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News and Commentary

Music News, Reviews and Commentary for April 17

Here is what’s happening today, updated as often as possible: NorthJersey.com offers reviews from the Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer of work from Counting Crows, Monica, Bonnie Raitt and Loudon Wainwright III…The Washington Post calls Rebecca Pigeon’s sixth album, Slighshot, “dark and enchanting”…Kevin Puts won a Pulitzer Prize for music for Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts…Woody Guthrie’s music lives on, according to a story at The Republic (of Columbus, Indiana)…Screenwriter Melissa Webster likes old fashioned record stores…Splash.FM, which this GigaOm story describes as a social networking site for music, is live…Andre Harrell, CEO of Harrell Records, says that the music business still is the place to be…I don’t know who Tracy Lawrence is, but I feel bad for him nonetheless…The first artists for the North Coast Music Festival set for Chicago over Labor Day Weekend have been announced…The Bellingham (WA) …Eighty-year-old country singer George Jones had to cancel shows in Minnesota and South Dakota due to an upper respiratory illness…According to Time magazine and last.fm, Atlanta now is the leader in oveerall music trends. Atlanta also led in hip hop and Montreal in indie trends.

Photo credit: lcg2001 from morguefile.com

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.