Monthly Archives: December 2019

Olivia Newton-John Receives Damehood In Queen’s New Year’s Honors List

Olivia Newton-John? More like Olivia Newdame-John! That’s right: The British-born Australian singer and actress has been given a damehood in the UK’s annual New Year’s Honours list.

Elton John, who was knighted in 1998, is now also a Member Of The Order Of The Companions Of Honor, whatever that means, for his services to music. And Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody was awarded an OBE (Order Of The British Empire.)

Reuters reports that directors Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen have also received knighthoods. You can see the full list — which was accidentally posted with all of the recipients home and work addresses at first — here.

Travis Scott Drops ‘JackBoys’ Short Film, ‘Gang Gang’ Video

Hours after Travis Scott dropped his JackBoys collaborative LP, the rapper unveiled a pair of visuals for the release, the JackBoys short film and a video for “Gang Gang.” The videos were co-directed by Scott (under the moniker Cactus Jack) and White Trash Tyler.

Both clips prominently feature the recently unveiled Tesla Cybertruck, and a press release accompanying the visuals states that Scott is the first person — other than Tesla CEO Elon Musk — to be seen with the futuristic vehicle.

Scott and his Jack Boys also toy around with Tesla’s flamethrower and Cyberquad ATV also appear in the videos.

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The seven-song JackBoys includes a remix of Scott’s “Highest in the Room” with Rosalía and Lil Baby. Also on the JackBoys guest list are Young Thug, Quavo, Don Toliver and Sheck Wes, who appears in the “Gang Gang” video. Harmony Korine photographed the collaborative album’s Spring Breakers-inspired cover.

The mini-album marks Scott’s first release since his acclaimed 2018 LP Astroworld. “I’m at the point where I’m just trying to cook up some dope shit and drop ‘Highest in the Room,’ and maybe put something around it,” Scott told Zane Lowe in October. ‘I’m in no rush frankly but I’m taking my time to come up with the next album. But I’m always down to drop music and serve some packs to the fans. It’s time for the fans to eat… I’m gearing up for something special. All I can say is JackBoys is on the way.”

Jerry Garcia Music Arts Offers Music Release and Art Benefit Project for Holiday Season

2019 WC Handy 728×90

In honor of the holiday season, Jerry Garcia Music Arts has released a mastered live recording of the soul classic “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, performed by the Jerry Garcia Band. The music is offered as a holiday gift to the community this Christmas in the form of 10,000 free steams available on multiple digital platforms. The Aug. 10, 1991, live recording was mastered by Joe Gastwirt, a highly acclaimed audio engineer, who Garcia referred to as a “whiz kid” in a 1987 WNEW Radio interview. Joe’s discography includes the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Yes, and Crosby, Stills Nash and Young.

The song “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” written in 1964 by preacher and singer Solomon Burke, songwriter and record producer Bert Berns and music journalist Jerry Wexler, is about the virtues and gifts of love. It has recently gained popularity as the song in a 2019 Amazon holiday commercial and was featured on the soundtrack for the 1980 musical comedy film The Blues Brothers. Earlier this year, the song was released by Round Records on CD and vinyl as part of the Jerry Garcia Band Live Electric on the Eel album.

“We’re honored to help present a gift of my father’s music this holiday season,” said Keelin Garcia, daughter of Garcia and the president/founder of Jerry Garcia Music Arts. “His music lives on for all to enjoy and celebrate.”

In addition, a fine art element of this project features a limited-edition release of a Jerry Garcia pen and ink drawing titled “Merry Christmas.” This whimsical piece, a cheerful drawing of jolly Saint Nick and a reindeer, is water-colored by Keelin.

The piece will be available to the public online through early January at the Terrapin Gallery.

The visual art component of the project will benefit Vanessa and Jorma Kaukonen’s Psylodelic Gallery. The Psylodelic Gallery is housed in a revitalized grain silo and is located at the Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy, Ohio. The Gallery celebrates the music, art, culture and literature of the 1960s, while tracing important events and movements of the psychedelic era. The gallery houses Jorma’s personal collections of artifacts, photographs and posters from his long career as a musician from Jefferson Airplane to Hot Tuna.

A permanent collection of Jerry Garcia’s fine art is featured at the Psylodelic Gallery.

