Celebrate music legend Otis Redding’s 75th birthday in Macon

macongeorgiausadowntowns_316637As a tribute to one of America’s most beloved musicians on his birthday, the Otis Redding Foundation is hosting a weekend of festivities in Macon, Ga., Sept. 9-11. Celebrating 75 Years of Otis Redding is an event full of music, film and photography in honor of the Macon native known for songs like “The Dock of the Bay” and “Satisfaction”.

On Friday, Sept. 9, the event kicks off at 11 a.m. with live music, art galleries, restaurant specials and more throughout downtown Macon. First Friday events are held monthly in Macon. The First Friday of September will also be Otis Redding Day with special events at Cherry Street Plaza and Terminal Station. There will be a film screening of “Unsung, The Story of Otis Redding” at the Douglass Theatre at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The Tubman Museum will have an Otis Redding photography exhibit open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the cost of $5 per person.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, visitors and locals have the opportunity to watch a film of concerts called “A Picnic Under the Stars with Otis Redding” on the big screen at Coleman Hill for free.

An Evening of Respect will take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. Dexter Redding, Otis Redding III and Mark Lockett will perform during the Musical Tribute Concert at the Macon City Auditorium. Following the reunion concert, artists including St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Chuck Leavell, Robert McDuffie, Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd and many more will take the stage. General admission tickets cost $60 and are on sale now. Front row and balcony seats cost $149 and VIP tickets that include access to the after-party cost $249.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Otis Redding Foundation, which was established in 2007 by Zelma Redding in honor of her spouse. The foundation strives to help the community by “progress through education [and] enlightenment through music.”

The Musical Mojo of Dr. John featuring Bruce Springsteen, Bill Kreutzmann, Allen Toussaint and Others to be Released

screen-shot-2016-08-26-at-4-25-42-pmNew Orleans music legend Dr. John gets a timely all-star tribute on new live
CD + Blu-ray/DVD set
The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music,
produced by Blackbird Presents, released via Concord Records on
October 14, 2016 and available for immediate pre-order.

For Immediate Release – “It was very moving to have all these people paying tribute to me, but I just treated it like it was another show,” Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and six-time GRAMMY®-winner Dr. John says of The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music.
Scheduled for release on October 14, 2016 via Concord Records and vailable for immediate pre-order at http://celebratedrjohn.com, the expansive live tribute set, created and produced by Keith Wortman, CEO of Blackbird Presents, is a powerful testament to the far-ranging influence and indomitable musical spirit of the iconic New Orleans singer/pianist/guitarist. Encompassing a two-CD, Blu-ray and
DVD package along with a stand-alone two-CD version, The Musical Mojo of Dr. John captures a star-studded concert at New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre, with Dr. John joined by a stunningly diverse assortment of notable guest artists, who perform 22 songs written, recorded and/or popularized by Dr. John during his prolific six-decade career, honoring his large and still-growing musical legacy. The performers include Bruce Springsteen, who duets with Dr. John on the 1973 smash “Right Place
Wrong Time”; Jason Isbell, who delivers a heartfelt “Blow Wind Blow”; John Fogerty, who performs the raucous Crescent City anthem “New Orleans”; Mavis Staples, who brings gospel fervor to “Lay My Burden Down”; Widespread Panic, who lend musical muscle to “Familiar Reality”; and Ryan Bingham, who delivers a haunting “Back by the River.”

Fittingly, The Musical Mojo of Dr. John also features memorable performances by several New Orleans legends, including Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Terence Blanchard, John Boutté, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, George Porter Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste of the Meters, and Aaron, Charles and Cyril Neville. Bassist Don Was served as the project’s musical director, leading an all-star house band that also included Allman Brothers Band/Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, renowned NOLA pianist John Gros, Funky Meters guitarist Brian Stoltz and journeyman drummer Kenny Aronoff, as well as Dr. John’s longstanding musical compatriot, trombonist Sarah Morrow.

“The whole night felt pretty special, and everyone’s performance was spiritually correct,” says Dr. John.

Dr. John is New Orleans’ most prominent living musical icon. Through the embodiment of his hometown’s freewheeling creative spirit and multiple musical traditions, he’s built a visionary, idiosyncratic body of work that’s deeply rooted in the Crescent City’s myriad blues, R&B, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll traditions. That body of work stretches back to the 1950s, when Dr. John—then still known by his given name, Mac Rebennack—emerged as an in-demand producer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter on New Orleans’ studio scene, working for such local labels as Ace, Ron and Ric;
collaborating with the likes of James Booker, Earl King, Professor Longhair, Art Neville and Frankie Ford; and scoring the regional solo hit “Storm Warning.”

