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Thursday
Apr242014

Foo Fighters Drummer Says Side Project Is "Self Indulgent" but Fun

Shanabelle RecordsBirds of Satan is a band that is "100% [self-indulgent] in every way, shape and form!"

This was admitted gleefully by Taylor Hawkins, Birds of Satans' leader. Hawkins -- who's moonlight from his day job as Foo Fighters' drummer -- revealed this and a few other fun facts about his side project in an interview with British music website Drowned in Sound

Hawkins said, "It’s really just [us] going bananas, having fun with my friends and seeing how hard and silly it can be. There’s times when Mick [Murphy], the guitar player, would do a guitar solo and I’d be like, 'Well that’s just ridiculous, I would never have asked you to... I would never have let you do that. But it’s kinda awesome too because it’s so ridiculous so, f*** it, let’s just keep it.'”

Seems Hawkins and his band mates -- Murphy and Wiley Hodgden, with guest appearances by Dave Grohl, Foo Fighter Pat Smear and touring Foos members Rami Jaffee and Drew Hester -- view the band as pure fun and a way to blow off creative steam, but they plan to continue the effort beyond the first, self-titled album, which was released last week.

"We're gonna try to put together a little tour," Hodgden said. "We're gonna play a record release party...and then we're gonna play Jimmy Kimmel in May and try to [get a little tour together when Foo Fighters get breaks]. And then hopefully we'll just go into the studio for a week, make another album, and then tour the s*** out if it!"

The Birds of Satan's entire first album is streaming online at Soundcloud.com/TheBirdsofSatan.

Here is the track listing: 

"The Ballad of the Birds of Satan"
"Thanks for the Line"
"Pieces of the Puzzle"
"Raspberries"
"Nothing at All"
"Wait Til Tomorrow"
"Too Far Gone to See"

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Thursday
Apr242014

LMFAO's Redfoo Says He's Ready to "Entertain the World" with Solo Album

ABC/Adam TaylorSince LMFAO stopped party rockin' and took a hiatus, group member SkyBlu has released a solo album, but we haven't gotten one yet from his musical partner and uncle, Redfoo.  But the singer says he's finally ready to show the world what he's learned over the past year or so.

"I'm working on the album now," Redfoo told ABC News Radio earlier this week backstage at Dancing with the Stars, where he was a guest judge. "I've been working on it for a while now because I just keep going on tour, coming back, doing shows [and] doing stuff."  But finally, he says, "I've assembled a team of creative people that I love to be around and now we're knocking out songs."

In addition to releasing a couple of singles and making appearances all over the world, and sponsoring an annual tennis tournament in Las Vegas, Redfoo's been serving as a judge on The X Factor Australia, and he says that's helped him figure out what kind of record he wants to make.

"You know, I'm getting better at interpreting how I feel into music, even better than before. So, I'm laser-focused, and I'm on the piano everyday and I'm expressing and I'm so excited," he tells ABC News Radio. "I've been on the X Factor, now I've done this. I know what I need to put together to entertain the world!"

So, he's done X Factor Australia, and Dancing with the Stars...is there a chance we'll see Redfoo appear on any other reality TV shows in the near future?

"Well, I'm on X Factor Australia, right now, so, you know, in America, maybe," he says. "Because I love it. It's fun and...some of the shows you get to mentor people, you know. But this dancing show is incredible!  It's so stimulating!"  

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Lorde Photo Shows Her As an "Ill Exhausted Zombie"

Image courtesy Lorde via InstagramEarlier this week, Lorde postponed her Australia tour due to what she described as a "nasty chest infection and general ill health." She's since provided visual evidence that she's feeling under the weather.

A photo of the 17-year-old New Zealand singer lying on a bed, staring at the ceiling, has been posted onto her Instagram page. The accompanying message reads, "this is a photo of an ill exhausted zombie after the show in vegas a few days ago. it's good to be resting up at home." She performed in Vegas last week.

