Category Archives: Music

Queen Latifah and a bunch of newcomers promise a gay ol’ time with the new series “Star”

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Gee, we hope the Queen doesn’t show up on “Star” this way . . .

A star is born. Well at least not until December 14, when Star, a new series featuring original music and stunning music performances, set for a special  premiere on FOX. Republic Records and Twentieth Century Fox Television have entered a partnership to present music from the show.

Created by Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lee Daniels, co-creator and executive producer of Empire, and Tom Donaghy, Star follows three talented singers–running from their pasts and desperate for a new start–with ambitions of stardom, as they navigate the cut-throat music business on their road to success.  But reality soon dawns on the girls’ fantasies, and they start to learn that ambition often comes at a cost.

“Monte Lipman and his team at Republic Records continue to be at the forefront of what’s new and evolving in today’s current music scene,” says Daniels. “They know how to push boundaries and take risks–which is the essence of this new series and our group of girls.  We’re looking forward to what is going to be a beautiful collaboration.”

Adds Mark Pearson, Executive Vice President, Brand Management and Digital, TCFTV: “Monte, Tom and everyone at Republic demonstrated a passion for STAR that impressed us all. They understood the show, they had a vision for what to do with our performers and they offered really innovative A&R and marketing ideas. Republic is the perfect musical partner for Lee and Tom’s inspired new series.”

So what the fuss? Meet Star (played by newcomer Jude Demorest), a tough-as-nails young woman, who came up in the foster care system and decides one day to take control of her destiny. Star tracks down her sister, Simone (second newcomer Brittany O’Grady), and her Instagram bestie, Alexandra (third newcomer Ryan Destiny), and together, the trio journeys to Atlanta with the hope of becoming music superstars.

Queen Latifah stars as Carlotta, a surrogate mother to the young crew;  the series will also feature guest star Lenny Kravitz.

Watch the official trailer for STAR HERE

 

 

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!”

 

 

Dolly Parton busts in to wish fans and family happy holidaze, straight to DVD

I remember spending Christmas one year with Dolly Parton, just in time for yet another Redbook cover story about the holidays. I wondered how someone who grew up so dirt-poor could be happy if the Jolly Fat Man never showed to Pigeon Forge? Dolly’s favorite present . . . the “corn cob dolls Mama made.”

DOLLY PARTON'S CHRISTMAS OF MANY COLORS: CIRCLE OF LOVE -- Season: 1--  Pictured: Dolly Parton as Painted Lady -- (Photo by: Quantrell Colbert/NBC)
Dolly Parton as Painted Lady  (Photo by Quantrell Colbert/NBC)

This year, the 40DD-17-36 star “stars” in yet another Christmas special, one that went straight to DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The Big Names include Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder and Gerald McRaney. Dolly introduces Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love film and serves as narrator.  The DVD, and also contains deleted scenes and three brand new featurettes including behind-the-scenes interviews. Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love will premiere this holiday season on NBC.

Bob Dylan’s lover (well, one of them) pens a book about their lives and love on the road

Britta Lee Shain was a friend of Bob Dylan until he asked her to join him on the road in the mid-’80s . . . at which point she became more than a friend. In an intimate and elliptical memoir of their time together, at home in Los Angeles and on tour with Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead, she offers a unique portrait of the romantic, earthbound and poetic soul trapped in the role of Being Bob Dylan.

As she coos: “I’ve never seen a Bob Dylan smile, except in photos or on the stage. Not the real thing.”https-%2f%2fcdn-evbuc-com%2fimages%2f21528364%2f166417865266%2f1%2foriginal

Entire libraries of books have been written about Dylan, but few—if any—offer any lasting insight into the man behind the shades. Until now. Written with the elegance of a poet and storytelling snap of a novelist, Seeing The Real You At Last: Life and Love on the Road With Bob Dylan (Jawbone Press, $19.95), is a poignant and tender romance that reveals Dylan’s playfulness, his dark wit, his fears and struggles, his complex relationships with the men and women in his life and, ultimately, his genius.

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!”

 

Springsteen’s autobiography is a bestselling boss . . . it’s sent people racing in the streets

I’ve never been a Bruce Springsteen fan. It hasn’t to do with him, it has to do with my lack of interested in rock music. Give me show tunes, film soundtracks, easy listening, vintage pop and, of course, anything by the world’s greatest entertainer, the Boss Bassey.

Since Springsteen has written his autobiography,  he seems hotter than ever. His publisher, Simon & Schuster, didn’t even have to issue an official press release . . . when word got out, his fans simple pre-ordered or bought tickets to his selected appearances in which he appeared and attendees received a pre-signed book. (We hope this means he really did sign them. We’ve know Shore Fire, his PR firm, too long to think otherwise.)  Born to Run was released internationally on September 27.

We understand he draws large crowds, very much the way Dame Shirley or Babs draws them. Someone counted that fans (2,000) packing the Barnes & Noble near Highway 9 in Freehold, N.J., on the book’s release day. He greeted more than 1,000 fans at N.Y.’s Union Square Barnes & Noble. Tickets for Springsteen’s meet-and-greet at the Philadelphia Free Library sold out in nine minutes. In Los Angeles, fans began lining up outside The Grove shopping center three days early. Ticket demand for his appearance at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, crashed the store’s website. Such mass appeal is to end: Springsteen wraps his U.S. series of appearances with a stop at The Harvard Coop in Boston on Monday, October 10.

The book is so hot it saddles the top spot on various bestselling lists and various editions (hardcover, ebook and audio editions) have been unleashed in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and India; rights have already been sold to publishers in nine countries.  Our fave review is from the Irish Times, who coos that the book is “darkness on the edge of genius … Bruce Springsteen is one of the great short story writers. At his wildest he’s Damon Runyon. At his best he’s Raymond Carver.”

According to Bruce, he has been privately writing the autobiography over the past seven years. He began work in 2009, after performing with the E Street Band at the Super Bowl’s halftime show.

In Born To Run, Mr. Springsteen describes growing up in Freehold, New Jersey amid the “poetry, danger, and darkness” that fueled his imagination. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.btr_331_500_s

“Writing about yourself is a funny business,” Springsteen notes in his book. “But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.”

“This is the book we’ve been hoping for,” adds Jonathan Karp, publisher of Simon & Schuster, who paid BS oodles of six-figure cash. “Readers will see their own lives in Bruce Springsteen’s extraordinary story, just as we recognize ourselves in his songs.”

Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor and originality found in his songs.

He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: Seeing Elvis’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

But the book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.

Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs, Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

We have one question: Why no mention of Dame Shirley?

“Hip Hop Raised Me” is the soundtrack chronicling 40 years of music culture

It might be a bit too corny to announce the event with a “Hip Hop Hooray”. Then again, ears of corn may be ringing with “Hip Hop Hooray,” a song by the hip hop group Naughty By Nature. Mark your calendars: Coming November 15 from Thames & Hudson is Hip Hop Raised Me, the definitive book on 40 years of the music culture,  its the essence, experience and energy, that revolutionized the world.  FYI:  The word “hip hop” is, like most music genres, not capitalized nor hyphenated.hip-hop-raised-me-611x784

Written by DJ Semtex, host of the UK’s top hip hop show on BBC Radio 1Xtra, this unique volume traces the characteristics and influence of hip hop, from its origins in the early ’70s, through its breakthrough into the mainstream and the advent of gangsta rap in the late ’80s, to the impact of contemporary artists and the global industry that is hip hop today. Semtex’s encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and his personal relationships with many of the most significant names in hip hop lends the book authority and the ultimate insider’s perspective.

