Friday, February 1, 2008

Kicking Off February

It's always a lot of fun to find acoustic versions of songs you've never heard before. A couple of weeks ago, my old radio friend Lee Powell sent me the CD-single of "On the Way Home," a live, acoustic version of the Buffalo Springfield classic from Neil Young's forthcoming "NYA Performance Series Vol. 1: The Riverboat." You may have heard me play that track on last week's show when Neil was the featured artist in the Eye of The Acoustic Storm. The latest volume of Neil Young's archival series captures some of his earliest live recordings at the Toronto coffeehouse, The Riverboat.

I'm also looking forward to spinning tunes from a soon-to-be released acoustic album by Pat Benatar, plus previously-undiscovered acoustic versions from The Fixx, as well as Little Feat, courtesy of the band's Paul Barrere & Fred Tackett.

The Acoustic Storm will be "kicking off" February with a couple of songs for this Sunday's Super Bowl teams. The NFL's ultimate game is being played in The Acoustic Storm's backyard in Glendale, Arizona. So we'll play Jackson Browne with "I Am a Patriot" for New England and Billy Joel's 2006 live performance of "New York State of Mind" for the Giants.

Also on this weekend's Pink Floyd, The Beatles with a vocal demo from "Abbey Road," Ray Davies of the Kinks with an acoustic take on a British Invasion classic, and some nifty acoustic work from 6 & 12 string guitar wizard Leo Kottke. Plus, Elton John goes into the Eye of The Storm.

On a sad note, the music world lost a fine singer-songwriter January 19th with the passing of John Stewart. John's career got underway in 1961 when he replaced Dave Guard in the Kingston Trio. As the folk scene gave way to rock in the late '60s, Stewart continued to write songs. In fact, he penned "Daydream Believer," which hit the top of the charts for the Monkees.

John Stewart really came into his own as a solo artist. After meeting and marrying fellow folk singer Buffy Ford, he released his solo debut, 1969's "California Bloodlines." He recorded it live in the studio in Nashville, while across the hall Dylan was recording "Nashville Skyline." Other critically-acclaimed John Stewart albums include "Willard," "Cannons in the Rain," and "Wingless Angels."

He often performed in Phoenix, Arizona and became one of the Valley's most popular artists in the mid 1970's. In fact, John Stewart recorded "The Phoenix Concerts" at Symphony Hall in 1974.

Teaming up with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, Stewart released the album "Bombs Away Dream Babies" in 1979, featuring "Gold," which reached #5 on the singles chart. Two other tracks from that album, "Midnight Wind" and "Lost Her in the Sun," would also hit the top 40. It was around that time that I interviewed John Stewart live on K-104 (KIOG-FM/KQXE-AM) in Phoenix.

Stewart's later success mostly came as a songwriter. Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Joan Baez are among the artists that have recorded his material in recent years.

The Acoustic Storm will remember John Stewart on this weekend's show, with one of his best-loved songs, "July, You're a Woman."

1 comment:

Dan said...

John Stewart was truly a gifted singer songwriter that will be missed.
His music touched on America, he was on the campaign trail for Bobby Kennedy and spoke about the new frontier.
I first heard John when Bill Compton played his music on KDKB back in the mid 70s and I've been listening to his music ever since.
John was a "Wingless Angel" in my book. Dan Griffin