Music

Music

Sat
28
Feb

The Million Dollar Quartet Returns To Rock The Fox Theatre

The Million Dollar Quartet runs Feb 27 - Mar 1 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

Some critics will scoff at The Million Dollar Quartet for its thin plot and light conflicts. If you see a review of this show somewhere that does exactly that, you should quit reading those critics because clearly they didn’t get it. This is a show based on actual events in which there wasn’t any real conflict. In fact, what conflict there is in this show is probably somewhat inflated if not outright fabricated. Every musical need not be as densely plotted as Rent or as elaborately staged as Warhorse. Sometimes a simple brick backdrop and four talented actors and musicians recreating a magical alignment of budding stars is all you need to keep the audience’s toes a-tappin’ until they raise the roof during the grand finale.

Mon
16
Feb

Across the Beatles Universe: Here, There and Everywhere, The Beatles

Beatles Lennon McCartney Harrison Ringo Music Book

I'm lucky to have experienced Beatlemania. Unfortunately, it was thirty years after all the other wild teenage girls. I grew up listening to the music my parent's enjoyed like most children. But I didn't just tolerate it, I loved it...with a passion! Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen played on my tape deck non-stop and my radio was always set to the New York area oldies station, CBS-FM. And then, I can't remember what started it, but I discovered the Beatles. When I did, it exploded. I listened to my parents' vinyls, they bought me the CD's as they were released, I watched the Beatles movies on repeat and tried to get my hands on any form of them performing. Remember, this was well before YouTube. I couldn't just type in “Beatles” into a search box and click through all of the results. I had to seek as much as I could and, trust me, I did. I had been infected with Beatlemania and completely understood the allure. And for me, I never lost that adoration.

Sun
08
Feb

Talented Trio Clockwork Crafts A Flawless Sophomore CD

Not Meant For The Dark, by Clockwork. Art/Layout by Kate Davies/Padgraphics.

I don’t find a whole lot of modern music to be my cup of tea. It seems so often overproduced, Auto-Tuned, and predictable. When I discover an act that feels a little different from the rest, an act that features honest vocals, strong musicianship and more mature songwriting than a bunch of “Yeah, yeah, baby, baby, blah blah blahs,” that’s when I get excited.

Sun
25
Jan

Give Your Vinyl Albums a Fresh Clean Start

KLAUDIO LP200

For a vinylphile like me theses are marvelous times.

Records are making/have made a comeback. Whether it is because people have finally come to their senses that vinyl records sound superior to any other recorded medium, or because records companies are trying to find a way to make money again now that the people who forsook records for ease and portability have now forsaken that medium for the even worse sound but greater portability of digital file music, and they need something to generate cash flow for them now, they’ve realized that the record faithful have never gone away. We’ve just stood in the shadows, intent on letting the trends go by while we bask in sonic superiority listing to great music spinning on our turntables.

Whatever the real reason the record companies have decided to make LP’s again is really irrelevant. The fact is they are back in the groove again, and I am happy.

Tue
13
Jan

Genesis: Sum of the Parts on Blu-ray

Genesis: Sum of the Parts

SUM OF THE PARTS is a 90-minute documentary of the band and artists that are the group Genesis. It chronicles the band’s music from its inception up to their 2007 reunion concert, as well as detailing each member’s solo career with added interviews into present day.

Genesis is almost unique in the music world in that their popularity has stood the test of time. Despite lineup changes, butting heads, changes in musical styles and never really being known as a “rock” band, they have achieved lasting worldwide fame both as a group and as solo artists.

Thu
18
Dec

Lucky, "Rap Titan"

Lucky, Rap Titan

So a couple weeks ago I was fooling around on YouTube, and I made the rookie mistake of actually reading some of the comments on a video. (I know, I know. Sigh).

Anyway, in the comments of a particular video, I noticed a user with the name of “Lucky” advertising his channel and asking people to come check out his videos. I was feeling particularly snarky, so I went to take a look, preparing myself to blast the user with both petulant barrels for wasting my time.

I’m glad I went. Over the next several days, I listened to every video on the channel. Sometimes twice, often more. My regular Pandora stations were completely neglected, and my iTunes account got a reprieve.

I had to try and learn more about Lucky, but didn’t really learn a whole lot. I learned his first name, I learned he has a Facebook account, and I learned he records all of his own stuff on a laptop in a closet. That’s it.

Wed
17
Dec

Live Nation, Hollywood Casino Enter Agreement on Amphitheatre Naming Rights

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St Louis #HollywoodAmpStLouis

It's a day for building relationships. President Obama has just opened the door to normalizing relations with Cuba, and Live Nation and Hollywood Casino have come together in a multi-year agreement allowing Hollywood Casino to be the new name-in-title sponsor of the (now former) Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, which as of today is the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.

