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Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley Rock Arroyo Seco Weekend

Pasadena Fest Draws Mixed Music Demo

By DONNA BALANCIA

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ripped through the hits and put on an award-worthy rock and roll performance at the first-ever Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival in Pasadena.

The first day of the inaugural Goldenvoice event drew fans of Petty and Alabama Shakes, the latter of whose fan base concentrates mainly in the under-35 crowd. But up-and-coming and established rock, blues and Americana bands filled out the remaining weekend slots.

Estimates pegged the Saturday crowd size in the range of 45,000-50,000.

Most of those attendees Saturday came for the headliner, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, celebrating a 40th anniversary tour. They did not disappoint.

Tom Petty – Goldenvoice Media photo

The Hits Keep Comin’

Petty and his Heartbreakers brought out hit after hit, getting the devoted to their feet.

Highlighted by a backdrop of outstanding video work and complemented by a group of remarkable musicians, Petty took the stage with superb energy and humor.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers opened with “Rockin’ Around,” followed with “Mary Jane,” “You Don’t Know How it Feels,” “Forgotten Man,” “You Got Lucky,” and the anthem “I Won’t Back Down,” and other hits before and closing out with an encore of “You Wreck Me,” and “American Girl,” and taking time for a few stories along the way.

“They put on a great show,” festival attendee Justin Hagler said. “I’ve seen them 14 times, and it never gets old. True professionals.”

Mike Campbell and Tom Petty – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Mike Campbell

Petty’s partner-in-arms, Mike Campbell, was wearing dressy garb — a Japanese-style shirt — and trademark hat, and showed his prowess as guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire. Petty regaled the crowd with the story of how the two met back 47 years ago in Florida.

“In 1970, I went to look for guitar player to put together a band and saw an ad, there was no phone number, just an address, so I drove out there and it was a sketchy-looking place,” he said.  He added that his soon-to-be colleague “came out packing a 90-pound Japanese guitar plugged the thing in and played ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ and when he got to the end, I said ‘You’re gonna be in my band forever.’ And he is.”

But his other bandmembers all have a story too – a mix of longtime pals and colleagues including Scott Thurston, Benmont Tench III, Ron Blair, and drummer Steve Ferrone.

Alabama Shakes put on their ripping blues rock show with typically outstanding vocals and great guitar work.

Alabama Shakes – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Alabama Shakes

Shakes, as well as the Taylor Goldsmith-helmed Americana band Dawes, may have gained new followers among the Petty lovers at the Oak stage.

On the Willow stage earlier, Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra attracted its largest crowd to date. His band has had a regular gig at Rockwell’s for a couple of years. Star appeal goes a long way.

The highlight of the day was Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, whose cancer diagnosis loomed over the crowd as he sang the blues songs that have made him famous. Not a dry eye was in the house at many points during the show as the audience was touched by this legendary performer who gives his all to the fans.

Charles Bradley – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Charles Bradley

“If I could come out and hug every one of you I surely would,” he said. It is because of the love of the fans he proclaimed that he is cancer-free.

The food ran the gamut from designer hot dogs to spicy pizza and organic ice cream but the real headliner was the craft beer that drew long lines on a hot Pasadena day.

Blues great John Mayall was also on hand to wow the crowd.

Sunday: Mumford and Sons, Weezer

Mumford and Sons, Weezer, Fitz and the Tantrums, ZZ Ward, The Mowgli’s and Magic Giant take The Oaks stage, The Shins headline The Sycamore stage and Con Brio and Lettuce are on The Willow stage.

NOTES: Photo booths seem to be the marketing tool of favor as advertisers ranging from liquor companies to tourism bureaus all drew in concertgoers to strike a pose …

Lockers are available to rent on the grounds and there is shuttle service to the Rose Bowl adjacent site. Advice: Read security rules before passing through the metal detectors, info is on the website.

VIDEO: St. Vincent Announces ‘Fear The Future’ Tour Without Uttering a Word

St. Vincent Tickets on Sale June 27

By DONNA BALANCIA

St. Vincent will tour for the first time in two years with her Fear the Future Tour this fall.

She launches the tour Nov. 14 at Detroit’s Fillmore and wraps Dec. 2 at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

In addition to regular tickets for Fear the Future Tour the ever-clever Annie Clark will be selling an “enhanced experience” opportunity that includes a film screening and a poster.

St. Vincent accepts honor of ‘Record Store Day Ambassador’ for 2017 – For CaliforniaRocker.com

The talented St. Vincent was named Record Store Ambassador earlier this year and released a somewhat controversial video in accepting the honor.

Nov. 14 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
Nov.  15 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room
Nov.  17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater
Nov.  18 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theater
Nov.  19 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
Nov.  20 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
Nov.  21 – Louisville, KY @ Whitney Hall
Nov.  22 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
Nov.  24 – Knoxville, TN @ Tennessee Theatre
Nov.  25 – Durham, NC @ Durham Performing Arts Center
Nov.  27 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem
Nov.  28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Nov.  30 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Dec.  1 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
Dec.  2 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kings Theatre

For more information, go to I Love St. Vincent

Living Colour Rocks the Canyon Club, Corey Glover and Crew Bring Elite to Agoura Hills Scene

Band’s ‘Personality’ Attracts Friends and Fans

By DONNA BALANCIA

Living Colour brought their style of bluesy punk to Canyon Club playing new songs and favorites to a packed house.

The band will release a new album, called Shade, in September.

corey glover donna balancia

Corey Glover is dapper – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Like a Fine Wine

Comprised of frontman Corey Glover, Will Calhoun on drums, Doug Wimbish on bass and Vernon Reid on guitar, this band only improves as the years go on.

The band is styled by the Style Diva herself, Leisa Balfour, who celebrated an early birthday during the Canyon show.

Vernon Reid is among the best and most underrated lead guitarists around – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Vernon Reid

Living Colour has got what it takes. If there’s such a thing as getting better like a fine wine, these guys have it nailed. Vernon’s guitar work sounds more and more remarkable each time out, Corey has the chops and the warmth of one of the best frontmen in the business, Wimbish plays one of the most wicked slapping basses in music and Will Calhoun is one of the most underrated drummers on the planet.

Bassist Doug Wimbish puts on a show - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bassist Doug Wimbish puts on a show – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Fans and Friends Visit Backstage

Their songs, in particular the hit “Cult of Personality,” electrify the room.

It’s hard to tell why Living Colour isn’t in the mainstream still after all these years. This band packed the Canyon and draws the fans even to side gigs, including supporting acts for other performers. Corey was on hand to celebrate the Sound Barrier reunion party at the Whisky A Go-Go several weeks ago.

Drummer Will Calhoun rips it on the kit – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Sound Barrier

Speaking of Sound Barrier, Bernie was among those hanging out with the Living Colour guys at the Canyon the other night. Sound Barrier recently released its single “I’m Just A Man,” and an EP is on the way.

 

A Collection of Photos: Living Colour at The Canyon Club

Bernie K. of Sound Barrier with stylist Leisa Balfour and Darius McCrary – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exclusive Interview: Rick Derringer Plays Through the Work, Performs With The Standells in LA June 3

Derringer’s ‘Rock and Roll Hootchie-Koo’ Still Popular Today

BY DONNA BALANCIA

Rick Derringer has a knack for turning play into work.

Derringer’s career began at age 17 with the hit “Hang On Sloopy,” which he co-wrote. He produced platinum albums for Johnny and Edgar Winter and went on to write classic songs like “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo.”  He’s also played with Steely Dan and others.

Rick Derringer plays with The Standells – Photo courtesy Rick Derringer

Love That Dirty Water

The Standells are known for “Dirty Water,” which has become a theme song for the city of Boston, “Good Guys Don’t Wear Black,” “Try It,” and other songs — into a career spanning five decades.

Derringer produced Johnny Winter and Johnny Winter and Live. He tours all over the U.S. and not only produced Edgar’s biggest hits but also the band White Trash.

Derringer Collaborated With Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter

“I run the gamut in my projects,” Derringer said. “I’ve worked with Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter but I’ve also worked with Weird Al. The weirdest thing is he is one of the most dilligent hard working artists. He’s a nerd, a smart guy, and he’s funny.”

Rick Derringer – Photo by Carl Lender

Weird Al and Derringer

The result of working with Weird Al were awards and accolades including a Best Comedy Recording in 1984 for “Eat It.”  Derringer produced the first six of Weird Al’s albums.

“People are always suggesting titles for Weird Al, and they’re all one-joke songs. He’s good because he jam-packs the songs with jokes and that’s his purpose.”

Derringer has played with a range of people and is friends with plenty more. Back in the the early 1980s Todd Rundgren put on a benefit show for him at South Street Seaport after Derringer had his equipment stolen.

Derringer and Todd Rundgren

“It’s always been fun playing with Todd,” Derringer said. “It was certainly after the days after I left the McCoys, and he gave me the opportunity to go out and play. When I lived in Manhattan he lived a block from me. He’s asked me to play on a quite a few recordings. Recently he remarked the first time he heard “Frankenstein” was before it was released in my music room.”

Derringer will take the stage on June 3 at the Palace with the Standells and it will be the first time they’ve all played together in a long time.

It goes back to the 60s,” Derringer said. “The Standells were one of the first bands we toured with — It was a Rolling Stones tour where the Standells were also on the tour. They’re funny guys as well as having hit records. They haven’t lost their sound and people love them. Younger people would love to hear them. In those days they were called garage bands. It’s very great rock music.”

As for today, Derringer keeps moving along.

‘Real American’ To Debut on Alex Jones

“I just keep playing and recording,” he said. “One of my biggest songs is a song called ‘Real American’  – It’s the Hulk Hogan theme song. It’s been been used in quite a few arenas. That’s become one of our biggest songs. It’s from the ’80s, it was never released as a single. It needed a revamping and we recorded a new version for May 28.

“Real American” will be on Derringer’s label but he’s given first dibbs to Alex Jones, who will debut the song on his news channel. Sound ground May 28.

As for younger people and succeeding in the music business today, Derringer says it’s important to keep trying, no matter what.

“The challenge is to strive to be relevant,” Derringer said. “Listen to your own heart, follow you’re instincts music is a message from player to audience. If they try to make current relevence that’s not what it’s about. It’s a message from you to the audience. In the end that’s what you’re striving for.”

Check out this amazing video of Rick Derringer from 1973:

CaliforniaRocker.com Earns Three Finalist Designations for Southern California Journalism Awards

CR Finalist in Best Blog, Best Social Media

STAFF REPORT

LOS ANGELES – CaliforniaRocker.com, the Los Angeles-based music blog, nabbed three Finalist designations for the Southern California Journalism Awards, it was announced Saturday.

Social media for Reluctant Apostles story earned finalist spot in Southern California Journalism Awards – Photo © Donna Balancia

Work Honored

The blog, created, produced and maintained daily by journalist Donna Balancia, covers news, interviews and reviews related to music in California.

“The music business and the news business are both being threatened by technology and cuts in funding,” Balancia said. “It’s important to keep the spirit of creativity as well as the art of reviewing and promoting that creativity alive. I thank The Los Angeles Press Club on behalf of our writers and photographers, and the musicians we cover, for honoring our work.”

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Important Role of Social Media

Digital communication plays an ever-increasingly important role today. The social media supporting the CaliforniaRocker.com articles The Reluctant Apostles Play Molly Malone’s and Smash Mouth Performs at The Canyon Club were named finalists in the Best Social Media category. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all were incorporated into coverage.

CaliforniaRocker.com was also named a finalist in the Best Blog category. The blog is three years old and is the regional relative of EastCoastRocker.com, started by Balancia in 2012.

The 59th annual Southern California Journalism Awards gala will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on June 25. The program honors achievement in all forms of news, including work in student publications, online, on radio, TV and in print.

To attend the gala or to support the Los Angeles Press Club, go to www.lapressclub.org.

Nancy Wilson and Band, Roadcase Royale, Debut New Video ‘Not Giving Up,’ Play Local SoCal Gigs

Royale to Headline Coach House, Rose and Canyon

By DONNA BALANCIA

Check out Nancy Wilson and her new band Roadcase Royale perform the video “Not Giving Up” on CaliforniaRocker.com

Roadcase Royale will be playing gigs at The Coachhouse May 31, The Canyon on June 1, and The Rose in Pasadena June 2

For more information go to the Roadcase Royale website

 

Fans and Friends Mourn Chris Cornell; Soundgarden Frontman Had Ties to Seattle And Sunset Strip

Wife Blames Meds for ‘Suicidal Thoughts’

Photo by HARMONY GERBER, Story by DONNA BALANCIA

Fans and the faithful followers of Chris Cornell were awakened Thursday to the shocking news that the Soundgarden frontman and grunge movement musician was dead from an apparent suicide.

** UPDATE: Cornell’s Wife Vicky blamed an anti-anxiety medication for the behavior that led to Cornell’s suicide.  She said in a statement that the singer was slurring his words when on the phone with her after the Detroit show.

Vicky Cornell blames Ativan, the anti-anxiety medication for husband's suicide - Photo courtesy The Promise

Vicky Cornell blames Ativan, the anti-anxiety medication for husband’s suicide – Photo courtesy The Promise

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” Vicky wrote. “When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

Cornell’s wife, Vicky, insisted from the outset that her husband displayed no suicidal behaviors or desires prior to the concert. The police in Detroit where he played his last gig said there was little doubt the death was caused by suicide.

Cornell and Soundgarden played at the Fox Theatre on the last night of his life. Earlier in the night he — or his social media gal — Tweeted a positive comment about coming to Detroit. There were also Tweets in the previous days about Mother’s Day put out by his social media team.

Chris Cornell video by Margarito Granados

Connection to the Strip

But his connection to the Sunset Strip and Los Angeles was undeniable. It was a place he could hang out with fans and even try out his early material. In 2009 he was scheduled to play the now-defunct Sunset Strip Music Festival but cancelled.

LA fans and friends alike grieved the loss of one of the best performers and musicians of our times.

“I was a huge fan and the music had a profound effect on me and my friends,” said devoted fan Christine McLeod.

“I’ve seen Chris’ solo tours, I’ve seen Soundgarden and Audioslave,” she said. “His music had haunting and beautiful themes and brought me together with friends.”

Willie Basse said he was on tour with Soundgarden when he was a stage manager for a band called The Big F, which was comprised of members of Berlin.

“I’m grateful to have experienced him and to have worked with him,” Basse said. “He was never egotistical, He was intelligent, well read, kind and respectful. We talked and he told me stories of them playing to ash trays and bartenders when they started out. He said they were persistent.”

Cornell Plays ‘When I’m Down’ at The Troubadour in 2010:

 

The Promise: Cornell’s Foray Into Feature Films

Chris Cornell video by Margarito Grenados

While Cornell had many achievements, one that he was proud of was the creation of the song “The Promise” for the movie of the same name, based on the Armenian genocide. Money from the song was donated to charity.

On his Instagram page Tom Morello, Cornell’s bandmate in Audioslave, wrote:

“Been blasting #Audioslave & #Soundgarden & #TempleOfTheDog all day, headbanging through the tears. Chris seriously had the most amazing voice in rock in decades.

“He was a crafter of gorgeous melodies, soulful dark lyrics and bulldozer riffs. And he looked like THAT when rocking out,” Morello wrote.

Insiders said Cornell had the “It” factor but had a hard time managing all that goes along with sold out concerts, solo projects and the success.  But wife Vicky disagrees saying it was an Ativan overdose that caused the odd behavior.  The musician’s odd slurring and behavior can be noticed at the end of the video below.

Cornell wrapped “My Wave” in Detroit with a vague declaration to the crowd: “Living up to the hype!”  See video.

Remaining Dates Refunded

Regarding the Soundgarden tour, the last six engagements have obviously been cancelled. They include Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio on May 19; Pointfest in St. Louis May 22; The Fillmore in Denver May 22; Revention Music Center in Houston May 25; Dallas May 26 and Rocklahoma in Pryor, Ok on May 27.  Refunds for tickets are available at point of purchase, according to the Live Nation website.

Flaming Lips Play a Show That Puts Fantasyland to Shame, Wayne Coyne Tells Fans at the Ace: ‘Be Happy’

Light Show, Inflatables and Miley Cyrus

HARMONY GERBER Photo, Story By DONNA BALANCIA

What’s pink and green with lights and inflatables all over?

It’s a Flaming Lips concert of course. Expect massive amounts of confetti blasting out of huge cannons on each side of the stage, dancing blow-up reptiles and brightly-colored, costumed unicorn and animal lovers everywhere at The Theatre at the Ace.

Wayne Coyne wants love and peace – Photo by Donna Balancia

There’s a party then there’s a PARTY. The Flaming Lips come complete with nonstop bouncing balloon balls, a wild light show, and colors that are unbelievable.

But few things in life are as colorful Wayne Coyne himself. He rides a horse of many colors, sports multicolor wings, and throws confetti at the audience. The fans love him.

Wayne Coyne covers ‘Space Oddity’ and rolls over crowd in a clear orb – Photo by Donna Balancia

Not only is he a compelling if not interesting musician with a faithful following, he is also a master showman and the display at the Theatre at the Ace was nothing short of remarkable.

The Flaming Lips ran through their famous tunes, new tunes off Oczy Mlody and generally had a blast.  All the time Wayne prompted the audience to continue screaming and having fun.

Flowers, love, peace and a massive light show; it’s The Flaming Lips – Photo by Donna Balancia

Parts of the upstairs at The Ace Hotel were shut off from the public as his friend Miley Cyrus was on the premises,  although she did not show up on stage.

Coyne doesn’t make political statements, but instead talks about happiness and uses vibrant colors to give the audience some momentary glee. Because, as he said, the world out there is not as happy as everyone is when they’re at a Flaming Lips show.

Flaming Lips fans – Photo by Donna Balancia

There was a lot of discussion about his inflatable rainbow, with metaphorical as well as physical references. He said the rainbow represents the happiness we all seek and there was a time when he didn’t want to use the inflatable rainbow. But he gave props to the inflatable rainbow wranglers and his crew in general.

Coyne said there were times when he lost faith in the rainbow – Photo by Donna Balancia

It can’t be easy or cheap to put on an incredible show like this.  There are many layers of lights, many stunts the go off seemingly without a hitch and a general weirdness that is loved by all in attendance.

The fans are devoted to Wayne Coyne – Photo by Donna Balancia

“It’s like he brings us back to being a kid again,” said a Sheree from Los Angeles. “As adults we lose that connection to being childlike and he brings it back. It’s beautiful.”

Fans of the Flaming Lips say the show is beautiful – Photo by Donna Balancia

Some of the highlights included the multicolor horse Coyne rides, the giant dancing blow-up reptiles and getting into the clear inflatable orb and rolling over the crowd set to “Space Oddity.”

Flaming Lips merch sells at a frantic pace – Photo by Donna Balancia

Coyne said they had thought twice about doing “Space Oddity,” beyond about six months after the passing of David Bowie.  But he told the audience he thought it over and it’s his tribute, and now the song will remain in the show, and the fans were happy.

And isn’t that the whole point?

 

The Blessings Rock The Heather Harris Photo Exhibit at Pop Obscure Records in Downtown LA

Musicians, Artists and Friends on Hand at Showing

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Blessings performed as fans of photography and music gathered at Pop Obscure Records in downtown L.A. for an exhibit by photographer Heather Harris.

Harris has been shooting rock stars for 50 years, but you would never know it by her youthful appearance and never ending passion for her craft.

Heather Harris and Marijke Koger-Dunham – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and Friends Celebrate

“Heather has been great to us,” said Jeremy White of The Blessings. “She has been supportive of us and she makes us look good.”

The Blessings, who have three CDs, played some of their well-known tunes in a mini-set, including “Shipwrecked on The Shore.”  Frontman Jeremy White said new music is on the way.

The Blessings band members were among the artists, local as well as well-known, who are  portrayed in the many photos that grace the walls of Pop Obscure. Pop Obscure is the latest entry into the vinyl-seller niche.  The store has racks and racks of old and new records.

Ron Young, wife Renee and Kurt Ingham at the Heather Harris photo exhibit – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

DoGs, Metalers and Photogs

Others on hand to see the work of Harris, which is on display through June 18, included musicians aplenty like Loren Molinare of The DoGs with his wife, Julie, Ron Young of Little Caesar with his wif Renee, Leslie Knauer of Precious Metal, Al Teman of Naked Hand Dance, Inger Lorre, Richard Duguay and wife Paula and snapper Ellen Berman and many others.

The Hailers, April and Robert – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photos on Display and on Sale

Harris’ husband Kurt Ingham, known to many as Mr. Twister of the bands Chainsaw and Christopher Milk, was on hand to photograph the event.

Among the artists in the featured photographs which are for sale are David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Rod Stewart, The Blessings, James Williamson, Lemmy, The Bell Rays and many others.

For more information check out Pop Obscure Records.

Paula and Julie – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Jeremy White of The Blessings – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ruby Friedman and Kurt Ingham alike attend the event – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris and Twister – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Loren Molinare and Ellen Berman – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photographer Alyson Camus and unknown attendee – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Blessings – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians Alex Stiletto of Modern Kicks and Leslie Knauer of Precious Metal share some music talk – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris introduces The Blessings at her photo exhibit and quickly departs the stage – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kurt Ingham, known in his younger days as rocker Mr. Twister, stands next to a photo of him snapped by his wife, Heather Harris – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

California Rocker reviewer Craig Hammons with photographer Alyson Camus – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Lights Out Levine of The Blessings and Prima Donna – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cool couples: Loren Molinare and wife, Julie, with Ron Young and wife, Renee; the guys are in the band Little Caesar – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Chris Carradine, Marijke Koger-Dunham, Kurt Ingham and Heather Harris – Photo (c) Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland, Singer-Songwriter, Makes Success Out of Heartbreak on his ‘Not Enough Whiskey’ Tour

Songs Tell The Story of This Second-Generation Actor

By DONNA BALANCIA

Kiefer Sutherland took guitar in hand and hit the Southern California stages last week, moving from Stagecoach to the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood to the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.  And it’s clear he’s a hit.

