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ROSANNE CASH & JOHN FOGERTY

ROSANNE CASH & JOHN FOGERTY
ROSANNE CASH & JOHN FOGERTY Journey South To Self-Discovery and Rediscovery Do yourself a favor: If you get a chance to see Rosanne Cash’s show during her current The River & the Thread tour, grab it. With a fabulous seven-piece backing band, she performs the entire album from start to finish, explaining each song and the concept behind them, as well as The River & the Thread as a whole, which resulted from a series of trips the longtime... 

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS
Carrie Underwood ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS And The Winner … Will Not Be Televised The Grammy Awards are bad enough, what with presenting the bulk of the awards—the ones we really care about, of course—off camera and loading the show itself mainly with pop/rap superstar hokum. But leave it to the Academy of Country Music to really turn the legitimate award show concept upside down. Dean Dillon In what reads like a preemptive strike, the... 

LEO KOTTKE

LEO KOTTKE
LEO KOTTKE Ever Fascinatingly Weird Interplay Between Mind and Hands I don’t know what it’s like being Leo Kottke, let alone playing 6- and 12-string acoustic guitars the way he does so singularly. But it’s exhilarating to the point of exhaustion just watching him. He talks, pauses, plays, pauses, talks, etc., etc., sometimes with coherence, always with edge-of-the-seat suspense: Will he finish a story? Will he start a tune? Is there any difference... 

CELINE DION

CELINE DION
CELINE DION                         Her latest showcases an earthy approach to recording her inimitable vocals    After selling more than 200 million albums and enjoying 25 years of global success, five-time Grammy Award-winning Celine Dion might be inclined to take it easy. But the powerhouse singer refuses to slow down, and while she continues her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace, she’s recorded a new album that challenges... 

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS A big lineup change brings renewed energy to the multiplatinum rockers   “We’ve gotten more done in the past few months than we have in years,” says Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo. He’s talking about the group’s resurrection after booting singer Scott Weiland and replacing him with Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington. Weiland had been on a downward spiral of addiction for nearly 20 years, and the quartet—DeLeo,... 

Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby

Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby
Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby Two master musicians team up for an exhilarating bluegrass project Bluegrass has rules, and although Ricky Skaggs is very good at playing by those rules, he’s furthered his career by breaking them. A child prodigy, the virtuoso mandolinist and vocalist detoured from the genre in the 1980s and early ’90s into mainstream country, scoring nearly a dozen No. 1 hits and a shelf full of Grammys. But it was Skaggs’... 

JULIE ROBERTS

JULIE ROBERTS
JULIE ROBERTS Finding that signing with Sun Records was definitely not a bad decision Good things come to those who wait—just ask Julie Roberts. After early success with 2004’s hit “Break Down Here,” the country singer released a couple of albums with a major label, then self-released her last project in 2011. But her latest, Good Wine and Bad Decisions, is a breakout. It’s the first full-length album launched by famed Sun Records—once... 

DREAM THEATER

DREAM THEATER
DREAM THEATER Taking changes in stride, the prog metal icons return in epic form  Four years ago prog metal giants Dream Theater were forced to navigate stormy seas when drummer and founding member Mike Portnoy left the band. Through the period of transition, the remaining members—singer James LaBrie, guitarist John Petrucci, keyboardist Jordan Rudess, bassist John Myung, and new drummer Mike Mangini—emerged stronger. “That whole transformation... 

KORN

KORN
KORN Back from the brink with a new album and an old friend For years alternative metal band Korn became synonymous with drugs. They wrote about them, were addicted to them, and were ultimately consumed by them. Meth forced Brian “Head” Welch to quit the band in 2005, while the remaining members—singer Jonathan Davis, guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu and drummer David Silveria (replaced by Ray Luzier... 

THE AVETT BROTHERS

THE AVETT BROTHERS
THE AVETT BROTHERS Material for the folk favorites’ latest album proved an easy find  “We really overdid it, recording all those songs,” laughs Scott Avett. He’s talking about the band’s new album, Magpie and the Dandelion, which is composed almost entirely of songs recorded during their 2011 sessions with producer Rick Rubin for their last album, The Carpenter. “After we put out The Carpenter, we knew the songs we didn’t use were... 

PANIC! AT THE DISCO

PANIC! AT THE DISCO
PANIC! AT THE DISCO The emo-pop rockers expand their studio skills on a new album  The members of Panic! at the Disco haven’t limited their experimentation to their instruments, as evidenced by their fourth album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! (a quote from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, as well as a nod to their hometown). Produced by Butch Walker, the album allowed frontman Brendon Urie to become more ambitious... 

