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Ani DiFranco – Which Side Are You On? (Jan 2012)

3rd Nov 11 (Thu) 1 comment

This just in… new album from Ani DiFranco called Which Side Are You On? comes out January 17, 2012.  It’s her first album in over 3 years (or 1,204 days – but who’s counting?).  And, yay, Anais Mitchell & Skerik are on it!

Update 11/18 Tracklist (below) and pre-order info (ships 12/23 for the 1/17 release date):

Pre-order from RBR http://store.righteousbabe.com/departments/product/anidifranco/
Pre-order from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0060GVI2C/

Here’s the official press release:

ANI DIFRANCO RETURNS WITH HER FIRST NEW ALBUM IN MORE THAN THREE YEARS

Powerful collection features array of iconic guests, including Ivan & Cyril Neville, Anaïs Mitchell, and the legendary Pete Seeger   JT

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ani DiFranco has announced the upcoming release of her eagerly awaited new album. Which Side Are You On? arrives via the Grammy-winning artist’s own Righteous Babe Records on January 17, 2012.

Which Side Are You On? marks DiFranco’s first studio album in more than three years. The collection features 11 new songs alongside a radically reworked rendition of the classic title song, famously popularized by the one and only Pete Seeger nearly five decades ago, but no less relevant today. Backing DiFranco is a remarkably diverse line-up of stellar musicians, including members of her own crack touring band as well as such guest players as Ivan and Cyril Neville (of New Orleans’ first family of funk and R&B, The Neville Brothers), avant-saxophonist Skerik (Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, The Meters), acclaimed singer/songwriter (and Righteous Babe recording artist) Anaïs Mitchell, guitarist Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Amos Lee), and a host of New Orleans-based horn players known for their work in such outfits as Galactic, Bonerama, and The Rebirth Brass Band.

What’s more, Ani is joined on her stunning new version of Which Side Are You On? by the aforementioned Pete Seeger, whom she praises as “my elder, my forefather in folk music and political song.” DiFranco was inspired to record the famed protest anthem after being invited to perform at Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden in May 2009. She contributed her own straight-from-the headlines verses to the song and has used it to close her own live shows ever since. The newly recorded version of Which Side Are You On? is a funk-fueled epic, incorporating not just Ani’s band, but Seeger himself on banjo and vocals alongside The Rivertown Kids, a Hudson Valley-based children’s chorus, and The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders, a brass band consisting of students from The Roots of Music, a music education program for at-risk middle-school students in New Orleans.

“All of my musical community, my comrades, are in there,” says Ani of the cross-generational recording. Which Side Are You On? was co-produced by DiFranco and her longtime collaborator Mike Napolitano over a series of sessions in 2010 and 2011. The basic tracks feature two slightly different versions of Ani’s touring band, recorded at Bogalusa, Louisiana’s renowned Studio In The Country, Brooklyn, New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Studio, and her own New Orleans home studio, The Dugout.

The album represents an extraordinary snapshot of DiFranco’s own life as well as her sense of where the country stands at this particular moment in time. The long gap since 2008’s acclaimed Red Letter Year offered an array of new opportunities, including a backlog of songs and the ability to painstakingly fine-tune new recordings. Many of the songs featured on Which Side Are You On? are reflections on growing older and being totally okay with that process. As she sings on “If Yr Not,” “If yr not getting happier as you get older/then yr fucking up.”

Elsewhere, Ani tackles some of the many crises that are currently confronting the nation and the world, spanning environmental disaster, government inaction, and a culture hooked on comfort and acquisition at any cost. Songs such as “Amendment” and “J” see DiFranco addressing these issues with a directness that is striking even for an artist long known for her activism and outspoken point of view.

“I’m testing deeper waters with the political songs on this album,” she says. “I feel a little bit frustrated, politically desperate. After having written hundreds of songs over decades, I think, ‘Now what? How far can I go with this? Can you sing the word ‘abortion,’ can you sing the word ‘patriarchy’ – what can you sing and get away with? I guess I’ve been pushing my own boundaries of politics and art. Seeing what people have the ears to listen to. How big is my mouth? What can I get out of it successfully?”

The last two decades have seen DiFranco staking a historic claim on popular music, spanning 16 studio albums and countless live recordings (including 1997’s RIAA gold-certified Living in Clip), EPs, and compilation contributions. Along the way she has amassed a devoted fan following, received numerous awards and nominations, earned rapturous reviews, and basically rewrote the rules of the recording industry.

Now Ani’s recommendation about the album’s opening track “Life Boat” can be said to apply to Which Side Are You On? as a whole: “Just listen, drop your idea of who is singing and what you already know they’re saying, and go somewhere else, open yourself up to a new story.”

CD, vinyl and mp3 digital download release.