Jerry Garcia Music Arts

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Isaac Hayes, John Prine & More To Be Honored

2019 Beth Hart wide

The Recording Academy has announced its 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients, and it’s one legendary list. Lifetime Achievement Award honorees this year are Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Ken Ehrlich, Philip Glass and Frank Walker will receive Trustees Award honors, and George Augspurger is being recognized with the Technical GRAMMY Award recipient. A special award presentation ceremony and concert celebrating the honorees will be held on April 18, 2020, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

“Our industry is one that prides itself on influence and paying it forward, and each year the Recording Academy has the privilege of honoring a select group of visionaries whose creative contributions have rippled throughout our culture,” said Deborah Dugan, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “Our Special Merit Awards recipients have molded their musical passion into pieces of history that will continue to influence and inspire generations of music creators and music lovers to come.”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s combination of gospel and blues, and her renowned technique on electric guitar, has influenced countless musicians, from Little Richard to Bob Dylan. The Godmother of Rock and Roll’s 1945 hit, “Strange Things Happening Every Day,” has been credited as the first gospel song to cross over to the R&B charts, becoming an early model for rock and roll.

John Prine’s witty approach to storytelling has made him one of the most revered country & folk singer/songwriters since his emergence in the ’70s. He has garnered two GRAMMYs and his classic eponymous debut album was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame.

A soul music pioneer, Isaac Hayes was an in-house songwriter/producer at the legendary Stax Records, where he wrote such hits as “Soul Man” and “B-A-B-Y.” He also had a successful solo career, releasing the GRAMMY-winning “Theme From Shaft” in 1971.

Frank Walker began his career as an A&R scout for Columbia Records and went on to discover artists such as country great Hank Williams and blues legends Bessie Smith and Blind Willie Johnson. After wearing many hats at Columbia, he became the label chief for MGM Records in the mid-40s, where he introduced the soundtrack album concept and helped establish the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, while the Trustees Award honors such contributions in areas other than performance. The Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees determines the honorees of both awards. Technical GRAMMY Award recipients are voted on by the Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees, and are ratified by the Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording industry.

Recording Academy

Review Of Muhajababes

Review Of Muhajababes

I remember, one afternoon in 2004, watching TV in my aunt’s sitting room in a small West Bank village. Much of the night before had been taken up speaking about the current toxic situation in the region, my family regaling me with tales of redemption, betrayal and fear. All told with a hefty serve of humour. I could tell that in some ways, peculiarly enough, there were people in other parts of the world who took their situation more seriously than themselves.

My feelings were confirmed when the next day I sat in front of the TV, flicking channels and finally settling on one of the many music stations taking the Arab world by storm. This one was called “Superstar”, not to be confused with the pan-Arab Idol show of the same name, and it ran music videos and concert clips 24/7, SMS messages of love and flirtation scrolling constantly across the bottom of the screen in gaudy technicolour. A family friend later confirmed that they were watching Mazzika, another of these music channels, more than Al-Jazeera. It all seemed very bizarre to me, but I concluded that in such times of trouble, no matter how misguided it seemed, music videos, with their cheeky storylines and buffed, good-looking and impossibly happy actors, obviously served as an antidote. Forget occupation and war — Nancy Ajram had a new album out.

I guess not even a familiarity with Western MTV culture would prepare me for the pop culture-saturated Middle East I visited and slightly recoiled from. I write this as a Muslim who has grown up in Australia, but with an enduring love of my heritage. I encountered a Middle East I wasn’t quite prepared for on many levels, but my understanding is layered and borne out of something entirely different to that of those women who visit the Arab world in search of tales of woe (think Geraldine Brooke’s Nine Parts of Desire and the more recent The Veiled Lands by Christina Hogan). And I think that’s partly why I don’t feel any richer for having read Muhajababes.

Meet Allegra Stratton, BBC journalist and twenty-something-year-old. She lets you know straight off the bat that she’s a bit of a firecracker. She’s had an argument with her roommate about the legitimacy of the US invasion of Iraq: roommate says it’s bad, Stratton thinks it’s good news. She soon realises that the war in Iraq is nothing short of a catastrophe and this somehow leads her to take some time off to explore the Middle East, no doubt in search of 10-year-olds wielding AK-47s. “I’d go there and see whether their young population — in all its puppy-fat enormity — was taking form as the profs would like it to. I wasn’t going to get into Iraq but I could go to countries near it”, she tells us importantly and in what is, as I eventually realise, her humour-lite style. There are funny moments, but she’s not a comedian.

Stratton’s “book of conversations” is essentially that: a record of her meetings with anyone who seemed her age whom she interviewed (youth being her basic criteria) during her trek through Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Dubai. What Stratton seems to have found is a bunch of pretentious, hippy-nostalgic luvvies, who, incidentally, are just as annoying as their Western counterparts.

