Category Archives: CDs

Local songwriters sing, sing a song, for the 2017 Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CD

Pittsburgh a most desirable city? Don’t think so . . . it boats some of the country’s worst air, high crime rates and roads that are more cracked than Trump’s family.

But the music is good. Or so we hear. And we hear that non-profit music organization Calliope will be hosting the Annual Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle CD release soiree on Friday, November 4. For a mere $7, you can join the Calliope crew for an evening of “remarkable performances” by dozens of participating Pittsburgh songwriters. (The 2017 CD features 29 Pittsburgh-area songwriters.) The gala is being held at The Roots Cellar, “the acoustically-sound subterranean room at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.” It’s very difficult to find: Note the address is 6300 Fifth Avenue.Jewel 4 Panel-PSC2017

Working under the auspices of Calliope, the Songwriters Circle conducts a weekly songwriters’ open stage at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, holds monthly meetings focused on song craft, places songwriters in front of audiences and produces this annual compilation album series to help to nurture regional songwriters and foster community among artists who are compelled to write songs. Whew! Since the project started in 2005, more than 100 local songwriters have participated in this album series. You can find some of their CDs at CDBaby.com.

Get in the groove by getting more info at calliopehouse.org or by visiting pittsburghsongwriterscircle.org.

 

Go tell it on the mountain: Jennifer nettles releases her first Yuletide CD

 

Christmas is being doubly good to Jennifer Nettles. She stars in Dolly Parton’s straight to DVD Christmas special, and she’s prepping for the season early with the release of her first holiday album, To Celebrate Christmas, out October 28 on Big Machine Records. The 10-track collection highlights Jennifer’s signature Country twang while her enthusiastic spirit illuminates the mix of festive anthems and traditional standards.

Wrapping each track with care, Grammy-winning producer Julian Raymond joined Jennifer in the studio. The project shines with star-studded collaborations, including dynamic harmonies with Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel on “Little Drummer Boy,” and the jazz-influenced melody alongside American-soul sensation Andra Day on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman.” Friend and mentor, 40DD-17-36 Parton, penned “Circle Of Love.” 1

“I’m such a lover of this season and all of the magical feelings that surround us during the holidays so it will be exciting to share it with fans at our live shows,” coos Jennifer. “Especially since the birth of my son, who arrived to us in December, I’ve found even more joy Christmas traditions and music. Having both Idina and Andra lend their idyllic voices to some of my favorite songs is the bow on top!”

 

 

Olivia-Newton John teams with two friends to create a CD that helps healing the pain of loss. Brava!

As gifted author Anne Lamott has said: “You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

Loss causes intense feeling of being lost. The pain seems endless. The darkness seems to shroud the heart. Olivia Newton-John, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky have teamed  to lend vocal and songwriting talents to create Liv On, (UMe), a collaborative, newly recorded 11-song collection intended for those who wish to transcend loss while walking a journey toward new-found meaning and hope.  This powerful new album, now available through all digital partners, emerges on CD on October 14.71rscbpkf1l-_sl1200_

This inspiring new project grew out of the trio’s personal experiences with loss and illness, which they all survived to Liv On and celebrate each day with a depth of gratitude. This labor of love stemmed from the trio sharing their stories together and expressing their deepest feelings from the most difficult to the most celebratory. It’s the hope that this music can uplift hearts burdened by grief while at the same time bring comfort to the listener.

“As a group, it’s our intention with this album to create songs with a message of compassion and hope,” says Newton-John. “They are for anyone facing a time of challenge in their life, whether it is grieving a loss—or on the journey to health and recovery.”

Liv On–means “to thrive, to have hope and to remember.”  The message is clear in the lyrics of the album’s title song:

Live on, Live on
Brighter skies will come again
Cry the tears you cry
And then live on, live on
Love is all we leave when we are gone . . .
Live on

Loss and grief occur for many reasons—whether it’s losing a loved one, a relationship, one’s health, a pet or a job. It’s important to remember that each person’s grief is as individual as his or her DNA—and there truly is no timeline for healing from loss.

With the fast-paced society we live in, we are often forced to “get over things.” However, for every individual, grief has its own clock.  Olivia, Beth and Amy called upon their personal experiences in creating this collection of songs which will aid, uplift and comfort those working their way through the maze of grief and loss. While taking into consideration the many causes of grief, they hope to provide the unique ability for those in need of support to heal through this music.

With songs such as “Don’t Know What To Say,” “My Heart Goes Out to You,” “Immortality” and “Stone In My Pocket,” the lyrics express different phases of the delicate recovery process while validating the experience so the listener can heal once again and soar. In addition, each artist revisits songs that have brought love and light to many of their fans. The album includes new interpretations of “Grace and Gratitude” (Newton-John), “Sand and Water” (Nielsen Chapman) and “I Will Take Care of You” (Sky).

Why is this CD important? It’s estimated that approximately 76 million Americans and tens of millions more globally are set to enter into the end of life care continuum either as patients or caregivers.  At no time in our country’s history have we seen such an unprecedented need for bereavement care.

Liv On harnesses the unique talents of these three internationally-recognized artists – and showcases the transforming power of music—to heal and shed light on the fact that it’s OK to grieve—and that the process is different for everyone. The message of Liv On is clear and affirming: the reason we grieve is because we love, and therein lies the strength for healing.

“We are honored to partner with the artists and mission of this project by contributing funds for creating a unique grief outreach and educational initiative to coordinate with this inspiring music,” says Paul VerHoeve, President of the Gentiva Hospice Foundation.

Directing the outreach and educational initiative is Dianne Gray of Hospice and Healthcare Communications. Gray explains, “It’s how we grieve that asks so much of us.  We have choices to make as we venture forth. ‘Liv On,’ the music and the resources, will help people do just that—live on!”

 

Something so strong: Crowded House celebrates their 30th anniversary with reissues of their entire catalog

A reason to put up with crowds: Crowded House will be celebrating their 30th anniversary by reissuing their entire catalog in two-disc CD packages and 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, unlocking a wealth of rare material that has been personally selected by Neil Finn and the band. They will be released on Friday,  November 18 through Universal Catalog, and are available to pre-order at the official Crowded House Store.  Digital versions will also be available on November 4.

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The two-CD packages will feature the original album with a bonus disc of rarities, B-sides and previously unreleased home demos and outtakes unearthing more than 100 unreleased tracks across the campaign. Each CD package will be delivered in high quality fan-deluxe packaging, with extended notes featuring new interviews with the band and memorabilia from personal and fan archives in a 36 page book. Exclusive CD bundles will also be available here.

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That’s Finn on the left

True to the original releases, there will also be classic reissues of each album on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl. These are all cut from the original analogue tapes at Abbey Road Studios. The LPs will not include bonus tracks.

Says Finn: “We are thrilled all seven of our albums are about to be reissued in all formats including vinyl, each one accompanied by a rich trove of rarities including writing demos and other unreleased musical curiosities, as well as new original artwork from my dear friend Nick Seymour. This has been many years in the making with much of the exhaustive listening, editing and remixing being done by the keeper of knowledge Jeremy Ansell in Auckland. It has been a labor of love for us and our mission all along was making a superlative quality, definitive document of Crowded House’s unique history for all the fans who have given us their affection over the years.”

 

 

 

This November, almost 20 years to the day when Crowded House said Farewell to the World with a celebrated concert held on the steps of the iconic Sydney Opera House, they return to that iconic space to celebrate their induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame at the 2016 ARIA Awards.

Crowded House will perform two very special Encore shows exclusive to Sydney and Australia, their only appearances worldwide during 2016, on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26.