Lorde's Australia tour had been set to begin Thursday. The dates have not yet been rescheduled.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Boy George Touring Solo Album, But Says New Culture Club Disc Is Coming

Photo: Dean StockingsEighties pop icon Boy George is currently touring the U.S. in support of his first solo studio album in nearly two decades, but fans who enjoy his classic material should be happy to hear that a "really strong album" from his band Culture Club is also on the way.

George tells ABC News Radio that he made his new solo album, This Is What I Do, after he attempted to get back together with his Culture Club band mates a few years back...but things didn't go so well.

"I approached them about three years ago and said, 'Look, I think we could make another great record together,' and we kind of found out quite quickly that we needed to do some quite serious kind of business and emotional shuffling for us to be able to work together!" he explains.  "So I decided, in the sort of chaos of all that, that I should make my own record, and then I'd kind of be better for them."

George says that plan worked, adding, "This year, we went back to write, and it was a very different experience from three years ago...This time around, it just felt a little bit more focused and we could sort of fully concentrate on what we were doing and that made a big difference.  So, we are about to record and I think we have the bones of a really strong record."

Meanwhile, George and his band are out on the road playing songs from This Is What I Do, mixed in with select Culture Club classics.  Asked if he changes those classic songs up in concert, as many artists do, he says yes, but just a bit.

"We do a kind of reggae-fied version of 'Karma Chameleon'...[and] 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?' is sort of more of a blues jam now," he explains.  "But it's still the same song, you know?  We're pretty respectful.  You know, you don't want to upset people too much!"

Seems like it'd be difficult for George to upset anyone, judging from the reaction he's gotten lately.  While in the past he might have been somewhat controversial, the singer claims that he's gotten nothing but love from people.

"You know, with things like social networking, you do hear about all these trolls and hateful people, but, on the whole, I would say what shocks me the most is how nice people are," he tells ABC News Radio. "You know, when you're doing a show and people are singing along to the words and kind of engaging with the song as you intended it...it's such a nice experience."

George is also happy to see all the many different kinds of fans who've been coming out to see him on his current tour, which wraps up next Wednesday in Los Angeles.

"I've always had an eclectic audience.  I mean, I've never been an artist that's been able to say, 'Oh, this is my crowd,'" he says.  "But [on this tour], across the board, it's everyone.  And I love that.  I love the fact that it's just so unpredictable.  A lot of young people, as well, which is great."

It's safe to say that the singer, who's been sober for six years now, is currently loving life. 

"At this point, I'm kind of so happy to be doing what I'm doing -- you know, I've come back to my work with a sort of renewed enthusiasm and it really feels like a kind of very fertile time to be doing creative things," he tells ABC News Radio.  He adds, laughing, "Plus, you know, all that kind of pressure of being the 'new thing' -- having that removed -- it's a bit like losing your hair, you know?  That's one less problem to deal with!"

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Pharrell Selects Next Single, Readies New Book

Columbia RecordsPharrell is having a stellar 2014, thanks largely in part to his Oscar-nominated smash hit single "Happy." To continue his momentum, the singer has announced the next single off his latest album, G I R L.

"'Come Get It Bae' is actually my next U.S. single after 'Happy.' 'Marilyn Monroe' is the International single," he confirmed on Twitter. His next offering features guest vocals from Miley Cyrus.

The hitmaker's "Come Get it Bae" was recently used as the soundtrack to TNT's NBA playoffs promotional campaign.

In addition to promoting his album, Pharrell also is working on his second literary project, following 2012's Places and Spaces I've Been. "Happy...just finished my new book. You can only read it online. I'll tweet the link on Thursday. Hope you enjoy," he tweeted.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Miranda Lambert Says There's "Something for Everybody" on Her New Album, "Platinum"

Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert still has plenty of "sassy" moments on her upcoming album, Platinum, but there are plenty of vulnerable moments. On "Bathroom Sink," Miranda sings about dealing with body image issues, and "Priscilla" finds her addressing the challenges of having a famous husband, Blake Shelton.

"I always try to make my records be about where I am right now," Miranda says. "I'm 30 years old. I'm happily married, but I still have problems good and bad. I face everyday life as a 30-year-old girl. So, I wrote a lot about that."

