Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Dec. 18, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Rosanne Cash will release her first studio album in 10 years, "Rules of Travel," March 25, 2003, on Capitol Records. Cash wrote or co-wrote eight of the 11 songs on "Rules of Travel," which also features writing contributions from John Leventhal, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan and Joe Henry. Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle and Teddy Thompson lend their vocals to several songs, and Johnny Cash performs an unprecedented duet with his daughter.

"Rules Of Travel" almost did not get made. While beginning work on the record in 1998, Cash suddenly lost her voice and was unable to sing for more than two years. Autumn of 2000 brought encouraging signs and, after much work with a voice therapist, Cash was able to successfully resume work on the album.

"It was such a revelation losing my voice, and getting it back," Cash said. "I feel a lot of passion about singing, and a lot less fear."

"Rules of Travel" was recorded at 12th Street Studio, Sear Sound and New York Noise in New York City and was produced by John Leventhal (Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Joan Osborne). A Grammy award winning singer and songwriter, Cash has released 10 albums over the past 20 years and charted 11 No. 1 singles.


"The Power To Believe," the first full-length King Crimson album in three years, features a lineup of guitarist Robert Fripp, vocalist/guitarist Adrian Belew, Warr guitarist/rubber bass guitarist Trey Gunn and drummer Pat Mastelotto. Fripp originally formed the group in 1969.

Mastelotto said much of the material on "The Power to Believe" evolved on the band's last tour before it was recorded in the summer of 2002.

"We did things differently this time in that we actually went in to a real studio -- The Tracking Room in Nashville -- to record most of this new album, other than the drum tracks we did at my studio. And we also brought in producer Machine (White Zombie, Pitchshifter) for assistance," he said. "Robert considers an album to be the end of a chapter and a tour to be the start of a chapter, which is the opposite way most musicians work. The songs are worked out and perfected on tour before they are recorded for an album. A lot of times music is about finding an atmosphere, which has to set the music up. There's a mystery to music, and that's what gives you goosebumps."

King Crimson, which recently expanded its fan base by touring with disciples Tool, will hit the concert trail again in 2003 to promote the album.


Virtuoso roots guitarist Deke Dickerson has a new album, "Deke Dickerson in Three Dimensions," scheduled for a February release. On the record Dickerson draws from virtually every 20th century musical genre: country, rhythm and blues, western swing, rockabilly, surf instrumentals, ghostly ballads, and pedal-to-the-metal rock 'n' roll.

"Someone once told me that because I'm a Gemini, I'd never be satisfied playing just one kind of music," Dickerson said, "and whether or not that's the reason, it's true that I love just about every form of American music, and I try to incorporate elements of them all into my presentation."

The album is broken up into three separate sections labeled "Rock 'n' Roll," "Rockabilly," and "Hillbilly." The "Rock 'n' Roll" session was centered around legendary New Orleans session drummer Earl Palmer, who played on thousands of hit records by such diverse artists as Little Richard, Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Richie Valens, Eddie Cochran, and even the Beach Boys and Willie Nelson.

"Earl brought that funky New Orleans rock 'n' roll vibe with him into the studio," Dickerson said, "and everybody else just fell in around him. Playing with Earl was as effortless as riding a magic carpet. It was incredible working with the greatest rock 'n' roll drummer who ever lived!"


German guitar hero Axel Rudi Pell, celebrating a career spanning nearly 20 years and 13 solo albums, is releasing a special two-CD live album, "Knights Live" Feb. 4, 2003. The 100-plus minute set was recorded live at The Zeche in Bochum, Germany, during Pell's 2002 European Tour in support of his most recent studio effort "Shadow Zone."

Mixed by producer Charlie Bauerfeind (Blind Guardian, Helloween, etc.), the album demonstrates why Pell has been instrumental in molding the European rock music landscape through the 1980s and '90s. He combines rock histrionics with classically influenced compositional techniques, and his Rainbow/Deep Purple-influenced sense of melody adds a dramatic element to his compositions. Pell's backing band currently consists of vocalist Johnny Gioeli (of Hardline), bassist Volker Krawczak (from Pell's original band Steeler), keyboardist Ferdy Doermberg (formerly of Rough Silk), and drummer Mike Terrana (Artension, Rage, Metalium, Tony MacAlpine and Yngwie Malmsteen).


Pianist Omar Sosa has a new album, "Ayaguna," ready for release in February on OTA Records. The recording consists of live duet performances with Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalles. These two kindred spirits have been performing together since 1999, delighting audiences throughout Europe, Japan and the United States with their inspired musical chemistry and creativity. "Ayaguna" was recorded at Motion Blue in Yokohama, Japan.

The intimate duo setting allows Omar to exult freely and passionately at the piano, moving with ease from intensive groove patterns to delicate, balladic modes of expression. The performance is enhanced by the live interaction of the Motion Blue sound engineer, who provides an undulating dimension of audio effects throughout the concert. While the various sound effects interact with the piano performance, the percussion accompaniment by Ovalles provides a steady base for the aural feast. Ovalles is featured on a number of interesting Venezuelan percussion instruments, including quitiplas and culo'e puya, as well as congas, bongo, maracas, guiro, snare and cymbals.

The title is taken from Ifa, the religious practice of the Yoruba culture of West Africa, and its New World offspring in Cuba, Santeria. Ayaguna is one of the paths of Obatala, the deity of peace and wisdom, albeit a path of Obatala as a young and fierce warrior, for whom revolution is a necessary part of change and progress.

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