It’s the “Not Enough Whiskey Tour,” but it should be called the “Not Enough Kiefer Tour” instead.  The fans love this guy, whether the multi-talented actor-turned-musician is a bully, a vampire, or a country singer-songwriter. The tour continues throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Kiefer Sutherland at The Roxy - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Down In a Hole’

Kiefer is out promoting his new album, Down In a Hole, a solid collection of tunes that all ages can relate to as they take some new turns on well-traveled country roads.

Kiefer’s music is smooth and rough at the same time, just like the song “Not Enough Whiskey” after which he named the tour he’s taking around North America and abroad. And maybe it’s reflective of his life as an actor, always summoning emotions for the character you portray and not having a chance to delve into your own. Well he’s delving now.

Kiefer’s songwriting is the strongest part of this act. In cases like this, we generally hold actors to a different standard than musicians, but if a performance draws the crowd and makes the ticket-holders happy, we’re in favor of it.  He’s vulnerable and real and the crowd loves it.

Kiefer and his band are on a worldwide tour – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Warm Stage Presence

Kiefer is no Johnny Cash or Elton John, two of his admitted favorites musicians, mainly because his voice needs a little work, but he’s on to something here with his songwriting and warm stage presence.  The fans seem overwhelmed by him and his music, and they sing along with every word as he plays.  Not only that, it appears the people come from near and far to see him, as at The Roxy there were Kiefer fans who came from as far away as inland California.

“My mom came with us tonight because she loves him too,” said Jared Scoville from Temecula. “My mom doesn’t go out too much because she’s older and she can’t walk that well, but we got in the truck and came here because she loves Kiefer’s music.”

From Vampires to Bad Boys and Beyond

Kiefer, who’s played everything from bad boy vampire to Jack Bauer on 24, has had the luxury of growing up in a creative household — his mother is actress Shirley Douglas and his father is actor Donald Sutherland.  The elder Sutherland has a prolific body of work and is known for his quirky roles. He’s perhaps best loved for his portrayal of World War II tank officer “Oddball” in the 5-star Clint Eastwood film Kelly’s Heroes.

And normally we would assume, like everyone else, that this actors’ kid has had an easy time of it, inheriting all the connections and good fortune from his famous parents. Instead, it’s been a different path for Kiefer, who’s had limited guidance from his family and has really gone out on his own.  He’s even been a rodeo competitor and started a record label.

Kiefer Sutherland tours to promote 'Down In a Hole' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer Sutherland tours to promote ‘Down In a Hole’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Cryin’ Cowboys Here

The new album, Down In a Hole, is a real departure from what we might expect from the rough and tumble millionaire actor.  The music is reflective and somber. As they say, if you’ve just broken up with someone, don’t listen to country music because it could only make you feel more sad.  Nobody likes a crying cowboy.  Kiefer doesn’t exactly cry, but it’s apparent he’s had his share of heartbreak.

The writing of these songs and Kiefer’s expression of these long-suppressed feelings is “cathartic” as he said in a recent interview with CaliforniaRocker.com

Rick Brantley opened the evening with some down-home songs – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kiefer and The Crowd

Well the songs may be “cathartic” for Kiefer, but the performances of those songs to packed Southern California crowds is nothing short of remarkable. His shows at the crowded Stagecoach, and packed houses at the Roxy and Great American Music Hall show Kiefer really connect. I don’t care how good an actor you may be, but hitting the stage with a guitar and putting your vulnerability out there for the world to see at a live performance venue takes guts.  Particularly for a TV and film actor, who is used to having a director of photography shoot his best side, having a director do another take just so the actor can look good or having an editor use a more flattering scene.

Kiefer at The Roxy – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

New Chapter for Kiefer

Kiefer is having fun and the emotional songs like “I’ll Do Anything,” and “Not Enough Whiskey”  do reflect on some of the mistakes he’s made in life. Regardless, we could all take a page from  Kiefer’s book.  He’s taken his heartbreak and long-buried emotions and turned them into performances that please the masses.

And he says he’s still working out his issues, which is good for the fans: He’s got some new songs on the way.

Video courtesy of Christopher Pack

The Buttertones: Dreamy Surf Guys Bring Their Cool California Style — And All the Girls — to The Hi Hat

New Album ‘Gravedigging’ is a Fun Retro Record

By DONNA BALANCIA

When you see The Buttertones, get ready for a new style of surfy beach music, cute guys and screaming women.

It’s part of The Buttertones’ scene and it’s a well-established routine. They’re not exactly The Beatles, but it’s the frenzy these guys cause among the females of Southern California that’s really something to see and appreciate. If they could put this kind of sex appeal in a bottle we’d all be better off.

The Buttertones, the women are falling for them - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Buttertones, the women are falling for them – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We missed a few opportunities to see The Buttertones in the last six months, once at their Aquarium of the Pacific gig on New Year’s Eve and the other recently at The Bootleg. We hear The Bootleg gig was complete with not only the screaming, swooning females, but plenty of stage divers, leaping into the audience like lemmings over the cliff.

Buttertones at The Hi Hat – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But we managed to catch them at The Hi Hat, one of our favorite venues in Los Angeles — after all, the staff is awesome and the place is big enough to hold all the fans The Buttertones bring in tow.

Check out The Buttertones’ new album, Gravedigging on Bandcamp.

The Buttertones put on an entertaining show. They light themselves up and then have their routine. The songs are fast-paced and fun and the guys dress respectfully, something that seems to be increasingly more common, buttoned shirt, ties and even socks!

Richard Araiza of The Buttertones – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Their recent album, Gravedigging, is a gas, with some killer tunes with catchy, simple titles including “Geisha’s Gaze,” “Ghost Safari,” “Sadie’s a Sadist,” and “Morroccan Monsoon.” All upbeat and rowdy in a surfy and snappy manner. This show is so worthwhile and moves fast.

Silent X wrapped up the night at The Hi Hat – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Buttertones are: Bassist Sean Redman, guitarist/singer Richard Araiza, drummer/polyinstrumentalist Modesto ‘Cobi’ Cobiån, saxophonist London Guzmån and guitarist Dakota Boettcher. All accomplished and impressive musicians, and cute to boot.

Matter Room was a fun opener, Espresso really cranked on the drums, Violet Mindfield held the audience spellbound and Silent X was a great topper on the evening.

Energetic and innovative: The Buttertones – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris to Exhibit Her Famous Rock Images at Pop Obscure Records From May 6 Through June 18

The Blessings To Play Opening Night Party

By DONNA BALANCIA

Heather Harris has had a unique perspective from her vantage point as rock photographer in the pit since 1967.  There isn’t much this sharpeye doesn’t see, and she shares her vision with others.

The well-known rock photographer is holding an exhibit May 6 through June 18 at Pop Obscure Records in downtown Los Angeles. Beloved local band The Blessings will play a set during the opening evening on Saturday.

“I enjoy going to local shows and you’ll see my photography exhibit includes not only big rock stars but also local artists,” Harris said. “Local artists become big artists, so we included some local people in my exhibit.”

Heather consults with James Williamson on a photo shoot – Photo © Kurt Ingham

Vast Catalogue of Photos

Harris has a remarkable body of work, but she goes under the radar because of her gracious humility. Many of the most well-known photos of rock stars featuring The Who, Prince and Iggy Pop were taken by the soft-spoken Harris.

Harris’ photographs of musicians have been published in Rolling Stone, MOJO, Billboard, Los Angeles Times, Creem, Music Connection, Warner Brothers, Penguin Books, St. Martin’s Press and many more. Spanning Buffalo Springfield to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, her work includes many of the most important figures in rock that came through her native Los Angeles throughout the past five decades. Check out her blog, Fast Film.

Heather’s photo of The Who – Photo © 1970 Heather Harris

Under The Radar

“A lot of people are surprised to see my old stuff as well, because people konw the images but don’t know my name,” she said. “What I think I’ve done is document music acts with a fine artist’s sensibility. It’s always amusing when they say ‘You did that?’ It’s funny that on Facebook any uncredited, good Stooges photograph leads people to say, ‘Is that one of Heather’s?’ Well, if anyone thinks any good photograph of the Stooges is by me, my work is done.”

Harris who has been shooting photos since the late 1960s has seen many changes in how photos are taken over the years. How has she preserved the images?

Photo of Paul McCartney © Heather Harris

Digitizing Images Today

“It takes money,” she said. “I have 40 years worth of images, when we had the earthquake in Northridge, the chimney fell into the bedroom closet and that’s where my pictures were. So it’s not as if they haven’t been endangered. Some people have full time assistants digitizing, I don’t have that. As far as the digital stuff, I backed up most of it on DVDs, I’d still like to get a book out because we still have books, since the middle ages, and that’s a form of preservation in and of itself.”

Harris said there are very few photographers she pals around with, and even fewer she admires.

“One of the music photographers I was most influenced by is David Gahr, and the most amazing thing about his photos is I’ve seen them in person and they look exactly like they reproduce,” she said.  “He had a beautiful tonality that reproduced exactly like it looked. His images would look good even in newsprint. He had a nightmare – his studio burned down but he had lots of books out there. I bought his book, The Face of Folk Music. His stuff always stands out as the best.”

Iggy Pop – Photo © Heather Harris

The Future of Photography

As far as equipment, Harris says that for her, it’s Nikons all the way and she shoots with a D3.

“You’ve gotta have full frame,” she said. “All the clients want huge files. Your friends complain but clients want huge files. I had always pushed film, I like the look better, I don’t use flash unless I have to. I use the little camera as a snapshot camera, it doesn’t scare people. It’s good enough for most usage.

As for the future of photography?

“The future already happened,” she said. “It’s the micromanagement aspect of the music business rather than visual experts controlling the media.”

The digital revolution has also played a role in Harris’ work and she has adapted. She said while digital is relatively inexpensive compared to the old days of photography, she also enjoyed shooting on film.

“I always took a lot of shots, even on film,” Harris said. “‘People ask why did you shoot black and white? There wasn’t fast color film until the 1980s. It was three times as expensive, but most of the publications were printed in black and white. Yeah it was expensive and also it was hard to duplicate and retain.”

Harris has had her share of wild experiences out in the field.

David Bowie Photo © Heather Harris

Scrapes In The Pit

“The funniest one is, the first concert I went to where they blocked off the stage from the audience and that was the Palm Springs Pop Festival which was before Woodstock in 1969,” she recalled. “They blocked off the stage with chicken wire, I just tore it down and took pictures of The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons. Why do I only have one picture? Ten thousand people followed me and rioted. They rioted all the way to Taquitz Falls.”

Harris said there is one main difference in today’s music than when she first started out.