Tracklist

  1. Life Boat
  2. Unworry
  3. Which Side Are You On?
  4. Splinter
  5. Promiscuity
  6. Albacore
  7. J
  8. If Yr Not
  9. Hearse
  10. Mariachi
  11. Amendment
  12. Zoo

~Dan – np: The Unbelievable TruthAlmost Here

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REVIEW: Ani DiFranco @ McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR – 10/21/09)

22nd Oct 09 (Thu) 4 comments

Ani DiFranco is one of my favorite artists.  The fact that she’s as prolific as an apple slicer at a pie factory doesn’t hurt my need for new music from her.  I’ve posted many times before the “stats” behind her release schedule (it is both ridiculous in her velocity and my tracking of said velocity).   This last span of time between 2008’s excellent Red Letter Year and, well… no new album is quite uncharacteristic of her.  Based on the amount of new songs in the setlist, I expect a new album is right around the corner.

For this recent tour, I got to the venue a little late, as I had to drive in from Portland (I’d been up in Seattle on Mon & Tues for work, and Portland on Wednesday).  I couldn’t miss Ani, though.  No photos this time around, as cameras weren’t allowed in the venue.  I did snap one via my iPhone (below).

Opener Anais Mitchell was good.  She seemed kind of shy, but also playful.  While I don’t think her sound really set herself apart from the many singer-songwriters out there; she just completed a folk-opera, Hadestown, based on the myth of Hades and Eurydice.  Ani appears on it, and it’ll be out on Righteous Babe, I’m sure.

(the sole crappy iPhone shot of the night)

Ani and her band came on around 9pm.  Her band this time was Andy Barger on drums, Mike Dillon on percussion (who I’ve seen play with Skerik & the Dead Kenny G’s), Todd Sickafoose on contrabass (who I’ve seen many times with Ani).  They started out with, as acknowledged by Ani, a very schizophrenic set of songs.

Setlist: just shy of 90 minutes

  • Fuel *a fave of the night*
  • Paradigm
  • Manhole
  • Modulation
  • Swan Dive *a fave of the night*
  • Red Letter Year
  • Coming Up
  • November 5th, 2008 (new songformerly known as “November 4free live download)
  • Albacore (new song)
  • Unworry (new song) *a fave of the night*
  • Way Tight
  • God’s Country
  • Napoleon
  • Splinter (new song) *a fave of the night*
  • Which Side Are You On? (new song30’s tune by Florence Reese, reworked by Ani – free live download)
  • Mariachi (new song)
  • Both Hands *a fave of the night*
  • Encore: Little Plastic Castle *a fave of the night*
  • Barroom Girls (Gillian Welch cover with Anais Mitchell and Animal Prufrock)

Thanks for the setlist corrections, francoapple.

A great show, followed by a drive back up to Portland for work.  I think of the new songs, “Splinter” is my favorite – – followed by “Unworry” (with a great chorus “facts are pretend anyway” ).  Both of those songs are a bit more poetic than the rest.  I had “November 5th” from a free download back last fall, and while I like Obama and was happy on November 5th, the song seems kind of cheesy.  Same thing goes for “Which Side Are You On?”  It’s available for free via the link in the setlist above (note: there may be a limited opportunity for the download).  While I agree with its premise/lyrics, I think Ani’s done better, more poetic political songs.

Oh well, I guess with her output, there’s bound to be some songs I don’t like as much.  But all in all, a great show.  It was good to see her with a band, as usual.  Maybe next time, with Mike Dillon’s influence, she’ll bring Skerik along for some horns. :)

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Erik FriedlanderGrains of Paradise

Ani DiFranco Fall 2009 Tour Dates

  • Sep 11 2009 – Kalamazoo State Theatre – Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Sep 12 2009 – Krannert Center Guitar Festival – Urbana, Illinois
  • Sep 13 2009 – Paramount Theatre – Aurora, Illinois
  • Sep 15 2009 – Mayo Civic Center-Presentation Hall – Rochester, Minnesota
  • Sep 16 2009 – DECC Auditorium – Duluth, Minnesota
  • Sep 18 2009 – Fargo Theatre – Fargo, North Dakota
  • Sep 19 2009 – Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Sep 20 2009 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Sep 22 2009 – Riverside Ballroom – Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Sep 23 2009 – The Vic Theatre – Chicago, Illinois
  • Sep 25 2009 – Michigan Theater – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Oct 10 2009 – Lobero Theatre – Santa Barbara, California
  • Oct 11 2009 – Grove of Anaheim – Anaheim, California
  • Oct 13 2009 – Rio Theatre – Santa Cruz, California
  • Oct 14 2009 – Tower Theatre – Fresno, California
  • Oct 20 2009 – Arcata Community Center – Arcata, California
  • Oct 21 2009 – McDonald Theatre – Eugene, Oregon
  • Oct 23 2009 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, Oregon
  • Oct 24 2009 – Moore Theatre – Seattle, Washington
  • Oct 25 2009 – PAC Concert Hall – Bellingham, Washington
  • Oct 27 2009 – Centre for the Performing Arts – Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Oct 28 2009 – Royal Theatre – Victoria, British Columbia
  • Nov 13 2009 – State Theatre – Ithaca, New York
  • Nov 14 2009 – Zeiterion Performing Arts Center – New Bedford, MA
  • Nov 15 2009 – Calvin Theatre – Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Nov 17 2009 – The Egg – Albany, New York
  • Nov 18 2009 – Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, Connecticut
  • Nov 20 2009 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Nov 21 2009 – The Town Hall – New York, New York