On hand for the live announcement were Dave Gerardi, President of Live Nation Midwest, and Todd George, Hollywood Casino General Manager.

Wed
17
Dec

Joshua Mills and Christmas Miracles

Joshua Mills, Christmas Miracle, now available

Joshua Mills has been in the recording business for fifteen years now, but only this year released his first Christmas album. Focused on a theme of miracles -- and the desire to bring miracles back to Christmas -- affected not only the album title, CHRISTMAS MIRACLE, but several of the tracks, which are a blend of original songs and traditional standards.

With Christmas fast approaching, we spoke with Mills about his album as well as the unique production methods involved in making it happen.


How daunting is it to set out to do brand new music for a seasonal niche that's packed with some pretty long-standing standards?

Sat
13
Dec

JingleFest 2014: A Rocking Showcase of Today's Newest Country Stars

Cole Swindell at JingleFest 2014, Family Arena, St. Charles, MO. Photo by Jeff Ritter

If you read my recent review of the Garth Brooks concert in St. Louis, you would recall that I don’’t consider myself a country music fan. Except for Brooks, perhaps Kenny Rogers and Jimmy Buffett—if he even qualifies as country, I’ve never been sure what genre label best applies to the founding father of Margaritaville—I’ve had no use for it. The greats like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins are resting in peace, and the modern country I was subjected to my various girlfriends in their cars was all bad yodeling and hillbilly overkill. Chattahoochee is an Indian word given to a river, not a four-word sentence. Everybody sounded like they were describing a “tore nay doe” on the local news. And every song boiled down to four topics: boots, trucks, women and beer. How could anyone listen to such a depressingly limited genre of music?

Fri
12
Dec

Fourth Time Is Still Charming With Straight No Chaser

Straight No Chaser at the Fox Theatre, St. Louis 12/11/14 Photo by Jeff Ritter

There’s only one thing better than happy hour after a long, difficult day at work and that is going to the Happy Hour Tour of Straight No Chaser at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. I’ve seen the boys from Indiana University four times now, and I take a little something different from each show. I expect the next four times I see them will be just as entertaining.

Sat
06
Dec

Garth Brooks Sizzles In St. Louis with Trisha Yearwood and Karyn Rochelle

Garth Brooks performs at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, 12/4/14. Photo by Jeff Ritter.

As I write this, 17,000 odd St. Louisians and tourists from far and wide are trying to reach a bar set extremely high. You see, more often than not, weeknight music concerts are typically under-attended and underwhelming. This was not the case on Thursday, December 4, 2014, when country music superstar Garth Brooks and his lovely superstar wife Trisha Yearwood returned to the St. Louis music scene after nearly two decades of the quiet life.

Tue
02
Dec

Straight No Chaser, Kristen Bell Deliver Holiday Win with "Text Me Merry Christmas"

I've been a fan of the a capella group Straight No Chaser for a few years now -- and if you've not heard of them before, immediately Google up "Straight No Chaser Indiana Twelve Days of Christmas." Don't make me break out the lmgtfy.com on you! I've only recently (as in, "Frozen" recently) learned about Kristen Bell's singing chops, and I'm equally enamored of her talents.

So bringing these two (or eleven, depending on how you want to count) together for a new Christmas song was both natural and genius. SNC retains their unique harmonics, and Bell's female tones are a welcome addition to the sound. Both also have a unique humor to their music, which makes "Text Me Merry Christmas" a funny, and perhaps personally painful, song for the modern celebration of the holiday.

Fri
07
Nov

Primus Covers Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Primus and the Chocolate Factory - Photo by Mathieu Bredeau.

Oh Les Claypool, you misunderstood genius, what in the world have you done?

Thu
30
Oct

Justin. B. Williams: The Day Walker Out of Ferguson

2.3.N PIMPIN feat Day Walker and TheGIFT.I.C.

Justin B. Williams is a busy man these days. In addition to work he was already performing with his HI FIVE Community Development Corporation and his career in music as part of 23n PIMPIN featuring Day Walker and TheGIFT.I.C. he has also become a correspondent for the Allman in the Morning show on 97.1 FM, as well as Susie Moore's podcast, Q with a View.

What's propelled Williams -- a.k.a. The Day Walker -- into the spotlight is a combination of being the right person in the right place. In this case, the place happens to be Ferguson, Missouri, where The Day Walker has been in the thick of the peaceful protests, while working in cooperation with Emerson Electric to help revitalize Ferguson.