“When I first started going to shows there were more Titans straddling the Earth, Jimi Hendrix, like that but the opening bands sucked,” she said. “The big thing about the outfits that put on concerts here for the first time they tried to put on three good acts. Nowadays it’s hard to find bad bands, and there are a lot of good bands. But they’re not great.”

Harris said: “It’s a different world, it matches the bombardment of the current audience who want sound bytes and want things fast and short. I still think the greats of any art form can surpass the limitations of any era by being unique to themselves and universal so I think there’s still room for that.”

She added: “Music is wallpaper to most kids. But younger people like to go to the show and they get their friends jazzed to go to the show. But music fans are music fans. That’s one thing that won’t ever change.”

Pop Obscure Records is located at 735 S. Los Angeles Street in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information go to the Pop Obscure Facebook event page. 

Self portrait © Heather Harris

Deadmau5 Pop Up Store on Fairfax A Smart Marketing Program to Compliment to DJ’s Shrine Appearance

By DONNA BALANCIA

The success of the Deadmau5 pop-up store on Fairfax proves this ever-more-popular temp sales venue is a smart business model.

Musicians, celebs and sports figures are making their brand available on the street right to the fans. Kanye West, the Kardashians and many others have done well with the pop-up store.

In case you weren’t able to make it to the Deadmau5 shop, here’s an inside peek.

In a partnership with Fancy, Deadmau5 brought his cool style to LA, with T-shirts, hoodies, key chains, headphones and other cool items.

The shop — located at 346 N. Fairfax Ave. in the Fairfax shopping district between Melrose Ave and Beverly Blvd.– was open to the public from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday to coincide with the DJ’s Shrine appearance.

Also featured in the store were many of Deadmau5’ personal collection of mau5heads on display, including a one-of-a-kind piece by Ron English created at the lots of stuff in a store pop-up in NYC. The head, available now online at www.omaze.com/deadmau5was created for charity with proceeds going to Win, the largest provider of homeless shelter and supportive housing services for women and families in New York.

Deadmau5 played a four-night sold-out run at The Shrine in downtown Los Angeles.  The shows, which feature his new Cube 2.1 live production, are part of his national ‘lots of shows in a row’ U.S. tour with support act Feed Me.

The store carried T-shits and cool tech, and if you had the cash, you could even pick up a pair of specialty speakers for $32,000.

Check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas Takes It to ‘Point of Know Return’ at 40th Anniversary of ‘Leftoverture’ at The Wiltern Theatre

Ronnie Platt is Golden, Kansas Plugs ‘Prelude Implicit’

By DONNA BALANCIA

It was a resigned era in the 1970s when Kansas the band made it big.  Wedged between the two mini-skirt decades of the 1960s with love-ins and protests, but before the new-wave Devo synth sound, kids were looking for a new style. They wanted to be different.

And Kansas, considered one of the first prog-rock bands of the day, made that transition a lot easier. Like their fans, the band wouldn’t be categorized into a specific niche that came before.

Kansas had a booming sound that sometimes was compared to other big bands of the era, like Boston, but with a violin and songs that border-lined on Jethro Tull, and with all the genius of Frank Zappa’s avant-garde innovation.

Well not much has changed — except band members — but for the most part, Kansas blew away the packed house at The Wiltern last night and gave the fans what they came to see: A real Kansas show.

Kansas is one of the early prog-rock bands and put on a great show at The Wiltern - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas is one of the early prog-rock bands and put on a great show at The Wiltern – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas On Tour

“I’ve always wanted to see them and I never got to so this is going to be fun,” said Bob McGregor of Ventura. “They were always one of my favorites but I never got to see them when I was in high school.”

The band is on a major tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of Leftoverture, an album that set the music world on its ear, mainly for its hit single “Carry On Wayward Son,” written by Kerry Livgren. Livgren, a founding member of the band wasn’t at the Wiltern last night.

Rich Williams and his trademark eye patch has been with the band since 1974 - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Rich Williams and his trademark eye patch has been with the band since 1974 – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas Players

The 70s prog-rock band now consists of founding member and drummer Phil Ehart and early member Rich Williams on guitar, Billy Greer on bass and vocals, fabulous Dave Manion on keys, Dave Ragsdale on violin, Zack Rizvi on guitar and the outstanding Ronnie Platt on lead vocals and keyboards.

It’s not easy filling in the big shoes of Steve Walsh the original frontman, but Platt’s voice is remarkable, hitting the audience like a freight train on the power ballads yet gliding gently through the lighter fare.

The impressive Ronnie Platt, frontman, with guitarist Zak Rizvi - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The impressive Ronnie Platt, frontman, with guitarist Zak Rizvi – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas on TV

Until the collection of songs is heard in one sitting, those who were mere radio listeners to Kansas in the heyday don’t feel the impact of all these hits. Many have been used for commercials, most notably “Carry On Wayward Son” in a Miller Lite spot and “Point Of No Return” for State Farm.

Regardless, the body of work in is significant and the performance at the Wiltern got the crowd to its feet on more than one occasion.

The Kansas crowd was captivated - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Kansas crowd was captivated – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Prelude Implicit

Kansas introduced several of its new tunes off the album The Prelude Implicit, and honored the fallen soldiers in Afghanistan with the song “Section 60” marred slightly by disrespectful people at the back bar who were blabbing loudly throughout. If you’re going to be loud and obnoxious, why do you have to do it inside the venue while the band is playing?

Kansas songs reached a new generation through TV commercials - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kansas songs reached a new generation through TV commercials – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The New Songs

Also impressive off the new album were the tunes “Refugee” and “Rhythm In The Spirit.”

Most of the audience members came to hear the hits and they got them: “Dust In The Wind,” “Point of Know Return” and of course, “Carry On Wayward Son.”

Kansas continues its great tour, bringing its famous tunes to the world. Did it matter that not all the original guys from the old days were at The Wiltern?  No, because on hand were those beloved  songs, the excellent sound, and the great memories.

Set List

Kansas at the Wiltern, April 26, 2017:

The Coming Dawn (Thanatopsis)
Hold On
Chasing Shadows
Reason to Be
Refugee
Icarus II
Icarus – Borne on Wings of Steel
Point of Know Return
Paradox
Journey From Mariabronn
Lamplight Symphony
Dust in the Wind
Rhythm in the Spirit
The Voyage of Eight Eighteen
Section 60
Carry On Wayward Son
The Wall
What’s on My Mind
Miracles Out of Nowhere
Opus Insert
Questions of My Childhood
Cheyenne Anthem
Magnum Opus
Encore:
Portrait (He Knew)

‘Drama Rock’ by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, Debuts at Coachella Amid Innovative Acts, Music

By DONNA BALANCIA

Powered by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, “Drama Rock” made its debut at Coachella this year.

The Davey Havok-fronted band Dreamcar, and the Irish-born Murphy took the blending of music and art to a new level at the annual festival season-opener in the desert.

Tony Kamal and Davey Havok – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The dapper Havok of the new group Dreamcar, sported a slick suit despite the triple-digit heat and he crooned to the audience like a torch singer from the 1940s. The act is very physical as Havok runs the length of the stage, jumps into the audience, high-fives the people and sings with tremendous, in-your-face force.  There seems to be a side of Havok that hasn’t left the hardcore punk behind, despite his tidy outward appearance. Havok has matured in his approach to music and he gives Tony Kanal and the No Doubt core a frontman that can carry the group forward.

Havok is clearly an audience favorite as fans scream for him and adore him — particularly the California contingent — as he’s from Ukiah, Calif.  The band played cuts off the new, self-titled album due May 12.

The many faces of the incredibly talented Roisin Murphy – Photo by Coachella

Roisin Murphy takes costume changes to a new level, as she must have changed either shirt, skirt or facial attachments at least 16 times during her set.  This amazing artist is like a combination of Gloria Gaynor and David Bowie.  It’s avant-garde music but set to the disco beat, which got all the festival attendees in the Gobi Tent up and dancing with each other.

Strictly from her appearance it would seem she is the Irish Bjork, as Murphy’s accessories are very bizarre.  Fuzzy flowers with faces, masks, and offbeat but feminine clothing is the name of the game here. The music, though, carries through the shenanigans and resonates with deep impact despite the visual whirlwind on stage.

Murphy’s a producer and has cut her teeth in the theatre and it’s easy to identify that background.  She was a special treat at Coachella and the festival would be well suited to bring on more performers like Murphy. Her latest album is Take Her Up to Monto.

Blossoms brought the drama among the press that surrounds a band on the rise – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Blossoms didn’t have theatrics to incorporate into their show, but the drama that surrounded the U.K band was noted as their appearance caused a splash with the media. There was a lot about Blossoms that drew the media and the fans around the Outdoor Theatre stage at the early part of the day. The music is upbeat and catchy. U.K. band is comprised of Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock.

Ogden made a sure bet that Blossoms is the only band at Coachella in which the band mates were all born in the same hospital. The hospital is back in Stockport, Manchester.

Also making a splash on the hot weekend 2 were Car Seat Headrest, War Paint, Toots and the Maytalls, The Allah Las, Grace Mitchell and Sunday headliner Kendrick Lamar whose Damn is a major hit.

Banks and Steelz had a great afternoon set and they brought Bishop Briggs up to the stage to join in on the song, “Wild Season,” and she held her own. Florence Welch is the featured singer on the song on the Banks and Steelz debut album, Anything But Words.

Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Then there’s the drama that goes with the artist who didn’t want his photo taken. We’re not sure what the purpose is for any musician to not want to be photographed by anyone when they are performing to the people who (sometimes) buy the music.

The artist who didn’t want his photos taken – courtesy of Coachella

Lady Gaga, whose tireless theatrics make people tired just observing, did not fail to impress on weekend 2.  This time, she brought her parents, but still veered little from the week before.  She played the classics as well as her new song, “The Cure.” She said she wanted to find out how many people had been listening to it since the song debuted the week before.  And as if not to be outdone by any of the other acts during weekend two, Gaga punctuated her final Coachella set with a dramatic fireworks display.

Lady Gaga and her men – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Radiohead Plays Perfectly, Interrupters with Tim Armstrong Steal The Second Weekend at Coachella

Highlights from Weekend Two in Indio

By DONNA BALANCIA

INDIO – Radiohead put on one of the strongest shows ever to headline the first night of weekend two at Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

In a near-flawless performance — technically and otherwise — Thom Yorke and crew put a cool touch to a hot second weekend at the Empire Polo Club.

Radiohead got the love from the crowd running through a setlist of old and new favorites, many from their latest album A Moon Shaped Pool.

“Radiohead is not a band, it’s my religion,” said concert-goer Jeff Alcott who came from Fresno to see his deity.

But Friday was highlighted by several outstanding performances earlier in the day.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard played strong at the Outdoor Theatre and The Lemon Twigs put on an outstanding performance at The Gobi stage, proving that brothers actually can get along.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Photo courtesy Coachella

The D’Addario brother-led band, The Lemon Twigs, played to the crowd in a combination of physical prowess and musical throwback. The guys have been working with Todd Rundgren, and it shows. They sound like Todd, perform like Todd and it’s great to see “The Wizard” get some overdue recognition from the younger set.