To give you an idea of the flavour, consider some of the characters she covers: there’s Walid who wants to instigate revolution in Lebanon, despite having one of the less autocratic governments in that part of the world, and whom she describes as “a lucky mixture of the best bits of some of the world’s foxier men. What Mr Potato Head would look like if he had David Bowie’s frame, Bob Dylan’s head, shoulders and slouch, and Jimi Hendrix’s mania”. She also meets the Jordanian Daoud, an untalented (according to Stratton) artist of nude paintings who barely scrapes by and neglects his widowed mother in pursuit of bad art. Then there’s Darah, a sexually ambiguous woman who first introduces Stratton to the term ‘muhajababe’. It is Darah who, in gridlocked traffic, points out two girls who were “cigarello thin and Coco Chanel chic. Both wore black-nylon boot-cut hipster trousers and high heels, carried baguette handbags and wrapped around their heads were black sheer headscarves as tight as the rest of their outfits”.

Finally, meet the muhajababes. Music clip-influenced girls and the inspiration for the book, who appear to veil either because they have to or because Amr Khaled, an enormously popular preacher from Egypt, told them they should.

I think we’re meant to be overwhelmed and enlightened by this revelation. Yet none of this greatly surprised me, having seen countless young women on the street in Amman and even in Sydney adopt this approach for years, their bodies wrapped seductively in tight clothing, and their headscarves sitting loosely on their made-up faces, the scarf looking very much like a nun’s habit without the cap. Muhajababes are everywhere, yet Stratton suggests she’s discovered something extraordinary. In fact, this is one of the problems with her commentary: she writes as though everything is shocking and finds a great deal taxing when it comes to fatwas and culture. She certainly doesn’t seem to like Islam or Muslims very much, or perhaps it’s just a superior attitude of indifference with her seeming to roll her eyes impatiently every so often in response to all the silliness surrounding her.

Either way, Stratton’s Sesame Street approach to pan-Arab politics and lifestyle is frustrating; it’s all so unthinkable and peculiar to her, yet finding the Middle East’s losers or aspiring, dream-fuelled youth with a beef or two is hardly groundbreaking and I soon wondered how amazed we would be if an Arab woman went to the US and the UK and talked about all of the awful things she heard about.

Based on her conversations, Stratton zones in on two main figures: Amr Khaled, who she paints as little more than a puffed-up and ridiculous evangelical figure of influence for the starved masses who follow him, lemming-like, as he spreads the word. The other is wealthy Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who runs these 24/7 music channels through his Rotana satellite stations.

The two are in stark contrast with each other, yet their respective influences connect. Khaled leads the reformation of Islam with “personal trendy piety”, or what Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (Al Ikhwan) once called, Stratton notes, “air-conditioned Islam”, leading girls to hijab before they’re “ready”; Al-Waleed tells them what they should aspire to with his music clips. The result are muhajababes, girls who weakly attempt to reconcile the contradictory.

I took an obscene amount of notes as I read, yet none of it seems greatly significant now. Sufficed to say, both Khaled and Al-Waleed exert great amounts of influence and are making changes in their own success-driven ways.

Muhajababes essentially proves that greed and stupidity are alive and well in the Middle East, and excels in demonstrating the obvious: there are troubled areas, social misfits, a severe lack of freedom in general and a crucial diversity in attitudes, religiosity and culture. The Middle East is a melting pot of random things, and it is, not surprisingly, increasingly influenced by the West, Stratton observing that capitalists and major companies recognise the surge in palatable, Khaled-style piety and are using it for their own gain, Western-style.

Take, for example, Sami Yusuf, the outrageously popular semi-nasheed singer whose video clips grace TV screens inbetween Ajram and Amr Diab and who even promoted Coca Cola when he released his first album. He falls squarely into the “Khaledism” slot: a sexed-up religious approach. There are certainly interesting anecdotes and snippets of worthy commentary, but overall, it is a disappointing trip into the ordinary.

Meanwhile, Stratton doesn’t inject much of her own personality into the book, except to deliver cynical and, at times, snotty observations, all told in her oft-caustic style of overflowing prose. While refreshingly honest in her obnoxiousness, I couldn’t help but feel that, while greatly amused by the simpletons she met, Stratton not only seemed bored and unimpressed but was also perhaps questioning why she was even there.

She confesses, at one point, to being bored by the subject of hijab, saying she “wanted to find something a bit more fun”. And that’s the crux of it, because I am not convinced that this book, for all its magnanimous observations and “research”, is actually important. Rather, it seems little more than a young woman’s “project” to cash in on the Arab phenomenon; hers is a search for the obscure and try-hardish in the Arab world, and the result is a catalogue of the disheartened, disenfranchised youth who, not very uniquely, have social problems to deal with.

