News in Review: George Harrison, Keith Richards, Radiohead, John Mellencamp, Richard Thompson
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2010, Volume 17, #7
Written by John Metzger
Wed July 14, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
George Harrison, Keith Richards Documentaries in the Works
George Harrison had been wanting to make a documentary about his life, but he died before he could complete the project. He had planned to share his thoughts about his experiences, rather than create a standard biographical film. Over the years, Harrison amassed a large collection of artifacts from his artistic career, including song lyrics, recordings, and video footage. Recently, Martin Scorsese, the acclaimed director and avid music fan, embraced the daunting task of pouring through Harrison’s belongings in order to assemble a cohesive film. Taking its title from Harrison’s sophomore album Living in the Material World, Scorsese’s picture will debut in theaters in 2011.
Meanwhile, Johnny Depp is working on a documentary about Keith Richards. A decade ago, Depp met the churlish guitarist for the Rolling Stones, and their association has gradually turned into a close friendship. For his project, Depp is combining archival footage of Richards throughout his career with newly filmed private concert performances that were captured at an unspecified theater in Los Angeles.
New Radiohead Album Nearly Complete
Radiohead had hinted that perhaps In Rainbows would be its final album. Then, Thom Yorke, the group’s front man, recharged his creative batteries by working on a solo project with producer Nigel Godrich and bass player Flea. According to an interview with guitarist Ed O’Brien on BBC Radio, not only has Radiohead been preparing its eighth endeavor for release, but also the outing will be issued in the near future, perhaps before the end of the year. O’Brien characterized the effort as another bold step forward for the band. He also admitted that the band’s creative process proceeded more smoothly this time.
John Mellencamp Extends Collaboration with T Bone Burnett
John Mellencamp has been working hard of late to revitalize his career, particularly from an artistic perspective. His recent boxed set On the Rural Route 7609 was designed specifically to illuminate many of the deeper cuts from his underappreciated and often overlooked back catalogue. Last year, Mellencamp joined forces with producer T Bone Burnett to create Life, Death, Love and Freedom, a dark and moody song cycle that ranks among the finest efforts of his career. In fact, the project was so rewarding that the duo quickly reunited for another round of recording sessions. These were held in guerilla fashion while Mellencamp was on tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Mellencamp and Burnett set up their vintage equipment in a variety of key locales across the South, including a vacant lot next to Sun Studios in Memphis and Room 414 of San Antonio’s Gunter Hotel, where Robert Johnson once had performed for Brunswick Records. No Better than This, which features 13 new compositions, is slated for release on August 3.
Richard Thompson Records New Songs in Live Setting
Last year, Richard Thompson took stock of his impressive catalogue by compiling material from across the full scope of his career for the expansive boxed set Walking on a Wire: 1968-2009. This past February, he assembled a short, eight-date tour that was designed to introduce a number of new songs to his repertoire. His forthcoming album Dream Attic, which will be issued on August 31, bears the fruits of his labor. Thompson’s goal for the outing was to bring the immediacy of live performance to his latest batch of material, and many of Dream Attic’s songs were recorded over the course of a three-night engagement at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. Like many of Thompson’s endeavors — including Sweet Warrior, his exquisite studio set from 2007 — Dream Attic mixes roots-oriented selections (Among the Gorse, Among the Grey) with character studies (Here Comes Geordie) and political tirades (The Money Shuffle). Thompson is planning to support the outing with a lengthy tour of the U.S., which likely will take place this fall.
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