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Why Robbie Robertson’s Son Wrote a Kids’ Book About His Dad

October 23rd, 2014 · Guitar

By Jessica Springsteen |
October 22, 2014

Sebastian Robertson wasn’t looking to do an exposé on his rock star father, Robbie Robertson. So a children’s book was the perfect way to share the story of his dad’s legacy. In Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story, Sebastian takes children (ages six to nine) on the journey of Robbie Robertson, guitar legend and co-founder of the Band.

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Alongside animated illustrations by musician Adam Gustavson, Rock and Roll Highway recounts the entire arc of Robbie Robertson’s career, beginning when he was just a hard-working teenager with a passion for storytelling and guitar playing. “Robbie played until he couldn’t feel his fingers,” the book reads, “He even slept with his guitar.” The story also includes appearances by major rock roll icons Buddy Holly, Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan, who were all instrumental figures in Robbie’s rise to stardom. 

Sebastian was approached by publisher Christy Ottaviano with the idea of Rock and Roll Highway after the success of his first children’s book, Legends, Icons Rebels: Music That Changed the World, which was published in 2013 and co-written with Robbie Robertson, Jim Guerinot and Jared Levine. He immediately jumped at the opportunity. “I was like, holy crap, yes, absolutely I’ll do it. It opened up this whole other line of work and interest for me,” he says. “It’s been kind of amazing.”

Sebastian is familiar with working with his father, but spending time together on this particular project brought him back to the good old days. “It was sweet and endearing. It just brought us together in a fun, more father-son kind of way,” he says. He compares the writing process to “a school project you would have in elementary school. I thought it was kind of playful. It put me in a youthful place of remembering my dad from when I was the age [readers will be].”

When Sebastian was that age, however, he wasn’t fully aware of his father’s musical influence. The Band played their last show together by the time Sebastian was two years old, so growing up with dad was surprisingly normal. “It wasn’t like I would come home from school and he would be ripping on the guitar,” Sebastian says. Robbie was “just the guy that made me do my homework, drove me to little league games, made me breakfast and brought me to school.” It wasn’t until his teenage years that he came to realize his father might actually be a “cool” dad. But Sebastian does recall that as a kid, watching his dad give autographs instilled in him a feeling of pride, which comes through in the text.

At the end of the book, there is a QA between Sebastian and Robbie, which Sebastian says connected him to his dad in a special way. It was his idea to include this section in the hopes that kids are inspired to take a moment and sit down and interview their own parents, even if it’s just to learn their favorite color or what grandma’s actual name is.

Sebastian is now in the process of writing his third children’s book, which will touch upon his Native American heritage and highlight eight to 10 legendary Indian Chiefs that were major influencers. “Obviously, I think it’s a part of our history that is often overlooked,” he says, “so I’m excited to do that as well.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/why-robbie-robertsons-son-wrote-a-kids-book-about-his-dad-20141022

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Hear Corinne Bailey Rae’s Breezy Cover of Paul McCartney’s ‘Bluebird’

October 23rd, 2014 · Guitar

By Ryan Reed |
October 22, 2014

Corinne Bailey Rae’s silky croon is the perfect vehicle for “Bluebird,” the jazzy Paul McCartney  Wings classic from 1973′s Band on the Run. Rae’s laid-back cover was recorded for the upcoming tribute LP The Art of McCartney, which features an eclectic group of singers interpreting staples from the former Beatle‘s songbook. “Bluebird,” available to stream above, finds Rae softening every syllable over fluttering acoustic guitar licks and splashy cymbals. 

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Paul McCartney

In the behind-the-scenes clip below, Rae talks about joining the project – which was initiated by onetime McCartney producer Ralph Sall in 2003 – and the inspiration for picking “Bluebird.”

“I liked the kind of Caribbean influence in the song,” she says. “My dad’s from Saint Kitts, and I really liked the fact that Paul looks at these different places in the world and is influenced by them and sort of wants to do his take on the folk music of that particular place.”

The Art of McCartney, out November 18th, features contributions from a wide range of influential singer-songwriters – including Bob Dylan (“Things We Said Today”), Billy Joel (“Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Live and Let Die”), B.B. King (“On the Way”), Smokey Robinson (“So Bad”), Willie Nelson (“Yesterday”) and Barry Gibb (“When I’m 64″), among many others. The vocalists are backed by McCartney’s longtime touring band: guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, keyboardist Paul “Wix” Wickens and drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. 

Last month, Rolling Stone premiered the Cure‘s take on the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye,” recorded with McCartney’s son James. Meanwhile, hard rock legend Alice Cooper offered an in-studio glimpse at his reverent version of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

The album will be available in a wide range of formats, including a standard, 34-track edition (on CD, vinyl and digital) and an expansive 42-track deluxe set that includes hardbound books, a DVD “making of” documentary and more. A deluxe box set, limited to 1,000 copies, will include the documentary, an additional audio doc, an illustrated guide to the set, CDs, vinyl, art cards, signed artwork from Beatles associate Alan Aldrige, a USB drive modeled after McCartney’s signature Hofner bass guitar and a certificate of authenticity.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/hear-corinne-bailey-raes-breezy-cover-of-paul-mccartneys-bluebird-20141022

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Hear Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants Cover Justin Townes Earle

October 23rd, 2014 · Guitar

By Andrew Leahey |
October 22, 2014

The folks at Bloodshot Records have been straddling the narrow line between roots music and punk rock for two decades, armed with a roster of artists who blend twang, Telecasters and tube amps into some of the most potent alt-country around. The label turns 20 this year, and to celebrate its anniversary — and to take another look at a catalog that includes landmark albums like Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker, Neko Case’s Blacklisted and Justin Townes Earle’s Midnight at the Movies — Bloodshot is releasing a compilation of cover songs titled While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records.

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Butch Walker

Thirty eight different bands make appearances on the double-album, which is due out November 18th. Together, they tackle a wide selection of Bloodshot tunes, from the expected “hits” — including a gospel-geared version of Ryan Adams’ “Oh My Sweet Carolina” by Nicki Bluhm the Gramblers, whose members replace the acoustic guitar with an upright piano and flip the song’s gender perspective — to deep cuts by bands like the Meat Purveyors and Gore Gore Girls. Chris Shiflett, lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters, gets a piece of the action, too, turning in a boozy, breezy cover of Justin Townes Earle’s “Look the Other Way” with his Americana side project, the Dead Peasants. Listen to the song below.

Meanwhile, Earle — whose 2012 release, Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now, fulfilled his five-album contract with Bloodshot — is prepping a new record of his own. Absent Fathers will be released on January 13, 2015. Earle recorded the 10-track album during the same sessions that spawned last month’s Single Mothers, eventually abandoning his plan to release release the whole project as a double-album once different themes started to emerge.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/chris-shiflett-the-dead-peasants-cover-justin-townes-earle-bloodshot-album-20141022

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Third Day Singer Mac Powell Continues Country Cred With New Album ‘Southpaw’

October 22nd, 2014 · Guitar

By Deborah Evans Price |
October 22, 2014

For Grammy-winning Christian rocker Mac Powell, country music wasn’t just a creative itch that needed scratching.

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“Two years ago, I made my first [country] record and a lot of people thought, ‘He’s got it out of his system now,’” Powell tells Rolling Stone Country, “but all that did was make me want to do it even more.”

And thus was born Southpaw, the singer’s follow up to his 2012 self-titled country debut. The 12-song set, released October 14th, includes co-writes with country hitmakers Darius Rucker, Kristian Bush and Travis Tritt. It’s arguably a natural transition for the bearded, long-haired Alabama native with a penchant for musical storytelling. Yet certainly not a permanent one. In his other life, the father of five is one of the most awarded artists in Christian rock music. For more than two decades, he’s been the lead vocalist and principal songwriter of the Christian band Third Day. The band has won four Grammys, 24 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and are members of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Third Day is still together; Powell is just continuing to pursue what’s been a longtime career goal.

“I grew up listening to country music,” says the musician, whose family moved from Clanton, Alabama, to Atlanta when he was a teen. “I’m from the south, so you’re surrounded by it whether you like it or not. But fortunately I do like it a lot, and I always have. I’ve wanted to do [country music] for a long time. I put it off for many years because of time and fears, all sorts of different reasons, but I finally got to a point where I couldn’t put it off any longer. I was already looking back going, ‘Man I wish I had done this five years ago.’”

In recent years, there’s been a lot of genre hopping as rockers like Rucker and Sheryl Crow have made their mark in country music. Coming from the Christian community, however, is a different situation as fans can sometimes be a little more possessive of faith-based artists and critical of anything they consider too worldly. But Powell says he’s received very little backlash. “You’re always going to get that, but thankfully it’s been miniscule,” he relates. “There’s just one person every once in a while who will say something. The other day, this guy was tweeting me saying, ‘Mac, you were in such-and-such city. Did you play in a bar? Tell me you did not play in a bar.’ I said, ‘I did. And if you don’t like that, there’s a worship record coming out in March. You’ll enjoy that.’”

Powell is appreciative of the support of his Christian fans, but knows country music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. “That’s the great thing about it,” he says. “If people don’t like what I’m doing, I say, ‘You know what? Just put it on pause and wait a few months and you’ll be satisfied with the Third Day stuff.’”

Though there are some people who feel Christian values aren’t synonymous with today’s country music, Powell says that’s not necessarily the case. “If you were to ask someone who doesn’t listen to country music: ‘What is country music about?’ they would probably tell you, ‘Well it’s about drinking and cheating,’” Powell says, but he’s quick to defend the genre. “Yes, there’s always been those songs, but that’s not the majority of what’s talked about in country music. Nowadays on the radio what’s big is some of that, but I don’t feel that that means Christian values have left country music. They’re definitely still there. You hear those [Christian values] in great records like the Eric Paslay record, and I could go down the list. So I don’t think it’s left at all. I think it’s just a little bit more in the background than it has been in the past few years. I’m confident that it will surface again.”

In writing songs for Southpaw, Powell collaborated with some of his favorite country artists, including Travis Tritt who co-wrote two songs,”90 to Nothing” and “Runaway Train,” with Powell and his producer, Jason Hoard. “I’ve always loved Travis Tritt and his music,” says Powell. “People say all the time, ‘Hey you sound a little bit like Travis Tritt.’ What they don’t realize is if I were to sit in a room with Travis and we both sing, he’d blow me out of the water. He’s so good. He’s an amazing singer and musician. We had dinner a while back and talked about writing. So when it came time to be in the studio, I just said, ‘I know you’re busy, but we’re going to be in the studio for a couple of days if you want to come hang out and work on some songs with us.’ So he came in for two days and helped write and played on the record.”

Powell says he connected with Tritt initially via Twitter, and that’s also how he and Rucker got to know each other. “A lot of people I meet on Twitter. It’s a great connector,” he says. “Darius and I had some mutual fans; Travis Tritt was the same way, and Krisian Bush was the same way. It was all through Twitter. Some fans said, ‘Hey you guys should do something together.’ And I said, ‘I’m game.’ And Darius said, ‘Well, I’m ready.’ So then we started direct messaging each other and Darius said, ‘We should write sometime.’ And I said, ‘Absolutely, when are you available? I’ll drive to Charleston if you want me to.’”

Powell made the trip to Rucker’s native Charleston, and their creative connection was immediate and fruitful. “We wrote two songs in two hours. Musically we see eye-to-eye,” says Powell, who included one of the Rucker collaborations, “Hard Headed Woman” on the album.

“Kristian Bush helped me, too. He’s in Atlanta so we run into each other every once in a while. I had a song for the first record called ‘Everything to Me,’ but it wasn’t ready. I could have finished it, but I needed to let it simmer for a little bit. So I presented that idea to him and he did a great job helping me finish that.”

Powell wrote or co-wrote every cut on the album with the exception of the Chris Stapleton/Barry Bales penned “Sittin’ Here Talking With You.” Powell co-wrote seven tracks with Hoard, his longtime friend and producer, and songwriter Heath Balltzglier contributes to three songs. The album closes with a country cover of the classic Third Day hit “I’ve Always Loved You.”   “I’ve done it live with my country band, and always thought it would be cool to re-do this one day,” Powell shares. “And when I wrote with the Band Perry a few months ago, they said, ‘We love ‘I’ve Always Loved You.’ It’s totally a country song. You should re-do it.’ That confirmation made me record it again. When people ask me in interviews, ‘What’s your favorite Third Day song?’ I always say that one, so to be able to do that on a country record was cool for me.”

In recording with Third Day, Powell is signed to Provident Music Group, which is Sony’s Christian division. In releasing his country music, Powell has taken the independent route. “I’m not afraid of labels or to be on a label and have a handful of people help push me,” he says. “But that’s not really my goal. My goal is to make great music and to get it out in front of people. If it happens down the road that a label is part of that, then great, but my job is not to be on a label. My job is to make great music and play it for people. Everything will take care of itself.”

Powell admits one of his concerns in embarking on a second career was time and how he’d manage to juggle additional recording and touring alongside his commitment to Third Day and most importantly, his family. He credits his wife Aimee with making things easier. “A big part is having a super mom at home,” he says. “[She has] the trust and the faith in me to know that this is something that I need to do, and she’s holding down the fort. For us, it’s an investment in our time, our finances, our work to try to grow this thing. She’s a big believer in it, so that’s really what keeps me going is having Aimee be a strong woman behind me and helping to support me in it.”

Powell has wanted to sing country music since he was a child singing with his family at outdoor gatherings by the lake. “Alabama was a big influence on me. That was the band I aspired to because I loved their songs and their playing and their harmonies. When I was a kid I also listened to Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, and of course Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson are huge inspirations to me,” says the man who named his son Johnny Cash Powell.

Like many teenagers, he formed a rock band in high school. That band evolved into Third Day, and he’s grateful for the success he’s had with longtime members Tai Anderson, David Carr and Makr Lee, but these days he’s excited about stepping out solo and being part of the country community he’s admired for so long.

“There’s a lot of passion in country music,” he says. “I love the storytelling. I love the place that people are coming from and the honesty that’s in it. It’s so unlike other genres in that it does seem more real — the stories that people tell, the situations that people talk about — it just seems more realistic than other genres. That’s not to take away from anything from Christian music. Of course, I love Christian music. I still make it and it’s such a strong part of my life. But in Christian music you almost always talk about the good side. You don’t talk about the bad side and the realities of life sometimes. That comes through so much in country music.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/mac-powell-country-album-southpaw-20141022

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Kenny G Angers Chinese Officials After Protest Site Visit

October 22nd, 2014 · Guitar

By Daniel Kreps |
October 22, 2014

The smooth jazz stylings of Kenny G are immensely popular in China thanks to the saxophonist’s song “Going Home” becoming the nation’s unofficial anthem to the end of the workday. However, after wrapping up a brief tour in the Asian nation, the musician visited Hong Kong and spent time with the pro-democracy protestors there. Because Kenny G merely visited the protestors, which gave their cause more visibility, Chinese government officials have now accused the saxophonist of meddling in foreign affairs.

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Bicyclists riding through smog in China

“In Hong Kong at the sight [sic] of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation,” the saxophonist tweeted along with a photo of himself at the site making a peace sign with his hand. Protestors, many of them students, have occupied the streets of Hong Kong for over three weeks as they fight for greater democratic reforms in the Chinese city.

The AP reports that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has downplayed the role of the protests. ”I think Kenny G’s music is popular in China, though regarding the illegal protest in Hong Kong, the Chinese government has a clear position. We think that is an illegal campaign,” said Chunying. “We support the government of Hong Kong to handle it in accordance with the law to maintain stability in Hong Kong. Thus we hope all foreign countries and individuals could be discreet in words and deeds and not support the illegal protest in any forms.” Kenny G has not yet commented on the controversial visit, but he is tweeting photos of dim sum.

Back in May, it was revealed that Kenny G’s “Going Home” – unbeknownst to the saxophonist – was played everywhere in China, from shopping malls and schools to train stations and gyms, to mark that it was “quitting time.” The song also accounts for four of the Top 10 most popular videos on Youku, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube. While Kenny G isn’t seeing any extra residuals from the everyday play of “Going Home,” it has helped him cultivate a massive Chinese audience.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kenny-g-angers-chinese-officials-after-protest-site-visit-20141022

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Kate Bush Pens Letter Thanking Fans Following Concert Run

October 22nd, 2014 · Guitar

By Daniel Kreps |
October 22, 2014

Kate Bush recently wrapped up a string of 22 sold-out concerts at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, her first proper live shows in 35 years. The concerts were so “spectacular” that eight of Bush’s albums jumped back into the Top 50 of the British album charts as a new audience discovered her music. Following the final performance on October 1st, Bush has penned a long letter on her official site to thank fans and share what the Before the Dawn concert series meant to her (via Pitchfork).

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Kate Bush

“It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I loved the whole process,” Bush wrote. “Particularly putting the band, the chorus and the team together and watching it all evolve. It really was the ultimate combination of talent and artists, both from the music business and the theatre world. I never expected everyone in the team to be so lovely and we all grew very close. We became a family and I really miss them all terribly.”

The Before the Dawn concerts were Bush’s first full live performances since her Tour of Life in 1979. “I was really delighted that the shows were received so positively and so warmly but the really unexpected part of it all was the audiences,” wrote the singer. “Audiences that you could only ever dream of. One of the main reasons for wanting to perform live again was to have contact with that audience. They took my breath away.

“Every single night they were so behind us,” Bush continued. “You could feel their support from the minute we walked on stage. I just never imagined it would be possible to connect with an audience on such a powerful and intimate level; to feel such, well quite frankly, love. It was like this at every single show.”

Despite the critically and commercially successful shows, Bush has yet to announce any plans to bring her show outside of London.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kate-bush-pens-letter-thanking-fans-following-concert-run-20141022

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Neil Diamond Shines On

October 22nd, 2014 · Guitar

By Dave DiMartino |
October 21, 2014

Neil Diamond: Melody Road (Capitol) For someone who has left such an imprint in popular music, Neil Diamond might be expected to be in his gracefully petering out phase: A few scattered recordings, released less and less frequently, issued more to prove that it all can still be done, that he’s still got it, before the inevitable, terminal fade. But. Here’s his first album of new studio material in six years, produced by Don Was and Jackknife Lee and featuring a hefty number of musicians old, young, and similarly skilled, and—well—a bunch of brand new Neil Diamond songs. They are well played, they are catchy—most of his best songs have been incredibly catchy—they don’t drone off into dullsville, and Diamond’s voice is remarkable. Not to name names, but there are a certain number of iconic vocalists in pop who, as they’ve aged, have lost a significant portion of their vocal range—but we understand, and we rarely complain. This guy has still got it. This is a strong album, with a varied array of tunes—not just tunes, but Neil Diamond tunes—and he’s got to be very proud of it.

[Related: Exclusive: Neil Diamond Wanders Down Memory Lane, Sings Up 'Melody Road']

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Kiesza: Sound Of A Woman (Island) Saying there is a huge buzz on a woman who has already reached the heights of international stardom may be a redundancy, but why not? The Canadian-born singer may be best known to some for her hit “Hideway,” but there is so much more in play here—the songs she writes, performed by such as Rihanna, Icona Pop and Kylie Minogue—her sense of style, on display in the innovative “Hideaway” video and fashion spreads and lines to come, and her quite remarkable voice. While most of the songs on Sound Of A Woman are slick, rhythmic pop concoctions aimed at filling the airwaves and/or dancefloor, the concluding track “Cut Me Loose” is a stripped-down demonstration of the singer’s powerful, soulful voice—and all the indication you’d need that Kiesza unplugged is very much the real thing.   

[Related: From Navy Sharpshooter to Pop Diva]

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Annie Lennox: Nostalgia (Blue Note) Nostalgia is a polished collection of very classic songs interpreted here by former Eurythmic Annie Lennox, and while it has likely been created with the very best of intentions, the very worthiness of the compositions are what makes it less than exciting. Between “Georgia On My Mind,” “Summertime,” “Strange Fruit, “God Bless the Child”—you get the idea—you’ve got a dozen or so standards, most of which have been taken to nearly every high (and low) imaginable by a near-century’s worth of jazz singers with vocal ranges clearly outshining Lennox’s. Given that the songs are classics, we’re left with admiring their very selection (good show, Annie), the tastefulness of the musical arrangements (nice, sparse stuff, allowing the vocals ample room), and how nearly everything here sounds artfully workmanlike at best. Great albums typically reveal something; this reveals that Annie Lennox, like most of us, knows a good song when she hears one. Maybe telling us about them would have been enough.

[Related: Annie Lennox at Age 60: A QA About Fame, Feminism, and 'Nostalgia']

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Aretha Franklin: Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics (RCA) Speaking of reinterpreting divas, here’s Annie Lennox’s singing partner on “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”—no less than the Queen Of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin—actually making sense of it all. She’s taken the whole Clive Davis “concept album” thing and emerged with a surprisingly credible, upbeat project that works more often than it doesn’t.  Successes include tunes you know she couldn’t miss on: Etta James’ “At Last,” Gladys Knights “Midnight Train To Georgia, ” even Gloria Gaynor’s appropriately re-titled “I Will Survive (The Aretha Version).” Surprisingly astute covers include first single “Rollin In The Deep,” her Adele take which features Franklin going vocally bonkers at the two-minute mark—it is spectacular—and album closer “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a blues-jazzy reinterpretation of Sinéad/Prince that is appealing spry, upbeat and non-teary-eyed. The downside? The heavy dance beat pasted onto both the “I’m Every Woman / Respect” medley and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” which may cause a stir at some clubs but sonically evokes the very worst of formulaic ‘70s dance records. That said? A great showing for Aretha Franklin, and in 2014, one hell of a party record.

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Bush: Man On The Run (Sony Music) From a marketing standpoint, it’s a sign of the times: Just when reality TV show The Voice returns with Gwen Stefani on hand as a judge, and hubby Gavin Rossdale as an advisor—what a coincidence!—here’s a new single by Gwen, here’s a new album by Gavin’s band Bush! If that’s what it takes, so be it. Bush’s latest—their second since reconfiguring a few years back—is solid, melodic stuff that oozes with commerciality. It’s always seemed odd that their career so conspicuously derailed when it did; between the non-stop Nirvana comparisons and accusations of Rossdale being a pretty-boy—certainly the most heinous of crimes—the band never really got a fair shake. There’s more than a hint of Peter Gabriel’s vocals on Man On The Run here, but comparisons don’t do anybody any good, least of all Gavin Rossdale. Nice work, both for him and his band, and worth your time.

[Related: Gavin Rossdale Dishes on New Bush Album and a Milestone 20th Anniversary]

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Billy Idol: Kings Queens Of The Underground (Kobalt) A surprisingly hot album by Billy Idol in 2014 is a good thing: Here the man returns with a collection of great, rockin’ poptunes, produced by Trevor Horn and Greg Kurstin, sounding as if it’s only been a few years since Generation X departed, “White Wedding” came and went, and all those years intervened. Idol’s in fine voice: in retrospect he’s emerged as one of the few artists with British punk roots to establish himself firmly in the pop mainstream and soldier on with credibility intact. Between album opener “Bitter Pill” and the concluding  “Whiskey And Pills,” there’s enough straight-on rock ‘n’ roll here to do the Idol legacy proud and satisfy concertgoers who enjoy thrusting their fists into the air, as, certainly, we all do. If his ‘80s contemporaries are playing the state fair circuit, Billy’s having none of it.

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The Pop Group: We Are Time, Cabinet Of Curiosities (both Freak R Us) While an enormous amount of music seems to have come and gone—I assure you, it ain’t all streaming—there are always pleasant surprises. And here are two: Two new collections by the UK’s pioneering Pop Group—one briefly issued years ago, and one newly compiled. The band was among the first from the UK scene to combine the energy of punk with funk and avant-garde jazz, and to say they influenced the generation of musicians that followed is no exaggeration. Both sets are fascinating, though the latter—with Peel session tracks and other unreleased material—will excite longtime fans the most. The first in a promised series, so make the most of them while you can. 

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Burnt Belief: Etymology (Alchemy) The joint work of Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin and guitarist Jon Durant—the second under the Burnt Belief moniker—Etymology traverses that interesting area between progressive rock, jazz fusion, new age, and space music without ever seeming the inevitable hodgepodge that description implies. With several percussionists and a violinist on hand, the album is texturally delightful and surprisingly intricate; one suspects it would sound dandy with headphones, and even better with the lights out. That’s how this stuff always works, note informed insiders.

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Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-diamond-shines-on-20141021

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‘Back to the Future’ Gets 30th Anniversary Screenings With Live Orchestra

October 22nd, 2014 · Guitar

By Daniel Kreps |
October 21, 2014

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future next year, Universal Pictures will rerelease the 1985 Michael J. Fox time-travel classic with live orchestration. According to Variety, the film will be screened in various venues around the world without the score, so that a live orchestra could perform Alan Silvestri’s Academy Award–nominated music. The orchestra will also perform 15 minutes of new music that the composer wrote specifically for the engagements.

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Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert

The first performance of Back to the Future with live orchestration will take place in May 2015 in Lucerne, Switzerland. The presentation was co-created by IMG Artists and the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, who previously added live orchestration to films like West Side Story, Star Trek and Home Alone. No other screening dates or details have yet been announced. A London musical based on the Robert Zemeckis film is also planned for 2015.

In semi-related Back to the Future news – since Nike has already mastered the self-tying shoe – Marty McFly’s hoverboard from Back to the Future II remains one of the few futuristic concepts in the sequel that has not yet been developed. That could change in the near future: A new Kickstarter campaign has been created to help assist California company Arx Pax create their functional Hendo hoverboard, Paste reports. So far, the company has built a model that utilizes magnets to float three centimeters above the ground for 15 minutes, but further research is required to fully realize the board. The Kickstarter campaign will end on December 15th.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/back-to-the-future-gets-30th-anniversary-screenings-with-live-orchestra-20141021

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Vince Gill, Toby Keith Nominated for Songwriters Hall of Fame

October 22nd, 2014 · Guitar

By Joseph Hudak |
October 21, 2014

When the Songwriters Hall of Fame announced its nominees for induction last week, four names with roots in country music were among those included. Vince Gill and Toby Keith were nominated as performing songwriters, while tunesmiths Bobby Braddock and Bob McDill were nominated under the nonperforming distinction.

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Gill writes and performs regularly, both as a solo artist and with Western swing group the Time Jumpers. In addition to the band’s usual Monday night showcases in Nashville, the group is currently in the midst of a U.S. tour and will play a benefit for lung cancer research on November 30th with Reba McEntire. Time Jumpers member Dawn Sears is currently battling the disease.

Keith, meanwhile, recently wrapped his Shut Up Hold On Tour and released the new single “Drunk Americans.” While Keith didn’t write that particular song — Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Bob DiPiero share the honor — he has written some of his biggest hits, including “Made in America,” “American Soldier” and “I Love This Bar,” along with the poignant “Hope on the Rocks.”

Both Braddock and McDill are responsible for some of country’s most iconic songs. Braddock penned George Jones’ epic “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” while McDill authored Alan Jackson‘s “Gone Country.”

Other notable non-country nominees include Tom Petty, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Miller, and Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. The winning nominees will be inducted during the 2015 Annual Awards Gala, June 18th at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/vince-gill-toby-keith-nominated-for-songwriters-hall-of-fame-20141021

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Shepard Fairey on George Harrison Poster: ‘George Is a Hero’

October 21st, 2014 · Guitar

By Kory Grow |
October 21, 2014

Artist Shepard Fairey, best known for his Obama “Hope” campaign posters, has designed a limited-edition art print to celebrate the career of George Harrison, coinciding with the Harrison box set The Apple Years 1968–75. The posters – titled Poster for George – will be available in red and silver editions, both of which have been limited to 400 signed and numbered copies each. The red edition will be available on Shepard’s ObeyGiant.com website on the afternoon of October 23rd, while the silver edition will be available at GeorgeHarrison.com at 10 a.m. PST on the 24th.

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In a statement, Fairey recalled how his parents introduced him to the Beatles, leading to an obsession with the group’s later records, which featured more Harrison contributions. “I got George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album a long time ago, but even as a kid listening to the radio I reacted very emotionally to the song ‘My Sweet Lord,’” he wrote. “The song has a profound beauty and melancholy that is unique and powerful. I love George’s solo material musically, but what speaks to me most about George’s music and actions is his humanity and his soulfulness….

“I think George looked at himself as a world citizen, and not only brought international influences into his music, but was sensitive to human rights and politics around the globe,” he continued. “I’ve always seen music and art as amazing pleasures, but also as relatable vehicles to deliver a point of view. Art and music can invite people to think about something they might ordinarily not be interested in. George put together the Concert for Bangladesh as a way of using his music to benefit humanity. I admire that he went beyond just writing songs addressing issues, and used his significant cultural weight to be an activist and put something noteworthy together, both as a way of raising money for Bangladesh, and of publicizing the situation there. George is a hero.”

Harrison has been the subject of many celebrations in 2014. The Apple Years box set, which came out in September, collected the singer-songwriter’s first six studio albums along with previously unreleased bonus tracks and video footage. One previously unreleased track, “This guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying)”, features contributions by EurythmicsDave Stewart, singer Kara DioGuardi, Harrison’s son Dhani and Ringo Starr. It also included a stripped-back, early version of his song “Dark Horse.”

Additionally, Conan O’Brien hosted performances of George Harrison songs by Paul Simon, Beck, Norah Jones and Dhani Harrison for what he dubbed George Harrison Week. That week culminated with the star-studded tribute concert George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison. The event featured Harrison’s songs performed by the likes of Brian Wilson, Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and even “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/shepard-fairey-on-george-harrison-poster-george-is-a-hero-20141021

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