Posts tagged with "Spotlight"

GLEN CAMPBELL

GLEN CAMPBELL
GLEN CAMPBELL – Feature from Jul/Aug 2011 Issue GLEN CAMPBELL A pop and country legend wraps up an astonishing career on his own terms Glen Campbell was recording his new album, Ghost on the Canvas, when producer Julian Raymond handed him a guitar he’d never played before. The Country Music Hall of Famer cradled the Gibson 335 and “whipped out the solo like he’d been playing it his whole life,” says Raymond, looking at Campbell with a sense... 

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... 

FILTER

FILTER
FILTER On their latest, the unorthodox rockers welcome back the drum machines  Throughout the last 20 years, Filter has covered a broad spectrum, from intense industrial rock to shiny pop. On their sixth full-length album, The Sun Comes Out Tonight, they strike a balance between electronic and acoustic. Their loud/quiet contrast, exemplified by 2002’s hit single, “Take a Picture,” led a Warner Bros. exec to refer to the band as “musical schizophrenia.”... 

GOO GOO DOLLS

GOO GOO DOLLS
GOO GOO DOLLS   The moody alternative rockers look at the brighter side on their new set   “I’m an artist as much as anybody’s an artist,” says Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik, placing air quotes around the word artist. “Sometimes I can be a bit of a precious little bitch about my work. But not being precious about it, digging in and putting the sweat into it, is where the really good stuff comes from. And being determined to not... 

BOBBY McFERRIN

BOBBY McFERRIN
BOBBY McFERRIN The vocal acrobat pours his joy into songs  of faith and devotion  “Making music is the most joyful experience I know,” says vocalist and conductor Bobby McFerrin, best known for his 1988 Grammy-winning smash, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” His new album, spirityouall, is a collection of devotional songs and original compositions. “Without faith I couldn’t walk, much less sing,” says McFerrin. “My career is very public,... 

JIMMY EAT WORLD

JIMMY EAT WORLD
JIMMY EAT WORLD Looking at love and life with a new perspective—and a new producer Though best known for their optimistic 2002 hit “The Middle,” Jimmy Eat World’s lyrics have always leaned more toward heartache and internal struggle. With the polished rock of their eighth album, Damage, frontman Jim Adkins decided to write an album that reflected the world-weary attitudes of someone who has grown up writing love songs. “The kinds of love... 

MELISSA FERRICK

MELISSA FERRICK
MELISSA FERRICK Teaching opens creative doors for the veteran singer-songwriter Teaching lyric writing at Boston’s Berklee College of Music has fostered a career renaissance for folk-rocker Melissa Ferrick. “I’m surrounded by all these jazz musicians, classical composers and theater professionals,” she says. “There’s such an intensity—and it’s a good thing. It’s made me into a happier live performer. I’ve been exhausted but completely... 

EVE

EVE
EVE After a decade of changes, the rapper turns up the intensity on a new set  In the 11 years since her last album, Eve has been rather busy. She released singles, made guest appearances on more than a dozen tracks for other artists, had her own sitcom, appeared in the two Barbershop films, and launched a fashion line. But Lip Lock, her long-awaited return, wasn’t a snap decision. “It’s been a bit of journey. I’ve been trying to put out... 

SPIN DOCTORS

SPIN DOCTORS
SPIN DOCTORS   The alt-rockers revisit their blues roots and reinvent their sound   While touring in England behind the 2011 release of Pocket Full of Kryptonite: 20th Anniversary Edition, the Spin Doctors made a discovery: Their future lay in their past. Before the band hit the charts in the early ’90s with peppy, poppy alt-rock tunes such as “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” “Two Princes” and “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues,” their stock... 

PATTY GRIFFIN

PATTY GRIFFIN
PATTY GRIFFIN The beloved singer-songwriter crafts a melodic tribute to her father “When I was younger, I could dive headfirst into writing about things like I knew a lot about them,” says Patty Griffin. She pauses, then laughs, “Now I realize I don’t know anything about anything.” Considering the singer-songwriter’s poetic and revealing lyrics have led artists like Emmylou Harris and the Dixie Chicks to record her material, many would... 

