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Wednesday
Jan282015

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockIn celebration of Glen Campbell's 79th birthday coming up on April 22, a remastered and expanded 40th Anniversary Edition of Glen's 1975 album Rhinestone Cowboy will be released on March 31. The album features five rare or previously unreleased tracks.

Kacey Musgraves and Chris Young are performing at the 40th Annual Key West Songwriters Festival in Florida May 6 through 10. Go to KeyWestSongwritersFestival.com for details.


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Wednesday
Jan282015

Luke Bryan Almost Released Latest Hit, "I See You," as the Lead Single from "Crash My Party"

Image Courtesy CMALuke Bryan is on track to score his sixth #1 hit from his latest album, Crash My Party, with the power ballad, "I See You." Luke always hoped the song would be a single.

He says, "You know, 'I See You' and 'Crash My Party' were the two that we were going back and forth with on what should be the [first] single, and we chose 'Crash My Party.'"

"Crash My Party" was released in April 2013, so it's taken quite awhile for Luke to get around to "I See You" as a single. As for why he was drawn to the song, Luke adds, "It’s got that youthful lyric, kind of almost a hip-hop lyric and then that big ol' chorus that really kind of jumps off the speakers at you."

Luke is also a big fan of the big guitar riff in "I See You." The song will be featured on Luke's That's My Kind of Night tour starting February 10 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


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Wednesday
Jan282015

Tim Commerford on Future User's Message: "We Should Be Focused on Much More Important Issues"

Credit: Dana KleinOn Tuesday, Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave bassist Tim Commerford revealed himself as the man behind the band Future User. In previous Future User videos, Commerford wore a mask and headphones to conceal his identity, but for the band's latest video, "Mountain Lion," he removed his mask to reveal his face and distinctive tattoos.

"For me, the mask is important because I didn't want to use either of my previous bands to help this band," Commerford tells ABC News Radio. "I wanted to launch this band as a regular person in today's world and see how it works, and I was excited about that."

That mask then evolved into a character of its own, which Commerford and his Future User band mate, Jordan Tarlow, felt represented the ideology of the band. The masked character was dubbed S.W.I.M., a popular Internet acronym that stands for "Someone Who Isn't Me."

The presence of S.W.I.M. adds to the political nature of the videos, which tackle everything from waterboarding to genetically-altered food. The new track "Mountain Lion" sets its sight on the controversy around performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs, in sports which Commerford feels has been overblown in effort to distract people from real problems.

"We as Americans and as earthlings should be focused on much more important issues," he says. "If our presidents decide to divert our attention with PEDs, we should realize that there probably is something really bad happening that they're doing while we're focused on Lance Armstrong or Barry Bonds."

Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after he admitted to blood doping, appears in a cameo role in the "Mountain Lion" video. In fact, Commerford emulates the infamous cyclist by actually blood doping in the video himself

"I actually blood doped in the video -- it was my second attempt at blood doping -- and I just wanted it to be real," he tells ABC News Radio. "My first attempt I did in Jordan's studio and didn't do it right, and ended up squirting blood all over his mixing console, he had to spend tons of money to have in cleaned. Then I got it right for the video."

Future User's debut album, #SteroidsorHeroin, will be released on February 24. The record will be seven songs long, including "Mountain Lion," as well as the other three tracks already released: "Clockwork," "Supernatural" and "Medication Nation." All four of these tracks are accompanied by equally politically charged videos, and Commerford says that the three songs yet to be released might get videos, too.

"We do have a couple other video ideas, and we have seven tracks that are going to go on this record, and with two more ideas, so maybe we will get every song," he says. "I think that would be neat. Because I really feel like we're making sort of a rock opera for 2015."


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Wednesday
Jan282015

Tom DeLonge Posts Letter to Fans About Blink-182 Turmoil

Tony Woolliscroft/WireImageThe drama surrounding Blink-182 shows no signs of letting up.

Guitarist Tom DeLonge on Tuesday posted a lengthy letter to fans on Facebook, explaining his side of the story following reports that he'd quit the band.

Though his bandmates Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker reportedly released a statement Monday saying he'd quit, then claimed to Rolling Stone that he's "ungrateful" and "disrespectful," DeLonge offered a different take. He wrote, "I love Blink and am incredibly grateful for having it in my life. It has given me everything. EVERYTHING. I started this band, it was in my garage where I dreamed up the mischief."

The way he explains it, he once tried to put together a "band summit" in Utah to "talk and work things out." Later, he attempted to record an EP with the band, but "squabbling and politics" interfered with the project.

DeLonge emphasized that he had other projects, including his band Angels & Airwaves, on which he's working, but Blink-182 essentially wanted him to put those on the back burner.

He states, "I wrote this same letter to them a year ago. But it created a massive argument, the biggest one yet actually. I just wanted us to do things we all agreed on. But that was their moment to dig in. From their view I was controlling everything. In reality, I was scared to put myself out there again. To repeat the EP experience."

To his surprise, DeLonge says, his bandmates put out a statement on Monday claiming he was out of the group. He continues, "It’s not in my nature to fuel negativity about the legacy of the band on something as trashy as the Internet world."

On Monday, DeLonge released a statement declaring, "The ONLY truth here is that I have commitments that limit my availability this year. I love Blink-182 and I’m not leaving."


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Wednesday
Jan282015

Today Is the 30th Anniversary of "We Are the World" Recording Session

USA for AfricaThirty years ago today, dozens of top musicians came together to record "We Are the World," the successful charity single that raised money for hunger victims in Africa.

The song, which was written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, came on the heels of the British charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" It was recorded in Hollywood after the 1985 American Music Awards, and featured a who's who of popular artists from that time.  The artists recorded under the name USA for Africa.

In addition to Richie and Jackson, the song also featured Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles.

The all-star chorus included Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Bette Midler, Waylon Jennings, John Oates, Jeffrey Osborne, The Pointer Sisters, Smokey Robinson, and Michael Jackson's siblings, Jackie, La Toya, Marlon, Randy, and Tito.

Richie tells USA Today that he and Jackson listened to various national anthems in order to get into their minds into writing a "world anthem." "We didn't want a normal-sounding song," recalls Richie. "We wanted bombastic, the biggest thing you got."

Billy Joel told ABC News Radio in 2005 that when he first heard the track, he wasn't impressed at all.  "I wasn't that crazy about the song.  I think that was my main memory of that," he recalled. "It was, 'Oh, this is the song?'...It sounded like a Pepsi commercial!"

Dionne Warwick tells ABC News Radio the experience remains difficult to describe.  "I've been asked this question several times -- 'How did it feel, how was it,' and that.  You can't put it in words," she says.  "It's one of those, 'You had to be there.'  You know, the magnitude of talent that was in that room, my god!  It was like the who's who and who is not, even, of show business and the recorded world.  It was amazing.  Amazing."

The recording session on January 28, 1985 at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood began at 9 p.m. and lasted 12 hours.  The artists were greeted by a sign that read, "Check your egos at the door."

Quincy Jones, who produced the track, recalls that the sign wasn't necessary. "Here you had 46 of the biggest recording stars in the entire world in one room, to help people in a far-off place who were in desperate need," Jones tells USA Today.

Warwick agrees: "There are many times that you might need to say that, in close quarters," she says, laughing.  "But not that evening.  That evening is still, still sparkles.  It was an enormously incredible evening."

"I don't think that night, that experience, will ever truly be duplicated again," says Jones. "I know and believe in the power of music to bring people together for the betterment of mankind, and there may be no better example of this than the collective that was 'We Are the World.'"

Following its release in March 7, 1985, "We Are the World" sold more than 20 million copies and raised more than 60 million dollars for famine relief in Africa. It went on to win three Grammy Awards.

An updated version of the song was recorded in 2010 to help victims of the Haiti earthquake. It featured Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Adam Levine and Kanye West, among others.


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Wednesday
Jan282015

Enrique Iglesias Accused of Stealing His 2014 Hit, "Bailando"?

ABC/Lorenzo BevilaquaEnrique Iglesias is reportedly being sued over his 2014 hit, "Bailando," by two songwriters who claim he stole the tune from them.

According to TMZ, Cristian Escuti and German Schulz claim "Bailando" is a rip-off of a song they recorded in 2009 called "Quiero Bailar Contigo." The pair claim they sent the tune to a Sony executive in 2012, but never heard back.

The songwriters claim the melody, lyrics, rhythm and chorus line of "Bailando" were taken from their tune.  The pair claims Sony had partial ownership of the tune, and conspired to steal it from them.

TMZ says Escuti and Schulz are particularly angry that "Bailando" was Iglesias' biggest song from his Sex and Love album, and the video has nearly 690 million views on YouTube.

TMZ claims they requested a copy of "Quiero Bailar Contigo," but Escuti and Schulz's attorney said his clients wouldn't let him send it to the them.


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Wednesday
Jan282015

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani & More Performing at the Grammys 

ABC/Ida Mae Astute

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, who are nominated for a Grammy for their duet album Cheek to Cheek, will be performing at the ceremony next month.

Gaga announced Tuesday on Twitter, "Me and @itstonybennett are so excited to announce we will be performing at #TheGrammys this year! Thank you to @TheGRAMMYs and our fans!"

Cheek to Cheek is nominated in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category.

Grammy organizers have also announced that Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani will take the stage together. Gwen served as a coach alongside Adam on the fall 2014 season of The Voice and she appears on Maroon 5's current album, V.  In addition, Annie Lennox and Hozier will duet, and Jessie J and music legend Tom Jones, who've both served as coaches on the U.K. version of The Voice, will sing together. 

Previously-announced performers include Pharrell, Sam Smith, Madonna, AC/DC, Ed Sheeran, Usher and Ariana Grande.  The Grammys air February 8 on CBS.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Elle Varner Vents on New Song "Where Your Man Is" 

Image Courtesy RCA RecordsElle Varner continues to churn out new music from her upcoming, sophomore album Four Letter Word. The singer calls out untrustworthy men who cause their girlfriends to accuse her of being their mistress on her aggressive new offering "Where Your Man Is."

"No I am not a psychic but he's probably with some side chick/In Miami or Atlanta and I bet that sh** on silent," she sings on the track, posted on SoundCloud. "You got all these questions and wish you had some answers/My guess is he's up at King of Diamonds with some dancers."

The song is lifted from her sophomore album 4 Letter Word, which is due later this year. The set will include production from Pop & Oak, Eric Hudson, Da Internz and Hit-Boy.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Gladys Knight, Anthony Hamilton Playing Super Bowl Gospel Celebration

Image Courtesy Kwaku Alston/Verve Music Group

Gladys Knight will headline the 16th Annual NFL Sanctioned Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, taking place Friday, January 30, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The legendary singer will be joined by Anthony HamiltonDave HollisterTamela Mann, Mali MusicFred Hammond and Donnie McClurkin.  The show will also include unannounced special tributes and surprise performances.  Actress Holly Robinson Peete and retired NFL star Rodney Peete will co-host the event which also will  see The NFL Players Choir hitting the stage.

A portion of the proceeds from the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration will be donated to national and local charities.  The event takes place two days before the big game on February 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

Tickets for the concert are currently available for purchase on Ticketmaster.com.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Elton John Signs Deal with HBO to Executive-Produce New Drama, "Virtuoso"

ABC/Randy HolmesAs a child, Elton John was a musical prodigy -- you might have even called him a virtuoso.  So perhaps it's fitting that Elton has signed a deal with HBO to produce a musical historical drama called Virtuoso.

Variety reports that the Rocket Man is teaming with his husband, David Furnish, and True Blood creator Alan Ball on the project, which is set in 18th century Vienna, Austria.  It follows a class of European musicians who all attend a prestigious school called The Academy of Musical Excellence.  This is obviously something that Elton has some experience with, having won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in England when he was just 11 years old.

Production on the Virtuoso pilot episode begins this spring in Hungary.  John, Ball and Furnish will be executive producers; Ball is writing the pilot episode.

Elton and his husband are no strangers to the world of movies and TV: Their company Rocket Pictures has been responsible for several television and film projects, including the animated flick Gnomeo & Juliet.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan272015

Elton John Signs Deal with HBO to Exec-Produce New Drama, "Virtuoso"

ABC/Randy HolmesAs a child, Elton John was a musical prodigy -- you might have even called him a virtuoso.  So that's why it's fitting that Elton has signed a deal with HBO to produce a musical historical drama called Virtuoso.

Variety reports that Elton is teaming with his husband David Furnish, and True Blood creator Alan Ball, on the project, which is set in 18th century Vienna, Austria. It follows a class of European musicians who all attend a prestigious school called The Academy of Musical Excellence.  This is obviously something that Elton has some experience with, having won a junior scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in England when he was just 11 years old.

Production on the Virtuoso pilot episode begins this spring in Hungary.  Elton, Ball and Furnish will be executive producers; Ball is writing the pilot episode.

Elton and Furnish are no strangers to the world of movies and TV: their company Rocket Pictures has been responsible for several television and film projects, including the animated film Gnomeo & Juliet.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan272015

Leonard Cohen Nabs Four Nominations for 2015 Juno Awards

PRNewsFoto/Columbia RecordsHallelujah! One of the top nominees for this year's Juno Awards, Canada's equivalent of the Grammys, is 80 years old -- influential singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen.  The lauded folk-rock artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, who probably is best known for penning the popular tune "Hallelujah," received nominations in four categories.

Cohen will compete for Artist of the Year, Fan Choice Award, Album of the Year and Adult Alternative Album of the Year, with the latter two honors for his 2014 studio effort Popular Problems.

Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan also are in the running for the Artist of the Year Prize.  As previously reported, Canadian rock legends Rush will be acknowledged for their philanthropic work at the Junos with the 2015 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award.

The 2015 Juno Awards will be held on March 15 in Hamilton, Ontario.  A full list of nominees can be found on JunoAwards.ca.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Steely Dan Announces Run of Spring U.S. Tour Dates

Credit: Danny ClinchSteely Dan recently confirmed a pair of headlining performances at this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, on April 10 and April 17, and now the band has announced a full series of spring shows in the Western U.S.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' concerts run from an April 7-8 stand in Santa Rosa, California, through an April 18 date in San Diego.

In recent years, Steely Dan has headed out on a variety of quirkily named treks, including last year's Jamalot Ever After tour and 2013's Mood Swings outing.  2015 is no exception, as this year's trek has been christened the Rockabye Golly Angel Tour.  On-sale dates for the new shows vary; visit SteelyDan.com for details.  More concerts are expected to be announced soon.

Here are all of Steely Dan's confirmed 2015 tour dates:

4/7 -- Santa Rosa, CA, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
4/8 -- Santa Rosa, CA, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
4/10 -- Indio, CA, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
4/11 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort
4/14 -- Paso Robles, CA, Vina Robles Amphitheatre
4/15 -- Santa Barbara, CA, County Bowl
4/17 -- Indio CA, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
4/18 -- San Diego, CA, Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Nickelback, Arcade Fire, Lorde Among Juno Awards Nominees 

Credit: Michael MullerThe 2015 Juno Awards nominations were announced Tuesday, and Nickelback is the rock act with the most nominations. The band, which hails from Alberta, Canada, scored three nominations, including Group of the Year and Album of the Year for No Fixed Address, plus a nod for for the Juno Fan Choice Award.

Perennial Juno Award favorites Arcade Fire join Nickelback in the race for the Fan Choice Award. The Montreal band's last album, Reflektor, won Album of the Year at last year's ceremony. 

Lorde also scored a nomination -- her album Pure Heroine received a nod for International Album of the Year.

The Juno Awards, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys, will be held on March 15 in Hamilton, Ontario. A full list of nominees can be found at JunoAwards.ca.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Lifehouse Announces New Album, Premieres Lead Single "Hurricane"

Ironworks Records/Kobalt Label ServicesLifehouse is back with new music. The band has announced details of their upcoming album, and premiered their new single “Hurricane” on Billboard.com.

Out of the Wasteland, the band’s first new release since 2012’s Almería, will arrive May 19. “There was a kind of unlearning with this album,” says frontman Jason Wade. “We wanted to retrace our steps back to the beginning and really find the innocence, that feeling of being 17-year-old kids who get excited about playing in the garage.”

The album's lead single, “Hurricane,” represents the type of return to its roots that the band was going for. "'Hurricane' started as a catchy up-tempo pop song and then transformed into this electric, energetic rock song that was very reminiscent of our first album," Jason tells Billboard. "I feel like it is the backbone of the record, and was the catalyst that brought our band back around full circle."

The video for the song features the band playing behind bars, and cuts to scenes of a couple working out their issues in the chaotic setting of a prison. "Hurricane" is currently the iTunes’ Single of the Week and is available for free download.

Here’s the track list for Out of the Wasteland, Lifehouse’s seventh studio album:

“Hurricane”
“One for the Pain”
“Flight”
“Runaways”
“Firing Squad”
“Wish”
“Stardust”
“Alien”
“Central Park”
“Hurt This Way”
“Yesterday’s Son”
“Hourglass”


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Tuesday
Jan272015

One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran & Calvin Harris Named Among Most Influential Brits

Jeff Daly/NBCOne Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris made this year’s annual Debrett’s 500 list of most influential Brits.

They were featured in the music section of the list, alongside producer and X Factor judge and creator Simon Cowell.. According to Debrett’s, a publisher specializing in British etiquette and style, the annual music list “shines a spotlight on the people who are making the most impact on this fast-changing industry, from the recording artists and record label executives, to the radio playlist-setters, music critics and the people changing the face of the music industry in the digital age.”

The unranked list features the most influential people in the U.K. across 24 disciplines including art, stage & screen, business & industry, sports and politics.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan272015

One Direction, Sam Smith & Ed Sheeran Make List of Most Influential Brits

Jeff Daly/NBCOne Direction, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran made this year’s annual Debrett’s 500 list of most influential Brits.

They were featured in the music section of the list, alongside producer and X Factor judge and creator Simon Cowell. According to Debrett’s, a publisher specializing in British etiquette and style, the annual music list “shines a spotlight on the people who are making the most impact on this fast-changing industry, from the recording artists and record label executives, to the radio playlist-setters, music critics and the people changing the face of the music industry in the digital age.”

The unranked list features the most influential people in the U.K. across 24 disciplines including art, stage & screen, business & industry, sports and politics.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan272015

The Band Perry Named Curators for the 3rd Annual Grammy Amplifier Program

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleThe Band Perry has been named curators for the3rd annual Grammy Amplifier program.

The online music initiative, sponsored by Hyundai and The Recording Academy, aims to mentor aspiring artists and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their talent.

The Band Perry will help evaluate online submissions to narrow the field down to the program’s three winners. The winners will individually be awarded one of the following prizes: A studio recording session with a Grammy winning producer; filming and starring in their own music video with a noted director; or securing an opening act spot for an established musician and/or at a music festival.

The program is currently accepting submissions at GrammyAmplifier.com. Based on their track plays and social media performance, the top 25 finalists will be brought together for a mentorship experience, and then narrowed down by program curators to a short list of finalists. The program’s curators this year also include Ziggy Marley and singer/songwriter Allen Stone. Hit artist/producer Mark Ronson will pick the three winners and decide which winner gets what prize.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

N.E.R.D Releases Video for "Squeeze Me" 

ABC/Randy Holmes

Pharrell gets animated with his production crew, N.E.R.D, in the newly released video for their song ""Squeeze Me," lifted from the official soundtrack for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

In the video, posted on Vevo, the Pharrell joins Chad Hugo and Shay Haley at the bottom of the ocean as they dance along to the upbeat new song.  

"Squeeze me until I pop/ Squeeze me until you drop/ Yeah here we go now," they sing as animated SpongeBob versions of themselves.

N.E.R.D. has contributed two other songs to the soundtrack -- “Patrick Star” and “Sandy Squirrel”-- which is available now. The film itself is due February 6.


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Tuesday
Jan272015

Drake Releasing Mixtape This Year? 

Image Courtesy Eric McCandless/CBSBefore Drake releases his upcoming album, the rapper is looking to issue a new mixtape later this year.

"I know Drake’s dropping a mixtape that I’ve already heard a lot of and it’s crazy," Drake's friend and fellow Canadian rapper P. Reign tells Karen Civil.

He adds that Drake fans will be pleasantly surprised by the untitled project. "I think it’s some of the best I’ve heard from him in my life and I already know [that] off Drake’s mixtape the world is going to shake," Reign says.

The mixtape would help tide fans over until Drake completes his highly anticipated next album Views from the 6, which is expected to arrive before he headlines two huge festivals -- Coachella and Governors Ball -- later this year.

 


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