Entries tagged with: Chris Stamey
As one half of the songwriting core of The dB's, Chris Stamey has been the off-kilter ying to Peter Holsapple's twangier yang. Following The dB's 2012 comeback LP, Falling Off the Sky, Chris Stamey will release Lovesick Blues on February 5. (That's the cover art above.) His first new solo record in eight years, the album is lush orch-pop that features Stamey's old pal (and occasional live dB's member) Mitch Easter and creative input from XTC's Andy Partridge.
Says Stamey of the album, "This record is the closest I've ever gotten to the sound I hear in my head in the middle of the night. It's always the quiet ones that sound the loudest in the dark." You can here some of it right now as we've got the premiere of the video for Lovesick Blues' title track and you can watch it below, along with a lyric video for "Skin"
Chris has a couple live dates coming up in February including one in NYC at Joe's Pub on 2/16 with backing by a five-piece chamber pop ensemble (including cellist Jane Scarpantoni). Tickets are now on sale. Chris will also be at SXSW this year. All upcoming dates are listed below
by Bill Pearis
A number of your contemporaries, most notably, R.E.M., have been calling it quits. What made you guys want to do the opposite?The dB's just released Falling Off the Sky, first new album in 30 years to feature the original line-up, crucially Chris Stamey who wrote and sang on many of the songs on the band's first two albums. While not as nervvy as 1981's Stands for deciBels and or 1982's Repercussion, neither Stamey or Peter Hosapple have lost their melodic touch and their some really nice songs on the new album which was produced by Mitch Easter and Scott Litt who between them produced every R.E.M. record you ever really cared about. You can stream Falling Off the Sky at the bottom of this post, as well as the dB's essential first two albums.
Chris Stamey: Peter and I were talking about making another record together back in 2005, but the songs we played for each other sounded more like dB's songs. We got together with Gene and Will at Water Music Recorders in Hoboken, one of our old haunts, and enjoyed the sounds we got on songs such as "Send Me Something Real," "World To Cry" and "That Time Is Gone." I think we would have stayed on that path at that time except for Katrina, who walked through Peter's life and left rubble.
Peter Holsapple: Chris is right. The more we played the songs we planned to do a duo, the more it sounded like it should be a group effort. I think we were also aware of our age. We thought, "We're all in our early-to-mid-50s now. Our time to make a record together isn't limitless. This is the time." [17 Dots]
photos by Lori Baily & Ted Barron
DOWNLOAD: Tift Merritt & Norman Blake - Thirteen (Big Star) (MP3)
Tift Merritt w/ Matthew Sweet & friends @ the Big Star Tribute in March (by Lori)
Tift Merritt's is now on tour with Stephen Kellogg, and though tickets are unfotunately sold-out for their show at City Winery (May 6th), she has added another NYC show and this time it's FREE. Tift Merritt will play Madison Square Park on June 22nd at 6PM after her tour with Kellogg, but before she heads out on a string of UK dates with Greg Allman. All tour dates are below.
Add the June 22nd free show to the growing list of free shows happening Madison Square Park this summer. Another is the music portion of the Big Apple BBQ.
Tift Merritt joined an all-star cast that stood up in praise of the late great Alex Chilton (of Big Star) at Baruch College on March 26th, a shade more than one year after he suffered a fatal heart attack. Big Star's Third was the focus of the show, and it featured a revolving cast of musicians on vocals....
"Stipe's performance of "Kanga Roo" was at once fragile and unbowed, while his R.E.M. cohort, singer-bassist Mike Mills, found the holiday in the Christmas song "Jesus Christ." Alternative-country singer Tift Merritt was a vital female addition, showing that the vengeful kick of "You Can't Have Me" could go both ways. Other voices included Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo ("O, Dana," "Take Care"), Norman Blake of the Scottish band Teenage Fanclub ("Nightime"), Matthew Sweet ("Big Black Car") and Django Haskins of the group The Old Ceremony, who carried the bleak weight of "Holocaust" with a wise plain poise." [Rolling Stone]During the encore Tift performed "Thirteen" with Norman Blake. A recording of that cover from the show is avaialble for download above. A set of pictures from the show are in this post. More of them, with all of Tift's tour dates, are below...
