WELCOME, N.C. – If you want to win a championship, says Brendan Gaughan, “there’s the textbook.”Gaughan’s talking about fellow NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton, who will carry a 52-point lead into this weekend’s Michigan National Guard 200 at Michigan International Speedway. “Matt has proven himself to be the one to beat,” said Gaughan, who sits sixth in points and 75 behind the ThorSport Racing driver. “He’s doing exactly what Travis Kvapil did to win the (2003) championship. That’s what it takes. He’s won one race and all he’s doing is top-10ing us to death. I’ve got more top-five finishes (6) than anybody in the series, including him, but he’s got (a top 10 finish) every race.” WATCH: What Drives the 5? FULL SERIES COVERAGE• View all articles • View all videos • View all photos WATCH: Kyle Busch Final Laps In an extremely tight battle outside the top spot, only 33 points separate second-place Jeb Burton and 10th-place Timothy Peters (377-344). Ryan Blaney, defending series champion James Buescher and Ty Dillon, Gaughan’s Richard Childress Racing teammate, are third through fifth, respectively.Crafton has proven to be the model of consistency, going 11-for-11 in top-10s thus far this year. He’s been atop the standings for eight consecutive races.“He’s not going to beat himself,” Gaughan said. “The only way you’re going to beat him – you better start winning races and start chipping away at that points lead.”Gaughan, an eight-time winner with 206 career starts in the series, hopes to do just that this weekend at MIS, where he has not raced since the track was repaved prior to the 2012 season. In seven career starts on the wide, sweeping 2-mile oval, he has four top-10 finishes including one win.“It’s my style of place,” Gaughan said. “We know I like big places like that.”“What excites me the most about going to Michigan this year is going with RCR. In years past, you go there with what you think is really good or what you hope is going to be good. The fun part about being at RCR is it’s what we know is really good.“We have some of the best aero packages, we have some of the best engine packages with (Earnhardt Childress Racing). So we know we will be that much better when we go there. … It’s a place that I like, on a team that excels at places like that, so I’m hoping for good results.””Scoring top-10 finishes on a weekly basis is no small task, regardless of series, Gaughan said.”Having a fast truck is no guarantee of a solid result.“You’ve got to have no mechanical failures, no pit stop problems, no random problems like an oil line going or blowing a right front from (running over) debris,” Gaughan said. “When we ran in 2003, we were as consistent as you could be, with a string of nine top-10s in a row … and we still didn’t win the championship because there were just too many races with a bad result.”Which makes Crafton’s strong run that much more remarkable.“Matt, what he’s doing is really impressive,” said Gaughan. “But you look at his demeanor and the type of driver he is and it doesn’t surprise you.”Qualifying is scheduled for 9:35 a.m. ET on Saturday, with the Michigan National Guard 200 slated to begin at 12:30 p.m. It will be the first race for the series on the new Fox Sports 1 cable network.Nelson Piquet Jr. is the defending race winner.MORE: VIEW: Full Watkins Glen coverage WATCH: Watkins Glen video highlights With Crafton being a model of consistency, Gaughan must chip away at his lead to get ahead
Meanwhile, Pigeons are off on their Pleasure tour, which kicked off last night in Morgantown, WV. The group just recently announced a 4/20 celebration at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VA, playing along with People’s Blues of Richmond and Disco Risque. The show should be quite the party!You can check out the band’s full tour schedule below, and get tickets for the 4/20 performance here. Funk darlings Pigeons Playing Ping Pong continue to keep things busy in the early half of 2016. The group has a new album, Pleasure, due out on April 1st, and has already shared two funky new cuts from their upcoming release. The last one, “Burning Up My Time,” debuted on L4LM, and with one listen, we knew we needed more funk!Thankfully, Pigeons have delivered the goods with a new track. The third single from their album is a great jam, titled “Kiwi.” The tune rips with the same funky enthusiasm that fans have come to know and love.Listen to “Kiwi” below:
