Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dar Williams Out On Tour with New Album - Hear Interview and Full Concert

Singer-songwriter Dar Williams recently came out with her latest album, Promised Land, and is touring in support of it. You can hear a radio interview she did that aired on public radio Sunday, Sept. 28th at the link below.

Williams talks about the things she writes about on her new album, the musicians and producers she's worked with, and how she fits songwriting into her busy life as a wife and mother... something that's a change from when she first started out as a carefree singer in her early 20s. "I know that I need to take the time to structure my life to create the empty spaces, so every story really has its due," said noted.

I've been a fan of Dar Williams since her first album, The Honesty Room, and have enjoyed seeing her in concert a number of times. She always puts on a good live show, and has a friendly and funny manner in talking to her audience. Some people may find it too cloying or cutesy, but it's one aspect of her style that has endeared her to her many fans over the years.

At the NPR Music link, you can hear the interview as well as songs from the new Dar Williams album and a complete Dar Williams concert.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Singer Kate Voegele Wrapping Up "Back to School" Tour

Kate Voegele is nearing the end of her Summer/Fall "Back to School" Tour, which has seen the young pop singer-songwriter headlining on a busy tour schedule around the country. The 21-year-old Ohio native has been out promoting her impressive debut full-length album, "Don't Look Away," and she gotten some valuable exposure from the CW Network TV show "One Tree Hill."

But she isn't just having her songs featured on the show. She is getting attention that most musicians in her position would die for: as a recurring character named Mia who is a budding singer-songwriter, which puts her songs and her face in front of the TV audience. (Ironically the character of Mia is rather shy, which Voegele says is the exact opposite of her own outgoing personality.)

After being on tour earlier this year opening for Natasha Bedingfield, Voegele is finishing her run of headlining gigs on the East Coast this coming week. You can find all the upcoming Kate Voegele tour dates at her special MySpace tour page. Here are the final dates listed for the "Back to School" Tour:

9/27/08 : New Haven, CT
9/28/08 : South Hackensack, NJ
9/30/08 : Baltimore, MD
10/1/08 : Falls Church, VA
10/3/08 : West Chester, PA
10/5/08 : Salisbuty, MD

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jazz Bassist Charlie Haden Returns to His Bluegrass Roots

Charlie Haden is well known as a jazz bassist and composer, playing alongside everyone from John Coltrane to Pat Metheny. But he loved bluegrass as a kid and now, many years later, has made an album in that vein, "Rambling Boy." along with his family and some friends. That family includes Petra, Tanya and Rachel (his triplet daughters), his son Josh, and even the actor and comedian Jack Black (who is married to Tanya).

NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday talked to Charlie Haden and several family members about "Rambling Boy" on its Sept. 21st show. You can hear the interview and some musical excepts there.

Besides the impressive cast of family members, "Rambling Boy" also features a heavyweight collection of "friends," including Vince Gill, Rosanne Cash, and Ricky Skaggs.

Haden's children, of course, have their own musical achievements: Petra was a member of the indie folk-rock group The Decemberists as well as the group that dog, and even recorded an a cappella cover version of "The Who Sell Out." Rachel was a member of the rock band The Rentals; and Josh was in the band Spain.

"Rambling Boy" will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 23rd.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

IMDB Adds Free Video to its Site, which owns the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), is making free movies and other video content available on the IMDB Web site.

This is such a natural progression that many people have been wondering when Amazon would finally do it, according to an article on

News reports say that more than 6,000 full-length feature films and TV episodes will be offered free on’s video section. The content is said to include things like classic films like "Some Like It Hot" and more recent films such as "Bring It On," as well as recent episodes of popular TV shows like "30 Rock," "24," and "Heroes."

In addition, IMDB has said that the first episodes of new fall television shows like "Lipstick Jungle" and "30 Rock" will be available to view online before they first air on TV.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Linda Ronstadt Honored for Her Many Musical Contributions

Singer Linda Ronstadt has had one of the longest and most successful careers in pop music, from the early 1960s to the present day. This week the singer, whose parents are of Mexican and German ancestry, was honored with a special tribute at the ALMA Awards, which honor contributions that Latinos have made to music, television, and film. (Her honor was for Trailblazer Award for Contribution to American Music.)

I've always been a big fan of female singers and female bands (and bands with women singers), and Ronstadt was one of my favorite artists growing up. Linda Ronstadt had her first hit single as part of the folk-rock group The Stone Poneys, famous for their chart hit "Different Drum" -- which I owned on 45 (anybody remember those?)

Ronstadt later made several solo albums covering a variety of folk and country tunes, but made her mark with a later album featuring the single "Silver Threads and Golden Needles."

Her big breakthrough came in the early 1970s with her chart-topping album "Heart Like a Wheel," featuring the hit singles "You're No Good" and a cover of the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved." That's when I started following her career in earnest, buying each new album of hers as it came out, and delving into her catalog of previous albums.

All told, Linda Ronstadt has had 38 top 100 singles, 21 of which have made the top 40. She has earned a number of Grammy Awards as well as an Emmy Award, and has also received nominations for Tony and Golden Globe Awards.

Besides her well-known rock/pop/folk/country tunes, Ronstadt has also extended her talents into other musical genres. She starred on Broadway in a revival of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "The Pirates of Penzance;"recorded several albums of American standards with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in the 1980s; and also reached back to her Mexican roots to record the album "Canciones de Mi Padre" ("Songs of My Father").

She has also recorded albums in which she shares vocal duties with other legendary singers, including Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.

Ronstadt has always been a strong interpreter of the songs of others: sometimes well-known songwriters ranging from Buddy Holly and Bob Dylan to Warren Zevon; other times giving valuable exposure to lesser-known writers such as Tracy Nelson and Julie Miller.

Sticking with her recent eclectic streak, Ronstadt's most recent album is "Adieu False Heart," released in 2006, in which she teamed with longtime friend Ann Savoy (with the two of them recording under the name the ZoZo Sisters), and including musical styles including pop and cajun.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Apple "Let's Rock": New iPod Nano and Touch, iTunes 8

The consensus for tomorrow's Apple "Let's Rock" media event on Sept. 9th is that we will see new iPod Nano and iPod Touch models, new iPhone firmware, and probably iTunes 8. Macrumors also suggests additional possible developments, saying that the afore-mentioned items would be welcomed but not are not worthy of the buildup Apple has sought to create for this event.

Among the possibilities Macrumors mentions are GPS/turn-by-turn features for the iPhone and "secret features" in iPhone 2.1 that haven't been revealed yet.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tickets for Michael Bublé at Madison Square Garden Going on Sale

The immensely popular singer Michael Bublé is coming to New York's Madison Square Garden on December 5th, 2008. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 8th, and the good seats are sure to go fast.

Granted, the huge Garden is not the ideal venue to see this type of singer, but because of Michael Bublé's popularity I guess this type of arena is where he will be booked.

You can get your Michael Bublé Madison Square Garden tickets right from the Garden's ticketing system.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New iPods Expected at Apple Event Sept. 9th

New iPods are expected to be announced that the Apple Inc. event that's now been officially confirmed for next Tuesday, Sept. 9th. The invitation sent to the media as a silhouette of a man listening to an iPod jumping in the air, as in iPod ads, and has the slogan "Let's Rock" on the front.

Rumors have been flying around that new iPods were in the works from Apple, including a redesigned iPod Nano that ditches the new stubby format and returns to the longer format of the original Nano. Case designs shown on various Web sites have shown a video screen that is viewed when the iPod is held horizontally, rather than vertically.

So if all goes as planned, we'll all be able to listen to our tunes, podcasts, and audiobooks on brand new iPod models that have higher capacity and maybe even lower prices, if the rumors are correct.

New MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops have been rumored to be announced, but some observers have suggested that these might be announced later in September or even October.