Record Store Day 2012 is here! We're delighted that our limited edition 7" "He Used To Be" b/w "Good Man" is an official RSD selection and now available at stores all over the world. We're in the van on our to Cincinnati right now for an appearance at Everybody's Records and a show tonight at MOTR. Here's a treat. We're already writing new material for our 3rd record and we've been practicing backup vocals in the car today. It's a Hall & Oates inspired burner called "Two Can Play." Dig it!
Man does it feel good to be back in the van. Everyone else is sleeping--our first show is in Pittsburgh so that meant an early call time and a long day of driving. I'm enjoying it though: Levon Helm's Dirt Farmer is on the speakers as the never ending Ohio scenery rolls by. Our hearts are heavy with news of Levon's passing, not to mention the death of the great Andrew Love of the Memphis Horns. We'll definitely be listening to a lot of The Band and Stax records on this run. It's an exciting time for the band. We finally have a new record to show the world and the response has been great. College and AAA radio stations are spinning tracks and blogs have had some kind words thus far. We'll keep posting the press on our twitter and FB accounts so stay tuned.
First up: the Thunderbird Cafe in Pittsburgh with New Orleans sax master Khris Royal & Dark Matter. This is a great way to start the tour. Let's go!
Norah Jones started massaging our ears 10 years ago with Come Away With Me. Since then she's gone in some cool directions with her music and hasn't let the success of her first record box her in to a particular sound. Her new record ...Little Broken Hearts drops May 1 and is streaming on NPR right now. I just listened down to the whole thing and really dig the track "Happy Pills." It features the stellar production of Danger Mouse and hooks, hooks, and more hooks! Good stuff.
For some, it's been a long wait. For others, this is their first time hearing of us. For everyone, we hope the new album is a record you'll enjoy for a long time. The vinyl version (180 gram) sounds fantastic. Vinyl junkies, heed the call!
Today, The Right Now Gets Over You. In a good way.
I took a road trip with my fam last week and got to spend a few days in cities I love: Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans. We were relying on Spotify for entertainment during the drive so I force fed the kids Stax/Volt, The Meters, and Allen Toussaint. Here's one of my favorite Allen Toussaint tunes, "Yes We Can Can" (made famous by The Pointer Sisters' version from 1973).
On April 10th, we unveil our second full-length album, Gets Over You. We recorded it in one inspired, exciting week with Sergio Rios of Orgone, in the August heat of Los Angeles. And now it's just about time to let this cat out of the bag... But at the moment, it's time for a little recognish for the people who had a hand in this record. We worked hard on it, but we sure as hell didn't do it by ourselves.
Sergio Rios welcomed us into Killion Sound, where his band Orgone has been making great-sounding records for years (including backing tracks for CeeLo Green and Alicia Keys). There's magic - and a lot of killer music gear - in that room, and Sergio surprised us by having us track without headphones, just the live sounds in the room. It gave the sessions a comfortable, live feel, almost like a rehearsal. I'm convinced he pulled some great performances out of us this way.
Greg Perkins of The RAM! Project designed the artwork for this album (and for our t-shirts, and our previous releases). We sent Greg the rough tracks early on, and he picked up on the lyrical themes - which really are pretty seedy. Greg took the photo on the cover years ago in Memphis and developed it into a voyeuristic "what are those two up to?" concept that we just love.
Christen Thomas of Press Wolf PR came on board as our publicist for this record. If you've just recently heard of The Right Now, Christen probably had a hand in it.
Lindsey Obermeier of Creens Design worked with us to create this sweet website. Sweet, huh?
Seth Thompson of Epiglotic Photographic shot our publicity & album photos, under the art direction of Rachel Epperson (who also does our stage wardrobe). Very noir, guys. Very cool.
Tim Reid helped us immeasurably while we were in L.A. - lining up accommodations (with the help of the Brooke, Mike, and Mary Anne Harvey) and trucking us back and forth to the studio each day. Tim was one of very few people to sit in on the sessions throughout the making the album.
Michael O'Connell has had our back, legally, the entire way. He's reviewed every contract we have to sign, and honestly, there's nothing like the peace of mind that comes with...well...peace of mind. Mike O'C, you're like Ambien in a crazy world. And in the bigger scheme of things, we have to thank Joe Shambro, our FOH sound engineer on the road, and Dave Berecz, who shares road-manager duties with Joe during our tours. We in the band get the applause at shows, but Joe and DB are with us every step of the way and we're beyond grateful. Somebody buy those guys a drink at our next show!
And you can puke in your mouth if you want to, but we really owe a huge debt to every one of our fans - because we've got some supportive, dedicated people in our corner. Whether they're giving us a place to crash after a gig, showing up to your 11th TRN show, buying the record, or just giving us a Facebook post to say you dig the music, we really really appreciate it. For those of you reading this to see if we mentioned you, yes - this is you. We love you.
The Right Now
It's a poorly kept secret that our brothers and sisters in the U.K. are master practitioners of soul, R&B and dance music. There's a certain identifiable feeling that runs through the music of folks like Sade, The Brand New Heavies, Amy Winehouse, Rod Temperton (who wrote many of MJ's hits), and Duffy and it really speaks to me. And it's heavy with Miss Corinne Bailey Rae. I've put this song on nearly every mix CD and playlist I've made in the past few years, because well...watch.
We don't get as many opportunities as we'd like to help out folks in need with our music, but next Thursday we get to do exactly that. Ari Guha (a friend of Brendan's from college) is faced with Stage IV colon cancer and medical bankruptcy. His insurance company decided to stop paying the bills after Ari reached his "lifetime maximum" for coverage. It's a sad story and, unfortunately, way too common in our country.
You can help out Ari by attending the listening party for TRN's new record, Gets Over You, at The Charleston in Chicago on Thursday March 29 from 7-10 p.m. There's a suggested donation of $10 and all proceeds go directly to Ari.
Facebook invite is here.
Ari's website (with other ways to donate and his full story) is here.
“My kinda soul is just a little bit greasy” ~Allen Stone I wish I could say that I've been following this guy for years, but truth is I just got acquainted with Allen’s stuff a few months ago. Even in that short amount of time, I’m seeing a ton of exciting things happening for this mere twenty-four year old. He just made his national television debut on Conan a few months ago and man did he do a fine job!
Lincoln Hall was comfortably packed when Allen Stone came through Chicago last week. I anticipated a pretty chill show with Allen, his guitar, and a boat load of some sweet melodies. I was surprised, because there was nothing chill about his live set. Allen came out with such great energy and rocked the hell out of one amazing afghan sweater.
Early into the set he played one of my favorite tunes “Celebrate Tonight”. Total feel good song that did its job all over again. I took some footage and tried so hard not to sing ridiculously loud into my Iphone so that you could peep some of his show. It’s a really short clip, because I couldn't contain myself much longer than that. :)
Now when there is a dance off between two sides of the audience you know you are at a good party. During his set, Allen demanded the crowd on the floor split down the middle and participate in a dance off. I was on the left and slightly more lame side, but I thought the crowd split was super sweet to watch and I really appreciated the man who threw his lady up on his shoulders and freaked the hell out.
Even with all of that going on in the crowd, my eyes were still glued on Allen riffing over one phrase, “get nasty”. I think he may have sang those two words about thirteen incredibly sexy ways. Everyone was settling into the set when Allen grabbed his guitar for another great tune called “Say So". One of the moments that Brendan and I thought stole the show was shortly after when he took it way down and performed the very personal “Killing Time." It's a gorgeous song about wasted moments that he nailed beautifully with his bassist and keyboard player on backups.
My vote for favorite cover of the night was his rendition of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love." He also pulled out an acoustic cover of “Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground.
What I love so much about Allen is that he has one of those voices that is so fresh yet so seasoned at the same time. His voice is and will always be instantly identifiable. He reminds me of one of my all time favorite male vocalists, Donny Hathaway. And let me tell you when he reaches for it, this kid will move you! Check out the end of this clip. RIDICULOUS!
Allen and Co. really put on an entertaining show. I could have done without the "shirtless" drummer the entire set. (He sounded great and looked great, but come on man keep your damn shirt on!)
It's going to be a lot of fun watching what happens next for these guys. Word is they are opening for DMB for a handful of shows over the summer.
Brendan and I got to chat it up with Allen after he had been shaking hands for at least an hour. I think we may have been his last hands to shake. Allen is clearly such a talented singer/songwriter who is about to blow through the roof, but what makes him shine is how humbled he is by everything that is happening to him. Humility!
This month is an absolute knock out for live shows in Chicago. Here's a list of what we are checking out (and what we've already been to). Allen Stone at Lincoln Hall, March 5 Allen Stone brought his jaw-dropping vocals to the pristine Lincoln Hall in early March. Stef, Jonny Hats, and I all made it out and were blown away by his performance. Stef is going to write up a review so I'll leave it to her to tell the rest.
