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New Musica Releases, Sales + News/Tours Info 2018 Parte 3

Parte 1 here:

Parte 2 here:


Singing the Virginia Blues: An Interview with Gio Washington

09 Jul 2018

Son of Pain wasn't Governor Washington's first musical statement but it was certainly his boldest. In 2000, the R&B singer recorded and released a low-key album called Another State of Mind, a roughly mixed collection of soulful R&B that only hinted at the remarkable talent that lay beneath the minimalist production. The Virginia-born Governor, now recording as Gio Washington, took stock of his career, then started hauling business toward a more suitable niche for his skills. It took a few years and a little help from some notable names, but 2006's Son of Pain revealed an artist who should have been cresting on the R&B charts where so many lesser competitors held reign. An album rife with deep bluesy soul, Son of Pain touched upon a variety of styles within urban music, hip-hop in particular. But until then, it would take some time to develop a musical platform that would accommodate his Southern blues roots.

"My first real recording experience happened in Long Island at a studio called the Music Palace," the singer says. "It was like a dream come true to me. This was the first state-of-the-art studio I had ever experienced. I had no idea of what a 'floating floor' was and had never seen a U87 recording mic. The vocal booth was actually built inside of a vault and it was my first time ever using a SSL mixing board. I couldn't believe how I sounded – it was so awesome! My first official album was called Another State of Mind but my very first release was a song called "Feel tha Flow". It was a hypnotic banger in which we used a Marvin Gaye sample. How fitting and surreal! I can remember stressing my mind out worrying if Nona Gaye (Marvin's daughter) was going to approve of me using the sample. I was so scared of being denied. After all, her father was one of the best singers that have ever done it. Needless to say, it was approved. In my mind, I was on my way."


Another State of Mind, independently released, offered listeners only a glimpse of Washington's abilities. Many of the songs featured pleasant enough melodies and skillful harmonies, but they were buried under a production that couldn't securely support the songwriting. Tracks like "Pop a Bottle" pointed the way toward the more expansive numbers that would eventually appear on his follow up. His eventual alliances with artists like T.I., 50 Cent and Dr. Dre were the result of a number of industry connections that came about around the time Washington was beginning his career.

"One of my most memorable moments writing Son of Pain was with Dr. Dre," Washington says. "The first time we met was in his studio in L.A. Dre played some of his tracks for me, asking me which ones I would like to write to. He pulled out this Mason jar filled with some of the best bud I'd ever seen! After we talked for a while and inhaled, he sat there as he watched and listened to me do my thing. I could see he was vibing, hard.

"He is a legend to me, so to gain his stamp of approval was by far huge! His tracks seemed as if they spoke to me and literally told me what to write. It was incredible. So, after about four hours and three songs written and recorded, I went upstairs to find him knocked out on his couch. He never left that session until around six that morning. That meant a lot to me. I just knew my career was taking off, starting right then and there."

Son of Pain was released on 50 Cent's G-Note Records label, a subsidiary of the rapper's G-Unit Records, and ensured Washington a wider legion of listeners. Hearing Son of Pain, one gets the impression of all the influences that the singer grew up with, which included Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. Many of the album's numbers plumb the rich soil of old-fashioned Rhythm and Blues; the cool, lush and earthy feel of that soulful loam runs deep. "Blood, Sweat and Tears", the album's leading single draws a lyric of hard self-sacrifice over a left-right-left march of delta blues. Washington doesn't espouse the ideologies of high-life living – he details the hardships of an honest day's work. You can also hear this life of ups and downs in his voice, which is unvarnished and full of natural sugar; it soars high on the whim of a breath and then dips low like a seabird clipping the coast. There is also a molasses-thick reworking of Donny Hathaway's "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" (re-titled here as "Never Wanna Leave") which remains at once faithful and fresh. Here, Washington redirects all of Hathaway's soulful crooning into a rush of bluesy drawls, lathering the track in honeyed harmonies.

And then there is the hip-hop influence on the album, which gives the album's its bottom-heavy resonance. In lieu of the glossy, satin-sheeted pop that infuses much of contemporary R&B, Son of Pain opts for the 808 boom of huge basslines and beats. "Be Yourself", a punched-up groove of synthesized strings and growling electronic bass, lurches heavily with the swagger of hip-hop attitudinizing. An even heftier dynamic is explored on "You Got the Power", featuring rapper T.I. Over a timpani-struck groove, Washington unleashes a stun-gunning vocal of uninhibited efficacy and strength. Rounding out the album are sweetly lacquered tunes like "Move Easy" and "Slow Down", dangerously inviting numbers which burn like firecrackers wrapped in marzipan.

"The sound of Son of Pain was gritty and organic," the singer explains of the album's designs. "I wanted to bring some soul to R&B. R. Kelly was killing them at the time with R&B that was written with a hip-hop cadence and some really basic melodies. I wanted to bring more creativity and individuality to the music. I wanted people to know that it was OK to feel, think and represent themselves all on their own. I wanted them to know that the fad of wearing throw back jerseys was cool but it was cool to rock a button up every once in a while too.

"It took about five years or so to release Son of Pain and the single 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' was about five years old when we released it. I met 50 Cent when I was dealing with [production team] Trackmasters. 50 at that time had already released "Power of a Dollar" and was recovering from being shot. I remember him walking up and down the streets of NYC with a bullet proof vest on, way back then. I could be wrong but I think was actually illegal to wear one!

"I recorded many songs with 50 – I think I may have been the first real singer on a 50 Cent song. After spending time with 50, I noticed that we had many things in common, from both of our mothers being dead to the way we thought about music at the time. We both were innovative with our styles compared to what was going in music at that time. Singers were strictly crooning love-making tunes at that time and I wanted to bring more of an edgy essence to R&B due to my affiliations with street life. I was no stranger to the streets and the streets were no stranger to me."

Son of Pain received positive reviews, but the press coverage was minimal and the album got lost in the shuffle of chart-toppers and heavy-rotators. Washington was eventually dropped from his major-label after some years. It was an unfortunate miss, one that cost the singer another opportunity to showcase his talents and to develop before a wide-ranging audience. The setback was heartbreaking but it didn't deter the singer from venturing further.

His material in the following years since Son of Pain has pushed boundaries. Later compositions reveal an artist who has sought inspiration outside of the R&B format while still keeping true to his roots. One-off numbers like the falsetto-ringing "All Night Long" channel '80s Prince through some electro-funked trip-hop. And the skewed doo-wop of "Let's Get Stoned", another one-off recording, plays classic Motown blues for retro-chic soul. Washington has also managed to record a few mixtapes as well as an EP entitled Out Here, a bassy, electronica-influenced R&B effort that flirts with some risqué lyrics. Out Here's first single, "Annie", cleverly re-envisions Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" as a menacing strobe-lighted floor-thumper. The EP also features simply piano balladry ("Anymore") and some rock-inspired R&B (the title-track) amongst booming, hip-hop-leaning numbers like "Next To Me" and "Here We Go Again". Out Herewas recorded under 50 Cent's supervision but the enormous soulful explosions on these recordings are entirely the result Washington's very own songwriting.

"Out Here was an effort to conform to the radio format and play the game but still be real to my artistry," Washington admits. "Out Herewas the album released under 50 Cent's watch after he decided I should record on my own. At first, we were doing an album called Black Magic. That was the album that the song 'Annie' [which was featured on the very first episode of 50 Cent's TV series Power] came from. 50 told me one day outside of rehearsal that he took another song from that effort called 'Here We Go Again' to radio. We did a video for that song too. He said the feedback he got from radio was that they liked the song but it had too much of him on it and not enough of me. It was supposed to be my song but he actually had more time on the song than I did. So, I couldn't understand why we just didn't edit the song and put it out!"


The singer continues to write and record, even if the wide-reaching platform he once enjoyed with the industry head-honchos is no longer available. Washington persists in making lateral moves, honing and developing his brand of R&B for his dedicated following. An old soul, Washington is a modern day songwriter whose body is possessed by a ghost of Motown's past; his voice remains his greatest attribute. He is also a victim of cruel circumstance. The singer was dealt yet another hard blow when, in 2015, his life hung in the balance following a near fatal car accident.

"I was in a horrific car accident that could have claimed my life a while back," he says. "I was thrown from my convertible when my brakes failed making a turn. I landed on my face! I suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a ruptured spleen. That same weekend, I had planned to go back to California and had decided that I was going to do something drastic to get my music where it should be. I've heard and have seen how many have sold their souls for fame and fortune.

"I was at a crossroad as to what to do and was willing to entertain some type of compromise. That accident came at a time in my life when I was at my lowest point and I saw everything clearly. Yes, I did songs with many well-known artists. But during the time of the accident, none of them called to see if I would make it through. It was a wake-up call and to this day I spend most of my time encouraging others not to give up on their dreams no matter how many weeds they have to cut through to finally be able to see the green grass on their side!"



Sara Marie Barron Explores Life After Love With "Does She" (premiere)

09 Jul 2018
Photo: Miles Clark / Courtesy of Ghosty PR



Sara Marie Barron's "Does She" speaks to the frustrations and complications of love lost. The realization that the person we thought we knew either doesn't exist anymore or never existed at all. Then again, maybe who we imagined ourselves to be never quite existed either. The track is culled from the Detroit-raised singer's upcoming LP Sad, But True, due out August 9.


Brought up with an appreciation for essential singers such as Etta James, Barron also cites Carol King as a formative influence, something evident in her ability to bring the devastating emotional qualities of her lyrics to the fore without allowing the song to collapse around her. Barron's music appeals to fans of jazz/pop/soul combos such as Lake Street Dive, music that meditates on our sadder experiences but always finds a way to guide us through with strength.

Listen/Buy: https://saramariebarron.b...m/releases




Upcoming Shows:

7.5.18 - Bay Harbor Marina Lawn / Solo set with Mario Sulaksana / 8:00 pm

7.14.18 - D.I.M.E. Underground / Philip Michael Record Release / Doors at 8:00pm

8.15.18 - Willis Show Bar / Sad, But True Record Release Show and Party / 8:00pm

[Edited 7/20/18 7:15am]

Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
 Reply w/quote - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #1 posted 07/10/18 7:35am


Liliane Montevecchi, Tony Winner for ‘Nine,’ Dies at 85


Liliane Montevecchi performing in 2016 at Feinstein’s/54 Below. In her cabaret act, she sang in English and French, exuding confidence and style.CreditJames Estrin/The New York Times

  • July 1, 2018

Liliane Montevecchi, the French-born actress, singer and dancer who won a Tony Award for her showstopping role as the producer in “Nine,” died on Friday at her home in Manhattan. She was 85.

Her friend Marc Rosen, who confirmed the death, said the cause was colon cancer.

Ms. Montevecchi was 50 and a runaway from American film and television when she was cast in “Nine,” the 1982 Broadway musical drama about a film director’s midlife crisis, based on the Federico Fellini film “8½.”


The role of the movie producer had been written for a man, but the character was reworked so that Ms. Montevecchi, who didn’t fit anywhere else in the show, could be cast. In “Folies Bergère,” her big number, she reveled in the joys of the good old days of show business, stopped to chat flirtatiously with audience members and ended up gloriously wrapped in a 30-foot-long black feather boa.


Frank Rich’s review in The New York Times described her as “a knockout — a glorious amalgam of music-hall feistiness and balletic grace, with Toulouse-Lautrec shadows about the eyes.” She received the Tony for best featured actress in a musical, beating two of her own “Nine” co-stars, Karen Akers and Anita Morris.


“Nine” was neither Ms. Montevecchi’s first Broadway show — although the earlier ones had been revues (“La Plume de Ma Tante” in 1958, “Folies Bergère” in 1964) — nor her last. She earned another Tony nomination, for a 1989 musical adaptation of “Grand Hotel,” in which she was Grushinskaya, the high-strung ballerina, nostalgic for her glory days, played by Greta Garbo in the 1932 film.


Later, when she worked in cabaret, Stephen Holden of The Times called her “an imperial presence.”

Liliane Dina Montevecchi was born on Oct. 13, 1932, in Paris, the only child of Franco Montevecchi, an Italian-born painter, and Janine Trinquet Montevecchi, a French-born hat designer. The couple soon divorced.


Liliane began taking ballet lessons when she was 9 or so and appearing onstage soon afterward. At 18, she was in Roland Petit’s company Les Ballets de Paris, where she became a prima ballerina. After she made her film debut in a small role in “Femmes de Paris” (1953), Hollywood called. She did two 1955 films, “The Glass Slipper” and “Daddy Long Legs,” both starring her countrywoman Leslie Caron and featuring Mr. Petit’s choreography.


Ms. Montevecchi, second from right, with other Tony Award winners in 1982. From left, they are Ben Harney and Jennifer Holliday, best actors in “Dreamgirls”; and Cleavant Derricks, best supporting actor in “Dreamgirls.”CreditAssociated Press Photo/Richard Drew

MGM signed her to a seven-year contract, but American movies largely wasted her. Over the next three years, she appeared in an odd assortment of small roles in seven films, including the war drama “The Young Lions” (1958), with Marlon Brando, in which she played a French escort with strong views about Nazis; the Jerry Lewis comedy “The Sad Sack” (1957), as a saucy, skimpily clad club performer in Morocco; and the Elvis Presley musical drama “King Creole” (1958), as a saucy, skimpily clad club performer in New Orleans.


After a few television roles in series like “77 Sunset Strip” and “Playhouse 90,” she returned to dancing, her first love, joining the Folies-Bergère in Las Vegas in 1964. She worked with that troupe and the Paris company for nine years.


Liliane Montevecchi : "Irma la douce" | 42e rueCreditVideo by France Musique

Basking in her new Broadway acclaim, she began her cabaret career in 1982. John S. Wilson of The Times called her first engagement, at Les Mouches in New York, a “brilliant, breathlessly fast-moving act.”


In her solo shows, she sang in both English and French, exuding confidence and style and nailed the double-entendres for decades. She also appeared in an acclaimed 1998 all-star revival of “Follies” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey; it seemed to be Broadway bound but never transferred.


Ms. Montevecchi, who was said never to have married, is survived by her longtime companion, Claudio Borin, who lives in Italy. “I’m set in my ways, and I’ve lived all my life alone,” she said in a 1982 television-news interview. “I don’t trust people a lot.”


She sometimes told friends about an impulsive wedding in Las Vegas and a marriage that lasted two weeks, but she never revealed the man’s name or provided evidence, they said.


She eventually returned to motion pictures, this time as a character actress. Her last film was “4 Days in France” (2016), as a rural Frenchwoman who gives advice to a lovelorn young gay man.


(“Don’t run after people.”) Before that, she appeared in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003) as a diamond magnate’s wife who flirts shamelessly with an advertising executive played by Matthew McConaughey.


Ms. Montevecchi never retired from cabaret performances, appearing at Feinstein’s 54/Below for the last time in 2016. “She didn’t know it was her last engagement,” Steven Minichiello, a close friend, recalled. “She expected to heal and go on forever. She was the master class in stage presence.”


In 2016, Ms. Montevecchi told the Woman Around Town website: “After all these years, it’s not O.K. to just do a show. Because you know more, you want to give more.”


Oliver Knussen, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Composer, Dies at 66


The composer Oliver Knussen conducting at Tanglewood, where he was head of contemporary music from 1986 to 1993.

CreditMichael J. Lutch for The New York Times

  • July 9, 2018

The British composer Oliver Knussen — who leapt to fame at 15 conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in his First Symphony, created a wild rumpus of an opera out of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” and championed contemporary composers as a conductor and mentor — died on Sunday in Snape, England. He was 66.


His death was announced by his publ...aber Music. The company did not specify the cause, but Mr. Knussen (NUH-sen) had battled health problems for years.

A bear of a man who was sometimes likened to one of Sendak’s Wild Things, Mr. Knussen was among the most influential British composers of his generation. His output was not huge — he became known for composing slowly, and missing deadlines — but he leaves behind a catalog of finely wrought works that, while rooted in 20th-century modernism, are beholden to no school but his own.


Many are miniatures or small of scale; even his Symphony No. 3, one of his most acclaimed works for full orchestra, clocks in at a swift 15 minutes. But they are intricate, and densely packed with rich detail: music from concentrate.

His influence extended far beyond his own pieces. He was also a respected conductor who mentored and championed living composers, including during stints as the artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival in Britain, and as the head of contemporary music at the Tanglewood Music Center, the summer academy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Berkshires, from 1986 to 1993.


“He has had a fertilizing and energizing effect on the whole of British music for the last 40 years,” the composer George Benjamin, a longtime friend and colleague, said in a telephone interview. “We have a lively and varied contemporary music world here in the U.K., and a lot of it is owed to him, because of the immensely generous encouragement he gave to generations and generations of composers.”


Stuart Oliver Knussen was born into a musical family in Glasgow on June 12, 1952. His father, Stuart Knussen, was the principal double bass of the London Symphony, giving Mr. Knussen access as a boy to many of the leading figures in the British music world, including the eminent composer Benjamin Britten.


“He invited me to tea — of course I was terribly shy — and treated me seriously,” Mr. Knussen recalled of Britten in an interview with The Guardian in 2012. “Was I doing counterpoint? Did I plan my pieces carefully? That kind of thing. He was very good at making you feel what you were doing was important, and as if you might be having the same sort of problems he had.”


A dress rehearsal for the New York City Opera production of Mr. Knussen’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” based on the book by Maurice Sendak, at Lincoln Center in 2011.CreditRichard Perry/The New York Times

It was through his father that Mr. Knussen got his first big breakthrough: the London Symphony’s performance of his Symphony No. 1, in 1968. He was not originally scheduled to conduct the piece, but stepped in when the scheduled conductor, Istvan Kertesz, fell ill. His achievement drew headlines around the world and made him an overnight sensation.

“I don’t like all this prodigy rubbish,” he said at the time. “I just started early.”

His precocious success, he later decided, was a double-edged sword. “It became a nine-day wonder — press photographers on the doorstep next morning and all that,” he recalled. He withdrew from the limelight and went to Tanglewood to work on his craft, and to study with the composer Gunther Schuller. (He eventually withdrew that youthful First Symphony.)


Mr. Knussen’s style was eclectic but precise. Some works, like “Hums and Songs of Winnie-the-Pooh,” for soprano and chamber ensemble, were whimsical. Others were weighty; his Second Symphony was a song cycle to texts by Georg Trakl and Sylvia Plath. Some subjects he returned to over the years: Decades after writing “Ophelia Dances” (1975), a Schumannesque ensemble piece, he refashioned an unused melody into the piano work “Ophelia’s Last Dance” (2010).

As he grew older he developed a reputation for perfectionism that sometimes meant he did not deliver commissions on time. “A piece wants to be what it wants to be, and the few times I’ve forced it to be something else to meet a deadline, I’ve regretted it,” he told The San Francisco Chronicle.


One of his most beloved works was “Where the Wild Things Are,” which he continued revising after its premiere in 1980 and which he paired with a subsequent opera also based on Sendak, “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” The diptych originated with a phone call from Sendak that began with a quiz. Sendak asked, “Can we just start by me asking you what you think is the best children’s opera ever written?”

“I said, ‘The second act of “Boris Godunov,’ ” Mr. Knussen recalled, eschewing the usual kiddie fare for Mussorgsky’s epic of intrigue and murder. “He said, ‘Right answer,’ and from that point on we became very close.”

Just as Britten had taken Mr. Knussen seriously when he was young, he became a dedicated mentor to young composers. Mark-Anthony Turnage, the composer of the opera “Anna Nicole,” said Mr. Knussen had given him much-needed confidence. “The teachers I had after him were a huge disappointment,” Mr. Turnage recalled in a telephone interview, “because he was so thorough.”

Mr. Knussen is survived by a daughter, Sonya, a mezzo-soprano, and a brother, Kenneth. His wife, Sue Knussen, a musician and director, died in 2003; they had separated but remained close. He wrote “Requiem — Songs for Sue” for her in 2006, after he had been hospitalized for what was described in the news media as an unspecified “major illness.”


For a while after that hospitalization, Mr. Knussen said he found it difficult to listen to music, let alone write it. But he was drawn back by Stravinsky and Berg, whose works he dived into.

“Listening in that kind of depth has left an enormous mark on the music I’ve written since,” he told The Guardian in 2006. “And I hope I can keep going that way.”


Tab Hunter, 86, 1950s Hollywood Heartthrob, Is Dead


Natalie Wood and Tab Hunter in the 1956 film “The Burning Hills,” one of two movies they made together. Warner Bros. tried to create the illusion that they were a couple.CreditPhotofest

  • July 9, 2018

Tab Hunter, the tall, blond, blue-eyed movie star who as a teenage idol in the 1950s was one of the last products of the Hollywood studio system — and who made an unlikely comeback in a very un-Hollywood film when he was almost 50 — died on Sunday in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 86.

His death was confirmed by his spouse, Allan Glaser, who said the cause was cardiac arrest after a blood clot moved from Mr. Hunter’s leg to his lung.


Arthur Gelien was 17 when the agent Henry Willson gave him a new name and added him to a roster of clients that included Rock Hudson, Robert Wagner and Rory Calhoun. “Acting skill,” Mr. Hunter said in his 2005 autobiography, “Tab Hunter Confidential” (written with Eddie Muller), “was secondary to chiseled features and a fine physique.”

He might not have had the skill, at least not yet, but he had the look; he was the epitome of the sunny all-American boy enshrined in decades of Hollywood films. His first audition for “Island of Desire” (1952) consisted of taking off his shirt. The screen test came later. On the basis of that movie, in which he played a brash Marine corporal marooned with Linda Darnell on a South Seas island, the readers of Photoplay magazine voted him the year’s No. 1 new male star.

His breakthrough movie was “Battle Cry” (1955), in which he played another Marine, at the beginning of World War II, who has a girlfriend back home and a steamy love affair with a married U.S.O. volunteer (Dorothy Malone) in San Diego. Its success led to a seven-year contract with Warner Bros.


In February 1956, Mr. Hunter received a reported 62,000 Valentines. He was the dream date of teenage girls on several continents. And he had a secret.

It was not until 50 years after “Battle Cry,” when he wrote his autobiography, that he publicly discussed his homosexuality; his love affair with the actor Anthony Perkins; the rage and wrath of his parish priest when, as a 14-year-old boy, he haltingly confessed what had happened in the dark of a movie theater; and years of being “painfully isolated, stranded between the casual homophobia of most ‘normal’ people and the flagrantly gay Hollywood subculture — where I was even less comfortable and less accepted.”


He was most comfortable on horseback, a lifelong passion. He had been discovered while shoveling manure at a riding academy in return for being allowed to ride. During his heady Warner Bros. years, he bought horses — and cars — that he could not afford. He had never had money before; now it spilled through his fingers.


Mr. Hunter and Divine in the John Waters film “Polyester” (1981), an unexpected success that revived Mr. Hunter’s career.CreditLarry Dean/New Line Cinema

His fame grew when he starred with Natalie Wood in two 1956 movies:“The Burning Hills,” a western, and “The Girl He Left Behind,” in which he played an arrogant rich boy turned into a man by the Army. (The studio also arranged to create the illusion of a romance by having the two stars be seen together in public.) When Warner Bros. made the movie version of the hit Broadway musical “Damn Yankees,” about a middle-aged fan who is turned into a young baseball superstar by the Devil, in 1958, Mr. Hunter played the superstar.


His reviews were sometimes terrible. In his memoir, he quoted one: “Since Mr. Hunter discloses not one redeeming feature as an actor, the picture misses fire whenever he’s around.”

Determined to turn himself into a real actor, Mr. Hunter sought out live television. He played a murderer on “Playhouse 90” and Jimmy Piersall, the major league baseball player who came back from a nervous breakdown, in a well-reviewed adaptation of the book “Fear Strikes Out” on the series “Climax.” But Warner Bros. refused to buy the movie rights to “Fear Strikes Out” for its teenage idol, and the film was made by Paramount, with Mr. Hunter’s sometime companion Anthony Perkins.


Frustrated, Mr. Hunter bought himself out of his Warner Bros. contract in 1959. The studio already had another actor under contract and ready to take his place: Troy Donahue, who was as tall and blond as Mr. Hunter but five years younger. (In his autobiography, Mr. Hunter said he had heard that when people mistook Mr. Donahue for him, Mr. Donahue would sometimes correct them by explaining, “I’m the straight one.”)


Leaving Warner Bros. proved to be a mistake. “I was a product of Hollywood,” Mr. Hunter said in 1981. “And one morning, I woke up and couldn’t get arrested.”

He never stopped working, but he would not return to the spotlight until the maverick filmmaker John Waters cast him in his quirky “Polyester” (1981) and made him hip for a new generation.


Arthur Andrew Kelm was born in Manhattan on July 11, 1931, to a forbidding German immigrant mother and a father who welcomed his birth by tossing a nickel candy bar on his wife’s hospital bed and leaving her to carry the baby home to their tenement in a borrowed blanket. By the time Arthur was 3, Charles Kelm had departed, leaving Arthur only the memory of begging his father to stop beating his mother.


Gertrude Kelm reclaimed her maiden name, Gelien, and moved with her two sons first to San Francisco, where she was gone for weeks at a time as a stewardess on cruise ships, and then to Southern California, where she held various jobs. “The constant in my early life was my brother,” Mr. Hunter wrote. Schools and cities blurred, but his brother, Walter, 11 months older, who would die in Vietnam leaving behind seven children, was always there.


Mr. Hunter in 1967. Horseback riding was a lifelong passion of his.CreditAssociated Press

At 15, Mr. Hunter lied about his age and joined the Coast Guard. Whenever he got leave, he hitchhiked from Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley to ride. Discharged a year later when the Coast Guard discovered he was underage, he finished high school at the urging of the actor Dick Clayton, who had met him when he was 12 and working at a stable and told him, “If you ever want to get into pictures, talk to me.”


Unable to afford horses, he found a less expensive passion, figure skating — which led to a romance with Ronnie Robertson, who would win a silver medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics.

Although, as Mr. Hunter wrote, “I didn’t long for an acting career, not in the way I longed to be on the ice or at the stables,” Mr. Clayton brokered an introduction to Mr. Willson, who had cornered the market in wholesome all-American boys. Mr. Willson gave him his name and his start, but Mr. Hunter became a client of Mr. Clayton, who had given up acting to become an agent, just before “Battle Cry” made him a star.


At around the same time, the scandal magazine Confidential revealed that Mr. Hunter had been among several people arrested five years earlier at a gay house party. (The magazine called it a “queer romp” attended by “a load of shrill nances.”) The charge, being “idle, lewd or dissolute,” was later reduced to disturbing the peace, and he received a suspended sentence and a $50 fine. But in those button-down days, such a revelation could have ruined his career.

Warner Bros. chose to ignore it, and eventually the public did too. “Remember this: Today’s headlines — tomorrow’s toilet paper,” Mr. Hunter recalled the studio’s Jack Warner telling him a few months later when Mr. Hunter was named the most promising new male personality of 1955 in an audience poll conducted by the Council of Motion Picture Organizations. (Among those he beat for that honor were Harry Belafonte and Jack Lemmon.)


His image untarnished, Mr. Hunter remained in the public eye. Though by his own admission he was not much of a singer, his recording of “Young Love” rose to No. 1 on Billboard’s pop chart in 1957 and stayed there for five weeks. In the 1960-61 television season he starred in an NBC sitcom, “The Tab Hunter Show.”


But not long after that, Mr. Hunter — over 30, no longer under contract and no longer in demand — was considered a has-been.


He stayed busy. He made, as he put it, “a lot of Mickey Mouse movies” overseas. In his memoir he recalled that when he was in Madrid in 1967 to make “The Christmas Kid,” a western, he ran into Jeffrey Hunter, there to make a thriller that would be released as “The Fickle Finger of Fate.” Figuring that the producers wouldn’t know Jeffrey Hunter from Tab Hunter, they switched movies.


Mr. Hunter with Olivia, one of his two whippets, in 2005 at his home in Montecito, Calif.CreditStephanie Diani for The New York Times

Most of Mr. Hunter’s American films in the 1960s and ’70s — among them “Operation Bikini” (1963), “Hostile Guns” (1967) and “Timber Tramps” (1975) — were similarly forgettable, although he did have small roles in the major studio films “The Loved One” (1965) and “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” (1972) and even a brief stint on Broadway in an ill-fated 1964 production of Tennessee Williams’s “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore” starring Tallulah Bankhead. He was also seen throughout the ’70s in guest roles on TV shows like “Police Woman” and “The Love Boat.”