Tennis, who embark on a North American tour, said they felt they were well-received by the Coachella concert-goers, who ranged in age from teens to post-50s.

What stole the night was the action in the Sonora tent with Shannon and the Clams, Guided By Voices and The Interrupters.

Shannon growls her way through dynamic music and her 50s soda dountain style with music that appeals to all ages and including those old enough to remember the early days of surf-style rock and roll. But it’s clear Shannon and the Clams really get through to the crowds.

Robert Pollard delivered great songs, beer and whiskey – Photo (c) 2017 Donna Balancia

Guided By Voices put on show for the devotees as frontman Robert Pollard shared his beer and whiskey with the crowd.  Except for the people at stage left.

But it was The Interupters whose ska-rock energy and talent took the second Friday. The band is comprised of the raspy-voiced Aimee Interrupter on vocals, Kevin Bivona on guitar, Justin Bivona on Bass and Jesse Bivona on drums. They ran through their songs old and new, and it got especially good when they brought out Tim Armstrong from Rancid. He came on stage as an audience member who was picked to play guitar with the band.

“What’s your name?” they asked.

“Lint,” Armstrong replied.

Tim Armstrong joins The Interrupters – Photo (c) 2017 Donna Balancia

Lady Gaga was set to headline Saturday night and openers on various stages include The Blossoms, Car Seat Headrest, Roisin Murphy and Banks and Steelz.  Stay tuned.

Powerman 5000 and the Radioactive Chicken Heads Draw a New Arts Crowd to Our Favorite Bowling Alley

Powerman 5000, Chicken Heads Come to Lucky Strike

By DONNA BALANCIA

It wasn’t exactly the hoi-polloi, but Powerman 5000 and Radioactive Chicken Heads brought fans of the arts and entertainment to Lucky Strike for a special event, Scratch and Sniff.

Powerman 5000 looks a little different when unplugged - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Powerman 5000 looks a little different when unplugged – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Each band did a stripped down version of their acts with Powerman 5000 playing an impressive acoustic set dressed as The Allman Brothers, and Chicken Heads cutting to their most basic calamitous songs.

Spider One, dressed as Greg Allman performs an acoustic set - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Spider One, dressed as Greg Allman performs an acoustic set – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Powerman 5000 with its flamboyant frontman Spider One, created the art event coincidentally while ASCAP EXPO was going on next door at the Loews Hotel Hollywood. Say what you will about the topics of the pieces painted by Spider One, but the work is excellent and worth the price tag.

Spider One dressed as Greg Allman with a wig of long, white hair, and a bandana, and the rest of the band kept in genre as well.  It was a little odd seeing them in this costume mode, as opposed to their typical metal-style appearance. The evening was put together by Krsy Fox.

Spider One had an art exhibit in the back room, and his works include several robot paintings — from different eras — a James Bond tribute, as well as his renditions of Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein. The artwork is compelling and has a sense of humor to it, but then, would we expect any less from the brother of Rob Zombie?  I hope for the sake of our own further disappointment, that Spider refrains from drinking the foo-foo double lattes preferred by his renowned hard rock, horror-slinging sibling.

Powerman 5000 puts on a good show no matter what style it is, even if it’s with acoustic guitars and a box as was the case Friday night. The sound in Lucky Strike is excellent, so much so that Powerman 5000 recorded a live EP in there that night.  Not a lot of details yet. The proceeds from the album will go to an animal adoption charity.

The Radioactive Chicken Heads wrapped up the night in typical calamity — chasing each other around the stage, singing punk songs and even falling down.  It’s well worth any cost of admission to see this group and it’s entertaining on several levels.

We especially like that the Radioactive Chicken Heads don’t pull any punches. They know they’re punkers and don’t pretend to be anything else.  Their leader, Carrot Top, runs a tight ship and makes sure good conquers evil in the shows.

There’s a bit where a dancing cheese and a Rat Fink-looking Chucky Cheese come out and Carrot Top brings out a knife to — what else? — cut the cheese of course. Then they perform “Pest Control.” We loved El Pollo Diablo, who jabs Carrot Top with his pitchfork.  It is legend that El Pollo Diablo came from a Deviled Egg. They also do a song “I Looked Into The Mirror,” which Carrot Top does and lo and behold his evil twin appears and they do battle.

Anyway, it’s all in good fun. The Radioactive Chicken Heads have been around since the late 1990s and have gotten their fair share of attention in the press and have built a loyal following. Carrot Top’s imagination fueled this band as he said he always had characters in his brain.  He even wrote comic books on his characters.

Richmond Sluts Rock Harvard and Stone, Band Plays New Album, And Leaves for European Tour

Richmond Sluts Promote Catchy ’60 Cycles of Love’

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Richmond Sluts headlined a great Thursday night at Harvard and Stone, part of the Cheap Satisfaction series.

The Richmond Sluts are off to Europe - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts are off to Europe – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Our best local drummer, John Tyree, booked the night — he got the guys together for a Thursday night gig at Harvard and Stone. Not and easy feat having a band that is comprised of half LA members and half Northern Cal guys. Yes, Richmond, Ca., in case you wondered.

The Richmond Sluts keep rock and roll alive - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts keep rock and roll alive – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But when they get together for a gig, wherever it is, it’s pure mayhem. And lots of fun too. The club should be renamed “Echo and Fuzz” after the retro rockers’ performance.

CHECK OUT THE RICHMOND SLUTS ON BANDCAMP

The scene is what lends a certain comeraderie with some of the local notables on hand, Johnny Witmer and Emil Edinger, the better half of promoter Asia Muka.

Frontman Shea Roberts takes over - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Shea Roberts takes over – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts took it to new levels as they ramp up for their European tour.

“We’re loved over there,” said keyboardist Justin Lynn. “It’s going to be a great tour.”

Dynamic frontman Shea Roberts said the French label, Beast, is coming along great and having success distributing the Sluts’ records. The new. 10-track LP is 60 Cycles of Love and it’s a winner. One of the songs we like is “Different Tune,” a haunting 1960s-style fuzzy anthem of relationships. Another standout is “Into These Eyes,” a bluesy rock n roll love letter.

The Sluts' new album is 60 Cycles of Love - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Sluts’ new album is 60 Cycles of Love – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We first caught up with The Richmond Sluts at James Williamson’s “Re-Licked” all-star punk show at The Bootleg back in January of 2015.  The Sluts did a nice job holding the fort as one of the openers.

The Richmond Sluts have certainly progressed in a few short years. There’s a new album and more stage presence.  Shea still does the crouchy dance thing and his voice is an unlikely cross between Elvis Costello and Jim Morrison. We love the surfy punk guitar style.

Hello Shea - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Hello Shea – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band — John Tyree, Chris Beltran, Justin, Rob Easson, Lee Gallagher, Shea Roberts and Jesse Nichols — put on a tight set and they have a certain fan base that looks forward to their visits.

They’ve put out an LP on Disaster Records in 2001 and touring the US, The Richmond Sluts began to draw attention in the underground garage and rock scene, playing with bands such as The Brian Jones Town Massacre and, remarkably, Sky Saxon and the Seeds.

Check out The Richmond Sluts on Bandcamp. 

See video of The Richmond Sluts from Harvard and Stone:

British Punk’s Prolific Colin Newman: The Band Wire is Not Just Some Heritage Group from The 1970s

The Drill Fest by Wire Packs the Echo

By JOHN NORRIS and DONNA BALANCIA 

Wire held its Drill Fest at The Echo and Echoplex, and it was a rare opportunity to see some of punk’s originators tell it like it is.

Judging by the attendance at the fest, which ran over three days and included performers like Mikal Cronin, Bob Mould and of course headliner Wire, it’s easy to see punk is very much alive today. Or it’s making a “curated” comeback at the very least.

The Pink Flag Guitar Ensemble – a roaring finale – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Drill Fest is not just Wire playing on tour, founder Colin Newman told CaliforniaRocker.com.

“Drill is curated by the bands,” Colin said. “It’s just another aspect of what the band do.

Colin Newman: 'Being influential is a double-edged sword' - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Colin Newman: ‘Being influential is a double-edged sword’ – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Wire: Not Re-Living The Past

“The importance is it’s partly to us,” Colin said. “One of the things about Wire is we’re not doing the heritage circuit. We’re not trying to relive our past. It’s about us making connections to other artists, not necessarily younger artists, but artists of different genres, with different ways of working and in a way it’s putting ourselves in a situation and saying this is what we are, we’re not just some band from the ’70s living off our past.”

Great musicians curated at Drill - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Great musicians curated at Drill – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Newman On Being ‘Influential’

Wire has been so influential to so many bands, but that’s an interesting conundrum, Colin said in typical fashion.

“It’s a double-edged sword, really,” Colin said.

Why?

“Because you don’t like everything that you’ve influenced,” he said. “But everything influences everything else in music. Music is a dialog.”

Musicians and friends - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and friends – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

That dialog connected this weekend as the crowds at the Echo and Echoplex appreciated the music of many favorites.

Among those who hit the stages were:  Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact), Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (Luna), Jason Falkner (The Grays, Three O’Clock, Jellyfish), Jessica Lipstate (Noveller), and Jess Labrador, and Shannon Sky Madden (Chasms).

Not just 'Part-Time Punks' The Drill is the real deal - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Not just ‘Part-Time Punks’ The Drill is the real deal – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Other friends and players on hand included Rafe Mandel, Caroline Borolla, Geoffrey Halliday, James Hamblin, Stefan Nelson and Sandy Yang. Wire is Robert Grey, Matthew Simms, Graham Lewis and Colin Newman.

 

 

The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents Take No Prisoners in Physical Sets at The Regent Theater LA

Three Strong Bands Prove Punk Still has Legs

By DONNA BALANCIA

When The Orwells play a show, it’s more like a PE party.

Friends, fans and strong opening bands are the name of the game here and there are no disappointments.  The songs are good, the show is physical and the fans have a great time. The Orwells are touring to support their new album, Terrible Human Beings.

No Parents - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

No Parents – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The show at The Regent Theater last night was no different as punk performances were the order of the night and the fans loved every minute of three solid sets.

The Walters – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

You’ve got everything here — new punk music, fun performances and cute guys — and no shortage of girls on hand in the audience. After getting a load of the guys in the bands it was no suprise there were so many young women.  But The Orwells, The Walters and No Parents didn’t fool around and got straight to work.

 

Check out our review and additional photos at EastCoastRocker.com

 

 

See more at EastCoastRocker.com

Meat Puppets Rip Through Favorites as Show at The Echo With FdMdxFd Becomes a Family Affair

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Meat Puppets won over the crowd of the faithful Wednesday night as they took the stage and held a packed house at the Echo entranced. They didn’t miss a beat and it’s been far too many years since we’ve seen this great American band in action.

