We may never know why Live’s upcoming album has been thrice delayed but we do know what they have been doing in the time between wrapping recording and the June 6 street date of Songs from Black Mountain.
If you want the music-buying public to know about your new album you go where they are: and where they are is watching American Idol.
Live performed on the AI season finale with former Idol contestant Chris Daughtry teaming up to perform current single “Mystery” from the upcoming Black Mountain disc. Want to see what it all looked like and hear how it sounded? You can still check out video of the performance by clicking on the player above if you missed it.
Fans of Live’s early efforts must have been in for a real shock to see the famously serious band on stage with an Idol contestant. What to make of it? Did Live sell out?
The gritty, somber sounds of Mental Jewelry and Throwing Copper have become less and less a part of the Live sound beginning with The Distance to Hear and continuing up to and including Songs from Black Mountain. Kowalczyk’s lyrics have increasingly turned to sunny spiritualism and the band’s music has taken on that same tone. The intense vocals of “Dam at Otter Creek” and the propulsive basslines of “White, Discussion” seem to be a thing of the past.
So, did the band sell out or did they just grow up and “get happy?” It will be interesting to see what impact the Idol appearance has on the band’s fortunes on sales and radio air play because to this point the musical and lyrical shift alone has not generated increased sales. In other words, if this has been an orchestrated move to increase sales it has not worked.
On the other hand, the sonic shift has happened steadily over a series of albums rather than overnight. Maybe they are just not that pissed off anymore. The changes have alienated a certain portion of the band’s audience. Will the appearance on Idol further alienate them? Will it bring in new ones?
So what brought about this pairing?
Criticism of Daughtry while he was an active participant earlier in the season is apparently what brought him and the multi-platinum selling band together. Daughtry performed a version of the Johnny Cash standard “I Walk the Line” reminiscent of the version Live has played on tour in the past.
Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk offered his support to the embattled Daughtry saying, “I thought he did a great job with the song. There’s no doubt he’s a talented performer and I hope he goes far.”
That criticism and Kowalczyk’s show of support apparently led to the pairing on the program’s final episode in which losing contestants are invited back to perform prior to the announcement of the season’s winner (Alabama native Taylor Hicks). Also appearing on the show were Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, and Prince (who chose not to perform with any of the show’s contestants).
Blogcritics has already previewed Songs from Black Mountain. Disregard the May release date in that article as the release date has been moved to June 6 at which time BC will also have a full review.
Live formed in York, Pennsylvania in 1988, and is still Kowalcyzk, guitarist Chad Taylor, drummer Chad Gracey, and bassist Patrick Dahlheimer.