Today we look back to April 6, 2009.

Phish Enter the Studio

Phish has started work on its next studio album, according to a Twitter post by Mike Gordon. The band is rumored to be recording its first album since 2004s Undermind in New York, and Gordon seemed to confirm the rumors by writing “arriving in a fun city to make a Phish album last week.” Though the Vermont Quartet has only played one new song since reuniting, the Trey Anastasio/Tom Marshall original Backwards Down the Number Line, the group is said to have a slew of new original material. Gordon also plans to continue work with his solo band and, according to the same tweet, his own album is underway.

Ben Harper, Jim James, Dovovan, Betty LaVette and Eddie Vedder Share in Beatles Reunion

The remaining Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited this past Saturday at the David Lynch Foundations star-studded Transcendental Meditation benefit. The collaboration-heavy show took place at New York’s Radio City Music hall, featuring appearances by Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Betty LaVette, Sheryl Crow, Jim James, Donovan, Moby and Beach Boys singer Mike Love. Event co-host Laura Dern and entertainers like Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern also took the stage at various points throughout the night, though in many respects the entire evenings festivities were just a warm-up for the ex-Beatles first onstage collaboration since London’s Concert for George in 2002.

Throughout the night, numerous performers touched upon the Beatles famed 1968 trip to India to study meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as part of an extended entourage that included both Donovan and Love. Crow and Harper offered the evenings first Beatles-related song, sharing a duet on George Harrisons My Sweet Lord, and Crow latter returned with Vedder to sing Yellow Submarine with Starr. The Beatles drummer also nodded to Harrison during his brief set before playing It Don’t Come Easy, a song he wrote with Beatles guitarist. McCartney ended the night with a 12-song performance that included a mixture of solo and Beatles hits like Blackbird, Band on the Run, Let it Be and Jet. He also nodded to John Lennon by playing Here Today, an original written about his slain friend.
After being introduced by his Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band alias Billy Shears, Starr took the stage to sing A Little Help From My Friends with his ex-bandmate. Starr then moved behind the drum kit and most of the evenings cast then returned for an encore that included And Remember To Be … Cosmically Conscious, a song McCartney wrote on the Beatles trip to India in 1968 and released as a b-side in 1968, and the hit I Saw Her Standing There.

The night featured a number of other interesting collaborations: Harper and Vedder covered Queen and David Bowies Under Pressure, LaVette and Moby reworked a version of the latter musicians ‘Natural Blues’ and James sat in with Donovan on both Hurdy Gurdy Man and Wear Your Love Like Heaven. McCartney will appear next at Indio, CAs Coachella Music & Arts Festival on April 17.

Papa Mali’s 5th Annual Stoned Soul Picnic

Tipitinas has confirmed a series of shows timed with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. One show of particular note is Papa Mali’s 5th Annual Stoned Soul Picnic, an event which will take place at the club on April 23. While the exact configuration of Papa Malis friends is still unknown, the singer/guitarists most recent album does feature the likes of Kirk Joseph, Henry Butler, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Victoria Williams, Chuck Prophet, The Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians and JJ Grey. In addition, the evenings bill will include both The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker and Bonerama. Papa Mali will appear next at Breckenridge, COs KSMTs Breckenridge Massive Beer Fest on April 11.

The North Mississippi Allstars Join Umphrey’s McGee in Maryland

The North Mississippi Allstars and its offshoot Hill Country Revue opened for Umphreys McGee this past Saturday at Baltimore, MDs Rams Dead Live. As one might expect, the members of the North Mississippi Allstars stuck around after their set and sat in with Umphreys McGee at various points throughout its set. Guitarist Luther Dickinson emerged first, sitting in on a first set-closing Can’t You Hear Me Knocking. His brother Cody Dickinson took the stage partway throughout Umphreys second set, playing washboard on both the improv-jam Jimmy Stewart and the new Cemetery Walk II. As Dickinson left the stage, bassist Chris Chew appeared with drummer Nikki Glaspie for a run through Der Bluten Kat. Luther Dickinson then helped Umphreys McGee close the night with Pay the Snucka. Glaspie has performed with such diverse names as Beyonce, Eric Krasno, Me’Shell Ndgeocello, State Radio and Sam Kinninger. Umphreys McGee will appear at Providence, RIs Lupos Heartbreak Hotel tomorrow.

Pigs on the Wing : A Tribute to Pink Floyd

STS9s David Murphy to Georgia for a weekend devoted to music of Pink Floyd. The bassist joined Coley Dennis (Maserati), Mike Albanese (Cinemechanica), Alfredo Lapuz Jr. (Velveteen Pink, Immuzikation), Matt Weiss (Collective Efforts), Count Kellam and other special guests for performances as Pigs on the Wing on Friday and Saturday night at Atlantas The Loft and Athens Georgia Theatre, respectively. The ensemble focused primarily on material from the psychedelic Animals and that album’s colorful support tour (including projectors and a replicas of the tours stage design). As the show progressed, however, the all-star group did touch upon material from other eras of the groups career, including Run Like Hell, Comfortably Numb and Shine on You Crazy Diamond.