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Archive for October, 2012

Jason Aldean leads Georgia CMA nominees

 

Jason Aldean will perform at Fenway Park next year, as well as Sanford Stadium in Athens. Photo: Getty Images
Jason Aldean will perform at Fenway Park next year, as well as Sanford Stadium in Athens. Photo: Getty Images

Many of the faces are the same — such as five-time hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood — but the 46th CMA Awards will this year also spotlight the breakout years achieved by the Band Perry, Love and Theft, the Civil Wars and a few other country acts.

Of course the established star power in the forms of Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and even Lionel Richie, warmly embraced by the community after this year’s country duets album, “Tuskegee,” will be on sequined display Thursday night from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Eric Church, whose “Springsteen” is a leading contender, fronts the nominees with five, followed by Shelton and his wife, Miranda Lambert, with four each.

Heading the pack of Georgia nominees is Macon-born Jason Aldean, who is continuing his breakout year into 2013 with a just-announced stadium tour that will play Athens’ Sanford Stadium on April 13 …

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Trace Adkins to perform at Macy’s tree lighting ceremony

Adkins will bring his muscle to Macy's. Photo: Getty Images

Adkins will bring his muscle to Macy's. Photo: Getty Images

Trace Adkins, the country singer with the deep-barrel voice, will head the musical portion of Macy’s Great Tree lighting at Lenox Square Mall this year.

Adkins will be joined by Chris Mann, a season two finalist on “The Voice,” and Cymphonique Miller, star of Nickelodeon’s “How to Rock” show.

The ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. Thanksgiving night (Nov. 22), with the pre-show concert kicking off at 6:15 p.m.

Adkins is best known to some as a 2008 finalist on “The Celebrity Apprentice” (he lost to Piers Morgan) and to others as the distinctive voice behind hits such as “You’re Gonna Miss This,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and his latest, “Just Fishin’.”

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Taylor Swift sets records with ‘Red’

Taylor Swift performed on "Good Morning America" last week as part of her publicity rounds for "Red." Clearly, it worked. Photo: Getty Images

Taylor Swift performed on "Good Morning America" last week as part of her publicity rounds for "Red." Clearly, it worked. Photo: Getty Images

The Taylor Swift invasion continues.

The singer’s “Red” album, released last week, officially sold 1.208 million copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, more than any other album since Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” in 2002.

And, unlike the charts’ last massive seller, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” in May 2011 (1.108 million), Swift did it without any severely discounted prices (Amazon famously offered Gaga’s release for 99 cents on two days during its initial week out). “Red” was released on Monday, though, a day earlier than the usual release cycle.

Swift was also a ubiquitous presence in the past week, both personally, as she made numerous TV show appearances, and musically, as her CD was sold in unconventional locations including Walgreens and Papa John’s Pizza. Yes, Papa John’s Pizza.

The accomplishments of “Red,” which will, obviously, …

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Tickets: Jason Aldean, Yacht Rock Revue, Robert Earl Keen

Music-American Country AwardsMacon’s Jason Aldean brings his first headlining stadium tour to Sanford Stadium in April. Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 2. Photo: Eric Reed/Invision/AP

POSTPONED
Morrissey, Kristeen Young. 8 p.m. Dec. 3. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. $37-$53. TM.

ON SALE NOV. 2
The Yacht Rock Holiday Special. 8 p.m. Dec. 15. Variety Playhouse. $25; $20 in advance. TM.
The Last Waltz Ensemble. Dec. 22. Smith’s Olde Bar – Music Room. $15 in advance. TA.
Angela Reign. Jan. 5. Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta Room. $10 in advance. TA.
Robert Earl Keen. 8 p.m. Jan. 16. Variety Playhouse. $27.50; $25 in advance. TM.
California Guitar Trio. 8:30 p.m. Feb. 8. The Five Spot. $22; $20 in advance. TM.
The Bluefields. Feb. 23. Smith’s Olde Bar – Music Room. $12 in advance. TA.
Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett. April 13. University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium. LN.

UPCOMING SHOWS
Scratchtrack. Oct. 31. Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta Room. $10 in advance. TA.
An Evening with Primus. 8 …

Continue reading Tickets: Jason Aldean, Yacht Rock Revue, Robert Earl Keen »

Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on Aerosmith

aerosmith-music-from-another-dimension

The band's latest — to be released next week — is Aerosmith's 15th record.

[I'm on with my rock 'n' roll pal Kaedy Kiely at 97.1 The River every Wednesday at 6:50 and 7:50 a.m. to talk about the latest rock news. Tune in to hear what's up!]

Regardless of whether you’re an Aerosmith fan, you have to admire the band’s resiliency.

Breakups, makeups, drug addictions, infighting – they’re like a musical telenovela.

Fans have been anticipating “Music from Another Dimension” for more than a decade (yes, “Just Push Play,” their last original studio record, bowed in 2001) and for their 15th record, the Beantown Boys present 15 tracks.

