Jackie Shane – Any Other Way

Imagine what it takes to be a successful musician.  There are many long hours of touring, rehearsing, writing, negotiating, hustling, and branding.  This is hard enough for your Average Joe or Jane, but imagine doing this in the 1960’s when you couldn’t release a single on the Internet and have it heard by millions within moments, pay-for-play was still legal and widely practiced, and record labels held your master recordings in a vise-like grip.  Now imagine doing all of this before the civil rights movement while you’re black in an industry dominated at the top levels by white people.   Now imagine doing this as an openly transgendered woman in the same time period.  Jackie Shane did all of that, and she made it look easy.

Jackie Shane’s Any Other Way is a stunning collection of rare singles and live tracks from perhaps the most remarkable performer you haven’t heard and easily one of the best collections and reissues of 2017.  Ms. Shane burned up stages in Toronto throughout the 1960’s, releasing a handful of singles and recording some amazing performances, before disappearing for nearly half a century (relocating to Nashville to tend to her ill mother and deciding to stay after her passing).

The double album opens with the sizzling “Sticks and Stones,” a burner in which Shane sings about people trying to shame her and bring her down, but she really doesn’t give a damn.  This is a common theme in her catalogue.  Shane lived by her own rules and refused to compromise.  Her vocals are fierce and almost race ahead of the song, but the horn section of the Frank Motley’s Motley Crew band (for which she sang at the time) keeps up with her well.  The title track is a sad song about Shane trying to to convince an ex-lover that she’s happy.  The horn section almost has a Latin flavor to it that sets it apart from other similar tracks of the time period.

“In My Tenement” has horns that belong in a Bond film soundtrack.  “Comin’ Down” has Shane coming down “with a heartache” as her band’s surf guitar and tight drumming back her assured vocals.  Her cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” is fun as a bit emblematic of Shane’s life, who never gave away her skills for free.  “I’ve Really Got the Blues” swings as hard as any Chubby Checker or Fats Domino record ever did.  “Send Me Some Lovin'” has Shane pining for even a photo of her distant lover.  “Walking the Dog” is full of sass and a groove you’ll have in your head all day.  The funky organ on “You Are My Sunshine” brings in a bit of a gospel groove, which is no surprise since Shane has openly spoken on the influence of gospel and spiritual classics on her.  “Stand Up Straight and Tall” is pretty much the theme of Shane’s life.  She lived how she wanted to live and never gave a damn what people thought.  You can’t help but wonder about the possible symbolism of “New Way of Love,” especially since Shane sings it with such fire (and the Motley Crew band slays on it).  “Cruel Cruel World” has Shane calling for someone to love and not needing sympathy from anyone.  It’s a great example of how her vocals could go from soulful ballad to rock wails all in the same song.

That’s just the first disc of this release, by the way.  Disc two is a compilation of rare live cuts (with backing band the Hitchhikers including Frank Motley leading it) that are jaw-dropping at times.  It opens with “High Heel Sneakers” and Shane singing / tearing through an ode to stepping out in high fashion and being ready to kick ass and take names.  Pharrell Williams wishes he could write a groove half as good as the one on “Barefootin’.”

Shane warns that the live version of “Money” is so dangerous that her doctor warned her that performing it could be bad for her heart.  It’s over nine minutes of funk, sass, and defibrillating beats.  The breakdown on it is fabulous as Shane talks about not caring about what others think of her as she smiles on her way to the back.  “I’m going to live while I’m here,” she says.  “I don’t satisfy nobody that’s a square,” she also says at another point.

Other high points among the live tracks are “You’re the One (That I Need),” which features some of Shane’s best torch song vocals, the tight horn section groove and Shane’s heartbroken vocals on “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” her fun cover of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (in which Shane appears to be cheering on an elderly man dancing in the crowd), the version of “Any Other Way” in which she sings, “Tell her that I’m happy.  Be sure to tell her this.  Tell her that I’m gay.” (which Shane claims wasn’t her openly admitting her sexuality, but the symbolism is hard to ignore), and the squawking, jumping “Shotgun” in which Shane advises, “You got to shoot your man before he runs.”

