REVIEW AND PICTORIAL: PITTSBURGH HOSTS A STAR STUDDED FARM AID 2017

Just wow.  Take in the stage at this moment and realize how surreal it is.  There is Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp all together on one stage.  And amongst them, Jamey Johnson and his non-brother Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow, Nathaniel Rateliffe, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson, and Valerie June and some other soon to be household names.  The press conference pre-show was enough to get any music enthusiast running like a Mopar engine.  But it was also an excellent reminder of what the day was really about, who the true stars and heroes were: The Farmers.  Local farmers from the Pittsburgh area were also invited to speak and the Farm Aid organization made some short documentary-style film pieces to explain what their daily lives are like.  Let’s just say ‘it ain’t easy’. It put a whole lot of perspective on the day and the true reason why it was important that the music heroes were putting this all together, on their own dime and without profiting from any merch sales.

All photos © 2017 AWeldingphoto

 

The traditional send-off was a prayer with Willie Nelson and representatives of the Native American community, and then it was truly down to business once the Blackwood Quartet started to their synchronized crooning.  The true rocking got going once the highly experimental psych-rock Insects vs Robots out of Venice, CA took the stage.  The band includes Micah Nelson, son of Willie.  The sound comes off more Neil Young than Willie Nelson though and they put on a tremendous eclectic performance.  Of special note were the massive LED screens set up throughout Key Bank Pavillion, incredible not only in their detail but technology.  The stage background was LED as well and included an ingenious separation that allowed a quick load in and off of equipment between bands.  The sound was excellent and for the most part, the sets ran like clockwork.

 

Valerie June is best described as a blend of folk, blues, gospel, soul, country, and  Appalachian bluegrass.  It’s not something one may expect if judging by appearance, she’s a naturally beautiful African American woman with dreds like Lenny Kravitz once had.  Blessed with a killer voice and being able to play multiple instruments definitely makes her a multi-faceted threat.  Her performance was clean crisp and a great invitation to her style of music.

Lukas Nelson (also a son of Willie) and his band Promise of the Real are so good they are also Neil Young’s backing band.  They have a chill rock sound with a country basis a la The Allman Band.  Blackberry Smoke put a lot more of the rock into their country-tinged sound that takes its influence from The Stones, Aerosmith, and of course Skynard.

The more well-known acts then started to fill in along with the crowd.  Jamey Johnson started revving up the fans with his country music stylings.  Jamey is a very accomplished having contributed songs to  Willie Nelson and Merle HaggardTrace AdkinsGeorge StraitJames OttoJoe Nichols and Jessie James Decker.  The signatures on his acoustic guitar reveal a lot about who he has worked with, even the very visible Kris Kristofferson signature.  He played some great cover songs including The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek,” Don Williams’ “Some Tears Will Never Mend,” Little Feat’s “Willin’,” Jerry Reed’s “Eastbound and Down” and Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” Next up was alt-country newcomer Margo Price out of Nashville.  Price’s music is also very country based, but not as much as some of her alt-country peers, more along the lines of June Carter with a modern twist.

Around 4PM things started to definitely kick up a notch with Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, most well known for the hit “S.O.B.”  Their set had a ton of gusto and movement creating a dynamic experience that matched well with the exciting Avett Brothers who went on after Rateliff.  The Avett Bros. are no strangers to Pittsburgh and put on a foot-stomping ho-down of folk-rock that was definitely one of the more “fun” sets of the day including Laundry Room,” “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” and “Talk on Indolence.”.  But, Jack Johnson and his ability to get many of the acts such as Sheryl Crow, Jamey Johnson, and Nathaniel Rateliff to jam with him to play Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” made the set amazing to witness.  He also got The Avett Brothers to play with him and an improvised guitar accompaniment by Lukas Nelson that Johnson described as “that’s beautiful”.  Probably the most laid back and hilarious songs of the day had to be Jack’s backstage Farm Aid written a tune, “Willie Got Me Stoned and Took All My Money.”