KEANE

KEANE
KEANE    A greatest hits set marks a time of change in the band’s career  “I’ve been itching to do a solo album for a long time,” Keane frontman Tom Chaplin says, prior to a show that could be one of the band’s last—at least for a while. The English rockers have announced they’re “taking a break” after releasing The Best of Keane in November. “It came down to my desire to do something different,” Chaplin says. “To do that... 

LESLIE WEST

LESLIE WEST
LESLIE WEST A legendary guitar god keeps climbing with a blistering new set When Leslie West finished recording “Dyin’ Since the Day I Was Born,” the leadoff track on his new album Still Climbing, he emailed it to fellow guitar monster Slash. “I really respect the guy and wanted his opinion,” says West. “He wrote back and said, ‘You just can’t get any heavier than that, man.’” recording “Dyin’ Since the Day I Was Born,”... 

JOE NICHOLS

JOE NICHOLS
JOE NICHOLS Recharging his sound with a mix of modern and traditional country  Weighed down by label politics and dwindling record sales, Joe Nichols went through a rough patch following the release of his 2011 album, It’s All Good. But after splitting with his label last year, he felt rejuvenated and refreshed as he embarked upon free agency. “I was completely energized and free to go into the studio at will with my own budget,” he says.... 

lorde

lorde
LORDE Call her queen bee: The edgy teen with the luxe vocals rules the charts  This past summer, Lorde’s sultry slice of electronic pop, “Royals,” broke the record for weeks that a female artist spent at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. (The previous record holder was Alanis Morissette in 1995 with “You Oughta Know.”) It also marked the first time in 17 years that a female artist topped the Alternative chart. By the end... 

BLOOM TWINS

BLOOM TWINS
BLOOM TWINS HOMETOWN: Kiev, Ukraine INFLUENCES: The Beatles, Muse, Rudimental ALBUM: Bloom Twins, TBA WEBSITE: bloomtwins.com The Bloom Twins—Anna and Sonia Kuprienko—have been sharing a stage together for most of their lives. “Music was and is the language we speak the best,” Anna says. Growing up in a small Ukrainian town outside Kiev, the 17-year-old twins participated in various entertainment competitions and performed at venues throughout... 

LACEY CAROLINE

LACEY CAROLINE
LACEY CAROLINE HOMETOWN: Sparta, N.J. INFLUENCES: Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen ALBUM: Songbird EP, out now WEBSITE: laceycaroline.com Growing up in a small town in northern New Jersey, country singer-songwriter Lacey Caroline, born Lacey Steinel, spent much of her childhood writing short stories driven by strong female characters. As a teenager, she married her love of words with melodies, teaching herself to play guitar and recording... 

CODY KAREY

CODY KAREY
CODY KAREY HOMETOWN: Fort St. James, B.C., Canada INFLUENCES: Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Alan Jackson ALBUM: Cody Karey, out now WEBSITE: codykarey.com Clad in cowboy boots and jeans he’d been given by his grandmother, British Columbia native Cody Karey began performing at age 6. As a teen, he shifted musical styles from country to traditional pop. “I was pretty certain that was the music I wanted to do,” he says, “which was certainly weird... 

BUTCH WALKER

BUTCH WALKER
BUTCH WALKER One of pop’s hottest producers likes to play rough—when they let him By Michael Gallant Butch Walker’s not only a jack of all musical trades, he’s a master as well. From the producer’s chair, Butch Walker has crafted hit records for everyone from Pink, Fall Out Boy, and Keith Urban to Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. From the stage and studio, he’s the frontman of Butch Walker and the Black Widows, which has... 

GEORGE BENSON

GEORGE BENSON
GEORGE BENSON  How the elite guitarist opened his mouth and changed jazz history  By Jeff Tamarkin   By the early 1970s George Benson was quickly gaining recognition as a young hotshot guitarist on the jazz scene. He’d already cut more than a dozen acclaimed instrumental albums and had been tapped by the likes of Miles Davis to lend his six-string chops. But Benson wanted to try his hand at singing, testing the waters with a cover of the... 

MERLE HAGGARD

MERLE HAGGARD
MERLE HAGGARD Okie From Muskogee Anniversary Edition Anniversaries. The 20th anniversary of the notorious Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding relationship, as celebrated by two specials coinciding with last month’s Winter Olympics, caught me by surprise. So I had my own celebration by reposting Loudon Wainwright III’s transcendent tribute to the bygone days of women’s figure skating and sportsmanship, “Tonya’s Twirls,” which eventually surfaced... 

