In 2017, Ivor Novello Award-winning and GRAMMY® Award-nominated legend Richard Thompson gave himself up to the music itself. Picking up a guitar, emotions echoed through his deft fleet-fingered fretwork, poetic songwriting, impassioned picking. Those transmissions comprise his nineteenth solo album, 13 Rivers.
“I never really think about what songs mean,” he admits. “I just write them. Some of them reflect on what happened a few months ago or even a year ago. It’s a process of surveying my life and where I was at.”
In 2017, Thompson began composing ideas for what would become 13 Rivers at his California home. Off the road, he focused on writing. As a result of the defined time period, the music possessed a distinct cohesion.
“I wrote the songs as a group to hang together,” he elaborates. “They belong together in some way and seem to possess a commonality since they were written in the same time and space.”
To capture this vision, he retreated to the famed Boulevard Recording Studio in Los Angeles. Known previously as “The Producers Workshop” and once owned by Liberace and his manager, the locale served as the site for seminal classics by Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, and Joan Baez. It also hosted the mixing sessions for Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Notably, this marked the first time Thompson self-produced in over a decade and he opted to track analog in just ten days. Engineered by Clay Blair (The War on Drugs), usual suspects Michael Jerome [drums, percussion], Taras Prodaniuk [bass], and Bobby Eichorn [guitar] joined him.
“It’s a funky studio that was quite popular in the sixties and seventies,” he says. “It used to be Hollywood trendy, but it fell into total disrepair. It’s still got some gaps in the walls. I like studios that are honest. It’s about the décor of the sound, and there’s a specific sound to Boulevard. Clay is a Beatles nut, so I could grab a Gretsch off the wall or dial into an amp that had this unbelievable tone reminiscent of The Beatles. They also say Liberace’s ghost still haunts the place, but I hadn’t seen him myself,” laughs Thompson.
13 Rivers commences on the tribal percussion and guitar rustle of “The Storm Won’t Come” as the artist bellows, “I’m looking for a storm to blow through town.” The energy mounts before climaxing on a lyrical electric lead rife with airy bends and succinct shredding.
“Obviously it's been a stressful couple of years,” he sighs. “The song references wanting to change your life—but it’s a difficult undertaking. You have to wait for it to happen naturally. You can’t force it.”
Elsewhere, “Her Love Was Meant For Me” spirals into an emotionally charged display of fret fireworks punctuated by his deep wail. “Tears” shakes and shuffles from haunting verses towards a hypnotic refrain “about a friend’s hard and interesting life.”
Meanwhile, the dreamy “Shaking The Gates” unfolds like a hymnal as he croons, “I’m shaking the gates of heaven.”
“The are 13 songs on the record, and each one is like a river,” he explains. “Some flow faster than others. Some follow a slow and winding current. They all culminate on this one body of work.”
In many ways, his career has pointed towards such a statement. Powered by evocative songcraft, jaw-dropping guitar playing, and indefinable spirit, this venerable icon holds a coveted spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and counts a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association in Nashville, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC Awards among his many accolades. 2011 saw Thompson garner an OBE (Order of the British Empire) personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Moreover, Time touted his anthem, “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” on its “100 Greatest Songs Since 1923” list.
Thompson’s influence can’t be overstated. Everybody from Robert Plant, Don Henley, and Elvis Costello to REM, Sleater-Kinney and David Byrne has covered his music.
Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy jumped at the chance to produce 2015’s Still - which earned plaudits from Pitchfork, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, and more. Meanwhile, Werner Herzog tapped him for the soundtrack to Grizzly Man. He launched his career by co-founding trailblazing rock outfit Fairport Convention, responsible for igniting a British Folk Rock movement.
However, 13 Rivers represents another high watermark. “The songs are a surprise in a good way,” he leaves off. “They came to me as a surprise in a dark time. They reflected my emotions in an oblique manner that I’ll never truly understand. It’s as if they’d been channeled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later.”
Gary Clark Jr. celebrates his new album, This Land (Warner Bros. Records), with a live show at Amoeba Hollywood on Thursday, February 21st at 6pm!
FOR GUARANTEED ADMISSION:
Purchase This Land (CD or LP) in-store at Amoeba Hollywood on February 21st. It comes with a poster/litho of the album art.
- 1 ticket + poster per CD/LP purchased, max 2 per person (if buying for a friend to attend).
- In-store purchases only (no online/phone orders).
- Posters will be given out with album purchase.
- Limited to store capacity/space is limited.
- This will be a performance only.
On the title track of “This Land,” Gary Clark Jr. is staking his claim to a literal place on the map, settling in and declaring: “I told you there goes the neighborhood… This is mine now, legit.” It’s a song with real-life roots in how Clark and his family have traded up in turf in his native Texas and been met with some suspicious glances upon move-in. And if it sounds like he’s had some practice in defiantly ignoring expectations about where he ought to live, well, that’s something he’s been doing musically his whole life. He’s a rock-and-soul omnivore who can survey the entire landscape of American music — not just the blues with which he’s so often associated, but reggae, punk, R&B and hip-hop, too — and say: This land was made for you and me.
He owns it all on This Land, his third studio album for Warner Bros. Records, which is sure to be seen as a breakthrough in establishing just how much stylistic variation Clark has at his command. There are plenty of the guitar-hero sounds that have already established him as a headliner, with tunes that reiterate that Cream influences always rise to the top, from a guy who’s long since come to be considered by Clapton as a friend and contemporary, not just acolyte. But if a lot of fans would consider Clark the closest thing we have to a modern Hendrix, what comes through implicitly in This Land is the sense of just how much Jimi loved and borrowed from Curtis Mayfield. You can think of Clark as one of the last of the real rock gods, along with fellow master singer/guitarists like Jack White, John Mayer, or the late, great Prince and the new album certainly won’t do anything to diminish that perception. But This Land is also a great soul record — one in which it’s easy to hear the lineage that connects Muddy Waters and Childish Gambino, with distinct nods to Marvin Gaye somewhere in the middle.
You’ll hear strains of Gaye not just in Clark using his falsetto more than he ever has before. It’s in the mixture of social consciousness and sensuality that was a matter of course for records like “What’s Goin’ On”… not to mention “Sign O’ the Times.” Obviously you hear the awareness of what’s goin’ on in the song This Landitself, in which Clark finds himself “paranoid and pissed off” among well-heeled neighbors who “think I’m up to something” just because his family doesn’t fit the local demographics. The attention to the greater good also informs “What About Us,” which has Clark announces that “the young bloods are taking over” — something he says to a fictional figure who recurs in several songs, “Mr. Williams,” a guy who could be a past-his-prime neighborhood boss… or, who knows, a stand-in for some bigger political figure who also has to go. “Feed the Babies” brings in the brass to augment a call for understanding that’s a pleading, purposeful antidote to the raw nerves of the title song.
Yet Clark also uses the album to get more personal than he ever has on record before, often assessing the tough balance between career and family. “Pearl Cadillac” is a payback to a mother’s devotion. He’s the parent in “When I’m Gone,” preparing a child for yet another trip away on the road, a topic he also takes up with a significant other in “Guitar Man,” where he’s weighing the “stamps in my blue book” and the fellowship of the road against the fear of a toll taken by time apart at home...
In 2017’s Ingrid Goes West, Aubrey Plaza plays a troubled young woman whose unhinged thirst for the Insta-influencer good life leads her on a fraud-filled journey to the sunny streets of LA. It was yet another entry in Plaza’s surprisingly wide-ranging filmography—a career defined by sharp wit, unselfconscious risk-taking and lots and lots of extremely GIFfable onscreen moments. Seriously, there’s very little in life that can’t be efficiently summed up with a by a single Aubrey Plaza moment from Parks & Recreation or Scott Pilgrim.
But it was Ingrid—which Plaza co-produced—that won the actor her first Film Independent Spirit Award, for Best First Feature in 2018 (the film was also nominated for Best First Screenplay.) And now, Plaza is already slated to return to the deceptively slippery Spirit Awards stage exactly one year later—not as a winner this time (do check all of this year’s nominees) but as the show’s host.
Hosting this year’s Spirit Awards a daunting gig to be sure, coming after two consecutive grand-slam turns by Oh Hello! BFFs Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in 2017 and 2018. But hey—why send two dudes to do a one-woman job?
Plaza will join the ranks of such Spirit Awards hosts as Kristen Bell and Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, Joel McHale, Sarah Silverman (who’s hosted twice), Samuel L. Jackson (also twice) and John Waters (four times!), among many others. The ceremony takes place February 23rd and will broadcast LIVE exclusively on IFC at 2:00 pm PT/5:00 pm ET.
Los Angeles, CA... Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County will hold its event at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, March 9.
Known for raising significant monies to help those with breast health issues in Los Angeles County, the affiliate announced rebranding its major fundraiser, known for the past 21 years as the Race For Cure® this month during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
With many activities, the Kids Zone, Expo, Survivor’s and areas, Reflection Tent, in addition to the fun More Than Pink Walk, there's something everyone will enjoy.
Sponsored by AutoNation, Sit N' Sleep, Anthem, The Citadel and CBS-2/KCAL-9, this year's event is expected to surpass last year's attendance of 6,000, nearly 400 survivors in attendance, and over 900 members on the largest corporate team.
“We are proud to be advocating for the breast health needs of LA County families, but we have a long way to go before we end this cancer entirely. One in eight women and some men will have this devastating disease during their lifetime. Breast cancer kills one person every 60 seconds. Please join us and support this event through participation and fundraising so we can continue to provide no-cost services to those most in need," explained Mark Pilon. executive director of Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County. “Our attendees gather together to celebrate their lives, to support one another. They are more walker than runners. Thus, our rebranding to embrace more of our community. To encourage even more attendance this year, we’ve reduced the registration fee to $15 for the rest of 2018. On January 1, 2019 it will increase to $30,” announced Mark Pilon.
Through events like the Los Angeles County More Than Pink Walk, Komen Los Angeles County invests 75 percent of the funds raised to support vital local breast health services, and dedicates the remaining 25 percent to national research to find the cures.
About Susan G. Komen® and Komen Los Angeles County
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Komen Los Angeles County is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community. Through events like the Komen More Than Pink Walk, Komen Los Angeles County has invested $10,535,590 in community breast health programs in Los Angeles County and has helped contribute to the more than $920 million invested globally in research. For more information, call 310-575-3011 or visit http://komenlacounty.org.