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Archive for December, 2012

It’s the end of the world in a playlist

The Mayan calendar stops tomorrow, and some folks think the world will, too. We’re not so sure, but why not sing and dance about it, anyway?

As we did with the predicted Rapture of 2011, we’ve put together a list of songs to accompany this momentous event (or, perhaps, non-event, since we didn’t even bother to put it in our best bets for this week). The guy who predicted it even re-calculated his dates after the original day came and went without incident.

If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate, there are plenty of options in and around Atlanta. If you just want to sit home and ponder the end with music, try these tunes.

“It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)” – R.E.M.
Let’s start with the obvious, this word-packed gem from the guys from Athens.

“End of the World” – Skeeter Davis
Here’s a yearning early ’60s classic. Sweet, but a real tearjerker.

“End of the Road” – Boyz II Men
This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

“Dust in the Wind” – …

Continue reading It’s the end of the world in a playlist »

Carrie Underwood powers through slick show

Underwood put on a great show despite not feeling well. Photo: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

Underwood put on a great show despite not feeling well. Photo: Akili-Casundria Ramsess

Over the weekend, Carrie Underwood was forced to postpone one concert and graciously vowed to donate the proceeds from another to charity because she felt she hadn’t performed sufficiently because of a pesky cold.

At her sold-out Wednesday gig at The Arena at Gwinnett Center, the lovely blonde country-pop singer soldiered through what was clearly a difficult performance for her. But, while she could be seen coughing frequently between songs – and even during them – constantly sipping from a bottle of water and sounding increasingly husky-voiced whenever she addressed the crowd, her singing voice is such a brawny instrument that even sickness couldn’t quash it.

For nearly two hours, Underwood and her airtight eight-piece band powered through a super-slick production that featured five costume changes (some so hideous that only someone as comely as Underwood could pull them off), more …

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Tickets: Lalah Hathaway, Corey Smith, Deftones, Ron White

Lalah Hathaway at Variety PlayhouseLalah Hathaway returns to the Variety Playhouse in February. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 21. Photo: Raymond Hagans

RESCHEDULED

Sarah Brightman. 8 p.m. Oct. 9.  Fox Theatre. $104-$255. LN.

ON SALE DEC. 19

Ron White. Third show added. 8 p.m. Feb. 1. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. $47.75-$57.75. TM.

ON SALE DEC. 21

Corey Smith. 8 p.m. Feb. 23. The Tabernacle. $24.50. LN.

Lalah Hathaway. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. Variety Playhouse. $35; $32.50 in advance. TM.

The Deftones. 8 p.m. March 17. The Tabernacle. $33. LN.

Brit Floyd: P-U-L-S-E 2013. Featuring performances of five full Pink Floyd album sides from “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “The Wall,” “The Division Bell”  and “Animals.” 8 p.m. April 2. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. $37.50-$57. TM.

UPCOMING SHOWS

Carrie Underwood. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Gwinnett Arena. $46-$66. TM.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich. 8 p.m. Dec. 19. Vinyl. $15; $12 in advance. TA.

Concrete Blonde. 8 p.m. Dec. 19.

Continue reading Tickets: Lalah Hathaway, Corey Smith, Deftones, Ron White »

A holiday giveaway: Free Christmas CDs!

[We have our winner! Congrats to Kim Winston, who was randomly selected to win the pack of Christmas CDs. Thanks for sharing your favorite songs, and, as always,thanks for playing and reading. I should have some more fun stuff to give away before the end of the year.

Happy holidays!

Melissa]

Recently, I wrote about some new Christmas albums out this holiday season.

WinnieThePooh_ChristmasToo_new1One of the blessing/curse scenarios of writing about music is that CDs tend to accumulate (yeah, I do the digital thing, but I still prefer to pop an old-fashioned CD in my car or stereo), and as the holidays bulldoze toward us, I’ve found myself with a few extras.

So I’m going to make like Santa Claus and give away a three-pack of Christmas CDs to one reader (the package will contain The Beach Boys’ “Christmas Harmonies,” Lady Antebellum’s “On This Winter’s Night” and Chicago’s double-disc, “Ultimate Christmas Collection”).

All you need to do to potentially win is leave a comment here and tell me your favorite …

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Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on T.I.

T.I.-Trouble Man Heavy is the HeadT.I.’s “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head” was delayed so many times, fans started to wonder what he could possibly be doing.

Creating a mighty robust record, it turns out.

A week after Big Boi unleashed his stellar “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors,” another of Atlanta’s elite rappers returns with his eighth solo album, his first since 2010’s lukewarm “No Mercy.”

On “Trouble Man,” inspired by Marvin Gaye’s 1972 song of the same name, T.I. enlists a parade of guests, including his first official collaboration with Atlanta kingpin Andre 3000 on “Sorry,” a song that chugs along until Andre shows up and blows through your headphones with his sonic boom of a rap.