In the early ’60s, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he played on countless sessions before debuting his flamboyant new musical persona, “Dr. John, The Night Tripper,” on his first solo album, 1968’s Gris-Gris, which introduced the world to his uniquely eclectic voodoo-funk. In the years since, he has remained a distinctly prolific and powerful force, releasing more than 30 albums of his own while collaborating with a broad array of acts including the Rolling Stones, Sonny & Cher, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Levon Helm, Ringo Starr, Rickie Lee Jones, B.B. King and Christina Aguilera. He’s also performed in such films as The Last Waltz and Blues Brothers 2000, and pursued a successful two-decade songwriting partnership with legendary tunesmith Doc Pomus.

Dr. John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, and won the most recent of his six GRAMMY® Awards in 2013 when Locked Down was voted that year’s Best Blues Album. He made his Concord debut in 2014 with Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit of Satch, a tribute to fellow New Orleanian Louis Armstrong. Dr. John co-produced the album with his longtime Nite Tripper band directress Sarah Morrow, who also arranged the album.

“I try not to look back too much, but it really moved me to have all of these people paying tribute,” Dr. John asserts. “But I want people to know that I’m still in the game and still have a lot more music in me.”

Blues Fest, at 24, nabs blues/rock legend

636060019286433219-img-1564-aChuck Leavell has a rough draft in his head of a set list for his show at the Cincy Blues Fest, and he won’t have to butt heads with Mick Jagger this time about the song selections.

A side man for some of the biggest acts in rock, Leavell will be playing songs representative of his long list of credits. There will probably be something from the Allman Brothers Band and Eric Clapton, two rock giants who each have roots in the blues. And it’d be surprising if he didn’t play something by the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band, who got its start as a blues band, the Rolling Stones.

Despite the hundreds and hundreds of arena shows that he’s played with the Allmans and Clapton and the Stones, Leavell will be right at home on the cozy Archers Boogie Piano Stage, playing the blues in a relatively less conspicuous setting. Whether you’re a blues fan or a rock fan, it’s a great chance to see up close and personal a musician who walks among the giants.

Leavell tops an impressive list of blues pianists scheduled for the boogie stage that includes Henri Herbert of the Jim Jones Revue, New Orleans veteran Henry Butler, Gene Taylor of the Blasters, local favorite Ricky Nye and several others. The time is right for Leavell to be playing a blues festival. His last solo record, “Back To The Woods,” was a covers-tribute to pioneering piano-blues players.

“When people think of the blues, first off they might think of guitar player and they might think of singers, honkers and shouters, or they might think of harmonica, but they don’t think so much of piano, and the piano had a very strong role in the development of the blues, so my project was intended to expose that and to pay tribute to these really early pioneers of blues pianos,” he says.

The Cincinnati festival falls between two substantial gigs for Leavell. He recently returned home to Georgia after touring Europe with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour. Venues on the tour included the Roman amphitheater at Pompeii and Rome’s Circus Maximus. “My mantra (on the tour) became, ‘another day, another castle,’” Leavell says. “(Gilmour) wanted it to be an experience.” Gilmour is not thought of as a blues-based player, so an invitation for Leavell to join his band seems strange at first.

“When he contacted me, he said, ‘Chuck, we’ve got a good band, but I’m really looking to shake things up a bit and get a little freer. And that’s one of the reasons I want you in the band.’ There was room to push the envelope from his norm,” Leavell says. “And I really enjoyed it. It was a challenge. It took me a lot of homework to start rehearsals with him.”

In October Leavell will return to his more familiar job, playing piano in the Rolling Stones. The band is partaking in Desert Trip alongside The Who, Bob Dylan and others at the California classic-rock festival. Leavell has been with the Stones for over 30 years and now holds the title in the band of music director. One of the responsibilities of the position is putting together the set list for each show.

It’s a challenge,” he says. “I work with Mick on it. And, of course, everybody has input. Keith (Richards) speaks up whenever he feels the need to do so, as does Ronnie (Wood) or Charlie (Watts). But it’s just kind of by osmosis become a thing between me and Mick. I’ll make a proposal. We’ll look at it, talk about it. If he has objections or feelings one way or another, we’ll air those out. And I don’t mind arguing with him to push the envelope sometimes.” When asked if he’s the best musician in the Stones, Leavell laughs.

