August 20, 2004
Notorious Cherry Bombs Kick-Off Labor Day on "Today Weekend"
Sept.4 Performance Takes Rockefeller Plaza, Rocks New York
New York: When they were a scrappy bar band burning down Southern California, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Tony Brown et al never thought they'd be jumping Lear jets and stringing together network tv appearances in support of their little kick-out-the-carbons side project. But a lot has happened since an expatriated Texas poet/performer pulled his buddies together to play for laughs and beers -- and now, following a bravura "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," the Notorious Cherry Bombs have been tapped for not just "Today Weekend's prestigious outdoor concert series, but they're anchoring Labor Day for the top drawing weekend wake-up show.
"We got Rodney coming in over night from California," laughs Vince Gill, "and some of the other boys coming from parts asunder. It's a little different than back in the day when we all lived pretty near each other and drove to the gigs, but it's pretty much fun, too, which is what this whole Cherry Bombs thing has been throughout."
With The Notorious Cherry Bombs sitting at #1 on the Americana chart, Nashville's version of the Travelling Wilburys is making in-roads the old-fashioned way: building it slowly and using the music to do it. While "It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night" flirts with country radio, reviewers from USA Today to Entertainment Weekly to ultra-hipster music magazine Blender and roots-country fanzine Country Standard Time are all hailing the reunion of Rodney Crowell's little side project to expand the musical possibilities of the songs he was writing.
"All the places we've each been in our career led us back together," says the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter. "Tony's produced and signed everyone from George Strait to the Mavericks, Lyle Lovett to Patty Loveless -- making him Nashville's version of Ahmet Ertegun, Vince grew up to be Entertainer of the Year a bunch of times, Richard Bennett helped define the Steve Earle guitar sound and now trades licks with Mark Knopfler and no one plays the steel like Hank Devito. Then when you factor in the guys who're filling in for our missing players -- Michael Rhodes, who plays with everyone from Steve Winwood to Larry Carlton, Eddie Bayers, Jr who was Larrie Londin's protege and John Hobbs who created the piano parts for everything from Merle Haggard's 'Mis'ry & Gin' and George Strait's 'Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind,' you know you've got some serious music happening...
"And what's cool about 'Today Weekend' is they're going to let us play enough that people will have a real feel for why this band is so magic. We've got three songs to go in a bunch of different directions -- and just like when we were kids, we've got just the players to really do it. So what if I have to fly all night to make this happen? That's just part of the fun!"
In addition to their performance on "Today Weekend" Sept. 4, the Notorious Cherry Bombs will appear on the Grand Ole Opry August 28 and perform a very special show at the Ryman Auditorium Sept. 10, as part of the historic venue's celebration of their 10th anniversary of once again being an active concert venue. What happens next is anybody's guess, but given that it's the NCB's, chances are it'll take music to a whole lot of other places on its way.