"Big Star's third album, Third/Sister Lovers, has long been revered by artists and critics as one of the most influential albums ever produced. Written and recorded when the legendary 70s band was primarily a studio project consisting of Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, the third album was never been performed in public with the original string and wind orchestrations. That changed in December 2010, when an all-star band unearthed the original scores, assembled an orchestra and performed Big Star's Third at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. Performers that night included Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Chris Stamey (the dB's) - the creative genesis they experienced prompted plans for a historic concert in New York City.BIG STAR THIRD is happening at Baruch Performing Arts Center (at Baruch College) in Mason Hall (17 Lexington) on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Tickets are on presale now (password: Alex), and going on general sale Thursday at noon. More details with the lineup listed out, below...
On March 26th, a mind-boggling array of indie rock all-stars will gather to perform Big Star's Third at Mason Hall. Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Tift Merritt, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Will Rigby (the dB's), Matthew Sweet, Chris Stamey (the dB's), Jody Stephens (Big Star) and M. Ward (She & Him) will be joined by The Lost in the Trees Orchestra with Jane Scarpantoni, Django Haskins (The Old Ceremony), Brett Harris, Sidney Dixon and Matt McMichaels to recreate the original scores and breathe life into a bittersweet album that has impacted generations of musicians. Some very special guests will be announced in the days to come. As the evening unfolds, Chilton and Stephen's musical ideas that were far ahead of their time 35 years ago will resonate in the hands of a collective of sympathetic, top-notch musicians. "We have been trying to create a concert piece that can have a life in years to come, trying to keep the spirit of the music and make it come across with the right emotions live," Stamey told Indy Week. "There's something about this record that connects with my generation, and apparently many generations."
The assemblage will perform Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety - fans can expect additional Big Star and Chris Bell songs as well. "It's easier as time passes to revisit that album because it came out of such a dark period," Big Star drummer Jody Stephens told the Raleigh News and Observer. "There were brilliant moments in the studio, especially Carl Marsh's string arrangements, which really take it to a whole other world. But it could be emotionally difficult to watch certain things happen. I was so close to it at the time that I could not see what it was.""
photos by Ryan Barkan
Just as everyone at the SXSW Music Festival was finding their groove Wednesday, news of the death of Alex Chilton hit. "Austin's in shock about Alex," read one of the countless social media memes. On Saturday, heartsick Big Star fans got to hear Chilton songs performed by a cast of guest musicians sitting in on the regularly scheduled Big Star showcase, held down by the remaining members of the band's current incarnation, Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow and Jody Stephens...The full setlist with more pictures and a video from the show, below...
But first a letter from Chilton's widow, Laura, who the 59-year-old musician had only recently married, was read by publicist Heather West [video below]...
...Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets lumbered through "In the Street," otherwise known as the theme song for That 70's Show. M. Ward of She & Him croaked an elegant "Big Black Car." Mike Mills of R.E.M. found his religion with "Jesus Christ." John Doe of X dispatched a crystal clear "I'm in Love with a Girl." And in what was the night's biggest surprise, Sondre Lerche provided an intense, harmonic "The Ballad of El Goodo."
And that's how it went for the entire hour and a half, with guest musicians including Chris Stamey, Chuck Prophet, Evan Dando, Amy Speace, the Watson Twins, Susan Cowsill, and original Big Star member Andy Hummel (who came in from Lithuania for the show) all getting a chance to pay tribute to Chilton. A rendition of the classic "Thirteen" was one of the final songs of the night, the lyrics of which encapsulated not only the special moment that was taking place in the storied Antone's blues club, but the entire SXSW Music Festival: "Rock & roll is here to stay/ Come inside where it's okay." [Rolling Stone]