Legendary bluesman Bo Diddley suffered a stroke last week after playing a show in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, NE where it was determined the stroke affected the left side of his brain. However, his camp just sent out news that the 78-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer was being moved out of the intensive care unit and into a regular room. "Bo's health continues to improve. He has little or no physical limitations from the stroke except difficulty with speech and speech recognition; but that is improving, as well," said Faith Fusillo, Diddley's business manager. "I was able to speak with him by phone this morning. He wanted to know where his stuff was: his guitar and the money from the gig. I was so happy because this is the Bo that I know and love, and a real indication that Bo is on his way back!" Diddley will be transfered to Shands Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla., closer to his home, once it's determined if he needs to be flown by medivac or private jet. Fans have been asked to not visit the singer at the hospital, but rather to send notes to email@example.com or TCI (Talent Consultants International, Ltd.),105 Shad Row, 2nd Floor, Piermont, NY 10968.
Check out the ACL site for the full lineup.
Brandi Carlile is back - and it seems like the world couldn't wait any longer. This alt-country singer who hails from Seattle, drew a lot of buzz for her self-titled, critically acclaimed 2005 debut - and picked up a lot of fans during two years of near-constant touring.
Last fall, she and her bandmates, twins Tim and Phil Hanseroth, stepped into a Vancouver studio with legendary producer T. Bone Burnett for two solid weeks to churn out The Story, a 13-song mini-novel capturing moments from throughout the singer's life.
I caught up with Brandi, who is currently on tour with singer/songwriter Cary Brothers, in Austin, Texas, to talk about working with legends like Burnett and the Indigo Girls, family and fishing.
Read the Q&A or just listen to the entire interview now. [You can also read the shorter version I did for the Associated Press that went out earlier today.]
[Photo credit: Jim Cooper/AP]
INTERVIEW WITH BRANDI CARLILE:
SomethingGlorious: The last time your album came out, you were named a RS artist to watch. Now there's definitely buzz around this release. How does it feel to have done that whole push, take a step back, record with an amazing producer and it's all starting again. How do you feel right now?
Brandi Carlile: A little bit overwhelmed. I got accustomed to being at home. I guess I'm like a dog who needs to be socialized again to learn how to be around people because I live so far out. It's been weird doing interviews again because I haven't done them since the last record. Now I have to remember to answer in answers that are detailed and long instead of yes or no answers.
SG: Last time we chatted in September you said you had just come off whirlwind tour and you said you wanted to learn how to get back to yourself. Then you went into the studio then took time off during winter. Were you able to figure out who you wanted to be again?
BC: I think I did that right after we spoke. The pre-production time was a good time for me to get it together and be confident about making the record. Going into the studio is a stripping humbling process.
SG: How so?
BC: Because there's no one there everyday to tell you how great you are and how amazing you sound. It's important to not believe the words that get thrown around so easily. In the studio, there's no one there to throw those words around after your performance and no one's clapping. You're just left with your thoughts - it's a humbling experience.
SG: Do you feel like there were moments in the studio - without the accolades from the fans - that you were broken down at all where you felt like you weren't good enough to do it?
BC: Yeah. There were times where I didn't feel like a good guitar player. There were times where I was nervous to mess the track up for everybody else. The whole time it was two weeks of questioning myself.
Sure the name conjures images of a sexual nature, but I assure you the only thing the Woody Popblaster is gonna do is play you some great tunes from your iPod or other MP3 player. That is, unless, you play some JT or R.Kelly and the people you're with start gettin' funky. Otherwise, just expect this stylish wood travel player to kick out some hot jams through its built-in semi-water-resistant speakers. The Popblaster is battery operated, has a headphone jack, has a compartment for cords and is small enough to fit in your carry-on. Available for $50 through Lifepod.
Crowded House, the '80s new wave rockers from Australia, announced details for their first studio album in more than 14 years. Three of the original members -- Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and Mark Hart -- regrouped and are joined by new drummer Matt Sherrod (who replaces original drummer Paul Hester, who died in 2005) -- recorded Time On Earth with legendary producers Steve Lillywhite (U2, Dave Matthews, Morrissey) and Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright). The sessions took place between Auckland's Roundhead Studios, London's RAK Studios and Bath, England's Real World Studios (which is associated with Peter Gabriel's Real World Records) and produced 14 tracks, including two featuring former Smiths/current Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr (lead single "Don't Stop Now" and "Even a Child," which Marr co-wrote with Finn). Crowded House gained worldwide success -- and a Best New Artist nod from MTV -- in 1987 with their single "Don't Dream It's Over." The band will debut it's new lineup at Coachella this Sunday. Time on Earth will be released on July 10 in the US.
