Today marks the 30th anniversary of a musical format many of us grew up with: the compact disc. It's been three decades since the first CD went on sale in Japan. The shiny discs came to dominate music industry sales, but their popularity has faded in the digital age they helped unleash. The CD is just the latest musical format to rise and fall in roughly the same 30-year cycle.
Compact discs had been pressed before 1982, but the first CD to officially go on sale was Billy Joel's 52nd Street.
The sweaters are out, TV shows have resumed and actual referees are back on the field. The best music writing this week came to play, too, and had us feeling emotions. Dry news reports these aren't, revealing as they do the heady anticipation in front of a promising young musician, the craggy swirl of familial relationships and the rocky road of fandom.
Betto Arcos is the host of Global Village, a world music show on KPFK in Los Angeles, and a native of Xalapa, capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz. He recently spoke with Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about son jarocho — a style of music played mostly in the south of his home state. He says the music is so vibrant because it comes from the Caribbean side of Mexico and has all the influences of that region: African, indigenous and Spanish.
Janis Martin was just a teenager from Virginia when she was christened "The Female Elvis." In the mid-1950s, she sold 750,000 copies of a song called "Will You, Willyum." She played the Grand Ole Opry, American Bandstand and The Tonight Show. But her fame was short-lived. Martin got married and had a baby, which didn't sit so well with the people managing her career. Her label dropped her, and she fell off the musical map.
In the early '90s, Ben Folds Five achieved underground success by playing the college circuit, selling out small clubs all across the country.
That all changed with the success of its 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen. Its hit single "Brick" went to No. 6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks list, only the second single in the band's history to chart.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:59 am
We first saw Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside a few years back, opening for The Avett Brothers at Portland's Crystal Ballroom. What caught our attention then — the group's fresh approach to old country and rockabilly styles, as well as its disarming stage presence — has only gotten stronger through touring and the release of the band's first record, Dirty Radio, in 2011.
I can't think of anything I loved more than talking to Leonard Bernstein. Or, more accurately, listening to him talk — about music or any topic under the sun. I remember a long discourse we had about one of my favorite books, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and Bernstein's summarizing statement: "Well, of course, every author spends his whole life writing the same book."
Originally published on Sun March 10, 2013 8:44 am
Singer-songwriter Arthur Alligood makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Alligood won the 2011 Mountain Stage NewSong contest, beating out more than 2,000 other entries based on the quality of his songwriting and performances.