Eric Johnson hits the road to support first all acoustic solo album “EJ”

ERIC JOHNSON HITS THE ROAD TO SUPPORT FIRST
ALL ACOUSTIC SOLO ALBUM TITLED EJ

Tour Kicks Off At Jackson, MS’ Duling Hall on October 5 And Wraps In His Hometown of Austin, TX At The Paramount Theatre on November 19

Austin, TX – Eric Johnson will hit the road next week in support of his first acoustic solo album titled EJ. Thirty years after his breakthrough solo release ‘Tones’ brought him national recognition, the new release showcases nine original compositions and four covers. Johnson shares, “Ever since I was young, I’ve played piano and acoustic guitar in my private life. This type of music has always been a part of me, but I never showcased it on any kind of bigger level, like a full acoustic record. With EJ, I just decided to be more honest with myself and everybody, and show more of my personal side.”

Johnson, long known for his painstaking approach to making records, used a much more immediate attack for the self-produced EJ. “Almost all of that material was cut live,” Johnson explains. “Some of the songs I actually sang and played at the same time – just live in the studio. Recording this way gave it more of an honest realism and organic emotion. Especially on the acoustic, you just have to get in there and play.”

On the original compositions “Wonder,” “Fatherly Downs,” and “All Things You Are,” Johnson frames his voice with his prized 1980 Martin D-45, a gift from his late father. He plays the steel-string on his superlative instrumentals “Once Upon a Time in Texas,” “All Things You Are,” and “Song for Irene.” He conjures the beautiful, pensive tones of “Serinidad,” another original instrumental, on a Ramirez nylon-string guitar. A spirited steel-string arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” rounds out the solo guitar tracks.

Johnson recasts another Simon and Garfunkel favorite, “Scarborough Fair,” for voice and piano, and plays piano on the originals “Water Under the Bridge,” “November,” and “Wrapped in a Cloud,” an ensemble track with acoustic bass, cello, drums, and percussion. In a move that’s sure to surprise his fans, Johnson rearranged Jimi Hendrix’ “One Rainy Wish” for guitar and piano, capping the performance with a jazz-inflected piano solo. Rounding out the record is Johnson and guest guitarist Doyle Dykes’ superlative cover of Les Paul and Mary Ford’s 1951 classic, “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise.”

Throughout his career, Johnson has approached music as a healing force, a way to enhance a listener’s consciousness and conjure joy and inspiration. “That’s what I’ve always appreciated most about other artists,” he says. “Some artists inspire us to wake up and get back to the clarity of consciousness. With this record, I’m trying to do that too, because I appreciate it so much in other people.”

Confirmed appearances include:
10/05 Jackson, MS Duling Hall
10/06 Atlanta, GA Center Stage
10/07 Rocky Mount, VA Harvester Performance Center
10/08 Elkins, WV Mountain Stage
10/09 Cleveland, OH Music Box Supper Club
10/11 Oakmont, PA The Oaks Theater
10/12 Annapolis, MD Rams Head On Stage
10/13 Richmond, VA Tin Pan
10/14 Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theater
10/15 Westbury, NY The Space At Westbury
10/16 Washington DC The Hamilton
10/18 Fairfield, CT StageOne
10/19 Fall River, MA Narrows Center For The Arts
10/20 New Brunswick, NJ State Theatre
10/21 Beverly, MA Cabot Theatre
10/22 Cohoe, NY Cohoes Music Hall
10/23 Shirley, MA Bull Run Restaurant
10/25 New York, NY Highline Ballroom
10/26 Londonberry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
10/27 Norfolk, CT Infinity Hall
10/28 Brownfield, ME Stone Mountain Arts Center
10/29 Londonderry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
10/30 Pawling, NY Daryl’s House
11/01 Ferndale, MI The Magic Bag
11/02 St. Louis, MO Old Rock House
11/03 Minneapolis, MN Dakota Jazz Club
11/04 Milwaukee, WI Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee
11/05 Chicago, IL City Winery
11/06 Nashville, TN City Winery
11/09 Charlotte, NC McGlohan Theatre
11/10 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre
11/11 Charleston, SC Charleston Music Hall
11/13 Asheville, NC Diane Worham Theatre
11/15 Clearwater, FL Capitol Theatre
11/16 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
11/18 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
11/19 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre

Goo Goo Dolls’ Robby Takac talks about the band’s acoustic tour

Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler

Robby Takac is the bassist and a founding member of the rock band the Goo Goo Dolls. In June of 2013 the group released their tenth studio album titled “Magnetic” to rave reviews. The group is currently out on the road performing acoustically and Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Robby about the special run of shows and this summer’s upcoming tour with “American Idol” alum Chris Daughtry.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the current acoustic tour you guys are out on?
Robby Takac: That was something John has been talking about doing for awhile now. Occasionally we get asked to do one off acoustic shows and they end up being a lot of fun and something we wanted to do more of. We just finished a Canadian tour run and have a little bit of time before our next tour starts to go out and do this acoustic run. It’s a great opportunity for us to go back out and do some shows that are a little different. There’s times during these shows where we have 11 people up there performing.

