Archive: March 1, 2009 - March 7, 2009

What It Feels Like to Sing for the President

The superlative soul singer Bettye LaVette grew up in Detroit, in the same neighborhood as Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson and the Four Tops, and got off to a promising start when she scored a minor hit at the age of 16. But as LaVette's friends and neighbors became famous,...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 6, 2009; 4:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Mix: Miley Hates Radiohead; Win Butler Fights Back; Does Listening to Lil Wayne Make You Dumb?

Headlines: Miley Cyrus is beefing with Radiohead. Just like Kanye, she claims that the band she loves so much snubbed her backstage at the Grammys. Vows the teen queen: "I'm gonna ruin them, I'm gonna tell everyone." Oooh, burn! ... Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler has responded to those...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 6, 2009; 8:44 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: The Bird and the Bee

If you came of musical age during the '80's (especially if you went on to work as a rock critic) and are still paying attention to musical trends (or getting paid to), then listening to current bands that recombine elements from that decade can be great fun. Or greatly...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 5, 2009; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Justin Townes Earle

Lest anyone think that renowned singer-songwriter Steve Earle is his sole genetic parent, Justin Townes Earle performed "Mama's Eyes" at the Birchmere Bandstand last night. Leaning into a microphone that looked as if it were set up for someone a foot shorter, the lanky tunesmith moved from cutting verse...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 5, 2009; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

RIP Piedmont Bluesman John Cephas

The Foggy Bottom-born blues guitarist and singer from the W.C. Handy Award-winning duo Cephas and Wiggins died of natural causes yesterday at the age of 78. The AP obit is here. Cephas was a big deal in the blues world -- one of the very last exponents of true, traditional...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 5, 2009; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Mix: Phish Reels in Bootleggers; Dylan's Never Ending Studio Tour Continues; Taylor Swift = Hot

Headlines On the eve of its reunion tour, Phish has asked a federal judge to keep bootleggers from harshing the band's mellow. ... Bob Dylan has moved on from thinking 'bout Alicia Keys to listening to Billy Joe Shaver. Dylan's new studio album (title TBD) is due in "late April."...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 5, 2009; 8:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

Six Questions For ... Tindersticks

Stuart Staples, singer/songwriter/guitarist for chamber rock mainstays Tindersticks, has a truly singular croon -- a seductive baritone that serves as the perfect complement to the band's lush, cinematic arrangements. While chatting, though, he sounds just like a regular British dude. Still, he's as thoughtful and insightful as you would...

By David Malitz | March 5, 2009; 7:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Lucinda Williams

On "Come On," a primal howl of a parting shot, alt-country dowager Lucinda Williams dresses down a soon-to-be-ex-lover who never even made her -- well, the fellow was simply unsatisfactory, poor old sport. So often in these matters, the culprit is timing. And based on how she sequenced her...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 4, 2009; 1:24 PM ET | Comments (4)

The Morning Mix: Britney's Back; Mastering the Beatles; the Death of Music Retail

Headlines Britney's tour has begun, and so has the lip-syncing. The "Circus" spectacle comes to the Verizon Center on March 24. ... All you need is love - and a dissertation: Liverpool Hope University is offering a Master of Arts degree in the Beatles. ... R.I.P. Virgin Megastores: The company's...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 4, 2009; 8:36 AM ET | Comments (3)

Tom Jones and a Tiny Desk

NPR's Bob Boilen, the one-and-only Tom Jones, with Brian Monroney in the background. (©2009 NPR/Christopher Toothman) To spend all day on the Internet is to quite often mumble to yourself, "Man, I wish I thought of that." But NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts elicits more than a mumble; it gets a...

By David Malitz | March 2, 2009; 3:02 PM ET | Comments (2)

Live Last Night: Jason Isbell

So this is why Jason Isbell didn't want to stick with the Drive-By Truckers, feeling like Joe Walsh: Because he's as confident and magnetic a frontman as he is prolific and able a songwriter. We already knew Isbell could pair a pithy lyric to an indelible hook and sell...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 2, 2009; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

Live Last Night: Kris Kristofferson

Some 40 years have passed since Kris Kristofferson helped bring the sentiments of the '60s to Nashville, but he's still a rebel. His hair has turned silver, his bones have gotten a little stiff, and his voice has gone from gruff to, well, positively gravely, but his politics haven't...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 4:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: K'Naan

Strolling onto the Millennium Stage on Friday night in a black fedora, black jacket and oversized scarf, K'Naan suggested an African Justin Timberlake --and the cheers from the overflow crowd proved he has that sort of mainstream appeal. But the Toronto-based rapper is originally from Somalia, "the hardest place...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 2:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball spent Friday evening at the State Theatre sitting with her long legs crossed behind an electric keyboard. Dressed almost entirely in black and with her hair quite short, Ball's ensemble wouldn't be out of place in a nunnery. Well, except for those leopard skin pumps that bottomed...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 2:41 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: Kurt Elling with Ernie Watts

"John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman," the classic 1963 collection of romantic ballads, is so beloved by jazz and pop fans alike that a concert salute to the recording is an easy sell. The hard part comes in creating a performance that sounds worthy of Coltrane and Hartman's inspired and...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 2:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Live Last Night: David Bromberg

Multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg worked two shifts at the Birchmere on Friday night, nimbly accompanying the Angel Band during the opening set, then delighting the capacity crowd with his quartet's performances of modulating fiddle tunes, overhauled pop songs and the drollest of blues. During one heartsick lament that evoked the...

By J. Freedom du Lac | March 1, 2009; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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