Piano Jazz: Linda Ronstadt
The popular singer traces the story of her life and career from her Arizona upbringing in a musical family and her rise to stardom in Southern California to her role in shaping 1970s sounds and her collaborations with fellow artists.
Notable Music by Linda Ronstadt:
Trio II: One of my absolute favorite albums! If you want to listen to some stellar acoustic & vocal performances, this is the album. Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris combine for their second album alternating lead vocal duties and harmony. They are backed by a crack band which provided the music for O Brother Where Art Thou. The album won a Grammy Award for their cover of Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush.”
Canciones De Mi Padre - Linda pays homage to her roots in this ranchera album. Linda is backed by Mariachi Vargas on this wonderful cd. The album demonstrates that she is one of few artists who cannot be categorized and that she has a unique ability record in multiple genres.
Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind - Contemporary Pop album featuring the mega commercial hit duet “Don’t Know Much” with Aaron Neville. This album begins with strong songwriting aided by lush orchestration and that voice. Among my favorites is “Adios” which was produced by Brian Wilson.
For Sentimental Reasons - No Linda Ronstadt list would be complete without including at least one of the collaborations with Nelson Riddle. Linda defied record labels, agents and critics to record “standards” during a time in which that was something pop/rock singers just didn’t do. For Sentimental Reasons proves that the third time was the charm as it is their best collaboration and includes “When You Wish Upon a Star,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “‘Round Midnight.”Share
All Things Considered: Lorde Doesn’t Have a Bentley, But The Charts Will Do
The Current: CD of the Week - Heroine by Lorde
The Current: Will You Join Lorde’s Team?
The Current: Album review: Lorde, ‘Pure Heroine’
2013 debut album from New Zealand singer/songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor AKA Lorde. It’d be easy to mistake Ella for a seasoned tunesmith from the American South, one who carries a heavy heart that’s been ravaged by careless men over time. But in truth, Lorde recorded these songs as a 16-year old Kiwi championed by the likes of Perez Hilton and Grimes. She has a timeless knack for songcraft with a sophisticated pop savvy that most people over 30 can’t find without collaboration. Lorde needs no collaborative hacks — she writes and sings her own songs. Even when she sings in her higher vocal range about teenage politics, Lorde carries herself with the grace and poise of someone like Beth Orton.Share
World Cafe: Patty Griffin On World Cafe
NPR Music: Patty Griffin: Tiny Desk Concert
NPR Music: Patty Griffin Sings A Song For Her Father
Patty Griffin’s much sought after Silver Bell is finally getting its official release. Silver Bell would have been Griffin’s third album. It was recorded in 2000 but went unreleased by A&M Records. Despite its years of limbo the album spawned two huge hits for the Dixie Chicks, who covered both ‘Top Of The World’ and ‘Truth #2’ for their 2002 Home album. Newly mixed by legendary producer Glyn Johns, Silver Bell includes 14 original songs that were recorded back in 2000 at Daniel Lanois’ Kingsway Studio in New Orleans. Emmylou Harris sings harmony on ‘Truth #2.’ Griffin’s latest album, American Kid, was released in May.Share
NPR: Review - Arctic Monkeys Endur American Love Affair
SoundCheck: Multi-Layered Pop Nostalgia
The Current: Album Review: AM by Arctic Monkeys
Album Review by Mark Wheat, host of The Current
After getting buzzed about on the Internet — still a relatively new phenomenon back in 2005 — Arctic Monkeys’ debut release in ‘06 went straight to #1 in the U.K. Their latest album, AM, is the fifth-straight release that has been to the top across the pond; no mean feat in this age of disposable, Internet-driven music careers. In the last 10 years, few British rock bands, however hooj over there, have managed to translate their success into American sales. But this week, AM sits at the top in the Alternative Billboard charts and at #28 in the Top 200.