It doesn’t matter how musically adventurous T.I. is because his words deserve the spotlight. Still, the ominous keyboards that anchor “Trap Back Jumpin’” give the song a sophisticated cinematic-villain feel, while the heavy rock backbeat of “Wonderful Life,” featuring another Atlanta …

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Madonna rules the 2012 touring box office

 

Madonna is the year's top-grossing artists, according to Billboard. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/www.RobbsPhotos.com

Madonna is the year's top-grossing artists, according to Billboard. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/www.RobbsPhotos.com

Madonna is still the queen – at least at the touring box office.

Billboard released its Top 25 Tours of 2012, and the enduring pop icon – who played one of the last dates of her tour at Philips Arena last month – tops the list with a total gross of more than $228 million. Madonna performed 72 shows (all sold out) for 1.6 million people.

Aside from Coldplay at No. 5, the top slots are filled with music stalwarts, including Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at No. 2 (72 shows, 52 sell outs, total gross of $199 million, played for 2.17 million people), who kicked off thetour at Philips, and Roger Waters at No. 3 (72 shows, 51 sell outs, total gross of $186 million, played for 1.68 million).

The touring version of Michael Jackson’s Cirque du Soleil spectacle – which played three nights here over the summer – clocked in at No. 4, with “The Immortal World …

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Sarah Brightman postpones tour

Brightman at a press conference in Japan last month. Photo: Getty Images

Brightman at a press conference in Japan last month. Photo: Getty Images

To accommodate the completion of her album, Sarah Brightman is pushing back her 2013 “Dreamchaser” tour. That means her Feb. 21 date planned for the Fox Theatre will now be held Oct. 9 at the same location.

Brightman expects to release her “Dreamchaser” album in April.

“Whilst I regret any inconvenience that this rescheduling might have occasioned for those people who have already bought tickets, the restructuring of my worldwide album release plan made it inevitable. Clearly a concert is always more enjoyable if there is familiarity with the music being performed and given how important this new ‘Dreamchaser’ album is to me, I am keen for those attending my shows to hear it prior to the performance. I’m delighted with the new album and very excited about the show that I’ll be presenting in 2013,” Brightman said in a statement.

Already-purchased tickets will be honored at the new date, …

Continue reading Sarah Brightman postpones tour »

From Cee Lo to Scotty, music stars brighten the season with holiday releases

Every time you listen to a Christmas release from your favorite artist, just remember that it was likely recorded in the most un-Christmassy surroundings ever.

121512 christmas musicbMost acts with Christmas ambitions spend a chunk of the summer locked in the studio, often decorating their surroundings with Christmas trees, lights and, in some cases, fake snow to evoke the proper spirit.

This year’s crop of professional Christmas carolers might not break any new ground with their releases (Is there an “All I Want for Christmas Is You” or “Happy Xmas” among them? Not really.), but most of them serve their intended audiences well.

Here’s a look at what some of them created during those sweltering summer months.

Scotty McCreery, “Christmas With Scotty McCreery”: It seems early for a Christmas record from an artist who is still in the development stages and only on album No. 2. But McCreery, the Season 10 winner of “American Idol,” has always possessed a precocious level of maturity …

Continue reading From Cee Lo to Scotty, music stars brighten the season with holiday releases »

Organic music the star of Jingle Jam

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran impressed mightily with his set. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/www.RobbsPhotos.com

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran impressed mightily with his set. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/www.RobbsPhotos.com

A certain maturity hung over Star 94’s 11th annual Jingle Jam Thursday night at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.

That doesn’t mean it was populated with seniors. On the contrary, much of the crowd appeared to be high schoolers attending with friends or parents and at several points during the four-hour event – namely, whenever the names Phillip, Jason or Ed were mentioned – the screaming reached levels heard the night before at Philips Arena for Justin Bieber.

But with a lineup of Andy Grammer, Grace Potter (and a Nocturnal), Alex Clare, Phillip Phillips, Jason Mraz and wunderkind Ed Sheeran performing primarily acoustically, the emphasis was on music at its most organic.

That’s what we call…heartening.

This show wasn’t about lasers or pyro or dancing, but instead allowed some of these core acts from the station’s playlist to showcase their musical …

Continue reading Organic music the star of Jingle Jam »

Concerts: Carrie Underwood, Concrete Blonde, Chatham County Line

People-Carrie UnderwoodCarrie Underwood plays Gwinnett Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 19. Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

FRIDAY
Chatham County Line Holiday Show
North Carolina’s Chatham County Line puts an alt-country spin on bluegrass and on Christmas. The band’s holiday celebration began 10 years ago as a party for friends and family, but in 2009, they decided to take it on the road.
8:30 p.m. Dec. 14. $18. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

The Bonaventure Quartet
If you’re looking for some music to warm a chilly winter night, here’s a fine choice. With the sultry, silky voice of former Lost Continentals frontwoman Amy Pike and the gypsy-jazz flavored guitar of Charles Williams, Bonaventure is a marvelous musical melting pot. They add Southern sass to the smoky jazz of Parisian cabarets between the world wars. The band is just about finished with a new album to follow up the excellent 2008 release “The Secret Seduction of the Grand Pompadour.”
8 …

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