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Song of the Week

Song of the Week: “I Want Your Love”

I’ve been so into the pop and country world lately I haven’t been discovering as many indie bands as I’d like to. Always open to new music recommendations a co-worker sent me a list of bands I should check out asking, “Do you know Lucero? If you don’t you should!”

I must have enjoyed them because I wound up listening to a few of their albums throughout the entire day. With raspy vocals from frontman Ben Nichols that brings to mind Bruce Springsteen and Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon I was pretty much sold. SXSW’s description of the band only makes sense to why I like them. “Lucero’s punk rock roots flavor their now “country-ish” music, while their Southern roots give them the twang that they have come to be known by,” they write.

This week I went to a cafe in Brooklyn to get some writing done and was taken by one of the band’s they were playing over the speakers. “I know this band!” I thought to myself but couldn’t place who it was. So, I wrote down the lyrics (naturally) to check when I got home. And guess who it was? Lucero. The female vocals provided by Amy Lavere on “I Want Your Love” threw me off a bit but the bluesy horn features and percussion reminded me just why I like Lucero so much.

I can’t stop listening to this band (when I’m not listening to Justin Bieber for work or country while freelancing). I think you’ll dig them too.

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Artist of the Week Band of the Week Features

Gaslight Anthem Carry The New Jersey Torch

 

When New Jersey rockers the Gaslight Anthem decided to film a music video for their new single “45,” Asbury Park’s the Stone Pony was the only option they considered.

 

The famed rock venue, which is home to New Jersey legends Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Southside Johnny, has been hosting memorable shows since it first opened its doors in 1974. Acts like the Kinks, Stevie Ray Vaughn, KISS and the Ramones have taken the stage and even the former VP of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Robert Santelli has called the club “one of the greatest rock clubs of all time.”

 

“It’s one of the cool old New Jersey relics left,” drummer Benny Horowitz said as he recalled his first Battle of the Bands contest there as a teen.

 

Just the drive down to Asbury Park strikes up the band’s material. Passing through New Brunswick, “The Diamond Church Street Choir” paints a picture of University life from an outsider, not far from where the band got it’s start. Before a left turn onto Ocean Avenue, where a slew of fans await for their chance to be in the band’s music video, Cookman Avenue appears. One of the many Jersey mentions in their song “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” off 2008’s EP Senor and the Queen it’s evident the Stone Pony is the perfect location for the band to feature in a music video.

 

For my complete article visit CBS. Stay tuned for more interviews with the band and a behind-the-scenes recap of their music video shoot.

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Artist of the Week Band of the Week

Band of the Week: Steel Magnolia

Steel Magnolia’s chemistry was undeniable as they shared the stage at New York’s Bowery Ballroom Monday night. On the eve of their record release, the duo — Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones — gave New Yorkers a preview of their debut album, released today, 1/11/11.

Meghan, clad in a short black and white striped dress and Joshua in blue jeans and black button down shirt, walked out to screams before they began first song of the night — fittingly, the first track on their album, ‘Ooh La La.’

Throughout their set, the couple of more than five years continually interacted with each other, showcasing just how much fun they had onstage. At times, Joshua would walk, guitar in hand, from his mic stand to Meghan’s, so they could sing with their faces pressed tight against each other. Their harmonies were spot on as demonstrated on every song performed during their 90-minute set.

Whether it was an original or cover song, Steel Magnolia’s energy never wavered. Instead of performing the album from start to finish, the duo threw back to an old favorite for the second song on their set list, the Eagles’ ‘One of These Nights,’ on which they showcased impressive vocal prowess, accompanied by an equally impressive five-piece band.

To read more of my review of last night’s show and find out why Steel Magnolia is You Sing I Write’s band of the week, visit The Boot.

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Concert Reviews

Asbury Fever Showcase Jersey Pride in Hoboken

New Jersey’s Asbury Fever entertained an energetic crowd at the 84th annual Hoboken Italian Festival Friday. On a stage set up in Frank Sinatra Park, the 10-piece band performed over 20 hits, including Jersey staples made famous by acts like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, among others.

Complete with saxophone, trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion, the group was reminiscent to Springsteen’s powerful E Street Band. With strong vocals by lead singer Brad Hobicorn, Asbury Fever had Hobokenites singing and clapping along.

For the complete review, visit Hoboken Patch.

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Benefit Features News

Musicians & Media Get Involved In Haiti

By now you’ve heard about the devastation in Haiti and the aftermath of the earthquake. Many musicians and media outlets have been doing their part to raise money and I thought I’d fill you in on two music related ventures — Paste Magazine‘s “Songs For Haiti” and MTV’s “Hope For Haiti.”

Paste Magazine is offering those who donate money to the Haiti earthquake relief unreleased songs from diverse artists including Ludacris, Of Montreal, Andrew Bird, Hanson, Low Anthem, Umphrey’s McGee, Switchfoot, Derek Webb and over 200 others. If you’ve already donated you still can still participate (just say where you made your donation) as all will have access to “Songs For Haiti” MP3s. All the money raised through Paste will be spread equally among three charities active in Haiti relief: Doctors Without Borders, The Red Cross and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

“We obviously don’t think people would need incentive to donate in this effort, but perhaps the campaign will inspire more music fans to get involved, or to encourage people who have already donated, to donate again,” said Josh Jackson, Paste Magazine Editor-In-Chief. “Music has always been a force that brings people together, and to have so many fantastic artists drop everything to contribute to this effort was very touching,” Jackson added.

I couldn’t agree more. For more information on “Songs For Haiti” and to donate click here.

Friday night, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and 7:00 p.m. CT, MTV along with many other networks will host a night of performances to raise money for Haiti relief. The lineup includes Madonna, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Sting, Coldplay, Bono, the Edge, Jay-Z and Rihanna.

Additional appearances include former President Bill Clinton, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson, Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Muhammad Ali, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jon Stewart, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Samuel L. Jackson and more.

“Hope for Haiti Now” will begin accepting donations at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on Friday, January 22 via the following methods:

Online: www.hopeforhaitinow.org
Phone: 877-99-HAITI
Text: Text “GIVE” to 50555
Mail: Hope For Haiti Now Fund, Entertainment Industry Foundation, 1201 West 5th Street, Suite T-700, Los Angeles, CA 90017

All musical performances will be available for purchase for 99 cents per song through iTunes beginning Saturday, January 23. iTunes customers will be able to exclusively pre-order both the “Hope for Haiti Now” full performance album ($7.99) and the full two-hour video telecast ($1.99). Pre-orders will be delivered in the days following the telethon. All proceeds will benefit relief funds managed by Hope for Haiti Now charities.

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Song of the Week

You Sing, I Write’s Christmas Playlist

It’s that time again. The tree is decorated, the gifts are (almost) all wrapped and holiday music has been heard non-stop since Thanksgiving. For this year’s Christmas playlist I’ve included some reader favorites as well as a few of my own. Listen below and feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments!

Charlie Brown: “Christmas Time Is Here.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPG3zSgm_Qo]

Bruce Springsteen: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yErhglOXIxM]

N’Sync:”Oh Holy Night.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXzJqRXLI08]

House of Heroes: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8267678&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

House of Heroes “O Come, O Come Emmanuel from Ransom TV on Vimeo.

Elvis Presley and Martina McBride: “Blue Christmas”

Did I leave out any of your favorites? Let me know! Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.

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Features News

A Night With Clive Davis

It is indisputable that Clive Davis is one of the most highly regarded music executives in the business. The man behind chart-topping artists including Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis and Whitney Houston, not to mention rock legends Carlos Santana, Aerosmith, Janis Joplin, and Bruce Springsteen, Davis proves his passion for music with every artist he takes under his wing.

Davis spoke to a packed room at New York University last night. The talk, sponsored by SoundCtrl, was moderated by Billboard‘s Editorial Director, Bill Werde. Entering the room to a standing ovation, Davis thanked the audience for attending despite the World Series game, which he said he TiVoed.

Known as a versatile producer, Davis said when he started Arista he didn’t specialize and instead would frequent Broadway shows on a nightly basis and Carnegie Hall twice a week scoping for new talent and music trends. “To pour yourself into it, you learn and try to permeate yourself. You learn not to specialize.”

Before attending the Monterey Pop Festival, Davis didn’t know he had an ear for music. The festival was an epiphany, he said. “Monterey was a different culture than I had ever seen before. A different attitude, different music. I just knew from every fiber of myself that this was a cultural movement, a revolution and I was very fortunate [to be there].” Davis quietly bought Janis Joplin’s contract as well as Earth, Wind and Fire shortly after. “I felt this would be the new sound for music to be heard around the world.”

Highly regarded in the music industry as not trying to fit in and look like the artists he represents, Davis said, “Over the years you learn you have to be yourself. Once you try to purposely be trendy you lose respect.” He continued, “I’ve also found that artists want a manager who’s an expert. Artists want to be protected. They don’t want you to be one of them. I don’t try to talk in the jargon of Hip-Hop. It’s always best to be yourself.”

A firm believer in listening to his gut, the music industry veteran knows what a hit song is. In fact, he told the audience that Kelly Clarkson didn’t like many of her hits originally. “It’s not easy to come up with a hit. I work very hard at not going over the hill and making sure my ears stay current. You’ve got to be on top of your game.”

Before opening the floor to questions, Davis demonstrated his listening process to the audience with three early demos of Carlos Santana’s hit, “The Game of Love.” The first demo highlighted the instrumentals of the song with a male vocalist. It didn’t sound right, so Davis suggested adding a female singer — Macy Gray. Powerful, but not what he was looking for, Davis eventually chose Michelle Branch as lead vocals. However, there is an interesting back story to the song. The original choice was Tina Turner, who refused to do a music video for the song. Davis insisted that a video was necessary for mass appeal, but Turner declined, leading to the hit as we know it today featuring Branch.

While the future of today’s music industry is unclear, Davis remains optimistic. “I do believe that there will be new labels and companies formed today. There still is that hunger for music. There still is that role music plays in people’s lives. Music is as important, if not more today, than it has ever been.”

Categories
Song of the Week

Sunday Song Addiction

Sunday brings my weekly dose of four songs I’m currently addicted to. Read on to listen to tracks from artists on the rise as well as some music legends. I’d love to know which songs you can’t take off your iTunes playlist!

After watching an interview with Michael Buble on CNN earlier this week I listened to his latest single, “Haven’t Met You Yet.” With that classic Buble sound, it is no wonder his recent release, Crazy Love debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA]

A few weeks ago I interviewed Matt Hires and chatted about his music being featured on “Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Definitely a fan of music in TV shows, Hires could not have predicted what happened this past week. On Thursday, “Grey’s Anatomy” used his track, “Out of the Dark” as the closing song during a poignant moment of the episode. Following the broadcast his debut album, Take Us To The Start jumped over 100 spots on the iTunes album chart!

You can watch Hires’ “Out Of The Dark” music placement on “Grey’s Anatomy” here.

To listen to the track in its entirety on REAL click here. For WIN, click here.

When out with friends and being introduced to someone new, the typical, “Where are you from?” question always comes up. Being a Jersey girl myself, it’s beyond frustrating to continuously hear the insults and endless remarks made about New Jersey. Bruce Springsteen comes to my defense this week in his classic, “Jersey Girl.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4e0WrBsXbE]

Currently on tour with Third Eye Blind, Hot Chelle Rae impress with catchy dance track, “I Like To Dance.” Listen to the track here and if you dig, pick up their debut album, Lovesick Electric due out tomorrow.

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Concert Reviews

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Giants Stadium Night One Recap

“Evening New Jersey! It’s nice to be in my backyard,” Bruce Springsteen said, greeting the crowd at Giants Stadium Wednesday night. “You’ve joined us tonight to shut the old lady down. We’ve had a lot of great nights here. Let’s make this another one.”