Ani DiFranco Tour 2009

15th Jul 09 (Wed) Leave a comment

I found out about Ani DiFranco‘s Portland show earlier this afternoon (while on a random web search)… now I’m not going, as she’ll be in Eugene… yay!

I assume this means new album in fall/winter?

Oh, of course it does…it’s been 288 days since her last one (the excellent Red Letter Year), and she averages one approximately every 282 days. Oh shoot, she’s behind schedule.  Maybe she’s been feeling ill lately, and couldn’t get this album out in time. ;)

Speaking of Red Letter Year… it’s now out on vinyl.  Nice double-gatefold with an extended version of “Emancipated Minor” remixed by Mike Napolitano.  Get it here.

Opener for dates Oct 10th-27th is Anais Mitchell.

Ani DiFranco Fall 2009 Tour Dates (so far)

  • Sep 11 2009 – Kalamazoo State Theatre – Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Sep 12 2009 – Krannert Center Guitar Festival – Urbana, Illinois
  • Sep 13 2009 – Paramount Theatre – Aurora, Illinois
  • Sep 15 2009 – Mayo Civic Center-Presentation Hall – Rochester, Minnesota
  • Sep 16 2009 – DECC Auditorium – Duluth, Minnesota
  • Sep 18 2009 – Fargo Theatre – Fargo, North Dakota
  • Sep 19 2009 – Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Sep 20 2009 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Sep 22 2009 – Riverside Ballroom – Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Sep 23 2009 – The Vic Theatre – Chicago, Illinois
  • Sep 25 2009 – Michigan Theater – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Oct 10 2009 – Lobero Theatre – Santa Barbara, California
  • Oct 11 2009 – Grove of Anaheim – Anaheim, California
  • Oct 13 2009 – Rio Theatre – Santa Cruz, California
  • Oct 14 2009 – Tower Theatre – Fresno, California
  • Oct 20 2009 – Arcata Community Center – Arcata, California
  • Oct 21 2009 – McDonald Theatre – Eugene, Oregon
  • Oct 23 2009 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, Oregon
  • Oct 24 2009 – Moore Theatre – Seattle, Washington
  • Oct 25 2009 – PAC Concert Hall – Bellingham, Washington
  • Oct 27 2009 – Centre for the Performing Arts – Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Nov 15 2009 – Calvin Theatre – Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Nov 17 2009 – The Egg – Albany, New York
  • Nov 20 2009 – Electric Factory – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Nov 21 2009 – The Town Hall – New York, New York

Oh, pre-sale ticket passwords are on the RBR Tour website.

~Dan – np: The Dillinger Escape Plan w/ Mike PattonIrony is a Dead Scene -EP-

Ani DiFranco – Billboard acoustic set & interview

15th Nov 08 (Sat) Leave a comment

Ani DiFranco – Red Letter Year (9/30/08)

22nd Jul 08 (Tue) Leave a comment

This just in from Righteous Babe Records

Ani’s last album was released in 2006, which kinda feels like a decade ago, given her tendency to spoil us with an album (or two) a year. But never fear, DiFrancolytes, for a brand new Ani record will be released on September 30, 2008.

It’s called Red Letter Year, and it’s more than worth the wait. These 12 songs have benefited from a couple years of tender loving care, under the watchful eye of Ani and her co-producer/partner Mike Napolitano. And if you’ve caught an Ani show recently, chances are you’ve been treated to a couple of ’em. This is focused, layered, joyful music, starring the Little Folksinger, her inventive three-piece band and a cavalcade of guest musicians.

“I feel like I’m back again,” Ani shares. “I’m out in the world and back in my happy self, ready to have a party.

“Come September, she’ll be passing out the ultimate party favor: Red Letter Year.

Be on the look out for updates concerning the new release, such as new tracks, photos, and videos, all to be posted right here and on the rest of the interweb over the next few weeks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now she’s at 9.38 months between CD releases (and 6.62 months between releases if you count the “official bootlegs”). Yep… she’s prolific (and I’m an accountant). :)

Well, it’s off on “vacation” for me… have fun. I won’t be posting until probably Sunday the 27th, and that’s only if there’s some cool music news…

~Dan – np: Ani DiFrancoLittle Plastic Castle

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