"Look before you leap" — or at least "consider your insurance coverage before you include the crowd in an Evel Knievel stunt": These are lessons Miguel might be wishing he'd considered after he collided with some fans in the middle of his Billboard Music Awards performance Sunday night.Read More »from Miguel’s Errant Leap, Bieber’s Boos, and Other Billboard Awards Moments
Blog Posts by Chris Willman
- Chris Willman | Stop The Presses! – 6 hours ago
- Chris Willman | Our Country – Tue, May 14, 2013 10:32 PM EDT
Lauderdale and Miller react to being nominated for best duo for the 2013 Americana Honors [Photo by Chris Willman]It’s been a great season for alt-country duets records, as evidenced by three pairs of singers who just got nominated for favorite duo at the Americana Awards: Rodney Crowell & Emmylou Harris, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, and Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. All these recorded pairings have been in the makings for decades, and it’s just a coincidence of timing—maybe overseen by the Louvin Brothers from up above—that these projects all finally came to fruition in the last six months.
The Buddy and Jim album is a particular delight, bringing together two of roots-rock’s most celebrated journeymen at last. It’s not as if they hadn’t already spent seemingly half their lives together, but somehow, getting those three joint days in the studio to cut an LP proved tougher than touring together for years, as backing cats or co-headliners. We can thank SiriusXM for half-forcing the collaboration by signing Miller and Lauderdale up to do a weekly satellite show on the Outlaw Country channel.
WeRead More »from Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale: Alt-Country’s Dream Team
- Chris Willman | Stop The Presses! – Tue, May 14, 2013 2:15 AM EDT
McFerrin's new album coverFor a while in the '90s, before the public knew to turn to Snopes.com on such matters, an urban legend persisted that the song's originator, Bobby McFerrin, had committed suicide. Surely a song that cheerful could only lead to a heavily ironic end, no?
The No. 1 hit that won the Record and Song of the Year awards at the 1989 Grammys also began turning up in strangely post-apocalyptic contexts. It was used in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and in Wall-E, where the title robot has a Big Mouth Billy Bass mounted fish that sings McFerrin's jolly tune amid the dystopian depression. There was only one explanation for this: The song made people so unbearably happy that the only antidote was to associate it with deep unhappiness, whether that involved suicide or the end of the world.Read More »from Whatever Happened to Bobby McFerrin? Don’t Worry, He’s Happy
- Chris Willman | Stop The Presses! – Mon, May 13, 2013 11:33 PM EDT
There might be a noise ordinance at your favorite relaxing vacation spot, but there’s nothing stopping you from taking a rock book to the beach and cranking up the noise in your head amid the summer tranquility.
Our list of music-based summer beach reads includes some of the top memoirs that have come out over the last six months--by the likes of Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Heart, Pete Townshend, Cyndi Lauper, and Clive Davis--along with treatises on heavy metal and prog-rock that might have you banging your sunburned head against the back of the recliner.Read More »from Rock’s Best Beach Reads: Rod, Neil, Heart, Clive, Cyndi, and the Entire History of Metal
- Chris Willman | Stop The Presses! – Thu, May 2, 2013 5:49 PM EDT
That was when a horse-drawn carriage bore Brown's body in a procession through the streets of Harlem on December 28, 2006, before a memorial service at the Apollo Theatre that drew thousands of fans to line up and file past his body. Some of them might have been angling to get a look at the casket as much as at Brown himself.
Brown was decked out in a casket called the Promethean, which is plated in 14-carat gold, with a body of solid bronze, lined with blue velvet. Retail value: $22,000-30,000, making it one of the world's most expensive coffins, if not the most pricey, at the time.
Michael Jackson spent five hours in the funeral home when the body was returned to Augusta, Georgia, studying the lifeless visage of Brown and, no doubt, the coffin as well. Little wonder, then, that as Jackson had followed in Brown's nimble footsteps in life,Read More »from James Brown’s 80th Birthday: Remembering a Gold Casket Befitting a King
- Chris Willman | Our Country – Mon, Apr 29, 2013 5:25 PM EDT
Zac Brown, beating the heat (?) with a beanie at Stagecoach [Kevin Winter/Getty]Florida Georgia Line began the Stagecoach Festival's final day by covering Nelly's "Hot in Herre," and the Zac Brown Band ended it with their usual rendition of Charlie Daniels'"The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Common thread, possibly: the fires of hell.
Granted, these toasty songs would probably have been included in their respective artists' sets even if the thermometer hadn't topped out at 107 degrees (a record for any gathering held at the Indio, California, polo grounds, which also host rock's Coachella Festival). But few acts were able to resist commenting on the fieriness, either in or out of song.Read More »from Stagecoach Closes Out With Zac Brown, Darius Rucker, and…John C. Reilly
- Chris Willman | Our Country – Sun, Apr 28, 2013 2:11 PM EDT
When Lady Antebellum closed out Day 2 of the Stagecoach Festival, they namechecked all the performers who'd preceded them on the "Mane Stage" Saturday, from Dierks Bentley on down to early-afternoon opener Jana Kramer. They didn't mention anyone who'd played over in the tents, where some of the real action was.
Ashton Kutcher greets fans in a less eventful Stagecoach moment [Frazer Harrison/Getty]We don't just mean musical action, either. It was over yonder at the alt-country-oriented Mustang Stage where actor Ashton Kutcher spent much of the day hanging out, and where he got into a significant tussle with security guards while waiting for Dwight Yoakam to take the stage, according to a TMZ report. A little bit earlier, Kutcher had taken his own photo of the little-known band the Lone Bellow and tweeted to his 14 million followers that they were "the next thing in country music." But some time after that, he reportedly went from his backstage perch to greet a fan, security tried to intervene, shoving ensued, and a guard supposedly tried to have him thrown out.Read More »from Ashton Kutcher Sightings (and Fightings?) Spice Up Stagecoach, Day 2
- Chris Willman | Our Country – Sat, Apr 27, 2013 4:46 PM EDT
George Jones died the same day that the West Coast's most prominent country music festival, Stagecoach, began. And while it would hardly be accurate to say that Jones's passing cast a huge pall over the rowdy, beer-fueled proceedings, a couple of the opening-day performers did attempt to play Possum, as it were.
Toby Keith and his red Solo cup salute George Jones [Christopher Polk/Getty Images]Friday's headliner, Toby Keith, honored Jones's death "at 81 party-ass, no-show years old!"--with his indelicate choice of eulogistic language perhaps influenced by his being "hammered," as he put it. Keith urged the mostly twentysomething festival attendees to spend "24 or 48 hours on your way out of here" compiling their own Jones playlists, and cited "how important he was to our industry, because none of us would be here today if we didn’t have four or five cats like George Jones starting it for us."Read More »from Toby Keith, Trace Adkins Salute George Jones at Stagecoach
- Chris Willman | Stop The Presses! – Fri, Apr 19, 2013 2:36 PM EDT
Bad girl Jennifer Hudson salutes Donna Summer [Kevin Winter/Getty Images]When this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction is broadcast on HBO May 18, you can "dim all the lights" on any hopes of seeing Christina Aguilera sing in tribute to Donna Summer. Though previously advertised as a musical guest who'd be saluting the late disco queen, Aguilera was an unexplained no-show at Thursday night's ceremony, leaving curious attendees to wonder whether she'd lost her voice on top of temporarily abandoning her "Voice" post.
That left it up to planned partner Jennifer Hudson to go it solo and work doubly hard for the money...at about half her former size, judging from the skintight bodysuit she wore while serenading the crowd with a medley of "Bad Girls" and "Last Dance." Hudson looked like she was on her way to the Bob Mackie Hall of Fame ceremony in this glittery outfit, but even the Rush fanatics who packed L.A.'s Nokia Theatre for the show weren't complaining, about either her sexy get-up or the high notes she expertly hit at the climax of "Dance."Read More »from Christina Aguilera MIA at Rock Hall of Fame Show, But Donna Summer-Lover Jennifer Hudson Suffices
- Chris Willman | Stop The Presses! – Fri, Apr 19, 2013 11:09 AM EDT
That was the feeling you might've picked up from Thursday night's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. A star-studded list of performers, speech-givers, and fellow inductees all came off as mere opening acts to the glory of Rush, at least when it came to the affections of the rowdy paying audience, at least 80 percent of whom appeared to have come strictly to see the Canadian prog-rock trio get their due.
Oprah Winfrey? She's no "Tom Sawyer." Winfrey was among those giving introductory speeches for the inductees, along with Spike Lee, Kelly Rowland, Dave Grohl, John Mayer, Harry Belafonte, and Don Henley. The evening's salutary performers included Usher and Jennifer Hudson. The list of inductees themselves was hardly short on star power, with Heart, Public Enemy, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, and the late Donna Summer also being honored.
But as far as the singularly mindedRead More »from Rush Dominates Rock Hall of Fame Ceremony; Heart, Public Enemy Mere Opening Acts?
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