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Arcade Fire Perform On 'The Tonight Show'

arcade-fireThis week marked a few very special moments in time for The Tonight Show. For starters, it was Jimmy Fallon‘s first week hosting the show, which is pretty monumental all by itself. Second, it was packed with guest performances by some of the industry’s hottest artists, like U2, Lady Gaga, and Tim McGraw. Last night, Arcade Fire brought a little indie rock life to the show with their hit, “Afterlife.” The performance even sported a spectacular light show, courtesy of a disco ball. Check it out below. (more…)

Grammy Nominees Album To Include Lorde, Robin Thicke, Taylor Swift

Grammy AwardsIf you love artists like Lorde, Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars, and Taylor Swift, and would like to check out the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in person, you might do well to pre-order the new Grammy Nominees album. Fans who pre-order before Jan. 20 not only get the solace of knowing that a portion of proceeds go towards benefiting the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares, but they’ll also be entered to win a trip to the awards ceremony on Jan. 26.

For more than 20 years we have been creating some incredible editions of the Grammy Nominees album,”  Recording Academy president Neil Portnow says, “which again represents some of the great songs and talented artists that make up this year’s remarkable nominees.”

Check out the track list and decide for yourself.  (more…)

Tim McGraw Returns To The Studio, Reveals Faith Hill Has Too

Country legend Tim McGraw is a music-making machine. He’s released a dozen albums in his career and, according to a recent interview with Billboard, he’s got another on the way.

Speaking while in Las Vegas for the iHeart Radio Music Festival this past weekend, McGraw recently revealed to that he is already a few weeks into production on new material.

“I’ve actually been in the studio over the last couple weeks,” McGraw said backstage at the MGM Grand Arena. “I don’t know when we’ll have it out, but I’ve just been putting a lot of work that in that process where I’m sort of in the dungeon singing when I get the chance.” (more…)

Sound and Vision: Why Is the World So Obsessed with Lionel Richie Right Now?

Life is full of surprises, and sometimes, so is pop music. In recent weeks, it’s recovered its long-dormant ability to shock, or at least catch us off guard with the unlikely hit, or the unexpected comeback.

Several months ago, I never dreamed I would ever ask the question that is the title of this article. It had been more than twenty-five years since Lionel Richie’s commercial heyday, and on the charts, he had been succeeded by younger romantic leads in pop and R&B many times over (Babyface, Usher, Ne-Yo, among others).

Then came one of those surprise developments seldom seen in pop anymore: On Billboard magazine’s Top 200 album chart for the week following the March 26 release of Tuskegee, Richie’s first studio album since 2009’s Just Go (which didn’t make the US Top 20 and failed to go gold), he debuted at No. 2 with first-week sales of 199,000 copies, right behind Madonna’s latest, MDNA.

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Exclusive Q and A: Darryl Worley Gears up for 'One Time Around'

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsDarryl Worley fans are in for a red-hot summer.

Worley’s first album in two years, One Time Around, is slated for June release, the same month he’ll host the three-day BamaJam music extravaganza, and that’s just for starters.

The man behind more than twenty charted hit singles including A Good Day to Run, I Miss My Friend, Have you Forgotten and more took some time from his busy schedule to talk to OurStage about his latest single, his new album and more.

OS: We’ve missed you! Where have you been?

DW: I took a little time off. I have still been touring but I put the whole routine of grinding out one album after another on hold for a while. I have a little four-year-old daughter and I needed to eliminate something from my busy schedule to be a better dad. We toured pretty heavily last year and had a good year, but we’ve been off the radio for almost two years now. I got back in the mood to work on music. I made my own record on my own dime. I had no problem putting a deal together…with complete funding from outside sources.

We have a real determined team of people together that are excited to make this thing work and we’re having a blast working it. Watching it start to grow is a hoot. It’s your baby and people out there are very receptive.

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Your Country's Right Here: Phil Vassar Goes Home for Charity

Just when you think Phil Vassar has filled his tour schedule to the brim, he adds even more appearances including several for charity.

The Lynchburg, VA native who cut his music biz teeth as a songwriter”penning such beloved tunes as “Right on the Money” by Alan Jackson, “For a Little While” by Tim McGraw and “I’m Alright” by Jo Dee Messina” has been recording his own songs for more than a decade with such Billboard hits as “Carlene,” “In a Real Love” and “Just Another Day in Paradise.”  But Vassar”who’s currently on the Girls with Guitars and a Piano Man Tour with Sara Evans, LeAnn Womack, Sunny Sweeney and Joanna Smith”also makes plenty of time for charity.

