Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gin Blossoms to perform on Fox News Channel's 'All American New Year' special

Platinum-selling hit-makers the Gin Blossoms will perform three songs on Fox News Channel's "All American New Year" special hosted by Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly. The band will perform three of their hit songs live including their new single "Miss Disarray." The Gin Blossoms returned to the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart this year with their highly anticipated new album on 429 Records, NO CHOCOLATE CAKE. With a fantastic first week debut at #73, the band is back and proving once again that their effortless brand of melodic pop rock is as vibrant and beloved as ever. The first single from the album, "Miss Disarray" (which Popmatters states "is easily the best slice of pure frosting..."), was a Top 50 Hot AC radio hit. Fox News Channel's "All American New Year" airs nationally on December 31, 2010 beginning at 11 p.m.

With total worldwide album sales topping 10 million units powered by their indelibly melodic, Grammy-nominated Top Ten singles, Gin Blossoms— Robin Wilson, Jesse Valenzuela, Scott Johnson and Bill Leen, are back and in peak form. Says the San Antonio Express-News of "NO CHOCOLATE CAKE": "Gin Blossoms tug at the heart strings like few pop bands... power pop nirvana." The eleven new tracks were written, produced and performed by the band with the help of John Richardson (drums) and Danny Wilde on keyboards and additional production (of The Rembrandts). The band will be touring extensively throughout 2010 and 2011.

For more information visit:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Year to Remember: Top 20 Albums of 2010

With the end of 2010 clearly in sight, it's time for me to post my favorite albums of the year. And what a year it has been, with many of my favorite bands and solo acts releasing some of their strongest discs in memory. When preparing my annual list of favorite releases, I always find myself struggling with the rankings. But ultimately, all of the albums of this list are great ones and truly my personal favorites of 2010. I never pretend to say my list includes the "Best" albums of the year; I have not heard everything released this year and any list is subjective at best.

20. Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter
Even the most dedicated fans of Jars of Clay were likely surprised by the release of the celebrated Nashville-based band's latest studio effort. With a number of songwriting and vocal guests, there is a true sense of community as Jars of Clay blends its distinctive style with the likes of Mac Powell, Matt Maher and Brandon Heath.

19. Raul Malo, Sinners & Saints
Sinners & Saints blends country, blues, Latin, rock 'n' roll and jazz with Malo's tenor voice, which draws natural comparisons to Roy Orbison's soaring vocals. Highlights include covers of Los Lobos' "Saint Behind the Glass" and Rodney Crowell's "Till I Gain Control Again," as well as Malo's own "Living For Today."

18. Michael & the Lonesome Playboys, Last of the Honky Tonks
Just when a fan of the singer-songwriter thinks they have Michael Ubaldini figured out, he releases yet another collection aimed in another area of the sonic universe. On Last of the Honky Tonks, Ubaldini revisits the territory explored by the likes of Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens via 14 original songs including the beautiful "Highway Ghost," Texas blues-anchored "True Love Denial Blues" and rousing "Shambles."

17. Eric Johnson, Up Close
Virtuoso guitarist Eric Johnson returned with his first new studio effort since 2005 with another stunning collection of material showcasing his amazing talents. The disc even boasts guest appearances from Steve Miller, Jonny Lang, Sonny Landreth and Jimmie Vaughan.

16. Third Day, Move
The well-known Christian rockers' 11th full-length album is outstanding, filled with upbeat rockers ("Lift Up Your Face," "Gone") and introspective material ("Children of God," "I'll Be Your Miracle") celebrating the group's faith and Southern rock roots.

15. Los Lobos, Tin Can Trust
From the midtempo roots rock of "I'll Burn It Down" to the infectious Spanish language gem "Yo Canto" and wonderful guitar-anchored Americana instrumental "Do The Murray," Tin Can Trust is another winning effort from the East L.A. rockers.

14. Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites
Jimmie Vaughan hadn't released a new studio album in nearly a decade before the release of Jimmie Vaughan Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites. From the swing of “The Pleasure’s All Mine” to the Bill Haley-styled “How Can You Be So Mean,” it was great to hear the legendary guitarist remains at the top of his game.

13. Steve Miller, Bingo!
A tribute to harmonica great and long-time Steve Miller Band member Norton Buffalo (who died of cancer in October 2009), as well as to the classic blues genre that has influenced Miller throughout this career, Bingo! was definitely one of the great artistic comebacks of 2010.

12. Asia, Omega
There was a time when blending amazing virtuoso chops, big choruses and the moniker "supergroup" were cause of celebration. For discerning fans of the prog-rock foursome Asia, the good news is the band's 21st century comeback has resulted in another fantastic return-to-form.