TALIB KWELI

TALIB KWELI
TALIB KWELI Proving labels can’t confine or define him on   his latest project  Talib Kweli has a well-earned reputation for being a smart, socially and politically aware lyricist. But with Prisoner of Conscious, his fifth solo album, Kweli is hoping to show he’s in touch with his emotional side. “Just calling the album Prisoner of Conscious,” says the rapper. “I don’t see myself as a prisoner of conscience, so I set out to make an... 

ADAM ANT

ADAM ANT
ADAM ANT The former U.K. chart-topper gets back into the swing of performing     Creatively speaking, Adam Ant has soared over the mountaintops and stumbled on the valley’s floor. Clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, he had fallen off the radar eight years earlier, after the release of Wonderful. He eventually battled through the disease to release Adam Ant Is the BlueBlack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter, his first studio... 

MADELEINE PEYROUX

MADELEINE PEYROUX
MADELEINE PEYROUX The jazz-pop vocalist’s new collection reimagines a country classic For many artists, a covers album often becomes a mishmash of haphazardly chosen songs that suit the singer’s voice better than they suit each other. But on The Blue Room, jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux not only interprets the work of other artists, she also pays tribute to one, Ray Charles, and his pioneering album Modern Sounds in Country  and Western Music. “Something’s... 

THE MAVERICKS

THE MAVERICKS
THE MAVERICKS Serving up a fresh helping of their distinctive Tex-Mex-via-Miami magic  The Mavericks—one of the more dynamic acts on the 1990s country scene—are back with their first full-length album in nearly a decade. “We hadn’t been in the same room together in that time, much less made music together,” says frontman Raul Malo. “There was talk of a reunion tour, but that wasn’t reason enough to bring back the band. The Mavericks... 

JOHN CORBETT

JOHN CORBETT
JOHN CORBETT Proving his musical mettle with a laid-back, Texas-tinged new album John Corbett made his name in Hollywood, but when it comes to music he’s no poseur—and latest album Leaving Nothin’ Behind offers proof. “The fact is, I have more of a pedigree to play this kind of music than guys with No. 1 hits right now,” says the West Virginia native who’s been playing country music since he was a kid. “The good news is that when people... 

JOSH ROUSE

JOSH ROUSE
JOSH ROUSE The pensive singer-songwriter strikes an upbeat tone on his latest effort     For Josh Rouse, family played an important role in the writing and recording of his 10th album, The Happiness Waltz. In 2006, Rouse moved from Nashville to Spain with his wife, and the couple now has a young child. He’s settled happily into fatherhood and married life, but his newfound responsibilities make for a delicate balancing act. “Before I was just... 

RYAN BINGHAM

RYAN BINGHAM
RYAN BINGHAM The roots rocker plugs in and discovers a new talent      Three years ago Ryan Bingham rocketed into the limelight with “The Weary Kind,” the Grammy-winning theme song he co-wrote and performed for the acclaimed film, Crazy Heart.  The L.A.-based singer-songwriter cherished the success, but the experience didn’t change him much. “Everything happened so fast,” he says. “I just tried to hang on for the ride while it lasted.... 

CAT POWER

CAT POWER
CAT POWER After years of recording covers, Sun brings her original tunes to light      Long before Cat Power recorded Sun—her first album of original material in six years—she knew there would be an album with that title. “Before I did The Covers Record, I was on tour with these songs that I wrote and some cover songs, playing this Passion of Joan of Arc movie by Carl Dreyer,” says Chan Marshall, the woman behind Cat Power, of her 2000... 

JJAMZ

JJAMZ
Alex Greenwald, Michael Runion, Z Berg, James Valentine, Jason Boesel JJAMZ Five successful artists go from musical friendship to supergroup  It’s a steamy summer afternoon, and Elizabeth “Z” Berg is in a van with the rest of the newly formed band JJAMZ, ready to embark on a 24-hour trip from Austin, Texas, to Billings, Mont. “Well, I’ll get a book read. That’s a positive,” Berg chuckles. “Somehow I am built for tours, which is good... 

