There’s probably not a better phrase to describe an all-star band that’s being put together by producer T Bone Burnett. Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, who sung the Grammy-winning “O Death” on T Bone’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, will share the stage with keyboard players Elton John and Leon Russell, eclectic rocker Elvis Costello, Americana artist Neko Case and actor Jeff Bridges under the banner T Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Revue. They’ll be assembled Oct. 24 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., during the second day of Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit.
The rock-and-country mix in T Bone’s ensemble is reflective of the multi-genre texture of the event’s larger lineup. Country-rock pioneers Buffalo Springfield will reunite for the weekend, and country’s Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson will play the same stage as Americana’s Lucinda Williams, classic-rockers Jackson Browne and Billy Idol, and modern-rock bands Pearl Jam and Modest Mouse.
The link between country artists and their pop and rock peers is strong these days. And it’s in full force in a lot of ways. Among other notable examples:
• Maroon 5’s next album, Hands All Over, comes out Sept. 21, and it includes a collaboration with Lady Antebellum.
• Robert Plant’s next album, Band Of Joy, is released today. At one point, it appeared he’d be doing another project with Alison Krauss, but that was abandoned. Instead, the album now includes appearances by several other Nashville-associated musicians: guitarists Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott, vocalist Patty Griffin and bass player Byron House.
• The track list to Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn has finally been unveiled, with four pop and rock artists covering the Country Hall of Famer’s classics. Pop star Sheryl Crow joins Loretta and Miranda Lambert on “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the band Paramore does “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” Kid Rock covers “I Know How” and the White Stripes — led by Jack White, the producer of Loretta’s Van Lear Rose — remake “Rated X.” The album will be released Nov. 9.
• Martina McBride joined voices with R&B greats Stevie Wonder and Aaron Neville on “Unchained Melody” during last week’s network special “Stand Up To Cancer.” They were part of an ensemble that also featured Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis, U2 guitarist The Edge and former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart.