Willie Nelson has announced the lineup for his storied 4th of July Picnic, held this year at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin, Texas. The roster is among the Independence Day party’s most diverse, with aggro-country outlaw Brantley Gilbert sharing space with Lone Star state songbird Lee Ann Womack. Willie Nelson’s 12 Most Memorable Acting Roles Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson with Alison Krauss, Billy Joe Shaver and David Allan Coe are also on the bill, along with trad-country breakout star Margo Price. Founded in 1973, Nelson staged his inaugural picnic in Dripping Springs, Texas, just outside of Austin. Last year’s event featured Eric Church, frequent Nelson collaborator Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and the late Merle Haggard. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 20th, at 10:00 a.m.
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Tracked during a 2,728-mile railroad trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, Shine a Light: Field Recordings From the Great American Railroad finds folksingers Billy Bragg and Joe Henry teaming up for an album of acoustic, harmony-heavy duets. The railway looms large throughout the project, pulling triple duty as the singers’ muse, transportation and makeshift recording studio. Filled with covers of train songs that were first popularized by Jimmie Rodgers, Leadbelly, Hank Williams, the Carter Family and other American icons, Shine a Light does exactly what its title claims: refocus attention on the machines that not only helped colonize America, but played an immeasurable role in shaping the country’s blues and folk music, as well. Merle Haggard: 30 Essential Songs “We want the noise; we want people to listen to this record and be with us on the journey,” Bragg tells a railroad station employee in the above clip, which shows the two musicians recording their album’s first single, “The Midnight Special,” on a train depot balcony in St. Louis. Footage from the rest of the pair’s cross-country journey fills the video, too, showing Bragg and Henry recording their album’s songs in hotel rooms, train cars, loading docks and lobbies. The entire process took four days, with the album’s final track recorded outside Los Angeles’ Union Station at dawn, with birds chirping in the background. Although first recorded in 1926 by Pistol Pete, a member of the western group Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys, “The Midnight Special” is usually attributed to Leadbelly, who recorded his own version of the song while serving time for attempted homicide at Louisiana’s Angola Prison Farm.
Released on May 16th, 1966, Bob Dylan’s landmark album Blonde on Blonde was recorded in Nashville after some lackluster New York sessions. The album and its legacy helped open the floodgates for rock performers coming to Nashville to record — an era revisited in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Blonde on Blonde ‘s release, the Hall of Fame called upon the ever inventive Old Crow Medicine Show to reimagine the album. Old Crow Medicine Show Does Dylan at Rousing Nashville Show For two nights only, the Nashville-based string band played the entire album through start to finish. Leader Ketch Secor injected fiddle and harmonica into bluegrass arrangements of songs like “Sooner or Later (One of Us Must Know)” and “Just Like a Woman,” while preserving the more traditionally rock arrangements in “Visions of Johanna” and “Stuck Inside Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” Secor also made a plea for Dylan to become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, thanks to his lasting influence. Not just because he made three or four powerful records here, not just because he wrote country music songs like ‘Lay Lady Lay,’ which is pure country,” he said. Because he has informed every songwriter in our city.
Drake held onto his throne atop the Billboard 200 for a second straight week despite heavy competition. The rapper’s Views sold 219,000 total copies – a combination of “pure album sales” and grouped streaming totals – in its second week of release to officially push it past the platinum mark in terms of actual album sales. Views is the first 2016 release to sell over a million copies, Billboard reports . Drake Is Number One: Is America Embracing Global Pop? Beyoncé ‘s Lemonade clung to Number Two for the second straight week with an addition 202,000 total copies sold as the singer’s latest inches toward the platinum club. Beyoncé held off Radiohead, whose new LP A Moon Shaped Pool sold 173,000 copies in its shortened debut week; since the album arrived Sunday and not the industry standard Friday, Pool had two less days of accrued sales compared to its competitors. While Pool didn’t reach Number One like In Rainbows in 2008, the band’s new album was Radiohead’s best opening week in sales since Hail to the Thief chalked up 300,000 copies in its debut week in 2003. The band’s next two albums, In Rainbows and 2011’s The King of Limbs , were originally distributed through unconventional means. That was eventually followed by a traditional, Billboard 200-applicable release.
Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace became one of the loudest musical protestors of North Carolina’s HB2 bill on Sunday, burning her birth certificate onstage. “Goodbye gender!” She declared onstage in Durham. The controversial House Bill 2 forces transgender people to use restrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. It is a particularly close issue for Grace who announced she was transgender in 2012 . I guess gender really is over since @LauraJaneGrace said goodbye to gender! #genderisover pic.twitter.com/EHXZJbMnM2 — Kathryn (@kwymer6) May 16, 2016 Early this year, Grace was encouraged to cancel the Durham show, but she refused by tweeting: “Hell no! … I’m even more eager to play North Carolina ’cause of the bill! Let me know if there’s any activist groups that can come table the show.” That was after a slew of music heavyweights like Pearl Jam, Ringo Starr and Bruce Springsteen canceled concerts in North Carolina in protest of House Bill 2. 17 Anti-Trans Bills That Could Become Law Next “I think the real danger with HB2 is that it creates a target on transgender people specifically,” Grace told Buzzfeed in April. “When you feel targeted as a trans person, the natural inclination is to go into hiding. But visibility is more important than ever; to go there and have the platform of a stage to stand on and speak your mind and represent yourself.” More trans-rights activists are stepping out in North Carolina. Moogfest, an electronic-experimental music fest in Durham this weekend, will feature a keynote address from Sirius Satellie Radio co-founder Martine Rothblatt, a transgender woman. “I would rather be part of a protest festival than basically just be a silent voice walking away from it,” she told The New York Times . Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace talks about playing their North Carolina show as a “protest” against the state’s anti-LGBT law. Watch here
Minnetonka, Minnesota’s Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall held a memorial service for Prince – “Brother Nelson” as his fellow congregants knew him – Sunday at the church where Prince worshipped. Over 500 people attended the invite-only memorial, with Minneapolis police providing extra security to keep throngs of Prince fans and media from attending the event, The Associated Press reports . Inside Prince’s Final Days Among them was Larry Graham, bassist for Sly and the Family Stone. Graham was a mentor to Prince and was his longtime associate in funk band Graham Central Station. At the service, he spoke about Prince and their shared faith; Graham is often credited with introducing Prince to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The memorial service, which was not an authorized estate event , concluded with “See Yourself When All Is New,” a hymn from the Jehovah songbook. The program also borrowed a lyric from Prince’s 3121 ballad “Beautiful, Loved and Blessed”: “If I were to ever write down my life story, I could truly say with all the fame and glory, I was just a piece of clay in need of the potter’s hand.” On May 11th, Prince was honored at a Los Angeles memorial that featured Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding, Mavis Staples and all the members of the Revolution. Prince’s ex-wives, Manuela Testolini and Mayte Garcia, Prince’s ex-wives, organized the memorial. Friends, family members and collaborators gathered to honor the late icon in L.A. on Wednesday. Related Prince in the Nineties: An Oral History Prince Honored at Touching L.A
Red Hot Chili Peppers were forced to cancel their Saturday performance at the annual KROQ Weenie Roast in Irvine, California at the last minute after Anthony Kiedis was hospitalized. The singer was at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre when he began experiencing “extreme stomach pain,” a KROQ rep told Billboard . Kiedis was then transported from the venue to a nearby hospital. Red Hot Chili Peppers Detail New Album ‘The Getaway’ “No one’s more disappointed than us that we couldn’t perform tonight. Sending love and a speedy recovery to my brother Anthony,” drummer Chad Smith tweeted late Saturday after the Chili Peppers nixed their gig. Once Kiedis was taken to the hospital, Smith, Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer came onstage at the event to explain to the crowd that they would not be performing as planned. “We live to rock, we live to fucking dig deep into the depths of our hearts and rock, but unfortunately there’s a medical thing that happened and we needed to deal with it, so we’re unable tonight,” Flea told the crowd. “We will play for you very soon, we will play for you like the feral animals that we are, and we’re so sorry.” “Unfortunately due to illness the @ChiliPeppers were forced to cancel their set tonight at #WeenieRoast,” KROQ tweeted at 10:30 p.m. PST, 30 minutes after the Red Hot Chili Peppers were scheduled to take the stage at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. Red Hot Chili Peppers were recruited to headline the concert that also featured sets by Panic! at the Disco, Garbage, Cold War Kids, Fitz and the Tantrums, Empire of the Sun and Weezer, who performed an extended set to close out the Weenie Roast
Redman has been smoking weed since he was 16, and three decades later he’s still an aficionado. The rapper, who has a new supergroup 1000Volts with Jayceeoh and a new song “I’m Gone,” recently sat down to parse all things marijuana for Rolling Stone and came up with a list of his favorite tunes to listen to while stoned. Related: Check out our list of the 100 greatest hip-hop songs. “What makes a good weed song? Well, a good weed song to me is a song that has the right sounds, instruments and hook, only fit to the herbal ear,” Redman tells Rolling Stone .
