<p>Snoop Dogg being Snoop Dogg</p>

Snoop Dogg being Snoop Dogg

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg pay homage to 420 Day

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Asher Roth also weighs in

Happy 420! Could the international day to hail all things pot have any better spokespeople than Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg? The answer is resoundingly no. And just in case they haven’t made their love of the herb clear enough, they return today with “Roll Me Up & Smoke Me When I Die,” from Nelson’s forthcoming album, “Heroes.” Listen to it here.

If the song is new to you— it's a standard in Nelson's live show —the surprise is that this version is a rollicking, country tune that stands on its own merits as a truly enjoyable song, as opposed to some novelty. The musicianship is great, the outlaw country attitude is essential, the picking is delicious, guests Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson add just the right amount of gravel, and, believe it or not, Snoop is totally convincing on a a country track.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Ziggy and Robbie Marley talk about new Bob Marley doc, 'Marley'

Watch: Ziggy and Robbie Marley talk about new Bob Marley doc, 'Marley'

What part affected them the most; why Ziggy told his sister not to see it

More than 30 years after his death, Bob Marley remains one of the most loved and influential musicians in the world.

“Marley,” a new documentary by filmmaker Kevin MacDonald (“The Last King of Scotland,” chronicles the reggae superstar’s exceedingly humble roots in Jamaica through his rise to global icon and his untimely death at only 36 in 1981.

The movie opens in theaters tomorrow (4/20), but will also stream on Bob Marley's Facebook page. Proceeds from the Facebook sales will go to Save The Children.

MacDonald focuses not only on Marley’s music, but his lifestyle (he fathered 11 children with seven women), and the influence he had throughout the world, primarily the third world, as a symbol of peace, love, and equality.  The film also examines how Marley was savvy enough, at a very young age, to realize how politicians tried to exploit his popularity for their own gain, as well as the assassination attempt on his life two nights before his free concert in Jamaica.

Marley’s son, Ziggy, served as one of the film’s executive producers. After false starts by both Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme, Ziggy says he felt MacDonald captured the right  “emotional” beats of Marley’s life. “We met with Kevin and whenI saw the first cut, we knew this decision was a good decision... it had emotional impact. I like that...I’ve never seen anything with my father that has emotional impact before.”

Both Ziggy and Robbie share in their interview with Hitfix  that the doc footage covering the end stages of their father’s life, while he battled cancer in Germany, was, understandably, the hardest to watch (Both were very young when Marley died: Ziggy was 12, Robbie was 9). In fact, they advised their sister, Cedella, who is very outspoken in the movie about how difficult it was to share her father with the rest of the world, not to see the movie.


 

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<p>Rush</p>

Rush

Credit: Roadrunner Records

Listen: Rush takes off on new single, 'Headlong Flight'

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New album, tour coming as well for venerated rock trio

Rock titans Rush return with “Clockwork Angels,” the band's first studio album in five years, on June 12.

First single, “Headlong Flight” landed at rock radio today (19). The full song, embedded below,  is more than 7 minutes long. As the title suggests, the protagonist longs to take flight. Neil Peart’s drumming sounds as amazing as always:  it anchors the shifting tempos and moods, as Alex Lifeson’s guitar work soars above it all.  Geddy Lee’s vocals are strong, but they don’t stand out as his most potent, especially since they are fairly down in the mix (until near the end). It’s an opus that floats along without a hint of a chorus, but is compelling as different elements come into play. Plus, given there’s a mechanical voiceover that comes in around 4:15, it seems as if there’s a narrative here that will become clearer as we hear more of the album.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Carrie Underwood</p>

Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Six things we learned from Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' sampler

Hear snippets of the May 1 album now

Carrie Underwood’s new album, “Blown Away,” doesn’t come out for almost two more weeks, but a 7-minute sampler of snippets from  the “American Idol” winner’s fourth studio album has surfaced on jonalisblog.com and they're very revealing. Click on the link to hear.

We’ll review the album when we get to hear the whole thing in full, but here are five things we can glean from the sampling. Mark Bright produced the set.

1) She’s dealing with a few demons from her past. In the dramatic title cut, she sings “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house.”  Like Martina McBride, she does drama well.

2) Underwood only grows more and more confident in her vocal abilities. After “Idol,” she didn’t quite seem to know how to harness her talents, but she’s only gotten stronger and stronger with each album in terms of knowing when to belt, when to hold back, and feeling sure about her choices.

3) She’s wasn't done with the cheating songs after "Before He Cheats."  On “Two Black Cadillacs,”  her man has been caught fooling around and there’s going to be hell to pay.

4) Though first single, “Good Girl” is a raucous affair, it sounds like the album is a strong mix of ballads and uptempo tunes, plus she straddles the line between pop and country (listen to how many fiddles and banjos are in this sampler alone). Sounds like there’s a lot of depth on “Blown Away.”

5) Even though Underwood has said that the time isn’t right for her and hubby, hockey player Mike Fisher,  to  have kids yet, she’s ready to sing about it. “Forever Changed” includes a verse about “blooming” from within when pregnant.