Robert Glasper Experiment w/ Bilal at Double Door, March 10 I've been loving Black Radio, the new Robert Glasper Experiment record. It's a who's who of neo-soul and hip hop with guest appearances by Lupe Fiasco, Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Mos Def, and more. He brought his quartet, featuring heavyweights Derrick Hodge (Maxwell) on bass and Casry Benjamin on reeds, to the Double Door on Friday. Chris and I checked out their improvisation-heavy set with a sold out crowd. Their set was a departure from the pop focus of the record, besides the tunes that Bilal sang. It was impressive to witness such incredible musicianship, but Chris and I wished that Bilal sang more of the set. Most of the tunes followed a familiar path of "play the head and everyone take a solo." Overall I enjoyed the show and I'm definitely going to pick up Black Radio on vinyl.
And here's what coming up the rest of the month:
Orgone at Schubas, March 16 I'm always singing the praises of the amazing band from LA. Go to their show and just try not to dance. Orgone is out on the road this spring supporting Galactic on a number of dates (not at Schubas, obviously).
Soul Summit presents DeRobert & The Half-Truths at Double Door, March 16 The mighty DeRobert & The Half-Truths, starring our good friend Dee Adams, return to Chicago after tearing the Double Door down with Black Joe Lewis on NYE 2011. Expect more of the same on Friday. Dee is the reincarnation of Donny Hathaway. Seriously. Dee and the boys from Nashville will also open for us at our Chicago release show on May 12 at Lincoln Hall (tickets here).
If that's not reason enough to go to this show, Soul Summit DJs will be spinning all night and it's absolutely free. Awesome. I'm going to make all of these shows on 3/16. What a night of music!
Fiona Apple at Lincoln Hall, March 18-19 (SOLD OUT) My little bro burned a copy of When The Pawn... for me and I was hooked. Fiona and Jon Brion made some magical records together. This is a great chance to see Fiona at an intimate club. Frankly it's hard to believe that she's playing at Lincoln Hall. I'm sure she could sell out the Riv or Vic easily.
The Bo Keys at SPACE, March 22 Scott Bomar's The Bo Keys are a soul band comprised of legends: Howard Grimes (drums) and Archie Turner (organ) from Al Green's Hi Rhythm section; Skip Pitts (guitar) of "Shaft" wah-wah fame; Ben Cauley (trumpet) from The Bar Kays. Scott Bomar is no slouch either--he's been making records in Memphis for years and has worked with legends like Al Green. Scott did the soundtrack for Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan. Plus he recorded our first 45, "7 to 10." Check out this great video of The Bo Keys and Otis Clay:
What a month! Hope to see everyone at some of these shows.
Robert Glasper Experiment's new record Black Radio has been on repeat all week at my house. "Cherish The Day" is my favorite track. A Sade cover sung by Lalah Hathaway with Chris Dave on drums? Yes please.
I got hip to this gal about two years ago when I started seeing her comic book sketches on greenroom walls at venues all over the touring road. Looked her up and fell madly in love. Here she is working out a Beyonce tune.
Norah Jones ...Little Broken Hearts ~ May 1, 2012
The Fall was on repeat for about two months when it dropped a day after my birthday in '09. Can't wait to see what she's got in store for this one. Album cover is pretty hot!
Melanie Fiona The MF Life ~ March 20, 2012
Popping up on two of my favorite collaborations in the past two years, "Wake Up Everybody" w/ John Legend and The Roots & "Fool For You" w/ Cee Lo Green, I'm digging into some of her solo stuff this year.
Lionel Richie Tuskegee ~ March 27, 2012
Mr. Richie paying tribute to his hometown by reprising 13 of his greatest hits country style...I'm in!!! Believe it or not there is a strong tradition of soul singers making country and western records (Ray Charles and Bobby Womack come to mind).
Alicia Keys Untitled ~ Mystery date in 2012
Since the last album in 2009, Alicia has joined the mommy tribe, married, and produced on Broadway. I was hoping to get back to NYC in time to catch Stickfly, but the show was cut short. She recently sparked up a new single at the IHeartRadio Music Fest and posted this picture on her instagram saying: "Working on the best song I've ever written".
I'm keeping my fingers crossed we get something new this year! Por Favor!
Those are some of my picks for the new year. Let me hear some of yours.
The Right Now celebrates the release of their second album Gets Over You at Chicago's Lincoln Hall on May 12! And we have a limited number of flat-rate $10 tickets available - no service fees. So we decided to have some fun with it -- Each of these 50 tickets will come with a free download of Gets Over You a full week before the street date, and each ticket is a chance to win one of three prizes:
The Right Now's discography on vinyl Signed Gets Over You CD Signed limited-edition poster from the Chicago Release Party.
Maybe you win some stuff. Definitely you save a few bucks, get to hear the album first (and free), and party with us at Lincoln Hall! Click the link below to get in the game:
Raffle drawing will be on 5/4/12 and winners notified promptly. Redeem prizes at show on 5/12/12.
I'm making a pick of the week by proxy for our beloved bassist Greg Nergaard. We did a lot of satellite radio listening on the long drive to Marquette this weekend (Soul Town rules!). Greg freaked out when Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love" came on, so this pick is for him. It's from the excellent Adventures in Paradise LP.
One of my first musical memories is sitting in my kitchen and watching my parents dance and sing to Hall & Oates' "Maneater." I remember being fairly freaked out by the hook: "Woah here she comes/watch out boy, she'll chew you up." It made my 4 or 5-year-old self think of my mom playing cookie monster and eating my dad. Freaky. A lot of us grew up listening to Hall & Oates, and they've enjoyed a much deserved resurgence in the past few years. I've come to love these guys, but it wasn't always like that.
Like a lot of twenty-somethings, Hall & Oates sailed back into my life on the smooth winds of the Yacht Rock phenomenon. If you happened to not have an internet connection five years ago, here it is.
I jumped in full force and loaded my iPod with "Rich Girl," "Private Eyes," "You Make My Dreams Come True," and more. I started a yacht rock band with my re-mustachioed dad as the lead singer. Even my original music took on a smooth 70s sheen. Our cover band was successful and a couple even drove from Milwaukee in sailor hats and boating shoes to see us play. Rock n roll dreams, people.
Then something changed. I soured on the whole cover band thing and turned on the music as well. The overly complex chord changes; the silly outfits; the incessant flute playing--it all seemed too much. I mean, look at these guys!
And this guy:
And, finally, this guy:
My family and friends remained captivated by Yacht Rock--and especially by Hall & Oates--but I became a hater. Until Chris Corsale saved me.
Chris and I were chatting one day when Hall & Oates came up. I made some comment and he looked at me like I was crazy. "Oh no, man, you got it all wrong. Hall & Oates brought soul and R&B to white radio and that was a huge deal." I started reading and listening more and realized he was completely right. These guys were Philly soul torchbearers. They wrote soul songs with just enough rock to appeal to white America. They loved doo-wop and vocal groups, and had a deep relationship with the history of soul music. They cut a live album at THE APOLLO with the goddamn TEMPTATIONS. In 1987. This must have been a life long dream come true for two guys from Philly.
I also stumbled upon Live From Daryl's House. The premise is simple: Daryl and his ace band back up rising artists. They do a few of the guest's tunes and a few from the H&O catalogue. Then they eat some delicious food. The band absolutely nails everything they do. They can sound like the Dap Kings or Chromeo. And the backups? Holy shit.
I absolutely love hearing Daryl advise up-and-coming artists on their careers. He's incredibly humble and down to earth, and he truly understands the new direction that the music industry is going in. The show is free to watch online and he's built a huge following and a ton of goodwill with fans and new artists. He's re-introduced himself to a whole new generation of fans.
After our set at Summerfest last year Chris and I caught Hall & Oates. It was another revelatory moment. The same band from Live at Daryl's House just killed it on stage. The backup arrangements were perfectly executed. But Daryl Hall outshone everyone on stage. The guy is 65 years old and probably can't hit all the notes that he used to. He uses that to his advantage by reworking melodies and carefully improvising on most of the tunes. I felt like I did after opening for Otis Clay, Bettye Lavette, or Charles Walker--this guy is a master and I just went to school.
So I'm 100% back on board for Hall & Oates. It feels damn good to be back in the fold. Here's a new favorite of mine: a soulful ballad called "Do What You Want, Be Who You Are." This is an amazing live rendition. Enjoy.
We're starting up a new weekly post called Song Of The Week. The idea is to spread the word about music that we are digging that you might not know about. So...here's Betty Wright's "In The Middle Of The Game."
Man do I love this tune. It's not surprising that the groove is irresistible--The Roots played on and produced the whole record, Betty Wright: The Movie. Betty Wright has been performing since the 1970s and she still sounds amazing. Interesting sidenote: when Stef was on MTV's Making The Band in 2006, Betty Wright was the vocal coach on the show. Small world, eh? Enjoy.