Q&A

SCOTT WEILAND

SCOTT WEILAND
SCOTT WEILAND                         The former STP frontman returns to rock ’n’ roll on his latest solo set Blaster is Scott Weiland’s third solo album and his first under the moniker Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts. But whatever the name, any music Weiland releases lines up with the unforgettable output of his former bands: ’90s alt-rock greats Stone Temple Pilots, and supergroup Velvet Revolver, with Slash and Duff McKagan.... 

DONNY OSMOND

DONNY OSMOND
DONNY OSMOND His latest celebrates the former teen idol’s biggest musical influences  In the 50 years since Donny Osmond made his debut alongside his brothers on The Andy Williams Show, he’s recorded 60 albums, including his latest, The Soundtrack of My Life. The album features songs that were significant in the 57-year-old performer’s life, from the Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” to the Supremes’ “Baby Love.” Stevie Wonder... 

JONI MITCHELL

JONI MITCHELL
JONI MITCHELL One of music’s greatest singer-songwriters creates an inspired box set Joni Mitchell is an eight-time Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who’s influenced everyone from Courtney Love to Taylor Swift. So it’s only fitting that her new box set has been crafted with care. It isn’t her first retrospective, but Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced is something special. The 53 tracks on these four... 

THE DECEMBERISTS

THE DECEMBERISTS
THE DECEMBERISTS The indie folk favorites take their time to create a compelling new album It’s been four years since the Decemberists’ sixth studio album, The King Is Dead, shot to the top of the Billboard 200 chart. Finally, the Portland, Oregon-based folk-rock band—frontman Colin Meloy, guitarist Chris Funk, keyboardist Jenny Conlee, bassist Nate Query and drummer John Moen—follows up with What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.... 

SOUNDGARDEN

SOUNDGARDEN
SOUNDGARDEN Eclectic tracks from the past find new life on the band’s box set   Kim Thayil isn’t big on loose ends. For years, the Soundgarden guitarist had thought about rounding up all of his band’s B-sides, covers, live tracks, soundtrack cuts and other stray recordings, and now it’s done. The Seattle grunge pioneers released Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path, a triple-disc box set that delivers precisely what the title... 

ROBBY KRIEGER

ROBBY KRIEGER
ROBBY KRIEGER The innovative Doors guitarist wants fans to know the band’s real story Director Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic The Doors offered many insights into the legendary group’s music. Now, with the release of the Doors’ self-produced 1968 film documentary Feast of Friends, fans have access to a more realistic depiction of band members’ lives and their creative process. At its center is Robby Krieger, whose dazzling guitar work helped... 

SMASHING PUMPKINS

SMASHING PUMPKINS
SMASHING PUMPKINS Billy Corgan’s latest features familiar-but-fresh sounds and a new Crüe Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan doesn’t mean to burst your bubble—but if you’re thinking “hopeful and positive” when you hear “Monuments,” a standout track on the new Smashing Pumpkins album Monuments to an Elegy, then you’re mistaken. Speaking from Chicago, Corgan says that the line “I feel all right tonight” is “kind of meant... 

JOE BONAMASSA

JOE BONAMASSA
JOE BONAMASSA The dedicated bluesman mines Music City talent for an album of originals When Joe Bonamassa started work on his 11th solo release, Different Shades of Blue, the guitarist-vocalist knew he needed to shake things up. So Bonamassa teamed up with top Nashville songwriters—including Jonathan Cain, James House and Jerry Flowers—to pen original tunes. “I owed it to my fans to do an all-original record, and I owed it to myself to prove... 

ANNIE LENNOX

ANNIE LENNOX
ANNIE LENNOX The Scottish soul diva soars on a singular standards set Annie Lennox—the wonderfully eccentric, madly soulful former Eurythmics singer—has released a decidedly nonstandard standards album. Nostalgia, the follow-up to 2010’s critically lauded A Christmas Cornucopia, came about totally by accident after Lennox performed some jazz tunes with Herbie Hancock at the 2012 International AIDS Conference. “It struck me that I had this... 

LENNY KRAVITZ

LENNY KRAVITZ
LENNY KRAVITZ The rocker-turned-actor turns rocker again with a new studio album In the 25 years since Lenny Kravitz released his debut album Let Love Rule, he has released 10 studio albums, won four Grammys, and scored hits like “It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Over,” “American Woman” and “Fly Away.” After recent star turns in such films as Precious, The Butler and the Hunger Games franchise, the 50-year-old singer-songwriter returns to... 

THE FLAMING LIPS

THE FLAMING LIPS
THE FLAMING LIPS                         Putting their own spin on a landmark Beatles album   For many musicians, approaching the crown jewel of the Beatles catalog would take a lot of nerve—but for the Flaming Lips, reimagining Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was less about intimidation and more about wonder. “Out of sheer curiosity, we picked  some Beatles songs and thought, ‘How are they doing that?’” says frontman... 

ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO

ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO
ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO African music’s premier diva celebrates the power of women Afropop star Angélique Kidjo has been a force in African music for more than two decades. With her new album, Eve, she narrows her focus to capture the sounds and spirit of African women. Produced by Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Fatboy Slim), Eve is a sunny, pulsing celebration of the resilience of the feminine spirit, sung in various West African languages by women’s... 

JENNY LEWIS

JENNY LEWIS
JENNY LEWIS Taking her time pays off for the Rilo Kiley singer on a new solo set  After taking three years to write, record and re-record her third solo album, The Voyager, Jenny Lewis cut the final version in a week and a half with producer Ryan Adams at his Pax-Am Studio in L.A. “Once we started rolling, we just ran through all the songs,” she says. While working on the album, the former Rilo Kiley frontwoman—and half of Jenny and Johnny—stayed... 

JASON MRAZ

JASON MRAZ
JASON MRAZ                   Enjoying the creative freedom that comes with multiplatinum success   “I’m still riding on the success of ‘I’m Yours,’” Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Mraz admits as he winds through the streets of Tokyo. He’s on his way to the airport after promoting his fifth studio album, YES!, in Japan. “Thanks to that song, my bills are paid, I get to travel the world—and now I’m able to make... 

COUNTING CROWS

COUNTING CROWS
COUNTING CROWS Frontman Adam Duritz phoned in the inspiration for their latest album In the years following 2008’s Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, Counting Crows toured, released a couple of live records, and paid tribute to their heroes with a covers album. One thing they didn’t do: make a lick of new music. Frontman Adam Duritz took a break from penning Crows material to collaborate with writer Stephen Belber on the play Black Sun. Meantime,... 

AIMEE MANN & TED LEO

AIMEE MANN & TED LEO
AIMEE MANN & TED LEO                        Creative chemistry turns songwriting buddies into new duo the Both   She’s a Grammy- and Academy Award-nominated songwriter; he’s a socially conscious punk-rocker. Together, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo turned a friendship honed online into a new project they’re calling the Both. What began as an onstage collaboration grew into plans for an EP, which then expanded into a self-titled album... 

RODNEY CROWELL

RODNEY CROWELL
RODNEY CROWELL For the veteran songwriter, patience is the key to creative success   In 2010, Rodney Crowell began the album that would become Tarpaper Sky, recording half a dozen songs before getting sidetracked with other projects: Kin, a collection of songs he wrote with memoirist Mary Karr, and last year’s Grammy-winning Old Yellow Moon, a collaboration with longtime friend Emmylou Harris. “Those beautiful women got my mind off my work,”... 

CONOR OBERST

CONOR OBERST
CONOR OBERST  The Bright Eyes frontman releases a new solo album More than a decade ago, Omaha native Conor Oberst—as Bright Eyes—ignited the neo-folk movement and put Nebraska indie label Saddle Creek on the map. Since then the singer-songwriter has recorded as part of a number of different groups, including Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. But for his latest, his Nonesuch Records debut Upside Down Mountain, Oberst goes it alone. The... 

JACK BRUCE

JACK BRUCE
JACK BRUCE The legendary bass ace returns with his first solo album in a decade Jack Bruce cemented his legacy when he composed one of rock’s most enduring riffs—the signature bassline of “Sunshine of Your Love.” But his many contributions to the 1960s supergroup Cream—which he formed with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker—comprise but a fragment of a career that’s veered from jazz to metal to R&B. In the years since Cream broke up,... 

NICKEL CREEK

NICKEL CREEK
NICKEL CREEK The bluegrass trio reunites with a new album that defies categories   Grammy-winning Nickel Creek took an indefinite hiatus in 2007 to pursue solo projects. Now the trio—mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins and her brother, guitarist Sean Watkins—has returned with a new album, A Dotted Line, which coincides with their 25th anniversary. Featuring eight originals and two covers—Sam Phillips’ “Where Is Love Now” and... 

JAKE E LEE

JAKE E LEE
JAKE E. LEE The ace guitarist gets back in the hard rock game with a melodic new set  Veteran guitarist Jake E. Lee hadn’t recorded an album of original music since his acclaimed solo A Fine Pink Mist in 1996. Like a proverbial metal Moses, the ex-Ozzy Osbourne axeman wandered in a self-imposed musical exile. “I outlived my shelf life as far as being cool,” says Lee, 56. “The only calls I got were from bands that loved Ozzy and wanted his... 

KAISER CHIEFS

KAISER CHIEFS
KAISER CHIEFS                         With a new lineup, the British rockers set out to get an Education     It would have been easy for Kaiser Chiefs to simply call it quits. Following the departure of drummer and primary songwriter Nick Hodgson in late 2012, the remaining four members had doubts about carrying on—before deciding to prove to their fans, and to themselves, that they were capable of continuing. The result is Education,... 

DOLLY PARTON

DOLLY PARTON
DOLLY PARTON A country treasure showcases her many colors on her latest album Dolly Parton wears many impressive hats: singer, actress, producer, musician, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist. But first and foremost, the Tennessee native is a songwriter, penning more than 3,000 compositions, including smash hits “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene” and “9 to 5.” “I love writing songs—I always have,” she says. “Telling stories... 

LEA MICHELE

LEA MICHELE
LEA MICHELE Glee fans’ favorite leading lady tries on a new role: pop star     For more than four years, millions of Americans watched Lea Michele belt out a broad range of hits on TV’s Glee. On her debut solo album, Louder, she shifts effortlessly between luxurious ballads and uptempo numbers that showcase her vocal and songwriting talent. The Emmy-nominated actress and singer tapped a stable of hit collaborators including Christina Perri,... 

DIERKS BENTLEY

DIERKS BENTLEY
DIERKS BENTLEY Life throws the country star a heart-tugging batch of inspiration  Dierks Bentley’s new album, Riser, reflects the emotional roller coaster he endured beginning with his father’s death two years ago and concluding with the recent birth of his first son. “That definitely changed my perspective,” says Bentley. “A lot of the heavier material on Riser wouldn’t have come about without those things happening.” Bentley, 38,... 

THE FRAY

THE FRAY
THE FRAY The piano-pop rockers regroup and set out in new musical directions  After a disappointing commercial reception for the Fray’s third album, 2012’s Scars and Stories, the Denver foursome found themselves wondering—after 10 years and three records—if they wanted to carry on. “Those are the defeats that make you do the math and figure out whether this is something you really want to do,” says singer and pianist Isaac Slade. After... 

NEON TREES

NEON TREES
NEON TREES Time off to recharge leads to a new perspective and a colorful album    Success can exact a price. It’s something alt rockers Neon Trees learned after scoring with their 2010 debut album Habits, powered by their breakout single “Animal,” and their follow-up two years later, Picture Show, which included their first Top 10 hit, “Everybody Talks.” Hitting it big brought unexpected demands for touring and promotion, and pressures... 

WILLIE NELSON

WILLIE NELSON
WILLIE NELSON The projects keep coming for the Red Headed Stranger      Willie Nelson knows how to throw a party. He marked his 80th birthday last April with the release of two albums: Let’s Face the Music and Dance, covering material from the Great American Songbook and gypsy jazz pioneer Django Reinhardt, and To All the Girls, a collection of duets with female artists. Over the course of his career, Nelson has recorded more than 60 studio... 

THE CRSYTAL METHOD

THE CRSYTAL METHOD
THE CRSYTAL METHOD Celebrating 20 years together with TV, radio and recording projects   Electronic music duo the Crystal Method—Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan—is hitting a series of milestones at once. They’ve been together 20 years, they’re about to release their fifth studio album, their weekly SiriusXM radio show, Community Service, is approaching its 100th episode—and they’re the musical masterminds behind the score of J.J. Abrams’... 

ROSANNE CASH

ROSANNE CASH
ROSANNE CASH                           Her latest album captures the heart and soul of the South in song   Though Rosanne Cash leads a richly textured urban life in New York, the South has always haunted her. Born in Memphis but reared in Southern California, at 58, she realizes that there is no such thing as separating yourself from something that is part of you. From her earliest recordings, she has always been at once part of the... 

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... 

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... 

TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND

TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND For these Grammy-winning blues rockers, the bar is always set high   The Tedeschi Trucks Band is only three years old, but its namesakes, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, have been married more than a decade, and they’re about to take their best collaborations—their two children—to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates’ batting practice before tonight’s concert. “The kids are a balancing influence on the road,” Tedeschi... 

COURT YARD HOUNDS

COURT YARD HOUNDS
COURT YARD HOUNDS Two former Chicks find a new confidence on their second set Martie Maguire and Emily Robison were still forging an identity beyond the Dixie Chicks when they released a self-titled album as Court Yard Hounds in 2010. Now the sisters are back with a second effort, Amelita—and with it comes a deeper confidence about their musical direction. Their first album was personal, but Maguire and Robison turned their focus outward on Amelita,... 

BOOKER T. JONES

BOOKER T. JONES
BOOKER T. JONES An architect of the Memphis sound takes his B3 on a new adventure In the ’60s, Stax Records house band Booker T. & the MG’s backed a host of Memphis soul stars, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Albert King. But beginning with 1962’s classic “Green Onions,” the quartet scored several chart-topping instrumental hits of their own. Since the group disbanded, frontman Booker T. Jones, 68, has lent his signature... 

GLORIA ESTEFAN

GLORIA ESTEFAN
GLORIA ESTEFAN Realizing a longtime dream with her take on timeless tunes     Since her 1985 breakthrough with the Miami Sound Machine, Gloria Estefan’s hits like “Anything for You,” “1-2-3” and “Live for Loving You” have added a Cuban flavor to pop success that’s made the Havana-born songstress a household name. After more than 20 albums, Estefan’s latest is a far cry from her early kinetic dance grooves. On the aptly titled... 

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ROOTS

ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ROOTS
ROOTS ROCKERS Master wordsmith Elvis Costello funks up with musical magicians the Roots By Russell Hall Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson knows how to bide his time. Nearly five years ago, the Roots’ drummer and bandleader met for the first time with talk show host Jimmy Fallon to discuss potential musical guests for Fallon’s new late night TV show. As newly hired music director—with the Roots as house band—Questlove listened intently as Fallon... 

ARCTIC MONKEYS

ARCTIC MONKEYS
ARCTIC MONKEYS The English indie rockers dive into an R&B groove on their new set  Four albums—and seven years—after releasing their debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, the Arctic Monkeys’ latest record, AM, finds the band tapping into R&B melodies to shake up their guitar-driven sound. “We started with, ‘What if you go with Aaliyah melodies and riffs from Black Sabbath?’” says frontman Alex Turner. “Some... 

FLEETWOOD MAC

FLEETWOOD MAC
FLEETWOOD MAC These days the road has never been smoother for the Hall of Fame rockers   Fleetwood Mac has been virtually synonymous with two things—classic songs and internal drama. Both aspects were epitomized on the group’s 1977 multiplatinum album Rumours, but only recently has their legendary volatility been stripped away. “If you go back to 2003, when we were coming off the making of Say You Will, there was still a bit of tension between... 
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