There’s always an air of excitement around a band’s debut album, especially when you have amassed a following like the band Skydyed. Based out of Fort Collins, CO, the progressive group blends rock and electronica to perfection, continuing to pick up steam through countless performances and intriguing musicianship.The band has just revealed plans to release their first full-length LP, A Quantum Dream, on Friday April 1st. To get people in the grooving mood, the group has shared their first single from A Quantum Dream, a tune called “Endless Space.” Get down on the mellow livetronica jam below:In support of the new release, Skydyed is bringing their space funk out on the road, including performances at great festivals like Beanstalk, ARISE, Sonic Bloom and more! Check out the full tour schedule below, and head to the band’s website for more information:Skydyed ‘A Quantum Dream’ Tour Dates4/1 Aggie Theatre Fort Collins, CO4/7 Taos Mesa Brewing El Prado, NM4/7 – 4/10 Euphoria Music Festival Austin, TX4/13 The Bottleneck Lawrence, KS4/14 Bunkers Music Bar and Grill Minneapolis, MN4/16 Bodega’s Alley Lincoln, NE6/10 – 6/12 Beanstalk Music and Arts Festival Westcliffe, CO6/16 – 6/19 Sonic Bloom Rye, CO7/8 – 7/10 The Pirate Party Lolo, MT7/22 – 7/24 SubOctave Music Festival Houston, MN8/5 – 8/7 Arise Music Festival Loveland, CO
Beloved country-rock icon Merle Haggard passed away just one month ago, on his 79th birthday. The legendary musician left behind an incredible body of work, and was creating new music and performing up until his final days.Today, Haggard’s family released the final track that he recorded, a song called “Kern River Blues.” The folk ballad premiered on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse earlier, and you can listen to a preview of the track below: You can purchase the full song here.
Heralded as one of the best Rolling Stones albums, let alone one of the great rock n’ roll albums of all time, Exile On Main Street will get a new life as the focus of a new biopic film. Titled Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell With the Rolling Stones, the band recorded the album in a small bunker-like studio before its big release in 1972.The film will be directed by Andy Goddard, who has worked on Downton Abbey, and the storyline will largely follow Robert Greenfield’s 2008 book of the same title. Rights to the book were purchased by Virgin in 2012, and studios are casting the roles of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards right now.While Exile probably won’t be released until 2017, it’s interesting to think about how such an iconic album was created. With tracks like “Sweet Virginia,” “Tumblin’ Dice,” “Lovin’ Cup” and more, there’s no shortage of great music to choose from for the Exile On Main Street film.[H/T Deadline]
As the baseball playoff season continues to heat up, diehard fans of the Chicago Cubs are crossing their fingers in hopes of the team’s first World Series win in over 100 years. Two of the team’s biggest fans were in attendance last night, none other than Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Chicago native Bill Murray.Both celebrities are well-known Cubs fans, with Vedder routinely appearing at Wrigley Field during the season. He’s thrown out first pitches, sang the National Anthem, and even performed at the iconic MLB stadium with Pearl Jam last summer. Meanwhile, Murray is a local Chicagoan (here he is at the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well shows) and big Cubs fan, so it’s no surprise to see him dressed in garb for the game.Still, it’s pretty cool to see these two iconic Cubs fans coming together to support their team. Unfortunately, the Cubs wound up losing to the Dodgers 1-0 last night, but Murray and Vedder didn’t know that when they posed for this great photo.