Shortly after, the band began a new number, “Wrecking Ball,” which Springsteen wrote specifically for the night. “I was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey/Some misty years ago,” he sang while the lyrics scrolled across the screens. “My home is here in the Meadowlands/Where mosquitoes grow big as airplanes/Here where the blood is spilled, the arena is filled and Giants play the game,” he continued to screams. (Watch video below courtesy NJ.com.)

Bruce Springsteen performs his new song Wrecking Ball at Giants Stadium

Playing just over three hours, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s energetic 29-song set, kept concertgoers on their feet. Whether it was newer tracks like, “Working on a Dream” from his most recent release, or the entirety of 1975’s Born To Run cover to cover, Springsteen and the E Street Band continue their legacy of New Jersey’s finest and must-see acts.

“Seeds,” “Johnny 99” and “Atlantic City” followed “Wrecking Ball” with saxophone, violin and steel guitar interludes fans know and love. During “Atlantic City,” Springsteen jumped off the stage and played to those on the floor, marking the first of his many sprints into the masses of fans throughout the venue.

Bruce Springsteen performs Seeds at Giants Stadium

With little to no segue between songs, on the rare occasion there was a moment before his “1, 2, 3, 4” start to the next number, fans chanted, “BRUCE!” Performing with a cowboy hat during “Outlaw Pete,” The Boss could be seen conducting his band with his infamous swinging arm motions.

One of the highlights of the night, “Hungry Heart” had the crowd singing in unison, before Springsteen took the mic. Running into the crowd, he sat on the barricades singing to fans lucky enough to garner spots on the floor. Shaking hands and posing for photos, Springsteen ran back to the stage, lying on the ground for a few seconds before the song segued into “Working on a Dream.”

“We’re so glad to be with you tonight. It feels so good to be home,” he said. “We were trying to think of things to make our last stay in Giants Stadium special.” He then told the crowd the albums he’ll be playing for the next four shows in their entirety. Taking out his harmonica to begin, “Thunder Road,” the stadium erupted with excitement I’ve never witnessed before. Definitely a favorite album by many, Springsteen continued to play Born To Run cover to cover. For the title track, the house lights went on as many danced and raised their beer bottles in the air while the video screens displayed signs from fans in the crowd that read, “It’s Boss Time” and “Happy 60th.”

When the very last chord of “Jungleland” was played Springsteen ushered the band to the front of the stage. “These are the guys that make the music,” he said as they took a bow. “Alright, back to work. Get your asses back on those instruments,” he joked into which “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” began. Mid-song, Springsteen handed over his mic to a young boy from the floor who he pulled onstage to sing.

Additional highlights included the moving “The Promised Land,” “Lonesome Day” and “Badlands.” While leaning into the crowd, Springsteen collected a handful of signs, one that read “E Street Shuffle” and another, “Growin’ Up,” both of which he performed soon after. Midway through “Growin’ Up,” Springsteen told the crowd of “the weirdest dream” he had the previous night. “I was walking in the house in a trance and all the lights went out and all I remember was this cake and there were 60 fuckin’ candles on it,” to which the entire stadium began singing “Happy Birthday.” Barely able to get a word in, eventually he continued. “Then there were thousands of people reminding me of something I was trying to forget,” he joked. “And then I woke up.”

Chants of, “JERSEY!” permeated throughout Giants Stadium, prefacing another fan favorite, “Dancing In the Dark.” Closing the night with “Hard Times” and the beloved “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” Springsteen and the E Street Band kicked off a successful first of five nights performing at Giants Stadium. The last band to play before the Stadium is torn down; I couldn’t imagine a better show to, in Springsteen’s words, “shut the old lady down.”

You can read this review, originally posted on Bumpershine.

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News

Bruce Springsteen Night One at Giants Stadium

Never in a million years would I imagine I’d be covering U2 and Bruce Springsteen within one week, and at the same venue nonetheless. But, as they say in “Almost Famous” — “It’s all happening.”

Heading over to Giants Stadium in a few to cover the first night of Springsteen’s five nights of concerts and the last at the Stadium. Feel free to follow my updates on Twitter. Full report tomorrow.