But mostly there was dinner theater and summer stock, where faded movie stars were always welcome. He toured for years, from Ogunquit, Me., to Charlotte, N.C., and from Warwick, R.I., to Salt Lake City. The touring ended when Mr. Waters asked Mr. Hunter to play the suave, seductive Todd Tomorrow and cavort with the drag performer Divine, as a suburban housewife named Francine Fishpaw, in “Polyester.”


Mr. Waters, best known at the time for challenging the notion of good taste in underground films like “Pink Flamingos,” said he wanted Mr. Hunter for the part because “to me, he has always been the ultimate movie star.” His script, which sent up Hollywood clichés, made Mr. Hunter laugh, and he took the part despite warnings that it would kill his career.

It did not. “Polyester,” released in 1981, was an unexpected success, with critics as well as at the box office. It was both Mr. Waters’s first mainstream hit and Mr. Hunter’s ticket out of dinner theater.


Four years later, when Mr. Hunter reunited with Divine for the comedy western “Lust in the Dust,” he was not just the co-star but one of the producers. “Lust in the Dust” was also a hit, and Mr. Hunter and Divine planned to make more movies together. Those plans ended when Divine died suddenly in 1988.


That same year, Mr. Hunter’s comeback ended — by choice. After that, except for playing a small part in the 1992 movie “Dark Horse,” a family drama based on a story he wrote, he did no more acting and spent his last years living in Montecito, Calif., near Santa Barbara, with his dogs, his horses and Mr. Glaser, his business and personal partner since 1983. They married shortly after same-sex marriage became legal in California, Mr. Glaser said. He leaves no other immediate survivors.


Mr. Hunter’s last screen appearance was in a 2015 documentary titled, like his autobiography, “Tab Hunter Confidential.”

He called the last chapter of his autobiography “Happy to Be Forgotten.” “I can go anywhere and for the first time in my adult life be unrecognized,” he wrote.


Occasionally, he said, a fan would mistake him for Troy Donahue and tell him that she loved him in “A Summer Place.” “These days,” he said, “I might even agree to be Troy Donahue for that moment, just for the hell of it.”


[Edited 7/10/18 8:55am]

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Cecily Releases New Album Songs of Love and Freedom

Vocalist and songwriter Cecily releases her first full album entitled Songs of Love and Freedom on May 4th. The sound pulls heavily from 1970’s soul and R&B, specifically the work of Gil Scott-Heron, The Isley Brothers, and Norman Connors. On this project Cecily collaborated with Aaron Abernathy, Diggs Duke, Drew Kid, and John Daise and Brother Spanky of the group Columbia Nights.


Cecily explains the inspiration behind the project, “With each song I tried to capture a moment. I tried to give you the moment I sat in the grass in London feeling the sun on my face appreciating not having to please anyone but myself. I tried to give you the moment I was in Ghana’s lush green Volta region and felt the power of Wli Falls spraying my back — how alive that felt! I tried to give you the moment I sat in my room in silence looking at Spring outside my window and knew that the Universe was holding my hand and leading the way, if only I let my ego go. I tried to give you the moment I learned of the murder of Jordan Edwards, just 15 years old and killed by a police officer. The moment I found Hope in hopelessness.”

Known for her sweet soprano, honest lyrics, and pure vocals, Cecily brings her own vulnerability to each song, telling her story, and hopes that, at the end, the audience feels vulnerable enough to tell their own stories.


In her hometown of Washington, DC Cecily has opened for Grammy Award winning jazz and soul artist Gregory Porter, R&B stars Johnny Gill, Kenny Lattimore, Elle Varner, and alternative soul pioneer Bilal. She has played at the legendary Blues Alley, as well as The Kennedy Center, The Hamilton, The Howard Theater, and Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club.

Cecily is currently a Strathmore-Artist-in-Residence and will present her album release concert at the The Strathmore Mansion on May 9th.


Website: Bandcamp:





Zayn Malik Covers Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love': Listen


7/8/2018 by Hilary Hughes

Zayn Malik hasn't released new original music in a minute, but he's holding fans over with a woozy new cover of a classic in the meantime.

"Can't Help Falling in Love" is one of Elvis Presley's most recognizable, adored hits, and has been making listeners swoon since 1961, when it first hit the airwaves. Malik tried his hand at the tune, giving it an R&B update for 2018 by working in some digital flourishes, echoing guitars and haunting piano chords.


Malik has been dropping hints that the follow-up to his 2016 solo debut, Mind of Mine, will be hitting the earbuds of eager fans sooner vs. later. He's kept it crypticon Instagram with the occasional poetry post or sound snippet, and he released his latest epic song and music video, "Let Me," back in April.

His recent cover of Beyoncé's "Me, Myself and I" offered another promise that the album was coming soon, and the brief text accompanying "Can't Help Falling in Love" keeps that anticipation going, too: it simply reads "Z2 is coming..."

Listen to Malik's version of "Can't Help Falling in Love" below.

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McKenna Bray is an Americana singer-songwriter born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She has a sweet, soulful voice reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.
Acting on a family dare, McKenna Bray auditioned for American Idol. Surprised to get a call back, McKenna had to face the scary truth that she had no performance history or vocal training. A week before her audition, she reached out to singer-songwriter & Madjack recording artist, Susan Marshall, for help. Though American Idol did not work out, the relationship between the two singers blossomed into Susan producing McKenna’s debut album for the Madjack Record label and managing McKenna full time.

After a year of intense artist development (enhancing her skills on the guitar and piano, and continuing to grow as a songwriter), McKenna, along with her band, began performing at venues around the Memphis area. In the summer of 2017, she also toured several mid-south colleges for Universal Cheerleaders Association, UCA. It was then that McKenna was invited to perform the National Anthem at the grand opening of “The Arena” in Walt Disney World.

Her full length album, “Once In a Blue Moon” was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN, produced by Susan Marshall, engineered by Jeff Powell and mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer Matt Ross-Spang. It is scheduled to be released Friday, June 29, 2018. Her debut single, “The Way I Loved You” is available now.



01 – Hit n’ Run
02 – Dive
03 – Once in a Blue Moon
04 – Who’s That Knockin’
05 – Don’t Let Me Go
06 – Gone
07 – The Way I Loved You
08 – Cold in This House
09 – Dead End
10 – Lay Me Down

Tom Petty ‘An American Treasure’ Box Set: Details

by Best Classic Bands Staff

The teaser image first appeared on July 9

SiriusXM’s Tom Petty Radio channel broke the news on July 10 that An American Treasure, a new box set of 60 previously unreleased studio recordings and live material, rarities and more from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will be released on Sept. 28. (An unverified listing of the songs is below.)

Today (July 11), more details emerged.

An American Treasure will be available in a variety of physical formats: a Super Deluxe 4-CD box set; deluxe 4-CD box set; a standard 2-CD set (with 26 songs) and a 6-LP vinyl box set (coming Nov. 23).

The Super Deluxe edition features all 60 tracks on 4-CDs (plus a digital download version). It contains an 84-page hardbound book expanded from the Deluxe Edition to include many additional photographs and an essay by renowned author Nicholas Dawidoff – written especially for An American Treasure – that speaks to Tom Petty’s presence in our lives and influence on our culture for more than 40 years. The package also includes a newly created lithograph of Shepard Fairey’s cover artwork, as well as custom reproductions of Petty’s handwritten lyrics to four songs featured in this collection and a numbered certificate of authenticity.

On July 11, the video for a previously unreleased track, “Keep a Little Soul,” premiered. The song, recorded in 1982 during the Long After Dark sessions, features Petty (electric piano), Mike Campbell (guitar), Benmont Tench (guitar, organ), Howie Epstein (bass, backing vocals) and Stan Lynch (drums, backing vocals). At the song’s conclusion, Petty can be heard saying in the studio, “That was fun.”


Petty’s social media pages had been teasing an announcement in the previous 24 hours with various images. Suddenly, at 5:45 p.m. Eastern on July 10, came the final tease of a “very special announcement today at 3PM (Pacific)!” At that time, a live version of Petty’s “The Waiting” played, followed by the revelation about the new collection.

The box set is a collaboration between Petty’s wife, Dana, his daughter, Adria Petty, Heartbreakers bandmates Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, and Petty’s longtime studio collaborator, Ryan Ulyate.

Adria Petty told CBS This Morning’s Anthony Mason: “The criteria was songs that we all felt really said something about dad… It’s such a strange thing to lose someone like him. He was much cooler than people could imagine. And I think a lot of people thought he was pretty cool.”


One of the images teased on Petty’s social media accounts on July 10

The collection’s Friday, Sept. 28 release date will essentially mark the first year anniversary of Petty’s death on Oct. 2, 2017. (New recordings are released on Fridays worldwide.)

Since the teaser campaign began, Petty fans had been speculating that a much-discussed expanded edition of his Wildflowers album was about to be reissued.

Petty was just 66 when he died, one of the youngest of the great rock and roll generation’s stars. He and the Heartbreakers had just completed a 40th Anniversary tour, with a final concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 25, 2017.

Once available for pre-order, An American Treasure will be available here.

An American Treasure 4-CD Track Listing

CD 1


The Super Deluxe edition

Surrender (Previously unreleased track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sessions—1976)
Listen To Her Heart (Live at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA—November 11, 1977)
Anything That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll (Live at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA—November 11, 1977)
When The Time Comes (Album track from You’re Gonna Get It!—May 2, 1978)
You’re Gonna Get It (Alternate version featuring strings from You’re Gonna Get It! sessions—1978)
Radio Promotion Spot (1977)
Rockin’ Around (With You) (Album track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers —November 9, 1976)
Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It) (Alternate version from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers—1976)
Breakdown (Live at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA—November 11, 1977)
The Wild One, Forever (Album track from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers—November 9, 1976)
No Second Thoughts (Album track from You’re Gonna Get It!—May 2, 1978)
Here Comes My Girl (Alternate version from Damn The Torpedoes sessions—1979)
What Are You Doing In My Life (Alternate version from Damn The Torpedoes sessions—1979)
Louisiana Rain (Alternate version from Damn The Torpedoes sessions—1979)
Lost In Your Eyes (Previously unreleased single from Mudcrutch sessions—1974)

CD 2
Keep A Little Soul (Previously unreleased track from Long After Dark sessions—1982)
Even The Losers (Live at Rochester Community War Memorial, Rochester, NY—1989)
Keeping Me Alive (Previously unreleased track from Long After Dark sessions—1982)
Don’t Treat Me Like A Stranger (B-side to UK single of “I Won’t Back Down”—April, 1989)
The Apartment Song (Demo recording (with Stevie Nicks)—1984)
Concert Intro (Live introduction by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
King’s Road (Live at The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
Clear The Aisles (Live concert announcement by Tom Petty, The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me) (Live at The Forum, Inglewood, CA—June 28, 1981)
Straight Into Darkness (Alternate version from The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—May 5, 1982)
You Can Still Change Your Mind (Album track from Hard Promises—May 5, 1981)
Rebels (Alternate version from Southern Accents sessions—1985)
Deliver Me (Alternate version from Long After Dark sessions—1982)
Alright For Now (Album track from Full Moon Fever—April 24, 1989)
The Damage You’ve Done (Alternate version from Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) sessions—1987)
The Best Of Everything (Alternate version from Southern Accents sessions—March 26, 1985)
Walkin’ From The Fire (Previously unreleased track from Southern Accents sessions—March 1, 1984)
King Of The Hill (Early take (with Roger McGuinn)—November 23, 1987)

CD 3
I Won’t Back Down (Live at The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA—February 4, 1997)
Gainesville (Previously unreleased track from Echo sessions—February 12, 1998)
You And I Will Meet Again (Album track from Into The Great Wide Open—July 2, 1991)
Into The Great Wide Open (Live at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena—November 24, 1991)
Two Gunslingers (Live at The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY—May 25, 2013)
Lonesome Dave (Previously unreleased track from Wildflowers sessions—July 23, 1993)
To Find A Friend (Album track from Wildflowers—November 1, 1994)
Crawling Back To You (Album track from Wildflowers—November 1, 1994)
Wake Up Time (Previously unreleased track from early Wildflowers sessions—August 12, 1992)
Grew Up Fast (Album track from Songs and Music from “She’s the One”—August 6, 1996)
I Don’t Belong (Previously unreleased track from Echo sessions—December 3, 1998)
Accused Of Love (Album track from Echo—April 13, 1999)
Lonesome Sundown (Album track from Echo—April 13, 1999)
Don’t Fade On Me (Previously unreleased track from Wildflowers—sessions—April 20, 1994)

CD 4
You And Me (Clubhouse version—November 9, 2007)
Have Love Will Travel (Album track from The Last DJ—October 8, 2002)
Money Becomes King (Album track from The Last DJ—October 8, 2002)
Bus To Tampa Bay (Previously unreleased track from Hypnotic Eye sessions—August 11, 2011)
Saving Grace (Live at Malibu Performing Arts Center, Malibu, CA—June 16, 2006)
Down South (Album track from Highway Companion—July 25, 2006)
Southern Accents (Live at Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL—September 21, 2006)
Insider Live (with Stevie Nicks at O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL—September 21, 2006)
Two Men Talking (Previously unreleased track from Hypnotic Eye sessions—November 16, 2012)
Fault Lines (Album track from Hypnotic Eye—July 29, 2014)
Sins Of My Youth (Early take from Hypnotic Eye sessions—November 12, 2012)
Good Enough (Alternate version from Mojo sessions—2012)
Something Good Coming (Album track from Mojo—July 15, 2010)
Save Your Water (Album track from Mudcrutch 2—May 20, 2016)
Like A Diamond (Alternate version from The Last DJ sessions—2002)
Hungry No More (Live at House of Blues, Boston, MA—June 15, 2016)

Parton, Ronstadt, Harris Trio Earn Hollywood Star

by Best Classic Bands Staff


Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, who collaborated on two Trio albums, were among the names announced on June 25 to receive a 2019 star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They’ll receive their star as an ensemble. For Parton, that’ll make it a pair: she received the honor in 1984.

Among the many celebrities who’ll receive stars next year: film actors Robert De Niro and Daniel Craig, TV stars Candice Bergen and Alvin and the Chipmunks, and recording artists Jackie Wilson and Faith Hill.

The three mega-popular singers first convened in the ’70s but did not begin working on a full album together until Trio. With Parton, Ronstadt and Harris sharing lead vocals, Trio was released in 1987 to enormous success. The Platinum album was #1 on the country chart and #6 on the pop albums chart, earning a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The recording featured such acclaimed musicians as Leland Sklar, Herb Pedersen, Albert Lee, Russ Kunkel and Ry Cooder. More than a decade later, a follow-up, Trio II, was not quite as successful but still went Gold.


A collection of the two albums, with previously unreleased material, was issued in 2016.

Related: Our interview with Ronstadt

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of stars on a public sidewalk which stretches on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, in the heart of Hollywood. More than 2600 stars have been honored since it was established in the 1960s, including such luminaries as David Bowie, Don Rickles, Sonny & Cher, Steve McQueen, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.


“The Walk of Fame Selection Committee is pleased to announce our newest honorees to the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said the organization’s Chairman Vin Di Bona. “The Committee always tries to select a group of talented honorees that appeal in various genres of the entertainment world. I feel the Committee has outdone themselves and I know the fans, tourists and the Hollywood community will be pleased with our selections. We are excited to see each and every honoree’s face as they unveil that majestic star on Hollywood’s most famous walkway.”

[Edited 7/11/18 7:52am]

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Ashlee Simpson’s New Reality

The pop-rock songstress and MTV star gave up celebrity in 2008. Now she has a whole new famous family, and they’re coming for the Kardashians’s time slot.


Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross in their home in Los Angeles.CreditAdam Amengual for The New York Times

By Allie Jones

  • July 10, 2018

Did you miss Ashlee Simpson?

The occasionally brunette younger sister of the always-blonde Jessica Simpson has led a quiet, private life in Los Angeles for the last decade. So if you forgot about her stints in MTV reality television (“Newlyweds,” “The Ashlee Simpson Show”), or the three pop-rock albums that followed those shows (“Autobiography,” “I Am Me” and “Bittersweet World”), or her marriage to Pete Wentz (now you remember), consider it forgiven.

After the birth of her first child, in 2008, Ms. Simpson retreated from fame to focus on motherhood. Now, at 33, she says she is ready to “jump back in the pool.”

This fall, she will release a new album, launch a clothing line and star in a reality show for E! — all at the same time. The synergistic approach worked for her before: “The Ashlee Simpson Show,” which cast her as the rebellious, dark horse sister of a pop princess, helped her first album go triple platinum in 2004.

A lot has changed since then. When Ms. Simpson’s eponymous reality show premiered on MTV, only a few celebrities, like Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith, had embraced the medium. Ms. Simpson’s father and then-manager, Joe Simpson, saw in television an opportunity for his daughters. He first engineered a new level of fame for Jessica beyond her singing career with the 2003 MTV reality show “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica”; it focused on Jessica’s “dumb blonde” antics, Christian upbringing and young marriage to the 98 Degrees frontman Nick Lachey. For “The Ashlee Simpson Show,” Mr. Simpson, a former pastor, abandoned the Christian message and presented Ashlee as a success-driven teen determined to get out from under her sister’s shadow. Both shows were immediate hits and made the Simpsons household names.

Joe Simpson overseeing his daughter’s hair and makeup before her appearance on “Live! With Regis and Kelly” on Sept. 21, 2004.CreditHiroyuki Ito for The New York Times
Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy and Ms. Simpson at a nightclub opening in New York in 2007.CreditBryan Bedder/Getty Images

Today, the reality TV pool is a vast ocean, populated by innumerable attractive people with entertaining family dynamics. The Kardashian sisters picked up right where the Simpsons left off when they launched their reality show on E! in 2008 and have since created a billion-dollar brand. When Ms. Simpson’s new show premieres in September, it will air in the time slot following “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” (Again, synergy.)


As of this moment, the sisters from Calabasas are the biggest names in reality. But Ms. Simpson has a new family dynamic that she hopes will be entertaining enough to differentiate her from the pack. In 2014, she married Evan Ross, the youngest son of Diana Ross and the late Norwegian businessman Arne Naess, Jr. (Like many of his siblings, Mr. Ross uses his mother’s last name.) This unlikely union, between a former teen reality star from Waco, Tex., and the son of a pop legend, who grew up palling around with Michael Jackson in his mother’s Greenwich, Conn., home, will be the focus of the series, titled “Ashlee & Evan.”

Mr. Ross, who sings and acts in the Fox series “Star,” will also share top billing on Ms. Simpson’s new album. The couple has recorded a series of soulful duets — inspired, they say, by those performed by Ms. Ross and Marvin Gaye in the 1970s — and they will release a new track with each episode of the show. (The clothing line is similarly a joint effort: It is named after the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Jagger Snow, and features gender-neutral pieces reflective of the couple’s tendency to share clothes.)


The family’s decision to pursue reality TV was born of a desire to broadcast their happiness, Ms. Simpson said on a recent Friday afternoon in a recording studio in Hollywood, sitting on a deep leather couch next to her husband.

Both she and Mr. Ross were wearing slim, light-wash jeans and oversized white T-shirts, and the two were physically expressive with each other, taking turns praising each other’s talents in conversation. At one point, Mr. Ross sat on the arm of the couch above Ms. Simpson and rubbed her shoulders. They said they were happy and they did seem that way.

But they had a problem. “I feel like people see pictures of us, but they don’t know us,” Ms. Simpson said. It’s an issue they hope reality TV will fix.


O.K., but Can We Talk About Diana?

Mr. Ross and Ms. Simpson were married on a drizzly day in August 2014, at Diana Ross’s estate in Greenwich, Conn. The bride wore a white lace crop-top wedding dress and a feathered tiara; the groom wore a black velvet tuxedo and a Homburg hat. Ms. Ross’s backyard was strung with dream-catchers and flicke...e lanterns to reflect the couple’s “bohemian” style, and a choir closed the ceremony with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

The event was a true blending of famous families: The groom’s half sisters, Chudney Ross, Rhonda Ross and the Emmy-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross, were bridesmaids, and Jessica Simpson was the matron of honor. Jessica’s husband, the former N.F.L. tight end Eric Johnson, was a groomsman, and the couple’s children, Max and Ace, filled the roles of flower girl and ring bearer. The bridesmaids reportedly all wore heels from the Jessica Simpson Collection (available at a Macy’s near you).

Diana Ross not only hosted but officiated the couple’s ceremony and later, performed at the reception.

“It was amazing,” Mr. Ross said. “I kept telling people before the wedding, ‘I think Mom’s gonna perform.’ She had never said she would, so she was like, ‘You better stop telling people I’m performing at your wedding!’ And then right after the wedding, we’re at the party, and all of the sudden I could hear Mom’s voice coming over, and she sang ‘Endless Love.’”

It was “magical,” said Ms. Simpson, who also goes by Ashlee Simpson-Ross. “I love her so much.”

Mr. Ross and Ms. Simpson grew up across the country from each other, where both dreamed of becoming famous someday. Ms. Simpson got her start playing a teenage babysitter on the Christian family drama “7th Heaven” before breaking out as a personality on “Newlyweds.” “The Ashlee Simpson Show” followed shortly thereafter, when Ms. Simpson was 19 years old. Mr. Ross, who is now 29, said he caught the bug even earlier. “I think I was always singing and dancing for somebody,” he said, in a light, melodic voice. “I can’t imagine you not!” Ms. Simpson said, laughing and clasping his hand.

Naturally, the two met through friends at a club in Hollywood. Mr. Ross said he was — is — good friends with one of Ms. Simpson’s ex-boyfriends, the spiky haired singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera, who featured heavily on “The Ashlee Simpson Show.” Mr. Ross and Ms. Simpson started dating officially in 2013, two years after Ms. Simpson split from her first husband, Pete Wentz, of the band Fall Out Boy. (Ms. Simpson and Mr. Wentz share a 9-year-old son, Bronx Mowgli.)

USPS to Dedicate John Lennon Forever Stamp on Sept. 7

by Best Classic Bands Staff

John-Lennon-USPS-2018-Stamp.jpgThe U.S. Postal Service revealed on Dec. 12, 2017 that John Lennon would be the latest addition to its Music Icons series, with a stamp featuring the late Beatle. In their announcement, the USPS noted that the newest stamp: “honors singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940–1980), a rock ’n’ roll hero successful both as a founding member of the Beatles and as a solo artist.”

On July 10, the USPS shared details of the dedication ceremony to be held Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. in New York City’s Central Park at the Naumburg Bandshell, which is mid-park at 71 St., within minutes of his longtime home at the Dakota at Central Park West and W. 72 St. The ceremony, to be officiated by Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan, is free to attend and is open to the public.

The Bandshell is a short walk away from Central Park’s Strawberry Fields, the living memorial to Lennon, officially dedicated on Oct. 9, 1985, the 45th anniversary of his birth.

On May 10, the USPS unveiled new artwork for the Lennon stamp, part of the Forever series. The stamp features a photograph of Lennon taken by noted rock-and-roll photographer Bob Gruen in August 1974. Taken on the rooftop of Lennon’s Manhattan apartment, the photograph is part of a series of images taken by Gruen during the photo session for Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges.

John-Lennon-2018-Stamp.jpgFrom the original announcement: “The original black-and-white photograph has been treated in gradations of color: from yellow orange to red in the top row, from red to light purple in the second row, from light purple to dark purple in the third row and from dark purple to blue in the bottom row. Lennon’s signature appears at the top of the stamps. ‘USA,’ the peace symbol, and the Forever denomination appear along the bottom.

“The stamp pane is designed to resemble a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve. One side of the pane includes the stamps and brief text about Lennon’s legacy, with the image of a sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of the sleeve.

“This black-and-white photograph of Lennon seated at his white piano appears on the reverse side of the stamp pane, along with Lennon’s signature and the Music Icons series logo.

John-Lennon-USPS-2018-Reverse.jpg“Taken by photographer Peter Fordham, the original photograph was used to promote Lennon’s landmark 1971 solo album, Imagine.”

From the USPS: “The USPS launched the Music Icons stamp series in 2013. The selected performers for the series, representing diverse eras and types of music, are featured on stamps with panes that feature the Music Icons logo so that each issue is branded like a record label release. Each pane resembles the sleeve of a 45 rpm single, with the sliver of a record seeming to peek out the top of one side, and a full color ‘cover’ image on the other.”

Tejano performer Lydia Mendoza inaugurated the Music Icons series in May 2013. The following month, country star Johnny Cash was featured as the second of the series. In September 2013, Ray Charles became the third honoree. Jimi Hendrix received the honor as the fourth entry in March 2014. Janis Joplin joined the short list in August 2014. One year later, in August 2015, Elvis Presley was added to the Music Icons series.


The Janis Joplin stamp, issued by the USPS in 2014

In the Dec. 12 announcement, the USPS revealed that a stamp honoring legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne would be added to the Black Heritage series, and that Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) would have his own stamp, noting, “His groundbreaking public television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity and honesty.”

Related: The Royal Mail created a in 2017

The USPS has a detailed list of rules for stamp subject selection criteria which include:

“U.S. postage stamps and stationery will primarily feature American or American-related subjects. Other subjects may be considered if the subject had significant impact on American history, culture or environment.

“The Postal Service will honor extraordinary and enduring contributions to American society, history, culture or environment.

“Living people will not be considered at the present time. Beginning in 2018, proposals for a deceased individual will be considered three years following his/her death.”

Lennon received his U.S. Resident Alien registration in 1976 and was told he would be eligible for U.S. citizenship in five years. He was slain in December 1980 before he had the opportunity to do so.

Ann Wilson of Heart Releases Song From ‘Immortal’

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Ann Wilson (Photo: Kimberly Adamis; used with permission)

Heart’s Ann Wilson has released “I Am the Highway” as the first track from her new album Immortal, due out Sept. 14 on BMG. The album features 10 tracks that pay tribute to some of Wilson’s influences and friends who’ve recently passed.

“I Am The Highway”originally an Audioslave song that was sung by the late Chris Cornell and written with his bandmates–was released on July 6 across all digital platforms. The song is also available as an instant-grat track with album pre-orders.

Pre-order Immortal here.

“The song is strong, confident, spiritual,” says Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wilson of “I Am The Highway.” “It’s about a person who refuses to be tied down to the mundane, who is constantly looking for freedom and independence on a more universal scale, not just ordinary everyday reality. It was the cry of a soul, and it’s a beautiful song. Chris and I were friends; we had a lot in common, we were both outsiders in a way. He left us with amazing music.”


For Immortal, which marks her debut for BMG, Wilson has teamed with original Heart producer Mike Flicker (Dreamboat Annie, Magazine, Little Queen, Dog and Butterfly and Bebe Le Strange, among others). “Mike was the first producer to believe in me,” Wilson says in a press release. “He was my first teacher in the studio and knows how to provide that special support needed to bring out my soul in the recording process. It is exciting to work with him for the first time since 1980. I have traveled many, many miles since then but the old feeling is still there and fresh on Immortal. He has fearlessly helped me bring my ideas to life once again and it’s been a great collaboration.”

Related: We asked Wilson, Beck and...ating with

Wilson chose the album title Immortal after revealing some working titles early on in the project. “The original working titles evolved as the concept for the album evolved. a little bit at a time,” she explained in the announcement. “As my understanding of what I had undertaken grew and clarified, I realized a larger truth; that the souls may have departed but the songs will forever be their resonances. These are the poets of our time and their expressions must be handed down. Poetry is lasting and elemental like carvings in rock.”

Songs include covers of Glenn Frey (Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane”), Leonard Cohen (“A Thousand Kisses Deep”), Amy Winehouse (“Back to Black”), David Bowie (“I’m Afraid of Americans”) and Tom Petty (“Luna”).

Of “Life in the Fast Lane,” she says, “I’ve always liked this song because it tells a great story. I’ve taken it out of the old ’70s feel and put it into a more tribal feel… and tell the story my way. I had the thrill of seeing the Eagles when we were first putting Heart together. I was so blown away; I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. They were great players, great singers… the songs were great.”

Wilson says the criteria for choosing these songs was easy. “First of all, I had to love them! They had to be songs I could get inside of authentically as a singer. Lyrics are important to me but the most important thing is always the marriage of words and melody that makes the song magic!”

Immortal includes special guests Jeff Beck, Warren Haynes and Ben Mink.