When Sheryl Crow was done with a few of her hits (Every Day is a Winding Road” “My Favorite Mistake”), she also got some of the other band members to come up, most notably Willie, the man himself.  The 23K plus attendees went nuts as “Pops” strapped on an acoustic that has witnessed many miles and many stories.  To see Willie Nelson pay tribute to Gregg Allman on “Midnight Rider” with Crow, his son Lukas, and Jack Johnson was a beautiful moment.

Dave Matthews did a forceful acoustic performance with Tim Reynolds that was powerful and passionate as he played “Don’t Drink the Water,”“Satellite” and “Mercy” as well as“What Would You Say.”  He also did an unreleased tune called “Odds Are Against Us” which he did with a bit of trepidation.  The set was intense and a clinic in how two acoustic guitars can blow away a full band at times.

John Mellencamp, a Farm Aid founder, brought a backing band that was dynamic and showed why the top acts have the ability to stay in the spot for decades.  Opening with “Lawless Times,” and transitioning to big hit “Small Town”, Mellencamp had a nice mix of the old and new with a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway,” “Check it Out,” “Pink Houses,”and an acoustic singalong to “Jack and Diane”, a song he said of, “I don’t even know why I play this song, I only play this song ’cause I know you guys want to hear it.”  He then told of writing the song as a young man as he was “working” on something in one room and writing the song in the other, accomplishing both goals by the wee hours of the morning.  His “Rain on the Scarecrow” will forever be a defining moment for Farm Aid history, telling the tale of the plight that the American Farmer had back in the 80’s.

 

Neil Young came out meaning business with  “F*!#in’ Up” (frequently covered by Pearl Jam) and wailing on his classic Gibson “Old Black” and doing his giant walk to Lukas Nelson and his backing band POTR.  The super long guitar jam of “Cortez the Killer” was blistering only to go into the ultra-fave “Cinnamon Girl”.  Young paused to thank the everyone for coming to Farm Aid and strongly noted, “Farmers are the American heroes today. They’re living a real life.”  Going into acoustic mode Young put on the famous harmonica and jammed out “Human Highway,” “Heart of Gold”, “Comes A Time” and fan faves “Like a Hurricane” and “Rockin’ in the Free World.”  Much of the crowd talked about the set is one of the best Young had ever done at any Farm Aid.

Willie Nelson and The Family went on to close out the night.  Along with some of his family members, they performed “Whiskey River”,“Still is Still Moving to Me,” “Beer for My Horses” and “Good Hearted Woman” (”one for Waylon,” he said). Jamey Johnson accompanied Willie and took the Merle Haggard part on “It’s All Going to Pot.” Sheryl Crow, Valerie June and the Avetts came out to participate on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away,” and son Lukas just crushed the guitar on “Texas Flood.”  It was a day and evening for the record books. Hopefully, it won’t take Farm Aid another 15 years to return.

 

 

Tonight: Watch Neil Young on The Big Interview with Dan Rather

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The Season Premiere of The Big Interview!

Music legend Neil Young sits down for a rare and candid interview about his career, his music and his environmental activism. More info.

Preview Tonight’s Episode: Click The Photo Below

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Neil Young & Crazy Horse Nominated for “Best Rock Album”

Neil Young & Crazy Horse have been nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award on for “Best Rock Album” for their album Psychedelic Pill, which was released by Reprise Records on November 19th, 2012. The album is Young’s second collaboration with Crazy Horse (Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, and Poncho Sampedro) after Americana, and first original work with the band since the Greendale album and tour in 2003 and 2004.

 

Young has been honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) many times throughout his five-decade career. In February 2010, he won his first Grammy Award for “Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” for Archives Volume 1 (1963-1972) and won his second for “Best Rock Song” for “Angry World” in 2011. He was also honored as the 2010 MusiCares Person Of The Year for his decades of philanthropic service, including his work with Farm Aid and the Bridge School concerts, which raise money to provide services for kids with severe speech and physical impairments.