11. The Gin Blossoms, No Chocolate Cake
One of the biggest sonic treats of 2010, power-pop proponents the Gin Blossoms displayed their skills aplenty across No Chocolate Cake. With the uptempo "Miss Disarray," reflective "I Don't Want to Lose You Now" and beautiful "Something Real," it was great to hear the band back and sounding better than ever.

10. BigBang, Edendale
My favorite discovery of 2010 was BigBang, a wonderful trio out of Oslo, Norway that mines the territory somewhere between the classic rock of Cream and '70s-era Neil Young & Crazy Horse and modern outfits like Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Øystein Greni delivers the goods on disc and in concert.

9. Elton John & Leon Russell, The Union
At a time when both piano men were widely regarded mostly as heritage acts came The Union. From the undeniable lead-off track "If It Wasn't for Bad" to the gospel-fueled "Hey Ahab," this is an achievement I never saw coming.

8. Bettye LaVette, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
Decades ago British rockers such as the Who, Rolling Stones, Elton John and the Beatles fused American blues and other styles into some of the greatest rock of all time. Now blues great Bettye LaVette returns the favor in a collection that celebrates the eternal power of rock 'n' roll and the blues.

7. Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song
A rich life is often filled with its share of joy and sadness. Country music hero Jamey Johnson showcased that the fullness of life can be translated into a song cycle courtesy of his stunning concept album The Guitar Song.

6. Neil Young, Le Noise
There is a beauty, grace and pioneering spirit to so much of Neil Young's body of work, it's easy to overlook his latest project. Don't. From the introspective and confessional acoustic gem "Love and War" to the aptly-titled "Angry World" where Young's distinctive tenor soars amidst his distorted electric guitar, few artists seem willing - or able - to explore the world with the timeless step of Young.

5. Jackie Greene, Till the Light Comes
Singer-songwriter Jackie Greene's latest collection of songs magically blends folk, blues, rock, neo-psychedelic and pop in ways that challenge and thrill with every listen.

4. Band of Horses, Infinite Arms
Hardly a week has gone by since the May release of the Benjamin Bridwell-led North Carolina outfit's latest disc where I haven't closed my eyes while listening to the alt-country kick of "Laredo," Americana ballad "Older" and the haunting title track.

3. John Mellencamp, No Better Than This
Although the T Bone Burnett-produced sessions were preserved using a single vintage microphone and a 55-year-old AMPEX 601 mono tape recorder, No Better Than This explodes with original Mellencamp songs incorporating country-blues, early folk and tinges of rockabilly and gospel. It isn’t music for the masses, but it is truly music that matters.

2. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs
Occasionally commercial success and artistic achievement collide. Arcade Fire's third album is intelligent, epic and accessible.

1. Jónsi, go
How did the frontman of Iceland's groundbreaking Sigur Rós establish himself as a solo artist? Release the most astounding and beautiful set of songs I heard this year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Los Lobos to perform two shows this weekend

Los Lobos, touring in support of the band's Grammy-nominated album Tin Can Trust, will be performing at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, Dec. 18 and at the House of Blues Sunset Strip on Sunday, Dec. 19. The additional good news for fans of the quintet is that Los Lobos will perform the song "On Main Street" on "Conan" on Tuesday night, Dec. 21.

I've had a chance to play the album and it's fantastic. From the midtempo roots rock of "I'll Burn It Down" to the infectious Spanish language "Yo Canto" gem and wonderful guitar-anchored Americana instrumental "Do The Murray," Tin Can Trust is another winning effort from the East L.A. rockers.

Another note: if you can't catch Los Lobos this weekend, remember that the band will be opening for Eric Clapton on the West Coast leg of his tour in February and March of 2011.

For more information on Los Lobos, visit the band's official Web site at:

Thursday, December 09, 2010

She & Him perform "I Put a Spell on You" on Conan tonight & release new digital single

See She & Him play "I Put a Spell on You" live tonight (Dec. 9) on Conan. Conan airs at 11 p.m. EST on TBS. A live favorite throughout the tour in support of Volume Two, “I Put a Spell on You” is a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover.

She & Him’s cover of “I Put a Spell on You” along with a live version of “Lingering Still” from Volume Two recorded live at The Current in Minneapolis is available on iTunes, Amazon and the Merge digital store now.

She & Him released their sophomore album Volume Two to widespread acclaim this spring. The album, which has been one of the most lauded of 2010, is filled with infectious choruses and sunny harmonies that were written by Zooey and produced by M.Ward. The She & Him band have just wrapped up nearly a year of touring including shows at Coachella, Bonnaroo, the prestigious Hollywood Bowl, the Treasure Island festival and more.

