Wednesday, August 5, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, December 18, 2014, 11:14 AM

The weekend after the massive Firefly Music Festival in Delaware this June, there will be a country music fest of similar proportion taking over The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway.

It's called the Big Barrel Country Music Festival, and it'll happen the weekend of June 26-28. Headliners are Carrie Underwood plus wife and husband team Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. The festival is presented by Firefly and Stagecoach, the latter being the country fest that takes places in Indio, Calif. the week after the Coachella festival goes down in the desert each spring.

As with that arrangement, this one makes perfect logistical sense: As long as you've got all those stages and tents set up, why not use them again the next weekend? It's also a logical turn of events because Red Frog Events which puts on the fest growing Firefly, which drew 80,000 people a day this year, has entered into a joint venture with Golden Voice, the West Coast promoter that books both Coachella and Stagecoach. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 18, 2014, 8:34 AM
Blind Boys of Alabama.

The bells are jingling and ring-ting-tingling on the 2014 Christmas music playlist that you'll find below, even if though there aren't any "Sleigh Bells" within earshot.

It kicks off with my favorite new single artist - or in this case, double artist - holiday album of the year, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Taj Mahal's Talking Christmas, and includes pop stars of the moment Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor and Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, as well as an assortment of R & B, jazz, choral music and country acts.

The streaming Spotify list only includes new recorded holday songs, and mostly corresponds to the annotated playlist you'll find in Thursday's Inquirer and on here. In cases where the songs were not available  on Spotify, they're not indluded, but I've substituted for those with additional tunes from, maong others, the Xmas Men (Robert Earl Keen's band), Trez Songz, and Renee Fleming and Rufus Wainwright, who got didn't make the cut in the paper. Plus there's a surprise bonus spoken word track at the end.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 8:36 AM
Singer/songwriter Joan Jett performs at The 6th Annual Little Kids Rock Benefit presented by Guitar Center at the Hammerstein Ballroom on October 23, 2014 in New York City. (Getty Images for Little Kids Roc)

The 2015 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been announced.

The six winners are: California pop punk band Green Day, "I Love Rock 'n Roll" femme rock trailblazers Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, 1970s soul man Bill Withers, 1960s standouts The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 1980s Texas bluesmen Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, and songwriting giant Lou Reed, who's already in with the Velvet Undergound, but will be inducted as a solo artist.  The latter three are posthumous inductees.

It's always good to have a Beatle avalable at the induction ceremony, which will be held in Cleveland in April, and Ringo Starr will get a special award for "musical excellence." Also, The "5" Royales, the 1950s North Carolina vocal group whose songs "Think" and "Dedicated To The One I Love" were later hits for The Shirelles and James Brown, respectively, are going in as an early influence.

POSTED: Sunday, December 14, 2014, 1:00 PM
The 'Quality Holiday Revue' T-shirt.

“Nick the Knife” is one of Nick Lowe’s nicknames, and “Basher” another, for the way the sharp-witted Brit efficiently pounded out the classic albums he produced for Elvis Costello and Graham Parker, among others, that helped define the 1970s and early 1980s pub-rock and New Wave rock eras.

Lowe was all smooth and suave, however, when he played the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood on Saturday, when the blade-thin frosty haired songwriter brought his Quality Holiday Revue to the Camden County venue, where he was backed by Mexican wrestling mask-wearing instrumental guitar band Los Straitjackets.

Effortless understatement has been the the 65 year old guitarist’s modus operandi during the underrated mellow-down-easy stage of his career that began with The Impossible Bird in 1994.

POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2014, 7:30 PM
D'Angelo performing at Made In America last year. (Photo by Colin Kerrigan)

It's been 14 years since the releae of Voodoo, the sexy, simmering second album by D'Angelo, the soul singing sar born Michael Eugene Archer. It's seems like it's been year's since Questlove, D'Angelo's Soulquarian right hand man, started saying the album, long rumored to be called James River, was "99% done."

Now apparently, it is. On Friday afternoon it was announced that this Sunday in New York, the entire album, now called Black Messiah will be previewed in an event hosted by writer Nelson George. No official announcement has been made, but there's a Tweet being shared around the web with a picture of what seems to be the album cover with Tuesday's date attached.

More clues: The singer's management company posted the video trailer you see below, and Pitchfork reports mystery posters are pasted on walls in Brooklyn with the intriguingly provocative lyric: "All we wanted was a chance to talk / 'Stead we only got outlined in chalk."

POSTED: Friday, December 12, 2014, 3:23 PM
Lana Del Rey.

The Inquirer's year end music coverage is coming in this Sunday's Live Life Love A&E section. My top ten albums and an annotated songs of the year playlist will be in there, along with classical music coverage from David Patrick Stearns and a best of Americana list from roots-rock maven Nick Cristiano.

To read all the insightful and highly entertaining copy, you'll have to wait until Sunday. But in the meantime, here's a Songs of 2014 streaming playlist, with a few extras thrown in to make up for the artists included in the Sunday coverage that don't play nice with Spotify.  

Previously: Grammmy nominees announced Follow In The Mix on Twitter

POSTED: Friday, December 5, 2014, 9:22 AM
Iggy Azalea in her music video for "Fancy." (Image via YouTube/Island)

This year's new twist in the Grammy nominations announcements is to roll them out little by little, tweet by tweet, as today goes by for maximum social media trendability.

The first of the major nominations to be announced this morning by Ed Sheeran and Pharrell on CBS This Morning was Record of the Year. (The other big categories are Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Album of the Year,the  last of which  will be announced on A Very Grammy Christmas Special tonight on CBS.)

And the nominees for Record of the Year are:  Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, "Fancy"; Sia, "Chandelier"; Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off"; Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" and Sam Smith "Stay With Me."

POSTED: Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 11:04 PM
Ian McLagan.

I can't say that I knew Ian McLagan well.

I only met the British piano player, a member of The Small Faces and The Faces and frequent collaborator with the Rolling Stones who died on Wednesday at age 69, this March at the SXSW music festival.

I tagged along with a bunch of friends on a pilgrimage to the barbecue destination of Lockhart, Texas about 45 minutes south of Austin, where the keyboardist had lived for the past two decades.  As fabulous as the BBQ was at the meat lovers mecca of Kreuz Market, the real highlight was hanging out with Mac, the white haired gent from Hounslow, Middlesex who seemed as right at home in South Central Texas as I'm guessing he did wherever he found himself as rock and roll took him around the world.

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Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic
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