 

As previously announced Neil Young released Live At The Cellar Door, the latest in his Archives Performance Series, this week, December 10th on Reprise Records. The album collects intimate club recordings made during Young’s intimate six-show solo stand at The Cellar Door in Washington D.C. between November 30th and December 2nd, 1970.

 

The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Sunday, January 26th, 2014, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m.(ET/PT).

Neil Young To Perform Four Benefit Shows In Canada Jan 2014

SUPPORT ATHABASCA CHIPEWYAN FIRST NATION LEGAL DEFENSE

 

“HONOR THE TREATIES” SHOWS TO TAKE PLACE IN JANUARY

WITH SPECIAL GUEST, DIANA KRALL

 

TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13TH

Neil Young has announced that he will perform four benefit shows in his native Canada to raise money for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation(ACFN)Legal Defense Fund. The “Honor The Treaties” Concert dates are listed below. Very Special Guest, Diana Krall will also perform on each of the dates. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday December 10th.

Sun      Jan 12 Toronto            Massey Hall
Thur     Jan 16 Winnipeg          Centennial Concert Hall
Fri        Jan 17 Regina             Conexus Arts Centre
Sun      Jan 19 Calgary            Jack Singer Concert Hall

The ACFN refer to themselves as K’ai Taile Dene, meaning “people of the land of the willow.”  A Legal Defense fund was set up to support the ACFN’s legal challenges against oil companies and government that are obstructing their traditional lands and rights.   As people of the land the ACFN have used and occupied their traditional lands in the Athabasca region for thousands of years, hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering to sustain themselves and continue spiritual cultural rights passed down through generations. The ACFN’s legal challenges will ensure the protection of their traditional lands, eco-systems and unique rights guaranteed by Treaty 8, the last and largest of the nineteenth century land agreements made between First Nations and the Government of Canada, are upheld for the benefit of future generations.

For more info on the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, please visit: http://www.acfn.com/

Neil Young Live At The Cellar Door Pre-Order

THOSE WHO PRE-ORDER BEGINNING TODAY WILL RECEIVE INSTANT DOWNLOAD OF ALBUM TRACK “OLD MAN”

Neil Young has launched a pre-order of his upcoming December 10th release Live At The Cellar Door, through his website beginning today.

 

The latest in his Archives Performance Series, the album collects recordings made during Young’s intimate six-show solo stand at The Cellar Door in Washington D.C. between November 30th and December 2nd, 1970, a few months after Reprise released his classic third solo album After The Gold Rush in August.

 

The album can be pre-ordered here in three configuration options: CD, on 180-gram vinyl mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and pressed at Pallas in Germany (for maximum vinyl sound quality), and as a FLAC digital album. Everyone who pre-orders will each receive an instant download of the album track “Old Man.” Click here for a view into the track.

 

Live At The Cellar Door, which features Young performing on acoustic guitar and piano, includes stunning live versions of songs that appeared on After The Gold Rush, and many other songs that make up a unique cross-section of material that Neil would draw from for these shows.

Of the many intriguing gems found on Live At The Cellar Door, a rare solo version of “Cinnamon Girl” performed on piano rather than guitar is a particular treasure for Neil fans (the full band version appears on Young’s 1969 second solo album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere). In addition, Live At The Cellar Door features early, raw performances of songs that wouldn’t appear until subsequent Young albums, including the rarity “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” (which appears on Live At Massey Hall ’71 – released in 2007– but was previously unreleased until the studio band version was included onArchives Vol. 1 1963-1972) and “Old Man” (released two years later on 1972’s Harvest album).“Down By The River,” also from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, rounds out the spectacular set. Click here for a preview of Live At The Cellar Door.

