Like many California cities hit hard by the real estate crash, Indio (near Palm Springs) has been forced to make steep cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy. But unlike other cities, Indio hosts the highest-grossing music festival in the world — Coachella — which wraps up this weekend. It has made city leaders eager to capitalize on Coachella's riches.
Sam Torres, plumber by day, Indio city councilman by night, says he was prepared to become the most hated man in the city, and he very well may have achieved that goal. His offense? Proposing a 6 percent tax on Coachella tickets.
While schools do often struggle to encourage and develop students' creativity, it's also true that many artists - actors, writers, musicians - when asked about a major influence, will name a teacher. That's certainly true of R&B singer Brian McKnight.
James Hunter fell in love with vintage R&B during his youth in England, with his grandmother's records providing a foundation. Hunter sang in workingman's clubs and got a break in the early '90s, when Van Morrison heard him singing and invited him on tour as a backing vocalist.
Singer-songwriter Kim Richey makes her fourth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Richey first emerged in the early 1990s as part of the growing alt-country movement — and, as such, remained difficult to classify. Nevertheless, Richey's music didn't go unnoticed in Nashville: Many of her songs ended up recorded by mainstream heavyweights such as Trisha Yearwood and Brooks & Dunn.
Brad Paisley's Wheelhouse is yet another very good album from a singer, songwriter and guitarist who's made a bunch of them in a row. It features a slew of shrewd songs about finding pleasure and comfort in a frequently unpleasant, uncomfortable world. The music includes a bone-cracking song about domestic violence written from a woman's point of view, one that praises Christian values from the perspective of a jealous skeptic, and one that samples the great Roger Miller as deftly as any hip-hop production.