Category: Pearl Jam

Video: Willie Nelson, sons cover Pearl Jam's 'Just Breathe'

Willie Nelson's new album Heroes includes his version of Pearl Jam's  Just Breathe
Willie Nelson’s latest album, “Heroes,” is out today, May 15, and for the occasion the Red Headed Stranger has been working his Willie's Roadhouse classic-country channel on Sirius XM satellite radio, giving his listeners a sneak listen to the entire CD over the last four days.

He also recorded a live rendition of one of the album’s songs, a version of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe,” in the studio with sons Lukas and Micah Nelson, along with a couple of his longtime Family Band members,  including his sister, keyboardist Bobbie, and harmonica player Mickey Raphael. The video can be seen here.

 

“Just Breathe” is one of a couple of left-field song choices -- another is Coldplay’s “The Scientist” -- on a set that also features more big-name duet partners for Nelson, this time including Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, Sheryl Crow, Jamey Johnson and (drum roll, please) Snoop Dogg. Nelson and Snoop teamed up for the lighthearted smokefest celebration “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”

Should Nelson ever decide to stage the odd-couple duet live, it’s a safe bet that Snoop won't send a hologram to inhale in his place.

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Willie Nelson in jazz country

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Willie Nelson sings 'Hell and Back Again' documentary theme song

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Willie Nelson and band at Sirius XM live performance session. Credit: Rahav Segev.

Eddie Vedder postpones U.S. tour until fall to heal nerve damage

Eddie Vedder has postponed his 2012 U.S. tour because of nerve damage to his arm
Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder has bumped back his U.S. tour plans by about six months so nerve damage to his right arm can continue to heal. The nerve damage is the result of a back injury earlier this year.

The 15-city tour was slated to open this Tuesday in Las Vegas, but now will get under way on Halloween and run into early December. All shows have been rescheduled except for his appearance May 3 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which is canceled. Tickets will be honored at new dates outlined on Pearl Jam’s website.

"After having worked aggressively with doctors and physical therapists for the last eight weeks to repair the damage, the intensity of the injury and time needed to heal has made it impossible to play the shows as scheduled,” Pearl Jam’s manager Kelly Curtis wrote in a post on the group’s website.

“There was hope up until the last minute that the treatments would be successful,” the statement continued. “Sincerest apologies go out to those who have made plans and bought tickets. Eddie is frustrated beyond measure, but remains positive that come this summer all will be back in good form."
Vedder’s dates were in support of his 2011 solo album “Ukulele Songs,” for which he played several shows last year, including a stop in Los Angeles at the Wiltern Theatre.

Singer and songwriter Glen Hansard, former member of Swell Season and The Frames, will open Vedder's shows.

RELATED:

Live review: Eddie Vedder at the Wiltern

Album review: Eddie Vedder's 'Ukulele Songs'

Debut solo album from the Swell Season's Glen Hansard due June 19

--Randy Lewis

Photo of Eddie Vedder at the Wiltern Theatre in 2011 on his 'Ukulele Songs' tour. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.

'The Sun Came Out' video shows Neil Finn, Eddie Vedder and more

Neil Finn's all-star "7 Worlds Collide" project is explored in a new documentary "The Sun Came Out"
Fans of the creative minds behind Radiohead, Pearl Jam, the Smiths, Wilco, Crowded House and Split Enz can take a behind-the-scenes look at how they work in a new video coming April 10: "The Sun Came Out: The Making of the Album '7 Worlds Collide.'"

The project explores the creation of 2009's follow-up to the 2001 benefit album "7 Worlds Collide," which former Split Enz and Crowded House singer and songwriter Neil Finn assembled to raise money for Oxfam, the international charity whose mission is to alleviate poverty and injustice.

A little more than a decade ago, Finn invited Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Radiohead's Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien, Johnny Marr of the Smiths, singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Lisa Germano, as well as his brother and Split Enz/Crowded House band mate Tim Finn and others to New Zealand for a multi-artist concert and album.

In 2009, he brought most of that group back together, with extra help from Jeff Tweedy and other members of Wilco, KT Tunstall and other friends to record a second album and play three more shows from which proceeds were donated to Oxfam.

During their three weeks days together, 20 musicians produced 10 new songs collectively for "The Sun Came Out." Here's the trailer:

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Pearl Jam releases track list for 'Pearl Jam 20' soundtrack

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This post has been updated. See below for details.