"The new album proves again that she’s not a dabbler, just as it proves again that she and Mr. Ward, her producer, share similar ideals…It’s breezy but sturdy, impeccably styled.” – New York Times

Thursday, December 02, 2010

53rd Annual Grammy Awards: Nominations Announced

Rosanne Cash, seen here performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, 2010, is one of many deserving nominees who is up for honors at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Here is the news release from the from The Recording Academy about the upcoming 53rd Annual Grammy Awards that reached my inbox last night. Where yours truly has a strong opinion about the strongest candidate or release in a particular category, I have placed that in bold. So, for example, my favorite release in the General Field/Album of the Year race is Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Let me also note I am not a voting member of The Recording Academy. I have to say I was thrilled to see several more of my top albums of 2010 recognized with nominations, notably Rosanne Cash's The List and Jamey Johnson's The Guitar Song. And a special note about singer-songwriter-guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, whose comeback disc Plays Blues, Ballads and Favorites received a nomination. Read on...







FEB. 13, 2011, LIVE ON CBS

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 1, 2010) — Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® ( were announced tonight by The Recording Academy® and reflected an eclectic mix of the best and brightest in music over the past year, as determined by the voting members of The Academy. For the third year, nominations for the annual GRAMMY Awards were announced on primetime television as part of "The GRAMMY® Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night®," a one-hour special broadcast live on CBS from Club Nokia at L.A. Live. The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on "GRAMMY Sunday," Feb. 13, 2011, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live in high definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). For updates and breaking news, please visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook:, For a complete nominations list, please visit

Eminem tops the nominations with 10; Bruno Mars garners seven; and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga each earn six nods. Jeff Beck, B.o.B, David Frost, Philip Lawrence, and John Legend receive five each; and Alex Da Kid, the Black Keys, Drake, Cee Lo Green, Ari Levine, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the Roots, Dirk Sobotka, and Zac Brown each have four nominations.

"This year's nominations are a true reflection of an exceptional and talented community of music makers that embody some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry in their respective fields," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "It is most gratifying to see the GRAMMY Awards process once again produce a broad cross-section of diverse and impressive nominees across multiple genres. Coupled with the third year of our primetime nominations special, the road to Music's Biggest Night, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in February, is off to an exciting start."

Following is a sampling of nominations in 108 categories from the GRAMMY Awards' 30 Fields:


Album Of The Year:

The Suburbs — Arcade Fire

Recovery — Eminem

Need You Now — Lady Antebellum

The Fame Monster — Lady Gaga

Teenage Dream — Katy Perry

Record Of The Year:

"Nothin' On You" — B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars

"Love The Way You Lie" — Eminem Featuring Rihanna

"F*** You" — Cee Lo Green

"Empire State Of Mind" — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

"Need You Now" — Lady Antebellum

Best New Artist:

Justin Bieber


Florence & The Machine

Mumford & Sons

Esperanza Spalding

Song Of The Year:

"Beg Steal Or Borrow" — Ray LaMontagne, songwriter (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)

"F*** You" — Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Cee Lo Green)

"The House That Built Me" —Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

"Love The Way You Lie" — Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters

(Eminem Featuring Rihanna)

"Need You Now" — Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)


Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

"Don't Stop Believin' (Regionals Version)" — "Glee" Cast

"Misery" — Maroon 5

"The Only Exception" — Paramore

"Babyfather" — Sade

"Hey, Soul Sister (Live)" — Train

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals:

"Airplanes II" — B.o.B, Eminem & Hayley Williams

"Imagine" — Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangare

"If It Wasn't For Bad" — Elton John & Leon Russell

"Telephone" — Lady Gaga & Beyoncé

"California Gurls" — Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg


Best Dance Recording:

"Rocket" — Goldfrapp

"In For The Kill" — La Roux

"Dance In The Dark" — Lady Gaga

"Only Girl (In The World)" — Rihanna

"Dancing On My Own" — Robyn


Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

"Ready To Start" — Arcade Fire

"I Put A Spell On You" — Jeff Beck & Joss Stone

"Tighten Up" — The Black Keys

"Radioactive" — Kings Of Leon

"Resistance" — Muse

Best Hard Rock Performance:

"A Looking In View" — Alice In Chains

"Let Me Hear You Scream" — Ozzy Osbourne

"Black Rain" — Soundgarden

"Between The Lines" — Stone Temple Pilots

"New Fang" — Them Crooked Vultures

Best Rock Song:

"Angry World" — Neil Young, songwriter (Neil Young)

"Little Lion Man" — Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters

(Mumford & Sons)

"Radioactive" — Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill, songwriters

(Kings Of Leon)