Immortal Track Listing

“A Different Corner” (George Michael)
“A Thousand Kisses Deep” (Leonard Cohen)
“Back to Black” (Amy Winehouse)
“Baker Street” (Gerry Rafferty)
“I Am the Highway” (Chris Cornell, Audioslave)
“I’m Afraid of Americans” (David Bowie)
“Life in the Fast Lane” (Joe Walsh, The Eagles) in honor of Glenn Frey
“Luna” (Tom Petty)
“Politician” (Cream) in honor of Jack Bruce
“You Don’t Own Me” (Lesley Gore)

Ann Wilson Headlining Dates (Tickets are available here and here)

Jul 11 – Jacksonville, OR – Britt Pavilion
Jul 12 – Lemoore, CA – Tachi Palace
Jul 14 – Albuquerque, NM – Route 66 Casino
Jul 15 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up
Sep 21 – Lincoln, CA – Thunder Valley Casino (with Cheap Trick)

Stars Align Tour Dates

Jul 18 – West Valley City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
Jul 20 – Los Angeles, CA – Five Point Amphitheatre
Jul 22 – Chula Vista, CA – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Jul 24 – Houston, TX – Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
Jul 25 – Dallas, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
Jul 28 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Jul 29 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Jul 31 – Clarkston, MI -DTE Energy Music Theatre
Aug 01 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
Aug 03 – Boston, MA – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Aug 04 – Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion
Aug 07 – Lewiston, NY – Art Park (Jeff Beck, Ann Wilson)
Aug 08 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Aug 10 – Indianapolis, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
Aug 11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Hall (Jeff Beck, Ann Wilson)
Aug 12 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug 14 – Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Aug 17 – Nashville, TN – Nashville Municipal Auditorium
Aug 19 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
Aug 20 – Vienna, VA – Wolftrap (Jeff Beck, Ann Wilson)
Aug 22 – Atlanta, GA – Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Aug 23 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place
Aug 25 – West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre
Aug 26 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

Bangles Rare Performance at Arroyo Seco Fest: See

by Best Classic Bands Staff

The Bangles performing “In Your Room” at Arroyo Seco, Pasadena, Calif., June 24, 2018

The Bangles made an increasingly rare appearance at the 2018 Arroyo Seco festival in Pasadena, Calif., which took place June 23-24. (The stellar lineup also included classic rock favorites Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Pretenders, Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, Alanis Morissette, the Revolution, and Los Lobos, among many others.)


But it was the Bangles‘ 11-song set, with those beautiful harmonies, on the event’s closing day – just their second known performance of 2018 – that raised eyebrows for its rare occurrence.


The band opened with a one-two punch of “Hazy Shade of Winter” and followed it with “Manic Monday.” The set also included “In Your Room,” “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Eternal Flame.” (Each song was a Top 5 U.S. pop single between 1986-1989.) See the complete setlist below.

Watch the Bangles rock on “In Your Room”

Manic Monday

The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1981 by Debbi Peterson (drums), Vicki Peterson (lead guitar), Annette Zilinskas (bass guitar) and Susanna Hoffs (rhythm guitar). For this performance, they were reunited with Zilinskas; Amanda Podany also joined for this show.


Towards the end of the performance, Hoffs said, “We love you guys. Thank you so much for [unintelligible] our music for over 30 years.”


The Bangles, June 24, 2018, Arroyo Sec Setlist

A Hazy Shade of Winter
Manic Monday
I’m in Line
Going Down to Liverpool
If She Knew What She Wants
September Gurls
Want You
In Your Room
Hero Takes a Fall
Eternal Flame
Walk Like an Egyptian

The Bangles played three December 2016 shows at Los Angeles’ Whisky A Go Go. On June 26, they announced a free concert in Los Angeles as part of the Pershing Square Summer Stage anniversary series, to be held on July 14. Fans wishing to attend must register here. Though they have not revealed any other future dates, we can only hope.

‘Yellow Submarine’: 50th Anniversary Screenings

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Beatles-Yellow-Submarine-Picture-Disc.jpgThe Beatles’ announced on May 30 the release of a limited edition, “Yellow Submarine” 7″ picture disc. The vinyl release, released July 6, features the title song b/w “Eleanor Rigby.”

The news is related to the return of the beloved animated film, Yellow Submarine, which will arrive in theaters for a limited run in July for the 50th anniversary of the film’s original release in “glorious surround sound” and “stunningly remastered” 4k.

The images on the 7″ picture disc are taken from the high resolution 4k restoration of the film. Order the 7″ in the U.S. here; in the U.K. here.

On its release in 1968, Yellow Submarine was instantly recognised as a landmark achievement. The film combined pioneering animation techniques, dazzling visual invention, witty dialogue and of course glorious music.

The Jan. 15 film announcement noted the “big-screen revival will give generations of audiences the golden opportunity to revisit Pepperland.”

Tickets are on sale now. The film has its own website and Facebook page.

The film was originally released on July 18, 1968. It had its world premiere in London’s Piccadilly Circus the night before, with all four Beatles in attendance.

Related: Our story about the film...d premiere

The theatrical re-release will undoubtedly mean that the remastered title will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Posted by Yellow Submarine The Film on Monday, January 15, 2018

As the story goes: “Once upon a time … or maybe twice, there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland. 80,000 leagues beneath the sea it lay, or lie, I’m not too sure.”

From the Jan. 15 announcement: “Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine began its voyage to the screen when Brodax, who had previously produced nearly 40 episodes of ABC-TV’s animated Beatles TV series, approached The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein with a unique vision for a full-length animated feature.


John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney as animated characters in Yellow Submarine

“Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love, and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.” When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognised as a landmark achievement, revolutionising a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.

“Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.”

“I thought from the very beginning that the film should be a series of interconnected shorts” remembers Edelmann. “The style should vary every five minutes or so to keep the interest going until the end.” These styles included melding live-action photography with animation, 3-dimensional sequences and kaleidoscopic “rotoscoping” where film is traced frame by frame into drawings. The entire process took nearly two years, 14 different scripts, 40 animators and 140 technical artists, ultimately producing a groundbreaking triumph of animation.

[Edited 7/11/18 8:28am]

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Alicia Michilli is a 26 year old R&B /Soul artist from Detroit, MI. Most widely recognized for an impressive run on the popular national television show, AMERICA’S GOT TALENT, this Nashville transplant was raised on the Detroit Motown sounds. Those influences are undisguised in her music.


Her soulful and powerful vocals have gained the attention and support of many fellow writers and performers. Recently, she had the privilege of opening for Andra Day. She also fulfilled a long time dream of performing alongside her hero, Keb’Mo, for his monthly Blues Jam at the Fontanel in Nashville.


Alicia was then asked to perform at Nick Cannon Rocks Times Square in support of, St Mary's Children's Hospital, where she sang alongside Grammy award winning rapper Nelly. Alicia recently released a new single entitled, "Crazy." It can be found on ITunes and Spotify along with her self titled EP. She will be releasing her sophomore EP this July. You can visit for more information on show dates and releases.



Free EP download:

Karyn White


23 June 2018 (released)

SHARE WITH:Superstar sensation, singer, actress, producer and real estate mogul, Karyn White is living proof that "Superwoman" is alive and well and ready to rock the world with the vengeance of an orgasmic tsunami, with her new music and self- produced film entitled, "Gale & The Storm".

The movie closely chronicles her own life and the silent mysterious departure from the music industry, White captures the lead role. The film is a compelling story about Gale Storm's return to the industry, and her journey celebrating her learning to love music once again. The film, directed by Derrick Muhammad, is a feel-good presentation offering the audience the belief in living out a dream.

Karyn White, twice a Grammy nominee, is known for her platinum self-titled album, produced by Babyface, and L.A. Reid, and the iconic three singles off the record, "The Way You Love Me", "Secret Rendezvous", and "Superwoman". Her duet with Babyface, "Love Saw It", a sultry, romantic composition was nominated in the Best R&B/Urban Contemporary New Artist category for the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. Her follow-up album was produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and featured the single "Romantic" which rose to number 1 on the US Billboard 100. Soon after she vanished from the industry to raise a family. She later tried her hand at acting and won a reoccurring role on the BET television series, "Beauty and the Baller".
I spoke with Karyn who has an extraordinary spirit, and a majestic energy. Her heartfelt candidness, and witty commentary, accentuated her vibrant personality.....

You've had a very interesting career...

Tell me about it.

So your brand new movie is set to release in September, tell me about the lead role that you portray.

I am Gale Storm, a force of nature. She's a legendary pop singer who stepped away from the business. She had some bitter feelings with her lover and her label so she just said "screw it". She walked away and then 17 years later....not 17 years later, that's my life....a short time later, she hooks up with this revolutionary music producer who is moving and shaking. He kind of coaches her to get back. He starts out with her working with a group and eventually she falls back in love with music. Then they agree to do music her way and on her terms. Its closely based on my's a great feel-good story, a good come-back story. I play the lead Gale Storm, and there's a sound track that goes a long with it. I was so excited when I heard the music of Childish Gambino, (aka Donald Glover), "Awaken My Love". It was very funky. Hopefully we would be able to bring the funk back, because he was doing that and he was such a force with "Stay Woken" and some of the other music. It was a way for me to musically get out of the pop box. If you were to go see me live most people are kind of surprised because I am going to James Brown, Tina Turner, because that's the era of music that I really love. It's very soulful and funky so I like to incorporate that. So when we did the soundtrack we recorded eight songs in like two days. It was amazing and it's a funky soundtrack. The movie is pretty raw and edgy, and I executively produced it. I had been acting before that. I was on a sitcom on BET network called "Beauty and the Baller". So I got the acting bug and decided that instead of me waiting for somebody to give me the perfect role, that I would create it. That's the "Superwoman" in Gale Storm!!

Even before you said it was based on your life, I was going to say that it sounded like a real life story.

Oh yeah, exactly. It's definitely based on my life because when I stepped away, I'm kicking myself in the butt...who would let me do that? I was going through a really dark period for me. I had just lost my mother, I had just lost my relationship with the love of my life, Terry Lewis, ....since I was a kid I was very driven. They called me Karyn White in elementary school. I knew I was going to be a star and I knew I had that drive and dedication to what I was going to be. My work ethic was amazing. Now that I look back on my life I think that I definitely went through a depression. The fact that I would even stop singing, and now that I'm seeing how hard it is getting back, why did I quit? I ask myself why did you walk away? I never really said "oh I'm going to quit music". Time kind of happened, and then more time happened, and I felt like music had moved on. Not really understanding when you have a legendary, iconic music, and not even so much that, but just that I kind of felt I lost confidence in myself. Then it turned into OK I'm raising my daughter, it was kind of I want to be with my daughter. Then I was flipping homes. Then my daughter graduated, and now what was I going to do? The great thing is I don't regret the business part. With people that are in the arts they feel like when they aren't doing music they feel like they are nothing, and that they can't do anything else. I really found out that I could. There was more to me than music. I was designing and flipping homes, and saving homes in Sacramento. It was very lucrative for me, and I found that I did love it because it was creative. Also I had to become more of an entrepreneur understanding business. So coming back into the industry I had all the things that prepared me for today because the landscape is so different.

Yes I know. A lot of artists are coming back now, like Billy Idol and Adam Ant, and Doctor Dre. The people in the 80's have raised their kids and want to have fun again.

Yes, the real artists. That's what was so unique about the 80s. There was such diversity. That's what I miss in today's music. Everybody kind of sounds the same, and I don't like that. I don't even know who is who.

You have and had and have again a very special voice as in the duet you did with Babyface.

Yes, that was "Love Saw It".

It was relevant and romantic and sexy.

Those were the good old days. Working with all of those producers, LA and Babyface and Jimmy and Terry. These are the people that started my career. When I look back I see how hard it is now. There's something about youth and how you kind of take things for granted. When your first single goes gold and platinum, it's really kind of hard to gauge how tough it is when you start out on top. I had an album released in 2012 called "Carpe Diem", and it was incredible. But it was released on my own label and I got to see how tough it was. I've gone on this journey and I'm definitely excited about the music industry where we can do things on our own terms, and reach our fan base .... but I'm not going to lie, it's really hard work. I am up for the challenge, my voice is preserved and sounds better and I'm really excited about the future. I'm definitely looking forward to doing more projects. This is the first film that we are going to release and I'm going to be releasing more films especially things that are dealing with black people, and arts and music. I'm just excited about the landscape of today.

Follow Karen White on Twitter @karyns_world
Official Website

Check out the trailer for Gale &
The Storm here.

Christa Wells – Somewhere In Between


Jen Rose Yokel
April 9, 2018

If you don’t know the name Christa Wells, you might not realize just how often her songs have crossed your path. From her award-winning, aching hit “Held,” made popular by Natalie Grant, to her collaborations with Plumb, Ellie Holcomb, and Selah, Wells has been quietly leaving her poetic mark on Christian music for over a decade.

But some songs need to be heard in the writer’s own voice. Over the years, she has released a number of independent albums, combining soulful singing with an earthy indie pop sound. A few days before releasing her new EP Velveteen(buy) into the wild, she talked to us about her journey as a songwriter, the communities that keep her going, and finding her place in a “go big or go home” world.

CCM Magazine: For those who haven’t discovered your music yet, what’s one thing you want everyone to know about you?
Christa Wells:
I don’t… really want to be known [laughs]. I’m definitely a songwriter first, then a “reluctant performer.” I’ve discovered a joy in sharing the music firsthand, but I’d be very comfortable just being at home songwriting. But I think God doesn’t want me to be that comfortable.

The songs that come most naturally can’t be covered by mainstream artists very well. It became important to me that these songs be heard, even if just by a small handful of people. I’ve never been a “go big or go home” kind of person. I’ve just been about doing the work, and if it matters to a few people then it’s worth it.

CCM: We know you’ve done a couple of Kickstarter campaigns and are now on Patreon. Is it helpful to attach names to the people supporting your work?
Yeah, definitely. People who are willing to invest in Kickstarter, Patreon, and PledgeMusic are a special kind of listeners. It’s a community of its own, and I’ve gotten to know some of those people well and meet them in person. It’s very touching that people really want to be part of that, and as an independent artist, it’s made all the difference in the world on a pragmatic level.

CCM: How did you first get into songwriting?
I started songwriting in high school for fun, and then as a young adult I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I’d always imagined I wanted to do music, but as I became college age, I realized I don’t really like performing that much! When somebody said to me I might be more suited for songwriting, I decided to see what I needed to do to pursue that.

I didn’t live in Nashville, and I didn’t have a music community in North Carolina. So I started re-connecting with friends like Tiffany Arbuckle Lee (Plumb) and her husband Jeremy Lee. She and I started writing together, and Jeremy started handling my publishing, so they opened up the doors for my songs to be pitched to artists.

The first couple songs that got picked up, “Day By Day” by Point Of Grace and “Held” by Natalie Grant… I didn’t know what to do with them. Jeremy heard these songs, and I think that’s why he wanted to publish for me. That was awesome, because I’m not a particularly ambitious person. At that time I was just writing for the love of it.


CCM: So let’s talk about your music, because you have a new EP coming out! What can you tell us about Velveteen?
I’m proud of it, it’s definitely my most personal record. My strength is in writing songs about loss and hope, but I write those songs for other people, from their stories. I did most of this writing through a super dark part of my life.

Some of the songs came from a side project where I committed to write a song a month and send a demo to this small tribe of listeners. A lot of times I did not feel like writing. I just had to because I said I would.

We were going through hard times as a family. We moved to Nashville after living in Raleigh for my kids’ whole life. We had deep roots there, community, a dream of a neighborhood, so that was really hard. And by last year things were still really hard. I had decided I wanted to do a new music project, but I didn’t realize I’d have to do it in the midst of this turmoil.

So, these songs were not written after the fact, but right in the heart of it, and I think that separates this project from what I’ve done before. These songs are mainly relational…very real life, about marriage, about letting go in the parent and child relationship.

CCM: So, you had to write and share these super personal songs with people as you wrote them, how was that for you?
Oh, it was terrifying. I wasn’t in a place where I was could talk about what was going on or give any explanation, so I’m sharing songs like “Hold This House Up” and “Come After Me,” with 65 listeners who were paying close attention, but I couldn’t have a specific conversation about what the songs were about. It was awkward.

I have this weird tension between being super transparent and also super guarded. I don’t like to be vulnerable, but I do. And when you’re facing this kind of personal story you realize, oh, I’m not as vulnerable as I tend to think I am. It’s healthy to keep some things private, but it’s definitely an awkward tension.

I released a video with the story behind the song “Velveteen,” and it was terrifying, but once it was behind me I felt like, okay, it’s out there, it’s done, so now I don’t have to tiptoe around it anymore.

CCM: We’re guessing now that you live in Nashville you have a different kind of community with more people doing what you do. How is it different from what you had in North Carolina?
It’s different, but they’re both really great. I was so sad to leave what I had in Raleigh, and I wasn’t sure what I’d find here. Many people would say things like “oh, this move will help your music,” but I really didn’t think so. In North Carolina, I felt useful. I was part of a small community of musicians trying to elevate the arts. And I thought “Nashville does not need one more musician or songwriter! I don’t have anything to add there.”


I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that people are people everywhere. You get planted in a particular neighborhood, and yeah, there are musicians everywhere, but they’re not you. You’re not just a musician; you’re a human with personality, strengths, weaknesses. Your particular neighborhood always needs you. I found there was room at the table for me, particularly in the independent music community.

CCM: We understand mentoring young artists is really important to you. What’s a piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to pursue songwriting?
It’s not profound. The one thing I would say is start doing it and start sharing it. It’s how you learn. Keep yourself vulnerable and accountable. And then find people who will give you honest feedback—that’s not your mom!

I would also say on a more philosophical level—because we all tend to be intimidated and think “I can’t do it as well as so-and-so, so why bother?”—remember that we all have a very unique voice. Not just singing or writing style, but your whole life history, your particular knowledge of language. You’re going to intersect with a specific group of people and have a sphere of influence that nobody else has.

So, I push back vehemently against the “go big or go home” mentality where there’s one definition of success and a higher value placed on people with a bigger platform. That’s my soapbox for young artists: write what you write, say what you say, and don’t worry about what other people are doing. You just keep making the work and hope it matters to somebody, and find some joy in it along the way.




[Edited 7/12/18 7:20am]

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Alessia Cara Celebrates Her Birthday By Sharing “A Little More”

Image result for Alessia Cara Celebrates Her Birthday By Sharing âA Little Moreâ

Mike Wass | July 11, 2018 4:38 pm

Alessia Cara celebrates her 22nd birthday by sharing a love song called “A Little More.” Self-penned and self-produced, this stripped-back gem finds the Canadian deep in her feelings. “There you are with your college friends, you played in their marching band,” she muses over strummed guitar. “I can’t help but wish I knew you then.” The hitmaker then lays her heart bare on the chorus. “I’m sorry that I’ve been emotions galore, am I crazy for wanting a little bit more? A little more of you.”

“A Little More” is the second taste of Alessia’s much-anticipated sophomore LP, The Pains Of Growing, and while this is merely a buzz track, I prefer it to the lead single. Not that there’s anything wrong with “Growing Pains.” The slick, Pop & Oak-produced anthem is a typically intelligent pop song with something to say about rocky road to adulthood, but there’s something effortless, authentic and engaging about this little ballad. Watch the video, which the birthday girl composed from home movies, below.

The Band / Music From Big Pink super deluxe box set offers brand new 5.1 mix

It wasn’t crystal clear when announced, but fans considering the forthcoming The Band Music From Big Pink box set might like to know that the 5.1 surround mix included on the blu-ray audio (which is exclusive to the box) is a BRAND NEW MIX and not simply the old 5.1 mix from the DVD-Audio, re-presented.

The previous surround mix was created by Don Gillert, for the 2003 DVD-A, but Bob Clearmountain has produced a new 5.1 surround mix of Music From Big Pink – and the six bonus tracks! Clearmountain knows what he is doing in the surround domain, he created the acclaimed 30th anniversary 5.1 mixes for Bob Marley & The WailersLegend blu-ray audio back in 2014.

The Band blu-ray audio also contains the new 2018 stereo mix of the album (also created by Bob Clearmountain) in high resolution audio (96kHz/24bit).

While we’re on the subject of the box set, as suspected, the double vinyl edition of the album included is a 45RPM pressing. As well as the CD, blu-ray, and two vinyl records, this box set includes an exclusive reproduction of The Band’s 1968 seven-inch vinyl single of The Weight / I Shall Be Released (using the new stereo mixes) and a hardbound book with notes by David Fricke.

Music from Big Pink will be reissued on 31 August 2018.







In the Super Deluxe Edition:


2018 stereo mix

  1. Tears Of Rage
  2. To Kingdom Come
  3. In A Station
  4. Caledonia Mission
  5. The Weight
  6. We Can Talk
  7. Long Black Veil
  8. Chest Fever
  9. Lonesome Suzie
  10. This Wheel’s On Fire
  11. I Shall Be Released

Bonus Tracks:

  1. Yazoo Street Scandal (Outtake)
  2. Tears Of Rage (Alternate Take)
  3. Long Distance Operator (Outtake)
  4. Lonesome Suzie (Alternate Take)
  5. Key To The Highway (Outtake)
  6. I Shall Be Released (A Cappella)


Tracklist above in new 5.1 surround mix + 96kHz/24bit high resolution stereo (both exclusive to the box set)



  1. Tears Of Rage
  2. To Kingdom Come


  1. In A Station
  2. Caledonia Mission
  3. The Weight


  1. We Can Talk
  2. Long Black Veil
  3. Chest Fever


  1. Lonesome Suzie
  2. This Wheel’s On Fire
  3. The Weight

7″ Single

The Weight b/w I Shall Be Released

Paul Simon announces new album ‘In The Blue Light’

"I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home.”

Music icon Paul Simon has announced details of his latest album ‘In The Blue Light’, which is set for release later this year.

The Simon & Garfunkel legend will release his fourteenth studio album on September 7, and it’ll see him offering a fresh perspective on ten of his favourite songs.

Although the tracks might not be household favourites, they span the entire of his career – and he’s joined by a wide cast of musicians too.

Check out the track listing in full below.

  • 1) One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor
  • 2) Love
  • 3) Can’t Run But
  • 4) How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns
  • 5) Pigs, Sheep and Wolves
  • 6) René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War
  • 7) The Teacher
  • 8) Darling Lorraine
  • 9) Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy
  • 10) Questions For The Angels

Among the guest musicians on the record is The National’s Bryce Dessner, who has provided an original arrangment on ‘Can’t Run But’.

Describing the record, Paul Simon said: ““It’s an unusual occurrence for an artist to have the opportunity to revisit earlier works and re-think them; to modify, even completely change parts of the originals.”

“Happily, this opportunity also gave me the gift of playing with an extraordinary group of musicians, most of whom I hadn’t recorded with before. I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an
old family home.”

The record’s release coincides with coincides with the final leg of Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour in September, including four performances in the New York City area and culminating with the Final Performance on 22 September in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

He’ll also play a farewell show at London’s Hyde Park as part of Brit...s weekend.

First Listen: George Benson and David Sanborn “Stay” with David Garfield

Anita Porée, acclaimed songwriter, Sonoma County artist and poet, dies at 78

Before Anita Porée quit Los Angeles for Kenwood, she wrote hit songs for Eddie Kendricks in his post-The Temptations stage, and for The Friends of Distinction.

Throughout her three decades in Sonoma County, Porée painted canvases, wrote poetry and music, and advocated for social justice.

“Anita was very adamant about speaking out,” said her brother, musician Greg Porée of Highland Park in northeast L.A. He added, “She was just a brilliant artist.”

Longtime friend Mary Moore, the veteran peace and justice activist in Camp Meeker, said of Anita Porée, “She was known for her music and art, but she was a good writer, too. She was a woman of so many talents.”

Porée died Sunday of cancer. She was 78.

Image result for âGoing in Circlesâ single

She was most widely known for the songwriting she did from the late 1960s to the mid-’70s with her brother and Jerry Peters, Leonard Caston Jr., Frank Wilson and Skip Scarborough.

The rhythm-and-blues classic “Going in Circles” and “Love or Let Me be Lonely” both put the band The Friends of Distinction high on the charts in 1969 and ‘70.

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Porée also co-wrote “Keep on Truckin’.” In 1973, it became Eddie Kendricks’ first big hit after he left The Temptations, the soul, rock, funk and R&B group he’d co-founded. “Boogie Down” was also released in ‘73 and also was a hit for Kendricks.

Image result for boogie down eddie kendricks

In an online tribute to Porée, Harry Elston, who drove a limo for The Temptations before co-founding The Friends of Distinction, wrote that she “was a pioneer during a period when women were less accepted as popular songwriters ... Over the years her compositions found their way onto albums by artists as diverse as Jennifer Lopez, D’Angelo, The Gap Band and The Jackson Five.”

Porée started out as an actress.

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She was born in Chicago on Sept. 14, 1939. Her father was New Orleans-born Creole and her mother was Choctaw, African-American and white. Their daughter wasn’t yet a teen when the family moved to Los Angeles.

After graduating from Our Lady of Loretta High School and studying at L.A. City College, Porée began acting on stage.

“As time went on, she became disillusioned with that,” her brother said. He said she was in a “down time in her life” when the two of them and Jerry Peters, a pianist and composer, began writing music together.

That collaboration led Peters and Anita Porée to compose for The Friends of Distinction and then for Eddie Kendricks, who left The Temptations shortly after its hit song, “Just My Imagination.”

“She became a wonderful songwriter and her forte was lyrics,” Greg Porée said.

He said that after several years of composing songs, his sister became disheartened with the music industry “and the whole Hollywood scene.

“I think there was a lot of Hollywood that just wasn’t ready for a woman of color who was that savvy,” he said.

So Anita Porée made a change, moving to Kenwood and re-focusing her life on creating art with paints, composing poetry and calling for justice for racial minorities, members of the LGBTQ community and others denied equal treatment and opportunity.

For years, the multi-racial Porée wrote a column, “And So I Grew Two Voices,” in the former Sonoma County Peace Press.

She also showed and sold her paintings, accompanying much of it with poetry or prose.

Gregg Porée traveled to Sonoma Valley to be with his sister as her health declined. He said it was a joy to observe “the diversity of people who came to see her and the amount of love they showed her.

“It’s been wonderful to see the number of people whose life she has touched,” he said.

Anita Porée is survived also by her half-brother, Curtis Porée of Seattle.

There currently are no plans for services.

Bill Watrous, Trombonist and Bandleader, Is Dead at 79


The trombonist Bill Watrous performing in San Francisco in the early 1980s.CreditTom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives, via Getty Images

  • July 11, 2018

Bill Watrous, whose crisp and graceful playing made him one of the world’s most respected trombonists, died on July 3 at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 79.

His sister, Sheila Watrous Wright, confirmed the death but did not specify the cause.

Mr. Watrous was heard often on studio recordings by artists like Quincy Jones, Prince and Frank Sinatra. But over a nearly 50-year career as a bandleader, he also released more than a dozen albums under his own name, spotlighting his eloquent playing in a range of contexts.

For a time in the 1970s he led a jazz-rock big band, Manhattan Wildlife Refuge, which released two albums on Columbia Records.

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Mr. Watrous’s professional career began in the 1960s, when he played in ensembles led by the trumpeter Billy Butterfield and the trombonist Kai Winding and contributed to albums by the likes of Woody Herman, Wes Montgomery, Milton Nascimento and Chick Corea.

Reviewing a performance by the Bill Berry-Willis Conover Jazz Band in 1971, John S. Wilson of The New York Times wrote that Mr. Watrous’s “slippery trombone virtuosity brought down the house.”

After relocating to Los Angeles in 1977, Mr. Watrous became an in-demand session player, heard on dozens of albums and television scores, including Mr. Jones’s acclaimed soundtrack to the popular mini-series “Roots.”

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He later taught at the University of Southern California for two decades, retiring in 2015.

In addition to Ms. Wright, Mr. Watrous is survived by his wife, Maryann; their son, Jason; two daughters, Melody Watrous Ide and Cheryl Schoolcraft, from a previous marriage, which ended in divorce; and a brother, Paul.

William Russell Watrous was born on June 8, 1939, in Middletown, Conn., and raised in Niantic, Conn. His father, Ralph, a trombonist who had played in vaudeville and regional bands, became his first role model. His mother, Edna (Little) Watrous, was a nurse and the head of the local nursing association.