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Grandmaster Flash

From its origins in the block parties of da Bronx in the ’70s to its status today as a global multi-billion dollar industry, from the voice of disaffected urban America to a President-electing powerbase, from Grandmaster Flash to Jay-Z, hip hop is nothing less than a phenomenon. Not just the most important musical genre of the past four decades, hip hop has transcended its origins to impact on every aspect of 21st century culture: Today Dr. Dre is at the vanguard of the music industry’s digital revolution, Kanye West is courted by the fashion industry and makes front page news, while Kendrick Lamar maintains hip hop’s legacy as a voice for the voiceless (today for the Ferguson riots generation) in the seething socio-political commentary contained within his lyrics.

Organized thematically, Hip Hop Raised Me features the many extensive interviews DJ Semtex has conducted from the ’90s to today, conveying the authentic voices of a huge roster of artists including Eminem, the Wu-Tang Clan,Jay-Z, Public Enemy, Kanye West, Nas, 50 Cent, Nicky Minaj, Pharrell, Odd Future, Drake and many, many more. Numerous infographic treatments track the four pillars of hip hop–MCing, Turntableism, B-boying, Graffiti–as well as the genre’s many fashion trends. These sit alongside specially commissioned photography of hip hop ephemera and vinyl, as well as contact sheets, outtakes and glory shots from key photographers in the movement. The depth and breadth of the book is visually matched by the rich and plentiful illustrations to make this the complete hip hop survey.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY / NO MERCHANDISING Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brian J Ritchie/Hotsauce/REX/Shutterstock (4453302ce) Kanye West 'The Jonathan Ross Show' TV Programme, London, Britain. - 28 Feb 2015
Kanye West

The publication of Hip Hop Raised Me coincides with multiple key dates in hip hop history–40 years since Grandmaster Flash broke out of da Bronx; 30 years since the release of the Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill”; and 20 years since the release of Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt.” To mark these occasions and celebrate the publication of this landmark volume, DJ Semtex will host an incredible concert in London this October with a multi-generational line up of hip hop artists appearing on the same UK bill for the first time. Featuring some of the biggest names in the Hip Hop game, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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DJ Semtex

October also sees the release of “Hip Hop Raised Me,” the soundtrack. Released by Sony Music and selected by DJ Semtex, this multi-artist album will reflect the breadth and scope of the book and feature only the most ground-breaking, epoch-making tracks of the genre.

Ahead of the book’s publication, DJ Semtex has launched the Hip Hop Raised Me podcast, a weekly series of conversations with some of the most creative people in hip hop culture. Download and subscribe to future episodes of the podcast @ itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/hip-hop-raised-me/

Yes, we can say “Hip Hop Hooray”!

 

 

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.

The Black Eyes Peas (not the legumes, but the band) ready for a stunning vinyl collection

For the record: Originally formed in Los Angeles in the late ’80s by rap partners will.i.am and apl.de.ap., The Black Eyed Peas were signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, then joined Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope in 1998 for their critically acclaimed major label debut album, Behind the Front.  Since then, The Black Eyed Peas have gone on to sell more than 35 million albums around the world, emerging from the West Coast rap underground to become Grammy-winning, multi-platinum superstars who have stormed the pop charts after adding pop diva Fergie to their ranks for 2003’s breakthrough album, Elephunk, which produced their first hit single, “Where Is the Love,” “Shut Up,” “Hey Mama” and “Let’s Get It Started.”unnamed

UMe will now bring all six Interscope studio albums in The Black Eyed Peas’ hit-packed catalog together for the first time in The Complete Vinyl Collection, a limited edition vinyl box set that includes 180-gram double-LPs of each (for a total of 12 discs) in a black rigid lift top box, with gold foil band logo, to be released September 30. All six individual vinyl LPs will also be released separately in a limited edition run. 

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Real black-eyes peas
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The other The Black Eyed Peas

We end with a bit of interesting piece of minutiae, no bigger than a black-eyed pea. Bridging The Gap, which came out in 2000, is the last album recorded as Black Eyed Peas before the band added a “The” to their name.  They never added the hyphen . . . afraid to be confused with those yummy  legumes?