Some other tracks, like the title cut and "Little Red Wagon," show off Miranda's lighter side.

She says, "There's some humor. I think that comes from my husband. You know, he really has helped me find my sense of humor. Clearly, he has a good one."

Miranda never apologizes for writing from a female point of view, but she thinks men will enjoy listening to Platinum, too.

Says Miranda, "I feel like there's something for everybody on this record. It's very heartfelt. It's got some deep stuff and some stuff that is relatable for everybody, hopefully."

The lead single from Platinum, "Automatic," is already a top 10 hit. Look for the full-length album in stores June 3.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

New Series of Vintage Rolling Stones Albums Being Released on Clear Vinyl

ABKCO RecordsThree more classic Rolling Stones albums will be reissued on clear vinyl on May 6 as part of ABKCO Records' "Clearly Classic" series that was launched last year.  The new installment includes 1964's 12 x 5, 1969's Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) compilation and the 1970 live album Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert.

12 x 5 was the second full-length Stones album released in the U.S.  It was made up mainly of cover songs, including the band's memorable renditions of "Time Is on My Side," "It's All Over Now" and Chuck Berry's "Around and Around."

The Through the Past, Darkly best-of album featured a well-chosen selection of 10 popular songs the group released during the mid-to-late '60s.  The track list includes "Ruby Tuesday," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Honky Tonk Women" and "Street Fighting Man."

Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! showcases performances from two shows The Rolling Stones played at New York's Madison Square Garden in November 1969.  It was the first release by the band to feature guitarist Mick Taylor, and was the first live album ever to hit #1 on the U.K. charts.  Among the record's 10 tracks were renditions of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Midnight Rambler," "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Honky Tonk Women."

The three reissues can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.  All of The Stones' "Clearly Classic" releases are on high-quality, 180-gram vinyl.  The first installment, which came out in May 2013, included 1968's Beggar's Banquet, 1969's Let It Bleed and the double-LP 1971 compilation Hot Rocks 1964-1971.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Blake Shelton's middle name? ANSWER: Tollison.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Carrie Underwood Named to "TIME" 100 List of the World's Most Influential People

Sony Music NashvilleCarrie Underwood has made TIME magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.  Not only did she make the list, she's included in the category "Icons."

In an accompanying essay written about Carrie by Brad Paisley, her CMA Awards co-host says, “Not only has she earned her place [in country music], she's raised the bar: a prolific songwriter, a trend-setter, and an Opry member.  But it's her decency as a person that is so impressive.”    

Brad adds, "So many young girls want to be just like her. In that sense, I see hope for the world. If I had a daughter, nothing would make me happier than to hear her say she wanted to grow up to be like Carrie Underwood."

Carrie is also set to perform at the TIME 100 Gala, April 29 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. The black-tie event will include past and present TIME 100 list members. Previous attendees have included Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Bill Clinton and Taylor Swift.

The TIME 100 issue is out Friday.

Copyright 2014 AC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Beyonce Scores the Cover of TIME "100 Most Influential People" Issue 

Courtesy: TimeThere's certainly no doubt that Beyonce is one of the world's most influential entertainers.  Now TIME magazine has dubbed her one of the world's 100 most influential people -- so much so that she's featured on the issue's cover.

An essay written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg notes how Beyonce "took the world by surprise" last December with the unexpected, unpublicized release of her smash, self-titled album, followed by her sold-out Mrs. Carter Show world tour.  For her part, Beyonce says in a video essay that being selected by TIME "[Is] not about fashion, or beauty, or music.  It's about the influence I've had on culture.  And to be amongst the other influential people is a huge honor for me."

Beyonce's included in the category "Titans," along with Pharrell Williams, whose essay by Justin Timberlake begins, "At 41 and still with the swagger and appearance of a college kid, he has been the biggest part of our soundtrack for the past 15 years. And you will never see him doing it without a smile on his face."

