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Music News, Reviews and Commentary for April 19

Here is what’s happening today, updated as often as possible: Levon Helm, co-founder of The Band, dies at age 71…YouTube now offers 150,000 music tracks for video backgrounds…PerezHilton.com says that Cheryl Cole’s album is due June 7. The story has 102 words and seven exclamation points!!…The Roots, Jesus and Mary Chain, Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo, Liars and Sun O are among acts scheduled to appear at the Hopscotch Music Festival Sept. 6-8 in Raleigh, N.C…TheNational has a piece on a four-disc retrospective of Vanguard Records…It’s safe to say that there are not many harpists in pop, R&B and hip-hop, but NPR writes about one, Rashida Jolley…It’s becoming easier to present live music at small venues in the U.K…Facebook now will feature a listen button that connects to a streaming music service that automatically plays artists’ music…Here’s a feature on Esperanza Spaulding, the jazz artist who won last year’s Best New Artist Grammy…CounterPoint, a music and arts festival, has been announced for Sept. 28 and 29. It will be held at the Chattahoochee river front, about a half-hour south of Atlanta. The press release mentioned no artists…Sony is looking good in its takeover bid for EMI Music as the European Commission is expected to approve…Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne will appear at the Midland Theatre in Newark, OH on Friday and Gunar and Matthew Nelson — twin sons of Ricky Nelson — will be at the venue on April 28…The Cleveland Orchestra’s performance at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA on Tuesday night was reviewed as “magnificent.”...Political consultant Mark Salter discusses Levon Helm, who is very ill…Too bad people wait to reconcile until one is very ill. The Guardian reports that Robbie Robertson visited Helm…TuneUp Mobile is a free app for Apple devices that instantaneously identifies, shares and discovers music…

Photo credit: Kevin_P  from morguefile.com

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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.

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