Mavis Staples Featured in Levon Helm Tribute and On Austin City Limits With Bonnie Raitt

Mavis Staples will be a featured performer at Love for Levon, a celebration of the life and music of Levon Helm. Staples, along with other major artists including John Mayer, Dierks Bentley, Ray LaMontagne, Greg Allman and My Morning Jacket, will perform at the tribute on October 3rd at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. The concert will benefit the preservation of Helm's legacy by aiding his family in retaining ownership of his home and famed recording studio in Woodstock, NY (the birthplace of The Midnight Ramble Sessions).


Staples and Helm were originally scheduled to collaborate at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. As Helm passed away shortly before the Festival, Mavis performed with her own band and paid tribute to Helm by performing The Band classic, "The Weight," with special guest Glen Hansard. The overflow crowd responded with an extended and emotional standing ovation. The Helm-Staples relationship was first documented when Mavis and The Staple Singers joined The Band's performance of "The Weight," for the classic 1976 concert Martin Scorsese film, The Last Waltz.

A highlight of Mavis' current tour with Bonnie Raitt was their recent Austin City Limits performance at the Moody Theatre. Bonnie described the scene as a "soul sisters extravaganza." The performance is scheduled to air October 20th on PBS. For more details and to view the performance online visit

Coco Montoya - Blues Blast Magazine Cover Story

Coco Montoya is featured on the cover of the current Blues Blast magazine (Aug. 24, 2012). The cover story delves into Coco's history with an emphasis on his first major guitar-playing role, working with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (guitarist alumni of the band include Eric Clapton, Peter Green and former Rolling Stone, Mick Taylor). In the interview, Montoya highlights his variety of influences in and outside of the blues which range from soul to doo-wop to traditional Mexican music. Coco proclaims, in the piece, a need for contemporary blues artists to return to their varying influences by "mixing things up and stirring the pot." Since his solo career began, Montoya has won the Best New Blues Artist Award at the Blues Music Awards (1996), released seven albums and toured extensively worldwide. His latest CD, I Want It All Back, was produced by Keb Mo and Jeff Paris who also play on the entire CD. Billboard Magazine raved about Coco "In a world of blues guitar pretenders, Coco Montoya is the real McCoy. Be prepared to get scorched."

Bettye LaVette Featured In Time Magazine's "Fall's Best"

Bettye LaVette is featured in Time Magazine's "Fall Arts Preview 2012" (August 20 issue). The piece features the best of forthcoming releases in the Arts, highlighting Bettye's CD Thankful N'Thoughtful and autobiography A Woman like Me as among the best new releases to look out for this Fall. Time cites Bettye's CD as "a set of deftly interpreted cover songs about emotional bruises" while flagging her "utter transformation" of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" as one of the album's highlights. The CD's single, "I'm Not the One" (originally recorded by The Black Keys) recently premiered on and is still available for streaming.


Thankful N'Thoughtful will be released on September 25, and is produced by Craig Street (Norah Jones, k.d. lang, Meshell Ndegeocello, John Legend etc.). The CD is a collection of twelve passionately reinterpreted songs made famous by renowned artists including; Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Patty Griffin, The Black Keys and more. The release of this CD plus her no holds barred autobiography (out September 27) mark a milestone year for Bettye - her 50th anniversary in the music world.

To keep up to date with Bettye LaVette's live performances, See Tour Dates >>

Jim Lauderdale Featured In Jerry Garcia Tribute Concert - Co-Hosts New Radio Show With Buddy Miller On SiriusXM

Watch Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday tribute concert highlights at Y! Music >>  

Jim Lauderdale joined an all-star line up at Bob Weir's TRI studios in San Rafael on August 3rd celebrating what would have been Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday. The tribute concert "Move Me Brightly" brought together legendary and younger musicians as well as appearances by family members and others associated with the life and career of the Grateful Dead's legendary leader.

It was an epic four hour long celebration paying tribute to both Grateful Dead classics and Garcia's own solo work. The concert was streamed live on and Y! Music.

Opening the concert were tributes to Garcia with personal stories from Carlos Santana, Sammy Hagar, Perry Farrell and Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann plus an interview with actor Luke Wilson.

Jim hit the stage performing on "Friend of the Devil" with Cass McCoombs and Harper Simon (son of Paul Simon); "Eyes of the World" with Bob Weir, Mike Gordon, Donna Jean Godchaux, Jeff Chimenti, Joe Russo, Sam Cohen, Josh Kaufman, Jonathan Graboff, Adam McDougal and Harper Simon; as well as performing in the all-star finale, "Franklin's Tower".


In other current news, Jim Lauderdale has teamed up with reigning Americana Artist of the Year, Buddy Miller to co-host The Buddy & Jim Show on the SiriusXM Radio Outlaw Country channel. The show features in-depth interviews and musical performances from across the Americana genre. The first show aired this past weekend with special guest interviewee, Lucinda Williams. Listen to the broadcast online Saturdays 10 pm EDT with rebroadcasts Sundays 10 am EDT, Mondays 2 am & 2 pm EDT and Wednesdays 12 am & 10 pm EDT. To find out more information about the show, see >>

Watch Jerry Garcia's 70th Birthday tribute concert highlights at Y! Music >> To catch Jim's performances, see: "Friend of the Devil" (at 0:32:12), "Eyes of the World" (at 1:13:36) & "Franklin's Tower" (at 1:47:33)

To see Jim Lauderdale perform live on stage, see Tour Dates >>

Meshell Ndegeocello's Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication To Nina Simone - out October 9th

Meshell Ndegeocello will release Pour une âme souveraine: a dedication to Nina Simone on October 9th. The new release features special guest appearances by Sinead O'Connor, Lizz Wright, Valerie June, Tracy Wannomae, Toshi Reagon and Cody ChesnuTT, and is dedicated to the life and work of the iconic singer Nina Simone: Pour une âme Souveraine ("For a sovereign soul"). Recorded in only 10 days, Meshell, accompanied by musicians Chris Bruce (guitar), Jebin Bruni (keys) and Deantoni Parks (drums), has reworked some of the most iconic songs associated with Simone's legendary career. As Chris Bruce (arranger and co-producer with Meshell) reflected on the recording process, "We really wanted to do something we felt was true to Nina Simone. By that, realizing it meant we had to do what felt true to us…The aim was not to re-create the existing versions, because we felt strongly that the only way to honor Nina would be for Meshell to find her own voice in the material."

To celebrate the release, NPR premiered "Be My Husband" from the new album featuring vocals by New York singer-song-writer Valerie June. NPR says of the reinvention of this iconic track and the forthcoming album, "Ndegeocello makes a natural accomplice to [Nina Simone's] legacy, and she tackles these songs with all due respect and understanding". Meshell's admiration for Simone and Simone's fight for equal rights in the United States is unwavering, "She wanted success, was pressured to make hits, but her own sound was still irrepressible," explains Meshell. "She had things to say, she protested. She was a loud, proud black, female voice during a time when black female voices were not encouraged to make themselves heard."

Pour une âme souveraine is a collection of classics made well known by Simone and have given an inspiring and creative reinvention by Meshell and her very special guests, so honoring Nina Simone's spirit.

To catch Meshell Ndegeocello Live on stage, see Tour Dates >>

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