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Archive for June, 2012

Blind Boys of Alabama drummer Ricky McKinnie talks Atlanta roots

Ricky McKinnie cradles the Lifetime Achievement Grammy bestowed upon the Blind Boys of Alabama. Photo credit: Bob Andres

Ricky McKinnie cradles the Lifetime Achievement Grammy bestowed upon the Blind Boys of Alabama. Photo credit: Bob Andres

In the back room of a small house in Kirkwood, Ricky McKinnie sits in front of a row of Grammy trophies.

The five awards, received between 2001 and 2008, are offset by one other Grammy, the special one bestowed upon the Blind Boys of Alabama in 2009.

“How many people have a Lifetime Achievement Grammy?” asks McKinnie’s brother, Chuck Shivers, the tour manager of one of the most unique groups in music history.

Indeed, the Blind Boys of Alabama, a collaboration that originated at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939, has witnessed a rotating cast of members during its tenure, released more than 50 gospel-soul albums and worked with artists ranging from Tom Petty to Bonnie Raitt to Peter Gabriel to Al Green, for whom they’ll open Friday at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.

For the past 22 years, McKinnie has been an official member, but, in a …

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One Direction: Perfectly enjoyable fluff

Everybody scream! One Direction (l-r) Louis, Harry, Liam, Zayn and Niall take the stage. Photo credit: Robb D. Cohen/ www.Robbsphotos.com

Everybody scream! One Direction (l-r) Louis, Harry, Liam, Zayn and Niall take the stage. Photo credit: Robb D. Cohen/ www.Robbsphotos.com

I have a pair of super-robust earplugs that have lived through hundreds of concerts with me. The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi and U2 in stadiums, Katy Perry, LMFAO and Springsteen in arenas.

 But I think they melted a little bit at Tuesday’s sold-out One Direction concert.

 Not because of the music or vocals, which were mixed admirably well for a teen group show. But the screaming. Oy, the screaming.

 From the millisecond the house lights in Gwinnett Center Arena dropped and a video identifying the U.K. quintet, Teen Beat-style with their likes and hobbies adorning sun-kissed photos, through the guys’ every grin, wave, hair flip, wink or bounce, those high-pitched squeals that can only emanate from adrenalized teenage girls in the presence of their fantasy boyfriends ricocheted through the venue.

 Every generation has its boy band(s). …

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O.A.R. to perform post-Braves game concert

O.A.R. is coming to town. Photo: Courtesy Shore Fire Media

O.A.R. is coming to town. Photo: Courtesy Shore Fire Media

Add another name to the Braves’ post-game concert series.

 O.A.R. will perform a free show after the 7 p.m. Sept. 15 Braves/Nationals game at Turner Field. Fans who want a closer experience can purchase a field pass for $20 at www.braves.com/concerts.

 The Maryland-based alt-rock-jam band, together since 1996,  broke through to the mainstream in 2008 with their hit “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” and last month, in support of Team USA at the Olympics, released “Champions,” a song featuring Atlanta native and recent Braves concert series performer B.o.B.

 A couple of weeks before the O.A.R. show, Lynyrd Skynyrd will rock the ballpark, playing a free gig after the Sept. 1 game against the Phillies.

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

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Tickets: Rufus Wainwright, Juvenile, Cirque du Soleil, Stanley Clarke

jens2012Sweden’s Jens Lekman returns to the U.S. this fall for a tour in support of his upcoming album, “I Know What Love Isn’t.” The album is out in September and the tour comes to the Variety Playhouse on Oct. 16. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 29. Photo: Kristin Lidell

ON SALE NOW
Elements of Style. 9 p.m. June 29. Vinyl. $10; $5 in advance. TA.
Juvenile,  A$AP Ferg. 9 p.m. July 5. The Loft. $20. TA.
Lindsay Rakers Band, the Bitteroots, 16 Acres. 9 p.m. July 14. Vinyl. $10; $6 in advance. TA.
Stalley. 9 p.m. July 27. The Loft. $15. TA.

CANCELED
Maxwell. 8 p.m. July 27-28. Philips Arena. LN.

ON SALE JUNE 29
Legends of the Fall Tour/Jagermeister Madness Concert with EDUBB, Kilo Ali, Jackie Chain. July 19. Smith’s Olde Bar – Music Room. $10 in advance. TA.
Stanley Clarke Band. 8 p.m. Aug. 12. Variety Playhouse. $35; $32.50 in advance. TM.
Meek Mill. 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14.The Tabernacle. $35. LN.
Ethan Bortnick, Kidz Bop. 7 p.m. Aug. 15. Center Stage. $34-$48.50. TM.
Ramin Karimloo.

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Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on R. Kelly

On Tuesdays, we’ll take a look at some new releases for the week, including a spotlight review. Kicking things off is Chicago soul man, R. Kelly.

R2R. Kelly, “Write Me Back”

With his 2010 “Love Letter” album, R. Kelly proved that he could shelve the salacious bedroom chatter that highlight so many of his songs in favor of something a bit more meaningful, like, say, love.