“We’ve done more shows [in the past year] than I think we’ve ever done,” said Vassar who last year released Noel, a holiday CD and has several more projects in the works.

If his recent schedule is any indication, this year may well be even busier. Consider that, despite his regular tour schedule, Vassar has just announced his fourth annual Phil Vassar Benefit Concert for Miller Home for Girls on April 4th and 5th in Lynchburg. The home, as the name indicates, is for four to twenty-one-year-old girls who are not able to live with their families.

“Miller Home has been near and dear to my heart for many years, because they do so many great things to help young women,” said Vassar who is donating 100 % of the proceeds from both concerts to the Miller Home.  “I can’t wait to get home to play some music and support this wonderful organization.”

Many of the charity shows by Vassar are in support of the military and for its members. When asked about the time and effort such concerts take, Vassar is quick to point out how much the shows mean to him.

“I moved offices recently and [found] some of the emails I received and some of the letters,” he said. “I sat down in my garage and read them and realized some of this stuff I had never seen before, which is something I hate. A lot of them were from military guys, writing me after they’d seen [a show]. Some were by guys who wrote ‘I’m sitting in a fox hole and listening to one of your songs and it is so great to hear your stories. Those songs mean a lot to us.’ Reading those letter really gets to you. They mean a lot to me.”

Tickets are currently on sale for the April 5th show, and tickets for the April 4th Acoustic Show go on sale February 6, 2012.  All tickets can be purchased at Miller Home of Lynchburg, 2134 Westerly Drive or by calling 434-845-0241 during regular business hours.

Find out more about Vassar and his upcoming performance on his Web site.

Mark Wahlberg's Celebrity Challenge: Making Justin Bieber a Movie Star

If anyone can do it, it would be the pop artist formerly known as Marky Mark. The task at hand: transforming Justin Bieber from Canadian teen-pop idol into Hollywood matinee idol

Mark Wahlberg already knows a thing or three about reinvention. When he first burst onto the entertainment scene in 1991 as the leader of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunk”a two-hit wonder from whom nobody expected any kind of longevity, and afterwards as a Calvin Klein underwear model”few probably thought he’d be likely to succeed past the mid-decade mark.

Yet two decades later, he’s still here. He’s a movie star and a respected actor, a successful producer (of the TV series Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, and of last year’s Best Picture Oscar contender, The Fighter) and an Academy Award acting nominee (Best Supporting Actor for 2006’s The Departed).

His next project: making Justin Bieber a film star. “I see the guy and spent time with him, and you see what he does and how he does it,” Wahlberg told MTV News last year, “and then you actually have a conversation with him, and it’s there.”

Picture this (because Wahlberg already has): Bieber in a The Color of Money-type film, which Wahlberg is developing for Paramount Pictures, with basketball replacing pool. Bieber would take the Tom Cruise role, and Wahlberg would cast a formidable screen legend like Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall or Jack Nicholson as the grizzled vet, the Color of Money archetype that finally won Paul Newman an Oscar in 1987.

It sounds like a dream job”for someone else. If Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake, Tim McGraw and Wahlberg himself have taught us anything, when making the transition from music to movies, it’s best to start small. Both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera tried to fulfill their film-star fantasy by starring above the title the first time out (in Crossroads and Burlesque, respectively), and thus far, neither one’s Hollywood dream has come true.

Enimen has yet to find a follow-up worthy of his debut starring role in 2002’s 8 Mile; the Hollywood heat surrounding The Bodyguard star Whitney Houston, set to test the acting waters again in a 2012 remake of Sparkle, quickly cooled after three films; Beyoncé has gotten plenty of acting work, but her Hollywood career has yet to generate any kind of major excitement; and Evita aside, Madonna has been most successful onscreen in supporting roles (Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own). Former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar her first time out for Dreamgirls, but what has she done for us lately?

That Bieber’s 2011 documentary/concert film, Never Say Never, was a major box-office success ($73 million in North America) indicates that movie-ticket buyers will shell out bucks to see him on the big screen. And he’s already had a guest-starring role in C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation. But pop stars are always booking cameos and story arcs in hit TV shows, and in Never Say Never, Bieber was literally playing himself. If Wahlberg is going to guide him through the Hollywood jungle, he’d be wise to pull out the map that he himself used.