The main difference with the Western world’s social problems being, obviously, a lack of democracy in the background. (And after reading some of the contentions contained within this book, one could truly think democracy is a cure for the world’s ills). As Stratton comments at one point, when she has become weary, she thought “asking people about democracy in the Arab world was like talking about the weather, both because discussion of it was all around you, and because no one had any say in determining it”.

I envision how this book will be sold. An intriguing and eye-opening insight into the Middle East, with Stratton cast as a hip, daring Westerner ready to smash through the stereotypes with every click of her keyboard. Yet, it is Stratton herself who “casts” people, hoping to find an A, B, C of culture clash and establishment rebellion. The more interesting conversations never occur, and she herself confesses that the book she wrote is not the one she initially set out to capture. I can’t help but feel that there could have been much worthier tales to share and more deeply hidden experiences to uncover.

She ignores, for example, devout Muslims, depriving the book of any balance, focusing instead on self-haters with delusions of grandeur and a gripe or three. It’s all so hammy that even Stratton observes her struggle to not cringe when listening to one particular girl’s tale. These people offer their insight into why life is as it is for others, but more than anything they just complain and censure (for example, the girls not wearing hijab are quick to refer to muhajababes as the “sluttiest” girls around).

She does confirm that the Middle East has its own share of affected latte-sippers to contend with. But admittedly, the sippers may actually have something to truly fight for because as Stratton takes 280 pages to inform you, the Middle East is a hotbed of change and revolution right now. It’s just a shame you don’t close the book and want to go there yourself.