The guys, notably the Kirkwood clan — Curt, Cris and Elmo — along with the outstanding Shandon Sahm, ripped through fan favorites and showed the chops that have kept them rolling over the years.

Meat Puppets Fans

There are few bands as pure fun and who need to do so little to elicit the crowds’ adoration as The Meat Puppets.  Some of the players have changed over the years, and there have been breakups and reunions, but things seem to be moving along nicely for the Arizona players.

The drummer for The Meat Puppets, Shandon Sahm, is extraordinary — and not just because of his ripped physique  — his command of the kit is something to behold. He is the son of the legendary Doug Sahm of the Sir Doug Quintet.

Stonefield California Rocker

Stonefield – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Openers Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford brought a new influx of fans to the Echo, some who like young women with shoegazey style, and punkers from the 1980s.  There was profound talent on hand with the impressive Stonefield and Ford Madox Ford.

Dewey Peek and Chip Kinman are kin - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dewey Peek and Chip Kinman are kin – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Chip Kinman Punk Legacy

As the crowd increased in capacity during the night so did the curiosity about Ford Madox Ford.  Many of the punkers in the audience were not aware the lead vocalist in the band is none other than wildman Chip Kinman, who with his brother Tony created the sound of Rank and File and The Dils.

Family Affair

And as it was a family affair with The Meat Puppets, so it was also with Ford Madox Ford. Along with bassist Matt Littell and drummer S. Scott Aguero, Kinman was accompanied on stage by his son, Dewey Peek.  The group keeps the party rolling with serious rock and roll.  They’re working on a new LP and have a single out, called “Expect It.”  Check out the video for “Expect It” by Ford Madox Ford.

Ford Madox Ford - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

The Meat Puppets - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Meat Puppets – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Brothers Kirkwood - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Brothers Kirkwood – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford Debut the New Vid for Bluesy Tune ‘Expect It’

By DONNA BALANCIA

Check out the exclusive video from Chip Kinman and Ford Madox Ford, called “Expect It.”  The video makes its debut right here on CaliforniaRocker.com.

Chip Kinman and Fdmdxfd - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

A Cool Video

Kinman, the well-known wild SoCal punker who rose to fame with his brother Tony in bands like The Dils and Rank and File, is at it again. This time, Kinman is working with another “kin” of his: His son, Dewey Peek.  On bass is Matt Littel and drummer is S. Scott Aguero. The video was directed by Rez Hat.

‘Collapse and Nothingness’

“The song ‘Expect It’ is about collapse and the complete nothingness that follows,” Kinman told CaliforniaRocker.com. “We had a great time making the video, a lot of beer and tacos, North East Los Angeles, dontcha know. It was filmed with a rare Swedish camera that makes everything look like TV in the Seventies, which is what life should be like anyway.”

Chip Kinman - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip Kinman – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Ford Madox Ford brings a bluesy sensibility to punk and will be taking the great stage at the Echo Wednesday night opening for The Meat Puppets.

Kinman has had his share of innovative bands, predominantly known for The Dils, and Rank and File. As for Ford Madox Ford, Kinman says it’s a fun and new style.

“We’re the only band that plays punk and blues at the same time,” Kinman said.

Check out “Expect It” here. Go to Fdmdxfd Facebook page for more info on the band. Wednesday’s show at the Echo is sold out.

Say 'cheese,' Dewey Peek - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Say ‘cheese,’ Dewey Peek – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

Matt Littell - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Matt Littell – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

Chip and Scott - Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

Chip and Scott – Photo © 2017 Deb Morrison-Littell

 

 

At The Drive In To Release First Album in 17 Years, Announces Tour, and New Single, ‘Incurably Innocent’

By DONNA BALANCIA

At The Drive In will release its first studio album in 17 years, called in • ter a • li • a, which is expected to drop May 5.  The high-energy post-punk legends also announced a new tour including stops in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and a new single, “Incurably Innocent.”

“Incurably Innocent” is the second track to be released in advance of in • ter a • li • a, now available for pre-order via Rise Records.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“Incurably Innocent,” is described by vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala as “a song about sexual abuse and being able to finally speak out.”

in • ter a • li • a in Latin means “among other things.” At The Drive In is Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Paul Hinojos, Tony Hajjar and Keeley Davis.

Produced by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Rich Costey at Hollywood’s Sound Factory, the 11-song 41-minute in • ter a • li • a picks up where Relationship of Command left off back in 2000 and is anticipated by fans.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of ATDI, pictured here at The Hollywood Palladium, will tour in support of new album this May – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

in • ter a • li • a‘s release will be supported a series of concerts beginning in El Paso and including headlining dates at the Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco, and the Shrine Auditorium.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

Cedric Bixler Zavala of At The Drive In - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler Zavala of At The Drive In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes will support on the new dates.

For more information go to At The Drive In’s Facebook page  For updates and tickets, go to www.atthedriveinmusic.com/tour/Check here for ATDI merch

 

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive In packs the house at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

At The Drive In puts on a high energy show - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive In puts on a high energy show as depicted in this award winning photo – © 2016 Donna Balancia

in • ter a • li • a  Tracklist:

NO WOLF LIKE THE PRESENT

CONTINUUM

TILTING AT THE UNIVENDOR

GOVERNED BY CONTAGIONS

PENDULUM IN A PEASANT DRESS

INCURABLY INNOCENT

CALL BROKEN ARROW

HOLTZCLAW

TORRENTIALLY CUTSHAW

GHOST-TAPE NO.9

HOSTAGE STAMPS

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala performs with ATDI at The Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

At The Drive In, Live 2017:

3/17/17 – New Orleans, LA – Civic Theatre

3/18/17 – Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle

3/20/17 – Washington DC – 9:30 Club

3/22/17 – New York, NY – Terminal 5

3/25/17 – Boston, MA – House of Blues

3/27/17 – Detroit, MI — The Fillmore

3/29/17 – Toronto, Canada – Rebel (formerly Sound Academy)

5/6/17 — El Paso TX — County Coliseum                                              

5/8/17 — Phoenix AZ — Marquee Theatre

5/9/17 — San Diego CA — Soma                         

5/12/17 — San Francisco CA — Bill Graham Civic Auditorium 

5/13/17 — Los Angeles CA — Shrine Auditorium

5/17/17 — Mexico City — Pepsi Center WTC

6/7/17 — Austin, TX — Stubb’s

6/9/17 — San Antonio, TX — Aztec Theater

6/10/17 — Houston, TX — Revention Music Center

6/12/17 — Dallas, TX — South Side Ballroom

6/13/17 — Oklahoma City, OK — The Criterion

6/15/17 — Denver, CO — The Fillmore

6/17/17 — St. Paul, MN — Palace Theatre

6/18/17 — Chicago, IL — Aragon Ballroom

6/20/17 — Columbus, OH — Express Live!

6/21/17 — Cleveland, OH — Agora Theatre

8/15-17/17 — St. Pölten, Austria — FM4 Frequency Festival 2017

8/16-19/17 — Paredes De Coura, Portugal — Paredes De Coura Festival 2017

8/16-19/17 — Kiewit, Belgium — Pukkelpop Festival 2017

8/25-27/17 — Weatherby, UK — Leeds Festival 2017

8/25-27/17 — Reading, UK — Reading Festival 2017

At The Drive In - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes will open for ATDI - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes will open for ATDI – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

Cedric Bixler-Zavala - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The GRAMMY Awards Nominations List Includes Surprises, Young Performers and Music Legends

List of GRAMMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS 2017

In case you forgot which of your favorite performers, producers and musicians are up for GRAMMY Awards this year, here is the nominations list.

The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards will kick off at 5 PM PT, 8 PM ET on Sunday, with red carpet beginning two hours earlier and parties lasting well into the late night.

The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards will be held at the Microsoft Theater LA Live

The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards will be held at the Microsoft Theater LA Live

 

Album of the year:

“25” — Adele

“Lemonade” — Beyoncé

“Purpose” — Justin Bieber

“Views” — Drake

“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” — Sturgill Simpson

 

Record of the year:

“Hello” — Adele

“Formation” — Beyoncé

“7 Years” — Lukas Graham

“Work” — Rihanna featuring Drake

“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

 

Song of the year:

“Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)

“Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)

“I Took a Pill In Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)

“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)

“7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

 

Best new artist:

Kelsea Ballerini

The Chainsmokers

Chance the Rapper

Maren Morris

Anderson .Paak

 

Best pop vocal album:

“25” — Adele

“Purpose” — Justin Bieber

“Dangerous Woman” — Ariana Grande

“Confident” — Demi Lovato

“This Is Acting” — Sia

 

Best dance/electronic album:

“Skin” — Flume

“Electronica 1: The Time Machine” — Jean-Michel Jarre

“Epoch” — Tycho

“Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future” — Underworld

“Louie Vega Starring…XXVIII” — Louie Vega

 

Best rock album:

“California” — Blink-182

“Tell Me I’m Pretty” — Cage the Elephant

“Magma” — Gojira

“Death of a Bachelor” — Panic! at the Disco

“Weezer” — Weezer

 

Best alternative music album:

“22, a Million” — Bon Iver

“Blackstar” — David Bowie

“The Hope Six Demolition Project” — PJ Harvey

“Post Pop Depression” — Iggy Pop

“A Moon Shaped Pool” — Radiohead

 

Best urban contemporary album:

“Lemonade” — Beyoncé

“Ology” — Gallant

“We Are King” — King

“Malibu” — Anderson .Paak

“Anti” — Rihanna

 

Best rap performance:

“No Problem” — Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

“Panda” — Desiigner

“Pop Style” — Drake Featuring the Throne

“All the Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared

“That Part” — Schoolboy Q featuring Kanye West

 

Best country solo performance:

“Love Can Go to Hell” — Brandy Clark

“Vice” — Miranda Lambert

“My Church” — Maren Morris

“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

 

Best jazz vocal album:

“Sound of Red” — René Marie

“Upward Spiral” — Branford Marsalis Quartet With Special Guest Kurt Elling

“Take Me to the Alley” — Gregory Porter

“Harlem On My Mind” — Catherine Russell

“The Sting Variations” — The Tierney Sutton Band

 

Best gospel album:

“Listen” —Tim Bowman Jr.

“Fill This House” — Shirley Caesar

“A Worshipper’s Heart [Live]” — Todd Dulaney

“Losing My Religion” — Kirk Franklin

“Demonstrate [Live]” — William Murphy

 

Best contemporary Christian music album:

“Poets & Saints” — All Sons & Daughters

“American Prodigal” — Crowder

“Be One” — Natalie Grant

“Youth Revival [Live]” — Hillsong Young & Free

“Love Remains” — Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

 

Best Latin pop album:

“Un Besito Mas” — Jesse & Joy

“Ilusión” — Gaby Moreno

“Similares” — Laura Pausini

“Seguir Latiendo” — Sanalejo

“Buena Vida” — Diego Torres

 

Best American roots performance:

“Ain’t No Man” — The Avett Brothers

“Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time” — Blind Boys of Alabama

“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens

“House of Mercy” — Sarah Jarosz

“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

 

Best spoken word album (includes poetry, audio books & storytelling):

“The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo” — Amy Schumer

“In Such Good Company: Eleven Years Of Laughter, Mayhem, And Fun In the Sandbox” — Carol Burnett

“M Train” — Patti Smith

“Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk (John Doe With Tom DeSavia)” — (Various Artists)

“Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” — Elvis Costello

 

Best song written for visual media:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Kunal Nayyar). Track from: “Trolls”

“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots). Track from: “Suicide Squad”

“Just Like Fire” — Oscar Holter, Max Martin, P!nk & Shellback, songwriters (P!nk). Track from: “Alice Through the Looking Glass”

“Purple Lamborghini” — Shamann Cooke, Sonny Moore & William Roberts, songwriters (Skrillex & Rick Ross ). Track from: “Suicide Squad”

“Try Everything” — Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler & Tor Erik Hermansen, songwriters (Shakira) Track from: “Zootopia”

“The Veil” — Peter Gabriel, songwriter (Peter Gabriel). Track from: “Snowden”

 

Best music video:

“Formation” — Beyoncé

“River” — Leon Bridges

“Up & Up” — Coldplay

“Gosh” — Jamie XX

“Upside Down & Inside Out” — OK Go

 

Producer of the year, non-classical:

Benny Blanco

Greg Kurstin

Max Martin

Nineteen85

Ricky Reed

 

Best pop duo/group performance

“Closer” — The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey

“7 Years” — Lukas Graham

“Work” — Rihanna featuring Drake

“Cheap Thrills” — Sia Featuring Sean Paul

“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

“Culcha Vulcha” — Snarky Puppy

 

Best rock performance

“Joe (Live From Austin City Limits)” — Alabama Shakes

“Don’t Hurt Yourself” — Beyoncé featuring Jack White

“Blackstar” — David Bowie

“The Sound of Silence (Live On Conan)” — Disturbed

“Heathens” — Twenty One Pilots

 

Best metal performance

“Shock Me” — Baroness

“Silvera” — Gojira

“Rotting In Vain” — Korn

“Dystopia” — Megadeth

“The Price Is Wrong” — Periphery

 

Best rock song

“Blackstar” — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)

“Burn the Witch” — Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)

“Hardwired” — James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica)

“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)

“My Name Is Human” — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer & Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

 

Best rock album

“California” — Blink-182

“Tell Me I’m Pretty” — Cage the Elephant

“Magma” — Gojira

“Death of a Bachelor” — Panic! at the Disco

“Weezer” — Weezer

 

Best alternative music album

“22, a Million” — Bon Iver

“Blackstar” — David Bowie

“The Hope Six Demolition Project” — PJ Harvey

“Post Pop Depression” — Iggy Pop

“A Moon Shaped Pool” — Radiohead

 

Best R&B performance

“Turnin’ Me Up” — BJ the Chicago Kid

“Permission” — Ro James

“I Do” — Musiq Soulchild

“Needed Me” — Rihanna

“Cranes In the Sky” — Solange

 

Best traditional R&B performance

“The Three Of Me” — William Bell

“Woman’s World” — BJ the Chicago Kid

“Sleeping With the One I Love” — Fantasia

“Angel” — Lalah Hathaway

“Can’t Wait” — Jill Scott

 

Best R&B song

“Come See Me” — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor featuring Drake)

“Exchange” — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)

“Kiss It Better” — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass & Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)

“Lake by the Ocean” — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)

“Luv” — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin & Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

 

Best urban contemporary album

“Lemonade” — Beyoncé

“Ology” — Gallant

“We Are King” — King

“Malibu” — Anderson .Paak

“Anti” — Rihanna

 

Best R&B album

“In My Mind” — BJ the Chicago Kid

“Lalah Hathaway Live” — Lalah Hathaway

“Velvet Portraits” — Terrace Martin

“Healing Season” — Mint Condition

“Smoove Jones” — Mya

 

Best rap performance

“No Problem” — Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

“Panda” — Desiigner

“Pop Style” — Drake featuring the Throne

“All the Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared

“That Part” — Schoolboy Q featuring Kanye West

 

Best rap/sung performance

“Freedom” — Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar

“Hotline Bling” — Drake

“Broccoli” — D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty

“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & the-Dream

“Famous” — Kanye West featuring Rihanna

 

Best rap song

“All the Way Up” — Joseph Cartagena, Edward Davadi, Shandel Green, Karim Kharbouch, Andre Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie & Marcello Valenzano, songwriters (Fat Joe & Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared)

“Famous” — Chancelor Bennett, Ross Birchard, Ernest Brown, Andrew Dawson, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Kejuan Muchita, Patrick Reynolds, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West featuring Rihanna)

“Hotline Bling” — Aubrey Graham & Paul Jefferies, songwriters (Drake)

“No Problem” — Chancelor Bennett, Dwayne Carter & Tauheed Epps, songwriters (Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

“Ultralight Beam” — Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & the-Dream)

 

Best rap album

“Coloring Book” — Chance the Rapper

“And the Anonymous Nobody” — De La Soul

“Major Key” — DJ Khaled

“Views” — Drake

“Blank Face LP” — Schoolboy Q

“The Life of Pablo” — Kanye West

 

Best country solo performance

“Love Can Go to Hell” — Brandy Clark

“Vice” — Miranda Lambert

“My Church” — Maren Morris

“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

 

Best country duo/group performance

“Different For Girls” — Dierks Bentley featuring Elle King

“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne

“Setting the World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk

“Jolene” — Pentatonix featuring Dolly Parton

“Think of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

 

Best country song

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)

“Die a Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)

“Humble and Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)

“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)

“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

 

Best country album

“Big Day In a Small Town” — Brandy Clark

“Full Circle” — Loretta Lynn

“Hero” — Maren Morris

“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” — Sturgill Simpson

“Ripcord” — Keith Urban

 

Best New Age album

“Orogen” — John Burke

“Dark Sky Island” — Enya

“Inner Passion” — Peter Kater & Tina Guo

“Rosetta” — Vangelis

“White Sun II” – White Sun

 

Best improvised jazz solo

“Countdown” — Joey Alexander, soloist

“In Movement” — Ravi Coltrane, soloist

“We See” — Fred Hersch, soloist

“I Concentrate On You” — Brad Mehldau, soloist

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” — John Scofield, soloist

 

Best jazz vocal album

“Sound of Red” — René Marie

“Upward Spiral” — Branford Marsalis Quartet With Special Guest Kurt Elling

“Take Me to the Alley” — Gregory Porter

“Harlem On My Mind” — Catherine Russell

“The Sting Variations” — The Tierney Sutton Band

 

Best jazz instrumental album

“Book of Intuition” — Kenny Barron Trio

“Dr. Um” — Peter Erskine

“Sunday Night at the Vanguard” — The Fred Hersch Trio

“Nearness” — Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau

“Country For Old Men” — John Scofield

 

Best large jazz ensemble album

“Real Enemies” — Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

“Presents Monk’estra, Vol. 1” — John Beasley

“Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles” — John Daversa

“All L.A. Band” — Bob Mintzer

“Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom” — Ted Nash Big Band

 

Best Latin jazz album

“Entre Colegas” — Andy González

“Madera Latino: A Latin Jazz Perspective on the Music of Woody Shaw” — Brian Lynch & Various Artists

“Canto América” — Michael Spiro/Wayne Wallace La Orquesta Sinfonietta

“30” — Trio Da Paz

“Tribute to Irakere: Live In Marciac” — Chucho Valdés

 

Best gospel performance/song

“It’s Alright, It’s OK” — Shirley Caesar featuring Anthony Hamilton

“You’re Bigger [Live]” — Jekalyn Carr

“Made A Way [Live]” — Travis Greene

“God Provides” — Tamela Mann

“Better” — Hezekiah Walker

 

Best contemporary Christian music performance/song

“Trust In You” — Lauren Daigle

“Priceless” — For King & Country

“King of the World” — Natalie Grant

“Thy Will” — Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

“Chain Breaker” — Zach Williams

 

Best gospel album

“Listen” — Tim Bowman Jr.

“Fill This House” — Shirley Caesar

“A Worshipper’s Heart [Live]” — Todd Dulaney

“Losing My Religion” — Kirk Franklin

“Demonstrate [Live]” — William Murphy

 

Best contemporary Christian music album

“Poets & Saints” — All Sons & Daughters

“American Prodigal” — Crowder

“Be One” — Natalie Grant

“Youth Revival [Live]” — Hillsong Young & Free

“Love Remains” — Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

 

Best roots gospel album

“Better Together” — Gaither Vocal Band

“Nature’s Symphony In 432” — The Isaacs

“Hymns” — Joey+Rory

“Hymns and Songs of Inspiration” — Gordon Mote

“God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson” — (Various Artists)

 

Best Latin pop album

“Un Besito Mas” — Jesse & Joy

“Ilusión” — Gaby Moreno

“Similares” — Laura Pausini

“Seguir Latiendo” — Sanalejo

“Buena Vida” — Diego Torres

 

Best Latin rock, urban or alternative album

“ilevitable” — ile

“L.H.O.N. (La Humanidad O Nosotros)” — Illya Kuryaki & the Valderamas

“Buenaventura” — La Santa Cecilia

“Los Rakas” — Los Rakas

“Amor Supremo” — Carla Morrison

 

Best regional Mexican music album (including Tejano)

“Raíces” — Banda El Recodo De Cruz Lizárraga

“Hecho A Mano” — Joss Favela

“Un Azteca En El Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo)” — Vicente Fernández

“Generación Maquinaria Est. 2006.” — La Maquinaria Norteña

“Tributo A Joan Sebastian Y Rigoberto Alfaro” — Mariachi Divas De Cindy Shea

 

Best tropical Latin album

“Conexión” — Fonseca

“La Fantasia Homenaje A Juan Formell” — Formell Y Los Van Van

“35 Aniversario” — Grupo Niche

“La Sonora Santanera En Su 60 Aniversario” — La Sonora Santanera

“Donde Están?” — Jose Lugo & Guasábara Combo

 

Best American roots performance

“Ain’t No Man” — The Avett Brothers

“Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time” — Blind Boys of Alabama

“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens

“House of Mercy” — Sarah Jarosz

“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

 

American roots music

“Alabama at Night” — Robbie Fulks

“City Lights” — Jack White

“Gulfstream” — Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars

“Kid Sister” — The Time Jumpers

“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

 

Best Americana album

“True Sadness” — The Avett Brothers

“This Is Where I Live” — William Bell

“The Cedar Creek Sessions” — Kris Kristofferson

“The Bird & the Rifle” — Lori McKenna

“Kid Sister” — The Time Jumpers

 

Best bluegrass album

“Original Traditional” — Blue Highway

“Burden Bearer” — Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

“The Hazel and Alice Sessions” — Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands

“North By South” — Claire Lynch

“Coming Home” — O’Connor Band With Mark O’Connor

 