For now, let somebody else drive. Don’t even let him ride shotgun just yet. Bieber would be better off in the backseat, cast in an ensemble movie where he doesn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting (see Taylor Swift in Valentine’s Day”on second thought, don’t).

When Wahlberg landed his first major starring role, in 1997’s Boogie Nights, he was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and surrounded by highly esteemed talents like Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly and a soon-to-be-briefly resurgent (and Oscar-nominated for the first time) Burt Reynolds.

Even after Boogie Nights, Wahlberg’s most notable films”I Heart Huckabees, The Departed, The Fighter”have featured plenty of Oscar-caliber talent. And in The Departed, it was Wahlberg, not costars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon or Jack Nicholson who walked away with the Oscar nod.

But Wahlberg seems to have other ideas for Bieber, whom he calls “really talented.” And if he exhibits no discernible talent for film acting once the cameras roll? “I will extract it,” Wahlberg said.

Good luck to them both. They’ll need it. Wahlberg may have proven that he’s a miracle worker by going from rapper to underwear hunk to Oscar nominee, but Bieber holding his own with a DeNiro or a Duvall or a Nicholson sounds like an almost-impossible dream.

10 Music Stars Who Deserve a Hollywood Big-Screen Test

1. Lady Gaga

Best Performance in a Video: “Paparazzi”

2. John Mayer

Best Performance in a Video: “Who Says”

3. Ke$ha

Best Performance in a Video: “Blow”

4. Mary J. Blige

Best Performance in a Video: “Be Without You”

5. Pink

Best Performance in a Video: “Glitter in the Air” (live at the 2010 GRAMMY Awards)

6. Duffy

Best Performance in a Video: “Warwick Avenue”

7. Fiona Apple

Best Performance in a Video: “Fast As You Can”

8. Richard Ashcroft

Best Performance in a Video: “Break the Night with Colour”

9. Roisin Murphy

Best Performance in a Video: “Overpowered”

10. Brandon Flowers

Best Performance in a Video: The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done”

Vocal Points: Voices To Look For In 2012

As great as 2011 has been, it’s time to start fresh. So, while you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, start thinking about what music will be your soundtrack to 2012. Here are some of the voices we’re looking forward to hearing more from in the year to come!

Paramore, who made news in late 2010 for their split with founding members Josh and Zac Farro, are scheduled to release a full-length album in early 2012. So far, we’ve heard singles “Hello Cold World”, “Renegade” and most recently “In The Mourning”. Still, we’re wondering how the full-length album reflects any change in the band’s style. And it’ll be particularly interesting to see if Hayley Williams‘ voice is strong enough to keep fans hooked.

We’re also looking forward to having John Mayer‘s voice back in 2012! His fifth studio album, Born and Raised, which was initially scheduled for the end of 2011, will now be coming out in 2012, as soon as Mayer’s voice has completely recovered. And since the album’s already mostly completed (just missing vocals) it looks like we don’t have too long to wait!

Mumford and Sons won’t be keeping us waiting much longer either. According to the band, their next LP will be more mature, sounding a bit like “Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake”. And after the success of Sigh No More, its hard for us to imagine the band’s follow-up being anything less than great. Our fingers are crossed. (more…)

Sound And Vision: Strange Bedfellows — The Best of Music's Unlikely Collaborations

“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.

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Concerts To Watch For In 2012

There were dozens of amazing shows rocking our world in 2011. With the year coming to a close, we can’t help but look ahead to 2012 and start getting excited about another whole year of new music and epic shows. Here’s some picks of the biggest acts to tour next year, and what to look forward to:

Coldplay: With the release of the highly-anticipated Mylo Xyloto album hot on their heels, Coldplay are set to tour the US throughout 2012. It’s been a while since they’ve played here, too: Their last performance in the US was in August of 2009. Many of their shows at arenas have already sold out. Get on it so you aren’t left out!

Smashing Pumpkins: In anticipation of the release of Oceania along with the remastered reissue of the band’s entire catalog, Billy Corgan is ready to hit the road with the reunited Pumpkins early next year.

Pearl Jam: The summer will see the Seattle grunge rockers showcasing their new material from coast to coast. With renewed energy and a legion of die-hard fans dying to see them (get those tickets quick!), the vibe at these shows is bound to be fantastic.

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