THENEWNO2

THENEWNO2
Jeremy Faccone, Frank Zummo , Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Sadoff, Nick Fyffe THENEWNO2 A Beatle’s son forges his own path with a little help from his friends    Dhani Harrison is humble as he discusses the mysterious art of musical inspiration. The son of late Beatle George Harrison plays down his natural knack for finding lively hooks and heartfelt lyrics. “You never know what spark is going to be created,” he says. “Collaborations can change... 

CHRISTIAN SCOTT

CHRISTIAN SCOTT
CHRISTIAN SCOTT Connecting past and present in one genre-stretching collection Christian aTunde Adjuah isn’t just the title of Christian Scott’s new double album—it represents a new phase in the jazz trumpeter’s life. “I felt my experience is indicative of someone who probably shouldn’t be called Scott all the time,” says the New Orleans native, explaining why he now goes by Christian aTunde Adjuah Scott, completing a tie to his African... 

TENACIOUS D

TENACIOUS D
TENACIOUS D Playing their music for fun and the industry for laughs How does a comedy duo follow an album that won neither stellar reviews nor sales? Turn it into a joke, of course. Tenacious D’s 2006 film The Pick of Destiny and its accompanying soundtrack garnered a lukewarm reception at best, but it has since gained a cult following. After six years, Jack Black and Kyle Gass have returned with their follow-up, Rize of the Fenix—rife with self-deprecating... 

THE MEMORIALS

THE MEMORIALS
THE MEMORIALS From Berklee to Berkeley, their art has always been a collaborative effort   When recording their second album, Delirium, the Berkeley, Calif., outfit known as the Memorials employed a wonderfully effective everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sonic philosophy. For the follow-up to 2011’s self-titled debut, band organizer and former Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen, vocalist Viveca Hawkins and guitarist Nick Brewer kept the tempo cranked... 

EVERCLEAR

EVERCLEAR
EVERCLEAR   Life changes bring the inspiration for their long-awaited new album    Everclear fans have been waiting for an album of new material since 2006’s Welcome to the Drama Club. Now that the band has released its eighth studio record, Invisible Stars, leader Art Alexakis explains that it simply took that long before he felt he had something new to say. “I wasn’t writing songs for a while because I didn’t feel like I had anything... 

GOSSIP

GOSSIP
GOSSIP Beth Ditto on personalities, producers and rocking for the right reasons   Creating the follow-up to a hot-selling major-label debut can be downright stressful, but Gossip was looking to do so with as little drama as possible. After 2009’s Music for Men proved a success, the Portland trio’s members readied a new batch of songs—but found themselves unsettled on the album’s direction. “Being just a three-piece, it would be easy to... 

ANDREW BIRD

ANDREW BIRD
ANDREW BIRD Breaking out with his barn, his band, his baby and his books     After a long stretch of working mainly solo, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird was in a more sociable mood while making his latest album, Break It Yourself. It’s easily Bird’s most collaborative effort in years. He recorded the 14 songs during two week-long stints playing with his band in a barn on his family’s farm in Western Illinois.... 

SPECTRUM ROAD

SPECTRUM ROAD
SPECTRUM ROAD Jack Bruce and friends pay tribute to one of fusion’s founding fathers    The word “supergroup” gets tossed around a lot, but Spectrum Road makes an impressive case for itself. Each member of the quartet comes with a wildly impressive résumé. Guitarist Vernon Reid is the prime mover behind Living Colour, the juggernaut that helped define rock-funk in the ’80s. Keyboardist John Medeski, one-third of Medeski Martin &... 

DAR WILLIAMS

DAR WILLIAMS
DAR WILLIAMS  Making sense of the modern world through the myths of an ancient time   When she titled her eighth and latest album In the Time of Gods, singer and songwriter Dar Williams wasn’t just looking for something that sounded lofty. On the contrary, Williams has lately been fascinated with Greek mythology and its gods and goddesses—Zeus, Hermes, Athena and their compatriots, whose tales she considers a prism through which to see the... 