Frank Zappa Family Trust and UMe team for a frankly incredible genre-leaping Zappa canon

In his trailblazing and incredibly prolific career, artist, composer and all-around musical pioneer Frank Zappa released more than 60 albums in his lifetime, as a solo artist and with his bands the Mothers of Invention and the Mothers. Coupled with more than 40 posthumous releases since his death in 1993 at 52, figuring out where to start in Zappa’s vast, genre-leaping catalog can be daunting. ZAPPAtite–Frank Zappa’s Tastiest Tracks, due September 23 on Zappa Records/UMe and available for pre-order now, collects some of Zappa’s best known and beloved compositions, from his early psychedelic rock beginnings to his avant-garde experimentation, jazz-rock explorations, symphonic suites and satirical send-ups, compiling them into one easily digestible collection and offering key entryways into the many musical worlds of the visionary musician.
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Available on CD and digitally, with vinyl to come at a later date, the album is divided into three courses–Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts–and the food-centric theme oozes throughout the album art, which features Zappa in a diner on the cover, a track list that resembles a menu and some of Zappa’s favorite eats.

The 18 compositions that make up ZAPPAtite were compiled by Zappa’s son Ahmet Zappa and encyclopedic Zappa archivist, VaultmeisterJoe Travers.

“This isn’t a greatest hits album as Frank didn’t really have ‘hits,’ per se, nor is it a ‘best of’ since that would be an impossibility to fit so much awesome onto one disc,” says Ahmet. “It’s a veritable smorgasbord of musicality for the curious and a buffet of favorites for the fans, ZAPPAtite collects a cross section of my favorite songs composed by my dad, that lean more towards the rock side of his expansive repertoire. I hope you’re hungry because this meal for your ears rocks!”

Kicking off with the one-two punch of “I’m The Slime” and “Dirty Love” from Zappa’s 1973 watershed Gold album, Over-Nite Sensation, the collection quickly introduces Zappa’s eclecticism and salacious tongue as the songs meld polyrhythmic psychedelic rock and heavy funk with his trademark innuendo-filled lyrics. From there, the album travels through Zappa’s sprawling musical universe, highlighting vital songs and important eras of his career.frank-zappa-mona-lisa-poster

The Appetizers portion also includes the Grammy-nominated disco satire “Dancin’ Fool” and the controversial European smash “Bobby Brown Goes Down” from Zappa’s popular 1979 album, Sheik Yerbouti; and “Trouble Every Day” from Zappa’s embryonic rock band the Mothers of Invention’s groundbreaking 1966 debut, Freak Out!.

Entrees includes one of Zappa’s best known works, the universally loved instrumental “Peaches En Regalia from his classic 1969 solo sophomore record, Hot Rats; ubiquitous Top 40 hit Valley Girl, featuring his then 14-year-old daughter Moon Unit affecting a valley girl “gag-me-with-a-spoon” patois, from 1982’s Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch; to the possible autobiographical track from a parallel dimension “Joe’s Garage” of 1979’s LP of the same name; and the waggish blues rocker Cosmik Debris and the humorous Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, two standouts from one of Zappa’s most commercial and accessible albums, 1974’s Apostrophe (‘).

Desserts explores Zappa’s musical virtuosity and singular live performances and includes the comedic“Titties & Beer” from the 1978 live album, Zappa In New York; the frenetic Synclavier-fueled “G-Spot Tornado” from 1986’s Jazz From Hell; the anti-drug screed, “Cocaine Decisions” from 1983’s The Man From Utopia; and “Zoot Allures,” the heady instrumental featuring some of Zappa’s electrifying guitar playing, from 1976’s Zoot Allures. The album culminates with a performance of “Strictly Genteel” with the London Symphony Orchestra. The epic, orchestral-rock piece originally served as the grand finale to Zappa’s surrealist 1971 film, “200 Motels.”

As this year marks 50 years since the release of the Mothers of Invention’s seminal debut album, Freak Out!, hailed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time by Rolling Stone, Zappa’s music and enduring legacy has been experiencing a renaissance as younger generations discover his music. A pair of documentaries has also brought about a renewed interest and focus on the forward-thinking iconoclast’s lasting impact. In June, Sony Pictures Classics released the feature documentary, “Eat That Question – Frank Zappa In His Own Words” to widespread acclaim. Comprised of TV interviews, performances and rare archival footage, the film reveals a provocative 20th century musical genius, rock legend and intellectual firebrand whose worldview reverberates into the present day and beyond. In April, filmmaker Alex Winter announced his plans for a documentary entitled, Who The F*@% Is Frank Zappa, and it quickly pushed past its goal of $500,000 to became the highest-funded documentary film in Kickstarter’s history by collecting just over $1.1 million by offering t-shirts, posters, inclusion in the film’s credits, access to never-released audio recordings, video footage, visual materials from the vault, and even the chance to purchase Zappa’s 8,000 sq. ft. Hollywood home.

