September 10, 2004

Por Vida

Benefiting the Alejandro Escovedo Medical and Living Expense Fund, an all-star cast including Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Los Lonely Boys, Cowboy Junkies, Jayhawks, and a reformed SonVolt has come to the rescue to deliver their interpretations of Escovedo

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North Mississippi Allstars To Release First Live Album

ATO Records is proud to announce the October 12, 2004 release of the North Mississippi Allstars first-ever live album, entitled Hill Country Revue. This amazing live set was recorded at this year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival on June 11th, and features guest appearances from R.L. Burnside, Jim Dickinson, Chris Robinson, JoJo Hermann, Otha Turner’s Rising Star Fife and Drum Band and others. To support the new album the boys will head out on the road for a fall tour beginning September 16th. The “Shake, Holla & March” Tour, which includes stops in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, will have opening acts The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band.

What occurred that late afternoon in Tennessee defies description but is plain to hear in the grooves of this once in a lifetime set. Onstage with Jim Dickinson, R.L. Burnside, Duwayne Burnside, Garry Burnside, Cody Burnside, Otha Turner’s Rising Star Fife and Drum Band as well as Widespread Panic’s JoJo Herman and ex-Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson, the Allstars played host to history as they connected the dots between the past and future of the mighty sounds of the Mississippi hills. From the opening track “Shake ‘Em On down” to the closer “Going Down South,” the show was full of genuflections to past hill country legends like Burnside and Fred McDowell, yet also contained nods to the endless possibilities of the future as when Allstars guitarist/singer Luther Dickinson introduced Chris Robinson to sing on Ry Cooder’s “Boomer’s Story” (a song produced in 1972 by Jim Dickinson). By the time Otha Turner’s Rising Star Fife and Drum band joined the foray, two-dozen musicians were onstage invoking the spirit of the hill country as never before. Imagine two generations of two regional blues families grooving together, proving this music’s vitality will be assured for generations to come.

The North Mississippi Allstars built their reputation as the most intriguing act to emerge from the loam of Southern blues and roots rock before they had even started on their first album. Formed in 1996 by brother’s Luther and Cody Dickinson (Drums, Vocals) and Chris Chew (Bass), the band has released four critically acclaimed albums and one ep – 2000’s Shake Hands With Shorty, 2001’s Phantom 51, 2003’s Polaris, 2003’s Tate County Hill Country Blues and the 2004 ep Instores & Outtakes – and have a pair of Grammy nominations, thousands of miles racked up on their tour bus and a legion of dedicated fans to show forit. Nick Tosches hailed the band as “a formidable and mesmerizing force,” while Rolling Stone’s David Fricke described them as “pureeing historical precedent into exuberant modernism – manic cotton field psychedelia.”

The “Shake, Holla and March” tour dates are as follows:

16 Baton Rouge, LA Varsity Theatre17 Houston, TX Meridian18 Austin, TX Antone’s19 Austin, TX Austin City Limits Festival21 Ruston, LA Rabb’s22 Jackson, MS Hal’s and Mal’sv23 Oxford, MS The Library24,25 Athens, GA Georgia Theater

5 Greenville, SC The Handlebar6 Winston Salem, NC Ziggy’s7 Asheville, NC Orange Peel8 Richmond, VA The Canal Club9 New York, NY Irving Plaza10 Northampton, MA Pearl Street12 Providence, RI Lupo’s at The Strand with Ratdog*14 Boston, MA Paradise15 Washington, DC 9:30 Club16 Philadelphia, PA TLA17 Pittsburgh, PA Mister Smalls19 Morgantown, WV The Pulse20 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall21 Ann Arbor, MI Blind Pig22 Madison, WI Barrymore Theatre23 Minneapolis, MNCabooze 26 Missoula, MT TBD28 Seattle, WA Showbox29 Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom30 Eugene, OR WOW Hall31 Aracata, CA Kate Buchanan Hall

3,4 San Francisco, CA The Independent5 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues6 San Diego, CA Belly Up7 Tuscon, AZ City Limits9 Durango, CO The Abbey Theatre *10 Colorado Springs, CO 32 Bleu11 Denver, CO Cervantes12,13 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre

* Without Dirty Dozen Brass Band

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Guitar String Maker Ernie Ball Dies

Ernie Ball, a pioneer maker of rock’n’roll guitar strings used by legions of artists from the Rolling Stones to Merle Travis, died yesterday (Sept. 9) at his home in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He was 74. Ball had suffered an ongoing illness, the mortuary handling services announced.

Music stars from B.B. King to Metallica have used his strings and instruments over the past four decades. Beginning with a small music shop in the San Fernando Valley, Ball built a business with annual sales of $40 million and a worldwide reputation. Along the way, he bucked traditional thinking in the music business.

“He changed the way people thought of guitar accessories, and how they sold and marketed them, and to this day the Ernie Ball way is the industry standard,” his son, Sterling Ball, said in a statement.

In 1958, Ball opened a shop in Tarzana that, uniquely, sold only guitars. “Sales reps would come in and say, ‘Ern, you’ve got to sell clarinet reeds, drum sticks, valve oil, blah blah blah,'” Ball once recalled. “And I’d tell them, ‘I just want to sell guitars.'”

In 1962, complaints from customers that they couldn’t find lighter-gauge, flexible strings for their rock’n’roll instruments prompted Ball to create and sell sets of strings he called “Slinkys.” They were a hit. He later branched out into instruments and accessories, buying the Music Man electric guitar company in 1985.

Today, Ernie Ball items are sold in more than 5,000 music stores in the United States and exported to more than 70 countries.


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