Jackson Browne

Interview: Jackson Browne: 'People want to see you stumble'

On his new tribute album and revisiting his past hits

Earlier this month, some of Jackson Browne’s friends, including Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt and many more, covered their favorite Browne tunes for  “Looking Into You: A Tribute to Jackson Browne.”

The set also included some newer singer/songwriters, like Griffin House and Bob Schneider, with whom he was not as familiar but now considers himself a fan.

The release comes at a time when Browne is working on a new album and so he was a little wary of revisiting some of his biggest hits, especially delivered in such an appealing way.

“It’s funny because you tend to compete with your younger self anyway. You tend to always try to do something worthy of what you’ve done already,” he said, when we interviewed him last week at the ASCAP Pop Awards. He was presenting the Founders Award to Tom Petty.  “[The tribute] comes at a time when I’m trying to make a new record and I didn’t really want to hear too much of that and it’s like ‘Damn, that’s good. That’s a great record.’ I’ve written a few songs, but who knew all this time that all these songs really needed was a singer.”

One of Browne’s new tunes already showed up on the internet, but, as he laughed about it in the video, it was hardly the version he wanted out there. It was during a performance when he “completely went blank” on the lyrics.  Though he’s fine with it now, he mused over the fact that, for better or worse, seeing him sing it badly, as opposed to all the nights he’s sung it perfectly, is what people want to see. “That’s what people want. They want to see you stumble.”

In the above interview, Browne also talks about artists he never misses when they come to town.  

 

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Ray LaMontagne
Credit: CBS

Review: Ray LaMontagne is a shining star on 'Supernova'

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With Black Keys' Dan Auerbach at the helm, LaMontagne makes breezy set

Ray  LaMontagne may be from New Hampshire, but on new album “Supernova,” he is in a decidedly West Coast frame of mind.

Time and again, he references California in the lyrics, name checking Beverly Hills, the Pacific Coast Highway, and Ojai.

And that’s not where the homage ends. Many of the songs on the singer/songwriter’s fifth studio set, out today (29), feel inspired by Southern California’s great songwriting era of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  “Ojai” would have fit right in on a Byrds album. Opening track, “Lavender,” is awash in so many Mamas & Papas and Strawberry Alarm Clock psychedelic swirls that you’ll be reaching for a peace sign, go-go boots, and a flower to  wear in your hair before listening further.

The release of “Supernova” comes 10 years after LaMontagne arrived in 2004 with “Trouble,” with his rugged, emotive vocal style drawing comparisons to everyone from Van Morrison and The Band to Joni Mitchell and his musical hero, Stephen Stills.

With his subsequent sets, the critical darling orbited around the same sun, switching it up just enough to  keep it interesting, including recording the last set, 2010’s “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise,” with his since-dispatched Pariah Dogs.  The set snagged the Grammy for best contemporary folk album, making it understandable if LaMontagne had decided to remain on the country-tinged roads that drove the success of that album.

Instead,  the reclusive LaMontagne seems to have loosened—and lightened— up a bit. On “Supernova,” he transforms from folkie to hippie, and the breezier tone serves him well.

In interviews, LaMontagne has talked about how songwriting had been a painful process for him until “Supernova,” when the songs seemed to flow. Pulling back on the throttle works for LaMontagne. This is the first album where he sounds as if he’s not gritting his teeth at times.

Credit also goes to producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who recorded the album over a three-week period at his Nashville studio. Using Auerbach’s choice of session players results in LaMontagne’s most cohesive, tight, and crisp album yet.

First single, “Supernova” is the most jubilant pop song LaMontagne has cut, even poppier than the soulful Stax salute, “You Are The Best Thing” from 2008’s “Gossip in the Grain.” Similar to that tune, he’s lavishing praise on the object of his affection, but “Supernova” has a jangle in its step that lifts it above that past effort. On ethereal “Airwaves,” light drums, a wispy organ, and a swaying hypnotic beat bolster LaMontagne’s sexy, delicate vocal delivery. On “She’s The One,” the closest thing “Supernova” has to a rocker, layered vocals and surf-styled guitars propel the atmospheric track.

LaMontagne crashes back to earth on the shape-shifting “Pick Up a Gun,” a hazy, dreamy  sonic kaleidoscope full of cascading melodies, their beauty contrasting with LaMontagne’s vitriolic refrain of  “I never want to see your face again.”

It’s never been LaMontagne’s style to go for the grand gesture; instead he draws the listener in as the courtly reluctant romantic. On “Supernova,” he does so with an easy charm, steeping his sound in the past, while sounding effortlessly fresh.

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Coldplay

Coldplay reveals new song, 'A Sky Full of Stars,' and love for One Direction

Check out second single from 'Ghost Stories'

Coldplay has now revealed five of the nine songs on “Ghost Stories,” and it’s safe to say, based on those tracks, that the album out May 19, is the group’s most atmospheric sonically. Hazy synths inform all of the songs we’ve heard so far and there’s a dream-like quality to all of them, although new single, "Sky Full of Stars," released today,  is definitely the most commercial and dance-y track so far.

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Telegraph

Exclusive: Telegraph's fun 'Rhinestone Chapel' video recalls 'The Hangover'

The trio recounts a night they'd rather forget

Nashville-based trio Telegraph may live in the country music capital of the world, but its breakthrough song, “Rhinestone Chapel,” is just as much pop rock as it is country.  The jangly, irresistible track, rooted in bouncy  guitars,  celebrates heading to the altar, even if the bride’s daddy is none too thrilled. But we bet even he can't resist tapping his toes to the catchy tune.

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Guy Sebastian
Credit: Brian Powers

Exclusive: The Chainsmokers' exuberant remix of Guy Sebastian's 'Like A Drum'

Listen to what the '#Selfie' producers do with the Australian superstar's hit

The Chainsmokers are best known as the duo behind viral sensation “#Selfie,” but with their remix of Guy Sebastian’s infectious “Like A Drum,”  Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall show off their considerable remixing prowess. HitFix is excited to exclusively debut the remix below.

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Beyonce and Jay Z wave hello
Credit: CBS

5 top reasons Beyonce and Jay Z 's On The Run tour is a smart move

Are the Carters coming to your town?

Mr. and Mrs. Carter, better known as Jay Z and Beyonce, will kick off their On The Run stadium tour June 25 at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium. Though both are bonafide superstars on their own, here are five reasons why two are better than one.

1. Beyonce only finished her Mrs. Carter World Tour last month, and while it's been a minute since she finished the U.S. portion, it's a bit soon for her to come back again to the U.S. as a solo act, unless she completely revamped the show.

2. Jay Z might be able to sell out stadiums by himself, but he's proven that he likes having a touring partner when it's time to hit the biggest of stages, whether it's his wife this summer or Justin Timberlake for last year's Legends of the Summer tour. In 2012, he and Kayne West tackled arenas together on their very successful Watch The Throne tour.

3. It's looking like a pretty strong summer touring season, especially for stadiums, between Beyonce/Jay Z, Eminem/Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Jason Aldean, One Direction, Luke Bryan and George Strait, not to mention the ever proliferating number of festivals that drain that allow fans a huge bang for their buck, so it only makes sense to provide as much ammo for fans to come to a show as possible by providing two superstars at a ticket price that will probably be less than it would be to see each one separately.

4.  By now, Beyonce and Jay Z have enough songs they've performed together that they could do their own solo portions and then an entire segment together, including "03 Bonnie and Clyde," "Drunk in Love," "Crazy in Love" and the tour's namesake,  "Part ll (On The Run)." Instead of two artists who just happen to be touring together, they have a history of songs that they can now recreate live together.

5. And, of course, the most obvious: They can have a nice summer vacation with Blue Ivy as they criss cross the country together in style.

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Frozen

Ice Age continues as 'Frozen' stays at the top of the charts

Iggy Azalea blooms on the Billboard 200

Frozen” continues its supremacy atop the Billboard 200 next week as the Disney soundtrack continues to outpace its nearest competitor 2 to 1.

Look for “Frozen” to sell up to 110,000 copies next week, twice that of Iggy Azalea’s “The New Classic,”  which will bow at No. 2 (55,000).

Also bowing in the Top 10 next week will be Future’s “Honest” at No. 3 (50,000) and Neon Trees’ “Pop Psychology” at No. 7 (20,000).

Otherwise, the rest of the Top 10 consists primarily of holdovers from this week. Hip hop artist August Alsina’s “Testimony” falls 2-4 (22,000),  Pharrell Williams’ “G I R L” rebounds 7-5 (21,000), Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” holds at No. 6, Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” remains at No. 8 (18,000), Shakira’s self-titled set slides back into the Top 10, rising 11-9 (18,000) and 5 Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect” EP drops 9-10 (16,000), according to Hits Daily Double.

 

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Paul Williams

Paul Williams on Daft Punk and taking del Toro’s 'Pan’s Labyrinth' to Broadway

Plus, why 'The Rainbow Connection' remains in our hearts

“There were a lot of people under 40 going. ‘Who the hell’s that spiky-haired little guy up there accepting that award’,” joked legendary songwriter Paul Williams about his winning this January’s  Grammy for album of the year for his work on Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories.”  That’s someone who got nominated for his first Grammy in 1972, that’s who.

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Tiesto

Tiesto returns with new album, 'A Town Called Paradise,' in June

Watch the video for new track, 'Wasted,' now

Superstar DJ Tiesto returns with his fifth album, “A Town Called Paradise,” on June 16 and he’s bringing some friends with him.

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Mariah Carey

5 Things You Need to Know about Mariah Carey's new album

Why Jermaine Dupri should play professional poker

We’ll give him this much: Mariah Carey’s co-manager and producer Jermaine Dupri has a good poker face. When we interviewed Dupri on Wednesday at the ASCAP Awards, he said Carey’s album was still coming out in May (any maybe it is, given the timing of today's Billboard cover story on Carey) and he got a little feisty with us about the singles released so far not doing particularly well. Apparently, he just wanted to save his cannon fire for the Billboard story, which comes out in full on Monday. He did tell us that she will tour behind the new album, so there's that...

Today, billboard.com teased several items from Monday’s story. Here are five things we learned:

*The album's release will be a surprise. There’s a reason we haven’t heard anything more about the previously announced May 6 release date or an album title: that’s because Carey now plans to drop the album, the track listing, cover art, and title all at once to a digital provider…kind of like what Beyonce did with “Beyonce” or what Skrillex did. Except that in some ways it’s not like that at all since Carey’s now revealed that’s what she plans to do. So the only surprise is what date the album will drop, as opposed to being shocked that there’s new material at all. The album will come out on CD a week following the digital release.

*The album title has a very personal meaning: The album title, whatever it may be under God’s green earth, is named for “a personal possession of mine that’s part of an entity that I’ve had almost all my life,” Carey told Billboard.  Hmmm.  I’m guessing it’s called “Dancer” or something like that from a musical jewelry box Carey had with a little twirling ballerina in it.  Plug in your suggestion in the comments below.

*She’s cut how many songs? In the Billboard piece, she says that a friend made her a playlist with “1,000 of my songs on it.” What? Come again? Carey has put out 13 studio album, so that’s around 130 tracks. Add in her guest appearances on other people’s songs, all the remixes, and assorted other things and we still can’t figure out how she got to 1000. Can you?

*It takes a village to make a Mariah album: In addition to Dupri and her long-time collaborator Rodney Jerkins, the album which shall not be named also includes contributions from Hit-Boy and Mike Will Made It, and feature such guests as Wale, Nas, and Trey Songz. Plus, she teases that there’s another special guest “I’m not allowed to reveal.” It’s her record… she may not WANT to reveal it, but it’s not that she’s not “allowed to.” Regardless, we don’t reckon it’s Nicki Minaj, although that would be awesome!

*Going back to the well: Unbelievably, given how much she hated her time on “American Idol” with her arch nemesis Minaj, Carey says she won’t rule out returning to reality TV, but this time she’s be in control. She told Billboard she has TV talent competition up her sleeve and she will serve as executive producer. “I’m so very excited that’s finally coming to fruition.”

 

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