The soundtrack to the forthcoming Pearl Jam documentary "Pearl Jam 20" has been released, and it contains a bounty of previously unreleased tracks and live recordings sure to make the band's devoted fans giddy. The film, directed by longtime Seattlite and former music journalist Cameron Crowe, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month before landing in theaters for a one-night-only screening Sept. 20. An accompanying coffee table book featuring an introduction by Crowe will offer a more detailed history of Pearl Jam; it hits the shelves the week prior. The film will continue its run as part of PBS's "American Masters" series on Oct. 21 before landing on DVD and download later in the year.

Crowe has known the band for nearly its entire career; they appeared in his ode to the Seattle rock scene and the so-called grunge movement, "Singles," in 1992. The director is best known for his films "Jerry McGuire" and "Almost Famous," and has harnessed his storytelling skills to craft an inside look at the band's fascinating career.

The film, which I saw last week, features remarkable footage of transformative live shows from throughout their career, including a look at pre-Pearl Jam band Mother Love Bone and its magnetic lead singer, the late Andrew Wood; early studio sessions; and interviews from band members and friends of the band (great contextual information from Soundgarden's Chris Cornell) from throughout the band's career.

Crowe organizes all of these glimpses to display the peaks and valleys. He narrates the film, and looks not only at the late '80s-early '90s Seattle music scene -- the first shot is of someone holding up albums by the Melvins and the U-Men -- but the supposed "rivalry" between Pearl Jam and Nirvana, the transition from local band to international headliners. He also offers inside looks at more challenging aspects of Pearl Jam's career, including the battle the band waged against ticketing giant Ticketmaster and the tragedy at the Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark in 2000, where nine fans were crushed to death during a Pearl Jam show -- an incident that the band says marked a turning point for them.

A few days ago Pearl Jam released a stream from the soundtrack: their version of Mother Love Bone's "Crown of Thorns."

1-11 Crown Of Thorns by pj20

Click on for the "Pearl Jam 20" track listing. 

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Grammys 2011: The year Eminem, Drake, Jay-Z and hip-hop win big?

In the days leading up to Sunday's Grammy Awards, which Pop & Hiss will be covering live, this blog will tackle various Grammy artists, personalities, categories and just plain oddities. For even more Grammy info, check Awards Tracker and The Envelope.

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A rundown of the races to watch during Sunday’s 53rd Grammy Awards. The ceremony from Staples Center will be broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m.

Album of the year

It's not unusual for hip-hop artists to earn a nomination for album of the year. Actually winning, however, is still a rarity. The favorite for this year's top prize is Eminem, whose "Recovery" was 2010's top-selling album. Once a magnet for controversy, Eminem on "Recovery" is more thoughtful and serious, with a darker, less hook-filled tone. This is, however, Eminem's third album of the year nod, having been bested before by Steely Dan and Norah Jones.

Such has been the fate for many a hip-hop artist, because Kanye West couldn't garner the votes to top Herbie Hancock, and Lil Wayne never had a shot against Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Yet Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is too frivolous, even by Grammy standards, and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is pleasant but not the crossover force that was Taylor Swift's "Fearless." Forget Arcade Fire, whose adventurous concept album "The Suburbs" is significantly outgunned by the star power here. Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" spawned hit after hit, yet at only eight tracks was billed as an EP. That should clear the way for Eminem, who, seven albums into his career, is something of a seasoned old-timer, which is a trait Grammy voters love.

Record of the year (artist and producer)

Jay-Z has never won in one of the top Grammy categories; his pairing with Alicia Keys for "Empire State of Mind" is likely his best shot yet. The I-heart-N.Y. anthem has already been granted iconic status. Still, this award typically goes to something voters consider more serious, which likely spells doom for Cee Lo Green's "[Forget] You" and B.o.B.'s "Nothin' on You." Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is the type of slow-moving pop song right in the Grammy voters' wheelhouse, and Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie" found a way to turn themes of domestic abuse into a No. 1 single.

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Buffalo Springfield to reunite for Neil Young's 24th Bridge School benefit

Buffalo Springfield press shot

Neil Young will reunite with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay for a pair of performances as Buffalo Springfield for Young’s annual Bridge School benefit concerts in Northern California, with lineups that also include Pearl Jam, Elton John and Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams and several other acts.

The reunion of the influential country-rock band born in 1966 in Los Angeles will feature Young, Stills and Furay as an acoustic trio, given the Bridge School’s history of unplugged performances by all participants. The group's other two original members, bassist Bruce Palmer and drummer Dewey Martin, died in 2004 and 2009, respectively.

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Live review: Pearl Jam at Gibson Amphitheatre

The band rode wave after wave of its music, surfing steadily through its songs' curls and switch ups. The sound was excellent and the size of the venue let fans and band connect.