 

The track-listing for Live At The Cellar Door is as follows:

 

Side One:

Tell Me Why

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

After The Gold Rush

Expecting To Fly

Bad Fog Of Loneliness

Old Man

Birds

 

 

Side Two:

Don’t Let It Bring You Down

See The Sky About To Rain

Cinnamon Girl

I Am A Child

Down By The River

Flying On The Ground Is Wrong

 

Neil Young to Release “Live at the Cellar Door” on December 10th

LIVE ALBUM COLLECTS PERFORMANCES FROM YOUNG’S SIX-SHOW STAND AT THE INTIMATE WASHINGTON D.C., VENUE IN 1970

Neil Young will release Live At The Cellar Door, the latest in his Archives Performance Series, on December 10th on Reprise Records. The album collects recordings made during Young’s intimate six-show solo stand at The Cellar Door in Washington D.C. between November 30th and December 2nd, 1970, a few months after Reprise released his classic third solo album After The Gold Rush in August. Of the many unique gems found on Live At The Cellar Door, a rare solo version of “Cinnamon Girl” performed on piano rather than guitar is a particular treasure for Neil fans (the full band version appears on Young’s 1969 second solo albumEverybody Knows This Is Nowhere).The album, which features Young performing on acoustic guitar and piano, includes tracks that are interesting for several reasons, such as stunning live versions of songs that appeared on After The Gold Rush (“Tell Me Why,” “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” “Birds,” “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” and the title track) and solo performances of the Buffalo Springfield songs “Expecting To Fly”(from their 1967 second album Buffalo Springfield Again), “I Am A Child” (from their third and final album Last Time Around and Young’s 1977 Decade compilation), and “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong,” from their 1966 self-titled debut.

In addition, Live At The Cellar Door features early, raw performances of songs that wouldn’t appear until subsequent Young albums, including the rarity “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” (which appears on Live At Massey Hall ’71 – released in 2007– but was previously unreleased until the studio band version was included on Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972) and “Old Man” (released two years later on 1972’s Harvest album). “Down By The River,” also from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, rounds out the spectacular set.

Live At The Cellar Door was recorded by Henry Lewy and produced by Young.

As with Young’s previous releases in the Archives series, Live At The Cellar Door will be released digitally, on CD, and on 180-gram vinyl (mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and pressed at Pallas in Germany).

The track-listing for Live At The Cellar Door is as follows:

Side One:

Tell Me Why

Only Love Can Break Your Heart

After The Gold Rush

Expecting To Fly

Bad Fog Of Loneliness

Old Man

Birds

Side Two:

Don’t Let It Bring You Down

See The Sky About To Rain

Cinnamon Girl

I Am A Child

Down By The River

Flying On The Ground Is Wrong

www.neilyoung.com

 

JERMAINE ROGERS Prize Pack Contest Featuring Led Zeppelin and Foo Fighters Art

CLUTTER MEDIA GROUP and CLUTTER MAGAZINE once again team up with an amazing artist to bring their fans/collectors opportunity to expand their collections with specialty items, toys and artwork. This time, CLUTTER MEDIA GROUP and CLUTTER MAGAZINE are in cahoots with famed artist JERMAINE ROGERS for a very special FACEBOOK CONTEST, running now until Friday May 25th, 2012. The winner of this contest will be chosen at random and will receive a special limited edition (1 of 40) print by Jermaine Rogers that celebrates the anniversary of Led Zeppelin 4, as well as an Allepin Sane vinyl bust, created from a poster he designed for the Foo Fighters and produced by Plastic City Toys.

Jermaine Rogers is recognized as one of the pivotal artists in the modern resurgence of Gig/ Pop poster Art. In the last 15 years, he has created nearly 900 commissioned works for a variety of artists, including Radiohead, David Bowie, Tool, Deftones, Morrissey, The Melvins, Neil Young, The Mars Volta, Public Enemy, The Black Keys, Queens Of The Stone Age, and hundreds of others. His artwork has been featured in various books and publications, and is in the permanent collection of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Since 2003, he has also been a player in the Western Vinyl and Art Toy movement. His vinyl projects include Dero, Squire, and Veil: Specimen 129, among others. These works, as well as his various collaborations with Jamungo, KidRobot, StrangeCo, etc, have received critical praise within the industry and are collected worldwide.