Dave Stewart's Blackbird Diaries and the Ringmaster General documentary (VIDEO)

When choosing a location to debut his The Blackbird Diaries and the Ringmaster General documentary, the British singer, songwriter and guitarist Dave Stewart chose Nashville, where the film was shot during two, five-day recording sessions at John and Martina McBride’s Blackbird Studios. 

The Wednesday, August 22 VIP premiere will be held at the Belcourt Theatre, with a limited number of general admission tickets to be made available to the public. They go on sale this Friday, June 1: www.belcourt.org

Each ticket includes a free limited edition vinyl copy of his forthcoming album The Ringmaster General, which is set for release September 4 in the U.S. and September 3 in Europe.

The Blackbird Diaries and the Ringmaster General captures him through the whirlwind recording process of two albums, the acclaimed 2011 release, The Blackbird Diaries, and the upcoming The Ringmaster General (Weapons of Mass Entertainment/Surfdog). 

This tongue-in-cheek documentary also has many muses join in the fun including Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Colbie Caillat, The Secret Sisters, Joss Stone, Stevie Nicks, Jessie Baylin, Diane Birch and Orianthi.

The road begins in London with the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Stewart was grounded there with no hope of getting home to Los Angeles.   A wander down Denmark Street leads him to a vintage guitar shop where an old acoustic guitar catches his eye.

Learning the previous owner was an eccentric country and western star named Red River Dave, he gets inspired. The next morning a flight opens up, by way of Nashville, and Dave jumps at the chance to investigate the music city.

Magically Big Kenny (Big and Rich) leads the way into adventure with the documentary capturing a unique moment in time where the music business is locked out and the lunatics take over the asylum.


On the upcoming THE RINGMASTER GENERAL, STEWART creates a potent and distinctive musical gumbo, mixing in rock, blues, country, rhythm & blues and psychedelia.  His songs are alternately moving and wry; they are filled with twists and turns–both musical and lyrical–that constantly surprise with repeated listens. STEWART’s voice has an alluringly mysterious quality that guides the listener through these stories of, explains the ringmaster himself, “love, discovery, and …”

The album was recorded and mixed by John McBride at his famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville. It features 13 new songs--including striking duets with Alison Krauss, Diane Birch and Joss Stone as well as a duet sung with and co-written by Jessie Baylin.  The blistering guitar skills of Orianthi are featured as well.  As with his recent album, The Blackbird Diaries, he is backed by some of the finest musicians in Nashville including: guitarist Tom Bukovac, drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, steel guitarist Dan Dugmore and Mike Rojas on piano.

USA Today’s Edna Gundersen hailed the British singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer’s The Blackbird Diaries as "a warm and nostalgic valentine to American roots music" (8/22/2011), while Rolling Stone’s Anthony DeCurtis said the album “offers a rawer portrait of Dave Stewart--the producer, former Eurthymic and current member of Superheavy, with Mick Jagger--than you're likely ever to have heard. The nasty, lurching guitar that announces ‘So Long Ago,’ the album's opener, is the tip-off. The song name-checks blues greats Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside and Mississippi John Hurt, and signals the roots rock-arama that follows” (9/14/2011).  For more quotes about the album, go here: http://theblackbirddiaries.com/.

In other news, Stewart hits the road to open three shows for Sugarland in April and will do the same honors for as many shows in August (see dates below).

Fri       8/24                 Memphis, TN                        Fedex Forum
Sat      8/25                 Oklahoma City, OK               Zoo Amphitheatre
Sun     8/26                 Houston, TX                         BBVA Compass Stadium


Further Reading on M&C