This list of the year's best country albums is assembled with two important premises in mind: First: If the people who record and listen to these records consider them country, than they're damn well country. Purists who argue that country should still sound like '68, '76, '84 or whenever are in the ... More >>
Sometime in the blurry '80s, I saw Aretha Franklin in concert at Lincoln Center! Think that's incongruous? Well, Aretha's opening act was Marvin Hamlisch! Actually, this booking wasn't all that bizarre, since Hamlisch had cowritten a number one R&B tune for Aretha ("Break It To Me Gently") and al ... More >>
Two of my "best bashes in history" were casino galas that were outrageouly lavish and star studded, just the way events in a glitzy gambling temple should be. First of all: The opening of the Mohegan Sun Hotel and spa in Connecticut in 2002 How's this for a gala weekend? Friday night in the bi ... More >>
This month, to celebrate the Internet's unbridled love for wallowing in nostalgia and even greater relishing of talking about why certain cultural artifacts are horrible, Sound of the City presents First Worsts, a series in which our writers remember the first time... they ever hated a song enough t ... More >>
This is the biggest must-see tragic viewing since Michael Jackson's memorial (though her family wants quite a different feeling -- something smallish and intimate). It will be poignant, tearful, and filled with people who loved and felt for Whitney, as well as some who probably asked too much of he ... More >>
Rap royalty loves the Queen of Soul. Or, at least, some very prestigious hip-hop types have found the intimate grooves of Aretha Franklin's discography to be fine and fertile fodder for their sampling kicks. So with Franklin preparing to warble her way through a couple of back-to-back shows a ... More >>
Some of these ladies aren't still plus-sized -- and a bunch of them aren't even alive -- but whatever the case, they have all been through plump periods of the soul. And their apparent lack of vomiting skills always gave them a refreshing heft, big lungs, and an ability to transcend their potential ... More >>
Bryan HorowitzIn this week's Voice I talked about the new album by Kelly Clarkson, inaugural American Idol and the pop star who seems most likely to be a rip-roaring time at a coffee klatsch/Tupperware party/gathering of pals. The show that put her on the map, of course, is known for putting ... More >>
Here are my top 10 bouts of musical rage. If you disagree with me, I'll be furious! (10) "We're Not Gonna Take It"--Twisted Sister Infectious anger at its most rollicking. I always felt this song was the musical equivalent of "I'm mad as hell" from Network.
I'm not interested in the paint-by-numbers ones designed to make a quick buck. Here are the six cover tunes that I feel brought the most originality and fresh energy to standard tunes, making it more than worth the effort to do the remaking. (6) "It's My Life" by No Doubt. (2003.) Gwen Ste ... More >>
Yeasayer. Here's hoping things are a bit warmer than this for their shows this summer. Today Live Nation announced a slew of shows at Long Island's Nikon at Jones Beach Theater and New Jersey's PNC Bank Arts Center, and in addition to the many classic rock acts (with "classic rock" now being ... More >>
Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives. June 15, 1972, Vol. XVII, No. 24 Elvis: The last laugh By Carman Moore I think I know who Elvis Presley is. Wasn't he the guy who was always combing his hair, because he knew the girls would be watching? Wasn't he the guy who didn't ... More >>
It's the return of the most talked-about Grammy Awards live blog--a collection of quips, blips, and arguably insightful observations that dares to match the actual Grammy telecast in terms of pure spectacle and Justin Bieber mentions. Please join our hosts Tom Breihan and Ryan Dombal below, and keep ... More >>
That's pretty much what a friend told me the other day, and before you reach for the straitjacket, let me inform you that he's an educated and quite savvy person who does leave the house a lot. "I am blown away by the Jessica Simpson Xmas special on PBS," he texted me, ecstatic and totally s ... More >>
Pee-wee Herman is doing his zippy Broadway show of bratty antics at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, which is a funny observation in itself, but not so riotous is the fact that the place is colder than showbiz can be after you've had a sex scandal.
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, had to cancel her free Coney Island concerts next week because of "fractured ribs and a pain in the abdomen." Our hearts are with her, but it's obvious that the woman hasn't become that unglued by this cancellation, seeing as she's still thinking about the ... More >>
Still talking about sex, albeit very briefly. Pics by Rebecca Smeyne, more below.Salt-N-Pepa/Naughty by Nature/Slick Rick Wingate Field Monday, August 2 "Y'all look like a free concert out here," notes Salt wryly, shortly before launching into "I'll Take Your Man" in front of, indeed, thousa ... More >>
You knew this was coming! The former Secretary of Defense with the longtime Queen of Soul. Together in concert! In a highly unusual July 27 event at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Aretha Franklin will be joined by Condoleeza Rice, who will play piano on "Say A Lit ... More >>
The Broadway revival of Fences is star-studded enough, thank you, due to performances by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. But last night, the celeb wattage increased significantly when Will and Jada Smith walked into the audience.
Blues upstarts offer some bad romance
If you're saying "Aretha who?" and "Liza wha'?" then not only shouldn't you be reading the rest of this, you should never speak to my ass again! The two legendary divas are in a Snickers commercial (which airs starting February 15) titled, appropriately, "Divas," and it's short, but (you know I ... More >>
Happy birthday, Soul!
Ooooh plus "Iron Man" Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Celebration Madison Square Garden Friday, October 30 "When we were down, rock 'n' roll lifted us up," says Tom Hanks in his introductory remarks for the final night of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's benefit-concert extravaganza ... More >>
Remember Greg Scarnici, the white guy who did the hilarious Aretha Franklin homage which I posted on this blog after the inauguration? No? Well, now he's done a parody of Top Chef as if it were a gay Bravo show called Top Top!
Can anyone just put a mutant bow on their head and wail out "My Country 'Tis of Thee" while ushering in a whole new dawn? No, but soul legend Aretha Franklin did it at the inauguration and managed to astound with her gravitas and her amazing hat. Well, now, Greg Scarnici--whom I know from having d ... More >>
11:50 a.m. Dianne Feinstein has probably never had a reception like this in her life. She welcomes the crowd as we "etch another line in the solid stone of history." Praises the "Non-violent struggles for justice and equality like the one" that led to this "sweet history of this hour" and "turning ... More >>
Leela Jamess Afro-rock could start a revolution
Soul classics from two greats, one a bit less familiar than the other
Prof's soul story subsumes civil rights and black power in gospel vision
Old dogs singin' slow songs and fairygodmotherfuckers for discerning dilettantes
How many queens does it take to fill Radio City Music Hall?
Dusty Springfield, 19391999
Six of these 12 picks recast known compositions, and only two of the six are in the rock tradition. But I did find one medium-obscure alt band worth writing about. One.