Since the Zappa Family Trust and UMe entered into a global partnership for a long-term, licensing agreement encompassing Zappa’s entire recorded catalog, as well as rights management participation across the rest of the cultural icon’s creative canon, together they have been steadily reissuing the catalog on CD, LP and digitally. They have also been digging deep into Zappa’s famed vault to make available a bevy of unreleased material, live concerts and other assorted rarities.

Continuing the reissues, Zappa’s classic Hot Rats was just released on 180-gram vinyl on August 26. Recorded in 1969, his second solo album is widely known for its pioneering fusion of jazz and rock and contains one of his best known songs, “Peaches En Regalia.” Mostly an instrumental album, sans “Willie The Pimp” which features Captain Beefheart’s craggy vocals, the six-song LP is filled with complex musical passages, breathtaking playing and some beautifully melodic moments.

Enjoy a listen here UMe.lnk.to/ZappaHotRatsStream.

A chat with Barbara Cook: “If someone reads my book with an open mind, he or she can come back from dark places”

The tastiest cookbook this season? Make that Cook book, as in Barbara Cook’s autobiography Then and Now: A Memoir  (Harper, $28.99). The 88-year-old icon shares her life and career, the highs and lows, some of which are quite painful to read. There are warm memories of her golden years as Broadway’s newest ingénue and Broadway’s favorite soprano in the original productions of Plain and Fancy (1955), Candide (1956), The Music Man (1957) and She Loves Me (1963) and later into a sophisticated cabaret and concert artist . . . as well as much sadder, deeply painful memories.barbaracook01_1320848280
At the lowest point of her career, she was drunk and desperate, sleeping through the day and “I didn’t shower or brush my teeth for days at a time.” She confesses that she was “so broke I was stealing food from the supermarket by slipping sandwich meat into my coat pocket.”

Today, Cook suffers from polymyalgia rheumatica, a disease that forces her to use a wheelchair. She may be slower, her voice much softer, but she refuses to give in.  As a recovering alcoholic she still attends her AA meetings. (She quit drinking in 1977.) For that we continue to applaud her. We caught up with Cook one summer afternoon at her Upper West Side apartment and had a lovely conversation, fraught with lots of coughing and short sentences, of the good and bad and both acts—before and after sobriety—of her life. Read her story, and enjoy performances we share.2016-06-27-1467056258-9031733-Cover_BarbaraCook-thumb

First things first: You have been asked to write a book for years. Why did you finally write an autobiography?
Yes, people have wanted me to write a book for some time. I kept saying, ‘Why? Who the hell cares?’ Then it occurred to me that I have had this up and down life, and if someone reads my book with an open mind he or she can come back from dark places and have a successful career. I wrote every word, mostly by hand, on white-lined paper.

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And what dark places!
They were things I have lived with for so long. They were a huge part of my life. It’s the first time I am talking about them publicly . . . it was time to talk about the things I had held inside for a long time. It had always been easier not to discuss mother, my sister’s death, the shame and blame I had felt. I spent decades often thinking that I didn’t deserve the nice things that have happened for me. I drank and I ate. I found myself mad at my mother since she blamed me for my sister’s death from double pneumonia. I thought I could help people who have gone through or who are going through what I did. [Barbara’s sister died at 18 months; Barbara was three years old]

No wonder we didn’t like your mother after reading the book. She blamed you, as a child, for your sister’s death!
Yes. My sister had pneumonia, and then I got pneumonia and whooping cough. I gave her whooping cough on top of the pneumonia. (Pauses) When I was in therapy, my first therapist said something that was so smart ‘Did it ever occur to you that she caught it and that you didn’t give it to her?’ Wow. That really helped me because I grew up thinking I was responsible for my sister’s death. I started to think, well, if my sister hadn’t died father wouldn’t have left. I was five. (Pauses, quietly) I became responsible for my sister’s death and his leaving as well.