To say that Dopapod has been killing it is an understatement. With only a few dates left in their extensive fall tour with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, the band has been sounding as tight as ever as they move into their New Year’s run in Covington, KY, with Aqueous and Consider the Source. Looking to 2017, fans from coast to coast are eagerly anticipating where they’ll be able to get their Dopapod fix. While no formal tour announcement has been made, fans in New York should be pleased with the news that the boys will be hitting the Brooklyn Bowl in March for three nights.Tickets are on sale now for the shows on March 23, March 24, and March 25, or available in limited quantities for three-night passes.Upcoming Dopapod ShowsDecember 14 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Blind PigDecember 15 – Kalamazoo, MI – Bells Eccentric Cafe Back RoomDecember 16 – Milwaukee, WI – Mirimar TheatreDecember 17 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue TheatreDecember 30 – Covington, KY – Madison TheaterDecember 30 – Covington, KY – Madison TheaterJanuary 20-25 – Miami, FL – Jam CruiseJanuary 27 – Denver, CO – Ogden TheatreJanuary 28 – Boulder, CO – Boulder TheaterMarch 23 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn BowlMarch 24 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn BowlMarch 25 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
For his first selection, John Mayer shared “Sugaree” from the Grateful Dead’s performance on May 19th, 1977, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The show is coming up on its 40th anniversary on Friday, as it was part of the fateful ’77 spring tour that also saw infamous shows like the Barton Hall show at Cornell University on May 8th, 1977. In keeping with the idea that these songs are supposed to help John Mayer fans unfamiliar with the Dead get acquainted with the legendary jam band, Mayer also explained what made the performance so special, noting that the song has a simple chord progression but “incredible FEEL” as well as “great solo phrasing and slow climb” to its peak. [H/T Relix] If John Mayer had any thoughts about Chris Robinson’s criticisms about him on the Howard Stern show yesterday, the Dead & Company guitarist is keeping them to himself. Instead, the guitarist is looking to the future and his summer tour with Dead & Company, which kicks off over Memorial Day Weekend at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 27th. Mayer has recently been deep in a solo tour in promotion of his latest album The Search For Everything, and to switch gears, the guitarist announced via Twitter that he’d be sharing one his favorite Grateful Dead tracks each day until the start of the tour as way to “walk in” new fans.Chris Robinson Had Some Harsh Words For Both John Mayer And His Brother On Howard Stern The 5/19/77 Atlanta show was also released on Dick’s Picks Vol. 29 along with the Grateful Dead’s 5/21/77 show at Lakeland Civic Center Arena in Lakeland, Florida. You can listen to the single track of this performance of “Sugaree” on Spotify or the entire 5/19/77 show, courtesy of uploader Jonathan Aizen, below.
In a post on their website today, Queen has confirmed that their long-rumored official biopic, appropriately dubbed Bohemian Rhapsody, is officially in the works, with Egyptian-American Rami Malek (best known for his Emmy-winning turn in USA Network‘s Mr. Robot) slated to star as the band’s iconic vocalist, Freddie Mercury.Remembering Freddie Mercury’s Last Queen Show On The Anniversary Of His DeathAs the post states: “Yes folks, it IS finally happening…here’s what we can confirm at this stage: Award winning director Bryan Singer is the man who will be bringing the Queen and Freddie story alive. If you’ve ever seen Singer’s X-Men films, or the groundbreaking movie The Usual Suspects, you’ll know this is a director with extraordinary imagination and style. A perfect choice to recreate the fabulous Queen years which brought us such unforgettable moments as Live Aid, which we can reveal will be faithfully recreated for a key sequence the film.”The post on Queen Online continues: “Rami Malek has signed up to take on the challenging rôle of Freddie Mercury. Who could imagine a more perfect fit than this brilliant actor? Roger [Taylor] and Brian [May] told QOL: “Rami has great presence and he’s utterly dedicated to the project. He’s completely living and breathing Freddie already, which is wonderful.” Taylor and May will be serving as the film’s executive music producers. The film is close to beginning production, with pre-production meetings taking place this week in UK and principal photography beginning in London in mid-September.As for the roles of the other band members, Queen’s camp isn’t letting that info slip just yet: “You are probably wondering, who will play Roger, Brian and John??? That, friends, is news for another day.”The band is encouraging fans to keep up with Queen Online and the Queen Facebook page for more updates as the project goes on. They even hinted at a potential casting call: “Hint: Fancy being in the film?”[h/t – Queen Online]
It’s hard to believe that Phish‘s 13-night run at Madison Square Garden is actually coming near an end. The triumphant Baker’s Dozen has been a truly legendary task by the Vermont-bred foursome, and their execution has been mind-blowing to new extents. With each night bringing a new donut flavor, and therefore a theme for each setlist to conform to, the band has reached new heights of creativity, improvisation, and mastery with their no-repeat streak. This all makes Sunday’s show the most sought out of them all, as it will conclude their record-breaking performances on a day of the week notorious for specialty shows. Fans who are shut out of the Garden will inevitably be searching for ways to feast their ears on Sunday night’s show.SiriusXM Jam_On has announced that they will be live streaming Sunday night’s Phish show. Tune in to channel 29 to listen to crisp audio of the full show, starting around 8:00PM EST. Glaze On![cover photo by Dave DeCrescente]