It’s a shame that Jackie Shane wasn’t bigger across the world and for longer a time than she was at her peak.  There are rumors that she might emerge from her self-imposed (and apparently enjoyable) exile in Nashville and return to perform in Toronto, so we can hope to see and hear more of her soon.  In the meantime, get this collection and be stunned by it.

Keep your mind open.

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Jamilla Woods and NE-HI team up for new charity single.

NE-HI COLLABORATE WITH JAMILA WOODS ON REWORK OF
THE TIMES I’M NOT THERE
ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT SOCIALWORKS;
CATCH NE-HI ON TOUR NOW 
Today marks the release of a new collaboration between two up-and-coming Chicago artists. NE-HI, the jangly guitar-slinging four-piece, have teamed up with soul-stirring singer Jamila Woods for a collaboration as unexpected as it is remarkable. The track is a rework of “The Times I’m Not There,” a song off NE-HI’s first album, with all parts rearranged and re-recorded by NE-HI and vocal duties reimagined by Woods. All proceeds from the sale of the single will benefit SocialWorks, a Chicago-based arts empowerment charity co-founded by Chance The Rapper. NE-HI’s James Weir had this to say of the collaboration:
“We spent some time this summer reimagining the arrangement and rhythmic approach to “The Times I’m Not There”, a song from our first record. The idea was to explore new melodies and textures to shape around the guitar hook and find a different voice to take the song somewhere else. Jamila Woods, being the amazing vocalist that she is, came on and completely led the song into a new life. After tampering around with the edit for a while, what started as an experiment turned out to be a memorable song and recording process. Shout out to Jamila Woods, Dave Vettraino on production, and Dee Lilly on the keys! This being a project between two Chicago artists, we wanted to give all the proceeds back to young people in the city through the arts empowerment charity, SocialWorks.”
Jamila Woods adds: “I had a great time working on the song with NE-HI, we had never worked together before but I really like their sound and it was fun to collaborate during the process. I think it’s dope that they chose to partner with SocialWorks for the release.” 
LISTEN TO “THE TIMES I’M NOT THERE, FEAT. JAMILA WOODS”
http://smarturl.it/nehi_jamila
Also, last Friday marked the release of NE-HI’s new 7-inch, “Rattled and Strange” b/w “Long Time.” They shared the video for “Rattled and Strange” about a month ago. Revisit the smoky pool hall ambiance below and don’t miss them on tour, as November sees the boys supporting Chad VanGaalen and fellow Chicagoans Whitney.
WATCH VIDEO FOR “RATTLED AND STRANGE”
http://smarturl.it/nehi.rattled

NE-HI TOUR DATES
Wed. Nov. 8 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
Fri. Nov. 10 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern w/ Chad VanGaalen
Sun. Nov. 12 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Chad VanGaalen
Tue. Nov. 14 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel w/ Chad VanGaalen
Wed. Nov. 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Satellite Club w/ Chad VanGaalen
Thu. Nov. 16 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar w/ Chad VanGaalen
Fri. Nov. 17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar w/ Chad VanGaalen
Sat. Nov. 18 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar w/ Chad VanGaalen
Sun. Nov. 19 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive w/ Chad VanGaalen
Tue. Nov. 28 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall w/ Whitney
Wed. Nov. 29 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater w/ Whitney
Thu. Nov. 30 – Minneapolis, MIN @ First Avenue w/ Whitney
Fri. Dec. 1 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room w/ Whitney
Sat. Dec. 2 – Davenport. IA @ Raccoon Motel
Sun. Dec. 31 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ Twin Peaks

Keep your mind open.

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Marlon Williams creeps in and releases one of the best singles of 2017 – “Vampire Again.”

MARLON WILLIAMS RETURNS WITH NEW SINGLE, “VAMPIRE AGAIN”

WATCH VIDEO
HERE

NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES & TORONTO FALL SHOWS ANNOUNCED

“Channeling Roy Orbison at moments with a good sense of humor, great songs and one of the best voices at Newport, New Zealand’s Marlon Williams.” – Bob Boilen

“His songwriting is prolific—he paints songs as characters and remains gender-fluid throughout his nine-song masterpiece. Williams is such a gifted storyteller that there is no telling which tracks are autobiographical and which are fictional.” — Paste

Marlon Williams returns with “Vampire Again,” his first new material since releasing his acclaimed debut album early last year via Dead Oceans and touring relentlessly around the world, including performances on CONAN, Later…with Jools Holland, opening for Bruce Springsteen and picking up both an ARIA Award nomination and two New Zealand Music Awards.