The Arctic Monkeys have redesigned themselves especially for the U.S. market in a way that no recent U.K. bands have even attempted. The Clash were a perfect example of how to grow beyond your roots; even though one of their first hits was “I’m So Bored with the USA,” the Clash toured here more than any other punk band and soaked up a wide swath of the musical influences by taking old blues musicians on tour with them and by marinating their style in the hip-hop notions emanating from NYC during the ’80s.
The same is true of Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. His colloquial lyric style and cheeky persona were immediately labeled as being quintessentially British, and perhaps non-transferable over here; now, he’s lived in NYC and L.A., sports an Elvis quiff hairstyle, and loves rap artists and R&B producers. The band have also been mentored over the past few years by Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age, and this album was recorded in L.A. and in Joshua Tree, Calif. Alex says that the biggest influence Josh has had is teaching him the drama of a pause, but I would suggest that he’s been able to encourage the young band NOT to take themselves too seriously. Throughout this record, they try on several different styles of rock, some of which only work if you approach them with an ironic tongue in cheek, as Josh does.
For example, I take myself way too seriously, so track 4,”Arabella” sounds too much like an outtake from Black Sabbath’s first album. Track 5, “I Want It All,” is the weakest lyrically, from a man whose song craft I hugely admire, and the backing vocals make it sound like a Mud hit from the ’70s. (And if you don’t know Mud, you must see this video.)
Indeed, critiquing those two tracks in the heart of the album points to a soft belly, which could have been solved by cutting perhaps two tracks. This would have made a brilliant 10-song album, and it’s obvious that they attempted to make it flow as an old-style album would — even suggesting with the artwork that the record has two sides. Tracks 6 and 7 don’t improve my mood much, either, as they share a kind of self-referential nod to music appreciation; “No.1 Party Anthem” recalls the slowed euphoria of Pulp, and both detract from the main spirit of the rest of the songs that are all about girls, or perhaps even ONE girl, to the point that it could be considered a concept album. Alex has always been brilliant in creating characters in song, and this single focus for inspiration confines the canvas he has to work within. Especially when we know that he’s had a high-profile romance with TV host and model Alexa Chung, which apparently ended shortly before this album was written.
Tracks 8 through 11 salvage the work, though; track 9, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High,” covers the same idea as “Do I Wanna Know” which has a line: “Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few / ‘Cause I always do,” but the melody and slightly rushed chorus line borrows deep. And track 10, “Snap Out Of It,” is as good as the first two singles that have already been Current Chart hits and which interestingly are tracks 1 and 2.
I’d love to be able to say that AM ends on a high note, because the last song’s lyrics are by one of my heroes, punk poet John Cooper Clark. He was an early inspiration to Alex and even gave him the nod on using the band name, which no one else liked! But JCC’s strength is dense imagery and long tales of gloriously scuzzy characters. The song here “I Wanna Be Yours” is a short, sweet little ditty with one clever idea. Perhaps that again stresses the album’s theme? Alex wants that one girl to be his, enough said. How many songs in the history of music have had that theme?!
When you make at least three-and-a-half awesome singles from that idea on your fifth album, you have definitely earned your place in the rock ‘n’ roll canon — on BOTH sides of the pond!Share
Elton John’s The Diving Board, is his first studio album in seven years Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album features 12 new songs written by Elton and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin, as well as three piano interludes composed by the artist.
The Diving Board returns Elton John to the piano, bass and drums lineup that marked the artist s introduction to worldwide audiences more than 40 years ago. As Elton explains, In many ways, I feel like I m starting again, making records. Several years ago when beginning to work with T Bone and being in the studio with Leon Russell for The Union, I had to ask myself, What kind of music do I really want to make? , and I realized that I had to go back to go forward again. I needed to strip away the excesses and get back to the core of what I do as an artist. That s what The Diving Board represents. The Diving Board is the album I ve been waiting to make for decades. According to producer T Bone Burnett, The Diving Board is an album of music by a master at the peak of his artistic powers.Share