"Resistance" — Matthew Bellamy, songwriter (Muse)

"Tighten Up" — Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney, songwriter (The Black Keys)


Best Alternative Music Album

The Suburbs — Arcade Fire

Infinite Arms — Band Of Horses

Brothers — The Black Keys

Broken Bells — Broken Bells

Contra — Vampire Weekend


Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

"Take My Time" — Chris Brown & Tank

"Love" — Chuck Brown, Jill Scott & Marcus Miller

"You've Got A Friend" — Ronald Isley & Aretha Franklin

"Shine" — John Legend & The Roots

"Soldier Of Love" — Sade

Best Contemporary R&B Album:

Graffiti — Chris Brown

Untitled — R. Kelly

Transition — Ryan Leslie

The ArchAndroid — Janelle Monáe

Raymond V Raymond — Usher


Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:

"Nothin' On You" — B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars

"Deuces" — Chris Brown, Tyga & Kevin McCall

"Love The Way You Lie" — Eminem & Rihanna

"Empire State Of Mind" — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

"Wake Up! Everybody" — John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona & Common

Best Rap Song:

"Empire State Of Mind" — Shawn Carter, Angela Hunte, Burt Keyes, Alicia Keys, Jane't "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic &

Alexander Shuckburgh, songwriters (Sylvia Robinson, songwriter) (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys)

"Love The Way You Lie" — Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters

(Eminem & Rihanna)

"Not Afraid" — M. Burnett, J. Evans, Marshall Mathers, L. Resto & M. Samuels, songwriters (Eminem)

"Nothin' On You" — Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars & Bobby Simmons Jr., songwriters

(B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars)

"On To The Next One" — Shawn Carter, J. Chaton & K. Dean, songwriters (G. Auge & X. De Rosnay,

songwriters) (Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz)

Best Rap Album:

The Adventures Of Bobby Ray — B.o.B

Thank Me Later — Drake

Recovery — Eminem

The Blueprint 3 — Jay-Z

How I Got Over — The Roots


Best Country Collaboration With Vocals:

"Bad Angel" — Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert & Jamey Johnson

"Pride (In The Name Of Love)" — Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury & The Punch Brothers

"As She's Walking Away" — Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson

"Hillbilly Bone" — Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins

"I Run To You" — Marty Stuart & Connie Smith

Best Country Song:

"The Breath You Take" — Casey Beathard, Dean Dillon & Jessie Jo Dillon, songwriters (George Strait)

"Free" — Zac Brown, songwriter (Zac Brown Band)

"The House That Built Me" — Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

"I'd Love To Be Your Last" — Rivers Rutherford, Annie Tate & Sam Tate, songwriters (Gretchen Wilson)

"If I Die Young" — Kimberly Perry, songwriter (The Band Perry)

"Need You Now" — Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)

Best Country Album:

Up On The Ridge — Dierks Bentley

You Get What You Give — Zac Brown Band

The Guitar Song — Jamey Johnson

Need You Now — Lady Antebellum

Revolution — Miranda Lambert


Best Americana Album:

The List — Rosanne Cash

Tin Can Trust — Los Lobos

Country Music — Willie Nelson

Band Of Joy — Robert Plant

You Are Not Alone — Mavis Staples

Best Traditional Blues Album:

Giant — James Cotton

Memphis Blues — Cyndi Lauper

The Well — Charlie Musselwhite

Joined At The Hip — Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites — Jimmie Vaughan

This year's Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nominations go to: Rob Cavallo, Danger Mouse, Dr. Luke, RedOne, and The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine).

This year's GRAMMY Awards process registered the highest number of submissions ever with nearly 20,000 entries. However, due to low entries in Category 60 — Best Regional Mexican Album — submissions in this category were sorted into other categories for consideration. As a result, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will feature 108 out of 109 categories.

GRAMMY ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on Dec. 15 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm of Deloitte by Jan. 12, 2011, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the GRAMMY telecast.

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards are produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich and John Cossette are executive producers, and Louis J. Horvitz is director.

"The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," hosted by two-time GRAMMY-winner LL Cool J, featured the announcement of nominations in several categories as well as performances by pop star Justin Bieber, rapper B.o.B, country artist Miranda Lambert,singer/songwriter/producer Bruno Mars, singer/songwriter Katy Perry, and GRAMMY-winning band Train.

Presenters included actor and late-night TV host Craig Ferguson, singer/actor Selena Gomez, seven-time GRAMMY winner Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), singer/songwriter Hayley Williams (Paramore), and 25-time GRAMMY winner Stevie Wonder.

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards — the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music — The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, join the organization's social networks as a Twitter follower at, a Facebook fan at, and a YouTube channel subscriber at