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Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Previews

15 May 2018
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In 2016, Kansas released a new album—the first by the band in 16 years. That album, The Prelude Impact, received generally good reviews and made the Billboard Top 200 chart. Today, the group continues to consistently tour, even though original lead guitarist Kerry Livgren and lead vocalist Steve Walsh are no longer in the lineup. Kansas will be stopping by Morongo Casino Resort Spa on Friday, June 1. I talked by phone with bassist Billy Greer—a member of Kansas since 1985—while he was on a tour stop in Iowa. He discussed The Prelude Impact. “I think, in essence, we captured the old progressive rock of Kansas,” Greer said. “We signed with a German record label called Inside Out, and they’re known as a progressive rock label. They gave us a bunch of freedom and didn’t put any restraints on us, like, ‘Hey, we need two or three songs that might…
08 May 2018
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Two fantastic High Desert festivals—Stoned and Dusted 2018, and the Joshua Tree Music Festival—make May an exciting time for stoner rockers and world music fans. The desert has exploded into a music mecca—and that includes the High Desert, which is now home to some of the most awesome festivals in the world, attracting imaginative, cutting-edge music artists and some of the biggest names in rock today. The High Desert is booming with visitors and an ever-growing population—many of whom are part of the latest wave of immigrants from L.A. The area has grown into an eclectic home to a multitude of artists, and the economy is booming: Strolling through old town Yucca Valley or the village of Joshua Tree, I feel like a tourist, because there are so many new shops to visit and so many new artists to meet. On May 17-20, thousands of music enthusiasts will pour into…
07 May 2018
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After the Empire Polo Club is cleaned up following Coachella and Stagecoach, it’s time for music-lovers to turn toward the high desert—and the Joshua Tree Music Festival, with the first of its two annual iterations taking place May 17-20. The spring festival will feature performances by record producer and DJ Adam Freeland; Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles; Con Brio; and many others. Local artists participating include Gene Evaro Jr., The Desert Rhythm Project, and Myshkin. The festival has grown increasingly popular in its 15 years of existence, but it has kept its smaller scale, as well as its focus on creativity, community and arts education for attendees of all ages. During a recent interview with founder Barnett English, he told me how he came up with the idea to do a festival at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground. “For 25 years, I’ve been traveling to music festivals, and every…
01 May 2018
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That time of year is upon us when we say our temporary goodbyes to the snowbirds—and the valley becomes a lot quieter. However, there are still shows that’ll be just as hot as the weather will be. Alas, the McCallum Theatre goes dark during the summer months—but there are still a handful of great events there in May. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 9, everyone’s favorite comedy/parody rocker, Weird Al Yankovic, will be performing. Weird Al has brilliantly spoofed many great pop, rock and rap songs through the years, and starred in his own “successful failure” of a movie, UHF. Speaking of which, Emo Philips, who played Joe Earley in UHF, will also be appearing. Tickets are $37 to $87. At 7 p.m., Saturday, May 12, singer-songwriter and actress Melissa Manchester will take the stage with the Coachella Valley Symphony. She’s released numerous albums since the early ’70s, and appeared…
16 Apr 2018
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If you’ve never heard of Lewis Brice, stop what you’re doing, and check out this new country-music artist. Brice—he’s Lee Brice’s brother—not long ago left South Carolina for Nashville, and he’s determined to make a name for himself in country music. He will be at Stagecoach on the new SiriusXM Spotlight Stage on Sunday, April 29. During a recent phone interview, we discussed his music video for “Best Ex Ever,” which may be a first in country music: It’s a song actually praising an ex-girlfriend. “When I was writing that song, I thought, ‘I have a few exes, and they don’t hate me,’” Brice said. “I told this one story that’s half true where I got into a sticky situation and had one phone call on a pay phone to use, and I remembered my ex-girlfriend from a couple of years before—and she picked up a collect phone call from…
12 Apr 2018
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Stagecoach has always offered attendees a lot of variety in terms of country-music subgenres—but this year, the lineup seeks to skimp on alt-country, Americana and old-timers (like Willie Nelson). Still, there is a lot to see. Here are my Stagecoach recommendations. Friday, April 27 Jade Bird: It’s shocking, yes, but this young woman who excels at Americana … is British. Regardless, she has one hell of a voice. Her music would perhaps better fit a Coachella crowd, but she’s likely going to be awesome at Stagecoach. Her main showcase is her vocals. I highly recommend her single “Lottery” and her song “Something American.” Joshua Hedley: It’s no surprise Joshua Hedley was named one of the “10 New Country Artists You Should Know” by Rolling Stone in 2016. He’s a throwback to the era of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. He’s a purist, thank you very much, and does not wish…
10 Apr 2018
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If you saw Jack White perform at Coachella in 2015, you couldn’t miss his violinist, Lillie Mae. Well, Lillie Mae is an accomplished musician in her own right; she has released two country albums on Jack White’s Third Man Records, her most recent being last year’s Forever and Then Some. She’ll be performing at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival on Sunday, April 29. During a recent phone interview, Lillie Mae—her full name is Lillie Mae Rische—talked about her humble beginnings growing up, including busking around the country with her family, traveling in an old RV. “You can’t set the bar too high,” Rische said with a laugh. “I’ve had a very unique life, growing up and traveling in a motorhome. We were playing music in new places every day. I’ve been steadily gigging forever. … I’ve done the same thing in different forms. I’ve had a lucky layout. Our family…
09 Apr 2018
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When you hear the word “Banditos,” perhaps you think of the Frito Bandito. Or maybe you think of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. However, you really should be thinking of an awesome rock ’n’ roll band—because that’s exactly what the Birmingham, Ala., six-piece is. See for yourself when Banditos play at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival on Friday, April 27. I was blown away by how many different things I heard in the sound when I listened to Banditos’ self-titled record from 2015. You hear the Rolling Stones in slower songs, ’60s rock with a kick in the ass on others—and all the songs have an Americana/outlaw country vibe, including banjos. The band’s newest release, last year’s Visionland, sounds as if the members were channeling Ty Segall and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. During a recent phone interview, vocalist and banjo player Stephen Pierce said the band’s varying styles provide a…