6) She wants to make us cry again. We've barely dried our tears from "Temporary Home," but even the little bit of "Good In Goodbye" was enough to make us sniffle a little.

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Dick Clark in 1959
Dick Clark in 1959
Credit: AP Photo

Reflections on a childhood spent with Dick Clark and his unforgettable advice

Memories of "American Bandstand" and more

My childhood had two DJs: Casey Kasem and Dick Clark.

Long before I started to develop my own musical taste, it was dictated to me weekly by these musical titans: Clark through my weekly dose of “American Bandstand” on TV and Kasem via “American Top 40” on radio, which started at noon on Sundays (which meant I inevitably missed hearing Nos 40-36 since we wouldn’t be home from church yet when the countdown started, but that’s a story for another time).

When word came down of Clark’s passing today from a massive heart attack at 82, my memory immediately turned to Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. in my living room in our house in Raleigh, N.C.  My older sister, Jeannie,  and I would plunk down in front of the TV and watch Dick Clark and his long white microphone.  We knew all the star dancers by name (I vaguely remember a Louis and a Karen), and wondered if they were couples off-screen. We’d ooh and aah as they gyrated in a very G-rated fashion—unlike on “Soul Train”— in their polyester prints (this was the ‘70s, after all). The boys/men all had their hair parted in the middle, with their shirts unbuttoned down their chests, and the girls’ hair was straight as a stick, until “Charlie’s Angels” debuted, and then imitating Farrah Fawcett’s feathered locks became all the rage—for both the guys and girls. When The Village People craze began, there were  cowboy and construction worker wanna bes strutting their stuff on “AB.”  As much as “American Bandstand” set trends, it picked up on them just as quickly, especially during the “Saturday Night Fever” days.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Nelly Furtado's &quot;Big Hoops&quot;</p>

Nelly Furtado's "Big Hoops"

Listen: Nelly Furtado returns with 'Big Hoops' from new album

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Who does she sound like to you?

Nelly Furtado, who’s traversed a number of musical styles over her decade-long career, lands squarely in Rihanna territory with “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better),” the first single from her June 19 album,  “The Spirit Indestructible.”

Produced by  Rodney Jerkins, the tune, co-written by Furtado and Jerkins, has the rat-a-tat swagger of “Rude Boy” as Furtado, in her best street patois, lets us know, “I can go fast, I can go slow, I can go places nobody else goes.” It’s a meaningless little ditty that is all about the military beat and bragging rights (though she throws out a fun shout out to early ‘90s R&B boy band Another Bad Creation). It doesn’t have enough of a hook to work its way up the radio charts (especially since the shift to pure pop), but will likely do very well in the clubs.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Gotye at Coachella</p>

Gotye at Coachella

Credit: AP Photo

Gotye becomes 'Somebody' with a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Australian singer displaces fun.'s 'We Are Young'

It started as a internet viral sensation months ago, and now Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra has found its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Propelled by Gotye’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” on April 14 and Darren Criss and guest Matt Bomer’s remake of the song on April 11’s “Glee,” the song rocketed in digital downloads last week, soaring to 542,000 copies. That was enough to send it past the  521,000 tally that Justin Bieber hit just two weeks ago with “Boyfriend.” The highest weekly total still belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” according to Billboard, at 636,000 in 2009.

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<p>Axl Rose performing in London in 2010.</p>

Axl Rose performing in London in 2010.

Credit: AP Photo

He's Back! Axl Rose pens another missive, apologizes to Cleveland and fans

Does he regret standing up the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Is Axl Rose having second thoughts about not showing up for Guns N' Roses' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 14?

For the second time in a week, Rose has taken pen to paper to eloquently reveal his thoughts about the matter.  As you recall, last week, he wrote a letter about why he would not attend the ceremonies.On Tuesday night, he posted a letter on Guns N' Roses website apologizing to the city of Cleveland for not showing up. We've printed it in full below, but it sounds like part of him was just plain scared of the reception he'd get (By the way, the former members of GNR who did show up looked like they were having a blast).

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Justin Bieber on this evening's episode of "The Voice".
Justin Bieber on this evening's episode of "The Voice".
Credit: NBC

Watch: Justin Bieber announces release date for 'Believe' on 'The Voice'

Plus, gives the 4,356 sneak peak of 'Boyfriend'

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Justin Bieber showed up on “The Voice” tonight to show “the world premiere from a clip of my video, ‘Boyfriend’.”

For those who are counting, this is the fourth teaser from the video and we still don’t know when the full music video is premiering. That will be an announcement for another day. Drip, drip, drip.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Maxwell</p>

Maxwell

Credit: AP Photo

Maxwell is probably not coming to a town near you on 3-city tour

R&B superstar will play entire albums each night

Maxwell will hit the road, in a very limited way,  for the first time in two years this summer when stops in three cities to perform his four albums in their entirety.

Taking a page from acts like Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen, the R&B superstar will devote the evening’s performance to “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” and “Embrya” or the combo of “Now” and “Blacksummers’night.”

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