AL: With the acoustic element aside what do you find to be the biggest difference between these shows and the band’s traditional shows?
RT: When we are doing an electric show there are a lot more bells and whistles. We bust out all the stops when we are performing electrically. With the acoustic shows we are playing in much more intimate venues. I think the largest room we have booked on this tour is maybe 400 seats.  There is a different form of communication happening between the band and the listeners in this smaller setting. The shows are going great and I have a feeling that we will be more of them in the future.

AL: How does song selection play out from night to night?
RT: After putting out a number of acoustic songs we have a good catalog to choose from. We also do a bunch of our hit songs that we have reworked. A lot of the songs have been orchestrated so doing those on our own without that backing has been a little different. We thought about having things laid out ahead of time but it ended up working better when we just go off the cuff. We go out tell some stories and play some songs and it’s just a great time.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands recent video for the song “Come to Me”?
RT: I think when you do a video you are looking for something that accompanies the song. We tend to do videos that go along with the songs as the song is the most important thing. We shot the newest video up in the hills outside of Los Angeles and we feel it goes great with the song.

AL: What are the plans for the band after the acoustic tour run?
RT: We have a summer tour coming up with Daughtry that is going to be amazing. I think he has done a really great thing being able to change from what he did on “American Idol” and transforming it to what he is doing now. He had the ears and eyes of American during the time he was on that show and he has managed to keep them. We are going to have a great time this summer with Daughtry and Plain White T’s who will also be part of the tour.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about the record label you have been working on?
RT: Good Charamel Records is the name of the label and we put out a lot of 7 inch Japanese punk rock albums.  Bands like Shonen Knife and Pinky Doodle Poodle are on our label. My wife and I actually manage Shonen Knife who has a great new album coming out soon.

The Dirty Heads’ Jared Watson talks about “Phantoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions”

Jared Watson is the lead singer for the group The Dirty Heads. The group has just released an acoustic album titled “Phantoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions” And will be hitting the road later this month in support of its release. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Jared about the album and what it was like working acoustically.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the new acoustic album?
Jared Watson: This album is definitely the sexiest thing we have put out, the vibe and feel of each song was the most important thing to us. Whether it was how much room hiss we got off the old mic’s we set up or how slow we wanted to play the song Phantom, there was no right or wrong when it came to structure or formula as long as the vibe was right.

AL: What was it about doing an acoustic album that appealed to you?
JW: We started as an acoustic act so we wanted to get back to our roots. With “Phantoms of Summer” We wanted to really dive into our lyrics and the melodies of each song included on the release.

AL: Did working acoustically cause the band to change how they worked in the studio?
JW: It was a comfortable move from a full production album to an acoustic album. Most of our starts and ideas are written acoustically first and we feel if a song can hold up with just an acoustic guitar and a vocal then you’ve got something special. So the process for this album really began the same way.

AL: Are there plans to shoot a video for any of the songs of the album?
JW: Hopefully, We’ve have been shooting ideas around and there has been some really cool creative stuff that we would like to do!

AL: Does the band plan to tour in support of the release?
JW: We will be touring the southeast at the end of October before heading over to Europe where we’ll be playing some dates with Sublime With Rome in November, including Warped Tour UK.

“String Theory” An Unconventional Acoustic Musical Drama Debuts Official Trailer

“STRING THEORY” AN UNCONVENTIONAL ACOUSTIC MUSICAL DRAMA DEBUTS OFFICIAL TRAILER 

The Independent Short Film Directed By Jonathan Pezza Stars Abraham Benrubi, NBC’s “The Voice” Contestant Paulina Cerrilla, And Newcomer Thien Nguyen


LOS ANGELES, CA – The trailer for the independent short film String Theory, a heartfelt musical drama that follows the interwoven lives of three struggling musicians, has now been made public. The highly anticipated short, written and directed by Jonathan Pezza, starsAbraham Benrubi (U-Turn, ER, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose), Paulina Cerrilla (NBC’s The Voice, Season 3), newcomer Thien NguyenKee Chan(Mission: Impossible IIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), and Brad Carter (SmashedJustified).