KISS – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

KISS – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction
KISS Long Deserved Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction It was probably inevitable that Kiss’ long deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be problematic—and yes, I did say long deserved. It’s just been reported that in time-dishonored RockHall fashion, only originals Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were going to perform, with current non-inductee members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer rather than fellow inductee/originals Ace... 

THAT BEATLES MAGIC

THAT BEATLES MAGIC
THAT BEATLES MAGIC According to Jeff Alan Ross It was one of those truly bizarre moments. I’d gone over to the Grand Hyatt Hotel to see if I could get into The Fest for Beatles Fans with the wristband a friend of mine, from my hometown of Madison, Wis., had handed me the night before. I figured they’d change the color the next day, and I was right. I wanted to catch Peter Asher’s wonderful show Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir Of The ’60s and... 

ROBERT EARL KEEN

ROBERT EARL KEEN
ROBERT EARL KEEN Still Defying Labels   Those of us who love music usually love to share it, so I was happy to take my young friends Sasha Gavrilova and Andrei Bekrenev—both New York-based correspondents for the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, to see the one and only Robert Earl Keen a few weeks ago at Irving Plaza. Of course, they didn’t know who REK is, though they’re hardly alone in this regard. While Keen deservedly retains a legion... 

THE BEATLES

THE BEATLES
THE BEATLES From Beefy’s Point of View I’m kind of avoiding Beatles 50th anniversary hoopla. Big-name commemorative concerts starring multi-genre artists who were born a generation or three later, or even those featuring Beatles contemporaries, I don’t really need to see, so I’ll probably pass on Sunday’s Grammy celebration on CBS. I didn’t watch the CNN special or any of the Letterman tributes. There’s a Beatles fan fest here in New... 

YALE RUSSIAN CHORUS

YALE RUSSIAN CHORUS
Yale Russian Chorus – credit Andrei Bekrenev YALE RUSSIAN CHORUS 60 Years of Vocal Tradition Let others talk about Lorde, Miley Cyrus’ latest video and the new Beyonce promotion, er, album. Me? I’m still basking in the glow of seeing a bunch of 70-something American men singing Tsarist and Red Army songs along with Russian liturgical and folk music fare at Yale a few weeks ago. Okay, so they weren’t all in their 70s. But it was in fact... 

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

THE SOUND OF MUSIC
THE SOUND OF MUSIC Live Music Theater on Television Okay, so I let the first NBC showing of The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood go. I figured, she’s a good singer, she’ll be good, not great. She’s pretty much just a ratings draw, anyway. Then after reading some of the reviews and seeing how well it did—and that they were going to show it again—I decided to DVR it, which, really, is what I should have done in the first place, when it... 

BOBBY WOMACK

BOBBY WOMACK
BOBBY WOMACK NEEDED LITTLE DIRECTION FROM photographer Norman Seeff during this L.A. session for his 1971 album, Communication. “He loved performing—I didn’t have to push him at all,” recalls Seeff. “He would just launch right into a song. He had an energy that, for me, was a benchmark for being in the moment.” It was a satisfying shoot for Seeff. “Every frame has its own character,” he says. “He was willing to be vulnerable and... 

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”   THE ROLLING STONES On May 7, 1965, Keith Richards woke up in the middle of the night at a Florida hotel with a melody in his head. Fumbling in the dark, he grabbed his guitar next to the bed and a cassette recorder on the nightstand—and played an eight-note riff into it. It was accompanied by the mumbled vocal line, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Then he fell back asleep. “On the tape you can hear... 

GRAMMY NOMINATIONS

GRAMMY NOMINATIONS
GRAMMY NOMINATIONS Did The Most Deserving Artists Prevail? You know the hoopla over the Grammy nominations has gotten way out of hand when even that little video screen in the elevator you’re riding in at the Empire State Building puts up “Grammy nods: Did the most deserving artists prevail?” Even the elevator wants to know. My friend Roger Friedman at his Showbiz 411 site revives a valid point. He notes that Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,”... 

ICONA POP

ICONA POP
ICONA POP A monster hit launches a club-friendly debut album for the Swedish duo   From radio to TV ads to movies, Icona Pop’s “I Love It” has infiltrated every corner of pop culture. “I didn’t expect over 40 million views on YouTube,” says Aino Jawo. She and Caroline Hjelt formed the duo in 2009 and recently released their debut album, This Is…Icona Pop. “We went out clubbing and heard our song in every one,” says Jawo. “We... 