“I can’t go there, man. I enjoy my role with the band. It’s been an incredible ride. I do feel part of the family. Of course we all know there’s four Rolling Stones. The rest of us are side men, I reckon. I cherish the role that I have,” he says.

Leavell’s is one of the most impressive resumes that a rock ‘n’ roll – or blues – side man can build. And he knows it.

“I’ve just been so blessed to have danced with all these different partners,” he says. “That’s been my joy, man.”

The Rolling Stones’ EXHIBITIONISM Set to Make its North American Debut

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards arrive for the private view of 'The Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism' at the Saatchi Gallery on April 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images) LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 04: Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards arrive for the private view of ‘The Rolling Stones: Exhibitionism’ at the Saatchi Gallery on April 4, 2016 in London, England. It was announced in July of last year that the ever-aging Rolling Stones would finally be preserved as antiques in a museum. The iconic rock band’s career-spanning exhibit first opened in London in April of this year, and is now coming across the pond to make its North American debut in New York City on Nov. 12.

EXHIBITIONISM narrates the career of the influential band, allowing visitors to experience their journey from living together in a tiny flat to headlining some of the largest stages in the world. Curated by New York native Ileen Gallagher with the full participation of Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie, the highly interactive exhibition immerses fans in the Stone’s fifty-year history with more than 500 rare items, including instruments, handwritten lyric books and even an interactive recording studio.

“While this about The Rolling Stones, it’s not necessarily only just about us,” said Keith in a statement. “It’s also about all the paraphernalia and technology associated with a group like us, and it’s this, as well as the instruments that have passed through our hands over the years, that should make the exhibition unforgettable.”

The original works of pivotal collaborators, who helped to make the band not just musical but cultural icons, are additionally on display, including pieces by Andy Warhol, John Pasche, who designed the band’s iconic tongue logo, fashion designers Ossie Clark and Alexander McQueen and film director Martin Scorsese.

Delivered by DHL, EXHIBITIONISM’s North American debut will run in the West Village’s iconic Industria from Nov. 12 to March 12, 2017. Tickets are for a timed entry with limited availability in each slot, making advanced bookings recommended, and will go on sale to the general public on Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. EST via StonesExhibitionism.com.

Find more info on EXHIBITIONISM here, and watch video from one of the final shows on the Stones’ 1981 Tattoo You tour below via the Paste Cloud.

TreeHouse Studios and Gallery opens

treehouseJ. Marshall Craig, an acclaimed author and filmmaker, was just minding his own business in the City of Angels, up to there with the LA scene when he spotted the comment on Facebook.

J. Marshall Craig, an acclaimed author and filmmaker, was just minding his own business in the City of Angels, up to there with the LA scene when he spotted the comment on Facebook.

Someone had responded to his sarcasm – not an earth-shaking event, but worthy of note. Kristin Hughes, a down-to-earth New Englander, had registered his glib remark and dashed off a quick reply to the stranger: “Would you like some milk with that comment?”

It was December of 2009, and J. Marshall Craig was bemused. Did he want milk with that comment? Well, yeah, of course he did. It turned out this Kristin Hughes person was an artist herself – a talented photographer – who knew a thing or two about life, humor, sarcasm and kids – she had five of those. Craig and she began corresponding, learning every day how much they had in common. He had grown up in Canada and went on to become an author and filmmaker.

If J. Marshall Craig sounds a little familiar, there’s a good reason. He wrote Eric Burdon’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and Rolling Stone keyboardist Chuck Leavell’s “Between Rock and a Home Place,” and had been published in six languages the world over. His novel “Eh Mail” and his World War I nonfiction “You’re Lucky If You’re Killed” were critically acclaimed. And Marshall Craig’s work appears in various literary collections with Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac and others. Marshall Craig’s name also got linked romantically with some famous Hollywood people, but in 2009, Craig still hadn’t quite met his match. Until Kristin Hughes came along.

The long-distance relationship involved handwritten letters with sealing wax and initials embedded in them, like Medieval missives. There was a Skype conversation and tea. Each of them changed their Facebook status to “in a relationship” within just a few months of marathon phone calls, letters and virtual chats. But they still hadn’t physically met.