Lifelong fans will probably appreciate the output, but truthfully, they could have used an editor, as the album is too-often bogged down by zipless fare such as the opening “LUV XXX” and no fewer than six ballads. Not that Aerosmith isn’t adept at slowing the tempo – “Dream On” will never lose its standing as a rock masterpiece – but with the …

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Susanna Hoffs endearing at intimate Eddie’s Attic show

Hoffs performed at the Grammy Museum in L.A. this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Hoffs performed at the Grammy Museum in L.A. this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Sometimes first shows go off without a hitch and, in the process, seem a little robotic and overplanned.

And other times, they’re endearingly loose, with a feeling of spontaneity and communal support.

Susanna Hoffs visited Eddie’s Attic on Monday for the first date of an 11-stop solo tour to support her splendid, ’60s-influenced album “Someday,” released this summer.

In a conversation last week, Hoffs admitted to feeling a bit nervous whenever she goes onstage without her longtime Bangles mates or frequent collaborator Matthew Sweet. On Monday, though, Hoffs didn’t seem nervous so much as wanting to get things right – the proper sound levels, the correct tuning on her guitar, the right feel to a song (she restarted the album’s single, “Picture Me” after the first verse because it didn’t sound quite right to her).

With some artists, this might come off as unprofessional or irritating, watching a band …

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Drummers to compete at Guitar Center Atlanta

If only I didn't live in an apartment and could get them out of storage.

If only I didn't live in an apartment and could get them out of storage.

Here’s a contest after my own heart(beat): Guitar Center Atlanta is one of 25 locations nationwide to host the quarter finals of their 24th annual Drum-Off contest. The rhythm-fest, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, is free to attend.

At the event, 11 store winners from Georgia and the Carolinas will compete for the chance to advance to the semi-finals on Nov. 20 and the finals, Jan. 19, in Hollywood, Calif. Each contestant will receive five minutes of set up time and three minutes to perform on a five-piece kit. Evaluation criteria includes skills, technique, style and stage presence.

The grand prize is pretty impressive – $25,000 in cash, a custom drum kit, an endorsement deal and a feature in Modern Drummer, among the perks. And if you aren’t convinced of the contest’s reach, consider this – past winners include the awesome Cora Coleman-Dunham, who has played with Prince and Beyonce, Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta …

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Susanna Hoffs talks solo album, Bangles and Matthew Sweet

Hoffs drew on her love of '60s music for her most recent solo album. Photo: Rebecca Wilson

Hoffs drew on her love of '60s music for her most recent solo album. Photo: Rebecca Wilson

A couple of decades ago, Susanna Hoffs was one of the darlings of pop.

Pretty, perky and armed with a honeyed voice that alternated between flirty (“Manic Monday”) and melancholy (“Eternal Flame”), Hoffs, as lead singer of ‘80s powerhouse band The Bangles, was the cool older sister with the cool friends (Vicki and Debbi Peterson on guitar and drums, respectively, and Michael Steele on bass).

Fast-forward to now and Hoffs, a crazily youthful-looking 53, is still playing the part.

On her recently released solo album, “Someday,” Hoffs’ dulcet tones are as effective as ever as they steer summery confections “Picture Me” and “One Day,” her well-documented love of ‘60s music splashed all over the record.

For “Someday,” her third solo release (her last came in 1996, in another music business lifetime), Hoffs worked with Nashville guitarist Andrew Brassell, a fixture on the club scene there …

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Remembering Natina Reed of Blaque

Natina Reed, 32, of Atlanta-based R&B group Blaque was killed on Friday after being struck by a car in Gwinnett County. Here’s our story on the fatal accident.

Blaque – which stands for Believing, Live, Achieving, Quest, Unity, Everything – is best known for their 1999 hits, “808” and “Bring it All to Me.” Their last radio presence, “I’m Good,” stalled at No. 95 on the Billboard R&B chart in 2004.

The group, which included Shamari Fears-Devoe and Brandi Williams, broke up for some of the 2000s, but the girls began working on a new album in 2005. It never was released.

Reed, a protégé of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, reunited with Blaque this summer for the Left Eye Music Festival at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in Decatur, where they performed an a capella version of “808.”

Here’s the video of “Bring it All to Me” if you’d like a memory of Reed.

And here’s an interview with Reed at the Left Eye Music Festival.

Continue reading Remembering Natina Reed of Blaque »

Mary Mary bring strong voices in ‘Go Get It’ tour

Mary Mary brings their vocal prowess to Symphony Hall. Photo: Monica Richardson
Mary Mary demonstrate their vocal prowess at Symphony Hall. Photo: Monica Richardson

By Monica Richardson

A few hours after the Mary Mary ‘Go Get It’ tour at Atlanta Symphony Hall Friday night I was still singing and dancing around the house. That should tell you just how good it was.

It was a fulfilling concert in more ways than one. It was a lot of music packed into just under three hours and a lot of ministry through music. It was pure church from the time opening acts VaShawn Mitchell and Isaac Carree stepped onto the stage until the time Mary Mary (Erica and Tina Campbell) closed out with their song “God in Me,” off the “Go Get It” CD released earlier this year.

I must admit, I expected a high drama performance, perhaps lots of wardrobe changes and more talking than singing. Waiting for the show to start Friday night a video showed scenes from the premiere of the “Mary Mary” reality television show, in its second season on WE, premiering Dec. 6. But there was only …

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