doe Café
Fri., Feb. 24   AUSTIN, TX   Antone’s
Fri., March 2 CARRBORO, NC Cat’s Cradle, with Paul Thorn (T)
Sat., March 3   WINSTON-SALEM, NC Ziggy’s, with Paul Thorn (T)
Sun., March 4 ROANOKE, VA Kirk Ave, with Paul Thorn (T)
Wed., March 7 ALEXANDRIA, VA Birchmere, with Paul Thorn (T)
Thurs., March 8 PHILADELPHIA, PA WCL, with Paul Thorn (T)
Fri., March 9  NEW YORK, NY City Winery, with Paul Thorn (T)
Sat., March 10   CHATHAM, NJ Sanctuary, with Paul Thorn (T)
Wed.-Fri., March 14-16  AUSTIN, TX  SXSW
Fri., March 17 DALLAS, TX    Kessler Theater
Sat.-Sun., March 24-25   SAVANNAH, GA   Savannah Music Festival
Sat., March 31  SCHAUMBURG, IL  Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts

Rodrigo y Gabriela to release ‘Area 52’ in January

ATO Records is excited to announce the release of the new studio album by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Entitled Area 52, the record was produced by the legendary Peter Asher and will come out on January 24, 2012. Area 52 contains nine of Rod and Gab’s favorite songs from their own catalogue re-arranged and re-configured for a 13-piece Cuban orchestra comprised of some of Havana’s finest young players, collectively known as C.U.B.A. It’s Rodrigo y Gabriela’s first recorded collaboration with another group of musicians.

Area 52 was mixed by Rafa Sardina, one of the leading studio musicians in the Latin music world, and arranged by London-based pianist, composer and arranger Alex Wilson. Recording took place in the Miramar district of Havana, Cuba, at Abdala Studios, founded by the Cuban folk hero Silvio Rodriguez, as well as at Rod and Gab’s studio in Ixtapa, Mexico. Other players on the record include: bassist Carles Benavent (Paco De Lucia, Chick Corea, Miles Davis), drummer John Tempesta (The Cult, Testament, White Zombie), sitarist Anoushka Shankar and drummer Samuel Formell (Los Van Van).

“The album is called Area 52 because we felt like Mulder and Scully approaching this — it was just a crazy idea, to see if a big Cuban band could play our music, a step in the dark. We knew it was out there, everyone has heard of Area 51, but we wanted to take it a little further,” Rodrigo says. “We saw it as a trip into the unknown, an experiment,” he continues. “Okay we knew the producer, and had spoken to the arranger on Skype; but we didn’t know the musicians or the studio, or Cuba for that matter.”

Fresh from scoring Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with Hans Zimmer, Rod and Gab headed for Cuba in the summer of 2010 armed with their guitars, unplayed arrangements and a sense of intrepid trepidation. They had met Asher, known for his work with James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, 10,000 Maniacs, Diana Ross and others, as well as doing A&R at Apple Records, while working on Pirates of the Caribbean and came up with the idea for Area 52 shortly thereafter.

Asher says: “Rodrigo and Gabriela are two of the most extraordinary musicians with whom it has ever been my privilege to work. From Gab’s complex multi-voice one-woman rhythm section to Rod’s searingly creative lead lines, they are forging genuinely new, exciting and viscerally powerful music.”

While mindful of the rich history of Cuban music, Rod, Gab, Asher, Wilson and Sardina were keen to imbue the project with the vitality and brio that are synonymous with the fierce guitar duo. “We have great love and respect for the well known Cuban musicians,” says Rod, “but it was really important for us to seek out the best young players in Havana.” He adds: “Our music is high energy, high intensity; and we wanted guys who could interpret our vision and match our approach.”

With career sales in excess of 1.2 million albums, blockbuster movie scores, sell out world tours that span London to Los Angeles, Paris to Tokyo and Dublin to Sydney, and not forgetting the love and respect of fellow musicians like Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, Testament’s Alex Skolnick, Al Di Meola and L Shankar, Rodrigo y Gabriela have worked hard to reach Area 52.

The band will be touring throughout 2012.

Fool’s Gold : Leave No Trace

Fool’s Gold found a feel-good oasis on the edge of the Mojave Desert for their sophomore release, Leave No Trace. Written between Christmas day 2010 and New Year’s Day 2011, and recorded at Infrasonic studios in Alhambra, East LA, on analog equipment, the album continues the lush vibe of their eponymous debut. This time, though, Luke Top graces the sunny grooves with English lyrics, rather than the Hebrew that graced the predecessor, with success.

Leave No Trace ably fuses the band’s love of African and Caribbean music  New Wave and early alternative. The festive sparkle of “The Dive” opens the album, recalling The Cure with smiling faces. “Street Clothes” burns warm with funky guitar twists and corkscrew synths, and the woozy “Lantern” closes the album in a dissipating puff of smoke. Unfortunately, Leave No Trace occasionally suffers in its flow, losing momentum during the damp “Balmy” and the unfocused “Narrow Sun,” which lack the spry energy of the bulk of the album.

Fool’s Gold is making a name with unbridled originality, and Leave No Trace succeeds with a world beat pulse and an indie reverence that colors each of the albums 10 tracks. This quintet captured a bit of magic on the edge of the desert, and like a newfound oasis, Leave No Trace is nothing short of refreshing.

Leave No Trace is out now on IAMSOUND.