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Lisa Marie Presley Brings Both Storm and Grace to Americana Music Festival

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Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley might be a diminutive figure, but she sure knows how to work a stage.

During her performance Friday night at 3rd and Lindsley as a part of Nashville’s Americana Music Festival, Presley didn’t need bombastic theatrics. Her sultry presence and mesmerizing voice demand attention, which she received from the passionate audience filling the intimate space.

Walking out amid heavy distortion from guitarist and musical director Michael Lockwood, Presley donned tight black leather pants and a dark fitted double-breasted jacket.  Immediately, her unmistakable voice curled out on to the crowd like wisps of smoke as she launched into “So Long” from her 2012 album Storm and Grace.

Noting how honored she was to appear at the Americana Festival, Presley then drew cheers with her latest single “Over Me,” a rambling dose of parlor piano and Lockwood’s twangy accents from a striking Gretsch Red Penguin.

Presley slowed down the proceedings by pulling out “Weary,” another Storm and Grace number that had several fans clutching their chests and swaying back and forth.

The singer/songwriter threw a curveball by changing the single “Idiot” off the 2005 album Now What into a swampy, growling takedown of a previous relationship.   Sitting on a stool next to a resonator-toting Lockwood, Presley noted that it was probably the meanest song she’s ever written, and she is probably right.

“You’re an idiot, and I hate your guts,” was one of the nicer lines, let’s just say.  Members of the audience could clearly relate because it earned big applause.

As the evening wound down, Presley kicked up the energy with “Un-Break,” turning to unleash a tribal beat on a pair of glittering drums while Lockwood tore at his custom-painted Chet Atkins guitar. “That was pure silliness,” Presley laughed when the percussive thump came to a stop.

“Sticks and Stones” was Presley’s finale, and she began it in style with an a capella intro before the band joined in.

With Presley again slamming the drums and Luis Maldonado’s bass reaching new fuzzy heights, the 45-minute show was a perfect storm – gentle at times, but always darkly looming before surging over the crowd.

Michael Lockwood

Lisa Marie Presley Band

Michael Lockwood

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Duane Eddy Wows at Americana Honors and Awards Show

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Duane Eddy

Getty Images. Photo Courtesy Americana Fest.

Duane Eddy’s trophy case is certainly stocked.

Earning membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame, a Grammy Award and a Mojo Icon Award will do that for an artist.

But the one-of-a-kind honor that he received Wednesday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville might be his finest, as the soft-spoken Eddy was blown away to win the award of Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist at the Americana Music Honors and Awards show.

“It’s pretty cool, and another thing that’s cool about it is Hank Williams is getting an award,” Eddy said before the star-studded event. “That doubles or triples the honor. For me to be on stage – at the Ryman – getting an award that Hank Williams is getting? Come on.

“I shouldn’t be in the same downtown area as he is, let alone get an award. It’s just such a great honor, and it blows me away.”

“Whispering” Bob Harris, the pioneering English rock, country and folk DJ on BBC Radio, was the one who presented Eddy with his newest trophy, a hand-painted guitar. Harris called Eddy the “Titan of Twang,” perhaps one-upping Eddy’s reputation as the “King of Twang.”

During Eddy’s acceptance speech he playfully said, “Americana music, that’s a great idea. I don’t know who thought of it, but I like it,” before taking the stage to perform his timeless hit “Rebel Rouser.”

Donning a sharp embroidered black jacket and a cowboy hat adorned with a feather, Eddy squeezed every ounce of twang out of the signature Gretsch guitar as the crack backing band – which included Buddy Miller, Don Was and Larry Campbell – assisted.

Once the saxophone hit the unmistakable accents of “Rebel Rouser,” several members of the audience rose to their feet, mesmerized by Eddy’s expert fretwork.

Earlier in the evening, Williams’ granddaughter Holly Williams accepted the President’s Award for the Americana legend before performing an amazing version of his classic “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry” to open the proceedings.

Other winners included Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, who took home Duo Group of the Year and Album of the Year for Old Yellow Moon, South Carolina upstarts Shovels and Rope, who were named Emerging Artist of the Year and nabbed Song of the Year for “Birmingham,” and Artist of the Year Dwight Yoakam.

Eddy’s wasn’t the only performances to wow the capacity crowd, however.

Shovels and Rope might only be a duo, but their floor-stomping folk nearly blew the roof of the venerable venue. Stephen Stills, fresh from taking home a Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award, also turned in a bombastic version of “For What It’s Worth” alongside current Rides bandmate Keny Wayne Shepherd.

California’s Milk Carton Kids garnered a standing ovation with their contribution of “Hope of a Lifetime,” while new Grand Ole Opry members and Trailblazer Award winners Old Crow Medicine Show held a joyous revival with their infectious “Wagon Wheel.”

By the end of the evening, as revelers hit Music City to attend one of many live concerts in Nashville’s countless venues, there was a palpable feeling that the Americana Music Honors and Awards was truly something special.

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Fall Out Boy Rock Reading Festival

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Fall Out Boy definitely gave the fans what they wanted at their Reading Festival set, rolling through several of their greatest hits, such as “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.”

In addition, Fall Out Boy touched on two of their popular new songs, “The Phoenix” and “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up),” which come off their recently-released album Save Rock and Roll.

Check out Fall Out Boy playing “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” below and visit the band’s official Facebook page to find upcoming tour dates.

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Reverend Horton Heat Coming to Chicago Music Exchange

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The Reverend Horton Heat have been a favorite in the rockabilly scene for decades and continue to be one of the hardest touring rock bands out there.

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, he’ll be playing a show at Reggie’s in Chicago at 8:30 p.m., but before that, the Reverend will stop by Chicago Music Exchange for a meet and greet and brief live performance from 2-4 p.m.

In addition, there will be a Gretsch guitar giveaway.  For more information, click here.

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Fred & Dinah Gretsch Celebrate Wedding Anniversary and 130th Gretsch Anniversary

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Several Gretsch fans, friends, family members and business associates converged on Randy Wood’s Pickin’ Parlor in Bloomingdale, Ga., earlier this month to celebrate the company’s 130th anniversary.

But the March 4 party was also celebrating the wedding anniversary of Fred and Dinah Gretsch, marking a truly joyous event.

A few artists were on hand, as well.

The husband-and-wife team of Richard Smith and Julie Adams got the musical festivities started, with Smith showing off his fingerpicking prowess as Adams accompanied him on the cello.

Joe Robinson was up next, and his set with bassist Marcelo Bakos and drummer Tito Pascoali offered a diverse offering of original music highlighting the Australian-born phenom’s guitar heroics.

After a brief break Robinson and Smith teamed up for an impromptu jam session, as the musicians took turns taking the lead on their Gretsch guitars.  A finale of the Chet Atkins instrumental was certainly a crowd favorite.

To view a photo album of the event, click here, and watch Fred Gretsch address the audience in the videos below, in addition to performance footage of Robinson and Smith.

(more…)

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