The younger Mr. Watrous played with traditional jazz groups around Connecticut before joining the Navy at 18. He was assigned to a Navy Band unit in San Diego, then eventually reassigned to Brooklyn. While there, he apprenticed himself to Herbie Nichols, the iconoclastic bebop pianist and composer.Image result for Bill Watrous

He stayed in New York after being discharged, and in 1965 he joined the “Merv Griffin Show” band. A few years later he became a member of the “Dick Cavett Show” ensemble. He did a short stint with the rock group Ten Wheel Drive before the influential producer John Hammond signed Manhattan Wildlife Refuge to Columbia.

That band released two albums of swirling, up-tempo fusion — a rough hybrid of early Return to Forever, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi and Chicago. It was not a major commercial success, but it cemented Mr. Watrous’s reputation as a composer and bandleader as well as a virtuoso instrumentalist.

Image result for Bill Watrous

Few knew about his talents at another kind of swing: As a teenager, Mr. Watrous had been briefly scouted by the New York Yankees, and in the early 1980s, when he was in his mid-40s, he even contemplated joining a minor-league baseball team.

On a visit to Texas, Mr. Watrous casually took batting practice with the Double-A Midland Cubs. After he hit more than two dozen balls over the fence, the team’s manager offered him a spot in the lineup as the designated hitter.

Image result for Bill Watrous

“They were serious, but it would have been $540 a month, riding the bus and playing in the middle of nowhere,” he later recalled in an interviewwith The Los Angeles Times. “But for a while there I felt like Robert Redford in ‘The Natural.’ I still feel the pangs.”

The music world would have missed him: For most of his career, in addition to his work at U.S.C., Mr. Watrous gave frequent master classes across the country. He also wrote an instruction book, “Trombonisms,” with Alan Ralph. A jazz festival at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Tex., where he frequently performed and taught, was named after him.

Image result for Bill Watrous roots

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Five Star: The Definitive Anthology 1984-1991 / ten-disc deluxe set

April 16, 2018 by Paul Sinclairtags: 1980s, Five Star


Limited exclusive edition comes with a print SIGNED by Denise Pearson

British pop group Five Star see their career celebrated with a new 9CD+DVD box set Luxury: The Definitive Anthology 1984-1991.

The band were comprised of five siblings – Stedman, Lorraine, Denise, Doris and Delroy – and were mentored by father Buster who had aspirations for his children to be some kind of Jackson 5 for the 1980s era.

After signing to RCA Records in ’83 the band released their first album, The Luxury of Life, in 1985. It spawned seven singles with the last, System Addict peaking at number three in the UK charts. The next long-player Silk and Steel was where Five Star really consolidated their early success. The album delivered another bucketload of singles, five of which were UK top 10 hits. Four more albums were issued on the RCA/Epic labels ending with Shine, by which point the bands appeal had dwindled to the degree that it was only issued in America.

Edsel’s new box set has been curated by Denise Pearson and features all six albums on CD. Every disc comes with extra tracks, including B-sides. A further three CDscontain around 40 seven-inch and 12-inch versions and remixes – around 25 mixes are new-to-CD. A DVD completes the ten-disc set with more than 25 promotional videos.

This is a large format 12″x12″ deluxe casebound book presentation and it features new notes by Paul Lester who has interviewed Denise Pearson.

1000 only of the limited edition with signed print are available. This are exclusive to Amazon in the UK. A non-limited version without the print can also be ordered.

Luxury: The Definitive Anthology 1984-1991 will be released on 29 June 2018. SDE will be first to bring you the confirmed track listing for this set.








All six albums feature extra tracks, including non-album B-Sides, with the remaining three CDs containing Forty-Two 7” and 12” Alternate Versions and Remixes. Ten discs:

  1. ‘Luxury Of Life’ plus bonus B-Sides
  2. ‘Silk & Steel’ plus bonus B-Sides
  3. ‘Between The Lines’ plus bonus B-Sides
  4. ‘Rock The World’ plus bonus B-Sides
  5. ‘Five Star’ plus bonus B-Sides
  6. ‘Shine’ plus bonus tracks
  7. 7” Mixes
  8. 12” Mixes #1
  9. 12” Mixes #2
  10. DVD: Promotional Videos

1. Love Take Over 03:58
2. All Fall Down 03:34
3. Let Me Be The One 04:42
4. System Addict 04:05
5. Hide And Seek 05:32
6. R.S.V.P. 04:39
7. Now I'm In Control 03:41
8. Say Goodbye 04:12
9. Crazy 03:58
10. Winning 03:35
11. I'm Gonna Make This A Night You Will Never Forget 05:24
12. I Like The Way You Dance [Five Star Orchestra] 03:59
13. First Avenue [Five Star Orchestra] 03:30
14. Beat 47 03:42
15. Keep In Touch 04:17
16. Love Games 03:41
17. Pure Energy 03:51

1. Can't Wait Another Minute 04:41
2. Find The Time 04:31
3. Rain Or Shine 04:00
4. If I Say Yes 04:05
5. Please Don't Say Goodnight 04:43
6. Stay Out Of My Life 04:01
7. Show Me What You've Got For Me 03:58
8. Are You Man Enough? 04:38
9. The Slightest Touch 04:30
10. Don't You Know I Love It 03:57
11. Sky 04:19
12. Summer Groove 05:25
13. (How Dare You) Stay Out Of My Life 04:24
14. Let Me Down Easy 4:30
15. Stone Court 03:48
1. Somewhere, Somebody 04:13
2. Whenever You're Ready 04:21
3. Strong As Steel 05:21
4. Read Between The Lines 04:50
5. Live Giving Love 05:03
6. Ain't Watcha Do 03:40
7. Made Out Of Love 04:27
8. You Should Have Waited 03:35

9. Knock Twice 04:11
10. Hard Race 04:23
11. Forever Yours 03:36
12. The Man 05:25
13. Have A Good Time 05:49

1. Another Weekend 05:20
2. Rock My World 04:13
3. Godsend 04:17
4. Are You Really The One 04:04
5. Let Me Be Yours 04:12
6. Free Time 04:45
7. Physical Attraction 03:56
8. Someone's In Love 04:21
9. There's A Brand New World 03:52
10. Rescue Me 04:16
11. The Mews 04:16
12. Sweetest Innocence 03:39
13. U [12 Inch Version] 05:11
14. Rescue Me [Instrumental Version] 04:18
15. Rare Groove [12” Version] 05:07
16. With Every Heartbeat [7” Mix] 04:08
17. Sound Sweet 03:38
18. Something About My Baby 03:43
1. Treat Me Like A Lady 04:19
2. Hot Love 03:30
3. I Can Show You Love 04:21
4. Feelings 04:26
5. Feel Much Better 04:19
6. I'm Still Waiting 04:57
7. That's The Way I Like It 04:29
8. Lost In You 03:42
9. Tienes Mi Amour 04:33
10. What About Me Baby? 04:51
11. Don't Stop 03:50
12. Act One [7” Version] 04:21
13. Hot Love [Extended Version] 08:07
14. Treat Me Like A Lady [Tough Mix] 05:28
1. Shine 04:46
2. Come To Me (For Love) 04:40
3. Some Kind Of Magic 04:50
4. Love Can't Wait 04:54
5. The Love You Bring To Me 03:45
6. Right Over 04:38
7. The Start Of Forever 04:14
8. I Really Did It This Time 04:16
9. Sentimental 04:20
10. Save A Place (In Your Heart For Me) 03:58

11. Shine [LP Edit] 04:12
12. Shine [New Jack Mix Edit] 04:07

1. Hide And Seek [7” Version] 03:37
2. Let Me Be The One [7” Version] 03:37
3. R.S.V.P. [7” Version] 03:26
4. Can't Wait Another Minute [The 7” Remix Version] 04:06
5. Find The Time [7” Version] 03:56
6. Rain Or Shine [7” Version] 03:56
7. If I Say Yes [7” Edit] 03:40
8. The Slightest Touch [Shep Pettibone 7” Mix] 04:17
9. Are You Man Enough [Shep Pettibone Remix Edit] 4:15
10. Strong As Steel [7” Version] 04:25
11. Somewhere, Somebody [7” Version] 04:04
12. Another Weekend [US 7” Version] 04:07
13. Someone's In Love [David Morales US 7” Radio Mix] 04:08
14. There's A Brand New World [7” Version] 04:08
15. Treat Me Like A Lady [Raw 7” Version] 04:12

DISC 8: 12” MIXES #1
1. Hide And Seek [Dub Mix] 06:32
2. Crazy [Crazy Mix] [Instrumental] 05:58
3. Let Me Be The One [Long Hot Soulful Summer Mix] feat. Grover Washington Jr. 05:49
4. Love Take Over [Dub Take Over] 07.06
5. R.S.V.P. [Original Philly Mix] 05:28
6. Can't Wait Another Minute [The Street-Groove Mix Version] 05:20
7. Find The Time [Instrumental Mix] 04:46
8. Rain Or Shine [Dub] 04:35
9. Can't Wait Another Minute [Dub Mix] 04:55
10. If I Say Yes [Dub Mix] 06:06
11. The Slightest Touch [House Touch] 06:29
12. Are You Man Enough? [12” Dub Remix] 05:34
13. Can't Wait Another Minute [Another Minute Of Breakdown] 01:50
DISC 9: 12” MIXES #2
1. All Fall Down [M & M Dub Mix] 06:30
2. Let Me Be The One [Philadelphia Mix Edit] feat. Grover Washington Jr. 03:49
3. Love Take Over [The Limit Edition Mix Edit] 04:29
4. Can't Wait Another Minute [The M-Groove Mix Version] 05:17
5. Find The Time [Dub Mix] 04:50
6. Whenever You’re Ready [Crazy Dub Jammy] 06:14
7. Somewhere Somebody [Dub Remix] 07:15
8. Another Weekend [Friday Night Mix] 06:27
9. Rock My World [Extra-Terrestrial Mix] 06:43
10. Someone's In Love [Some Dub Mix] 05:13
11. With Every Heartbeat [Dub] 05:24
12. Somewhere Somebody [Dub Beats] 04:45
13. Someone's In Love [LP Remix] 04:58
14. Are You Man Enough? [Acapella Groove] 01:23

1. Hide And Seek [Promo Video] 3:32
2. Crazy [Promo Video] 4:02
3. All Fall Down [Promo Video] 3:34
4. Let Me Be The One [Promo Video] 3:30

5. Love Take Over [Promo Video] 3:49
6. R.S.V.P. [Promo Video] 3:26
7. System Addict [Promo Video] 4:03
8. Can't Wait Another Minute [Promo Video] 4:31
9. Find The Time [Promo Video] 4:05
10. Rain Or Shine [Promo Video] 4:01
11. If I Say Yes [Promo Video] 4:02
12. Stay Out Of My Life [Promo Video] 4:01
13. The Slightest Touch [Promo Video] 4:11
14. Whenever You're Ready [Promo Video] 4:16
15. Strong As Steel [Promo Video] 5:19
(Diane Warren) Universal/MCA Music Limited
16. Somewhere, Somebody [Promo Video] 4:08
17. Another Weekend [Promo Video] 4:11
18. Rock My World [Promo Video] 4:20
19. There's A Brand New World [Promo Video] 4:03
20. Let Me Be Yours [Promo Video] 4:14
21. With Every Heartbeat [Promo Video] 4:08
22. Treat Me Like A Lady [Promo Video] 4:17
23. Hot Love [Promo Video] 3:42
24. Shine [Promo Video] 3:05
25. Another Weekend [12” Version] [Promo Video] 6:25
26. Treat Me Like A Lady [12” Version] [Promo Video] 5:31
27. Treat Me Like A Lady [US Version] [Promo Video] 4:16



Music by Nashville chanteuse Shannon LaBrie defies genre and brings to life insightful stories of a woman who remains true to herself in a life where uncertainty is certain. The Lincoln, NE native instantly became a favorite among music fans and critics alike with her powerful 2016 album War & Peace. With lead singles, "Alcohol," and "It's Political" the independent release reached inside the Top Ten on iTunes, Spotify's US viral chart and Triple A Radio charts. Famed music blogger Bob Lefsetz wrote, “This track affected me. Made me believe like the great singer-songwriters of yore, maybe this woman has something to say. That in this crazy, mixed up, shoot-up world she can illuminate her story and people can relate.”


Tracked live at Nashville’s House of Blues Studio D with producer Tom Michael, War & Peace is an emotionally-charged collection of deep Americana soul that gives voice to the love and loss LaBrie experienced throughout her life.

The title track "War & Peace," is inspired by the unwavering love and commitment she experienced while dealing with a tragedy that continues to shake LaBrie’s heart to this day. “I feel very fortunate that I made it through the past five years.” LaBrie continues to explore love in the stirring rocker “It Took My Whole Life.” The smooth and steady “Crumble” addresses how consuming love can feel, and the soulful “Ain’t Just a Feeling” captures the solace love provides. “There was a time when love was a far-off dream,” she says. “Feeling good, feeling like a woman, feeling beautiful wasn’t something that came easily. ‘Ain’t Just a Feeling’ came from a moment when I was able to step out of the sadness and just be happy.”


LaBrie calls out American politicians in the fiery opener “It’s Political,” while “American Dream,” celebrates feeling thankful to live in a country that offers its citizens a life of endless possibility as a basic human right. Anchoring the soul of the album are the deeply emotional “Alcohol” and "Heaven Crashed Down.” “Alcohol” is a moving ballad about trying to save a loved one from a life of addiction, but in trying, only kills the savior. In “Heaven Crashed Down,” LaBrie gives a visual account of the painful loss of her father to cancer when she was only 13.

Rolling Stone, compares LaBrie, to the great late Jeff Buckley saying “her songs unfold with style and subtlety, coasting over the albums lush arrangements via LaBrie's gorgeous voice. It's as if Jeff Buckley and Norah Jones started a band that went a tiny bit country." CMT says "She's part Tom Petty, part folk goddess, with Dylanesque lyrics."

With over 6 millions streams on Spotify and Apple Music, she has toured over 500 dates. Amongst those she has opened for Gabe Dixon, Phoenix, ZZ Ward, Billy Bob Thornton, Rayland Baxter, Robert Randolph, The Head and the Heart, The Wild Feathers, Michael Franti and Valerie June. Her résumé now includes her first album cut, which is the lead single on Robert Randolphs newest album "Got Soul." The album just received a Grammy nomination for "Best Contemporary Blues Album."


  • July 21, 2018

    Murfreesboro, TN - Folk'n Art Fest

    Mayday Brewery, 521 Old Salem Rd, Murfreesboro, TN 37129, USA
  • July 27, 2018

    Maryville, TN

    Barley's, 128 W Broadway Ave, Maryville, TN 37801, USA
  • August 02, 2018

    House Show - Nashville, TN

  • August 15, 2018

    Columbus, OH

  • August 16, 2018

    Lake Orion, MI

    20 Front St, Lake Orion, MI 48362, USA
  • August 17, 2018

    Chicago, MI

    Uncommon Ground (Lakeview), 3800 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
  • August 19, 2018

    Bloomington, IN

  • August 20, 2018

    Nashville, TN

    The Basement, 1604 8th Ave S #330, Nashville, TN 37203, USA 7:00pm - 9:00pm
  • August 29, 2018


    The Rustic, 17619 La Cantera Pkwy Ste 204, San Antonio, TX 78257, USA 8:30pm - 10:00pm
  • August 30, 2018

    Austin, TX

    House Show
  • August 31, 2018


    Fred's Texas Cafe, 915 Currie St, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA 9:00pm - 11:00pm
  • September 01, 2018


    The Rustic, 3656 Howell St, Dallas, TX 75204, USA9:30pm - 11:00pm
  • September 13, 2018

    Pittsburgh, PA

  • September 14, 2018

    Lake Placid, NY

    Delta Blue, 2520 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946, USA
  • September 15, 2018

    Lake Placid, NY

    Blues Festival
  • October 02, 2018

    Knoxville, TN

    Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria, 200 E Jackson Ave, Knoxville, TN 37915, USA
  • October 02, 2018

    Knoxville, TN

    Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, TN 10:00am - 11:30am
  • October 04, 2018

    Roanoke, VA

    Martin's Downtown Bar & Grill, 413 1st St SW, Roanoke, VA 24011, USA
  • October 05, 2018

    Washington, D.C.

    Hill Country Barbecue Market, 410 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA
  • October 07, 2018

    Washington D.C.

    Private Party





01 – Silver Screen
02 – Waterfalls (Acoustic)
03 – If You’re Gonna Love Somebody (Acoustic)
04 – Worst Nightmare (Acoustic)
05 – Tender (Acoustic)
06 – How About That (Acoustic)
07 – Think Too Much (Acoustic)
08 – Giving It Up (Acoustic)
09 – Tender

'Beautiful Life' review: Never giving up keeps paying off for Rick Astley


Rick Astley's new album is "Beautiful Life." Photo Credit: BMG Records

By Glenn Gamboaglenn.gamboa@newsday.comUpdated July 11, 2018 8:00 AM


"Beautiful Life"

BOTTOM LINE Never giving up keeps paying off for Astley

Rick Astley really should become the spokesman for AARP. His post-50 comeback was no fluke and his new album, “Beautiful Life” (BMG), proves it.

Like he did on his “50” album, which topped the British charts in 2016 and spawned an international tour, Astley, now 52, wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on “Beautiful Life,” in addition to producing it. And somehow his sense of adult pop seems even keener now than it was in the late-'80s, “Never Gonna Give You Up” days.

On the title track, Astley flavors the Maroon 5-ish pop with a bit of disco guitar and reggae-tinged backing vocals. On the catchy “Shivers,” he finds the middle ground between Imagine Dragons and The Lumineers. And on “Better Together,” his soulful vocals show how well he fits in with the current crop of British pop stars like Adele and Sam Smith.

He’s at his best, though, when the songs are simplest. The gorgeous “Empty Heart” may hark back to the sweet pop of boy bands like Take That, but it still rings true, as does “Try,” which conjures up early Coldplay and should corral him another British smash.



01 – Beautiful Life
02 – Chance to Dance
03 – She Makes Me
04 – Shivers
05 – Last Night on Earth
06 – Every Corner
07 – I Need the Light
08 – Better Together
09 – Empty Heart
10 – Rise Up
11 – Try
12 – The Good Old Days


Ariana Grande’s “God Is A Woman” Is A Sexually Liberated Bop

Mike Nied @mikeynied | July 13, 2018 12:29 am

Ariana Grande promised to deliver something special for her fans on the 20th of every month leading up to the release of her new album, Sweetener. This month she had plans to drop the project’s second single, “God Is A Woman.” Heralded as a highlight on the collection (and a favorite of her grandma’s), anticipation was high for the release to arrive. And fans are in luck because the generous pop princess decided to unveil it today (July 13). The anthem sees her reuniting with Swede-pop masterminds Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh. They helped her craft her critically acclaimed “Into You” and current single “No Tears Left To Cry.” Of the two, her latest reminds me more of the former. A simmering midtempo, it sees her drop some self-assured lines and embrace her femininity in the most glorious of ways.

“You, you love it how I move you. You love it how I touch you, my one. When all is said and done you’ll believe God is a woman,” she coos on the opening lines. The beat picks up as Ari moves into the chorus. Incorporating a hip-hop edge, her voice gets progressively breathier. Although the single is obviously a sexy banger, it also includes a resilient message. In the face of critics, she defiantly takes a stand. “And I can be all the things you told me not to be. When you try to come for me, I keep on flourishing. And he sees the universe when I’m in company.”

It will be interesting to see how the track performs on the charts. The LP’s lead single has done exceptionally well. It soared into the Top 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and shows remarkable staying power. Meanwhile, the hitmaker’s Nicki Minaj-assisted buzz track “The Light Is Coming” was met with tepid reviews when it dropped last month. The duo’s “Bed” (off Nicki’s Queen) has had a bit more luck. At the time of publication it is sitting in the lower quarter of the chart. I’m also holding out hopes that she and Troye Sivan will do big things with “Dance To This.” The slow-burning bop is easily the best duet Ari has released this year and deserves more love.

With any luck, “God Is A Woman” will soon join “No Tears Left To Cry” in the top 20. It is definitely deserving of the honor. Keep an eye peeled for a video to drop in the near future. Based on the sensual cover photo, it looks like we can expect a visual masterpiece. Give the track a listen below!

First Listen: Peabo Bryson is "Looking For Sade"


(July 13, 2018) Since he released the hit single “Love Like Yours and Mine” a couple months ago, we’ve been anxiously awaiting the upcoming new album by the great Peabo Bryson, Stand for Love.

Now Peabo has released a brand new single in advance of the album. It is a gentle midtempo about a man who is privately in love with his “fantasy love,” legendary singer and songwriter Sade. It is an unusual topic for a song, but one that we’re sure a lot of men can relate to.

Peabo sounds great, as usual, on the cut, and it gets us even more excited about Stand for Love. Check out “Looking for Sade” and tell us what you think!

Peabo Bryson – “Looking for Sade”

Gloria Trevi & Chucho Valdes Among 2018 Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Honorees

7/11/2018 by Jessica Roiz

Courtesy of Goria Trevi Team
Gloria Trevi

The Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame has revealed which five songwriters will be inducted at the prestigious hall this year. Joining last year's honorees, which including Erika Ender, Carlos Vives and Ana Gabriel, to name a few, are Gloria Trevi, Chucho Valdés, Carlos Rubira Infante, Fernando Osorio and KC Porter.

For the past six years, the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, founded by Desmond Child and Rudy Pérez, has honored the world's greatest Latin music creators and their memorable songs. The 2018 honorees will be officially inducted at the sixth annual La Musa Awards ceremony and gala, taking place October 18 at the James L. Knight Center in Miami.

Learn more about the songwriters below:

Gloria Trevi (Mexico)

Besides having a rebellious and over-the-top personality onstage, Gloria Trevi is also known as a songwriter and philanthropist. In her nearly three-decade music career, she's penned more than 400 songs and released 13 albums, four of which reached No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart: Gloria in 2011, El Amor in 2015, Immortal in 2016 and Versus in 2017.

Chucho Valdés (Cuba)

As a pianist, composer and arranger, Chucho Valdés has become one of the most influential figures in modern Afro-Cuban jazz. The 76-year-old Cuban artist is a winner of six Grammys and three Latin Grammys. On November 27, 2010, Chucho peaked at No. 8 on the Latin Pop Albums chart thanks to his collaboration with Buika on her album El Ultimo Trago.

Carlos Rubira Infante (Ecuador)

Ecuadorian singer and songwriter Carlos Rubira Infante is known for bringing to the forefront the country's national music style, pasillo and pasacalle music. At 96 years old, he was awarded the National Prize in Art "Premio Eugenio Espejo" in 2008 from the president of Ecuador and has penned more than 400 songs.

Fernando Osorio (Colombia)

Born in Colombia but raised in Venezuela, this singer-songwriter is the man behind some of the most unforgettable Latin songs. His first international success was with "Solo con un Beso," a song he wrote for Ricardo Montaner in 1988, peaking at No. 7 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. Osorio nabbed the Latin Grammy for best tropical song in 2004 for composing Celia Cruz's "Rie y Llora" before her death.

KC Porter (United States)

Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson and Laura Pausini all have one thing in common: KC Porter. The American record producer, songwriter, musician and singer is known for crossing over many artists into the Spanish-speaking market. He's a nine-time Grammy winner for his production work on Carlos Santana's Supernatural and has written and produced some of Ricky Martin's biggest hits, including "María."

How a Netflix(Latin America) Series Revived the Career of Latin Pop Icon Luis Miguel

7/10/2018 by Adam Williams

Omar Cruz
Luis Miguel

Three questions have dominated the summer in Mexico:

Who will be the country’s next president?

How far will the Mexican soccer team advance in the World Cup?

And: ¿Dónde está Marcela, la mamá de Luis Miguel? (Where is Marcela, Luis Miguel’s mom?)

The first two questions have answers. Mexico elected its next president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on July 1, and hours later the national soccer team was eliminated in the World Cup's second round on July 2.

Question three, however, remains unanswered, and may never be. But thanks to a hit TV show, anticipation for a possible reveal of what happened to Marcela Basteri, the missing mother of pop icon Luis Miguel, has become a pervasive topic of conversation on social media, radio, and news outlets throughout Mexico and much of Latin America.

Audiences are hopeful that an explanation for Basteri’s disappearance will emerge during the final episode of Luis Miguel, la serie ("the series"), which will air Sunday night on Telemundo in the U.S. and on Netflix in Latin America and Spain. As the popular biographical series -- which began in April and stars Diego Boneta as Miguel -- has neared its conclusion, each episode has teased new hints and information about Basteri’s final days in 1986, when she disappeared and was never heard from again.


“The series brings back fond memories for the generation that grew up with Luis Miguel, and at the same time explains his story to a younger generation,” says Miriam Grunstein, a Mexico City-based lawyer and academic who has been following the series and who frequently posts on Twitter about it. “I can’t imagine his mother will appear, as that would be contradictory to the true story, but the hope that we will learn what really happened has everyone captivated.”

Luis Miguel has also proven to be a case study in how to jump start a slumping career. Though he has been one of Mexico and Latin America’s biggest pop stars since the 1980s, the career of “El Sol de México” (The Sun of Mexico), as he is known, appeared to be setting in recent years. In 2015, he was widely criticized for his weight gain and a last-minute cancelation of a concert in Mérida, where thousands of fans awaited his performance at the arena. He later aborted plans for tour stops in several other Mexican cities.

Legal troubles also cast a shadow over Luis Miguel’s career. He was arrested last year in Los Angeles after failing to pay more than $1 million owed to a former manager. (The lawsuit was later settled.) He was also sued in 2017 by Star Productions, the agency that represents Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández, for failure to complete a tour. (They resolved the dispute last December.) In 2013, the mother of two of his children sued for outstanding alimony payments. (They reached an agreement in 2015.)


Luis Miguel has numbed those difficult years and reminded fans across the region of why they first fell for him in the ‘80s, opening the door to the intimate life of a star known for being fiercely private.

Each week on the series, “Mickey,” as he is known by family and friends, sings a hit from his teen or adolescent days. Doing so has evoked nostalgia among fans across Mexico and the region, and suddenly Luis Miguel songs that are more than 30 years old are being played in taxis, restaurants, and even during rain delays at sporting events in Mexico City.

“The series has brought people so much closer to Luis Miguel and has allowed a younger generation to see him as someone they can identify with, much more so than previously," says Alejandra López, a 29-year-old analyst in Mexico City and a former journalist at Mexico's Reforma newspaper. "There has been a renewed interest with new generations because he is again current .... We can all sing ‘La Incondicional’ or ‘Culpable o no,’ but now that you know the story behind them, you listen with more interest and enjoyment. Now you want to listen to these songs 20 times or on loop because you feel a connection to the story behind the song.”

Shortly after the Netflix series began, rerecorded versions of Luis Miguel hits on Spotify erupted, and plays of Luis Miguel’s music soared by 200 percent in the week’s following the series premiere. Currently, five of his catalog songs are on Spotify’s Mexican Top 50 chart, including “Culpable o no,” featured prominently in the series.

In the U.S., Luis Miguel's music has not been on the charts since his most recent album, Mexico por Siempre!, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart last December. And although the series has averaged 776,000 viewers a week since it started airing in April, according to Nielsen -- a solid number -- its viewership still falls short of that of other Telemundo series like El señor de los cielos and Sin senos si hay paraiso.

Still, Luis Miguel continues to enjoy a renaissance period in his stardom. His concerts sold out in Miami and New York’s Madison Square Garden last month, and he was the recipient of write-in votes to be Mexico’s President on July 1. The hashtag #LuisMiguelLaSerie has been trending for weeks on Twitter.

When MGM Studios announced a joint venture with Gato Grande Productions to acquire the exclusive life rights to Luis Miguel in 2016, the singer was quoted in the statement as saying: "It has taken me a long time to want to tell my story and I have been looking for the right team to tell it the way it should be told.”

It would appear the decision has turned out well for El Sol de México.

Juan Carlos Polanco/Netflix
Paula Davila and Diego Boneta in Luis Miguel La Serie

[Edited 7/13/18 9:13am]

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Lauren Daigle Delivers Beautiful New Music Video for 'You Say': Exclusive Premiere

Jeremy Cowart
Lauren Daigle

Christian singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle has no trouble capturing the power of faith with her strong, jazzy vocals. Her latest single, "You Say," released Monday, and its accompanying video -- premiering exclusively on Billboard below -- do just that.

