Bits: Railroad Revival Tour, SXSW, Raekwon, Booker T. Jones, Shivering Timbers

  • Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros will be kicking off the Railroad Revival Tour on April 21. The bands will travel by train across the southwestern United States and perform at outdoor venues in California, Arizona, Texas and Louisiana. Not quite as fun as the Roots on the Rails shows since the audience won’t get to travel on the train with the bands, but a unique and cool gimmick nonetheless.
  • Our friends at will be throwing a couple of fine parties at SXSW this year – on March 18 and 19 – featuring artists like Caitlin Rose, Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Two Cow Garage, the Only Sons and more. Details here.
  • If you can stand heading over to MySpace, you can stream Raekwon’s new album Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang.
  • Booker T. Jones will be releasing a new album, The Road from Memphis, on May 10. THe album is produced by Jones, ?uestlove and Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith), and Jones is backed by the Roots.
  • Shivering Timbers will be in the WRUW studios on March 31 around 5 PM EST. … Continue reading

No More Words: Rock Instrumentals

Once upon a time, in the relative infancy of rock ‘n’ roll, rock instrumentals were such a popular form that some artists were dedicated entirely to instrumentals and some who, while having a few songs with vocals, built their reputation on instrumentals – artists like the Ventures, the Fireballs, Duane Eddy, The Surfaris and Dick Dale. In time, the popularity of rock instrumentals faded until today when it seems like rock instrumentals are mainly the domain of dinosaurs and noodlers.

Here are a few of my favorite rock instrumentals, ending with what I hope is a glimmer of hope for the future of good rock instrumentals.

Link Wray was a man ahead of his time. A stone cold and cool greaser with a dangerous sound, you can still hear his influence today on some of today’s music. If cool has a soundtrack, Wray’s 1958 hit “Rumble” is definitely a featured number.


Released a year later, it’s difficult to believe that “Sleep Walk” by brother duo Santo & Johnny could even exist in the same universe as “Rumble”. It’s a dreamy piece with some of the most evocative guitar ever recorded.


In the late ’50s and … Continue reading