Cage the Elephant

Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant Overcoming fear leads to inspiration for the indie rockers’ latest Cage the Elephant picked an odd title for their third album, Melophobia. The name refers to a fear of music, which seems like an unfortunate condition for a group of musicians. In the case of the Kentucky quintet, though, they’re only averse to certain types of music—specifically, the kind that doesn’t feel honest. “We were trying to fight that voice of... 

EARTH, WIND & FIRE

EARTH, WIND & FIRE
EARTH, WIND & FIRE                          R&B’s legendary performers revisit their iconic sound on a new set     “It was a totally different thing, and when you have the right thing at the right time, you can’t stop it,” says Ralph Johnson, who’s been Earth, Wind & Fire’s percussionist since 1971, just two years after the group formed. Earth, Wind & Fire was a force of nature through the 1970s and ’80s,... 

KENNY ROGERS

KENNY ROGERS
KENNY ROGERS The Gambler rolls the dice on his dream of making chart history at 75    “My current audience falls into two groups,” says Kenny Rogers. “Those born after 1980 whose parents made them listen to my music as child abuse, and those born before the ’60s who can no longer remember that decade.” That’s a typical self-deprecating comment from one of this year’s Country Music Hall of Fame inductees—an honor that Rogers says... 

SAMMY HAGAR

SAMMY HAGAR
SAMMY HAGAR The Red Rocker marks a milestone with an album full of famous friends   In 1973, Sammy Hagar recorded one of the great rock screams of all time on the intro of Montrose’s “Rock Candy.” It was only the first of many howls to come from a 26-year-old kid who would go on to a singular career that included hit records as a solo artist and as frontman for bands like Van Halen and Chickenfoot. Four decades later there’s no end in sight—and... 

WILL LEE

WILL LEE
WILL LEE Late night TV’s ace of bass releases a star-studded solo project   His nightly gig on the Late Show With David Letterman makes Will Lee one of America’s most visible bassists. Since 1982, Lee has excelled in the pressure cooker of live TV, backing countless guest stars. He also tours with Israeli guitarist Oz Noy and takes the stage weekly with the Fab Faux, a group that performs stunning recreations of the Beatles catalog. Now Lee... 

Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint
ALLEN TOUSSAINT At 75, the New Orleans music icon releases his first live album By Jeff Tamarkin For more than a half-century, Allen Toussaint has reigned as contemporary music’s Renaissance man. As a songwriter alone, his output is legendary—classics such as “Mother-in-Law,” “Get Out of My Life, Woman,” “Yes We Can Can,” “Working in the Coal Mine,” and “On Your Way Down” all came from his pen. Glen Campbell turned Toussaint’s... 

Gov’t Mule

Gov’t Mule
Gov’t Mule The blues-rock jammers take a novel approach to a double-disc set Gov’t Mule didn’t intend their latest release as a celebration of the band’s 20th anniversary next year. That’s not why Shout! is a double-disc set packed with guest singers—it just turned out that way. Gov’t Mule—frontman Warren Haynes, drummer Matt Abts, keyboardist and guitarist Danny Louis and bassist Jorgen Carlsson—began writing and recording for... 

Over the Rhine

Over the Rhine
Over the Rhine An exceptionally creative week in the studio leads to a new double album  “With every record, we’re hoping to make our best album. If I felt our best work was behind us, I’d lose interest,” says Over the Rhine’s keyboardist and guitarist Linford Detweiler. The band he fronts with wife Karen Bergquist just released their latest set—the group’s 13th album—Meet Me at the Edge of the World. “What makes this project different... 

Berlin

Berlin
Berlin EDM strikes a familiar chord for these innovative synth-pop veterans   For Berlin frontwoman Terri Nunn, there’s a fine line between the band’s ’80s new-wave hits and the current electronic dance music craze. “EDM acts use so many of the sounds and instruments we’ve used in our past music that I didn’t have to think, ‘Will my audience like this?’” Nunn says of the EDM influence on the band’s latest album, Animal. It has... 

Blind Boys of Alabama

Blind Boys of Alabama
Blind Boys of Alabama Seven decades in, the gospel giants still find a way to inspire  “I never even thought of leaving,” says vocalist Jimmy Carter, the sole founding member still touring and recording with the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Grammy-winning gospel supergroup that formed in 1939. “When we started we were determined to go all the way. And when I step down, I’ll pass the torch behind me.” It’s impossible not to connect the... 

