Archives for category: Phish

Kenny Rogers & Phish Bonnaroo 2012

It almost seems that Kenny Rogers squeezed a lifetime of work into one fantastic week.

On Saturday June 9th, Kenny Rogers performed four songs to a sold out crowd at LP Field as part of the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn.  Following his performance there Kenny headed down to Manchester, Tenn., for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on Sunday.  He was the only artist to play both events this year.

At Bonnaroo, Kenny played to a huge audience in the afternoon and was joined by his longtime friend Lionel Richie on stage as a surprise guest for “Lady.”  Later that evening, Rogers joined Phish on stage in front of 70,000 fans during the closing set of the festival to perform “The Gambler.”  During Bonnaroo he was showered with love and chants of “Kenny! Kenny!”  The day after, the assembled media proclaimed their excitement about his performances as well.

Lionel Richie & Kenny Rogers

“Spellbinding…Breathtaking…One of the 10 Best Performances of Bonnaroo 2012…” said Billboard Magazine about Kenny’s set.

“The country star fit in beautifully (at Bonnaroo), delivering crisp versions of hits like ‘Love Or Something Like It’ and ‘Islands In The Stream’…He belongs…” raved SPIN.

And finally, on June 14th, Kenny performed “The Gambler” in honor of his old pal, Don Schlitz, who wrote the song, at the 43rd annual Songwriters Hall Of Fame induction ceremony in New York City.  Schlitz, who has penned several timeless hits, was one of the distinguished songwriters to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year.

Kenny’s World Tour rolls on with more U.S. dates, a tour of Australia and New Zealand and now dates in Asia as well.  He’s also putting the finishing touches on his first autobiography, Luck Or Something Like It, scheduled for an October 2nd release by HarperCollins. Jam-packed with fascinating stories from life on and off the stage, it’s bound to be one of the most talked about books this year.

Later this summer, he’ll enter the studio to begin recording a brand new album for Warner Bros. Records with producer Dann Huff (Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban).  The award-winning Huff previously worked with Kenny on 2006’s Water & Bridges.

Looking at video of the Kenny Rogers / Phish performance, this appears to be the outside-the-box moment of Bonnaroo 2012. Phish is always daring to go where no jam band has gone.

Kenny Rogers was a crossover Artist when the term was not widely used, going from the Pop Rock group The First Edition, that had its own syndicated show back in the early 70’s to becoming a Country Legend.

Kenny seems to love to take on a non-typical crowd, a few years ago, I saw him at the Kansas City Bicentennial at The Kansas City Chiefs Stadium playing to a sold out crowd that was hosted by Walter Cronkite and also featured Little Richard on the same bill.

I for one enjoy the fact that the great music festivals today mix in the best classic rock and other stuff in with  the most current breaking acts. This was the same thing that Bill Graham did in the days of The Fillmore booking acts like Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters opening for the Jefferson Airplane or The Grateful Dead. It shows continuity, when it comes down to it, a great song is a great song. As a voice and persona, Kenny Rogers is an icon.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Leo Kottke burst onto the scene at the beginning of the Seventies with a fresh approach to the acoustic guitar, especially with open tuned fingerpicking style on 12 string that influenced generations of Guitarists after him, such as Pat Metheny, Michael Hedges and Tommy Emmanuel.  AEG Live/ The Messina Group will bring the Player’s Player live to TPAC’s James K. Polk Theater on Wednesday, March 16th.

Leo is best known for his Polyphonic Syncopated Melodies and use of detuned obscure chords. His first album recorded in 1969, 6 and 12 String Guitar on Takoma Records, has been reissued many times as it was a blue print for what was possible, thinking outside the box, Leo was the Allan Holdsworth of the steel string acoustic.

Leo was so amazing as a solo performer and recording Artist that he was picked up by Capitol Records in the Seventies, releasing five albums by 1975 including Dreams and All That Stuff which peaked at #45 on the Billboard Charts. Leo then moved on to Chrysalis Records until 1983. The music business finally caught up with Leo’s forward process when he moved to New Age Label, Private Music in 1986. This was a productive time with a community of musicians looking for inventive composition achieving one of his highest chart positions with That’s What at #24 on the Billboard Charts.

Leo has worked with several Artists including Lyle Lovett, Rickie Lee Jones, Chet Atkins, David Hidalgo and most recently released two critically acclaimed albums with Phish Bassist, Mike Gordon , Clone and Sixty Six Steps. Sixty Six Steps featured some interesting covers of “Sweet Emotion” the classic Aerosmith song as well as “Oh Well” the Peter Green penned Fleetwood Mac song.

Leo who was born in Athens, Georgia and grew up learning to play the style of Mississippi John Hurt in Muscogee, Oklahoma, eventually incorporated many influences from Delta Blues, Jazz and Folk Music. In much the same way as Mandolin Player Sam Bush and Banjo Man Bela Fleck he has always sought to re interpret traditional American Music in an ever expanding portfolio of methods.

When Leo had problems with tendonitis, he learned to find new tones without using fingerpicks, developing a more jazz fingered style method, as well as going the way of the Singer/Songwriter at times.  Despite being so advanced in his own style, Leo still is amazed at some of the prowess out there, “I hear people playing who baffle me. I can’t see how they’re doing it — either so soon because they’re so young or despite being laid up because they’re so old. It’s frustrating, this bafflement, only because I’ve never really done my homework, the quotidian, day-to-day scut work of concentrated study, and I owe it to people like Federico [Franco], or Snoozer [Quinn], to do that … they did. I admire these players”.

Leo’s life has been one of an ever changing music chameleon having started during the time of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix through the New Age Music Era and in a way going full circle working with Jam Band Alumni Mike Gordon, the guitar has been there always,” It saved my life when I was a kid. I’d been sick. Now it is my life. I wouldn’t call it joy, but that’s in there. It’s more than joy — and it gives me the creeps just saying that — but it’s true.”

 Leo has played on several makes and types of guitars over the years before finally becoming a Signature Artist for Taylor Guitars with his own co-designed 12 string model.  The TPAC Polk Theater will be a great forum to connect with a guitar community for the most essential element to Nashville is the guitar and there are more guitar players in Nashville than anywhere else in the world and the best of the best will no doubt be in attendance on March 16th for the inspired playing and improvisation of Leo Kottke.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN