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New John Lennon tribute album to be released tomorrow

November 14, 2011 -- New York, NY -- Theatre Within announces the November 15th release of a live album chronicling the sold out, star-studded 30th Annual John Lennon Tribute, Live from the Beacon Theatre NYC. The 15-song release will be available digitally via iTunes, Amazon and other major online music outlets. Proceeds from the sales of the digital release will be shared with the Japanese Red Cross for its ongoing Earthquake/Tsunami Relief efforts.

"John would have loved that Theatre Within has produced a special live album of his songs to benefit the Japanese Red Cross and the people still suffering from the tsunami and earthquake," states Yoko Ono.

The 30th Annual Tribute took place November 12, 2010 at New York's legendary Beacon Theatre and featured an all-star line-up of musicians, spanning nearly four generations, each performing unique interpretations of classic Lennon songs, from his Beatles through solo years. The artists on the live album include Jackson Browne, Patti Smith & Tony Shanahan, Taj Mahal with Deva Mahal & Steph Brown, Aimee Mann, Keb' Mo', Joan Osborne, Martin Sexton, Shelby Lynne, Meshell Ndegeocello, Alejandro Escovedo, The Kennedys, Vusi Mahlasela, Rich Pagano and Playing For Change Band.

Martin Sexton whose rendition of "Working Class Hero," was called "chill-inspiring" by Billboard Magazine, said, "John has always been a hero of mine, not only for his musical brilliance, but for his life-long commitment to bringing peace and light into the world."

Talking about the challenge of performing Lennon's "Come Together" with Steph Brown and his daughter Deva, legendary blues man Taj Mahal said, "Respect the way the song was written because that's what grabbed me, and then add my sauce, or my wiggle or growl."

Following is the line-up of artists and songs featured on the concert release:

Rich Pagano/Power To The People
The Kennedys/And Your Bird Can Sing
Meshell Ndegeocello/God
Alejandro Escovedo/Help!
Shelby Lynne/Mother
Martin Sexton/Working Class Hero
Joan Osborne/Hey Bulldog
Taj Mahal and Vusi Mahlasela/Watching the Wheels
Keb' Mo'/In My Life
Taj Mahal with Deva Mahal & Steph Browne/Come Together
Bettye LaVette/The Word
Aimee Mann/Jealous Guy
Jackson Browne/You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Patti Smith and Tony Shanahan/Oh Yoko
Playing For Change Band/Instant Karma

The Tribute drew critical raves from a wide variety of media. The Associated Press stated that "one couldn't help but think he (Lennon) would have thoroughly enjoyed himself," affording special praise to Joan Osborne for her "gritty, spirited rendition" of "Hey Bulldog," and Shelby Lynne for her "remarkably searing" cover of "Mother." Billboard praised Aimee Mann for her "beautifully understated rendition" of "Jealous Guy," while Rolling Stone noted Patti Smith and Tony Shanahan's "joyous acoustic sing-along" of "Oh Yoko." The New York Daily News gave special plaudits to Alejandro Escovedo for his "fascinating inversion" of "Help," turning this "statement of youthful desire into a desperate plea for intervention," and Bettye LaVette for her "gripping soul rave-up" on "The Word."

Theatre Within, a not-for-profit performing arts presenter dedicated to producing shows to benefit outstanding charities and important social causes, has produced The Annual John Lennon Tribute since 1981, shortly after Lennon's death. The Tribute is the longest running event of its kind and the only ongoing tribute show in the world to have earned the support of Yoko Ono.

Theatre Within also announces that its 31st Annual John Lennon Tribute will take place on Saturday, December 10, 2011, at Le Poisson Rouge. This year's lineup includes: Tribute alumni Steve Forbert, Bettye LaVette, Lucy Kaplansky, Rich Pagano, Richard Barone and first timers, Toshi Reagon and Ari Hest.

"John's music continues to be a great inspiration to people everywhere, but he holds a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers," notes Joe Raiola, the Tribute's producer and creator. "We're so grateful to Yoko and to all of the artists for allowing us to share these great performances from that special night with John Lennon fans around the world."

For additional information please visit

Published November 14, 2011

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