The album, which was nominated for a Grammy for best R&B album this year but lost to Chris Brown, showcased a genuine affection for classic soul music and Kelly is savvy enough to stick with that direction for now (his promised return to raunchiness, “Black Panties,” is on hold until next year).

On “Write Me Back,” available today, he slides from the slick groove of “Feelin’ Single” to the Smokey Robinson/Motown vibe of “Fool for You” with effortless grace. His voice naturally fits these giddy love songs, many of which lean back to the ‘70s for their influence – “Love Is” could …

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One Direction merch on sale hours before concert

No need to identify these guys because the people who care already know who is who, right? But here they are at the Beacon in New York last month. Photo credit: Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

No need to identify these guys because the people who care already know who is who, right? But here they are at the Beacon in New York last month. Photo credit: Neilson Barnard, Getty Images

If you’re so eager to hand over $30 for a One Direction T-shirt or $15 for a glow-in-the-dark wristband, the Arena at Gwinnett Center is facilitating your desires.

Starting at 1 p.m. today, a concert merchandise stand will open outside the main entrance of the venue. The usual assortment of T-shirts, posters, tour programs, photos and sweatshirts will be available for purchase – hours before the Tuesday  concert.

The stand is expected to remain open until 7 p.m. Oh, and they’ll happily accept cash or credit cards.

If you couldn’t score a 1D ticket, you’ll have to make do with listening to “One Thing” on repeat, because the show is completely sold out. But you can still find some seats for the boys’ June 21 (2013) show at Philips Arena.

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Lady Antebellum scores with winning formula

Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood get their first look at the sold-out crowd. All photos: Robb D. Cohen

Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood get their first look at the sold-out crowd. All photos: Robb D. Cohen

Take two good-looking, talented guys, a pretty girl with honeyed vocals and a batch of polished country-pop.

 Hard to go wrong there, isn’t it?

 That’s the formula that has launched Lady Antebellum from middling country trio to Grammy-hog superstars in just four years and it’s a recipe that sold out the Gwinnett Center Arena Friday night.

 The threesome of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are so successful because of the sum of their parts. Scott’s sweet voice nicely complements Kelley’s nasal twang, and while Haywood is a tremendous talent who easily bops from guitar to mandolin to guitar, he’s also the shy type who might have otherwise toiled as a Nashville studio musician if not for Lady
A.

 Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. Those Nashville players and songwriters are some of the best in music.

 But instead, …

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Maxwell tour canceled

Photo: Eric Johnson

Photo: Eric Johnson

Vocal cord issues have sidelined another top-notch singer.

Maxwell has canceled his specialized summer tour because he’s developed definitive vocal cord edema and a vocal cord hemorrhage. The soul singer has been advised by doctors to go on complete vocal rest.

Maxwell was slated to play July 27-28 at Philips Arena as part of a three-city tour – Los Angeles and Newark, N.J., were the others – where he planned to perform some of his albums in their entirety.

“I’ve temporarily damaged my voice. I’ve had issues before during other tours, but was able to power through. I’ve been strongly advised to rest and undergo treatment,” Maxwell said in a statement.

Refunds are available at point of purchase. Tickets bought online and through charge-by-phone will be automatically credited to your credit card.

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By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

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Friday Riffs: Cover songs from Carly to Kristin

My cousin Michael is one of my favorite people on the planet. He’s also an unabashed music lover with an unhealthy addiction to cover songs. The guy has playlists on his iPod devoted to tunes such as Brandi Carlile’s version of “Hallelujah” and Train’s “Ramble On” – both of which are fantastic, BTW.

So for this first installment of our fun Friday lists, a feature I’m dubbing “Riffs,” here is a handful of cover tunes you might want to check out.

I’m starting with a favorite of both mine and Michael’s, a remake of the Traveling Wilburys’ wonderfully poignant 1988 song, “Handle with Care.” This take comes from Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley from her 2006 album with The Watson Twins, “Rabbit Fur Coat.”

Feel free to weigh in with some of your favorite covers in the comments section. And happy hunting through this site.

Jason Mraz is this month’s guest on Daryl Hall’s extremely cool web show, “Live from Daryl’s House,” and while the pair – and …

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Def Leppard talks ‘Rock of Ages’ – the song and movie

Def Leppard (l-r) Vivian Campbell, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Joe Elliott and Rick Allen are taking advantage of the "Rock of Ages" connections. Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Def Leppard (l-r) Vivian Campbell, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Joe Elliott and Rick Allen are taking advantage of the "Rock of Ages" connections. Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

So “Rock of Ages” wasn’t quite the blockbuster some had hoped.

But despite its lackluster box office showing – it made just under $20 million its first five days and has a long way to go to recoup its $75 million production budget – the movie boosted the profile of Def Leppard.

Along with sharing a title with the band’s song from its 1983 “Pyromania” album, the film resurrected the profile of the English quintet (though guitarist Vivian Campbell is an Irishman) among those who hadn’t given Def Leppard much thought in recent years.

The band even took the opportunity to re-record two of its hits, “Rock of Ages” and the strip-club anthem “Pour Some Sugar on Me” for the soundtrack and made them available on digital platforms – a first for them.

The added publicity certainly …

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