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When I interviewed Liza Minnelli, she told me even recovering alcoholics must always refer themselves as alcoholics. Did Liza break rules by talking about AA? 
AA does not have rules. It has suggestions. They don’t call them rules. I supposed one can break one’s own anonymity which I don’t do.

What did you think went wrong with Liza?
I know Liza and have sat around talking with her. But I don’t think I know her well enough to talk about that.

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Cook with Leonard Bernstein, during the recording of the cast album of “Candide,” the comic operetta, based on Voltaire’s satirical novel

It’s sad seeing you in a wheelchair. Do you believe you will get out of that chair one day?
Well I guess if the condition gets good I will. My spirits are mostly okay, but nobody likes to be like this. There are days when I get down, but I don’t seem to stay down for long.

Many of your fans are gay. Your only child, Adam LeGrant, is gay. You and I are talking less than a month after the tragic massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando. When I say ‘homophobia’ . . .
(Interrupts) It affects me like everyone else. Homophobia is a stupid, horrible way of thinking. It’s getting better, but it’s still, oh God! awful.

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Cook with her son Adam at the opening night of “Sondheim on Sondheim” at Studio 54 on April 22, 2010. Photo by Bruce Glikas

Were you disappointed when you learned your son Adam was gay?
When Adam told me he had something to tell me, I had no idea he was going to tell me he was gay. I thought he was going to tell me he broke up with his girlfriend and was never going to marry her. When he said he was gay, I knew I would never have grandchildren—that entered my psyche immediately. I thought there’s something wrong. I have a son I don’t know. I was really upset and I screamed and cried like crazy for about five days. It occurred to me that  all my life I felt like a little girl with her nose pressed against the glass of a candy shop. I didn’t feel part of real life. But when I bore a son I felt more connected to the world. When Adam told me was gay, I didn’t feel connected anymore.   After crying, I thought, ‘Wait a minute. What on earth is going on with you? What the hell is wrong with you? He is your son!’

I asked Liza about why she has such a gay following. She told me her fans relate to her pain, just as they related to her mother’s pain. You are aware you have a large gay following?
Oh sure. I talked about it with friends a couple of times. But I don’t know what it’s about. Could I be they relate to my problems? Who knows? We all have problems.

You made your Broadway debut in the 1951 musical Flahooley; you won a Tony for The Music Man. A far cry from growing up in Atlanta in such poverty you used to eat dinners of white bread and ketchup. You are a legend! A special survivor!
(Long laugh ) Oh God,  I don’t think of it as way. We all think we’re special. I know I am very, very grateful of the gift I have given. Singing is a wonderful way to move and touch people. I feel that I must sing because it feels so good to get all that out! I suppose it’s a gift from a  higher power.

Where do you keep your Tony?
I have a dining room and it’s kept in a bookcase in there.

After reading your book, I still cannot figure out if you liked Elaine Stritch.
(Laughs) I liked her, but not always what she did. Her behavior sometimes. Somewhere inside her was a very nice person.

Barbara+Cook+Roundabout+Theatre+Company+2016+Ligbg69Xb9flI am going to push you in a corner. What’s your favorite song?
(Laughs) Oh my goodness! The answer is no. I have no favorite.

How about a song you never sang?
I don’t think of things that way; I think of shows I wished I had done. I wanted to do The Most Happy Fella. I auditioned again and again for that and I really wanted to do it. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do Candide.

You will be 89 on October 25. Ever think how you want to be remembered? What will be on your gravestone?
Oh gee. Wow. No one ever asked me that. (Pauses) SHE DID HER BEST.

 

 

A new book, “New Barbarians,” sheds the inside scoop on a little-known bit of Rolling Stones history

 

A rolling stone gathers no moss, but The Rolling Stones gathers honors and hosannas, awards and accolades. But did you know there’s a “secret” chapter in their long history? Let us roll out the news about New Barbarians: Outlaws, Gunslingers and Guitars, the first-ever history of a band that has attained cult status among Stones fans. In 1979, Rolling Stones lead guitarist Ron Wood founded the New Barbarians to tour behind his solo album Gimme Some Neck. The group’s all-star lineup included Keith Richards, jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, Stones confederate and saxophonist Bobby Keys, and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste from the Meters. The band’s life was short-lived: It was formed  in 1979, toured only 20 dates and played its final concert in 1980  . . .  gone, but not to be forgotten.