Val Garay

Val Garay
Val Garay Sharing the studio secrets behind some of music’s best vocal performances By Michael Gallant Even among top-tier producer-engineers, Val Garay’s credentials are impressive: more than 125 million worldwide record sales and over 200 gold and platinum albums, spread across a vast array of artists that include Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Santana, Ringo Starr, Linda Ronstadt and many more. Garay’s talents have... 

Bonnie Mckee

Bonnie Mckee
Bonnie Mckee HOMETOWN: Vacaville, Calif. INFLUENCES: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper ALBUM: As-yet-untitled LP, due out 2014 WEBSITE: bonniemckee.com Bonnie McKee started her musical education early, studying classical piano and touring Europe and North America with the Seattle Girls Choir. At the age of 12, she recorded a demo of Bette Midler and Fiona Apple songs that landed in the lap of family friend and Sub Pop label co-founder Jonathan... 

Brett Eldredge

Brett Eldredge
Brett Eldredge HOMETOWN: Paris, Ill. INFLUENCES: Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Ronnie Dunn ALBUM: Bring You Back, out now WEBSITE: bretteldredge.com Brett Eldredge grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Ronnie Dunn. “I always gravitated toward big voices, because as a kid I had this big voice coming out of me,” he says. “I got hooked on the stories singers would tell through their voice.” Eldredge’s parents bought him a guitar... 

Julie Kathryn

Julie Kathryn
Julie Kathryn HOMETOWN: Lake Placid, N.Y. INFLUENCES: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash ALBUM: Black Trees, out now WEBSITE: juliekathryn.com Julie Kathryn studied classical piano, guitar and songwriting. But by the time she graduated high school she’d chosen an entirely different career path: social work. Kathryn received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s from Columbia University. But the pull of... 

BOB DYLAN – The Lip-Synching Interactive Video

BOB DYLAN – The Lip-Synching Interactive Video
BOB DYLAN The Lip-Synching Interactive Video True, video killed the radio star—but then it killed MTV, too. Yet music video lives bigtime on the Internet, and especially in the press releases I get daily from publicists wanting my time. Now I loved music videos at the beginning, but not much longer. I was one of the first music video critics, at Danny Fields’ Rock Video magazine in the early 1980s, and reviewed them elsewhere; indeed, I got fired... 

LOU REED

LOU REED
LOU REED On His Way Somewhere Else I got there a couple minutes after 1 P.M. (Nov. 14) so if anything was said I didn’t hear it, but nothing was supposed to be said, according to the posting on Lou Reed’s Facebook page two days earlier: “New York: Lou Reed at Lincoln Center: A gathering open to the public—no speeches. no live performances, just Lou’s voice, guitar music & songs—playing the recordings selected by his family... 

RONNIE WOOD & MICK TAYLOR

RONNIE WOOD & MICK TAYLOR
RONNIE WOOD & MICK TAYLOR Playing Jimmy Reed Tunes One particularly music-knowledgeable witness of last week’s Ronnie Wood/Mick Taylor shows at the Cutting Room, which focused entirely on the music of the great Chicago bluesman Jimmy Reed and also featured Al Kooper on Hammond and Bad Company’s Simon Kirke on drums, was none other than the great Troy Sharmel. That’s right, guitarist/pianist Troy Sharmel of the legendary Dr. Bop & the... 

ALAN JACKSON – Among Country Greats

ALAN JACKSON – Among Country Greats
ALAN JACKSON Among Country Greats I generally make it a point not to read other reviewers if I’m writing about a show, so as not to be influenced. Maybe I’ll skim it to see if they got a song title that I missed, but that’s about it. But I did go to The New York Times’ review of Alan Jackson last week at Carnegie Hall when I saw it pop up on Twitter, mainly because I didn’t see anyone I knew there, not from the Times or anywhere, which... 

LOU REED, SHERMAN HALSEY & MINNIE PEARL

LOU REED, SHERMAN HALSEY & MINNIE PEARL
LOU REED, SHERMAN HALSEY & MINNIE PEARL An Appreciation I knew Lou Reed. Not really well, but we were quite friendly. I knew him a bit when I interviewed him when I was at Billboard, when Doc Pomus died. He loved Doc, and I was quite friendly with Doc—though I can’t say I knew him well, either. Lou appreciated most that I was a martial arts guy, like he was. He was happy to talk to me about martial arts. It was me, music reporter, talking... 
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