THE HIVES

THE HIVES
THE HIVES Sweden’s super-caffeinated, supremely confident rockers rediscover one another   Onstage, Hives frontman “Howlin’” Pelle Almqvist has moves like Jagger and the personality of a carnival barker. Comically arrogant, he’s there to tell you how great his band is and how thoroughly you’re about to be rocked. Discussing the group’s latest studio effort, Almqvist is less prone to bold proclamations. He’s plenty confident, but... 

WILSON PHILLIPS

WILSON PHILLIPS
WILSON PHILLIPS   Three members of classic pop royalty dedicate an album to the ones they love    The members of Wilson Phillips first drew worldwide attention for their quintuple-platinum 1990 self-titled debut—and for their status as rock royalty. Sisters Wendy and Carnie Wilson were the daughters of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, while Chynna Phillips’ parents were John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas. The group has always... 

SPIRITUALIZED

SPIRITUALIZED
SPIRITUALIZED  Crossing continents in a quest to find the heart and see the light   Jason “J. Spaceman” Pierce, frontman and guiding light of English rock band Spiritualized, adamantly disagrees with those who think music must follow rules. After all, he’s been swirling rock, R&B, pop and more into richly textured sonic landscapes throughout his career. But there’s one rule in which he believes fiercely: There’s a delicate but real... 

JESSIE BAYLIN

JESSIE BAYLIN
JESSIE BAYLIN Putting a new spark into her career with unexpected help from her grandmother    “Three days before I was to start recording this album, the label cut my budget in half,” says Jessie Baylin. “Then the next day, they cut it another quarter.” The Nashville-based singer-songwriter took the hint. “They listened to the demos and didn’t think I had the songs,” she recalls with a sigh. “They wanted to put me with hit writers,... 

M. WARD

M. WARD
M. Ward The “Him” of She & Him takes a confident step back to center stage   After releasing 2009’s Hold Time, Portland-based singer and songwriter M. Ward largely put his solo career on hold. He toured and made albums with Monsters of Folk—an indie-rock supergroup also featuring My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis—and She & Him, the duo Ward founded with actress and singer Zooey Deschanel.... 

COWBOY JUNKIES

COWBOY JUNKIES
COWBOY JUNKIES  Bringing a nomadic journey to a close, while looking ahead to the next  After more than 25 years together, the members of Cowboy Junkies have but one goal: “Survival,” says guitarist and primary songwriter Michael Timmins with a laugh. Yet their recent activities suggest broader ambition than that. Over the last 18 months the Canadian band has released a quartet of separate but linked albums dubbed The Nomad Series. “We had... 

DR. DOG

DR. DOG
DR. DOG  Fresh faces, familiar places and a newfound urge to have a good time    On their last album, the members of Dr. Dog tried to teach themselves new tricks. They left their familiar Philadelphia practice space and studio, Meth Beach, and enlisted the help of an outside producer. The result was 2010’s Shame, Shame—an album that, for all its groovy nods to the Beatles and Beach Boys, was uncharacteristically somber. “It was sort of a... 

SKYLAR GREY

SKYLAR GREY
SKYLAR GREY  You know her voice from hip-hop hits—now it’s time to get to know her  Not many artists rack up four Grammy nominations before releasing a debut album, but Skylar Grey’s career has hardly followed a traditional path. After writing hits and singing hooks for acts like Eminem, Dr. Dre and Lupe Fiasco, Grey is preparing to release her own debut album, Invinsible. “Being a songwriter is a great life, but I can’t imagine ever... 

GAVIN DeGRAW

GAVIN DeGRAW
GAVIN DeGRAW  Keeping a positive attitude even while  taking a beating—literally   “It didn’t break my will, but it did break my nose,” cracks Gavin DeGraw about the unwelcome experience of being assaulted last August in Manhattan. The native New Yorker was attacked by three men and then hit by a taxi as he stumbled away. His injuries forced him to cancel tour dates as he readied his new album, Sweeter, but he betrays no bitterness. “I... 

CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS

CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS
CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS Keeping string-band music history alive while pushing it into the future  Last year had its ups and downs for Carolina Chocolate Drops. The North Carolina string band won a Grammy for 2010’s Genuine Negro Jig album, but experienced the loss of founding member Justin Robinson and the addition of multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins. The combination of heightened expectations and seismic changes in the band was a recipe for... 

KASABIAN

KASABIAN
KASABIAN  Hitting a new groove after 15 years of   boundary-breaking music  It’s 10 a.m. in Australia, and Kasabian guitarist Sergio Pizzorno can’t quite stifle a yawn—it’s early by rock-star standards, yet late by new-parent requirements. “I’m pretty good on just a few hours’ sleep,” says Pizzorno, who fits both descriptions. He is energized by the positive reaction thus far to Kasabian’s latest album, Velociraptor! “It’s... 

OTIS TAYLOR

OTIS TAYLOR
OTIS TAYLOR   A self-described musical “reporter” takes a hard look at a broken world   Otis Taylor watches through the window as the snow falls outside. Most would find it serene—a dusting on the mountains surrounding Boulder, Colo., the place he calls home. But not Taylor. “It’s dark and overcast,” he says with a shrug. The bluesman, 63, readily describes himself as a pessimist, one who warns that he has little patience for answering... 

KELLIE PICKLER

KELLIE PICKLER
KELLIE PICKLER The country songbird’s third album offers a shot of something a little stronger   “Where’s Tammy Wynette when you need her?” sings Kellie Pickler on the opening cut of her third and latest album, 100 Proof. The tune refers to a broken love affair, but Pickler might just as well be pointing the question toward modern-day country music itself. As a child in North Carolina, Pickler’s grandparents fed her a steady diet of songs... 

WARREN HAYNES

WARREN HAYNES
WARREN HAYNES A powerhouse guitarist stands alone to put his stamp on a classic sound   Between his very high-profile day jobs in Gov’t Mule and the Allman Brothers Band, virtuoso guitarist Warren Haynes isn’t lacking for musical outlets. But when he found himself with a batch of songs that weren’t suited to either group, he diverted them to Man in Motion, his first solo studio album since 1993. “They were songs I’d written that I’d... 

HEARTLESS BASTARDS

HEARTLESS BASTARDS
HEARTLESS BASTARDS Erika Wennerstrom aims her latest songs directly at the pain of heartbreak After the end of a nine-year relationship, Heartless Bastards frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom went for a drive. As she made her way across the nation from West Texas to Ohio, she thought hard about what she wanted to express about her experience through music. Once she figured it out, she booked some studio time and got ready to spill her guts. “Then there... 

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS  After almost three decades of cleverness, this duo is still right on track   “We didn’t get into music to meet girls or to strike a pose,” says John Flansburgh, who formed the clever alt-rock duo They Might Be Giants with John Linnell in 1982. “It was about having crazy ideas and taking those ideas as far as we could. A lot of people find the idea of humor in music childish, but what we do is post-adolescent. It’s... 

NADA SURF

NADA SURF
NADA SURF Revisiting the past, a rock trio discovers an unexpected need for speed   In early 2010, Nada Surf treated hometown fans in New York City to full performances of what were then its three most recent albums. The material in question spanned 2002 to 2008—years in which the trio enjoyed a remarkable second act, cultivating a newfound cult success that eclipsed their lone mainstream pop hit, 1996’s “Popular.” Taking stock of the Nada... 

KATHLEEN EDWARDS

KATHLEEN EDWARDS
KATHLEEN EDWARDS  Digging herself out of a familiar hole, with a hand from a new friend  Since her 2003 debut album, Failer, Kathleen Edwards has gradually honed her craft as a singer and songwriter whose finely wrought character sketches teem with both sardonic humor and knife’s-edge emotional danger. “And then part of me felt like I had fallen a little bit too complacent,” says Edwards, an Ottawa, Ontario, native who now lives in Toronto.... 

WILLIAM SHATNER

WILLIAM SHATNER
WILLIAM SHATNER  An unlikely music maker’s bold new mission:  to create a sci-fi-concept album William Shatner’s philosophy toward his life and career has served him well. At the very least, it’s kept things interesting. “I’d suggest that saying yes to opportunity is the way to lead your life, with some discretion,” says Shatner, 80. “So I said yes to an album I called The Transformed Man.” That misunderstood 1968 spoken-word effort,... 
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