Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:53 pm
The drummer Jeff Ballard has a band called Fairgrounds. Well, he doesn't have a band as much as he has lots of bands, and knows lots of people to fill them — which might be expected of someone who has been a drummer for Chick Corea, Ray Charles and Brad Mehldau. With the Fairgrounds project, he gets to play a little fantasy baseball, mixing and matching sounds and musicians for his own ends.
Soul legend Bobby Womack was considered a survivor before he'd started work on his long-awaited comeback album The Bravest Man in the Universe. After overcoming hospitalization with pneumonia and successful treatment of colon cancer while in the midst of recording the album, Womack released his finest work in ages over the summer.
Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 11:47 am
Nina Simone haunts. Meshell Ndegeocello hypnotizes. This difference is as subtle as it is crucial and is on full display in Ndegeocello's latest album, Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, which came out earlier this month. In the past few weeks, she's been performing songs from Simone's vast repertoire during a small and intimate tour.
Stephen Colbert loves music and loves to sing. That's why Fresh Air's Terry Gross asked him to bring a few songs that mean a lot to him and tell her why. For example, as a kid, Colbert discovered his first lesson about character acting through "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar, even though he thought the words were scandalous at first: "Oh, so you are the Christ? You're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool."
Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 10:32 am
Low makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Grand Marais, Minn., in partnership with the North House Folk School. Led by the husband-and-wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low's ethereal, understated rock sound grew out of a reaction to the grunge music that was in vogue when the band formed; in the early days, Low would turn its amplifiers down to goad audiences into listening.
According to legend, once in each millennium, the Music Gods come together and, after much debate, agree to bestow a single magical gift upon the world — a song or album or project so breathtaking, it leaves throngs of people weeping in the streets at its splendor and forever changes the way we hear music. That time is now, as Jason Lytle and Sea of Bees have opted to cover each other's songs.
Okay, fine: Maybe it's not that special. But it's still cool when a couple of your favorite artists dig each other's music and want to work together.
Each fall, hundreds of little-known bands descend on New York City for the annual CMJ Music Marathon. As festivals go, it's one of the best for surprises, since so many of the acts are new and emerging. For the artists, it's a chance to be seen and heard and, hopefully, loved. For the rabid music fan or journalist, it's an overwhelming flood of musical discoveries.