2015 marks what would have been Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday, with the singer’s estate announcing they would commemorate the King with classic albums reissues and a new website. Now, the Westgate Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is making plans to open their own Graceland nearly four decades after Presley performed over 600 shows in Sin City. Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Elvis Presley Songs On April 23, 2015, the hotel will unveil Graceland Presents ELVIS: The Exhibition – The Show – The Experience, a multimedia and memorabilia-based retrospective that will feature hundreds of items from the Graceland Archives. The exhibit’s arrival will coincide with the opening of the newly renamed Elvis Presley International Showroom, where a rotation of Presley-inspired acts – first up, The Elvis Experience — will take the renovated stage.
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For years, Keith Urban has been writing most of his songs on a six-string banjo, pushing the tunes forward with the electronic bleeps and bloops of an old, Eighties-era drum machine. Keith Urban Talks Eric Church Duet, Sturgill Love That may seem like an odd launching pad for some of the most guitar-driven country songs of the 21st century, but Urban made a pretty convincing argument during yesterday’s midnight show at the Ryman Auditorium. There, accompanied by some of the best acoustics in Nashville — as well as several hundred loud, half-lit radio programmers who’d come to town to attend the annual Country Radio Seminar — he kicked off his set alone, playing solo versions of songs like “Long Hot Summer” and “Better Life” on his acoustic guitar. Then, minutes before being joined by a scaled-back version of his touring band, he traded the guitar for the same ‘ganjo’ he bought 20 years ago, back when he was just another wannabe star in search of a killer songs and a big break. One of those killer songs that eventually vaulted Urban into the country mainstream was 2002’s “Somebody Like You,” a long-running Number One hit that he wrote with producer John Shanks. Although the song’s studio version is thick with electric guitars and keyboards, the Urban and Shanks kept things simple — and a bit unexpected — during the creation process. “John had this beat going,” Urban told the audience last night, pressing a button on his drum machine and unleashing a fury of processed kick drum and synthesized snare
After rolling sevens with last year’s Route 91 Harvest Festival, the event organizers are bringing the three-day country music blowout back to Las Vegas. Slated for October 2nd through 4th, the festival features two stages and some of the genre’s most bankable stars — Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban have all been confirmed as headliners. Tim McGraw Talks ‘Shotgun’ Hit, Next Single and Hozier The supporting lineup, led by Jake Owen and Lady Antebellum, is heavy on new talent, with Route 91’s “Next From Nashville” stage devoted to spotlighting up-and-coming acts. Skynyrd-meets-country-radio outfit A Thousand Horses, guitar ace Frankie Ballard, tent revivalist Drake White and meteoric hitmaker Thomas Rhett are all on the bill, along with Easton Corbin, Brett Eldredge, the Cadillac Three, Gloriana, Chase Rice and Nineties veteran Mark Chesnutt. Additional acts will be announced later
The songwriting trio of Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally have worked their magic again. The masterminds of Musgraves’ CMA award-winning, boundary-breaking “Follow Your Arrow” have penned another song about living your own life without worrying about how others live theirs, but this new one is a bit more of a lecture: “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy,” the Texas spitfire sings in the chorus of “Biscuits,” the first single from her upcoming album. (Hear her perform it at last year’s Key West Songwriting Festival in the video above, with the tune starting at the 1:12 mark.) Watch Kacey Musgraves ‘Burn One’ With John Prine “I think it’s the perfect preview to the record we had so much fun making,” Musgraves says of the country-to-the-core track. “The sound of this song represents so many of the things I love about country music. And be warned — it may inspire a square dance.” The singer performed “Biscuits” at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on Thursday, for Universal Music Group’s annual Country Radio Seminar luncheon.
Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has issued an encouraging update on the status of the band’s next record (via Facebook), saying the group will enter the studio “soon.” In addition to sharing the singer’s news that the LP’s songs are congealing into shape, the band also shared a photo of the group “playing” instruments that are not their own (Keenan is behind the drum kit). Why Tool Haven’t Put Out a New LP “I’ve been making regular trips to [Los Angeles] to check on the writing progress of my Tool brethren,” the singer said. “Things are progressing nicely. Slowly, but definitely progressing
Friday will be the new Tuesday beginning this summer, when the worldwide music industry begins putting out new releases on most music buyers’ paydays. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the British-based organization that acts as a music-biz United Nations, announced on Thursday that the new plan would go into effect this summer. 15 Innovative Album Releases That Shook the Music Industry The organization hopes that the move would benefit the industry as a whole, since it would reduce piracy (since albums often come out before the United States internationally), allow artists to focus their social-media campaigns and, using the words of the IFPI’s statement, “re-ignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music.” The decision, which has been in the works since at least last summer, came after the IFPI consulted with artists, unions, labels and retailers. It also cited consumer research that suggested Friday and Saturday were the days people would be most interested in buying new music. The Music Business Association, an organization that represents U.S.
John Legend and Common’s Oscar-winning song “Glory” from the film Selma garnered 28,000 downloads to notch its best sales week to date. The spike anchored a massive 184 percent sales gain for all music featured on the 87th Academy Awards for the week ending the day of the awards (February 22nd), according to The Hollywood Reporter . These already impressive numbers are expected to rise even more in the first post-Oscars sales week ending March 1st. Oscars 2015’s 20 Best, Worst and WTF Moments While “Glory” reaped the largest rewards, its fellow nominees for Best Original Song — “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” ( Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me ), “Everything Is Awesome” ( The Lego Movie ), “Grateful” ( Beyond the Lights ) and “Lost Stars” ( Begin Again ) — also fared well, with various versions of those tracks selling a combined 75,000 downloads.
Kanye West debuted the official version of “All Day” Wednesday at the 2015 Brit Awards following the leak of numerous rough versions of the song since last August. Watch Kanye West’s Poignant Speech on Racism at BET Honors After Kim Kardashian-West presented the Global Success Award to Sam Smith, posing for a selfie with the show’s hosts Ant and Dec and demanding that the audience stand up for the performance, West appeared onstage surrounded by a large group of friends and two flame-throwers. The performances and song were more energetic and grittier than the emotional, introspective tracks fans have heard from his as-yet-untitled, upcoming album thus far. West’s performance can be viewed below. Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom joined West onstage, with Travis Scott appearing on previous cuts of the song
Country music will be featured on Saturday Night Live for the second time this season when Zac Brown Band serve as musical guest on March 7th. Actor Chris Hemsworth ( Thor ) will host the episode, which comes hot on the heels of the NBC comedy sketch show’s recent 40th anniversary special. Presumably, Zac and company will perform their latest single, “Homegrown,” during their appearance.
Bob Dylan’s Shadows in the Night isn’t the only celebration of Frank Sinatra’s music that will arrive in 2015: To commemorate what would have been Sinatra’s 100th birthday on December 12th, the Sinatra family and Frank Sinatra Enterprises have planned a multimedia event called “Sinatra 100″ that will focus on the crooner’s music and films in a variety of different venues. Sinatra Rocks! Hear Ol’ Blue Eyes’ Best and Worst Pop Covers The Sinatra 100 celebration kicks off March 4th at New York’s Lincoln Center with the opening of the Grammy Museum’s Sinatra: An American Icon exhibit. After six months stationed at Lincoln Center, the exhibit will hit the road starting September 4th. The Grammy Museum has also planned panels at places like Yale University and South by Southwest where the singer’s legacy will be examined. In addition, UCLA will offer an extension course this May called “Why Sinatra Matters.” Sinatra’s music will be the subject of new collections by Capitol, Sony and Universal, while Warner Bros.
Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss will join forces once again for a few more dates on their shared tour this summer. The run of shows follows the pair’s summer trek of 2014, which was complicated by “an unforeseen and urgent health concern,” according to a statement on Krauss’s website last April. Watch Willie Nelson Tell the Story of His Legendary Guitar The nine newly announced shows begin June 17th in Missoula, Montana, and are concentrated in the western U.S., with the majority taking place in California. (See the list of tour dates below.) In addition to the co-headlining tour, Willie Nelson and Family continue their seemingly never-ending trek with a series of shows this spring and summer, including a two-night stint at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium March 3rd and 4th
With Kim Gordon’s memoir, Girl in a Band , due out this week, snippets of the audio edition of the book have begun surfacing online. Rough Trade has posted a nine-minute stretch of the singer-songwriter talking about her formative years from the first chapter, and the retail chain has promised to post a new section each day this week at 5 p.m. GMT on its website (via Louder Than War).