Inside Music with Melinda Newman
Phoenix and Kendrick Lamar tapped for Sweetlife Festival
Credit: AP Photo
Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, the Postal Service, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will headline this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival.
The alternative music festival takes place at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash., May 24-27.
The line-up also includes Sigur Ros, The xx, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Imagine Dragons, Grimes, Built to Spill and Alt-J, among others.
An internet pre-sale starts Feb. 6, with tickets going on sale to the general public on Feb. 9. Four-day passes are $337.50 and includes camping and parking.
For more information, go here.
In other festival news, Phoenix will headline Maryland's Sweetlife Festival, which takes place May 11 at the Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia. Other acts on the bill include Kendrick Lamar, Passion Pit, Solange and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Taylor Swift and Keith Urban are along for the ride on new album
Tim McGraw's 'Two Lanes of Freedom'
Credit: Big Machine Records
Tim McGraw started having hits with his second album in 1994, but he didn’t really get interesting until he ditched the hokiness of songs like “Indian Outlaw” and the treacly “Don’t Take The Girl” and started addressing life’s larger themes on 1999’s “A Place In The Sun.”
With songs like the yearning “Please Remember Me” and the wistful “My Next Thirty Years,” he started getting stronger material. By the time 2001’s “Set This Circus Down” came out, with such tracks as “Angry All The Time,” and the next album’s “Red Ragtop,” he had completely re-energized his career and given it a gravitas it has been missing.
On “Two Lanes of Freedom,” out today, the lite McGraw is largely in charge. On songs like last summer’s throwaway “Truck Yeah” and the infinitely better and bouncier “Mexicoma,” the only goal is good time, whether it’s in an effort to escape a past love or just get some mud on the flaps.
Maybe he’s feeling lighter because he’s finally been unshackled from his onerous contract with Curb Records and is now on Big Machine.
To be sure, there are hints of deeper meaning, such as on the poignant “The Book of John.” The cleverly-titled song details going through a father/husband’s photo albums and effects following his death as they head to his funeral. “It’s almost like he’s not really gone/and I know one day I’ll be passing on,” McGraw sings. As he’s moved into middle age, McGraw does death well.
Without McGraw’s own backstory, a song like “Number 37405” would just be another singer-turned-convict tale, but the story of the entertainer who goes to jail for killing someone while driving drunk has an added weight given that McGraw gave up drinking more than five years ago after he found it had too strong a hold on him.
The album, which is sure to be his 12th album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, begins and ends with the open road and the word “shotgun” here is reserved solely for the passenger front seat. On album opener “Two Lanes of Freedom,” a sense of wide open spaces is bolstered by the big backing vocals, redolent of fun.’s “Some Nights.” Closing tune, midtempo “Highway Don’t Care” is a sure future No. 1 as McGraw duets with Taylor Swift, who sounds sweet and all grown up here, on the tale of a man who just wants his lover to stay closer to home no matter how much the road calls. Keith Urban turns some tasty guitar work on the tune. Unlike some superstar projects (like McGraw’s duet with Kenny Chesney, “Rock Star), this combined effort seems more organic than an idea conceived in the VP of marketing’s office.
With McGraw feeling like he’s back in the driver’s seat, good things are sure to come. “Two Lanes” is a strong start, but it feels like only the tip of the iceberg, especially when fans know McGraw is capable of so much more range.
Carly Rae Jepsen takes on Miguel and Kelly Clarkson
Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"
As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at one of the big four general awards: the coveted Song of the Year.
Song of the Year nominees:
"The A Team" Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
"Call Me Maybe" Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
"We Are Young" Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)
WHO’S MISSING: Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” is an obvious omission here, as are record of the year nominees Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”
THE PLAYERS: Song of the year goes to the songwriter, so it’s helpful to think of the tunes in demo form, stripped of nothing but a voice and maybe a guitar or piano. Quite frankly, this isn’t that strong a slate. While “Call Me Maybe” certainly captured a pop culture moment, so did “Gangnam Style”: That doesn’t make something a great song. Miguel’s “Adorn” has dominated the R&B charts, staying at No. 1 for 20 weeks, but that won’t necessarily sway the vote since this category is open to the entire 12,000-voting panel. People really like Kelly Clarkson, but more for her voice than for the song “Stronger.” Ed Sheeran is developing into a really great songwriter, but his material with Taylor Swift and One Direction is more interesting than “The A Team.”
THE ODDS: This is a race between “Call Me Maybe,” for its iconic status, and “We Are Young,” which is the far more interesting song.
THE WINNER: “We Are Young,” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun featuring Janelle Monáe)
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Best Rock Song
Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best New Artist
Why is it called 'The 20/20 Experience?'
Justin Timberlake at the 2013 SAG Awards.
Credit: AP Photo
Like seemingly every musician breathing today, Justin Timberlake is making a documentary. And we’ve already seen some it.
It turns out that the video snippet he dropped Jan. 10 announcing that he was “ready” to make more music is a portion from the forthcoming documentary.
[More after the jump...]
U.S. stops include Las Vegas and Brooklyn
The Postal Service's "Give Up"
Credit: Sub Pop
As expected, The Postal Service has added more dates to its 10th anniversary tour. Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello have added 10 more concerts in addition to the pair’s previously announced stop at Coachella on April 13 and April 20.
Six of the 10 dates are in the U.S., while the other four additional dates are in Europe, among them Barcelona’s Primavera Soundwave festival.
As previously announced, the 10th anniversary of The Postal Service’s “Give Up,” comes out April 9 on Sub Pop. It includes the original 10-track album and 15 bonus tracks, including new songs, “Turn Around” and “A Tattered Line of String.”
The band will include Jenny Lewis and Laura Burhenn. Lewis appeared on the original recording of "Give Up."
Looks like these dates are just the beginning, according to a press release More dates will be announced as they are confirmed.
04/09/13 Tue - Reno NV @ Grand Sierra Theatre
04/10/13 Wed - Davis CA @ Mondavi Center
04/13/13 Sat - Indio CA @ Coachella
04/12/13 Fri - San Luis Obispo CA @ Madonna Expo Center
04/18/13 Thu - Phoenix AZ @ Comerica Theatre
04/19/13 Fri - Las Vegas NV @ Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan
04/20/13 Sat - Indio CA @ Coachella
05/18/13 Sat - Manchester UK @ Academy 2
05/20/13 Mon - London UK @ Brixton Academy
05/21/13 Tues - Paris FR @ Trianon
05/23/13 Thu - Barcelona SP @ Primavera Soundwave
06/14/13 Fri - New York NY @ Barclay's
The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour comes to the U.S. in June
Credit: AP Photo
Hot on the stiletto heels of her electrifying Super Bowl XLVII performance, Beyonce announced The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.
Jay-Z’s Missus arrives in the U.S. on June 28 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. But before alighting stateside, Beyonce, aka Mrs. Shawn Carter, will kick off the tour April 15 in Belgrade, Serbia at Kombank Arena.
The tour travels through Europe and the U.K. until May 29, where it stops in Stockholm.
After a month-long hiatus, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour picks back up in the United States on the West Coast and travels east, hitting arenas throughout North America, until the first leg ends at, conveniently enough, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Aug. 3. Jay-Z opened the New York arena last year with eight sold-out concerts. Jay-Z owns a tiny percentage of Barclays Center’s main tenant, the Brooklyn Nets, and is the public face of the venue.
Beyonce’s website offers no info on ticketing just yet.
Additionally, there’s no word on whether a new album will drop before the tour starts, but we bet it will. Or the month between the close of the European dates and the U.S. dates will be used for the new album’s promotion.
In the meantime, if you didn’t get enough of Bey at the Super Bowl, her HBO documentary, “Life is But A Dream,” premieres Feb. 16.
Click here for the European dates. The North American dates are below.
June 28: Los Angeles (BET Experience/Staples Center)
June 29: Las Vegas, NV (MGM Grand Garden Arena)?
July 2: San Jose, CA (HP Pavilion at San Jose)?
July 5: Oklahoma City, OK (Chesapeake Energy Arena)?
July 6: Dallas, TX (American Airlines Center)?
July 9: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (BB&T Center)?
July 10: Miami, FL (American Airlines Arena)?
July 12: Atlanta, GA (The Arena @ Gwinnett Center)?
July 13: Nashville, TN (Bridgestone Arena)?
July 15: Houston, TX (Toyota Center)
July 17: Chicago, IL (United Center)?
July 18: St. Paul, MN (Xcel Energy Center)?
July 20: Detroit, MI (The Palace of Auburn Hills)?
July 21: Toronto, ON (Air Canada Centre)?
July 22: Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
July 23: Boston, MA (TD Garden)?
July 25: Philadelphia, PA (Wells Fargo Center)?
July 26: Atlantic City, NJ (Boardwalk Hall)?
July 27: Charlotte, NC (Time Warner Cable Arena)
July 29: Washington, DC (Verizon Center)
Aug. 2: Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun)?
Aug. 3: Brooklyn, NY (Barclays Center)
Destiny's Child reunion less than a thrill
Beyonce performs during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum
In a Super Bowl half-time performance that was as frenetic as it was fierce, Beyonce delivered a sexy segment that was part Victoria’s Secret fashion show, part tutorial on how to dazzle an audience. From the first moment, she was in the zone—a no-boy zone — with her all-female band and all-female back-up dancers.
[More after the jump...]
Why are Kelly Clarkson and Barbra Streisand in the top 5?
Credit: Morry Gash/AP
1. Beyonce: “...Any questions?”
2. Justin Bieber: He’s headed for his fifth No. 1 album next week with “Believe Acoustic,” making him only the 10th artist to have a No. 1 album in four consecutive years.
3. Kelly Clarkson: She leads Forbes’ list of top-earning “American Idol” alumni with $8 million. While that’s about $7,950,000 than the average person makes, that still seems low to us.
4. Gary Allan: After making albums for 17 years, the country singer finally lands one atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Still, he’s got nothing on Tony Bennett who was 83 by the time he landed his first No. 1 album.
5. Barbra Streisand: Babs will perform at the Oscars, marking her first appearance at the show in 36 years. Hello and welcome back, gorgeous.
6. Justin Timberlake: He brings sexyback to the Grammys with his first television appearance to support his new album, “The 20/20 Experience.”
7. Miley Cyrus: She leaves Disney far behind and signs with RCA. “Party In The USA, Parts 2-5” coming soon.
8. Chris Brown: He brawls with Frank Ocean in a studio parking lot and then compares himself to Jesus on the cross. I must have missed The Gospel According to Chris in the Bible.
9. The Eagles: They sign with Capitol Records. We’ll see how high they fly again, especially on the wings of their new documentary, “A History of The Eagles.”
10. Alicia Keys: She’s named global creative director for BlackBerry. Do you think she thought they said Burberry?
Three other acts debut in the top 10
Credit: aP Photo
Justin Bieber will score his fifth No. 1 album next week with “Believe Acoustic.” The album, which includes stripped-down versions of the songs from 2012’s “Believe,” will sell up to 215,000, making it the biggest sales week for a January debut since Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” sold 481,000 in 2010, according to Hits Daily Double.
Bieber’s title is one of four new albums bowing in the Billboard 200 top 10. Andrea Bocelli’s “Passione” comes in at No. 2 with sales of up to 90,000 while twins Tegan & Sara’s “Heartthrob” will move up to 45,000 album, for the sisters’ best opening frame yet.
Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” and this week’s No. 1 album, Gary Allan’s “Set You Free” are locked in a dead heat for No. 4, with both targeted to sell between 35,000 and 40,000.
Charlie Wilson’s “Love, Charlie” is the fourth debuting album this week. It will launch at No. 6 most likely, although “Love, Charlie,” the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack and The Lumineers’ self-titled album are all poised to sell in the 30,000-35,000 range, making the No. 6-8 spots too close to call.
Taylor Swift’s “Red” and the “2013 Grammy Nominees” album are also tied for No. 9 with three days left of sales to calculate. Both are slated to move between 23,000 and 26,000 copies.
Can Taylor Swift top Little Big Town or Eli Young Band?
Taylor Swift with the Civil Wars
As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Best Country Duo/Group Performance Nominees:
"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" – Eli Young Band
"Pontoon" – Little Big Town
"Safe & Sound" – Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars
"On The Outskirts Of Town" – The Time Jumpers
"I Just Come Here For The Music" – Don Williams featuring Alison Krauss
WHO’S MISSING: This is one of the categories that got created in 2012 when the Grammys shrunk the number of awards from 109 to 78. It blends the previously separate categories of best country performance by a duo or group with vocal, best country collaboration with vocals and best country instrumental performance. In other words, ongoing groups are contending with one-off performances. Because of the consolidation, worthy acts like Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry got left by the wayside.
THE PLAYERS: Despite the acts I mentioned above, country music is dominated by solo acts right now. Of Billboard’s Top 50 country songs for 2012, only 11 were by duos or groups. Here’s where the Grammy Awards veer radically from country-only awards like the Country Music Awards or the Academy of Country Music Awards: the Grammys look at artists like The Time Jumpers or Don Williams/Alison Krauss, who seldom get airplay and are on the fringe of current country and plop them down alongside the hottest names.
THE ODDS: If only the Nashville community voted on this award it would go to Little Big Town for “Pontoon,” the coed quartet’s first No. 1 single after years of toiling away. However, if interlopers are voting, they could sway the vote to Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars (The Civil Wars won last year). Then again, it’s a foolish person who bets against Alison Krauss: she has won more Grammys than any other female, even more than Barbra Streisand. Since this is only the second year in the category, it’s hard to spot any trend.
THE WINNER: Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound”
Best Rock Song
Best R&B Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best New Artist