April 19, 2012 |
Levon Helm, the Arkansas-born drummer and singer for The Band, the four-fifths Canadian ensemble whose music in the 1960's and '70s, some of it with Bob Dylan, endures as a high-water mark of quintessential American rock and roll, has died of cancer. He was 71. "Levon Helm passed peacefully [Thursday] afternoon," according to an announcement on his official Website. "He was surrounded by family, friends and band mates and will be remembered by all he touched as a brilliant musician and a beautiful soul.
August 4, 2013 |
Last weekend, instead of hanging around for the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden or the Mad Decent Block Party across the river at Penn's Landing, I headed north more than 300 miles, to the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. I'd never been. Newport belongs among U.S. music festivals that were 1960s flashpoints, along with Woodstock, Altamont, and, to a lesser extent, Monterey. Joan Baez rose to stardom at Newport in 1959 (the very first year of the fest, born five years after the inaugural Newport Jazz Festival)
November 21, 2012 |
Guessing what Bob Dylan might do next - and pondering why he does what he does - has been a time-consuming avocation for amateur Dylanologists for pretty much the entire half-century of his incomparably inscrutable career. On Monday, the mysterious man in the white boater hat played the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia, on a double bill that also featured Mark Knopfler, the former Dire Straits front man who produced Infidels , Dylan's standout album from 1983. This date on the Never Ending Tour had a more compelling raison d'etre than most.
December 11, 2014 |
JAPANESE NATIONALISTS are in a tizzy over Angelina Jolie 's new movie, "Unbroken," the story of U.S. Olympian and World War II POW Louis Zamperini . According to Zamperini's story and the book about him by Laura Hillenbrand , Zamperini wasn't treated too well by Japanese guards while he was being held captive. But protesters claim that the depiction is unfair and untrue, and the London Telegraph says that those criticizing the film are trying to have it banned from Japan.
September 25, 2014 |
WHEN IT comes to money, no one in hip-hop beats Dr. Dre . Beats, get it? Thanks to his ownership stake in the headphone company sold to Apple, Dre has finished No. 1 in Forbes ' latest list of the top earners in hip-hop. His pretax earnings? $620 million - the biggest number of any entertainer ever evaluated by Forbes , the magazine said, and more than the combined earnings of the other 24 heavy-hitters on the Hip-Hop Cash Kings list. Even among the 1 percent, there's a 1 percent.
February 4, 2014 |
IT'S PROBABLY just as well most people's yards aren't zoned for Clydesdales. Because golden retriever puppies - already too popular for their own good - are likely to be in even more demand after Budweiser unveiled its latest cross-species love story before millions at last night's Super Bowl. Let's pause while everyone goes, "Awwwww. "; And to remember that the ad, "Best Buds," was posted to YouTube by Budweiser last Wednesday and had already had more than 33 million views a few hours before kickoff.
September 30, 2014 |
Maybe the electrical problems that delayed Sunday's memorial service for Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tony Auth were meant as metaphor. The power went out, but the light never dimmed. "In your life, Tony Auth, you welcomed the stranger, spoke up for the outcast, punctured the pretensions of the hypocrite," said longtime colleague Chris Satullo, quoting what he imagined God saying to Auth, a not particularly devout new arrival at heaven's gate. "You were devoted to those who loved you and you were disinclined to despise those who did not," Satullo said.
November 23, 2013 |
Ask any bartender: Aside from New Year's Eve, the Night before Turkey is the busiest party night of the year. And the post-turkey weekend gobbles like crazy, too. Folks returning to their hometown for family Thanksgiving visits are trolling for a little fun with their erstwhile homies. Marrieds-with-kids find sitters and hit the town. College kids do what college kids will do. And there are those who just want to get lubricated before and/or after Thursday's turkey-centric blowout - some all the way until they hit the road/train/plane on Sunday.
September 5, 2014 |
A GINGER-HAIRED, scruffy and increasingly tattooed "misfit" from Britain, Ed Sheeran plays guitar, beatboxes and, occasionally, fiddles. He also writes and winsomely sings hip-hop-inflected folk confessionals that enthrall young'uns - and their parents, too. And while clearly connected to the keep-it-real troubadour continuum that stretches, as he said, from "Bob Dylan and Van Morrison to Damien Rice and Jason Mraz," there's never been a phenomenon quite...
September 26, 2012 |
At 66, Bettye LaVette is celebrating her 50th year in the music business. In 1962, as a Detroit teenager, she had a Top 10 R&B hit with the upbeat "My Man - He's a Lovin' Man. " Three years later, when just 19, LaVette was singing a sadder song - a classic of world-weary heartache called "Let Me Down Easy" - that also made it into the Top 20. The hits did not keep on coming. And as LaVette makes plain in her new memoir A Woman Like Me (Blue Rider Press, $26.95), the decades that followed mostly found one of America's great soul singers struggling in obscurity, victimized by bad record deals, rotten luck, and her own poor decisions.