It's probably no surprise that Miley Cyrus is on the list, too.  Dolly Parton pens that essay, noting that Miley was "smotherin' and chokin'" beneath her Hannah Montana persona, "So she felt she had to do something completely drastic. And she did. She made her point, she made her mark, and more power to her."

You can see the complete list of TIME's influential people at Time.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Thursday
Apr242014

Linkin Park Announces Contest for "Guilty All the Same" Video Game

Warner Brothers Records

If you're a fan of Linkin Park, you know the band has developed a video game for their song "Guilty All the Same." Thousands of fans have let Linkin Park know that they love the song and the game, which allows used to remix the video. Now the band has decided to stage a contest, the winners of which will see their versions showcased at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in early June, just before Linkin Park's new album The Hunting Party hits digital and retail outlets.

You can play, and customize, the "Guilty All the Same" video game at ProjectSpark.com.  There also are instructions on-site on how to share your version with the band.

Linkin Park revealed specific instructions for the contest through download.cnet.com.  To enter your remixed version of "Guilty All the Same":

- Include [LP] in your level name for inclusion in the special LinkinSpark feed.
- Use the hashtag #linkinspark on social media to let the world know what you've created.
- Create a video of your remix for inclusion on the Linkin Spark Upload channel and the Project Spark YouTube channel.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Led Zeppelin Releases Two Previously-Unheard Recordings from Upcoming Reissues

Rhino RecordsThe BBC is offering a sneak peek at Led Zeppelin's reissues of their first three albums.

Two previously-unheard recordings from the band have been previewed by the BBC: an early version of "Whole Lotta Love," which will be featured in the re-release of Led Zeppelin II, and Zeppelin's take on the blues classics "Keys to the Highway/Trouble In Mind," which will be included in the Led Zeppelin III re-release.

The early version of "Whole Lotta Love" is different from the one with which fans are familiar. For example, the vocals were re-recorded for the version that was ultimately released.

Jimmy Page spearheaded the reissue project because, as he tells the BBC, "I don't want to die and have somebody else do it." After revisiting the band's music, he says, "it's undeniable that we're good."

Zeppelin singer Robert Plant does have a regret or two regarding his approach to their music as they recorded it. He laughs, "My enthusiasm sometimes got in the way of finesse. I listen to it and go, wow, why didn't I shut up a bit?"

By the way, don't get your hopes up that the reissues will lead to a Zeppelin reunion. Plant says the chances of the group putting on a live show again are "zero."

Page says, "I'm sure people would love to hear it. I'm not the one to be asking, I don't sing."

Zeppelin, minus the late drummer John Bonham, reunited in 2007 for a concert at London's O2 Arena that served as the basis for their live film/CD Celebration Day.

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III all will be reissued in various configurations on June 3.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

"American Idol" Recap: Top Six Perform Rock and Country Songs

Michael Becker/FOXAmerican Idol was a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll on Wednesday night. Each contestant in the top six performed two songs: one from the rock genre, and one from the country genre.

Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr., and Keith Urban were there to critique each performance.

Here's what happened during the two-hour show:

Jena Irene was the first contestant to entertain the viewers and the studio audience. She took on the Heart classic "Barracuda." Keith said it was a great way to start the show, and that Jena set the bar high for the rest of the contestants. J-Lo said that with a little extra push Jena can make it to the finals.

Sam Woolf performed the Imagine Dragons tune "It's Time." Jennifer said she had "goosies" while listening to Sam. Harry said Sam's a sweet, humble and kind guy, and he's adding layers to that.

C.J. Harris channeled his inner Lenny Kravitz on Lenny's version of The Guess Who song "American Woman." Keith urged him to bring out the proper emotions when singing tunes like that one. Jennifer said it was shaky at first, but C.J. started to connect with the crowd toward the middle.

Alex Preston covered Neon Trees' "Animal." Keith drew light boos when he told Alex he wanted him to "release" a bit more. J-Lo agreed.

Caleb Johnson belted out the Black Crowes' "Sting Me." He lost his microphone at one point, but Jennifer and Keith both were amazed by the way he handled the situation and recovered.