Uploading the Unbelievable

Uploading the Unbelievable

“Man, you’ve gotta come over and see what’s happened. It is totally mind-blowing!” Jimmy yelled through my cell phone. Currently I was downing a huge slice of plain-cheese pizza at the local pizzeria-Domingo’s on Main Street. My phone rang so I answered just in case of an emergency, but as it was just my ‘lunatic’ friend Jimmy I decided to get back to my serious Zen meditation approach to pizza consumption. “Yeah yeah Jim. Look, whatever it is can wait, I’m conducting some really important research here bro’.” I didn’t give him a chance to reply. Folding up my phone, I shoved it into my pocket and got straight back into reaching pizza enlightenment. Sprinkling some parmesan cheese onto the already super-thick layer of Domingo’s mozzarella, my mind imagined the cheese to be snow falling onto a glacier in Iceland. The red tomato sauce seeping through cracks in the cheese was lava from a recently erupted volcano.
A little while later as I slowly strolled down Main Street savouring the last few drops of sauce that had voraciously clung to the outside of my lips like barnacles to an ancient tugboat, I felt the vibration of my phone in my pants. The reason I didn’t hear the phone ring was because the volume of my iPod was set to an incredible decibel-blasting level that could have caused many an average person to also have volcanoes suddenly spurting lava from their ears. I was listening to Jimi Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan’s song ‘All along the Watchtower’, something that a lower volume would definitely be construed as being sacrilegious by anyone else on planet Earth who had the slightest inkling of what it meant to rock and or roll. I grabbed the phone with a kung fu grip that would have caused the eyes to pop out of a Cane Toad’s head. “Whattaya want ya big stinky wombat pouch!” (I had seen Jimmy’s name pop up on the screen) I yelled into the phone after reluctantly turning down the music-just before arguably the best guitar solo in the history of guitar solos, unfortunately this act of sacrilege couldn’t be diverted from occurring.
Jimmy’s voice was quiet and calm, almost whisper-soft…not like Jimmy at all. I knew something out of the usual must really have come up. “Get your arse over here you petulant Prince of perfumery.” His use of alliteration meant that Jimmy’s mind was focussed, something that happened very rarely and for good reason, since the reality was that whenever Jimmy did focus his mind, it usually ended up with one of us being thrown in the local jail cell for the night-a by-product of some misled adventure that involved either theft, drunkenness, or just general tomfoolery. I wanted to get to the bottom of this case of Whoopass before it tuned into a ‘lost’ box full of blank CDs. “Alright Jimmy, spill your beans. What’s the big scoop that you actually had to become a serious human citizen for the time being?” You see, I liked the normal off-the-walls bouncing ‘Tigger’ Jimmy much more than the cold, calculating, quiet, calm guy on the phone at the moment. Hey is that alliteration too?
Jimmy whispered, “Get your fat arse over here Monkey Boy. They’ve finally done it. They‘ve uploaded onto my website. This is the real thing bro, the big one, the huge Mama, the fart that could choke a hundred Indian families eating curry while celebrating Duwali. I can’t say more man, someone might be listening. Just get over here now.” He hung up the phone.
OK. Now we’re getting somewhere: the key word ‘website’. By the way, the reason I’m often called ‘Monkey Boy’ has nothing to do with bodily appendages, bananas, or the fact that my mother often tells me I have incredibly bad body odour. The simple fact is I’m good at climbing. I don’t want to sound egotistical but if there’s a wall, fence, or tree that needs climbing, I’ll be half way up the sucker before you decide whether or not you’re wearing the right clothes for the job. Anyway, why the sudden fear of being overheard? He must really be serious about this website thing. Now let me see, Jimmy’s got at least five sites that I know about. Which one could he be talkin’ about?
Well there’s his site dedicated to a forum for people who are studying German, I can’t imagine anyone having any intense information to upload there, unless it’s about some deadly new virus only found in super-fat sausages. There’s his blog about the state of affairs in shopping malls, that’s a weird one-don’t know how many other ‘mall analysts’ there are out there. He did tell me that after scientists discovered over 800 types of faecal bacteria on escalator handrails he had gotten over one thousand page views in one week. Hmm. There’s the site he made with the Google Map mash-up that shows the location of every doughnut shop in North America. Jimmy likes doughnuts. He once went to France and ate a chocolate éclair that he said was so good his tastebuds had passed out for the next three days. Bad luck, he didn’t get to rejoice in the majestic flavour of the famous escargot. Mmm, I love the idea of chewing on garden snails. Who would upload anything crucially important onto a site about chocolate-covered sugar dough?
The site about his old Moped club in Laos…The videoblog he’s put up about the daily life of his pet Howling Monkey. (If you do ever check out this site please remember to keep your volume at a very minimal level, it is definitely not sacrilege.) There’s his site with the podcast that he does with his brother in Australia. That’s a pretty cool one. They get on Skype and record their free International conversations for everyone else to check out later. Too bad they spend most of the time talking about football, girls, and cars. I guess you’d expect that from a site called ‘Macho Couch Potato’. None of these sites gave me even the remotest feeling of being a place where someone might want to export their vital information to share.
After pushing open the back gate of Jimmy’s townhouse and then opening the sliding door to his kitchen my eyes quickly scanned over the poster on the wall. The poster was of an alien smoking some marijuana and the title read, ‘This stuff is outta this world.’ That’s when it hit me-the insight, not the marijuana. I’ve been staying away from that stuff since last time I tried it, it had caused me to break both Domingo’s pizza slice eating competition record (37 slices), as well as subsequently nearly breaking my anus as the avalanche of ensuing cheese came tumbling ‘down the mountain’. The fact that I could hardly open my eyes throughout the whole experience, and had thought that a red dragon was following me home also put a damper on the whole ‘I am the champion’ scenario.
The alien. That must be it. Jimmy had in a moment of random clarity once spoken of a ‘secret’ website that he had set up to contact beings from other worlds. He’d said that on the outside it looked just like any other UFO-watching site, but within his code and page text he had submerged messages for interstellar travellers. Now I was starting to feel quite a strange sensation in my gut. I’ve never seen an alien and I always laugh at the science-fiction buffs that are so sure of themselves, but I’ve never discounted the prospect that our Sun isn’t the only giant fireball in the Universe that creates life.
My thoughts were broken by two cold hard blue eyes staring at me from the bottom of the stairs. “Alright Monkey Boy. Get ready for the ride of your life. I hope you’re wearing undies ‘cause you may just revisit the Domingo’s championship experience.” He turned and we slowly walked up the stairs to his study. Sitting down in front of his laptop he clicked the mouse button. The screen came to life. It was a video created on QuickTime Pro. I wondered where these aliens bought their computers. Then a face like no other came onto the screen. If I tried to describe the strange features on this creature’s face (if you could call it that) I’d probably have to rip my tongue in half. OK, this is what the creature said in plain everyday English, its voice was actually clearer than my next door neighbours’ (Old Man Johnson’s voice actually sounded like he had had half his tongue removed-he was a chain smoker whose chain was soon going to lose the ‘fatal’ link).
“We have come from planet Zepton to share with you a new way to connect with others from the Milky Way galaxy. Now that you have evolved further by connecting your species via Internet technology, you are able to be admitted into the Online Galactic Yellow Pages. Subscription costs are 10 billion energy credits. Become one of the ‘known’ planets, join the Yellow Pages.”
“It’s an advertisement Jimmy.” Yes Monkey Boy, it’s an advertisement.

So, How Was Your Decade, Margo Price?

So, How Was Your Decade is a series in which the decade’s most innovative musicians answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their decade. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.

In 2014, a then-unsigned Margo Price headlined Rolling Stone Country’s new artist showcase at Nashville’s Exit/In. Two years later, she was signed to Jack White’s Third Man Records label, had released her debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, and was about to perform on Saturday Night Live.