Ruben Mosqueda of Sleaze Roxx spoke with former Danger Danger frontman, Ted Poley, about his new solo album. Excerpts from the interview appear below. Sleaze Roxx: You have a great new record Beyond the Fade . I imagine the response has been pretty good to it? Ted Poley: Thank you for saying that about the record.
Chicago’s Chance the Rapper just released 2016’s richest hip-hop album. Though Kanye said The Life of Pablo was a gospel album, Coloring Book delivers on that promise in much more than fits and spurts. Gospel choirs are the backbone of the LP, rocketing heavenward in the background the same way soul samples did on Kanye records, James Brown breaks did on Public Enemy records or disco interpolations did in the Sugar Hill catalog. Reaching back to the very beginning of black music in America, Chance recontextualizes one of the most enduring African-American art forms for 2016’s most urgent one. Chance The Rapper Releases New Mixtape ‘Coloring Book’ Coloring Book comes at a time when the biggest rap and R&B stars are looking deep into African-American heritage, a trend that’s perhaps unsurprising in a country where policemen regularly get away with murder, a presidential candidate refuses to disown the KKK and the water is poisoned. On their recent albums, Dr. Dre and Vince Staples revived Nineties gangsta rap, Kendrick Lamar searched for the spiritual core of To Pimp a Butterfly in Seventies jazz, Beyoncé sampled Forties prison songs on Lemonade and now Chance the Rapper finds freedom in gospel music that goes back centuries.
Danish singer MØ, who struck it big on the charts the past two years by featuring on Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s “Lean On” and Iggy Azalea’s “Beg for It,” is back with her own solo track, an infectious, anthemic new single titled “Final Song.” 10 New Artists You Need to Know: July 2015 “‘Final Song’ is about reconnecting with your inner strength. With your inner glow, passion, spirit animal, whatever—the force that keeps us going and doing what we love,” MØ said of her new single in a statement. “I wrote it with MNEK and Noonie Bao—both of whom I adore—in Los Angeles earlier this year. We all need to feel empowered from within to be the best version of ourself, but it’s not always easy and that’s what inspired me to write these lyrics. When you’re united with your inner glow you can beat the fears and fly towards your dreams.” “Final Song” arrives nearly seven months after MØ unveiled the Diplo-produced “Kamikaze,” which is penciled in as the first single from her upcoming second LP and follow-up to 2014’s No Mythologies to Follow .
Ground-breaking string band Old Crow Medicine Show tipped their hats to one of music’s greatest innovators last night (May 12), performing Bob Dylan’s watershed Blonde on Blonde album in its entirety for the first of a two-night stand at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater in Nashville. Bob Dylan’s ‘Blonde on Blonde’ Album Feted in Nashville Conceived as part of the Museum’s ongoing Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City exhibit, the stirring and educational concert marked the 50 th anniversary of Dylan’s first trip to Nashville, the 1966 journey that produced Blonde on Blonde — rock’s first-ever double album and the moment that refocused attention on Nashville’s world class musicians and studios. For a little bit of background, Dylan had already started recording what would become Blonde on Blonde in New York City in early 1966, but the sessions weren’t going well. Looking for a spark, Nashville session musician Charlie McCoy (a multi-instrumentalist most famous for his harmonica and guitar playing) was invited north to sit in on a session. His skill and versatility — and the fact that he could learn a whole song at the drop of a hat — impressed Dylan so much that when McCoy told him Nashville was full of young, ambitious players just like him, the star decided to give Music City a shot. He went on to record two more full albums in Nashville, and soon artists from around the world were seeking out session time on Music Row. Nashville was no longer viewed as a backwater, thanks to Dylan’s endorsement. Opening the Hall of Fame event was Museum Editor Peter Cooper, who delivered an impassioned speech about why Blonde on Blonde is important to Nashville in the first place, and why a seemingly unrelated band of acoustically minded hillbillies would be chosen to perform it. “ Blonde on Blonde opened doors,” Cooper explained in the gorgeous hall, ringed by three levels of balcony. “It signaled Nashville’s place as a truly ecumenical Music City and as a beacon for music makers of all types.