SARS SACK STONES
The long-awaited China debut of the Rolling Stones has been postponed indefinitely because of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome -- SARS -- in Asia. The Stones canceled the band's first two scheduled appearances in China after dropping out of two Hong Kong shows because of the threat of the highly contagious disease.
"The Rolling Stones announced today that their concert performances in Shanghai on April 1 and Beijing on April 4 have been canceled due to World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control travel warnings regarding SARS, and continued concerns expressed by local Chinese government officials, communities and individuals over large public gatherings," reported the band's Web site.
"We are very sad and disappointed not to be able to do these concerts," Mick Jagger said. "We have been looking forward to the shows in China for so long and will reschedule them as soon as possible."
The Licks world tour will continue April 4 in Bangalore, India, a concert originally scheduled for April 11.
PEARL JAM TOUR ONLINE
Pearl Jam's Riot Act Tour starts Tuesday in Denver but fans already are lining up on the Internet for "official bootleg" recordings of the shows. Fans are able to order specific shows at pearljam.com, tenclub.net and pearljambootlegs.com. Each bootleg will be a limited edition, double-disc CD set sold for $12.98 to Ten Club Members and for $14.98 to non-Ten Club members. Those who order an official bootleg prior to the show date can expect it to be shipped within two to three days. Rush shipment options will be available. Anyone who orders an official bootleg will receive a link to download unmastered MP3 files of the show the day after the performance. Pearl Jam originally conceived of the bootleg series as an effort to beat the bootleggers by making available less expensive, higher quality recordings of all of their live shows. Now it seems the band has joined the latest music industry trend, marketing its wares over the Internet directly to fans.
TORDOWN WINS CRAWFISH PRIZE
Tordown, the hot, young New Orleans blues band featuring budding superstar vocalist Gwen Voorhies, won First Place at the Louisiana Crawfish Festival Battle of the Bands over the weekend. The band, which also features Clayton Diamond Jr. on guitar and vocals, beat out five other contestants to win a cash prize of $600 and studio time at Lakeside Recording Studio. Diamond also is an excellent writer, with snappy originals like "Alone & Cryin'" and "Catfish Friday Night." The 28th annual Louisiana Crawfish Festival took on the grounds of the St. Bernard Civic Center in Chalmette over the weekend. Other bands competing were LA 46, Not All There, Sally Stitches, The Krewe and Lowerline. Festival entertainment chairman Craig Schouest screened videos from 24 applicants for the festival.
"I'm disappointed that I can't put more bands on the stage because, believe me, there was a lot of great talent on the tapes we received," Schouest told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
ROSCOE HOLCOMB -- 'UNTAMED SENSE OF CONTROL'
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has just released "Roscoe Holcomb: An Untamed Sense of Control," a collection of intensely genuine performances by a man who, for many, embodies the quintessential Appalachian musician. Bob Dylan once said, "Roscoe Holcomb has a certain untamed sense of control, which makes him one of the best." Holcomb's aching voice and passionate instrumental style was the inspiration for the term "high, lonesome sound," a widely used description of this uniquely American music. "The High, Lonesome Sound," is in fact the title of the last collection of Roscoe Holcomb recordings released on Smithsonian Folkways. The album sparked new interest in Holcomb's inimitable style after its 1998 release. The later recordings on "An Untamed Sense of Control" are released here for the first time on CD. The album was made under the supervision of noted folklorist and New Lost City Rambler John Cohen, who first met Holcomb in 1959 at Holcomb's home in Daisy, Ky. The collection is culled from Holcomb's later career in the 1960s and early 1970s, compiling studio performances, live concerts and field recordings made on his front porch in Kentucky. Holcomb's version of the old-time staple "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" appears on the record, in potent contrast to the more commercial recording made by Ralph Stanley in the 1950s.
One of the first musicians to react to Sept. 11, 2001, was Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, the 22-year-old underground rocker whose recording studio was in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Moore began by compiling and distributing newspaper articles about world events. Moore has taken the next step with help from Chris Habib, Sonic Youth's Webmaster, and started his own free music label, Protest Records. The label is giving music away as MP3's on the Internet at protest-records.com. Eight songs with overtly political themes currently are on the site. Songs by Cat Power, the Beastie Boys, Stephan Smith, Eugene Chadbourne and Sharon Cheslow are included, with contributions expected from R.E.M., Mudhoney, Zach de la Rocha, the Fugs, Christian Marclay and Ian MacKaye.