Put simply, she’s had a hell of a decade.

“I’d gotten rejections from nearly every label in town and around town, so it felt really good,” she told Rolling Stone in 2015.

As the 2020s approach, Price is poised for another remarkable run. The follow-up to 2017’s All American Made is in the can, she’s produced albums for Jessi Colter and her own husband Jeremy Ivey, and she’s booking shows from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to New York City, where she’ll perform at the Tibet House Benefit Concert with Iggy Pop and Patti Smith — both of whom figure prominently into Price’s recollections of the 2010s.

Despite the meteoric rise, Price still hasn’t gotten above her raising. Just last week, she dropped by her favorite local watering hole to sit in with her band the Pricetags and even tend bar.

My favorite album of the 2010s was: Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. That album changed the game for a lot of people, including me. It was a massive influence on Nashville and especially in our friend circle.

My favorite song of the 2010s was: I almost gave this one for Album of the Decade but I’m addicted to Brittany Howard’s new album [Jaime]. I’ve been listening to “Stay High” — it’s the only thing that puts my baby to sleep. It’s a song I wish I wrote. I really adore her in a huge way. I met her when she was working for the post office. I feel like I know that it’s really fresh, but I feel like this album should be on everybody’s albums of the decade list. It’s so smart, and that song in particular is so simple and so brilliant. It’s become my mantra.

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The artist who had the best decade was: Dolly Parton. She’s had such a rebirth of her fanbase. Obviously there’s not a lot of things that people see eye to eye on anymore, but Dolly is this cultural icon. And she’s had a comeback with a younger generation. I also had written down Kendrick Lamar, who I really love, but he’s been so low-key. What’s he doing??

The craziest thing that happened to me in the 2010s was: I went from being a waitress to playing SNL. It’s been absolutely a complete turnaround from what was going on. I couldn’t pay my bills; I was overdrawn in my bank account. Then Third Man signed me and I really owe everything to them, because I could have slipped through the cracks.

My least favorite trend in music this decade was: Artists getting Botox, but Jeremy is yelling “gang vocals”; the ooh-ooh-oohs and the whistling.

The TV show I couldn’t stop streaming in the 2010s was: Breaking Bad. It was the best. I’ve watched it twice all the way through and then went on to watch Better Call Saul as well. I didn’t watch [El Camino] yet. I don’t get a lot of time to watch movies these days.

The best new slang term of the decade was: I like the slang terms “Getting catfished,” which I think came from this decade. Most slang terms feel so new, but “getting catfished,” I feel you can throw that into a song. There’s some poeticism to what’s going on there. We all get catfished every day online.

The best live show I saw in the 2010s was: Jeremy and I were talking about this: Neil Young with Promise of the Real, 2017, at Farm Aid. They did a version of “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” that was like 17 minutes. They’d keep ending it, and people would go crazy, and then they’d kick back in. Neil’s such a badass. I carry around in my purse a Neil Young All-Access pass, so I can stand side stage like the biggest groupie. Just in case, you never know…

The most surprising encounter I had with a fellow artist this decade was: Iggy Pop. I met him in England; we were doing Jools Holland, and all the bands play in a circle, you know? We hung out with him and Josh Homme before the show, and they were like, “It’s our ritual; we do tequila shots before the show.” But it was Josh’s birthday so they were doing multiple tequila shots. So we did shots, and then we go out and play, and during “Passenger,” Iggy comes over and starts singing to me and says my name in this low voice: “Margooooo.” We danced together for a moment, and I think that was probably the most amazingly bizarre thing that ever happened.

The misstep I learned the most from in the 2010s was: Checking my DMs. You open a couple dick pics and you’re like, ok, I’m not going in there again.

The best book I read this decade was: Without a doubt, Patti Smith’s Just Kids. It inspired me to write a memoir.

Something cool I did this decade that nobody noticed was: I was torn between either saying producing or starting a weed line with Willie Nelson. I produced Jeremy’s record [The Dream and the Dreamer] and have a couple more that are coming out. But I started a weed line with Willie and have been donating a portion of the profits to this non-profit organization called the Bail Project. It helps people who can’t afford to pay bail. It affects a lot of minorities, people of color, and women. I felt like I couldn’t have a boutique weed line and be a white person in this world and not try to… it’s terrible that people are still incarcerated from it. My line is called All American Made and it’s grown by a Native American woman who lives in California and she is a drummer, and she was like, “I’m going to start a weed farm.” We sold out of it last year, so they’re working on growing a new crop. We’re selling more weed than records probably. [Laughs]

The strangest thing someone said about me in the media this decade was: There was this article in USA Today, when they reviewed my album, they said that “Cocaine Cowboys” was a direct reply to a Blake Shelton song. I don’t know any of Blake Shelton’s music; I couldn’t tell you one of his songs. It’s so funny how misinformation gets printed. That song is about a guy name Cowboy who sold coke in East Nashville.