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Four songs into Pearl Jam's Wednesdaynight performance at the Gibson Amphitheatre, Eddie Vedder shifted his weight from one foot to the other, as if to maintain his balance atop something moving fast. Lead guitarist Mike McCready leaned back hard; Stone Gossard, on rhythm, hunched forward. Bassist Jeff Ament kept his head down as if holding on to an invisible mooring line. Matt Cameron cast himself as the storm's eye -- back straight, face calm as he beat out a spray of drum notes.

After nearly two decades and hundreds of shows, the most resilient group in alternative rock has become something simple at its core: a surf band.

It's not so much that Vedder can't resist aquatic metaphors, though the lifelong beach bum acknowledged that predilection Wednesday, quipping, "There are a lot of ocean references [tonight] because we're close to the shore, and it's healing." Nor is Pearl Jam's sound anything like the treble-heavy instrumentals of Dick Dale or the Surfaris.

Pearl Jam makes surf music in the philosophical sense. Its sets build in arcs. Some songs peak quickly and crash, while others take shape gradually. To negotiate their tricky changes, each player employs serious muscle control. If he stops to pose, he'll topple.

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On the charts: Pearl Jam's Target adventure, Phoenix rising and Whitney's steady

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Return to form: With "Backspacer," Pearl Jam scores its first No. 1 album in 13 years, Billboard reports. The set sold 190,000 copies in its first week in stores, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's Pearl Jam's first release outside the major label system, but the band wasn't exactly going the DIY-route. In a move that surprised fans, Pearl Jam lined up with big box retailer Target for the exclusive release.

Long associated with an anti-corporate stance, Pearl Jam avoided major fan criticism by still allowing the album to be sold at indie shops and Apple's iTunes store. While "Backspacer" failed to land on the chart with the same impact of 2006's self-titled effort, which opened with 279,000 copies, it is on par with Target's other recent exclusive. Earlier this year, Prince went with the retailer, and ended up with the album "LotusFlow3r" landing at No. 2 after selling 168,000 copies.

Diva tales: It's another solid week for Whitney Houston. Her "I Look to You" is at No. 4 this week, selling 66,000 copies. That's a dip from last week, when she sold 156,000 copies -- a post-"Oprah" sales bump -- but brings her total to 620,000 copies sold to date. That's good news for Houston as the industry heads into the holiday season. With depressed sales making it relatively easy for a brand-name artist to stay in the top 20, Houston should be on target to rack up a bevy of Grammy nominations if she can maintain a consistent sales base.

Expect her to be joined on the chart next week by another diva -- Mariah Carey. Digital downloads of Carey's "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" are expected to be solid, as the album is currently retailing at Amazon.com for a budget price of $5.99. But album sales may not be a real indicator for the success of "Angel," as it's a truly ad-supported release, coming complete with sponsored liner notes.

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Pearl Jam's 'Backspacer': Four stars [UPDATED]

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A thousand rock 'n' roll clichés have been built around the idea that guts and glory belong to the young. Pearl Jam's ninth studio album, "Backspacer," due out Sunday (Sept. 20), makes the opposite argument. Its 11 breakneck rockers and candidly emotional ballads, adding up to barely more than a half hour of optimally toned catharsis, gain power from the band's calm but constant awareness of life's ticking clock.

"I gotta say it now, better loud than too late," Eddie Vedder wails in "Amongst the Waves" -- the closest thing to an oceanic jam on "Backspacer," and at 3 1/2 minutes it's pretty much a shore dump. More than half of the songs here feature fast beats and screaming guitars instead of the more contemplative ensemble journeys for which Pearl Jam is famous.

But speed isn't the main point. Cellphone lifters such as "Just Breathe," Vedder's lovely celebration of life with the wife, don't wander either; he still has a philosophical bent, this time the lyricist (writing all the words for the first in many years) mostly keeps things personal, considering the pleasures and tests of family life, love and his own mortal body.

The music remains complex, even when it seems like a beer party. Promoting the album, Vedder has been comparing the rhythm section of Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron to Motown's fabled players, and he's almost right. They're more like a classic rock team (Entwistle-Moon, early Wyman-Watts), as sharp as the soul players but more hopped up and argumentative.
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Fall preview: Autumn's must-hear music

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Autumn is a glutton's feast for pop fans, full of blockbuster albums, buzzed-about debuts, spectacular arena tours and rare small-venue performances. This year offers the usual mix of veterans aiming for another moment of impact, and young pretenders working to make a mark in an ever-widening field.

That's good news for those with eclectic tastes: no one subculture dominates right now, so the listening is best for people who are a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll -- and a little bit dance and folk and Latin, too. What follows is a look at the best bets for recorded and live music in the coming months, album release dates subject to change, of course.

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