This news is bittersweet: '80s pop group Squeeze -- who brought me so much pleasure in my youth -- announced today they're reuniting for a late summer tour in the UK and the US. Why bittersweet? As of now, not one of their 11 US dates includes a Chicago stop. I just reached out to a contact in the UK to find out more so hopefully we'll know soon whether they're adding more stops. As of now, this is what their tour looks like:
July 14: Stoke Park, Guildford, UK
July 31: Cape Cod Melody Tent, Hyannis, Mass.
Aug. 1: Bank of America Pavilion, Boston
Aug. 3: Beacon Theater, NYC
Aug. 4: Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Atlantic City, NJ
Aug. 7: North Fork Theater, Westbury, NY
Aug. 8: Pier Six Pavilion, Baltimore
Aug. 9: Filene Center @ Wolf Trap, Vienna, Va
Aug. 11: Viejas Concerts in the Park, Alpine, Calif.
Aug. 12: Grove, Anaheim, Calif.
Aug. 13: Greek Theater, LA
Aug. 14: Mountain Winery, Saratoga, Calif.
Nov. 27: Guildhall, Southampton, UK
Nov. 29: Carling Glasgow Academy, Glasgow
Nov. 30: Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle, UK
Dec. 1: Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK
Dec. 3: Colston Hall, Bristol, UK
Dec. 4: Carling Apollo Hammersmith, London
Dec. 7: Carling Apollo Manchester, UK
Dec. 8: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK
Sad, sad news: Damon Albarn, mastermind behind animated pop group Gorillaz (and former lead man for the groundbreaking Britpop group Blur) has confirmed that the hip-hop electro sounds of his new group will soon come to an end. In an interview with BBC Radio 2, Albarn said that Gorillaz will indeed score the soundtrack to an upcoming feature film, but they won't record anymore pop albums. Gorillaz, which released their self-titled 2001 album and the 2005 gangbuster Demon Days that featured production work by Danger Mouse, created a stir with their creative approach to music production. Albarn has also spent time in west Africa, recording with musicians from Mali, so who knows what new tricks he has up his sleeve to entice us -- perhaps a Blur reunion? Based on comments by former guitarist Graham Coxon, the outlook isn't bright, but you never know...
Just got this email from Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora. Please read and sign the petition to keep Internet radio licensing fees low and Internet radio alive and kicking.
Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,
I'm writing today to ask for your help. The survival of Pandora and all of Internet radio is in jeopardy because of a recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board in Washington, DC to almost triple the licensing fees for Internet radio sites like Pandora. The new royalty rates are irrationally high, more than four times what satellite radio pays, and broadcast radio doesn't pay these at all. Left unchanged, these new royalties will kill every Internet radio site, including Pandora.
In response to these new and unfair fees, we have formed the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group that includes listeners, artists, labels and webcasters. I hope that you will consider joining us.
Please sign our petition urging your Congressional representative to act to save Internet radio.
Understand that we are fully supportive of paying royalties to the artists whose music we play, and have done so since our inception. As a former touring musician myself, I'm no stranger to the challenges facing working musicians. The issue we have with the recent ruling is that it puts the cost of streaming far out of the range of ANY webcaster's business potential.
I hope you'll take just a few minutes to sign our petition - it WILL make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.
As always, and now more than ever, thank you for your support.
A few months ago, I was turned on to an emerging singer from LA who goes by the name A Fine Frenzy (aka the 21-year-old Alison Sudol). Check out this track, "Almost Lover," with its chilling vocals, eerie visuals and Alison's sensual raspy voice. She reminds me a lot of my friend and local Chicago (by way of New York) singer Alison Breitman. I say, we certainly have room for more female vocalists who sound like these two!
Listen (real): Almost Lover
After two great years, Chicago's Intonation Music Festival won't return to the city that has become a haven for great summer music fests. With the glut of music coming to the city, it seemed that Intonation, with its extremely diverse lineups and accessible ticket prices, just couldn't compete with the larger festivals like Lollapalooza and Pitchfork. It saddens me to learn that Intonation won't be happening because the people behind it are truly dedicated and, from what I've seen, wonderful guys who honestly love music. With a simple note on the festival's website, "the underground is overcrowded," organizers have bowed out, but from what I hear are working on pulling together some intimate events around Chicago. Stay tuned...