The film, produced by Paper Windows LLC, is an unconventional “acoustic” musical that follows three singer-songwriters in Los Angeles whose lives collide in a 24-hour period.  Aurora (Paulina Cerilla),  a homeless street musician whose belief in herself carries her through her troubled life, Patsy (Abraham Benrubi) a faded ex-rockstar at a crossroads in his life, and the intensely conflicted Yun (Thien Nguyen), who contends with her father (Kee Chan) over his disapproval of her life choices. All three are strangers, unknowingly connected by their love and need for music. String Theory follows each of their stories, until their lives intersect for a brief moment that changes each in a profound way.

All three actors were drawn to the piece because of the story and its musical aspect. “The script itself is written like a song and I found that to be a really unique and special way to tell the story,” says Abraham Benrubi. At the very core of String Theory lies the music, weaving and guiding the paths of the protagonists to each other and the next step of their lives. Director and writer Jonathan Pezzacomposed the four original songs featured in the film: About Home, Breathe, Ballad of a Falling Star, and the title track String Theory, all of which will be available on iTunes. “I believe that great art comes from challenging yourself to do the things that scare and intimidate you most,” states Pezza. “String Theory is not only a beautiful story about the struggle to define oneself, but the music that the film’s three characters sing and play bears forged and tempered pieces of my experiences.”

The interweaving musical storyline called for a special approach to sound recording as well. Each artist was recorded live on location singing to special click tracks that they heard through earpieces, allowing them to harmonize and perfectly sync with one another, despite being filmed and recorded at different times. “Our approach required lots of rehearsals, however the results are beautiful, honest, and in the moment recordings that heighten the emotion of the piece,” says producer Shaela Cook.

The film was funded through Kickstarter and the generous sponsorships from Imagecraft Productions and HotPixel Inc. Imagecraft providedall the production equipment for the film including: the Sony PMW-F55, lenses, video village monitors, a complete 5 ton grip and electric package, sound and communication equipment, and production support equipment. HotPixel provided DIT services and dailies and will be providing all post production services including color grading and visual effects. President of HotPixel, Art Freed and Jason Been, President of Imagecraft, both serve as Executive Producers on the project. “We chose to be a part of this project not only because of our relationship with Jonathan, but because we believe in fostering independent filmmakers with a unique and creative voice,” stated Jason Been.

For more information and for the latest news on String Theoryvisit www.StringTheoryTheMovie.net, on Twitter @StringTheoryMov or on Facebook.com/StringTheoryTheMovie

About Imagecraft Productions | www.ImagecraftProductions.com   
Imagecraft (IC) is a full service rental house providing crew and production equipment rentals to the film and television industries. We offer personal service, expert advice and maintain a full staff of production managers, crew, and equipment technicians. We strive to be best the rental house in the industry by offering state of the art production equipment, exceptional field crews, and 24/7 production support. For more information on Imagecraft visit ImagecraftProductions.com or call 818.954.0187.  IC can also be found onFacebook.com/ImagecraftTV and Twitter @ImagecraftTV.

CD Review: Pearl “The Swing House Session: Pearl (Live & Acoustic)”

Pearl
“The Swing House Session: Pearl (Live & Acoustic)”
Producer: Jay Ruston
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Swing House Session: Pearl (Live & Acoustic)” is the latest release from Pearl. The album features 10 acoustic tracks 9 of which were originally featured on Pearl’s 2010 debut release titled “Little Immaculant White Fox”. The 10 tracks on the album were recorded live in one session and feature Pearl, Scott Ian, Jim Wilson, Marcus Blake and Nalle Cole. The session/album was produced by Jay Ruston (The Donnas, Meatloaf).

This album has a really cool laid back vide which I felt was very reminiscent of some of those great mid 60’s era releases. It was almost impossible to tell that this album was created live as the performances are just so seamless. Pearl’s voice is rich and soulful which only adds to the impressive string section compiled for the session. The big stand out track for me was the cover of the classic John Prine song “Angel From Montgomery” while tracks such as “Rock Child” and “Check Out Charlie” also transferred really well into acoustic form. Fans of Pearl’s rock album and fans of acoustic music in general will surely want to take a listen to this album.

Track Listing:
1.) Check Out Charlie
2.) Love Pyre
3.) Rock Child
4.) Worth Defending
5.) Mama
6.) My Heart Isn’t in It
7.) Angel From Montgomery
8.) Nobody
9.) Whore
10.) Anything

Also be sure to check out our interview with Pearl located in the interview portion of the site.

 

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