In May of 2011, Craig arrived at Logan Airport in a straw Fedora. There was a film-worthy kiss, and that was officially that. Hughes became Kristin Hughes-Craig in short order. “She kissed me and I never left,” Marshall Craig said, grinning.

Their connection is palpable even to the untrained eye. Watch them interact and you can’t help but feel the easy, warm and powerful love between these two. Their remarks in conversation dovetail with grace and humor and they seem to work effortlessly together.

When a relative struggled with depression, the couple got matching tattoos to honor her. When Marshall Craig wanted goats, well, they had to get some goats. All together, the family has expanded from five human kids to two dogs, Eli and Bessie, two goats (Anastasia and Cassandra), 13 chickens and five ducks. Today they also have an art studio in common. Hughes-Craig and Marshall Craig opened TreeHouse Studios and Gallery at 84 Court St., showcasing Hughes-Craig’s photography as well as the art and photography of countless others, like renowned “Life” magazine photographer Rowland Scherman, Stephen Kalinich, of “Beach Boys” fame, and Sally Kirkland, among others.

“I only take commissions from established artists,” Hughes-Craig said. If you’re not established yet, she showcases your pieces for free. Photographers, artists and musicians rent this space, where they have access to full audio and visual, with microphones, lighting and digital equipment.

“We also have individual and unique items that, if sold, are unable to be replaced,” Marshall Craig said. “For instance, we will have several pieces by Canadian rock and roll photographer John Robert Rowlands, the most notable of which is his David Bowie ‘Archer’ photograph. The copy we will have on display for sale, was signed not only by Mr. Rowlands but is one of just six in the world also signed by the late David Bowie.”

When they’re not manning the studio or out on a photography assignment, Hughes-Craig and Marshall Craig are globe-trotting to produce project mapping, a type of background film used as a backdrop for countless movies and productions. The process involves filming iconic areas of cities from Beijing to Budapest for projection mapping. The pair has to travel to a number of European and Asian cities to produce that film.

Marshall Craig has been a filmmaker for years. He is a producer and second unit director of “Remembering Nigel,” the latest feature film from award-winning Australian director Frank Howson. Craig is also featured in the documentary “The Nigel Diaries: The Making of Remembering Nigel,” which won Best Documentary at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. He is screenwriter and director of the upcoming documentary “One Man’s Treasure,” featuring living descendants of notorious 17th-Century pirate captain Sir Henry Morgan. Craig is also the screenwriter of “Knighted Pirate,” which chronicles the exploits of Captain Morgan.

And, in addition to his other author credits, Marshall Craig wrote “Guilty By Association” – a biography of hip-hop producer Damion “Damizza” Young, the environmental study “Growing A Better America: Smart, Strong and Sustainable” with Chuck Leavell, and his memoirs of controversial former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker, “Rocker: Scars and Strikes,” released in 2011.

TreeHouse Studios and Gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Thanks to David, Polly and All


Now that we have finished the European tour in support of David Gilmour’s “Rattle That Lock” CD, I just want to say what an honor and pleasure it was to work with David and all the band, crew and staff involved. Playing historic places like the Arenas in Pompeii, Verona, Nimes and Circus Maximus in Rome; and all the other beautiful venues made for some incredible memories. My thanks to David, his wonderful wife Polly and to everyone on the tour. Here’s hoping it’s not the last time!


David Gilmour Busts Out Pink Floyd Classic ‘One Of These Days’ After 22 Years

On Saturday night renowned guitarist David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame kicked off the latest leg of his Rattle That Lock Tour with a band including Allman Brothers Band/Pink Floyd keyboardist Chuck Leavell. Gilmour began his tour at Plac Wolności in Wrocław, Poland with the help of the NFM Filharmonia Wrocławska Orchestra. The show featured a huge surprise as Gilmour & Co. busted out a Pink Floyd classic for the first time since the legendary act’s final tour in 1994.

“One Of These Days” is the opening track from Pink Floyd’s 1971 album Meddle. While the song was a staple of early ’70s Pink Floyd tours and both of the band’s final tours in 1987 and 1994, Gilmour had never performed “One Of These Days” on any of his solo runs. Saturday finally saw David perform the tune and he played it once again last night in Vienna. David Gilmour’s opening show in Poland was broadcast on Polish television.

The tour opener also included the live debut of “Dancing Right In Front Of Me” from Rattle That Lock with the rest of the setlist similar to other 2015 – 2016 David Gilmour performances.

[Coming Back To Life]

[Wish You Were Here]