Jessica Meuse performed Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love." Harry said she delivered in a powerful and rhythmic way. Keith liked it too, though he encouraged her to "release" more, too.

Sam opened the country portion of the show by singing Shania Twain's "You're Still The One." Keith advised Sam to relax on stage. Harry added that Sam may want to not perform with the same tone throughout the song.

Caleb handled "Undo It," by former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. Jennifer and Harry both felt there was more magic in his first performance of the night.

Alex tackled Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind." Harry said it was exactly what it needed to be. Keith would've liked to have heard a little more "heartbreak" in the vocals.

Jena performed another Carrie Underwood song, "So Small." Keith said it was the "best journey" to watch her throughout the season. Jennifer said she was so into the performance that it was as if the band had disappeared. Harry, on the other hand, didn't know where Jena was going with it.

C.J. played "Whatever It Is," by Zac Brown Band. Jennifer said this was more his style, but she expected more from him. Harry said it wasn't C.J.'s best performance. After the judges made their comments, C.J. dedicated the song to a young girl from his hometown who passed away earlier this week.

Jessica closed out the night with Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Keith hated the arrangement, but both he and Harry thought the vocals were strong.

One contestant will be eliminated on Thursday night's results show, airing on Fox at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Hear New Version of "Hotel California" by Styx, Foreigner and Don Felder; Joint Tour Companion Album Due May 6

ABC PR/GFE ManagementWhen Styx, Foreigner and ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder announced in February that they'd be hitting the road together this summer, they promised to release a new, collaborative rendition of the Eagles' classic "Hotel California,"  which Felder co-wrote.

Well, on Wednesday that version arrived, streaming exclusively on USA Today's website.  As Felder told ABC News Radio recently, the newly recorded rendition features guitar solos by himself, Styx's Tommy Shaw and Foreigner's Mick Jones, and lead vocals shared between Felder, Shaw, Foreigner frontman Kelly Hansen and Styx singer/keyboard player Lawrence Gowan.

The track will appear on an upcoming compilation CD, The Soundtrack of the Summer, which also happens to be the name of the tour.  The album, which will be available exclusively at Walmart beginning May 6, is made up mostly of classic Foreigner and Styx tunes.  Another collaborative track that finds Felder joining forces with Foreigner for a version of that band's 1984 hit "I Want to Know What Love Is" will be available only on a limited-edition vinyl single and via iTunes.

As previously reported, the Soundtrack of the Summer tour gets under way May 15 in Wichita, Kansas, and is plotted out through an August 17 show in Des Moines, Iowa.  Felder will appear at all dates through the end of July.

Here's the track list for The Soundtrack of the Summer companion album:

"Feels Like the First Time" -- Foreigner
"Cold as Ice" -- Foreigner
"Hot Blooded" -- Foreigner
"Double Vision" -- Foreigner
"Urgent" -- Foreigner
"Waiting for a Girl Like You" -- Foreigner
"I Want to Know What Love Is" -- Foreigner
"Juke Box Hero" -- Foreigner
"The Grand Illusion" -- Styx
"Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" -- Styx
"Lorelei" -- Styx
"Crystal Ball" -- Styx
"Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" -- Styx
"Miss America" -- Styx
"Renegade" -- Styx
"Too Much Time on My Hands" -- Styx
"Hotel California" -- Don Felder with members of Foreigner & Styx

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Joe Satriani Talks New Career-Spanning Box Set, Upcoming Memoir

Legacy RecordingsJoe Satriani fans have a whole lot to be excited about, as the guitar virtuoso -- and sometimes Chickenfoot member -- has just released a massive box set gathering together remastered versions of all of his studio albums, and he also has penned a memoir that will be published in early May.

Released this past Tuesday, The Complete Studio Recordings includes Satriani's 14 studio releases, stretching from 1986's Not of This Earth through last year's Unstoppable Momentum, as well as a disc of extra songs titled Additional Creations and Bonus Tracks.

Satriani tells ABC News Radio that compiling the box set and remastering the records so that they fit together sonically was quite a challenge.

"We went back and we mastered [the catalog] like someone was going to listen to all the records in one big session, or they were going to go from record one to seven to two to eleven…and they'd have to work together," he explains.  "So, we restored some of the more crunchy earlier masterings to their more open, generous high-fidelity states that they were before they went to the mastering lab."

The 57-year-old guitar whiz says that what made the project particularly difficult was that his albums were recorded in so many diverse formats and types of media over the years.

Satriani also notes that the box set came together hand in hand with his autobiography, Strange Beautiful Music, which will hit stores on May 6.  Rather than being an average rock star tell-all, the book focuses more on the technical aspects of the creation of Joe's albums.  Satriani says the process of writing the book helped him when it came time to revamp his catalog.

"I would say the reexamination of the stories behind each of the albums did sort of inform me to go back and to remaster that particular album, or each of them," he points out, "and just kind of restore them to the original potential that I always felt they had."

As work progressed on the compilation and the book, Satriani says he eventually realized it would be cool to release both around the same time.  The release of the box set and memoir also happens to coincide with a break from his ongoing solo tour in support of Unstoppable Momentum.

"So, we finally wound up with that perfect storm," Joe declares.  "The artist is out there.  He's got a book, he's got a remastered catalog and he still has a new record that's active out there."

Besides the standard version of The Complete Studio Recordings, which features the CDs housed in miniature album sleeves and packaged in a clamshell box, a unique collectible digital version of the retrospective also is available.  A "Chrome Dome" USB edition of the collection can be purchased exclusively at Satriani.com that features a chrome-colored plastic replica of Satriani's shaved head, which holds USB drives boasting high-definition digital audio files of his entire catalog.

"It's really freaky.  I can't really look at it," admits Joe about his replica noggin.  "I mean, I looked at it so I could approve it and make sure that the whole thing worked to hold onto the USB drives, but I put it right back in the box."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Boy George Touring Solo Album, but Says New Culture Club Disc Is Coming 

Credit: Dean StockingsEighties pop icon Boy George is currently touring the U.S. in support of his first solo studio album in nearly two decades, but fans who enjoy his classic material should be happy to hear that a "really strong album" from his band Culture Club is also on the way.

George tells ABC News Radio that he made his new solo album, This Is What I Do, after he attempted to get back together with his Culture Club band mates a few years back...but things didn't go so well.

"I approached them about three years ago and said, 'Look, I think we could make another great record together,' and we kind of found out quite quickly that we needed to do some quite serious kind of business and emotional shuffling for us to be able to work together!" he explains. "So I decided, in the sort of chaos of all that, that I should make my own record, and then I'd kind of be better for them."

George says that plan worked, adding, "This year, we went back to write, and it was a very different experience from three years ago...This time around it just felt a little bit more focused and we could sort of fully concentrate on what we were doing and that made a big difference.  So, we are about to record and I think we have the bones of a really strong record."

Meanwhile, George and his band are out on the road playing songs from This Is What I Do, mixed in with select Culture Club classics.  Asked if he changes those classic songs up in concert, as many artists do, he says yes, but just a bit.

"We do a kind of reggae-fied version of 'Karma Chameleon'...[and] 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?' is sort of more of a blues jam now," he explains, "But it's still the same song, you know?  We're pretty respectful. You know, you don't want to upset people too much!"

Seems like it'd be difficult for George to upset anyone, judging from the reaction he's gotten lately.  While in the past he might have been somewhat controversial, the singer claims that he's gotten nothing but love from people.

"You know, with things like social networking, you do hear about all these trolls and hateful people, but, on the whole, I would say what shocks me the most is how nice people are," he tells ABC News Radio. "You know, when you're doing a show and people are singing along to the words and kind of engaging with the song as you intended it...it's such a nice experience."

George is also happy to see all the many different kinds of fans who've been coming out to see him on his current tour, which wraps up next Wednesday in Los Angeles.

"I've always had an eclectic audience. I mean, I've never been an artist that's been able to say, 'Oh, this is my crowd,'" he says. "But [on this tour], across the board, it's everyone.  And I love that.  I love the fact that it's just so unpredictable.  A lot of young people, as well, which is great."