In creating “Vampire Again,” Williams returned home to Lyttelton, New Zealand to re-engage in the writing process and work again with producer Ben Edwards. Below he discusses the story behind the song. Watch the accompanying video, directed by Williams in collaboration with UK cinematographer Steve Gullick. It’s a tragicomic vignette of a societal outcast – misshapen, uncomfortable, humorous and a little touching.

Following Williams’ recent performances at the Newport Folk Festival and Pickathon, he’ll hit the road throughout the rest of the month supporting City & Colour, before playing headline shows in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto this fall.

The germination of this song began in LA last year. It was indeed Halloween again, and I was bored, having spent a week locked away in an Airbnb by the airport trying in vain to write a song. Any song. Nothing came. So Halloween comes around and I figure, “Hey, I’m gonna go out tonight. Alone. Comfortably alone. Comfortably alone to see the LA Opera performing a new score to accompany my fave scary flick Nosferatu at the Ace Hotel. I’m gonna dress as the spindly creep himself. What’s more, I’m gonna get super blazed before I go. And be comfortably alone.”

So, off I go, having spent far too much on a last minute outfit, and step out of the Uber and onto the red carpet with a nauseating air of self-confidence. “This is my night. I am strong. I am human and it is my right to express myself how I see fit.” Turns out I was running late, and when I finally enter the theatre everyone was already seated and the overture had begun. What’s more, no one else was dressed up. Well they were, but in tuxedos and lovely dresses. And there was nowhere for stoned ole spindleboots to sit. So, I hunched and crawled my way down the aisle and sat on the floor like it was the most reasonable thing to do at an opera.

I made it through the whole film and then calmly turned tail, satisfied that I’d had a good time and sure that I’d heard whispers of “bad-ass” as I left the building. I’d like to believe that this was, at least in part, the catalyst for a whole new period in my life and my art. But that’s bullsh*t.

Anyway, here it is, my own demented tale of New Age self-affirmation; “Vampire Again.”

Watch Marlon Williams’ “Vampire Again” Video –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsQCYvS-RC0

Purchase/Stream “Vampire Again” –
https://marlon-williams.lnk.to/vampireagainPR

Marlon Williams Tour Dates:
Fri. Aug. 11 – Boulder, CO @ Triple A Festival
Sat. Aug 12 – Sun. Aug. 13 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Folk Festival
Tue. Aug. 15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant #
Wed. Aug. 16 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown #
Fri. Aug. 18 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre #
Sat. Aug. 19 – Bellevue, CO @ Mishawaka Amphitheatre #
Mon. Aug. 21 – Kansas City @ Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland #
Tue. Aug. 22 – Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theatre #
Thu. Aug. 24 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom #
Fri. Aug. 25 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues #
Sat. Aug. 26 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre #
Mon. Aug. 28 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues #
Tue. Aug. 29 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s #
Sat. Sep. 2 – Rutbeek, NE @ Tuckerville Festival
Tue. Oct. 24 – London, UK @ Omeara
Wed. Oct. 25 – Paris, France @ Espace B
Thu. Oct. 26 – Berlin, Germany @ FluxBau
Sat. Oct. 28 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ London Calling Festival
Mon. Oct. 30 – New York, NY @ Rough Trade
Wed. Nov. 1 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake
Thu. Nov. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. Nov. 10 – Auckland, NZ @ Point Chev RSA
Sat. Nov. 11 – Welllington, NZ @ San Fran
Sun. Nov. 12 – Christchurch, NZ @ Blue Smoke
Wed. Nov. 15 – Sydney, Australia @ Oxford Art Factory
Thu. Nov. 16 – Melbourne, Australia @ Howler
Fri. Nov. 17 – Mullumbimby, Australia @ Mullumbimby Music Festival

# = with City and Colour

Download hi-res jpegs – pitchperfectpr.com/marlon-williams/

Official Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Dead Oceans

(“Vampire Again” Single Cover Art)

Numero Group to release rare Jackie Shane records.

NUMERO GROUP ANNOUNCES JACKIE SHANE REISSUE, ANY OTHER WAY, OUT OCT. 20TH;
2xLP/2xCD + EXTENSIVE LINER NOTES & ARCHIVAL PHOTOS

The first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work features all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern,
including three previously-unreleased tracks 

LISTEN TO “ANY OTHER WAY”
https://youtu.be/wiDVfi5dVp0

(Any Other Way album art)

Recognized by genre aficionados as one of the greatest singers and most riveting stage presences in soul music, Jackie Shane has remained largely unknown outside of Toronto, where her career briefly flowered in the 1960s. Ms. Shane is a star without parallel — a pioneer of transgender rights born in a male body, living her entire life as a woman at a time when to do so seemed unthinkable. Any Other Way, out October 20th via the Numero Group, is the first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work, collecting all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern, including three mind blowing, previously-unreleased tracks.

Ms. Shane’s identity and sexuality were never a secret. She wore makeup, silk shirts and jewelry onstage and off, projecting a sense of refined femininity, and did so in a manner exuding class, self-respect and dignity. Her identity was never an act designed to play with an audience’s sense of exotica.

With her last appearance taking place onstage in Toronto in December of 1971, the city which Ms. Shane considers her second home and where she lived during the peak of her success, this collections marks Ms. Shane’s first communication with the public in nearly half a century. Extensive liner notes tell, for the first time ever, Ms. Shane’s story in her own words, copiously illustrated with never-before-seen pictures from a career and life unlike any other.

Listen To “Any Other Way” — 
https://youtu.be/wiDVfi5dVp0

Watch Any Other Way Teaser Video — 
https://youtu.be/ygsw3RdQ-r4

Any Other Way Tracklist:
01. Sticks And Stones
02. Any Other Way
03. In My Tenement
04. Comin’ Down
05. Money (That’s What I Want)
06. I’ve Really Got The Blues
07. Send Me Some Lovin’
08.  Walking The Dog
09. You Are My Sunshine
10. Stand Up Straight And Tall
11. New Way Of Love
12. Cruel Cruel World
13. Intro [Live]
14. High Heel Sneakers [Live]
15. Barefootin’ [Live]
16. Knock On Wood [Live]
17. Money (That’s What I Want) [Live]
18. Raindrops [Live]
19. You’re The One (That I Need) [Live]
20. Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) [Live]
21. Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag [Live]
22. Any Other Way [Live]
23. You Are My Sunshine [Live]
24. I Don’t Want To Cry [Live]
25. Shotgun [Live]

 

Download hi-res images & album art — pitchperfectpr.com/jackie-shane

Pre-order Any Other Way numerogroup.com/products/jackie-shane-any-other-way

Numero Group Online:
numerogroup.com
twitter.com/numerogroup
soundcloud.com/numerogroup
facebook.com/numerogroup
instagram.com/thenumerogroup

Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: Kilo Kish

Singer, songwriter, painter, visual artist, and textile designer Kilo Kish will be playing an early set on July 16 at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival.  Ms. Kish has a neat vision of the world and witty lyrics that cut right to the heart of issues of gender, politics, art, race, and being a Millennial.  She’s intriguing.  That alone makes her set worth a look, as do her slick beats that blend trip hop with R&B.

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Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

I don’t know what I can write about George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic that hasn’t already been written.  The man is the godfather of funk and pretty much spearheaded a musical revolution in the 1970’s.  His bassist, Bootsy Collins, is one of the greatest of all time.  They’re responsible for more psychotronic freak-outs than you can imagine, not to mention a thousand beats and bass lines you’ve heard in ten thousand hip hop songs.  Their set on July 15th at the Pitchfork Music Festival is a can’t-miss show.

Keep your mind open.

[It would be funky if you subscribed.]

Mamby on the Beach artist spotlight: Thundercat

Bass guitar whiz, rapper, singer, and producer Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) is one of the funkiest musicians around right now.  His music ranges from funk to soul to psychedelia to prog-rock (and he also plays bass in Suicidal Tendencies).  His collaborations with Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar have all earned him wide acclaim (and a Grammy).  His June 25th set at Mamby on the Beach is sure to be a must-see.

Keep your mind open.

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Mamby on the Beach artist spotlight: Rayvn Lenae

Chicago’s Rayvn Lenae is a teenaged R&B artist who is talented beyond her young years.  Her blend of soul and electro is so smooth that you could practically ice skate on it.  She’ll be playing the Beach Stage at Mamby on the Beach June 24th.  I have a feeling her show will be one many will be talking about over the weekend and for years when she explodes into the mainstream.

Keep your mind open.

[Not only is Miss Lenae’s room free, but so are our updates!  Just subscribe to have them sent to your e-mail inbox.]

Sharon Jones has left the building.

sharon-lafaye-jones2

Sharon Jones, lead singer of the funk / soul / R&B powerhouse band Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings has died at the young age of 60 of pancreatic cancer.  She fought a good fight, even releasing two more records and touring after her cancer diagnosis.  Her albums with the Dap-Kings were a shot in the arm to the music industry which had pretty much ignored her for years.  They couldn’t ignore her when she was dropping future classics like “100 Days, 100 Nights,” “How Do I Let a Good Man Down?”, and “Your Thing Is a Drag.”

Her live performances (none of which I ever got to see, apart from recorded video) were fiery affairs, and she caught and held your attention from the moment she stepped onstage.  You knew things were about to get real when she’d kick off her shoes so she could get down harder.

She will be greatly missed, but take heart in knowing she’s strutting with James Brown somewhere right now.

Keep your mind open.

Live: Seal – August 27, 2016 – New Buffalo, MI

I’ve been meaning to make it up to my wife for dragging her to see Japanese acid rockers Bo Ningen (a band she just doesn’t understand) at Levitation Austin a couple years ago, so I thought taking her to see Seal might do the trick.

He played at the Four Winds Casino Silver Creek Event Center in New Buffalo, Michigan.  The “Silver Creek Event Center,” mind you, is just a big carpeted room the casino can use for everything from a Seal concert to a wedding reception. It is much smaller than the venue  map on Ticketmaster’s website makes it appear.  I’m happy to say that the acoustics in the place are quite good, however.  The whole show sounded great.

Part of that is because Seal is a great performer.  It was him, a DJ / synthesizer player, and a guitarist on stage.  No drummer.  No horn section.  No bass player.  They didn’t need any of them.  Seal opened the set with “Crazy,” his biggest hit here in the U.S., and the crowd was instantly on its feet.  His voice hasn’t lost any power since the song was released in 1991, and I loved the way his band turned it into a bit of a dark wave tune with the synth work.  “Killer,” another early hit, followed it with even more of a dark wave feel to it with heavy synth bass.

IMG_3326The first track they played from Seal’s new album, 7, was “Daylight Saving,” a gorgeous love song that preceded another from the same album, “Do You Ever.”  “Prayer for the Dying” was another heartbreaking cut (to the point it made my wife cry) that led into “Love’s Divine.”

IMG_3330

A surprise was his cover of Hall & Oates‘ “Sara Smile” (with Seal on back-up guitar).  “Love,” the last song on 7, led into the first verse of David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity,” and I thought my wife was going to slide off her chair.

IMG_3338

“Deep Water” was another beautiful track, and then came another surprise – Seal’s cover of Tears for Fears‘ “Mad World,” which he dedicated to the victims of the recent earthquake in Italy.  “My Vision” and “Right Life” got everyone up and moving again, and he even threw in a little bit of Chic‘s “Le Freak.”  The fourth cover of the night was Prince‘s “Hot Thing,” which was one of the funkiest tunes of the night and closed out the main set to a standing ovation.

The encore consisted of “Kiss from a Rose” and then another track from 7, “Life on the Dancefloor,” which had everyone dancing and grooving and leaving on a good buzz.  I saw two ladies a few rows behind us when the houselights came up, and they were dumbfounded in their chairs.  They didn’t move for several minutes.

IMG_3335

I asked my wife if the show made up for Bo Ningen.

“Almost,” she said.  “Probably the Bo, but not the Ningen.”

I took that as a win.  Thanks, Seal.

Keep your mind open.