The gorgeous vignette shows Daigle in soft, golden-hour lighting as she belts about being accepted by God. "You say I am helped when I am falling short/ And when I don't belong, Lord you say I am yours/ And I believe, yes I believe what you say of me," she sings.

Lauren Daigle

"I knew this would be a song of my identity," Daigle told Billboard's Nashville-based country, Christian and gospel chart manager Jim Asker for a recent podcast interview. "'You say I am loved.' That's the truth."

Daigle's second full-length studio album, Look Up Child, is due Sept. 7.

Image result for Daigle's Look Up Child

Watch the "You Say" video below, exclusively on Billboard:

Capitol Studios’ Mastering King Goes Out on a Vinyl High

Says Ron McMaster, who retires on July 12, of making records: "The fact that it’s still strong blows my mind."

There’s a theory dubbed “nominative determinism,” a fancy name to describe people who gravitate to jobs that fit their names. You could hardly find a better example than the man who has sat alongside a mixing console and vinyl lathe in one of the basement studios in the Capitol Records tower for more than three decades.

“What better name for a mastering engineer than… Ron McMaster!” says Ben Blackwell, the co-founder of Third Man Records, who has worked with the veteran on several projects. “Look up his credit on the Demolition Doll Rods’ first album — it’s my favorite listing on a record ever.” A quick scan of the credits reveals the listing burned into Blackwell’s memory: “Masterfully Mastered by the Master at Tower Mastering — Ron McMaster.”

Down in Capitol’s room RR1 — a small studio space virtually no one in the tower knows by its proper name, because everyone just thinks of it as Ron’s room — McMaster fields a question about whether name = destiny with a characteristically patient chuckle. “I wish I had a dollar for every time that’s come up,” he says, adding that it’s as if some are saying, “‘I don’t believe that’s your real name.’ What do I have to do, show my driver’s license?”

Soon, the masterfully mastering master will be at rest, or semi-rest. At 69, the intra-industry legend has opted to retire, and Capitol is sending him off Thursday with a gala party down the hall in the rather larger Studio A that is bound to draw a lot of other names familiar to credits scanners, and maybe a few who appear on the front sleeves, too. It’s a gala that will honor not only McMaster but, by association, the entire vinylresurgence that people associate with the man whose initials have been cut into the runoff groove of untold thousands of LPs since 1980.

His official last day is July 12, but he’ll be around after that, training (and, in the future, occasionally filling in for) an apprentice. “I’m looking forward to teaching and helping out the new generation of vinyl cutters,” he says. “I never thought I’d do that. I figured this was dead. There was a time in my life [when] nobody cared. They walked by this room and didn’t even bother. I did CD mastering, and did the Blue Note stuff, but to cut vinyl? The fact that it’s still strong blows my mind [and] makes me real happy. I never thought it would be ending like this, for me.”

No longer a corner of no man’s land, Capitol Music Group chairman Steve Barnett is a regular subterranean visitor. And McMaster earns particular accolades from the CEO of Universal Music Group’s catalog division, Bruce Resnikoff, who calls McMaster “an instrumental part of the UMe family” as “the go-to mastering engineer for so many important artists and iconic albums, from the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ and Coltrane’s ‘Love Supreme’ to Blue Note and Capitol’s rich catalogs. With the vinyl resurgence, his skills have been in demand more than ever, and we’ve been fortunate to have his steady hand making our records sound as good as ever.”

Don Was, the head of Blue Note, says that no one should feel bad for McMaster having been sequestered underground all these years, far from the madding crowd in the floors above. “Steve loves him and comes down to see him a lot and brings people through. He thinks Ron working there is one of the great virtues of the tower. So it’s nice for him to have the recognition now,” Was says, “but I would say that possibly being tucked away in the basement has contributed to his longevity over time!” Like many, Was appreciates the unchanging feel of McMaster’s room, which features vintage stonework from famed studio designer George Auspurger that dates back before any present employee’s time. “It’s a nice hang down there. The feng shui must be right in that room, because it feels good to sit in there. There are times I’ve gone down from my office just as a little escape and some peace and quiet.”

It may seem peaceful to a visitor, but McMaster’s eternally genial and laid-back nature belies a pace he says has finally gotten to him. He handles not only Capitol and Universal releases but outside projects that Capitol Studios books independently — and, as everyone in the business knows, every artist wants a vinyl component, and there’s a shortage of capable mastering engineers as well as pressing plants. “I just couldn’t take the demand,” he admits. “I’m 69 going on 70 and I do two to three albums per days.”

McMaster used to work as a session drummer in the 1970s at a since-demolished studio down the block, where he would watch Neil Diamond and the Wrecking Crew and learn. “I would watch the mastering guys, and in the morning, they’d do a rock album, and in the afternoon they’d do a jazz album, and the next day they’d do a Hawaiian or blues album. I love that turnaround.”

McMaster started with the United Artists label in 1980 and switched over to Capitol in ’86, right at the dawning of the CD era. He focused a lot of his efforts in the ‘80s on jazz, but not everything was Blue Note-level stuff. “I can remember working with Angelyne [on her EP], and that was just crazy,” he laughs. By the ‘90s, he was still cutting vinyl — but mostly for the DJ-scratching or jukebox markets. Meanwhile, he was charged with remastering the CD reissues of Blue Note albums originally mastered for LP by that label’s legendary Rudy Van Gelder. To this day, you can still find jazz fan forums where collectors bicker over whether they prefer “the Van Gelders” or “the McMasters.” Either way, you know you’ve made it as an engineer if your name has been turned into a plural noun for something desirable and collectible.

During the leanest vinyl years, McMaster’s discography — to the extent that it’s online, because not every label remembered to credit him — focused on jazz. But, he adds, “Man, I can’t tell you how many Chipmunks records I’ve done.”

McMaster has put together a list of some of his favorites works and, surprisingly, neither Angelyne nor Alvin made the cut. It includes, of course, the Blue Note catalog of early releases, which he’s remastered three times, plus “Frank Sinatra Sings Only the Lonely,” the T Bone Burnett-produced “Hunger Games” soundtrack, “Duke Plays Ellington,” “Meet Glen Campbell,” the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Freaky Styley,” Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil,” and the recent George Harrison vinyl boxed set. The most recent pick on his favorites list is the Rolling Stones’ “Blue & Lonesome,” done by special request of its producer, Don Was. Luis Miguel’s “Romances” is on the list, and McMaster cites Miguel as one of the rare artists who’s hands-on enough to come into his studio to observe every part of the mastering process. An oft-noted favorite is “Pet Sounds,” partly for the challenge it posed: “It’s a beautiful album and has a lot of dynamics — there’s a lot of real quiet, soft parts in there and there’s parts that just explode.”

But vinyl was supposed to be dead, right? For a lot of years, it seemed as if McMaster’s vinyl mastering and cutting skills would be about as useful to him as his drumming.

Speaking of his drumming career: When Ben Blackwell’s name comes up, McMaster says, “Oh, our A&R guy.” To which anyone who knows him only as a mastering engineer may go: Huh? But therein lies a fascinating side tale of delayed gratification, as McMaster isunder contract with Third Man as a recording artist, with his former group, Sacramento-based garage-psych outfit Public Nuisance, even though they haven’t recorded a note since 1968. Public Nuisance was signed to producer Terry Melcher’s label and cut a finished album, only to have it shelved when Melcher, feeling threatened by the Manson family, disappeared underground. Fast forward to 2002 when a newly pressed CD swiftly sold out all 3,000 copies, one of which made its way to Jack White. McMaster found out through an MP3 of the White Stripes covering Public Nuisance’s “Small Faces” at a 2003 Detroit concert. He didn’t think much more of it until, almost a decade later, a call came in from White’s label: Would the band be interested in signing to Third Man for the purposes of a vinyl release of the prophetically titled “Gotta Survive” album?

“I said, ‘Well, we’ll agree to this deal if I can do the mastering.’ They go, ‘Of course, we know who you are!’ So they let me master the record. Well, let me tell you, I was my worst client! Because you’re never happy, right? But everything came out fine and I couldn’t have been happier.”

Not every artist or producer understands the dynamics that come into play when mastering vinyl, and that it isn’t just an automated transfer from the digital file. Says Was: “I think people see a lathe and they think you’re just running a machine, like it’s a stamping plant or something like that. But there are so many technical pitfalls that have to be overcome in order to keep both sides on the record and keep it from jumping out of the groove, and to still maintain warmth and a low end, and deal with management of the real estate on the disc, so that you can still have some volume, and that it lasts over a long period of time. It’s an incredible artform, and he’s just a master of it.”

Was took McMaster out for lunch the other day, and says “he seems pretty happy with everything but the pace of it. He’s so in demand that I think it’s just exhausting. He’s doing the work of three or four guys.” So what are his plans? Surprisingly, maybe, it’s to… listen to music, and more instances of “being at home where I can go through my records and find something I haven’t listened to in ages? What was it the other day?” It’ll come to him. “Oh, it was a Richard Thompson album I had done years ago. I saw it and thought, I want to put that on.” He pauses. “Man, it was good.”

Hear Norah Jones’ Soothing New Song ‘It Was You’

Singer releases second single as work continues on follow-up to 2016’s ‘Day Breaks’


Norah Jones has shared a new song titled “It Was You,” the second in a string of singles as the singer works on the follow-up to 2016’s Day Breaks.

The soothing, low-key soul track finds Jones at the piano augmented by a band featuring drummer Brian Blade, bassist Christopher Thomas, organist Pete Remm, trumpeter Dave Guy and tenor saxophonist Leon Michels.

“It Was You” is Jones’ second new song in as many months, following the June release of “My Heart Is Full,” a collaboration with Thomas Bartlett.

It Was You:

Following a July tour in Europe, Jones will return stateside for six September shows throughout California.

Norah Jones Tour Dates

September 20 – Santa Rosa, CA @ Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
September 21 – Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery
September 23 – Monterey, CA @ Monterey Jazz Festival
September 25 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Arlington Theatre
September 26 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
September 28 – Dana Point, CA @ Ohana Festival

Hear Mary J. Blige’s Funky New Song ‘Only Love’

R&B singer goes disco on an empowering new dance track

Mary J Blige

South Beach Photo/REX/Shutterstock

Mary J. Blige takes a funky turn on her new single “Only Love.” The track follows her 2017 album Strength of a Woman.

Blige goes into empowerment mode with her disco-inflected new single. She reveals how a new love helped pull her out of a time where she felt lost. “Turn my problems all around/Pick me up right off the ground/I’m so glad, this love I found/All I need is you right now,” she sings later in the tune.

The singer and actress has not yet revealed if “Only Love” will be part of an album. Released last April, Strength of a Woman reached Number Three on the Billboard 200 and featured guest appearances from Kanye West, DJ Khaled, Quavo, Missy Elliott, Jazmine Sullivan and Kaytranada.

Earlier this year, Blige was nominated for two Academy Awards for her performance as well as original song contribution to the film Mudbound. Her nods in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song categories made her the first artist to be nominated for acting and song in the same year. Following Mudbound, she contributed her voice to the animated film Sherlock Gnomes as Sherlock’s ex-girlfriend Irene. Later this year, she will appear in the Netflix adaptation of Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy.

See Americana Duo HoneyHoney’s Travelogue Video for ‘Come on Home’

Image result for honeyhoney

“Oh Mama/Come on Home” clip captures members Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe on the road

It’s been a dozen years since Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe sat together in the lobby of a West Hollywood pot dispensary, acoustic guitars in hand, strumming the song that would eventually become the closer for every HoneyHoney show.

“Those were some of our first gigs, playing the weed shops in L.A.,” Jaffe remembers. “They were certainly the first gigs that paid us. We’d play the waiting area for an hour and pick up a few hundred bucks, which was a jackpot back then.”

“Come on Home” made its debut during those pot-shop performances. Santo had come up with the song’s main riff as a guitar exercise, while Jaffe helped her expand and finish it, both songwriters working together to build the band’s bedrock of harmony-heavy Americana and country-soul stomp. It became HoneyHoney’s first collaboratively written track, and it remained with them for years, bringing every gig they played – from club shows in the U.S. to 2,000-capacity theaters in Europe, where they toured with Jake Bugg – to a rowdy close.

The gigs haven’t been as plentiful these days. Since wrapping up the tour cycle behind their Dave Cobb-produced third album, 3 – a tour that found the band crisscrossing the country for months, putting 125,000 miles on a Cadillac Escalade formerly owned by Elon Musk – the two bandmates have been focusing on their own projects. Jaffe stretched his musical horizons with a gorgeous solo record, Oh, Wild Ocean of Love, while Santo teamed up with Butch Walker for her own Ruby Red. Later this summer, she’ll fly to Dublin to begin rehearsing with Hozier, the chart-topping “Take Me to Church” singer whose upcoming tour will feature Santo on electric guitar, violin and backup vocals.

Before kickstarting that big break, though, HoneyHoney will tour the western half of America once more. Equal parts reunion and temporary sendoff, the trek visits many of the markets that helped launch the band’s career a decade earlier. It all begins with a July 13th show in Las Vegas. To whip up anticipation, Santo and Jaffe have released a live video of two songs – “Oh Mama” and “Come on Home,” both originally released on the band’s 2008 debut, First Rodeo, and recorded live during a Lincoln Hall performance in Chicago – accompanied by a highlights reel of tour footage, van hijinks, truck-stop candids and other bright moments from their time together on the road.

“Watching that video brings up a lot of emotions,” Santo says from her home in Los Angeles, where she’s busy learning Hozier’s new material. “We’ve moved on to other projects, and that video makes me remember how much fun we had. It’s such a beautiful depiction of all these amazing places we got to visit and experience.”

Directed by Sage Atwood, the video follows HoneyHoney as they travel from venue to venue – the El Rey Theatre in L.A., the Independent in San Francisco, the Egyptian Theatre in Boise – while making time for beach trips, birthday celebrations and Airbnb jam sessions. Tossed somewhere into the dizzying whirl of on-the-road footage are clips of Santo and Jaffe, both dressed up in wigs and spirit-glued facial hair, serving as the backup band for Wheeler Walker Jr.’s very first show. There’s also a cameo by tourmate Ryan Bingham, an impromptu dance party beside the Escalade, and, most importantly, a knockout performance from HoneyHoney, whose songs will outlive any sort of hiatus between the band’s partners.





Suzanne Santo
Suzanne Santo
Marina Chavez

HoneyHoney's Suzanne Santo Gets Dark, Sexy and Personal on Solo Album Ruby Red

It was 11 years ago that Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe met at a costume party, formed a group initially called Zanzibar Lewis, got signed to the Ironworks label co-run by Kiefer Sutherland, changed their name to HoneyHoney and put out their debut album, First Rodeo.

Eleven years. That’s how long it took for the pair to get sick of each other.

We’re kidding, of course. The creative fires still burn between Santo and Jaffe, but HoneyHoney is on hiatus right now, and Santo admits that they really are a little burnt out from working together for so long.

Image result for Suzanne Santo

“We’re the best of friends, but we wanted to try something different,” Santo says. “We still champion each other, and are so supportive and excited. It’s a departure, but I still run a lot of big decisions by Ben and vice versa. We still figure it out as we’re trying solo stuff out.”

Santo releases her debut solo album, Ruby Red. While there are naturally many similarities between Santo's solo work and the music of HoneyHoney, the songs on Ruby Red veer further towards the dark poetry and Southern Gothic waters that the band has dipped its toes into in the past. This may be because of the freedom that Santo has been afforded, or it may be down to the influence of producer Butch Walker, the Southern-born singer-songwriter who moonlights as a producer for everyone from Dashboard Confessional to Taylor Swift.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

“I love working with Ben, but it’s so interesting to see how different it was to work with Butch on the record,” Santo says. “There was a little more space for me in a way that I did things I never thought I’d be able to do. Like, making violin arrangements, and having the space to work at my pace. With HoneyHoney it’s always personal, but this is even more so.”

"The're a lot of sex on this record, and booze and drugs." -Suzanne Santo

Santo admits that her head was in a dark place when she wrote the songs on Ruby Red, ultimately fueling the beautifully somber tone of the record. That sensual, romantic turmoil is expressed perfectly with the first line of the first song, “Handshake,” which goes, “I wanna smoke and I wanna drink and screw/Every time I think about you.” It’s fair to say that Santos isn’t recalling the healthiest of relationships.

Image result for Suzanne Santo

“I was in a darker place then,” she says. “Cathartically coping with some of the more difficult things in life, one of them being myself. You’re always learning. It’s not a ‘fuck you’ album. The whole album’s about accountability. It’s about mistakes, and learning and growing from them. Just being accountable for them. It’s really important in all aspects of life to do that.”

Santo, who plays violin, guitar and banjo, split instrumental duties with Walker on Ruby Red, and the producer also obviously had his say regarding arrangements and song structure. But the personal nature of the music on this record marks a clear evolution in Santo's songwriting chops.

“Some songs I had been working on for a while; some came out in the fourth quarter and needed to be on the record,” she says. “What’s funny is that I listened to it after it had been mastered and I had an ‘oh shit’ moment. There’s a lot of sex on this record, and booze and drugs. It’s very sexy, and I totally freaked out. I had to be accountable for it. It’s a part of life sometimes. Sometimes I smoke, sometimes I drink, and then I don’t. It came out on the record, and I felt like the responsibility to take care of that in a way that it deserves. But this record is a lot more raw than I’ve ever been.”

It would appear from the album that Santo and Walker make for a perfect match (well, another perfect match, after Santo and Jaffe). But then, there are few people who have worked with Walker and not spoken highly of the man afterwards. He’s worked with artists as eclectic as Avril Lavigne, The Donnas, Pink, Weezer and Keith Urban, after all. On the track "Better Than That" — which L.A. Weekly is premiering below — he accompanies Santo's lovelorn lament with aching vocal harmonies.

“I’ve never worked with a more selfless, motivating and positive force who cares, first and foremost, about music,” Santo says. “It’s not about him. I think that more often than not, producers or collaborators don’t coalesce as well. You get a little ego in the room. I just never felt that, not for one second. Every single person that Butch surrounds himself with are wonderful people as well as musicians, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt like that before. I’ve had great experiences, but this is the best one.”

When Ruby Red is released, Santo will be playing as many shows as possibly to promote it, including AmericanaFest in Nashville. Meanwhile, while no new studio HoneyHoney music is imminent, Santo and Jaffe will be appearing on a new TBS comedy series together,called The Guest Book.

Related image

“That’s pretty big for us,” Santos says. “I’m really excited about that. We wrote a bunch of music for it, including the theme song and that was cool. We are also releasing a live album, recorded at the Troubadour last summer. We toured our dicks off. We toured non-stop for two and a half years. We know each other so well, so it was cool to see the songs change and evolve. [We] put it out for the fans. We hope everybody enjoys it while we take a little hiatus for our solo stuff.”

Suzanne Santo's Ruby Red is out via Soozanto Records.

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Meli'sa Morgan - Love Demands (2018)


Paul Simon / In The Blue Light

Paul Simon will release his 14th studio album, In The Blue Light, in September.

Produced by Simon and the legendary Roy Halee, the album sees the musician and songwriter revisit and rework personal favourites from his own back catalogue.

The songs aren’t necessarily well known to the casual fan (some are from as recent as 2011’s So Beautiful Or What and 2000’s You’re The One) but that’s part of the point of the exercise. As Paul Simon says: “This album consists of songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around. Re-doing arrangements, harmonic structures, and lyrics that didn’t make their meaning clear, gave me time to clarify in my own head what I wanted to say, or realise what I was thinking and make it more easily understood.”

Unsurprisingly, Simon has secured the services of many talented musicians for this record, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummers Jack DeJohnette and Steve Gadd.

Two songs are recorded with the New York-based chamber ensemble sextet yMusic including the beautiful Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War(originally on Hearts and Bones from ’83 and included on the Negotiations and Love Songs compilation later that decade).

Simon writes in the sleeve notes that “It’s an unusual occurrence for an artist to have the opportunity to revisit earlier works and re-think them; to modify, even completely change parts of the originals.

“Happily, this opportunity also gave me the gift of playing with an extraordinary group of musicians, most of whom I hadn’t recorded with before. I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home.”

In The Blue Light will be released on 7 September 2018 on vinyl and CD and coincides with the final leg of Homeward Bound – Farewell Tour which reaches its conclusion on 22 September in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

01 One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor

Paul Simon: Vocal, Percussion
Joel Wenhardt: Piano
Nate Smith: Drums
Jim Oblon: Guitar
John Patitucci: Bass
Edie Brickell: Finger Snaps
CJ Camerieri: Trumpet
Andy Snitzer: Saxophone

02 Love

Paul Simon: Vocal, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Harmonium
Bill Frisell: Electric Guitar
Steve Gadd: Drums
Renaud Garcia-Fons: Bass

03 Can’t Run But

Paul Simon: Vocal
With yMusic
Arrangement by Bryce Dessner based on the original arrangement from Rhythm of the Saints by Marco Antônio Guimarães

04 How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns

Paul Simon: Vocal
Sullivan Fortner: Piano
Nate Smith: Drums
John Patitucci: Bass
Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet

05 Pigs, Sheep and Wolves

Paul Simon: Vocal, Percussion
Wynton Marsalis: Trumpet
Marcus Printup: Trumpet
Dan Block: Clarinet
Walter Blanding: Saxophone
Wycliffe Gordon: Tuba
Chris Crenshaw: Trombone
Marion Felder: Drums
Herlin Riley: Tambourine
Arrangement by Wynton Marsalis

06 René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War

Paul Simon: Vocal, Electric Guitar
With yMusic
Arrangement by Robert Sirota

07 The Teacher

Paul Simon: Vocal, Percussion
Odair Assad: Guitar
Sérgio Assad: Guitar
Renaud Garcia-Fons: Bass, Percussion
Walter Blanding: Saxophone
Jamey Haddad: Percussion

08 Darling Lorraine

Paul Simon: Vocal, Percussion
Bill Frisell: Electric Guitar
Vincent Nguini: Electric Guitar
Mark Stewart: Acoustic Guitar
Steve Gadd: Drums
John Patitucci: Bass
With yMusic
Arrangement by Rob Moose

09 Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy

Paul Simon: Vocal
Sullivan Fortner: Piano, Celeste
Jack DeJohnette: Drums
John Patitucci: Bass
Joe Lovano: Saxophone

10 Questions For The Angels

Paul Simon: Vocal, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Harmonica, Percussion
Bill Frisell: Electric Guitar
Sullivan Fortner: Harmonium, Chromelodeon
John Patitucci: Bass
Skip LaPlante: Percussion

yMusic is

CJ Camerieri: trumpet, piccolo trumpet
Alex Sopp: flute, alto flute
Hideaki Aomori: clarinet, bass clarinet
Rob Moose: violin
Nadia Sirota: viola
Gabriel Cabezas: cello


01 – Get in the Way
02 – Shame (feat. Blackway)
03 – Show Love
04 – Ex
05 – Wicked Games
06 – Take It All
07 – Fairplay (Remix) [feat. A$AP Ferg]



Vanessa Collier Honey Up

Vanessa Collier

Honey Up


Vanessa Collier graduated Boston’s Berklee College of Music with degrees in Performance, Music Production, and Engineering. In 2014 Collier released her debut album “Heart, Soul and Saxophone”. Her mixture of blues, rock, soul and funk resulted in being named a 2014 Best of Blues Breaker on Dan Aykroyd’s House of Blues radio show. After competing in the 2016 International Blues Challenge, held annually in Memphis, she was signed by Ruf Records.

Collier’s 2017 Ruf Records album “Meeting My Shadow” was first released to radio before the actual release date. The result was a 2017 Blues Music Award nomination as Horn Player of The Year. At this year’s BMA awards Collier received two additional nominations including Contemporary Female Artist of The Year.

The “Honey Up” Band includes Collier, alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, guitar and vocals; Laura Chavez and/or Sparky Parker, guitar; William Gorman, keyboards; Nick Trautmann, bass; and Nick Stevens, drums and percussion. Trombone player Quinn Carson and the trumpet of Doug Woolverton (Roomful of Blues) are added on half of the tracks. The album is entirely self produced by Collier who enlists two of her former college professors: Mark Wessel as recording engineer and Rich Mendelson for the mixing and mastering. All of the songs are written by Collier except one.

On “Sweatin’ Like A Pig, Singin’ Like An Angel”; “Don’t Nobody Got Time To Waste”, and again on the funky title track, Collier plays as part of a three piece horn section giving these songs a New Orleans styled production. One can’t help but wonder how Collier would sound if playing and singing some of those classic New Orleans songs. Also featured are Chavez, Gorman and the fabulous rhythm section of Stevens and Trautmann.

Percolatin” is a funky instrumental featuring Trautmann on bass and Chavez and Parker sharing the guitar chores. Collier’s fabulous tenor solo is followed by a piano solo from Gorman. “Icarus” is about the mythological youth, who made his wings out of wax, flew too high and plunged to his death in the sea, It is beautifully sung by Collier who this time plays an alto sax.

On “Bless Your Heart” Collier and Parker are both on resonator guitars while Chavez plays her electric. “The Fault Line” and “You’re A Pill” once again feature the three piece horn section. “You Get What You Get” is another infectious vocal with some great drumming from Stevens and another fabulous piano solo from Gorman. Collier closes out this fine album with Chris Smithers’ “Love Me Like A Man”; Parker’s electric guitar solo is followed by a another tenor solo from Collier.

This is another award winning album from Collier whose rise to the top is nothing short of meteoric.

Richard Ludmerer


01 – Sweatin’ Like A Pig, Singin’ Like An Angel
02 – Don’t Nobody Got Time To Waste
03 – Honey Up
04 – Percolatin’
05 – Icarus
06 – The Fault Line
07 – Bless Your Heart
08 – You’re A Pill
09 – You Get What You Get
10 – Love Me Like A Man



Linda Ronstadt—A Rare Interview (Part Two)

by Jeff Tamarkin

Linda Ronstadt

In April 2016, we published the first half of a rare Linda Ronstadt interview conducted by Best Classic Bands’ editor in 2013—the same year that the singer made public her Parkinson’s Disease. Prior to our publication, only a small portion of the interview had been published.

Here, for the first time, we present the second half of the complete interview.

You always made a point of trying new things. Where did that drive come from?
There’s nothing wrong with it. If I go to see Aaron Neville and he doesn’t sing “Tell It Like It Is,” I’m gonna cry. I’ll feel so bad. But I was just a restless person and I had all of this stuff in my background that I had heard. The Mexican music—talk about beautifully crafted melodies and poetry; you can’t beat that stuff. I’d hear some new song and I’d think, I heard better songs than that when I was 7 years old in my living room.

How did your record labels feel about you changing styles so frequently?
They didn’t want me to do it. They were horrified! But I got away with it and I was lucky. To their credit, once they saw that I was determined to do it and they weren’t going to turn me away from it, they helped the best they could. But they didn’t know how to sell Mexican stuff. We probably could have sold 300 times more records if they’d known how to sell records in Latin America. And I didn’t want to have to go down there to play because some of those venues are dodgy. You have to show up with a gun to collect your money.

Engineer George Massenburg was also a vital component to your sound. How did you and he work together?
George taught me how to overdub. He had a very methodical way of doing vocal overdubs. That liberated me in the studio because I knew that I could just sing anything I wanted. I could throw down any vocal I wanted with the most reckless abandon because if we didn’t like it, we could edit it out with his surgical precision. He was the guy that really pioneered that way of cutting something in mid-molecule and splicing it onto something else, and making it sound absolutely natural. After digital recording came into use, we really could fly with those.

Which of your recordings is your personal favorite?
I did my best singing on [1993’s] Winter Light—my voice was the best it was ever going to be during those years and my musicianship was as secure as it was ever going to be. I could sing pretty much whatever I set out to do. But I never listen to my records, especially the early ones. I’m sure those would make me absolutely cringe and ruin my week. Sometimes I go back to them for reference. When I was writing the book I went on YouTube and looked at them so I could see what I was wearing and who was standing with me onstage. I was astonished at what was on YouTube because I had never looked at any of that. It seemed like a dangerous thing to do emotionally.

Watch Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash duet on the latter’s TV program in 1969

During the ’70s Southern California singer-songwriter boom, did you realize you were part of such an exceptional music moment?
We didn’t think of it like that. We were just thinking about “I’ve got to get that song.” J.D. [Souther] would write a good song and I’d go, “Wow, that’s a good song, write another one.” We were living together and I’d watch him write and I’d go, “He’s a good songwriter.” The very first time I met Jackson [Browne], I was 18 and he was 17 and I couldn’t believe what a good songwriter he was. There were some pretty good songwriters in California but I just figured that was California. We really weren’t thinking about that. We were thinking about the emotion and how someone describes it. It was, “That guy finishes my sentences. That guy’s got my life in his little page right there.”

What was your first impression of your backing band that would later become the Eagles?
I was putting them together. I’d say, “Hey, Glenn [Frey], you’ve got to meet my friend Bernie Leadon. You guys would probably like to play with each other.” [Producer] John Boylan was saying, “Hey, you’ve got to meet Randy Meisner. He’d be good to play in the band on bass.” Then the minute that Glenn Frey and Don Henley were rooming together they started playing songs. I said, “Hey, those are good songs. Keep writing!” We didn’t think these guys were going to be stars but I knew they were going to have a hit when I heard “Witchy Woman.” I was living with J.D. Souther and they came over to our house to rehearse. We went out just to give them some space and went to the movies for a couple of hours and when we came back, they had worked out “Witchy Woman.” It was a small room and they had been singing for hours in that room and tuning their voices into it and tuning their voices into each other. It was a four-part harmony song and it just exploded out of that room. I went, “Oh, my God, that’s a hit for sure.”

Ronstadt on the cover of Time magazine

Who is your favorite collaborator?
Emmylou Harris was the longest running but I couldn’t narrow it down to one song because we just fell into each other’s vocal groove so beautifully. We sang well together and we made a different sound that neither one of us made as an individual. I loved singing with Aaron Neville too. It was like heaven because I can’t do the things that Aaron can do. But when I sang with Aaron I found something I could do and I made up a whole new thing that I was never able to do before. I did a lot of dueting on the Mexican records and that was fun. That music has such beautiful harmonies. I was also very happy with the record I made with Ann Savoy, Adieu False Heart (2006), even though I could barely sing. I had just a tiny little piece of my voice left and I could barely sing so we made a very quiet record.

Do you pay attention to the current music scene?
There’s always talent. Talent doesn’t leave the gene pool. My daughter plays stuff in the car. I like Adele—she’s an amazing singer. Amy Winehouse was that way—she had a very urgent story to tell and great musicianship. She had an incredible sounding voice. I think Pink is really good. She’s a good writer and she’s really footed in the blues. I like Alicia Keys. But I don’t buy their records. I hear it on the radio when my daughter plays it. She buys those records and plays them in the car.

You’ve said that there is actually too much music around now. What did you mean by that?
Music should be an elective experience. You have a mood and you want to work on that mood, you get out the right music to play. You sit down and you go, “How am I feeling about this?” Then you hear a record, like Frank Sinatra, and you’re in tears and you go, “I didn’t realize that I felt that way about this thing.” I need to learn from music, not be brutalized by it.

How do you feel about being nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? [Note: Ronstadt was inducted the year after this interview was conducted.]
It was never an issue for me. I went through my whole life with no television. I never got a television until Barack Obama was elected president. Then I said, “I’ve got to see this.” But I was so horrified at television that I hardly ever turned it on. It [being snubbed by the Hall of Fame for many years] was something that other people made into an issue but it doesn’t matter to me.

Read the first half of this interview

Would you still be singing if you hadn’t gotten Parkinson’s?
You can’t tell what would have happened if you’d gone on a different path. I know I’d be singing because I sang my whole life since I was born. I’d at least be singing in the shower or driving my car or harmonizing with somebody. But I can’t do any of that now. I’m grateful for the fact that I can talk. I don’t know how much longer that’s going to last.

What will you do now that singing is no longer part of your life?
I’m going to be going to the doctor a lot, I suppose. [laughs] There’s a lot of physical therapy in my future. I don’t really know. In terms of music I’m really involved with this little group called Los Cenzontles that has a cultural center in Richmond, California. I’ve turned a lot of people on to them. I introduced them to the Chieftains and Ry Cooder and they’ve worked with them. Dave Hidalgo from Los Lobos already knew them. Dave introduced them to Taj Mahal. Jackson Browne has been involved with them. That’s where my musical family is in this part of the world. I have my musical family in Tucson and then I have my musical family here [in the Bay Area, where she now lives]. They do a better job of teaching kids how to sing, dance and play than any place I’ve ever seen.

Have you ever thought about producing other artists?
I don’t know the market at all. I don’t know how to make records that the kids do and it’s pretty discouraging when they get turned into MP3. We made high-fidelity records for better and for worse and it’s sad that for the first time in history we have less quality of sound than we ever have.

‘Live from Daryl’s House’ to Relaunch in the Fall Via BMG Partnership (EXCLUSIVE)

BMG has partnered with executive producers Daryl Hall and Jonathan Wolfson to secure worldwide rights for Hall’s Webby Award-winning TV series, “Live from Daryl’s House” and will begin producing new segments beginning this fall, the company announced today. The agreement includes worldwide rights to the complete run of 82 episodes filmed from 2007-2016, and the company is seeking distribution partners for the new episodes. Good Cop Bad Cop Productions’ Hall and Wolfson as well as BMG’s Joe Thomas and Bob Frank in executive producer roles, while Sound Off Productions’ Domenic Cotter will remain as producer.

Hall said, “I’m really excited to work with BMG, who are enthusiastic about taking this show to the next level with me. Fans have been asking me when we are returning, so I am pleased to say that we are headed into production in the fall.”

BMG administers most of the biggest hits in Daryl Hall & John Oates’ publishing catalog since acquiring Primary Wave Music in 2013 for a reported $150 million, and have been successful with recent synchs such as “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” in TV spots for Dick’s Sporting Goods and McDonald’s U.K. Earlier this year, BMG released the first new Hall & Oates single in more than a decade, “Philly Forget Me Not,” featuring Train’s Pat Monahan. The two groups are currently on tour together.

Filmed on location and at Hall’s homes in New York State, “Live from Daryl’s House,” features the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer hosting and performing alongside the likes of both veterans (Smokey Robinson, Toots & the Maytals, Todd Rundgren, Joe Walsh) and younger artists who have been influenced by him (Amos Lee, Mayer Hawthorne, Aloe Blacc, Elle King).

Co-Executive Producer Wolfson added, “We are thrilled to be working with BMG’s team, moving forward. They’re a perfect fit for us, as they have the global reach and personal touch that this show deserves.”

BMG U.S. svp audiovisual Joe Thomas said, “This new joint venture is yet another example of BMG’s growth in the audiovisual market. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the ‘LFDH’ team to present the show to fans across the globe.”

“Live from Daryl’s House” joins other assets in BMG’s burgeoning film, including a pair of performance series in PBS’ legendary “Soundstage” and “Berlin Live,” a show created with leading European cultural broadcaster Arte. The company also released its first film, the feature-length Joan Jett documentary, “Bad Reputation,” which premiered at Sundance earlier this year and was acquired by Magnolia. The company is readying the documentary, “Rude Boy: The Story of Trojan Records,” marking the 50th anniversary of the fabled and influential reggae label, and is currently in production on a David Crosby doc produced by Cameron Crowe as well as a film spotlighting the legendary promoters and agents who built the original live rock concert business.

“Live From Daryl’s House” initially launched as a streamed web series and went on to air on MTV Live/Palladia, VH1 and was syndicated by Tribune Broadcasting.

Former Galactic Frontman Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet Passes Away

July 16, 2018
Wesley Hodges

Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet, the former Galactic frontman known for his soulful vocals and powerful stage presence, passed away on Sunday night in New Orleans, the band confirmed via Facebook. DeClouet was 66 years old.
Image result for Galactic Theryl  DeClouet CD
“It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our good friend, mentor, musical collaborator and Galactic vocalist of many years Theryl ‘The Houseman’ DeClouet,” Galactic’s statement reads. “Anyone who was ever in the presence of Houseman knows his inimitable voice, his infectious personality, and his unforgettable storytelling. He taught us so much about life, music, the music business and how to become the men we are now. We will miss him immensely and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
Image result for Theryl  DeClouet
“Theryl Houseman DeClouet was co pilot through my early adult years. Sitting next to him in the Galactic van for hours / days / years as we traveled the world together he taught me about life, music and so much more,” Galactic drummer Stanton Moore added on his own social media, along with a photo of him and DeClouet in the band’s van. “Theryl has been like a second father to me and I am so grateful to of had him in my life. I’m going to miss him beyond belief. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. My man, love you House. Rest In Peace my friend.”
Image result for Theryl  DeClouet CD
“When the band first started, it was all about Houseman,” saxophonist Ben Ellman told Relixin 2007. “The whole band obviously was not from New Orleans so when we got to New Orleans and we started playing with Houseman it was what we were all into – still are – especially when the band first started, he was a huge part of it and a big influence. We’ve always been an instrumental band and Houseman was like a permanent special guest.”

Houseman left the band in 2004 when complications from diabetes forced him to scale back on touring.

“We toured the record pretty heavily before Houseman found out about his diabetes,” Ellman added in ’07. “It came down to just being on the road was not good for him, it was hard for him to take care of himself or eat right out there.”
Image result for Theryl âHousemanâ DeClouet
Still, Houseman’s relationship with his former bandmates remained intact. After Houseman was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, he joined up with Galactic in 2013 to play a benefit show dubbed “Bring the Houseman Home” at Tipitina’s. On the billing, the assembled acts – which also included The Revivalists, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and members of Papa Grows Funk – stated that bringing Houseman back to New Orleans would “further enrich the musical community” because the Crescent City was truly “where he belongs.”
Image result for Theryl  DeClouet
As recently 2016, Houseman sat-in with Galactic at Jazz Fest to sing on the track “Bittersweet,” and at Red Rocks where the group celebrated the 20th anniversary of their debut album Coolin’ Off.
In addition to his work with Galactic, Houseman released two solo records, 2001’s The Houseman Cometh! and 2007’s The Truth Iz Out. The latter featured instrumentation from Houseman’s longtime friends and NOLA compatriots Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk and June Yamagishi of Papa Grows Funk.
Image result for Theryl  DeClouet CD

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our good friend, mentor, musical collaborator and Galactic vocalist of many years Theryl “The Houseman” DeClouet. This evening in New Orleans he passed away peacefully surrounded by friends and loved ones. Anyone who was ever in the presence of Houseman knows his inimitable voice, his infectious personality, and his unforgettable storytelling. He taught us so much about life, music, the music business and how to become the men we are now. We will miss him immensely and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

- Ben, Jeff, Robert, Rich and Stanton

Theryl Houseman DeClouet was co pilot through my early adult years. Sitting next to him in the Galactic van for hours / days / years as we traveled the world together he taught me about life, music and so much more. Theryl has been like a second father to me and I am so grateful to of had him in my life. I’m going to miss him beyond belief. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. My man, love you House. Rest In Peace my friend.

Robert Mercurio

Just Music-No Categories-Enjoy It!
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Norah Jones

Music DVD/Blu-ray Review: Norah Jones – ‘Live at Ronnie Scott’s’

Norah Jones released a new album, Live at Ronnie Scott’s, on June 15, 2018 on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital formats. If you are not already a Norah Jones fan, this album should make you fall in love with her beautifully haunting voice and charming, vulnerable personality. This is a must-have album for both jazz and pop music enthusiasts.

This live concert recording takes place at a legendary jazz venue, Ronnie Scott’s in London, England. Founded in 1959, jazz legends such as Earl “Fatha” Hines, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Wynton Marsalis, and George Benson have entertained there. Norah Jones deserves to be in that company.

Jones was joined by drummer Brian Blade and bassist Christopher Thomas. They created a totally intuitive, mutually supporting musical presence.

Is It Jazz?

The night before watching Live at Ronnie Scott’s, I attended a concert at Austin’s ACL Live given by Diana Krall, another songstress who mesmerizes audiences from her bench in front of the piano. Later, my daughter shared with me her favorite Tori Amos videos. These three ladies deserve a special category in music, as all three of them transcend traditional genres.

The selections Jones chose for this concert, 16 in all plus a bonus track, include much of the material from her 2016 album, Day Breaks. She opens with “Sleeping Wild” and moves on to include “After the Fall” and “Flipside.”

She shows off her talent on the piano, and the ability of this trio to create a mood, giving a hypnotic performance of Duke Ellington’s “Fleurette Africaine (African Flower).” Finally, she closes with her Grammy Award-winning hit, “Don’t Know Why” and “I’ve Got to See You Again.”

So, is it jazz? You can call it that if you like. To me, it is a special genre called Norah Jones.

The Interview

Not only are we treated to Jones’ deep, evocative voice, the album was beautifully recorded and includes special features including an interview with Jones done right before the concert. Paul Sexton, English print and broadcast journalist, a contributor to The Times and the BBC, conducted the interview.

Norah Jones

Sexton asked about her co-performers, Blade and Thomas.

“They’re such great guys,” she said, “and to me we just clicked. I’m sure they click with everybody because they’re such great musicians. We’ve been trying to book this for a long time, and it just finally came together.”

“When I started thinking about doing the trio,” Jones explained, “I thought about going back to jazz, but it’s really just singing songs. It’s its own thing.”

Sexton explored her return to playing piano. “Is it like getting reacquainted with an old friend?” he asked.

“My relationship with the piano has changed a lot,” Jones said. “I think a long time ago I shied away from certain things. I’d think, ‘This sounds to pianoee,’ but now if I don’t like the sound, I change it to a way I like.”

The two of them go on to discuss Jones’ musical evolution, Blue Note Records, what it feels like to be on stage, and her influences, including Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson.

The Disc

The cinematography is a case study in how to record a concert. Multiple, non-obtrusive camera locations let us view from the audience perspective, look out at the audience, and treat us to close-ups of Jones, her keyboarding, and her band.

Another bonus feature on the album is the extra track, “Burn.” You also get the ability to choose between Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, and DTS surround sound. You can switch to subtitles in English, German, Spanish, French, or Portuguese. A menu from the main screen lets you select individual tracks.

The album is available at Norah Jones’ website, Amazon, and for download on iTunes.

Luca Chesney - Mother Electric

Music Review: Luca Chesney – ‘Mother Electric’ Offers Haunting Electro-Pop

Luca Chesney just released her LP, entitled Mother Electric. Highly anticipated since the release of the first single entitled “Revolver,” which was followed up by an eclectic cover of the ’80s new wave classic by Alphaville “Forever Young,” the album features Chesney’s magnetic electro-pop sound.

The daughter of Christian missionaries, Chesney had an unusual upbringing, spending most of her childhood in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. After expanding her cultural horizons by traveling the world, she settled down in NYC to launch her music career. Last year saw the release of her eponymous EP, beautifully capturing her interest in exploring the self, and documenting her personal experiences through her music.

Image result for Luca Chesney

In the time between the two releases, Chesney underwent a personal resurrection, manifesting itself in both spiritual and physical transformations. This metamorphosis led to Chesney shaving her hair off in order to physically represent the spiritual journey she experienced.

Mother Electric is an aural documentation of her journey, documented track by track. The album circles around themes of the human experience, including the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Every song is a chapter in Chesney’s journey. The listener is given the opportunity to enter her intimate, proximate world, in an album that almost reads like a personal monologue. The themes and lyrics are universally applicable and can be interpreted in various ways to fit in with the listener’s personal life.

Image result for Luca Chesney

The highlight of the album is Chesney’s unique, dreamy voice, a voice infusing her lyrics with the spark of life. Track highlights include “Forever Young,” “Gold in My Hands (feat. Latasha),” “Silentium,” and “Break My Heart.”

“Gold in My Hands” offers an electro-pop tune flavored with tinges of hip-hop essence. Chesney’s wistful colored tones complement Latasha’s edgy, rapping voice. My favorite tune on the album is “Break My Heart,” with its haunting moodiness. Chesney’s voice assumes subtle, graceful timbres imbuing the tune with tragic blushes of pigmentation.

With Mother Electric, Luca Chesney stages impressive artful sequences of marvelously emergent electro-pop.

Follow Luca Chesney on, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




Young - Charlotte Lawrence
Charlotte Lawrence’s debut EP ‘Young’ is a dramatic, expressive, and triumphant addition to the ongoing pop revolution.

— —

For any artist, their first EP offers an important introduction to them both as a recording artist and as a person. Having already racked up tens of millions of streams, it’s clear that Los Angeles teenager and rising pop artist Charlotte Lawrence already has a dedicated and impassioned fanbase, which certainly isn’t the norm for artists releasing their debut.

Having just turned eighteen earlier this month, Charlotte Lawrence is likely to grow her already blossoming fanbase when she supports Lauv on his upcoming fall European and US tour. She seems to have thrived under the pressure, creating a dramatic, expressive triumphant piece of work in her debut EP Young, out today, 6/22/2018 via Human Re Sources. Her work is a definite part of the ongoing pop revolution where pop songs are becoming increasingly multi-layered and wonderfully intricate.

Listen: ‘Young’ – Charlotte Lawrence

Previous single ‘Sleep Talking’ serves as a powerful introduction to the EP. The track is a perfect break-up anthem capturing the unmistakeably, relatable feelings of both acceptance and shock. Although lyrically intriguing, the modern and effortlessly cool production on this track really marks this track as something special.

Tell me you love me, but I’ve heard it before
Stayin’ out til the mornin’, I can hear the door
Tell me you’re different, but you’re just like the rest
I can smell all the whiskey
and the smoke on your breath
I don’t think you know this, but you’re so predictable
Textin’ her behind my back and actin’ like I don’t
But I already know, oh oh
Yeah, I already know this
– “Sleep Talking,” Charlotte Lawrence

Young - Charlotte Lawrence

Young – Charlotte Lawrence

Charlotte Lawrence’s most recent single ‘Wait Up’ follows and drastically shifts the mood, giving an early taste of the level of diversity to expect on this EP. The track utilizes atmospheric beats to create an expansive track that deeply conveys desire underlined by a sense of personal empowerment and control. The lyric “I’ll wait up, but not cause I need to” evokes the often unrepresented sense of yearning for someone while still not feeling any form of obligation or commitment.

“Everybody Loves You” is the most ballad-like track on the EP, showcasing Charlotte Lawrence’s frankly breathtaking voice. By letting the track’s production take a backseat, the track manages to engross the listener in the music’s painfully delicate emotion. Both elegantly vulnerable and devastatingly beautiful while remaining genuinely heartfelt, Everybody Loves You is a definite highlight on the EP.

“Young and Reckless” speaks to the sometimes soul-crushing scary, sometimes euphoric, never-end process of growing up. Meanwhile, “I Bet” employs crisp pulsating production to expose painful feelings of thinking someone you love is seeing someone else. On the song, electrifying beats promptly ascend then haltingly dissolve to reflect a mix of painful emotions.

Young concludes with “Just the Same,” providing the perfect conclusion to the whirlwind of emotion throughout the EP. The triumphant track reflects the feeling of loving someone regardless of how much you might simultaneously hate them as well. The love that Charlotte sings about feels all-encompassing, manifesting itself across all parts of her existence.

The bittersweet anthemic chorus feels made for parties, a perfect complement to feelings of exuberant, enchanted euphoria. The depiction of love that radiates through this track feels dramatic and achingly raw.

‘Just The Same’, along with ‘Sleep Talking’ and ‘Young and Reckless’, feel purposely made for blasting out of the radio on carefree, un-purposeful drives, but they retain rare a sense of identity and personality that’s often misplaced on pop tracks. Youngoffers ample pop hooks and shiny production to appease casual listeners, but a deeper listen reveals a coalescence of different animating emotions.

Charlotte Lawrence © 2018

With Young, Charlotte Lawrence manages to combine her previously released tracks with new cut ‘I Bet’ to create a dazzling depiction of adolescence. She seemingly effortlessly reflects the beauty in the bewilderment of youth in a perceptive, self-aware way. Alongside a support slot with Lauv, Charlotte Lawrence embarks on a headline tour this fall, giving fans the chance to catch her in an intimate setting before she inevitably starts to headline breathtakingly big rooms.



:: stream/purchase YOUNG here ::
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Bruce Springsteen B’way Show to Stream on Netflix

by Best Classic Bands Staff

The long-running, super-successful show Bruce Springsteen on Broadway has been one of the most coveted tickets in town since it opened in New York City in October of last year. Performing his songs and telling stories night after night in the intimate, 960-seat Walter Kerr Theatre, mostly solo except for brief appearances by his wife Patti Scialfa at most shows, Springsteen has even won a Tony Award for the in-demand run.

Now, it has been announced, Netflix will stream the final show on Dec. 15. In a statement announcing the global stream, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, “We are thrilled to bring Bruce Springsteen – a master storyteller, humanitarian and voice of the everyman – to Netflix in this historic one-man show. This groundbreaking experience defies the boundaries of theater, concerts and film and will give our global audience an intimate look at one of the biggest cultural icons of our time.”

Springsteen on Broadway will have played for a total of 236 performances by the time it closes. It was originally scheduled to run for six weeks, but has since received three extensions. Every show has sold out and the production has received nearly unanimously glowing reviews. (Tickets are available via StubHub.)

Speaking of the Netflix program, Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau said, “The purpose of the film is to bring this incredibly intimate show to Bruce’s entire audience intact and complete. In addition to its many other virtues, Netflix has provided for a simultaneous worldwide release which is particularly important for our massive international audience. Ted Sarandos and the entire company’s support has been a perfect match for Bruce’s personal commitment to the filmed version of Springsteen on Broadway.”

Springsteen is credited as writer, director, and producer of the Springsteen on Broadway special along with Landau, Thom Zimny, Springsteen tour director George Travis and Landau Management’s Barbara Carr.

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First Listen: Shai returns with a “Passion Tattoo”

Song of the Month: Glenn Jones & Regina Belle find “Love By Design”

Ramones ‘Road to Ruin’ 40th Anniversary Deluxe Due

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Rhino Records will release two versions of the RamonesRoad to Ruin 40th Anniversary Edition on Sept. 21, a day before the anniversary of the album’s original release on Sept. 22, 1978: a 3-CD/1-LP boxed set, as well as a newly remastered version of the original album. Both titles will also be available digitally and via streaming services.

Listen to the previously unreleased “Take 2 (Basic Rough Mix)” of “I Wanna Be Sedated” here.

Dee Dee, Joey and Johnny Ramone were joined for the first time on the album by new drummer Marky Ramone, who replaced founding member Tommy Ramone, who’d left to do more producing and writing for the band.

The deluxe edition contains two different mixes of the album, unissued rough mixes for every album track and an unreleased 1979 concert recording of the Ramones in New York. It will be produced in a limited and numbered edition of 7,500 copies worldwide and comes packaged in a 12 x 12-inch hardcover book. Along with the music, the set also features rare photos and artwork, including the unused, alternate cover image, plus essays by former New York Rocker writer Roy Trakin, album cover artist John Holmstrom, and Road to Ruin producer Ed Stasium, who details the making of this classic record.

Related: When the Ramones got their own street

The first disc features a remastered version of the original stereo mix for Road to Ruin and a new 2018 “40th Anniversary Road Revisited” mix created by Stasium, who strips off the original record’s commercial gloss and restores the album to its punk rock core. Stasium’s new mix is also featured on the 180-gram LP that accompanies this deluxe edition.

Ramones 1978

The second disc offers up over 20 unreleased recordings, including rough mixes for every album track, starkly different alternate takes of two songs, and two unreleased outtakes: “I Walk Out” and “S.L.U.G.,” unfinished during the original recording sessions in 1978, and completed by Stasium for this anniversary release. Other highlights include three different versions of “I Wanna Be Sedated,” including the “Ramones-on-45-Mega-Mix!” released in 1988 as part of the campaign for the Ramones Mania compilation, as well as acoustic versions of “Questioningly,” “Needles And Pins,” and “Don’t Come Close.”

The final disc has a previously unreleased recording of the band’s entire 1979 New Year’s Eve concert, which was mixed live by Stasium, and broadcast on WNEW-FM. Recorded in New York City at the Palladium, with audio sourced from Tommy Ramone’s original cassette of the console recording, it features blistering performances of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rockaway Beach,” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” along with several songs from Road to Ruin: “I Don’t Want You,” “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “I Wanted Everything.”

Watch the Ramones perform “Needles and Pins” in 1978

Road to Ruin 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Track Listing

Disc One

Original Mix Remastered

I Just Want To Have Something To Do
I Wanted Everything
Don’t Come Close
I Don’t Want You
Needles And Pins
I’m Against It
I Wanna Be Sedated
Go Mental
She’s The One
Bad Brain
It’s A Long Way Back

40thAnniversary Road Revisited Mix

I Just Want To Have Something To Do
I Wanted Everything
Don’t Come Close
I Don’t Want You
Needles And Pins
I’m Against It
I Wanna Be Sedated
Go Mental
She’s The One
Bad Brain
It’s A Long Way Back

Disc Two: Rough Mixes & 40th Anniversary Extras

I Walk Out (2018 Mix) *
S.L.U.G. (2018 Mix) *
Don’t Come Close (Single Mix)
Needles And Pins (Single Mix)
I Just Want To Have Something To Do (Basic Rough Mix) *
I Don’t Want You (Basic Rough Mix) *
I’m Against It (Basic Rough Mix) *
It’s A Long Way Back (Basic Rough Mix) *
I Walk Out (Basic Rough Mix) *
Bad Brain (Basic Rough Mix) *
Needles And Pins (Basic Rough Mix) *
I Wanna Be Sedated Take 2 (Basic Rough Mix) *
I Wanted Everything (Basic Rough Mix) *
Go Mental (Basic Rough Mix) *
She’s The One (Basic Rough Mix) *
Questioningly Take 2 (Basic Rough Mix) *
S.L.U.G. (Basic Rough Mix) *
Don’t Come Close (Basic Rough Mix) *
I Wanna Be Sedated (Backing Track) *
I Don’t Want You (Brit Pop Mix) *
Questioningly (Acoustic Version) *
Needles And Pins (Acoustic Version) *
Don’t Come Close (Acoustic Version) *
I Wanna Be Sedated (Ramones-On-45 Mega-Mix!)

Disc Three: Live At The Palladium, New York, NY, December 31 1979

Blitzkreig Bop *
Teenage Lobotomy *
Rockaway Beach *
I Don’t Want You *
Go Mental *
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment *
I Wanna Be Sedated *
I Just Want To Have Something To Do *
She’s The One *
This Ain’t Havana *
I’m Against It *
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker *
Havana Affair *
Commando *
Needles And Pins *
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend *
Surfin’ Bird *
Cretin Hop *
All The Way *
Judy Is A Punk *
California Sun *
I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You *
Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World *
Pinhead *
Do You Wanna Dance? *
Suzy Is A Headbanger *
Let’s Dance *
Chinese Rock *
Beat On The Brat *
We’re A Happy Family *
Bad Brain
I Wanted Everything *
* previously unreleased

LP: 40th Anniversary Road Revisited Mix

Side One

I Just Want To Have Something To Do
I Wanted Everything
Don’t Come Close
I Don’t Want You
Needles And Pins
I’m Against It
Side Two

I Wanna Be Sedated
Go Mental
She’s The One
Bad Brain
It’s A Long Way Back

Rod Stewart to Release New LP, ‘Blood Red Roses’

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Rod Stewart announced today (July 19) the release of his 30th studio album, Blood Red Roses. The title, via Republic Records, arrives Sept. 28.

From the announcement, Stewart said: “I always think I make albums for a few friends and this record has that intimacy, I hope. Sincerity and honesty go a long way in life and the same is true in songwriting.”

The collection features newly written Stewart originals, plus three new covers.

Stewart is a 2x inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, and winner of numerous awards including a Grammy and ASCAP songwriting awards. On Oct. 11, 2016, he was knighted at a ceremony at London’s Buckingham Palace, which he described as “deeply mind blowing.” He thanked Her Majesty and promised it to “wear it well.”

He has reportedly amassed sales of more than 200 million records in his 50-plus year career of classic rock favorites like “Maggie May,” “Stay With Me,” “You Wear It Well,” “Young Turks,” and dozens more.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Stewart’s “unequaled masterpiece”

From the announcement: “The new songs fearlessly address life’s thornier issues from first infatuation to our final words to a friend, and all the agonies and ecstasies along the way.”

Listen to the first release, “Didn’t I”

Stewart is on a North American tour with dates well into December. Tickets are available here and here.

Blood Red Roses Track Listing

Look in Her Eyes
Hole in My Heart
Didn’t I
Blood Red Roses
Give Me Love
Rest of My Life
Rollin’ & Tumblin’
Honey Gold
Vegas Shuffle
Cold Old London
Who Designed the Snowflake (Bonus Track)
It Was a Very Good Year (Bonus Track)
I Don’t Want to Get Married (Bonus Track)


01 – Duality
02 – Thyself
03 – Alone
04 – Just Might Kinda
05 – Awesomeness
06 – Makeup
07 – The Work
08 – In The Air
09 – Pretty Girls Like
10 – Us Too
11 – Don’t Look Back
12 – Questions

Image result for lana shea duality


Phil Collins is releasing a huge box set that’ll feature Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and more

The 59-track project is out later this year

Phil Collins has announced details of a huge, 59-track box set that will feature material from Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and more.

‘Plays Well With Others’ is described as a ‘career-spanning’ project and will arrive on September 28, via Rhino Records.

The title was inspired by a T-shirt featuring the phrase which was gifted to Collins by Genesis’ touring drummer Chester Thompson. The slogan was meant to reflect Collins’ willingness to play drums at seemingly any recording session.

As well as McCartney, Cocker and Harrison, the box set will also feature material from David Crosby, the Bee Gees John Cale, Argent, John Martyn, Gary Brooker, Al Di Meola, Adam Ant, Philip Bailey, Chaka Khan, Howard Jones, the Isley Brothers, Four Tops, Tears for Fears, George Martin, Lil’ Kim, Annie Lennox, Bryan Adams, the Phil Collins Big Band and the songwriter’s formative psych-pop group, Flaming Youth.

“I’ve done what I wanted for most of it, and got paid well for doing something I’d have done for nothing: playing the drums,” he said in a statement about the boxset. “During that time I’ve played with most of my heroes, most have become close friends. Over these four CDs you’ll find a mere smattering of those moments.”

Earlier this year, Genesis founding member Tony Banks said he “wouldn’t rule out... reuniting for more live shows.

Both Collins and Rutherford have expressed interest in reforming the band in the past couple of years, and now keyboardist Banks has added to the speculation by refusing to rule out the prospect of a Genesis reunion in the years to come.

Billie Eilish Unleashes Menacing Single “You Should See Me In A Crown”

Mike Wass | July 18, 2018 5:53 pm

Friday is supposed to be the big day for new music, but a handful of major artists got an early start this week. Earlier today (July 18), ZAYN rolled out “Sour Diesel,” while Zedd and Elley Duhé teamed up for “Happy Now.” Joining them on an unusually hectic Wednesday is Billie Eilish. The prolific 16-year-old, who is enjoying a breakout hit with the Khalid-assisted “Lovely,” continues her winning streak with the amazingly titled “you should see me in a crown.” Only don’t expect more of the same.

While “Lovely” is a lushly-arranged, pop-adjacent ballad, Billie’s latest is a dark and twisted ditty with a minimal (but effective chorus) and industrial elements. The track was produced by her brother, Finneas O’Connell, and showcases her breathtaking versatility. It is expected to feature on the followup to debut ep, don’t smile at me, which has amassed a whopping 761 million combined streams. In the meantime, expect to hear a lot more of this song and “Lovely.” The latter recently peaked at number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Loving The Alien: new David Bowie box set to be released later this year

There's some serious gems within...

The fourth in a series of career-spanning David Bowie box-sets is set for release later this year.

The Loving the Alien collection features eight albums from 1983-1988, as well as previously unreleased music.

It boasts a remastered version of 1987’s Never Let Me Down, and a brand new production of the record is also included.

The new iteration features fresh instrumentation from frequent Bowie collaborators Reeves Gabrels, David Torn and Sterling Campbell.

The box also includes the live album ‘Serious Moonlight,’ which has never previously been released.The recording occurred on July 13th, 1983 in Montreal during Bowie’s ‘Serious Moonlight Tour’.

Bowie’s new collection is completed by a three-LP live album, consisting of 1987’s ‘Glass Spider’ which has been pressed on vinyl for the first time; 1983’s Let’s Dance and 1984’s Tonight.

Other additions include a double-LP remix collection called Dance; and the inclusion of a triple-LP called Re:Call 4,which featuring non-album singles, B-sides, and a selection of soundtrack songs taken from Labyrinth, Absolute Beginners, and When the Wind Blows.

‘Loving the Alien’ directly follows the release of David Bowie Five Years (1969-1973), David Bowie Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976), and David Bowie A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982), which dropped released respectively in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

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Sade Back In the Studio For New Album

By Singersroom| July 18th, 2018|Categories: News, R&B News|Tags: featured, sade|0 Comments

The musical Goddess, better known as Sade, and her band are back in the studio.

Following the release of “Flowers in the Universe,” a song contributed to Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time soundtrack, it seems the music icon is finished hibernating from her latest long hiatus and will begin work on a new studio album.

“We’re working on a new album,” Stuart Matthewman, an original member of the Grammy-winning band, tells Rated R&B.

Matthewman adds that Sade and their creative team currently have “a bunch of songs,” that eager fans will hear once they’re satisfied with the final product. “When we’re happy, then we’ll let everyone else hear it.”

The new album will be Sade’s first release since 2010’s Soldier of Love, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 502,000 copies.

Seems like a long time since 2010, but Sade isn’t affected by deadlines. “The record company knows there’s no point in nagging us or giving us deadlines. It doesn’t really help the process,” Matthewman adds. He later insists, “[Sade’s] not interested in the fame or any of that [other] stuff. She likes to put out art. So when it’s ready, it will come out.”

  • jeffrey-osborne-interview-singersroom.jpg

Legendary R&B & Jazz Icon Jeffrey Osborne Talks New Album, Single, Old School Music, State of R&B, and More

By Dominique Carson| July 19th, 2018

Can you woo, woo? Can you woo, woo? For more than 40 years, Jeffrey Osborne blessed the world with love songs as a group member and solo artist. He recorded several classics with LTD including “Love Ballad,” “Every Time I Turn Around (Back in Love Again),” “Holding On (When Love is Gone), and “We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love.”

Then Osborne branched off as a solo artist and released more hits such as “On the Wings of Love,” “We’re Going All the Way,” “Love Power,” and his biggest pop song, “You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song).”

Over the years, Osborne released attainable music. And now, he’s back with his latest project, Worth It All. It is his first R&B project in over a decade. The first single “Worth It All,” is a Top 30 hit on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary Charts. Based on the feedback from the single, Osborne followed his instincts while recording the album. He wanted to record soul music that still can touch people’s hearts. He says, “It was time to get back to R&B, and I still believe that there’s an audience for what my generation has to offer. As artists, we must maintain the integrity of our music.”

“Worth It All” also speaks to people who’ve been in long-term relationships. We all know relationships take work and it’s not easy to overcome hurdles. The ideal message behind the song is to continue to build your foundation with your partner and don’t let the fire slip away. Osborne believes that “Love is worth going through the little fires you have to put out from time to time.” conversed with the legendary 4x Grammy nominee about the new album, evolution of music, and more. Check out our feature!

Worth It All Album – It was different. I haven’t done an R&B album in 13 years. My last record was a jazz record, A Time for Love, and it was released back in 2013. The writing for this album took me back to my LTD days; right back to old school music. Mack Avenue Records, the record label that I worked with for this album; I had so much creative control for this album. Worth It All took me back to the good ole days. I just wanted to go back to my roots and create a “Grown Folks” record.

“Worth It All,” Single – The concept for “Worth It All” was going back to the original sound. I didn’t want it to sound like today’s music on the radio. The single wasn’t for the Justin Bieber or Nicki Minaj fans. It was for the grown folks audience. It was for the crowd who missed old school R&B music. Now, on the relationship side, it’s all about going through the ups and downs with your partner. It’s worth going through the trenches to make it work. I’ve been married for 36 years, and it wasn’t easy. We had beautiful moments, but we had to weather the storms. We’ve handled our hardships better because it was worth it for my wife and I instead of breaking up. If you really love your partner, then the relationship is worth fighting for in the end. It is worth the trials and tribulations, no matter what. So, the song came before the title of the album.

Favorite Song on the Album – I would have to say “Work It,” with my son, Jeffrey Jr. I never thought I would record a song with my son. Growing up, my son wasn’t into music; he was a basketball player in college. Then, he hung out with his friends one day and started working on music and raps. He is a great sound engineer, and he works on his own projects. He is rapping on the song, “Work It,” so the creative process was amazing. “Work It” is more of today’s music but it’s still an R&B ballad. It’s my favorite song on the album. I wanted it to be the first single but majority ruled, and I said okay. When you’re working with others, you don’t want to overrule with your ego, especially if you’re not the only one completing the project.

Maintaining the Instrument, “The Voice” – You have to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Your voice is an instrument, so you have to think about your vocal hygiene. Your voice is a wind instrument. After I sing, I gargle with water and sea salt. I have been touring since the 1970s, and I’m thankful I still have my voice years later. I’ve held on to my voice because I owe it to God. I’ve been truly blessed.

Touring – I don’t really tour like I used to; it’s more 3 or 4 months at a time. It was a time in my life where I wanted to spend more time with my family, especially at my age. I appreciate and enjoy my family time. You have to spend more time with your family as an entertainer. Those are the years you can’t get back at all. But, I’m pretty busy for about 7-9 months. Plus, I don’t want to be bothered with security and TSA when you’re traveling from state to state. But, when I’m touring, I enjoy performing for my fans for two hours on stage. It makes everything worthwhile. I love performing in intimate places because you can reach and touch fans at those venues. You can witness their reaction and pay attention to their feedback.

Stokley Williams’ Feature on the Worth It All Remix EP – Stokley reached out to do a remix of the song, “Let a Brotha Know.” But, I didn’t work with him personally. I don’t like remixes because they take the song and do whatever they want to do. It wasn’t planned, but it was an alternate mix to the song. When you’re remixing the song, you’re changing the whole structure, and it becomes commercialized. There were four songs on the album that were remixed. The label wanted to know if I liked the remixed songs and I said approved them.

Longevity in the Music Industry – You have to stay in touch with people, get in tune with your fans. Live shows are the way to go when you want to reach people. You have to figure out what fans are looking for in artists. You can’t get comfortable. Like I said before, take care of yourself and instrument. Not everyone is blessed with longevity, but it feels good to be recognized still. I feel good, and my voice is in intact.

Adapting Musically in 2018 – You have to be satisfied with who you are and don’t be afraid of change. R&B changes constantly but you have to stay true to the art. R&B has lost its’ dominance because of hip-hop. R&B has been lost by the waste side, and awards go to artists that are not R&B artists. Back in the days, R&B artists were listed in the category; now it’s R&B/Pop. R&B needs to be revived. Hopefully, artists like myself, Peabo Bryson, or Freddie Jackson can give it some life. Artists need to start embracing R&B again; get rid of the auto-tune. When young people hear auto-tune, they think that’s real R&B. You have to get rid of all of the gimmicks. The audience has changed, but thankfully we have Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, or YouTube so we can listen to real R&B music. So, technology has some advantages.

Quincy Jones, Cheryl Boone Isaacs Team Up for Doc on Black Experience in Hollywood

7/19/2018 by Ariston Anderson

Earl Gibson III/Getty Images
Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Quincy Jones attend ICON MANN's 6th Annual Pre-Oscar Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on Feb. 27, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Quincy Jones and former Academy chief Cheryl Boone Isaacs are working on a documentary about the history of African Americans in Hollywood.

The legendary producer made the announcement at the Ischia Film and Music Festival off the coast of Naples, where he received a lifetime achievement award.

“We’re in the process of starting to do a documentary now called American Film: The Black Experience. [Boone Isaacs] invited me to be co-producer with her,” Jones said at the festival, at which Boone Isaacs is chairwoman. “I’m very excited about that,” he added.

Speaking at the festival, Boone Isaacs said she hoped American Film will be a comprehensive documentary about the untold story of African Americans in Hollywood. "I think what is important is the backstory of us in the entertainment business, whether it’s film, music or television,” she said.

She added that she wanted “to get the story out of the contributions that have been made by so many, not just the celebrities, which even that backstory has not been told enough; and the relationship among folks and growing and working together in order to improve.”

Boone Isaacs provided the example of sound designer Willie D. Burton, who is tied with Jones as the second most Oscar-nominated African American, with seven nominations, as the perfect kind of story they would like to tell.

“There are so many of us that people don’t know about, which is what we are going to bring forth and tell the world,” she said.

Jones was warmly welcomed on the small Italian island with a photography exhibition celebrating his six-decades-long career in the entertainment industry.

In a brief Q&A, the producer shared some vivid memories such as the time he used to "hang out" with former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in Los Angeles.

He also reminisced about his life, remarking that the most instrumental encounter of his life was meeting Ray Charles when he was 14. “He had his own apartment. I’m still living at home with my precious type step-mother,” said Jones. “He had two girlfriends. He had a record player. He had two suits, two pairs of shoes. Man, please. Prego!"

Jones also spoke about the Rat Pack and showed off a pinky ring gifted to him by Frank Sinatra himself. “Between Ray Charles and Frank, I must have drunk enough alcohol for 40,000 guys,” Jones joked.

“This guy would drink seven double Jack Daniels an hour and smoke four packs of cigarettes a day,” he said of Sinatra.

Ischia Global Film and Music Fest runs through July 22.

Cat Power announces new album, Lana Del Rey collaboration and 2018 tour

Sam Moore | Jul 18, 2018 2:57 pm

It'll be her first album release since 2012's 'Sun'

Cat Power has announced her long-awaited new album ‘Wanderer’, which will feature a track she recorded with Lana Del Rey.

Power’s new LP will be her first since 2012’s ‘Sun’. She first announced the e...gust 2017,posting an update to fans on Instagram which read: “Did I mention I have a tenth album ready to go… back in the game.”

‘Wanderer’ has finally been announced today (July 18), with the new record set to come out on October 5 via Domino. The album will feature a track she recorded with Del Rey, which is titled ‘Woman’.


The tracklisting for the record – below.

1 Wanderer
2 In Your Face
3 You Get
4 Woman [ft. Lana Del Rey]
5 Horizon
6 Stay
7 Black
8 Robbin Hood
9 Nothing Really Matters
10 Me Voy
11 Wanderer / Exit

Power will tour the new album from September through to December, with new tour dates also announced today – although only one UK show has been confirmed so far. You can see her UK and European itinerary below, while tickets for the shows set to go on sale at 10am on Friday (July 20).

09/15 Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest
09/25 Berkeley, CA @ The Greek Theatre *
09/27 Philadelphia, PA @ Mann Center for the Performing Arts *
09/28 Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion *
09/30 New York, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium *
10/05 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
10/06 South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
10/08 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
10/09 Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
10/11 Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
10/12 Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall
10/13 Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
10/23 London, UK @ Roundhouse
10/25 Paris, FR @ Le Trianon
10/26 Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
10/28 Berlin, GE @ Astra
10/29 Zurich, SW @ X-Tra
10/30 Lausanne, SW @ Les Docks
11/01 Barcelona, SP @ Razzamatazz
11/02 Madrid, SP @ Circo Price
11/05 Bologna, IT @ Estragon
11/06 Milan, IT @ Alcatraz
11/17 Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
11/18 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
11/21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
11/23 Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC
11/24 San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
11/25 Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
11/27 Austin, TX @ Emo’s
11/28 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
11/29 Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
12/19 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
* w/ the National

First Listen: Candi Staton is feeling "Confidence"


(July 17, 2018) There are only a handful of voices that simply stand out for their unique vocal presence, especially those who have shared their gift for nearly an entire lifetime. Candi Staton’s punctuated phrasing and husky alto capped by that soulful aftertaste have felt quite comfortable navigating several genres, including country, southern soul, dance and gospel, throughout her remarkable journey. Even before "In The Ghetto," "Young Hearts Run Free," "You Got The Love" and other top charting R&B and pop singles that became her musical bread and butter, Candi Staton joined her sister Maggie and a third vocalist as the Jewell Gospel Trio, which traveled with Mahalia Jackson and others starting in the mid-fifties.

What skyrocketed Staton to solo heights was her longtime association with Muscle Shoals iconic producer Rick Hall, followed recently by her collaborations with Mark Nevers from the band Lambchop. No wonder she has hung tough with a rare career longevity that very few artists can truly achieve.

Once again, Staton and Nevers join musical forces for the upcoming project and her 30th CD, Unstoppable. Our First Listen focus is on the upbeat, no-nonsense anthem, "Confidence," an empowerment song that promotes maximum self-esteem: "I walk like it, I talk like it, I act like it, I move like it, I fight like it...". Staton’s sons Marcel Williams and Marcus Williams hold down the rhythm section with a thumping bass guitar and drums respectively, accentuating Staton's vocal roars and an infectious funky strut that nails the song's ultimate purpose and mood. And that uncompromising, confident passion from Staton keeps moving full steam, even after sixty-five years of living the musical dream.

By Peggy Oliver

Candi Staton - "Confidence"

Steady Holiday – “Who’s Gonna Stop Us” Video

Gil Green | July 18, 2018 - 2:25 pm

Dre Babinski’s current project Steady Holiday always has this haunting sweetness. She’s gearing up to release her sophomore album Nobody’s Watching next month, and we already heard its curiously casual title track back in June. Today, she’s sharing her new single “Who’s Gonna Stop Us.”

The song slinks forward with an ominous desire. Babinski sounds like a ghost in the same way that Karen Elson does. During the chorus, her voice floats with a dreamy sensitivity. But the dream could turn into a nightmare.


The Isaac Ravishankara-directed music video depicts a slow-moving dance, and the dancers have an air about them that’s reminiscent of The Leftovers’ Guilty Remnant cult. Babinski’s eyes look like they’re holding a secret. Watch and listen below.


Nobody’s Watching is out 8/24 via Barsuk Records. Pre-order it here.

[Edited 7/19/18 8:30am]

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La Santa Cecilia's Miguel 'Oso' on Border Crisis: 'As a Person and Artist, It Hurts Deeply'

7/18/2018 by Griselda Flores

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
La Santa Cecilia, arrive at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28, 2018 in New York City.

In 2013, La Santa Cecilia released a song that offered a window into the lives of undocumented immigrants in the United States living in fear of being deported and separated from their families.

Titled “El Hielo,” which translates to ice -- the initials of the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency -- the band shed light on a topic that hits close to home.

“When we wrote ‘El Hielo,’ we felt the need to express what was happening in our community due to unjust immigration policies and viewpoints from our government,” percussionist Miguel “Oso” Ramírez, whose parents are immigrants from Mexico, tells Billboard.

“Also, our band member José Pepe Carlos, along with a lot of our friends were ‘Dreamers,’ so we decided to take that step. Doing so changed our lives.”

It was then that the Grammy-winning band from Los Angeles realized that music could portray “what so many of us were living,” Ramírez says.

The politically-charged and powerful lyrics of “El Hielo” are as relevant as ever. The song talks about families being separated by ICE and children crying not knowing if they’ll see their parents again.

It’s the narrative we’ve been hearing far too often on the news lately: family separation at the border as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy prosecutes parents traveling with children hence being separated from their kids who are sent to detention centers.

“It breaks my heart to see what’s happening to our community right now,” Ramírez says. “How can you do that to families/children and sleep at night? As a person and as an artist, it hurts deeply.”

While President Trump has signed an executive order to stop family separation at the border and his administration has until July 26 to reunite nearly 2,500 separated children, Ramírez says it’s important to keep talking about the issue and raise awareness. “It’s up to all of us. The politicians, media and grassroots organizations and everyone in our society to create change.”


Through songs, addressing immigrant issues onstage and posting their supportfor the Senate Bill 3036, or the Keep Families Together Act on social media, La Santa Cecilia is committed to continue denouncing anti-immigrant policies and contribute to “finding a solution to the problems we face,” Ramírez adds. “The best thing we can do as artists is to motivate, inspire and inform as many people as we can. We are not politicians. We are musicians, and I wish I could do more sometimes.”

The role of musician slash activist is one that Ramírez doesn’t take lightly and it’s because of his immigrant parents that he feels has more of a responsibility to address the topic of immigration.

“Our parents made a huge sacrifice so that we can have opportunities in life,” Ramírez says. “I can never forget that.”

For now, Ramírez and fellow band members including lead singer Marisol Hernández, bassist Alex Bendaña and accordionist Pepe Carlos will continue their Summer Lovin’ Tour across the United States to spread love and unity.

“We want to sing this song today titled ‘Nunca más’ because of what’s happening in this country with the separation of our families and communities,” Ramírez says onstage at the Taste of Chicago on July 12. “Hopefully, you feel inspired to continue the lucha (fight) and utilize your voice to create some sort of world that you deem just for our families.”


Kacey Musgraves Announces North American Tour Dates

7/16/2018 by Rita Thompson

Kelly Christine Sutton
Kacey Musgraves

Just days after wrapping up an arena tour in support of Harry Styles, country star Kacey Musgraves has announced the North American dates for her headline Oh What A World: Tour in support of her new album Golden Hour.

Musgraves will kick things off in Indianapolis on Jan. 9, 2019 and continue on the road until late March, hitting New York, Phoenix, Ariz., San Francisco, Calif. and more.

Tour Dates for the Oh What A World: Tour are listed below, and pre-sale tickets are available here.

01/19 Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
01/10 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
01/11 Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
01/12 Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
01/15 Portland, ME @ State Theatre
01/17 Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre
01/18 Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore Philadelphia
01/19 Boston, MA @ Boch Center Wang Theatre
01/24 Washington, DC @ The Anthem
01/25 New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
01/29 Columbus, OH @ Express Live!
01/31 Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
02/01 Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
02/02 St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre
02/13 Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
02/14 Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
02/15 Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel
02/16 San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic
02/18 Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
02/19 Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
02/22 Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
02/28 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
03/01 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
03/02 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
03/08 Dallas, TX @ The Bomb Factory
03/09 Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
03/10 Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
03/19 Knoxville, TN @ Tennessee Theatre
03/21 Birmingham, AL @ Alabama Theatre

Chris Stapleton Will Join Willie Nelson's 33rd Annual Farm Aid Concert in Hartford

6/25/2018 by Thom Duffy

Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Chris Stapleton performs onstage during the 2018 CMA Music festival at Nissan Stadium on June 9, 2018 in Nashville.

The annual benefit takes place Sept. 22 amid a new family farm crisis. Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and Nathaniel Rateliff also join Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews.

With farmers in New England and other regions facing a deepening financial crisis, Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid organization announced Monday (June 25) that the annual benefit for family farmers will play Connecticut for the first time on Sept. 22 at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford -- and Chris Stapleton will join Farm Aid’s all-star lineup for the first time.

Stapleton -- who won Grammy Awards in February for best country album (From a Room: Volume 1), best country solo performance ("Either Way") and best country song ("Broken Halos") -- will share the Hartford bill with returning Farm Aid performers Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.Particle Kid will also perform and other acts will be announced.

This year’s performers will join Farm Aid’s guiding foursome of Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, who will perform an acoustic set with Tim Reynolds. Matthews has been on tour this summer with the Dave Matthews Band behind the group’s latest album, Come Tomorrow, which debuted at No. 1 this month on the Billboard 200.

Tickets for Farm Aid 2018 will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. ET through Live Nation and by phone at at (800) 745-3000. A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be sold beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday at

Now in its 33rd year, Farm Aid is the longest-running concert for a cause in pop music history. Mellencamp was once challenged by someone who asked: “Are you guys still doing that?” He retorted: “Are you still eating?”

Farm Aid, through its annual concerts, has raised more than $53 million for grants to help family farmers and to advocate on their behalf. Across more than three decades, led by Nelson, Farm Aid has sought to to fight corporate control of America's farmland, shape national farming policy, and promote the Good Food Movement.

But as Farm Aid 2018 approaches, the economic circumstances for family farmers are similar to the conditions that led Nelson to stage the first benefit in 1985. Net farm income has dropped 53 percent since 2013 and median farm income is likely to run $1,316 in the red in 2018, according to studies cited by Farm Aid.

“Family farmers are the backbone of our country,” said Nelson in a statement. “But today, they are endangered. Whether we live in cities like Hartford or the rural areas of New England, each of us has the power to create positive, lasting change in our farm and food system and strengthen farm families to help them stay on the land for generations to come.”

Farm Aid co-founder Neil Young adds: "Good food and good farms. That's why we're here. We really do care."

Connecticut is home to 6,000 farms and agriculture contributes up to $4 billion to the state’s economy, while farming and food production generate 21,000 jobs in the state annually. Hartford County, where this year’s concert will take place, represents a rare bright spot in the country, gaining more than 100 farms since 2007.

But dairy farmers in Connecticut, like their counterparts elsewhere, are suffering the economic impact of four years of dropping milk prices. (Margo Price, whose 2016 debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter was inspired by the loss of her family’s farm, expertly weighed in on milk pricing during a Farm Aid workshop at the 2017 concert.)

After a dairy farmer in New York State took his life in January, The New York Timesreported, “Agri-Mark, a large cooperative that bought milk from the farmer, sent its 550 members in the state a list of suicide and mental health hotlines -- along with the news that milk prices would drop even lower this year.”

In the face of ongoing struggle for family farmers, Farm Aid each year serves as an annual gathering of activists focused on food issues, environmentalism and social-justice battles. Many farmers and activists travel to the event to network, share strategies, listen to the music and eat family farm food on a menu that Farm Aid has trademarked "Homegrown Concessions." With composting practiced backstage and promoted to the audience, the concert aims for zero waste.

To expand its fundraising reach, Farm Aid has again partnered with IfOnly to offer one-of-a-kind fan experiences at Farm Aid 2018. Among the items offered this year are: a behind-the-scenes backstage tour, plus deluxe amenities and tickets within the first eight rows; photo pit packages for Nelson, Young, Mellencamp, Matthews, Simpson and Rateliff & the Nightsweats, along with VIP amenities and tickets; premium seats in the first two rows for the pre-show press event attended by Farm Aid’s four board members; a custom Epiphone guitar signed by Nelson; and retro Farm Aid T-shirts, signed by Nelson and Matthews. People can purchase and bid on these special offerings starting June 25 at

Farm Aid's support of family farmers extends to its policy of accepting sponsorship only from companies that share its mission. It is supported by partnerships with Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Patagonia Workwear, New Belgium Brewery, Horizon Organic and Pete and Gerry’s Organic.

Farm Aid will be posting updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and festivalgoers are encouraged to use the hashtags #FarmAid2018 and #Road2FarmAid to post festival discussions on social media.


Bandcamp: https://rqlrod.bandcamp.c.../mile-high

Singer/songwriter Raquel wrote her new song “Mile High” after an illuminating extended trip to Paris with partner and producer Sam Brawner. The city of lights provided inspiration at a time when she was ready to give up on the music grind in LA, and she fell in love with Paris. Eager to feel the same way about Los Angeles again, she returned home and remembered all that she loves about the city she grew up in – “the palm trees, the low riders, the beach, taco trucks, fruit stands, the hip hop culture, the jazz culture, the fashion, the food.
So many things found themselves back in my heart and I started to feel incredibly grateful. The thing that really started making the pieces all fit was Sam. Basically, no matter what life was throwing my way, I wanted to do it all and go through it all with him, because that’s really where my comfort lies,” Rodriguez said.



I bought us round trip flight to Paris baby
Cause I wanna go somewhere and only be with you
I need a break from California lately
Somehow the golden state has got me feeling blue

Well it seems to me my life is passing by
Things come and go in the blink of an eye
My soul is craving for a little change
I gotta go, I gotta get away
But oh my baby…

I want you to go with me
We can fly
Oh baby mile high
And you got me saying, “Ohhh”

I don’t wanna spend another minute waiting
Waiting around for someone else to make my move
But I just get so damn insecure about it
Running around talkin about how I got nothing to prove
But running always makes me feel alone
So far gone, with nowhere to
But standing here just makes me feel this way
I gotta go now, I gotta get away
But oh my baby….

I want you to go with me
We can fly
Oh baby mile high
And you got me saying, “Ohhh”

Non-music related

Robin Williams ‘Bittersweet’ Documentary Premieres on HBO

by Best Classic Bands Staff

Robin Williams in Come Inside My Mind

A two-hour documentary film, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, described in a press release as a “funny, intimate and heartbreaking portrait of one of the world’s most beloved and inventive comedians,” debuted July 16, exclusively on HBO. Told largely through Williams’ own words, the film “celebrates what he brought to comedy and to the culture at large, from the wild days of late-1970s L.A. to his death in 2014.” Marina Zenovich (Emmy winner for HBO’s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired) directs.

Rotten Tomatoes reports overwhelmingly positive reviews. In its review for the documentary, the Los Angeles Times called it “bittersweet.” The New York Timeswrote: “we get to see the irrepressible, unpredictable, inventive Williams on top of his game often enough that the documentary flies by.”


The documentary will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, says the announcement, “explores [Williams’] extraordinary life and career, revealing what drove him to give voice to the characters in his mind. With previously unheard and unseen glimpses into his creative process through interviews with Williams, as well as home movies and onstage footage, this insightful tribute features in-depth interviews with those who knew and loved him, including Billy Crystal, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Pam Dawber and his son, Zak Williams.”


The documentary follows Williams from his youth in the San Francisco Bay Area, to his time in New York at the Juilliard School, to his fame on TV’s Mork & Mindy, to his impact on the American cultural landscape. Such career high points as his comedy show at the Metropolitan Opera, his Broadway debut in Waiting for Godot, his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting and his classic confessional bits about his alcohol and drug issues and 2009 heart surgery “capture the spark that made him stand out across four decades in entertainment.”

Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind is produced by Alex Gibney and Shirel Kozak; executive producers, David Steinberg, Kristen Vaurio and Marina Zenovich; directed by Marina Zenovich. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.


[Edited 7/19/18 10:41am]

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Les Lieber, Who Served Jazz to the Lunch Crowd, Dies at 106

Les Lieber performing at one of the last Jazz at Noon sessions, at the Players club in Manhattan in 2011. Mr. Lieber ran the sessions, at which talented amateur jazz musicians performed alongside top-flight professionals, for more than 45 years.CreditAndrea Mohin/The New York Times

By Neil Genzlinger

  • July 16, 2018

Les Lieber, who for more than 45 years ran Jazz at Noon, a fabled New York institution where talented amateur players got together every week to stretch their skills and to perform alongside top-flight professionals, died on July 10 on Fire Island, N.Y. He was 106.

His stepson Jamie Katz confirmed the death.

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Mr. Lieber had already had a substantial career as a publicist and journalist when, in September 1965, he organized the first Jazz at Noon, partly to give himself a chance to play his alto saxophone and penny whistle for an audience. It was on a Monday at lunch hour at Chuck’s Composite, a restaurant on East 53rd Street.

“I was dying on the vine as a musician,” he told The New York Times in 1975, recalling the origin of the sessions. “I hadn’t had my sax out of its case in eight years. I felt there must be others like me who would love to play but couldn’t get a rhythm section together without disrupting their families.”

The experiment soon had a following, as players who might have once had thoughts of a professional career but had become doctors, lawyers or accountants pulled instruments out of closets. Soon Mr. Lieber added to the allure by recruiting professionals, for a modest fee, to drop in as guest stars.

“There’s sometimes been some grumbling from the pros about having to get up so early,” he said as the rolling jam reached its 10th anniversary. “But that hasn’t prevented people like Dizzy Gillespie or Buddy Rich or Clark Terry or Bobby Hackett from playing with us.”

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Jazz at Noon moved around over the decades to various Manhattan locations. Mr. Lieber both played at the sessions and acted as master of ceremonies. In 2011 he announced the end of Jazz at Noon, which was then encamped at the Players club on Gramercy Park South in Manhattan. But he would play at least one other session at that club the next year. It was to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Les Lieber's 100th-birthday celebration.CreditVideo by marcmillman1

Leslie Lieber was born on March 16, 1912, in St. Louis. His father, also named Leslie, was a grocer, and his mother, Rosalie (Dillenberg) Lieber, was a homemaker. He grew up in St. Louis.

“I used to hum a lot when I was growing up,” he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview for his 100th birthday, “and my mother would say, ‘What are you humming?’ Because I was improvising and I didn’t know it.”

After attending Washington University there, he transferred to the University of Chicago, receiving a bachelor’s degree in European history and languages in 1934.

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During World War II he served in the Army’s Ninth Air Force, then as publicity director for the American Forces Network. He would often tell of meeting the guitarist Django Reinhardt in Paris in 1945 and jamming with him on his penny whistle.

Mr. Lieber became a writer and editor. Working for the syndicated Sunday supplement This Week, he covered entertainment, interviewing many celebrities. He also did publicity work, including for some leading jazz figures.

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His desire to perform himself never wore off, however, and in 1965, with the help of a publicist friend, Georgeanne Aldrich, he started Jazz at Noon. He soon moved the sessions from Mondays to Fridays, the music seeming more suited to ending the week than starting it.

His guess that there were others like him — good musicians who had given up dreams of playing professionally and moved on to the workaday world — proved correct. The Jazz at Noon bandstand, over the years, was filled by all sorts of people.

Robert Litwak, a cardiothoracic surgeon, was a frequent drummer at the sessions. Ormond Gale, a judge, occasionally came from Syracuse with his trombone. Bucky Thorpe, a truck driver, would sit in on trumpet whenever he could get a parking space. A Times article in 1965 described John Bucher, a stockbroker, as “the best amateur jazz cornetist in the United States and the only one who can give the latest Dow Jones averages between the second and third choruses.”

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Mr. Lieber took to hiring a professional bassist to provide stability in the rhythm section. The author Donald Bain, a vibraphonist, described the sessions in a 1975 interview with The Times.

“They vary: sloppy at times, tight and swinging at others,” he said, “depending on what combination is on the stand and whether the accountant-pianist is in tax season or the surgeon-drummer lost a patient that morning.”

But Jazz at Noon was never a mere amateur jam, as one of the professionals who sat in, the singer Jon Hendricks, noted in 1987.

“I’d call them nonworking musicians, rather than nonprofessionals,” he said, “because they could virtually all make a living as good musicians had they not chosen a different career.”

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105 yr old saxophonist with Sir StrykerCreditVideo by Sir Stryker

In addition to Mr. Katz, Mr. Lieber is survived by his second wife, Edith; two sons, David and Jonathan; another stepson, Jeffrey Katz; seven grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Mr. Lieber saw so many players over the years that he came to rank professions by their musicianship. Doctors, he said, were better than lawyers — “more romantic, more interested in humanity.” Politicians, he said, “are among our worst musicians.”

They must have been absent on the day in February 1983 when representatives of the Perpignan wine region of France, on a visit to New York, caught Jazz at Noon and were impressed. It led to a road trip for the players who were there that day. Later that year they traveled to France to play at a festival.

“Les spoke impeccable French and arranged lavish dinners, accommodations and gifts,” the guitarist Bill Wurtzel, an advertising creative director and Jazz at Noon regular back then (and now a professional musician), recalled by email. “It was peach season, and I still have a case of peach wine.”

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George Theiss of Freehold, Bruce Springsteen's bandmate in the Castiles, has died

Chris Jordan, Asbury Park PressPublished 3:03 p.m. ET July 16, 2018 | Updated 3:08 p.m. ET July 16, 2018

In the spring, summer and early fall of 1982, Bruce Springsteen jammed at Jersey Shore clubs more than 30 times. Jean Mikle

George Theiss, the man who co-wrote the first songs Bruce Springsteen ever recorded, passed away on Friday, July 13 after a two-year battle with lung cancer, according to family members.

He was 68.

Theiss, who grew up in Freehold, was a veteran of several Asbury Park bands in the '70s and '80s, including Rusty Chain, Doo-Dah, the Cahoots and the George Theiss Band, but it's time as the lead singer for the Freehold teenage band the Castiles in the '60s that's secured his legacy.

A teenage Bruce Springsteen was the lead guitarist. Theiss, who dated Springsteen's sister Virginia, asked the future Boss to join.

“I was sitting in my South Street home one afternoon when a knock came at our front door,”said Springsteen in his autobiography, “Born to Run.” “It was George Theiss, a local guitarist and singer who’d heard through my sister that I played the guitar. I’d seen George around the Elks. He told me there was a band forming and they were looking for a lead guitarist. While I hesitated to call myself a lead guitarist, I had been hard at it for a while and worked up some very rudimentary ‘chops.’ We walked across town to Center Street and into a little half-shotgun house fifty feet up the block from where the metal-on-metal war of the rug mill spilled out open factory windows onto the streets of Texas. In Texas I’d slip on my guitar and join my first real band.’“

The Castiles, managed by Gordon “Tex” Vinyard, played more than 100 shows over three years starting in 1965, from the Left Foot in Freehold to Cafe Wha? in New York City.

The band — Paul Popkin, guitar; Frank Marziotti, bass; and Bart Haynes, drums, were the other original members — often rehearsed in the Theiss home.

“They played in the basement in my house,” said Barbara Theiss Dressler, George's younger sister. “My friend Linda and I would watch and Bruce would come around and chase us and scare us and say get out of here. We were so young.”

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Springsteen references his time in the Castiles in “Springsteen on Broadway,” emphasizing the jack of all trades experience being in the band gave him. In May 1966, when Springsteen was 16, the Castiles recorded two songs, “That's What You Get” and “Baby I,” at the former Mr. Music in Hooper Avenue in Toms River.

Theiss and Springsteen wrote the songs on the car ride to Mr. Music from Freehold.

“Yep, we wrote them in the back seat,” said Theiss in an Asbury Park Press interview with Jean Mikle. “We really didn't do much original music at the time, but one day, Tex said, ‘C'mon, it's time for you boys to make a record.’ So we did.”

The Castiles, Springsteen wrote in “Born to Run,” eventually ran their course, and there was tension between Theiss and Springsteen, who was ascending to the frontman status that Theiss had already attained.

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“At that point we were really butting heads,” said Theiss said to the Salisbury Post in January of this year.

Yet, Springsteen attended Theiss' wedding in 1969, and the two remained friends. In a twist of irony, Michael Scialfa, the brother of Springsteen's future wife, Patti Scialfa, was Theiss’ bandmate in the Cahoots.

Finally, in 2016, “Baby I” was given a proper release in “Chapter and Verse,” a companion album to the “Born to Run” autobiography.

“George was the best vocalist we had,” said Springsteen in ‘“Born to Run.” ‘“He had a real voice and charisma and did the job well. I was considered toxic in front of a microphone, my voice the butt of many of Tex’s jokes, and years later, after selling millions of records, I would visit Tex and he would take grand pleasure in sneering at me, ‘You still can’t sing. George is the singer.’ ”

There have been many tributes to Theiss, who had moved with his family to North Carolina, online.

“Last night I lost my best friend, bandmate, writing partner and big (and older) brother of 43 years,” posted Tony Amato on Saturday, July 14. “Handsome George with an infectious smile, who upon me releasing songs he wrote delightedly decided to tell me he hated the way I sing. This is my brother. You rocked it since you were a fat 14. Forever grateful to be with you until the end. Love you always.”

“Music was his life,” Barbara said. “He loved it.”

No information about services has been released.

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(((NEW))) I'll feature some super music sales when available. Please feel free to post some.

Today $6.22+ for a 4 CD set with SOME of the Isley Bros/EWF hits, etc.






Can 48 Artists in 14 Rooms Capture Michael Jackson?


A cover for Interview magazine from 2009 by the artist KAWS is included in the exhibition “Michael Jackson: On the Wall” at the National Portrait Gallery in London.CreditKAWS

By Thomas Chatterton Williams

  • July 20, 2018

LONDON — When the world first learned of Michael Jackson’s death, from an accidental overdose in 2009, the news had a whiff of unreality about it. This was in no small part because, for so long, it had been hard to remember that he was actually a person. A child prodigy who in adulthood became a genuine Peter Pan — fantastically refusing to grow old — Jackson was always more an idea than a human being in the flesh. Nearly a decade later, the shape-shifting body frozen in memory, his extraordinary image endures as if he never left.

Now, an ambitious and thought-provoking new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, running through Oct. 21, seeks to measure the impact and reach of Jackson as muse and cultural artifact. “Michael Jackson: On the Wall,” curated by Nicholas Cullinan, sprawls without feeling bloated, occupying 14 rooms and bringing together the work of 48 artists across numerous media, from Andy Warhol’s instantly recognizable silk-screen prints and grainy black-and-white snapshots, to a vast oil painting by Kehinde Wiley. (Jeff Koons’s famous porcelain sculpture “Michael Jackson and Bubbles” is notably absent, though it is reinterpreted in several other pieces.)


The photographer David LaChapelle made several portraits of Jackson, including “An Illuminating Path” from 1998.CreditCourtesy of the artist

First the obvious: No artwork, however clever or pretty, that has been inspired by a talent the size of Jackson’s can compete with its source material. To get the most out of what this show has to offer it is best to acknowledge this at the entrance and move on, as the most successful pieces do, eschewing strictly aesthetic concerns and exploring instead Jackson’s conceptual possibilities.

Consider for example one of the simplest works in the show, David Hammons’s 2001 installation, “Which Mike Do You Want to Be Like…?” The piece — full of wondrous pride even as it conjures a sense of depressing limitation — consists of three abnormally tall microphones and its title recalls the Holy Trinity of late-20th-century black American entertainment icons as set out by the rapper The Notorious B.I.G.: “I excel like Mike, anyone: Tyson, Jordan, Jackson.” (B.I.G.’s own guest feature on Jackson’s 1995 “History” album marked a crowning achievement in his career.) More than 20 years later, rappers still clamor for a Jackson co-sign. On “Scorpion,” his latest chart-topping release, Drake flexed the ultimate status symbol, having purchased the rights to unreleased vocals and scoring a posthumous feature with the King of Pop.

Jackson, more than Tyson or even Jordan, so epitomized black excellence that Ebony magazine could unselfconsciously run an airbrushed image of him on the cover in 2007, his creamy skin and silky cascading hair framing a razor-sharp jawline, beside a headline reading “Inside: The Africa You Don’t Know.”


A “dinner jacket” for Jackson by his longtime costume designer, Michael Lee Bush, is adorned with cutlery. The garment appears in the London show.CreditJohn Branca/Julien’s Auctions

A year after the singer’s death, Lyle Ashton Harris recreated that image on Ghanaian funerary fabric. It’s jarring to compare the real late-life M.J. with another imaginary iteration that Hank Willis Thomas appropriates in one of the show’s more shocking offerings, “Time Can Be a Villain or a Friend (1984/2009).”

In this, we see an uncannily convincing, and wholesomely handsome rendition of Jackson with his natural skin tone, a pencil-thin mustache on his lip and an ever-so-lightly relaxed puff of hair on his head. Mr. Thomas explains in the catalog that it is simply an artist’s rendering from a 1984 issue of Ebony, a glimpse of what the magazine imagined Jackson would look like in the year 2000. Without any alteration, it is by far “On the Wall’s” most critical work — the image originally so full of pride and hope is now an indictment, and haunts the show like a scathing rebuke.

In this post-post-racial, post-Obama era of resurgent populism and Balkanized identity politics, it really does feel as though it matters — and matters more than anything else — whether you’re black or white. It does make for a particularly fascinating moment to re-evaluate Jackson’s image as a fundamentally “black” but simultaneously racially transcendent figure, or a monstrous desecration, depending on your perspective. Indeed, there is a push and pull between these running through the exhibition and the catalog that accompanies it.

In the catalog, the critic Margo Jefferson calls Jackson “a postmodern trickster god,” noting “what visceral emotion he stirred (and continues to stir) in us!” She anticipates, in the next pages, the novelist and essayist Zadie Smith’s castigating contribution. Ms. Smith writes of her mother’s initial preoccupation with the singer: “I think the Jacksons represented the possibility that black might be beautiful, that you might be adored in your blackness — worshiped, even.” But, she adds, “By the time I became aware of Michael — around 1980 or so — my mother was finished with him, for reasons she never articulated, but which became clear soon enough. For me, he very soon became a traumatic figure, shrouded in shame.”


Kehinde Wiley’s “Equestrian Portrait of King Philip II” (2010) is a vast oil painting which takes its composition from a work by Ruebens from around 1630.CreditStephen Friedman Gallery, London and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

“It was as if the schizophrenic, self-hating, hypocritical and violent history of race in America had incarnated itself in a single man,” Ms. Smith concludes.

This critique is at odds with the warmth with which many black people still hold the singer, particularly in the United States, where he remains enormously beloved. But it calls to mind the furious assault on Jackson’s racial credentials with which Ta-Nehisi Coates began a recent essay on Kanye West. “Michael Jackson was God, but not just God in scope and power, though there was certainly that, but God in his great mystery,” Mr. Coates writes. “And he had always been dying — dying to be white.” He continues:

We knew that we were tied to him, that his physical destruction was our physical destruction, because if the black God, who made the zombies dance, who brokered great wars, who transformed stone to light, if he could not be beautiful in his own eyes, then what hope did we have — mortals, children — of ever escaping what they had taught us, of ever escaping what they said about our mouths, about our hair and our skin, what hope did we ever have of escaping the muck? And he was destroyed.

Such criticism, however heartfelt and comprehensible, makes the mistake of reducing Jackson to the role of tribal ambassador in a society built on oversimplified and regressive notions of racial and gender identity that his own art and self-presentation never stopped pushing against. It occludes the far subtler and more interesting insights that a genius can provoke, and too confidently pigeonholes an individual who knowingly rejected the stifling limitations of his country’s artificial racial binary for a dupe. The man who wrote “We Are the World” and “Liberian Girl,” and proudly recreated Egyptian splendor in “Remember the Time,” had an idealistic and expansive view of our common humanity. His androgyny, too, helped shatter restrictive notions of black masculinity.


Mark Ryden has reworked his 1991 cover artwork for Jackson’s album “Dangerous” in an ornate frame as an original artwork.CreditPrivate collection/MJJ Productions, via Paul Kasmin Gallery

One of the most counterintuitive and compelling contributions to “On the Wall” is Lorraine O’Grady’s series of four diptychs, “The First and Last of the Modernists (Charles and Michael).” Comprising blown-up found photographs of the 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire and Jackson striking similar poses and tinted in a variety of pastel hues, like many of the works here, these pieces deal inventively with the theme of mirroring.

“When Michael died, I tried to understand why was I crying like he was a member of my family,” Ms. O’Grady explained in an interview at the show’s opening in June. “I realized the only person I could compare him to was Baudelaire,” she said, listing ambiguous sexuality and a proclivity for wearing makeup as commonalities.

“But more importantly, they both had this exalted idea of the role of the artist,” Ms. O’Grady added. “If Baudelaire thought he tried to explain the new world he was living in to the people around him, Michael had an even more exalted vision: He felt that he was capable of uniting the entire world through his music.”


Andy Warhol’s silk-screen portrait of Jackson from 1984, included in the London exhibition, is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.Credit2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Licensed by DACS, London; National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.

In Ms. O’Grady’s view, Jackson didn’t simply try to become “white,” as his detractors would have it — rather he “crafted himself physically to appeal to every demographic possible,” she said. By the time of his death, Jackson had long been one of the most famous people on the planet, if not the most famous. The footage of his “Dangerous” tour in newly post-Ceausescu Romania, on display in an eerie loop, provides hallucinatory testament to his outrageous global reach. It is estimated that his memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles reached at least a billion people worldwide.

“The first of the new is always the last of something else,” Ms. O’Grady notes in the catalog. Baudelaire, she writes, “was both the first of the modernists and the last of the romantics.” And Jackson “may have been the last of the modernists (no one can ever aspire to greatness that unironically again) but he was the first of the postmodernists.”

He was, perhaps, the first of the post-racialists, too. Yet in our hyper-connected age of heightened political consciousness and reactionary fervor, in which identity is both a weapon and a defense, that view of race can feel naïve. But this is a failure of our own imaginations and dreams, not his. As “On the Wall” makes clear, Jackson’s own face — through a combination of fame and relentless surgery — became a mask, reflecting our own biases and ideals while concealing a deeper truth. His art and lasting appeal, on the other hand, function as a reminder to consider our own disguises, and what we might gain by letting them go.

Brandi Carlile Announces All-Women Festival, Talks Lineup Inequality

Girls Just Wanna Weekend, set for 2019 in Mexico, will feature Maren Morris, Indigo Girls, Margo Price


Brandi Carlile will host the Girls Just Wanna Weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel in Mexico this winter.

Pete Souza

If Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend is truly successful, she may never have to do it again. Featuring a lineup of all women, including Carlile, Maren Morris, Indigo Girls, Margo Price, Patty Griffin, Lucius, KT Tunstall, Secret Sisters and Ruby Amanfu, the festival was created by the By the Way, I Forgive You singer to show that – despite what current festival bills may indicate (right now, women make up about 19 percent of lineups according to a Pitchfork report) – female artists are not only worthy of booking, but they are bankable, too.

Taking place January 30th through February 3rd at the Hard Rock Hotel in Mexico, Girls Just Wanna Weekend’s goal is to provide a fun, safe and inclusive environment that also acts as a model to festival bookers across the country, aiming to persuade them to change their definition of what – and who – sells tickets.

“What I really want,” Carlile tells Rolling Stone Country, “is for the festival to do so well that people will see it who are booking them, and understand that there is a demand for women. And I want other women to mirror the template at home, from a club level on. Get a group of women together, mirror the concept and do it for the next couple of years until it changes. I’m ready to get in the trenches and prove [those bookers] wrong.”

Rolling Stone Country spoke to Carlile about the genesis of Girls Just Wanna Weekend, toxic masculinity and the importance of a little tequila along the way.

At what point did you look at all of the imbalanced festival lineups and say, “Enough is enough. I’m going to take this problem into my own hands?”
When I first saw those posters with the men’s names removed [a Twitter feed called BookMoreWomen routinely posts festival lineups with the male artist’s names edited out, leaving only minimal women and a whole lot of blank space], they just looked so, so weird. I’m always traveling and familiar with all of these festivals, and I play them, so I’m definitely part of the problem. But there absolutely needs to be more women included, particularly at the top of those posters.

In all of the years you have been touring and playing festivals, have you seen the problem evolve, or even get worse? You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman headlining a festival this summer.
Weirdly, I do think it’s getting worse. And you wouldn’t expect that, especially after something like Lilith Fair that took place in the Nineties and was so wildly successful. I have seen it get a lot worse since then, and it surprises me, because it doesn’t seem congruent with the rest of the country.

What do you think is to blame?
I don’t want to speculate too much that there’s a concerted effort to exclude women from the top of the headlining spots, but when momentum starts to work, you just keep going. And since so many started out with male headliners, I think they are hesitant to break that mold. Festival buyers and people booking festivals are missing the truck because what I hope Girls Just Wanna Weekend will show is that there are women [fans] who are staying home, whose money spends the same as their male counterparts, because the top of that festival is all men and it’s not calling to them because they don’t feel represented musically. They’re worried about toxic masculinity, being hit on and surrounded by drunk guys. Look, [drinking] is part of festival life. But if there were two or three women in those spots, they would know they are represented.

Teen Vogue did a report recently showing how rampant sexual harassment and assault is at Coachella: every single woman who was interviewed experienced some harassment. When the festival circuit is so male-dominated, it even impacts the culture amongst the fans.
That’s absolutely true. Woman are looking at the top names at a festival and then making a decision like we all do when we get out of a car in a dark alley or walk to the grocery store. We have to make a decision, and many women are looking at those lineups and deciding it’s too masculine for their group of girlfriends or their toddlers. It’s not anything against the bands themselves, it’s about representation.

How have you reacted when you realized you were on a lineup as one of few women?
I’m a little bit of a workaholic and I often won’t know until I get there and see the poster hanging up on the wall while I’m getting dressed for the show, and I’ll go, “Oh holy shit, this is all dudes!” Or I will see a female headliner listed in smaller print than a male headliner whom she is way bigger than. There is just this increasing connotation between summer festivals, especially, and “bros,” yet I have seen my audience grow more and more diverse: we’re dads and we’re gay and we’re in touch with our feminine side and we’re dudes that like women’s music.

There are some people that will say, “What we want is for women just to be treated equally, not placed on gender-specific festivals.” But the reality is, for us to get to that point, the whole industry needs to be redirected. We need to prove that women sell.
Exactly. We first have to show the curators that women are a draw, and they don’t have to default to masculinity. Once they see that, the idea of “women’s music” or “female fronted acts” goes away. I know that female artists, across the board, don’t want to be called “female artists.” It’s time for women in music at all levels, headliner and beyond, to get together and make a conscious decision not to compete. It’s a hard thing for women when there are so few slots. I know these bookers and I have a lot of love for many of them, but right now they are sitting around with a list of headliners and going, “OK, we gotta pick one woman.” And when that one woman can be you, or three other people, it’s so hard. You have to make a conscious decision not to compete. Just refuse.


We shouldn’t have to choose between Margo Price and Maren Morris. Festivals can and should book both, and then some.
Right. And if we can show that we can get 3,000 women to go to Mexico, then what can you do at home? It all comes down to wanting to make a statement, to men and women. The most amazing thing would be to look out into that crowd, and see men.

It folds into a debate constantly afoot at country radio – that women are the tomatoes to men’s lettuce, and women don’t want to hear other women on the radio. The portion of songs by women in country making the airwaves is shockingly low.
And why is that? It’s so out of step. I’m happy to be a part of a genre [like Americana] that is a few steps ahead, but that doesn’t matter if there is one genre that isn’t. I can’t speak for Kacey [Musgraves] and Maren and Miranda [Lambert], or the Pistol Annies, who I love, but I know that there are headlining women in country music who are phenomenal and who are crushing shows. Or Margo. It’s a great time in country music in terms of what exists. And I simply don’t know any women who don’t want to hear women.

It’s all cyclical, too – if you don’t get booked, you can’t get played. If you can’t get played, you can’t get booked.
It’s absolutely true and for so many, the draw is a means to the end. The festival bookers can actually affect the landscape if and because they are taking risks. And I don’t want to confuse all this with saying there won’t be booze at Girls Just Wanna Weekend, and it won’t be a wild weekend: I fully intend for the festival in Mexico to be a total tequila experience. It’s just about representation and doing it in a way that feels liberated, and the fact that I feel the need to explain this distinction is why we are having this conversation.

There’s an initiative called Keychange that has challenged many festivals, mostly international, to agree to a 50/50 gender balance by 2022. Yet detractors to that kind of thinking try to argue for a merit-based system or say gender balance is simply an unrealistic expectation.
I’ve always thought this, since I was a little girl: inequality prevents merit-based success. Until equality exists, then the people who are getting excluded from the spots don’t get a chance to earn those merits.

Brandi Carlile’s Girls Just Wanna Weekend is a four-night, all-inclusive concert event that will take place January 30th through February 3rd, 2019, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Rivera Maya, Mexico. Public on sale begins August 1st, 2018, at 12:00pm ET.

Robert Plant Extends ‘Carry Fire’ Tour With New U.S. Dates

Singer and Sensational Space Shifters adds Southwest and Midwest gigs to festival itinerary


Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters extend their trek in support of 'Carry Fire' into fall with a new slate of U.S. tour dates.

Robb Cohen/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters will extend their trek in support of 2017’s Carry Fire into the fall with a new slate of North American tour dates.

The singer’s next Carry Fire leg concentrates on the Midwest and Southwest with September shows scheduled for Kansas City, Santa Fe, Tucson and Tulsa. The latest leg concludes with three Texas gigs: September 25th in Irving, September 27th in Lubbock and September 29th with an Austin City Limits taping at the Moody Theater.

Padding out Plant’s September plans are a handful of previously announced festival dates at St. Louis’ LouFest, the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Kaaboo in Del Mar, California, Louisville and Kentucky’s Bourbon & Beyond Festival.

Tickets for all Plant standalone shows are on sale at Plant’s official site beginning today.

Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters are currently on a European tour celebrating Carry Fire, the singer’s 11th LP, which Rolling Stone named one of the year’s 50 of 2017. The former Led Zeppelin singer recently released his latest video for “New World,” animated by Shepard Fairey.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Tour Dates

September 9 – St. Louis, MO @ LouFest
September 10 – Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
September 13 – Santa Fe, NM @ Santa Fe Opera
September 15 – Telluride, CO @ Telluride Blues & Brews Festival
September 16 – Del Mar, CA @ KAABOO
September 19 – Tucson, AZ @ Centennial Hall
September 21 – Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater
September 23 – Louisville, KY @ Bourbon & Beyond Festival
September 25 – Irving, TX @ The Pavilion at The Toyota Music Factory
September 27 – Lubbock, TX @ Lubbock Municipal Auditorium
September 29 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater

[Edited 7/20/18 7:58am]

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > New Musica Releases, Sales + News/Tours Info 2018 Parte 3