It's safe to say that the singer, who's been sober for six years now, is currently loving life. 

"At this point, I'm kind of so happy to be doing what I'm doing -- you know, I've come back to my work with a sort of renewed enthusiasm and it really feels like a kind of very fertile time to be doing creative things," he tells ABC News Radio.  He adds, laughing, "Plus, you know, all that kind of pressure of being the 'new thing' -- having that removed -- it's a bit like losing your hair, you know?  That's one less problem to deal with!" 

Copyright ABC News Radio 2014

Thursday
Apr242014

Ryan Tedder Confirms Work with Harry Styles, Says He's Amazed That 1D Is "Not More Messed Up"

ABC/Donna SvennevikOneRepublic's Ryan Tedder always seems to collaborate with chart-topping pop divas, but you don't hear much about him working with male performers.  However, the singer has confirmed that he's been working on something with One Direction's Harry Styles, and says he's impressed that Harry, and the other members of the group, have managed to avoid being total basket cases.

Asked by the British paper The Guardian to comment on rumors that he's been writing with Harry, Ryan at first plays coy, but then reveals, "Yes, we did do something, is the truth.  I can't say what it's for, though." 

He adds, "I did hang out with One Direction in London...I'm always impressed or extremely happy when I end up in the same room with a band who are at the stage of nuclear explosion in their career and they're so normal it almost turns you off. Like, 'How are you not more messed up right now? I'm looking for syringes, where are they?'"

And speaking of stars who are normal, Ryan is also friendly with U2's Bono -- he's pretty much friends with everyone -- and he tells The Guardian that he was amazed that when the two were driving around Dublin recently, he couldn't believe it when the driver dropped them off outside a coffee shop, and Bono was able to simply walk down the street without being mobbed by fans.

"I'm like, 'No security?' and he's like, 'No, we're in Ireland, it's fine,'" Ryan recalls. "I've never seen that before in my life. He's got a confidence about him."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Rihanna and Drake's Relationship Is Getting Serious, Friends Say "They've Always Had a Special Connection"

Island Def Jam; Universal Motown

While Drake and Rihanna have remained mum on their relationship status, sources close to the famous pair are spilling new details on their feelings for one another.

"They got on so well and have always had a special connection from the moment they met…and now they have found each other again, everyone just feels like this is it," a spy tells E! News.

Ri Ri and Drizzy have been spotted at various public places, including a recent date where they hugged and kissed at the Clippers basketball game in Los Angeles on April 10.

"Their friends are so happy that they're together. There's a real feeling among their inner circle that they were always meant to be together," the insider continued. "They really are made for one another. Everyone knows it. And Drake could not be happier. They couldn't be better suited."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLuke Bryan's album, Crash My Party, is back at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums tally in its 37th week on the chart.

Eric Paslay performs a cover of the Sheryl Crow song, "I Shall Believe," on Ram Country on Yahoo Music. Check it out at RamCountry.Music.Yahoo.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr242014

Is Jerrod Niemann Secretly Writing Songs for a New Garth Brooks Project?

Sony Music NashvilleGarth Brooks is expected to announce plans for a massive world tour in the coming months, and he's hinted there might be some new music to go along with the trek. Since Jerrod Niemann had a hand in writing several of Garth's singles, including 2005's "Good Ride Cowboy," we wondered if Jerrod might know something about Garth's recording plans.

"When I chat with him, I don't hit him up for a bunch of details," Jerrod tells ABC News Radio. "You know, I wouldn't probably trust myself with any details 'cause I get so excited."

While Jerrod doesn't have any insight on what or when Garth is recording, he is just as excited as everyone else about Garth's return to the concert trail.

Says Jerrod, "Any day that Garth Brooks cares to make music is a good day for everybody. So, yes. We all love Garth, and we can't wait for him to get back out there."

As for Jerrod's career, he just celebrated the #1 success of his gold-certified single, "Drink to That All Night" with a party on Music Row in Nashville this week.  It's the lead release from Jerrod's latest album, High Noon, available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio