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Hittin' the Note #84 - 2015

Greetings everyone,

      A bruising winter is finally abating, and the coming of spring brings the promise of warm weather and the joy of being outdoors, listening to live music. Hittin' the Note is ready to add to the festivities, bringing you hours of reading pleasure with features on the artists you love and the music they make.
      In 1994, guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes, drummer Matt Abts and bassist Allen Woody joined forces to form Gov't Mule, a power trio like no other. In Part Two of "Twenty Years of Gov't Mule," Warren and Matt look back on their difficult decision to move forward after Allen's passing, the gradual transition of the group from a trio to a quartet and what the future holds for Gov't Mule, two decades on.
      In 2007, guitarist Derek Trucks was part of Eric Clapton's touring band, and Derek spent a great deal of his free time hanging out with fellow guitarist Doyle Bramhall II. When E.C.'s band visited China, journalist Alan Paul caught up with Derek and Doyle, and Alan documented Derek's experience in Shanghai. This piece has remained unpublished until now; it's a wonderful look back at that stage of Derek's career, and we appreciate Alan sharing this snapshot in time with HTN.
      Jorma Kaukonen may be 74 years old, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has no intention of slowing down. He keeps up a steady touring schedule with Hot Tuna and now has released Ain't In No Hurry, his first solo album since 2009's River of Time. HTN's Brian Robbins recently chatted with Jorma, and it's clear that he is a man who has had a great life, and is still having a great life; one lived with some tears, but with no regrets. You'll enjoy this piece on Jorma, who ain't in no hurry at all to call it a career.
      Few bands have the work ethic of Blackberry Smoke; with almost no radio play and an uncertainty of which genre of music they belong in, BBS wins over fans one show at a time. Their latest album, Holding All the Roses, is a fine blend of the group's country/rock/blues hybrid sound, and as guitarist/vocalist Charlie Starr told Richard Brent, Blackberry Smoke is going to continue making their music, their way.
      Outlaw troubadour Steve Earle always has played by his own rules; he has never compromised his sound just to please the masses. On Terraplane, his new album, Steve ventures into the blues, and he does it in his own inimitable way. Brian Robbins had an insightful conversation with Steve, who explained why the time was right for him to finally make a blues album.
      Speaking of the blues; no one plays them like guitarist Tinsley Ellis. A true road warrior, Tinsley has toured relentlessly, always delivering his traditional blues-soaked vocals and scorching guitar solos. Tinsley has captured the essence of his old-school playing on Tough Love, an album that smokes from start to finish. HTN's Rob Schneck spoke at length with Tinsley about Tough Love, and what it's been like making a living by playing the blues for the last four decades.
      #84 also contains our usuals; Tom Clarke's "Compact Dreams" and Jamie Lee's "In Tune," our "6-Pack" section, and recaps of eleven entertaining CDs, as well as Tom Clarke's take on Rebel Yell, Michael B. Smith's oral history of Southern rock. There also is Todd Prusin's review of On Highway 61: Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom, Dennis McNally's compelling new book.
      That'll do it for this one. As for what lies ahead, Hittin' the Note intends to move forward by looking back at the tremendous forty-five year history of the Allman Brothers Band. In the works are some "Best of" HTN interviews with members of the ABB, as Hittin' the Note had a unique relationship with and access to the group. No band did it better than the Allman Brothers, and no magazine covered the band like HTN. We think you'll enjoy this journey along the ABB timeline, and we're certainly proud of our ability to bring you coverage of music that matters. As always, we thank you for your support.

                                                                                                     Until later,
                                                                                                     John Lynskey
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