Judy Dyble is a national treasure, her ballads – especially those that comprise the artist’s solo oeuvre – digging deep in English folklore while creative a truly individual narrative. Enchanting in studio environment, on-stage these pieces take on a different life: that’s why “Weaving Of A Silver Magic” – a document of Judy’s performance at St. Barnabas Church, Cambridge, on September 10th, 2016 – should be special. Laid down with THE BAND OF PERFECT STRANGERS – including the singer’s old accomplice Alistair Murphy who produced the album – and THE AD HOC STRINGS, arranged by Phil Thoms, it will see the light of day on April 10th, at a difficult time for Dyble, who’s undergoing treatment for cancer, so the record’s exposure must turn into a sign of support for her.
2020’s marks a 50th anniversary of MATTHEWS SOUTHERN COMFORT, an ensemble that Iain Matthews has been returning to throughout his decades-long career, and that’s quite a reason for a new album. Titled “The New Mine” and scheduled for a March 27th release, the record will be a solid successor to both "Like A Radio" from 2018 and the group’s 1970 hit “Woodstock” because, like this song, its opener “Ethiopia” is written by Joni Mitchell.
Even though Steve Hackett prefers his guitar, and standalone singers, to do the talking on-stage, the legendary artist is a great storyteller, with “legendary” being a keyword here as, for all the spotlight shed on him, Steve remains an enigma. That’s why Hackett had been working on an autobiography since 2016 until recently, and July 2020 will see the book – titled “A Genesis In My Bed” – finally hitting the shelves.
When we spoke a few years ago, the veteran remarked that the volume “will be what a spontaneous work lacks, because it’s not a response to anyone’s questions – it’s a response to everything you have experienced in terms of priority from the word go. The way I saw London, for instance, after it had been heavily bombed from the war; that’s not something I can really ask someone to ask me about, but it’s something that’s important to me to try and paint the picture of the time that I grew up in.” All this means, revelations are guaranteed, from Hackett’s time with the titular group and beyond it.
Spearheaded with the instantly memorable “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” whose influence extended far beyond music, BLUE ÖYSTER CULT‘s 1976 opus “Agents Of Fortune” elevated them to rock ‘n’ roll heaven so, to celebrate that album’s anniversary, the band played an one-off show for the Audience Music Network in Hollywood almost four years ago performing the LP in its entirety. The concert was recorded and will be released as “40th Anniversary – Agents Of Fortune – Live 2016” on March 6th, as a CD/DVD package as well as on Blu-Ray and vinyl. The document features a great line-up, where the ensemble’s mainstays, singer Eric Bloom and guitarist Buck Dharma, were joined by the great Kasim Sulton on bass, Richie Castellano on guitar and keyboards and Jules Radino on drums – both latecomers are still part of the group – and, as a special guest, another founding father, Albert Bouchard on guitar.
It’s been a long time coming, yet – despite him being busy with YES and, occasionally, ASIA – Billy Sherwood has finally released, online-only at the moment, his “A Tribute To Keith Emerson & Greg Lake“. Yes, that’s the album’s title – and that’s basically all one needs to know about the flight of fantasy involved in bringing this endeavor to fruition. The selection isn’t really surprising, except for the inclusion of a single KING CRIMSON cut alongside ELP pieces which are delivered by the usual suspects who rarely match the late artists they pay homage to in terms of passion, even if the chops are in place, and the players seem to feel it. But the record was endorsed by the Emerson estate, given Keith’s sons submit a track here – the same estate that didn’t allow Robert Berry to use the late musician’s sounds on the "3.2" project. Go figure.