Tue
14
Oct

Shuggie Otis "Live in Williamsburg" Slow Start to a Slow Jam

Shuggie Otis, Live in Williamsburg

Shuggie Otis. Not a name I'd ever heard before, despite his legacy (he's the son of Johnny Otis, and turned down an opportunity from Billy Preston to replace Mick Taylor for The Rolling Stones' world tour, for those who are as uninformed as I was). But I do love me some blues guitar, no matter who's playing it, so I was eager to give this album a try.

This is a live album, and has all the foibles and missteps one expects from such a venture. I urge the new listener to persevere past the first few opening tracks. I felt the band had not quite warmed up yet, musically or vocally, and it showed in several places, although the guitar work was superb. About the time you get to track number five, "Me and My Woman," this album starts to take off in a major fashion.

 

Sat
20
Sep

Blast to the Past with "The Midnight Special" on DVD

For those of us old enough to remember, there was a time when there were no music videos and there was no MTV (not that MTV plays any videos anymore) and the only way you go to see your favorite performers were to see them in concert.

Ten in 1973 it all changed…on August 19th 1972 the pilot for Midnight Special aired and it was so good!

Finally we got a chance each week to see the hottest musicians perform one or more of their hit songs live…that’s live as in not pre taped and not lip synced.

It meant staying up late to be able to see it considering I was only 12 when the show first started, but because I was very familiar with the music and musicians of those days thanks to my 8 years senior older brother’s extensive record collection I begged and pleaded to stay up each week (until I was old enough to stay up without having to ask for permission) each week to see the performers whose music I was listening to every day.

Tue
06
May

Ted Nugent: "Maximize the Good While Crushing the Bad and the Ugly"

Ted Nugent

If you're enjoying the current crop of outdoor-related reality programming, you may want to check out -- and thank -- Ted Nugent's Spirit of the Wild. Now entering it's 25th season on Outdoor Channel, Spirit of the Wild is an up-front and unsanitized look at hunters and hunting starring Ted and Shemane Nugent doing what they love.

This writer was honored with the opportunity to speak to Nugent about his show, but also his music and his unfettered political opinions -- and anyone who's heard Nugent interviewed knows the best thing the interviewer can do is get out of the way and let Nugent take over.

The new season of Spirit of the Wild debuts Tuesday, July 2nd at 8:30pm EST on Outdoor Channel.

Thu
07
Jun

Julianna Zobrist: Crazy? Hardly. Fearless? Definitely.

Juliana Zobrist

As the bass kicks up, the synthesised techno-pop sounds pile on and the echoing, electronically masked background vocals slide in, the last thing you\'d ever expect the music to be is contemporary Christian. The club-mix sound is only part of the unique output of Julianna Zobrist (wife to Tampa Bay Rays\' right-fielder Ben Zobrist, for those who follow sports more than music), and the message is unapologetically Christian, appealing to the younger market with a mainstream sound. Having taken some time off for a new baby daughter, the Zobrists\' second child, Julianna is back in the studio, with a new EP in the offing, "Say It Now," with a post-modern sound and rare and honest introspection.


Say It Now is a very divergent sound from what one would normally attribute to Contemporary Christian Music. It\'s got a very synth-pop dance-mix thing going for it. Who are your musical influences, because I can\'t imagine they\'re within CCM.

Wed
02
Nov

Sara Groves: On the Evidence of Things Not Seen

Sara Groves

The segmentation of Christian music is, quite possibly, more varied than any other genre. There's Southern Gospel, Hymns, Worship Music, Gospel Rock. And then there's Sara Groves, one of a handful of unique voices out there who make artistic commentary on the world itself, from the perspective of a Christian. The music isn't your seven-eleven chorus or reflexively responsive corporate worship style; Groves thinks deeply on her subject, which requires the listener to do the same.

With her new album, Invisible Empires, Groves continues her line of interrogation, philosophy, and apologetics, with a hard look at technology and the increasingly faster pace of life in today's world, and how to cope with it through faith.

Why are you a Christian?

Wow. That's a big one.

Wed
06
Oct

Graham Russell: Taking Air Supply from Dreams to Stardom

Graham Russell

Paul McCartney once sang, "You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs." Like McCartney, Graham Russell can say that he looks around and sees it isn't so. Thirty years after forming Air Supply with his partner Russell Hitchcock, fans are far from being "All Out of Love." As the group prepares a charity concert and international tour, we stole a few moments from Graham Russell's time in the studio to reminisce on the past and compare it to today.

First off, I want to personally thank you for creating the music that made it possible for even geeky nerds like me in high school to have a chance with the ladies.

(laughs) You're very kind! Thank you.

Air Supply became the musical face, so to speak, of romantic music for a generation. Did you intentionally set out to be soft rock balladeers, or did it just veer that way naturally?

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