Fans will finally learn the untold story of this legendary cult band and how it helped Keith get through his heroin addiction following his infamous drug bust in Toronto, but they have to wait until Rob Chapman’s opus is released by Voyageur Press in October 1.  The inside scoop is all recounted through never-before-seen photography and in-depth, behind-the-scenes interviews. The book offers an intimate look at the brief history of a band that built a cult following in record time. In addition, included with the book is a 10-track New Barbarians CD, featuring tracks from their 1979 tour.usethis

Though Wood put together the band in 1979, in a roundabout way, the Barbarians’ story begins with Keith Richard’s infamous drug bust in Toronto in February 1977. Unlike Keith’s other brushes with the law due to drugs, this time it looked highly likely that Canadian authorities were going to put him in prison for a very long time–possibly for life. In the end, after nearly two years of limbo, hand-wringing and legal battles, Keith was allowed to serve his sentence by enlisting both the Barbarians and the Stone into playing two charity shows in Oshawa, Canada, on April 22, 1978.

Ultimately, the Barbarians helped pay Keith’s debt to society, but the band and tour did more than that, according to author Chapman. “The Barbarians were more than a band for Ronnie to tour with–they were a sanctuary for Keith,” he says. “In addition to the legal limbo he was also in the midst of kicking heroin.” Indeed, as Keith once said, “the Barbarians saved my life.” From the tour rehearsals in Los Angeles to each of the tour dates, Ronnie and the Barbarians provided the perfect vehicle for Keith to recover and revive himself.

The band became known for it’s members and music, but it also gained notoriety for events such as the riot at the New Barbarians’ first concert in Milwaukee-when the “special guests” did not appear during the show—to craziness at their last show. This and more wild, rollicking stories are detailed with behind-the-scenes anecdotes, interviews with band members and crew members, as well as dirt about its famous tour,  plus background on how the group  influenced future Stones music.

In addition, there are more than 300 amazing photos by over a dozen noted rock photographers. Included are behind-the-scenes and candid shots of the rehearsals, the shows and backstage babble.

 

 

 

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner fans will be stung big-time by Sting

The news is so great we simply gotta spread the buzz: On September 30, A&M/Interscope Records will release The Studio Collection, a career-spanning vinyl LP box set featuring all of Sting’s seminal solo studio albums brought together for the first time.unnamed

The Studio Collection includes eight essential A&M Records albums across 11 LPs–The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985); …Nothing Like The Sun (1987, double LP); The Soul Cages (1991); Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993); Mercury Falling (1996); Brand New Day (1999, double LP); Sacred Love (2003, double LP); and The Last Ship (2013)–with both Brand New Day and Sacred Love available on vinyl for the first time ever.

All of the included LPs appear in exact replicas of the original artwork presented in an exceptional slipcase package, with brand new vinyl masters cut at the legendary Abbey Road studios to ensure exceptional audio quality.

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Contained within The Studio Collection are some of the most iconic albums and songs of all time, including numerous Grammy-winning tracks as well as a plethora of multi-platinum, platinum and gold worldwide awards. Beginning with Sting’s first solo album, the revelatory The Dream Of The Blue Turtles from 1985–featuring the cream of America’s young jazz musicians in a politically-charged set–through 2013’s The Last Ship, exploring the central themes of homecoming and self-discovery in the North East of England, The Studio Collection showcases Sting’s meticulous song writing, evocative storytelling, and continual innovation in a ground breaking mix of musical genres and styles that have continually evolved throughout his remarkable career to date.

To complete The Studio Collection, Sting’s new album 57th & 9th will be released November 11. Take a listen. Your beating heart no longer needs to be still.

 

Dolly Parton asking her poor fans to fork over hundred$ for “collectible” crap

She doesn’t work 9 to 5 . . . according to her flaks, “without a doubt, Dolly Parton continues to be one of the most aggressive artists in music when it comes to marketing themselves.” This time, Dolly is spreading herself as thinly as she can as she prepares for the August 19 release of her new CD Pure & Simple–with four different pre-order bundles to help promote the album.

“I may not be pure, but I’m as simple as they come!”she coos. “This new Pure & Simple project is really special to me because I’m taking my fans back to my roots. I feel like these songs have a pure, tender side and we didn’t go overboard with arrangements. I’m so glad we’ve teamed up with our friends at Sony to get this album out to the fans.” Spoken just like a well-seasoned, well-paid press flak.

Dolly should be ashamed that in this economic market, she knows her fans cannot fork over hundreds of $ for such crap.

Pure & Simple Standard Bundle

Standard Bundle ($40) Pure & Simple album cover art on black 100% preshrunk cotton T-shirt, Pure & Simple CD, as well as an album digital download that will be delivered via email on August 19.

Pure & Simple Deluxe Bundle

Deluxe Bundle ($60) Pure & Simple CD, as well as digital download of the album (to be delivered via email on August 19), a set of three notebooks with different Dolly logo designs (each notebook measures a measly 3.5″ x 5.5″) and a rhinestone and lace Dolly tote bag.

Pure & Simple Collectible Bundle

Collectible Bundle ($100) Pure & Simple CD, as well as a digital download of the album (delivered via email on August 19), a Dolly guitar string bracelet and gift box, the set of three notebooks and the Rhinestone and lace Dolly tote bag.

Pure & Simple Commemorative Bundle

Commemorative Bundle ($400) Pure & Simple CD, as well as a digital download of the album (will be delivered via email on August 19), as well as the Dolly guitar string bracelet and gift box, the three notebooks, the rhinestone and lace Dolly photo tote bag and a “Collectible Limited Edition” plaque commemorating the release of Dolly’s new album Pure & Simple.

Sean Combs combs through Bad Boy’s inventory to release a cursed box set

Someone’s got to take the rap, so we figure Sean “Diddy” Combs, known to too many people as Puff Daddy. Combs will be puffing his pride as he celebrates his 20+ year legacy as the ruling authority on hip hop and R&B with the release of the Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition, escaping on August 12.  Bad Boy Entertainment, whose founder and chairman  is Combs, is also puffing the fact that they relish explicit lyrics. How can they accept a song (let’s take the ditty “Blessings”; how can we mix God with the lyric Man, the clique is the tightest, the pussy’s the tightest pussy?

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Disturbed music fans will find the CD constipated with tunes such as “I Need a Girl,” “Juicy,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Hypnotize,” “Money, Power, Respect,” “Peaches & Cream,” “Can’t You See,” “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” “Love Like This,” “Feel So Good,” “Pop That,” “Damaged” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” from a lineup of “artists” including Puff Daddy, The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Faith Evans, Total, Carl Thomas, Mase, 112, The Lox, Cassie, Janelle Monáe, Danity Kane, Machine Gun Kelly and French Montana.  The Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition is available for preorder now digitally and physically at iTunes and Amazon.

Accompanied by a 64-page historiography and foreword by hip hop journalist Michael A. Gonzales, the collection will take readers on a journey through the history of Bad Boy Entertainment, reminding fans of the label’s reputation as hip hop’s most notorious vanguards.  With contributions from music industry veterans, readers and listeners alike will gain a 360 view of the rise of the label and their revolutionary sound.

Following a painstakingly thorough selection process, which was curated by Bad Boy President Harve Pierre, the collection arrives at the perfect time, the announcement of Puff Daddy & the Family’s highly-anticipated Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, set to kick off August 25.  Tickets for the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour are available at Livenation.com. For additional information about the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, click here.

Coos Combs: “Bad Boy helped make hip hop what it is today and this collection highlights all the music, history and vision that made Bad Boy number one. We want to thank our fans, celebrate the music, the people and the Bad Boy lifestyle that have defined the past two decades.  We’ve always made music that makes the people dance; this collection does all that and more, and it is a celebration of all things Bad Boy.”

Earplugs not included.

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Setting such a good example