The best outfit I wore this decade was: I was all about the suits this decade. I went full-on Hilary Clinton pantsuit in every color. There was this red suit that this girl Ashland embroidered for me, with pot leaves and crosses. I lived in that thing until I got pregnant and it wouldn’t fit anymore.

The most “2010s” moment of the 2010s was: Trump being elected. The world being turned upside-down. Where do we go from here? [Laughs]

My biggest hope for the 2020s is: That we can get climate change under control and that people start making an effort to stop the damage we’re doing. I’m really concerned for our children’s future. We’re probably going to live to see it. I was reading an article about how the southeast region and Tennessee and these areas are really going to suffer because we’re getting too much moisture, and it said all of our bridges and roads will collapse. We have a water crisis going on, and I feel like nobody is doing anything.

Allee Willis Dead At 72

Legendary songwriter Allee Willis has died at 72 after a sudden cardiac event, as The New York Times reports. Willis’ credits over the years include songs for Earth, Wind, & Fire, including “September” and “Boogie Wonderland,” and the score for the The Color Purple musical. She also co-wrote “I’ll Be There For You,” the theme song for Friends that was then recorded by the Rembrandts.

She won two Grammys — one for her work on Color Purple and another for the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop — and was nominated for an Emmy and a Tony. In 2018, Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

Willis was born in Detroit in 1947 and moved to New York City after getting a journalism degree from the University Of Wisconsin. She copyedited and wrote liner notes for Columbia and Epic Records before starting to record music of her own, including her own 1974 album Childstar that attracted the attention of Bonnie Raitt. She moved to Los Angeles and got a publishing deal in 1977, and went on to write songs that have sold over 50 million copies. She had been described as “a queen of kitsch” and sold her own artwork through her website.

Last year, after Taylor Swift covered Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September,” she spoke up and memorably said that her version sounded “as lethargic as a drunk turtle dozing under a sunflower after ingesting a bottle of Valium.”

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John Fogerty Sturdy if Not Stellar in ’50-Year Trip’

John Fogerty | 50 Year Trip — Live at Red Rocks |(BMG/Red Rocks)

Rating: 5 of 5

It would seem that John Fogerty will never live down his legacy. Then again, that’s to be expected considering that the band he helmed, Creedence Clearwater Revival, is still considered one of the archival American outfits, and one of the most influential American bands of all time as well.

So, if it seems that Fogerty is still treading on former glories, who would blame him? Creedence’s canon boasts so many enduring anthems, there’s no reason not to feel fortunate that this material is given a relentless reboot. After all, his fan base encompasses not only ardent admirers, but also younger appreciative audiences that were weaned on records that stand the test of time.

Nevertheless, Fogerty was reluctant to revive them early on. When he started out on a solo career after the band’s break-up, he refused to perform any of the music from their storied catalog due to a feud with his former label boss. It was a stunning affront to fans and a source of constant consternation to the critics. Fortunately, that era of omission eventually passed and the Creedence catalog is now well represented in his live set lists. Sadly there’s been no such reconciliation with his surviving bandmates however. Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford opted to reinvent the band’s brand under their own aegis, Creedence Clearwater Revisited , even going so far as to draft a ringer to recreate Fogerty’s trademark vocals. A failed lawsuit and years of mutual resentment preclude any possibility that there will ever be a CCR reunion.

No matter. As Fogerty demonstrates throughout this stellar celebration, 50 Year Trip — a performance that was preserved and recorded at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheater — there’s really no need to offer Cook and Clifford any returning roles. At age 74, Fogerty is as commanding and compelling as ever, evidenced by his gritty, grainy vocals and the energy he imbues in every one of the 19 songs shared here. Drummer Kenny Aronoff, a longtime mainstay of Fogerty’s solo ensembles, demonstrates why he’s still the go-to player for any artist needing a sturdy backbeat. Likewise, keyboardist Bob Malone adds his own flourish, no small feat considering that Fogerty mostly focuses on a guitar-driven delivery. He also enlists his two sons, Shane and Tyler, for back-up on guitar and vocals, a tack taken by any number of senior rockers anxious to allow their offspring a stake in the family business.

Still, the ace band aside, the set list really speaks for itself. Any album that can boast such songs as “Born on the Bayou,” “Green River,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Up Around the Bend,” “Down on the Corner,” “Born on the Bayou,”“Centerfield,” and of course, “Proud Mary,” already ensures the accolades.. No matter that Fogerty has revived these staples countless times before. Consider this a well-deserved victory lap, one he owes himself as well as his audience.  After half a century, it’s clear that he still retains an eternal energy and enthusiasm. It’s little wonder then that this 50 Year Trip proves such an exhilarating journey at every stop along the way.

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Seven Reason I’m Addicted To

Seven Reason I’m Addicted To

I believe that Last.FM is the music site we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the site that all of the previous music related sites have been building up to. There are sites like and there was the old that were/are decent places for new artists to be heard but let’s be honest, the average music listener doesn’t want to hear a barrage of new stuff they’ve never heard before by unsigned artists. That’s why I think Last.FM is a much better avenue for new artists. It plays their music alongside better known established artists so you get to really hear it in context. It’s also much better for music listeners in helping them to discover great new music. Now that I’ve set things up a bit let me get along to the 7 reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM

#1 My Personal Listening Stats

I’ve always been a bit of a stat geek and I’ve also been a long time music geek and combines these passions! I can keep track of all the music I listen to, what music I’ve listened to the most and what music I’ve listened to the least. Sometimes I’ll look at my charts and it’ll give me a cool idea of something to listen to I haven’t listened to in awhile. It’s also cool that you can easily put your “top 10 list” on other sites like MySpace.

#2 The Overall Last.FM Charts

Although I feel bad for caring about stuff like this. I can’t help it. I’m curious to see what the most popular music (atleast among internet music geeks) is. I’m also pleased that the music charts here are usually substantially less disgusting than the Billboard charts. For example this is this weeks top 10:

1. The Beatles – Yes. Now this is a beautiful thing, to think of all the people still getting enjoyment from the Beatles music. Their music is truly art and it truly lasts the test of time. It makes me feel all warm inside to see this.

2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m personally not much of a fan, but things could be much worse (check the Billboard charts.)

3. Radiohead – Yes, I definitly approve.

4. Coldplay
5. Muse
6. The Killers
7. Death Cab For Cutie
8. Metallica
9. Nirvana

10. Pink Floyd – Again like the Beatles it’s nice to see this sort of timeless music still being listened to today by new listeners.

#3 The Top Tracks By Artist Charts

It’s always interesting (and usually a bit dissapointing) to see what the top tracks for any particular artist are. Looking at a “one hit wonder” is always quite telling as you’ll see 95% of their listeners all for one song.

#4 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Similar Artists Radio”

Using the Last.FM Radio Player you can listen to “similar artists” of any band or artist you like. This can be an absolutely awesome way to find new music you haven’t heard before. In fact I’m doing it right now and I’m listening to a band I have heard a bit about before but hadn’t heard previously called Architecture In Helsinki. The song is called “Fumble” and I am really enjoying it. Last.FM has a feature where you can press a heart icon which means you love that track. This is a great way of keeping track of new music that you like and you heard for the first time.

#5 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Artist Fan Radio”

This is similar to the above reason except with this setting you get a bit more varied results. This is really great for really expanding your horizons but still upping the chances that you’re actually going to like what you hear. I can’t even imagine why anyone would listen to the real radio when Last.FM is around. The real radio is predicable and boring and almost always plays the same old songs over and over again. Last.FM is a way to hear great music that you may not have heard before but that also fits in well with your tastes (and if you don’t like the song you can always just skip to the next one!)

#6 Using the Last.FM Radio Player to listen to “Tagged Radio”/Tag Charts

Using this you get to hear all the tracks/albums/artists that were “tagged” a certain term by other Last.FM listeners. This is truly awesome! It’s really cool to go through and tag different artists and songs with different terms. I’m a huge lover of psychedelic music so I spend some time tagging psychedelic music as such. It’s great because I can listen the Last.FM Radio Player for music tagged as “psychedelic” and I get to hear a bunch of cool psychedelic music I haven’t heard before (usually mixed in with some that I have heard before which makes it less overwhelming!) Also really cool are the tagged charts. For example the top 5 artists tagged for “Psychedelic” are #1 Pink Floyd, #2 The Doors, #3 The Beatles, #4 Jimi Hendrix, and #5 The Velvet Underground.

#7 Discovering new bands/artists!

There’s a great number of bands/solo artists I’ve discovered via Last.FM that I don’t think I would have ever heard otherwise. The best example of this is the indie psychedelic rock band Scumbo.

These are just 7 of the many reasons why I’m addicted to Last.FM and why I highly recommend it to any music lovers out there who haven’t discovered it yet. It’s the best music site on the internet and a great place to find new music that you’ll really be interested in.

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