But finding the man she calls “my best friend, my soul mate,” actually bumped her artistry up even more levels. You’ll hear that on her GRAMMY Award- nominated album Blessed and perhaps even more so in her live performances, especially when she performs songs she has just written and will soon record. At a recent sold-out show at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C., Williams did the near impossible. She and her musical partner for the evening, virtuoso guitarist Doug Pettibone, performed a two-hour show before a packed room that had the intimacy of a house concert. (more…)
The Church Studios is a storied recording facility in London’s delightfully named Crouch End neighborhood. Housed in a gothic chapel, the studio has hosted sessions for Bob Dylan, Radiohead, and Elvis Costello, amongst others. However, the studio’s days may be numbered.
According to the Evening Standard, current owner and UK pop singer David Gray is looking to divest himself of the property or have most or all of the site converted into “flats.” “David would be delighted to sell the Church Studios,” noted a spokesperson for the singer. “But given the current upheaval in the music business and the repercussions on commercial recording studios, it is only prudent to explore other avenues, including redevelopment.”
You might recall that towards the end of 2011 Elvis Costello made news by issuing a statement on his Web site discouraging fans from purchasing the deluxe box set version of his live recording The Return of the Spectacular Singing Songbook. It turns out Elvis had tried unsuccessfully to get the label to lower the price for the limited-edition set, which was going for well over $200 (and is currently selling for more than $300). Sure, it included all sorts of schmancy extras, like a vinyl EP, hardcover book, etc., but Costello nevertheless opined that “the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire,” and encouraged people to buy a Louis Armstrong box instead for less money. At the time, he also informed fans that before too long, all the elements of the box would be available individually for a less usurious fee. That day of retail redemption for Elvis and his admirers comes on April 3 with the release of Spinning Songbook in its proletariat-friendly format”the live CD and DVD are available individually or together, and even the two-disc package goes for about 10 percent (at most) of the box set’s cost.
Costello did his first Spinning Wheel tour back in 1986, bringing a big, roulette-style wheel onstage, emblazoned with the names of numerous songs from his back catalog. Audience members where invited up to give the wheel a turn, and Costello was obliged to perform whichever song the arrow landed on. Needless to say, the gimmick was a big fan favorite, and he revived the idea in 2011, capturing a couple of shows for posterity in May at The Wiltern in Los Angeles for the live release in question. Seeing as how it’s finally time for the common man to sidle up to the Spinning Songbook album, it seems like the right moment to deconstruct the track list, examining the origins of each one of the sixteen songs from The Wiltern sets that ended up on the album.
“I get high with a little help from my friends,” Ringo Starr sang on the Beatles‘ 1967 classic. These days, so do many of music’s top stars. Two’s company, and so is three and sometimes four. The more the merrier, the higher and higher they get.
On the charts, that is.
In the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 for the week ending December 10, seventeen songs were collaborations between separate recording entities. Four of them featured Drake, and three apiece featured Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, who both appeared on tracks with Drake and with each other. But will.i.am featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger”and debuting at No. 36 with “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” which the threesome performed on the November 20 American Music Awards”was probably the one that nobody saw coming.
Old-school Rolling Stones fans must be cringing at the idea of Jagger going anywhere near Lopez and will.i.am so soon after Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera went to No. 1 by invoking his hallowed name on “Moves Like Jagger.” But for a sixty-something legend like him, hit records”even if in name only, a la Duck Sauce‘s GRAMMY-nominated “Barbra Streisand”are a near-impossible dream unless they’re in tandem with other, often younger, stars.
Cry Me A River “ Justin Timberlake
The video Justin Timberlake made for his solo hit, featuring a familiar-looking blonde and a glimpse of a photo in an errant frame, did nothing to dispel theories that this track was about Britney Spears’ cheating ways. Goddam you, Britney, how could you?!