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Hard Working Americans Get to Stomping on Conan

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Hard Working Americans is a new supergroup that includes Neal Casal (above) of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, singer/songwriter Todd Snider, Dave Schools from Widespread Panic and Duane Trucks.

Earlier this year, the band released a self-titled debut album covering 11 tracks by a wide range of well-known artists.  As such, the Hard Working Americans recently stopped by the set of Conan to perform a rocking version of “Stomp and Holler,” which was written by country luminary Hayes Carll.

Watch the performance after the jump and visit the quintet’s official Facebook page for more information. (more…)

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Gretsch Custom Shop Unveils New Vintage Correct Knobs

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Stephen Stern of the Gretsh Custom Shop is always on a quest to ensure his guitars are as close to vintage correct as possible, accomplishing that by having his builders closely analyze all the vintage instruments that come across his desk.

Stern’s group recently examined Stephen Stills’ 1959 White Falcon— the one he played at Woodstock with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  And because that guitar featured the original knobs that were used on Gretsch Falcons and Penguins over a three-year period in the late 1950s, Stern now finds himself closer to his goal.

“From that one knob, we were able to spec out the three model years of Falcon and Penguin knobs,” said Stern.

In addition, Stern was helped a while back when he got his hands on George Harrison’s 1957 Duo Jet and recorded the knobs used over a two-year period on Duo Jet and 6210 models.

“I wanted to release all the new knobs at the same time, so when we got the Stills guitar in the shop, it was the last piece of the puzzle,” Sten noted.

Note photos of the new vintage correct knobs below.

Knobs used on the Gretsch Falcons and Penguins.

Knobs used on Gretsch Duo Jets.

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Parade Interviews Fred Gretsch About Beatlemania

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Fred GretschFifty years ago, on Feb. 9, 1964, the Beatles made their U.S. television debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. With George Harrison rocking a Gretsch Duo Jet that night, business skyrocketed for Gretsch guitars.

President and CEO Fred Gretsch recently spoke with Parade about how Beatlemania transformed his family-owned company.

“Overnight, thousands of garage bands were created that wanted to emulate the Beatles…[Demand] went up 25 percent,” said Gretsch. “You know, the baby boom generation was teenagers at that point in time. Rock and roll had begun mid-’50s [and] was gaining steam, [so] everybody was prepped and focused on the Beatles when they arrived…everybody was ready for them.”

Read the full interview here.

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U2′s ‘Invisible’ Raises Over $3 Million for (RED)

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U2′s latest single “Invisible” likely perked up the ears of many fans when it was teased during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII.

But the fact that the legendary band was offering it as a free download via iTunes for 36 hours in order to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS – through a partnership with (RED) and Bank of America – caused a massive worldwide reaction.

Bank of America originally pledged to donate $1 for each download up to two million, but the success of the campaign prompted them to exceed that mark, as U2 announced Tuesday that the effort raised more than $3 million for the cause.

Now, all proceeds from “Invisible,” which costs $1.29, will go to the Global Fund, as well.

Watch a 60-second promo for “Invisible” after the jump and click here to download the song. (more…)

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50 Years Ago: The Beatles—and Gretsch—on The Ed Sullivan Show

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The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show three times in February 1964. George Harrison (center) is seen here with the Gretsch Country Gentleman model he played during the historic television performances. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

Has it really been 50 years?

Seemingly incredibly, it has. And you could make a compelling case that the 1960s actually started on the evening of Feb. 9, 1964. That’s when the Beatles made their historic U.S. television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, drawing the largest viewing audience in the history of the medium at the time (73 million people—nearly half the nation—tuned in to the telecast).

President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated only 10 weeks earlier, and the still-stunned country was in a grim and uncertain mood. Who would’ve expected that a much-needed lift in spirits was imminent, winging its way across the pond on Pan Am flight 101 from London?

Two days before that first Ed Sullivan Show appearance, on the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 7, 3,000 screaming teenagers who were supposed to be at school that day mobbed Kennedy International Airport in New York. They were there to greet the Beatles on their first U.S. visit, a whirlwind two weeks that saw the group make two live appearances on Sullivan’s show; one in New York and one in Miami (the Beatles also taped a third appearance to be aired later that month). The group was topping the U.S. charts, general pandemonium surrounded them wherever they went, and the Beatlemania that had already swept across the U.K. now morphed into a potent new U.S. strain.

For their debut appearance on his show, Sullivan cannily had the Beatles perform twice—three songs at the beginning (“All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You”) and two at the end (“I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand”), presumably to ensure that his audience watched the entire hour-long show. The cameras seemed to spend as much time on the surging throng of screaming teenagers in the audience of CBS TV Studio 50, where the show took place, as they did on the group.

Nobody had ever seen (or heard) anything like it. By the time the broadcast ended an hour later, something fundamental had changed not just there in New York, but across the nation. The rest is well-documented history, but you very well might be able to say that with that one raucous event, the 1960s started in earnest between 8 and 9 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1964. (more…)

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