Best traditional blues album

“Can’t Shake This Feeling” — Lurrie Bell

“Live at the Greek Theatre” — Joe Bonamassa

“Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II)” — Luther Dickinson

“The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers” — Vasti Jackson

“Porcupine Meat” — Bobby Rush

 

Best contemporary blues album

“The Last Days of Oakland” — Fantastic Negrito

“Love Wins Again” — Janiva Magness

“Bloodline” — Kenny Neal

“Give It Back to You” — The Record Company

“Everybody Wants a Piece” — Joe Louis Walker

 

Best folk album

“Silver Skies Blue” — Judy Collins & Ari Hest

“Upland Stories” — Robbie Fulks

“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens

“Weighted Mind” — Sierra Hull

“Undercurrent” — Sarah Jarosz

 

Best regional roots music album

“Broken Promised Land” — Barry Jean Ancelet & Sam Broussard

“It’s a Cree Thing” — Northern Cree

“E Walea” — Kalani Pe’a

“Gulfstream” — Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars

“I Wanna Sing Right: Rediscovering Lomax In the Evangeline Country” —  (Various Artists)

 

Best reggae album

“Sly & Robbie Presents … Reggae For Her” — Devin Di Dakta & J.L

“Rose Petals” — J Boog

“Ziggy Marley” — Ziggy Marley

“Everlasting” — Raging Fyah

“Falling Into Place” — Rebelution

“SOJA: Live In Virginia” — SOJA

 

Best world music album

“Destiny” — Celtic Woman

“Walking In the Footsteps Of Our Fathers” — Ladysmith Black Mambazo

“Sing Me Home” — Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble

“Land Of Gold” — Anoushka Shankar

“Dois Amigos, Um Século De Música: Multishow Live” — Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil

 

Best children’s album

“Explorer Of the World” — Frances England

“Infinity Plus One” — Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

“Novelties” — Recess Monkey

“Press Play” — Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

“Saddle Up” — The Okee Dokee Brothers

 

Best comedy album

“… America … Great …” — David Cross

“American Myth” — Margaret Cho

“Boyish Girl Interrupted” — Tig Notaro

“Live at the Apollo” — Amy Schumer

“Talking For Clapping” — Patton Oswalt

 

Best musical theater album

“Bright Star”

“The Color Purple”

“Fiddler On the Roof”

“Kinky Boots”

“Waitress”

 

Best compilation soundtrack for visual media

“Amy” (Various Artists)

“Miles Ahead” (Miles Davis & Various Artists)

“Straight Outta Compton” (Various Artists)

“Suicide Squad” (Collector’s Edition) (Various Artists)

“Vinyl: The Essentials Season 1″ (Various Artists)

 

Best score soundtrack for visual media

“Bridge of Spies” — Thomas Newman, composer

“Quentin Tarantino’s the Hateful Eight” — Ennio Morricone, composer

“The Revenant” — Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, composers

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — John Williams, composer

“Stranger Things Volume 1″ — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, composers

“Stranger Things Volume 2” — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, composers

 

Best song written for visual media

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Kunal Nayyar)

“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)

“Just Like Fire” — Oscar Holter, Max Martin, P!nk & Shellback, songwriters (P!nk)

“Purple Lamborghini” — Shamann Cooke, Sonny Moore & William Roberts, songwriters (Skrillex & Rick Ross)

“Try Everything” — Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler & Tor Erik Hermansen, songwriters (Shakira)

“The Veil” — Peter Gabriel, songwriter (Peter Gabriel)

 

Best instrumental composition

“Bridge of Spies (End Title)” — Thomas Newman, composer

“The Expensive Train Set (An Epic Sarahnade For Double Big Band)” — Tim Davies, composer

“Flow” — Alan Ferber, composer

“L’Ultima Diligenza Di Red Rock”  Versione Integrale — Ennio Morricone, composer

“Spoken at Midnight” — Ted Nash, composer

 

Best arrangement, instrumental or a cappella

“Ask Me Now” — John Beasley, arranger

“Good Swing Wenceslas” — Sammy Nestico, arranger

“Linus & Lucy” — Christian Jacob, arranger

“Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” — John Daversa, arranger

“We Three Kings” — Ted Nash, arranger

“You And I” — Jacob Collier, arrange

 

Best arrangement, instruments and vocals

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” — Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band Featuring Take 6)

“Do You Want To Know a Secret” — John Daversa, arranger (John Daversa Featuring Renee Olstead)

“Flintstones” — Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier)

“I’m a Fool to Want You” — Alan Broadbent, arranger (Kristin Chenoweth)

“Somewhere (Dirty Blvd)” (Extended Version) — Billy Childs & Larry Klein, arrangers (Lang Lang Featuring Lisa Fischer & Jeffrey Wright )

 

Best recording package

“Anti” (Deluxe Edition) — Ciarra Pardo & Robyn Fenty, art directors (Rihanna)

“Blackstar” — Jonathan Barnbrook, art director (David Bowie)

“Human Performance” — Andrew Savage, art director (Parquet Courts)

“Sunset Motel” — Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors (Reckless Kelly)

“22, A Million” — Eric Timothy Carlson, art director (Bon Iver)

 

Best boxed or special limited edition package

“Edith Piaf 1915-2015” — Gérard Lo Monaco, art director (Edith Piaf)

“401 Days” — Jonathan Dagan & Mathias Høst Normark, art directors (J.Views)

“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It” (Box Set) — Samuel Burgess-Johnson & Matthew Healy, art directors (The 1975)

“Paper Wheels” (Deluxe Limited Edition) — Matt Taylor, art director (Trey Anastasio)

“Tug of War” (Deluxe Edition) — Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney)

 

Best album notes

“The Complete Monument & Columbia Albums Collection” — Mikal Gilmore, album notes writer (Kris Kristofferson)

“The Knoxville Sessions, 1929-1930: Knox County Stomp” — Ted Olson & Tony Russell, album notes writers (Various Artists)

“Ork Records: New York, New York” — Rob Sevier & Ken Shipley, album notes writers (Various Artists)

“Sissle and Blake Sing Shuffle Along” — Ken Bloom & Richard Carlin, album notes writers (Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle)

“Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism & the Phonograph, 1890-1900” — Richard Martin, album notes writer (Various Artists)

 

Best historical album

“The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol.12” (Collector’s Edition) (Bob Dylan)

“Music Of Morocco From the Library of Congress: Recorded By Paul Bowles, 1959” (Various Artists)

“Ork Records: New York, New York” (Various Artists)

“Vladimir Horowitz: The Unreleased Live Recordings 1966-1983” (Vladimir Horowitz)

“Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism & the Phonograph, 1890-1900” (Various Artists)

 

Best engineered album, non-classical

“Are You Serious” — Tchad Blake & David Boucher, engineers; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (Andrew Bird)

“Blackstar” — David Bowie, Tom Elmhirst, Kevin Killen & Tony Visconti, engineers; Joe LaPorta, mastering engineer (David Bowie)

“Dig In Deep” — Ryan Freeland, engineer; Kim Rosen, mastering engineer (Bonnie Raitt)

“Hit N Run Phase Two” — Booker T., Dylan Dresdow, Chris James, Prince & Justin Stanley, engineers; Dylan Dresdow, mastering engineer (Prince)

“Undercurrent” — Shani Gandhi & Gary Paczosa, engineers; Paul Blakemore, mastering engineer (Sarah Jarosz)

 

Producer of the year, non-classical

Benny Blanco

Greg Kurstin

Max Martin

Nineteen85

Ricky Reed

 

Best remixed recording

“Cali Coast” (Psionics Remix) — Josh Williams, remixer (Soul Pacific)

“Heavy Star Movin’” (staRo Remix) — staRo, remixer (The Silver Lake Chorus)

“Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five” (Timo Maas & James Teej Remix) — Timo Maas & James Teej, remixers (Paul McCartney & Wings)

“Only” (Kaskade x Lipless Remix) — Ryan Raddon, remixer (Ry X)

“Tearing Me Up” (RAC Remix) — André Allen Anjos, remixer (Bob Moses)

“Wide Open” (Joe Goddard Remix) — Joe Goddard, remixer (The Chemical Brothers)

 

Best surround sound album

“Dutilleux: Sur Le Même Accord; Les Citations; Mystère De L’instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement” — Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, surround mix engineers; Dmitriy Lipay, surround mastering engineer; Dmitriy Lipay, surround producer (Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony)

“Johnson: Considering Matthew Shepard” — Brad Michel, surround mix engineer; Brad Michel, surround mastering engineer; Robina G. Young, surround producer (Craig Hella Johnson & Conspirare)

“Maja S.K. Ratkje: And Sing …” — Morten Lindberg, surround mix engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround producer (Maja S.K. Ratkje, Cikada & Oslo Sinfonietta)

“Primus & the Chocolate Factory” (5.1 Surround Sound Edition) — Les Claypool, surround mix engineer; Stephen Marcussen, surround mastering engineer; Les Claypool, surround producer (Primus)

“Reflections” — Morten Lindberg, surround mix engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround producer (Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene)

 

Best engineered album, classical

“Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles” — Mark Donahue & Fred Vogler, engineers (James Conlon, Guanqun Yu, Joshua Guerrero, Patricia Racette, Christopher Maltman, Lucy Schaufer, Lucas Meachem, LA Opera Chorus & Orchestra)

“Dutilleux: Sur Le Même Accord; Les Citations; Mystère De L’Instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement” — Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, engineers (Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony)

“Reflections” — Morten Lindberg, engineer (Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene)

“Shadow of Sirius” — Silas Brown & David Frost, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Jerry F. Junkin & the University Of Texas Wind Ensemble)

“Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow  Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” — Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra)

 

Producer of the year, classical

Blanton Alspaugh

David Frost

Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin

Judith Sherman

Robina G. Young

 

Best orchestral performance

“Bates: Works for Orchestra” — Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony)

“Ibert: Orchestral Works” — Neeme Järvi, conductor (Orchestre De La Suisse Romande)

“Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 In B-Flat Major, Op. 100” — Mariss Jansons, conductor (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)

“Rouse: Odna Zhizn; Symphonies 3 & 4; Prospero’s Rooms” — Alan Gilbert, conductor (New York Philharmonic)

“Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” — Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra)

 

Best opera recording

“Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles” — James Conlon, conductor; Joshua Guerrero, Christopher Maltman, Lucas Meachem, Patricia Racette, Lucy Schaufer & Guanqun Yu; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (LA Opera Orchestra; LA Opera Chorus)

“Handel: Giulio Cesare” — Giovanni Antonini, conductor; Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Andreas Scholl & Anne-Sofie von Otter; Samuel Theis, producer (Il Giardino Armonico)

“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Emily Fons, Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard & Jay Hunter Morris; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers)

“Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro” — Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Thomas Hampson, Christiane Karg, Luca Pisaroni & Sonya Yoncheva; Daniel Zalay, producer (Chamber Orchestra of Europe; Vocalensemble Rastatt)

“Szymanowski: Król Roger” — Antonio Pappano, conductor; Georgia Jarman, Mariusz Kwiecień & Saimir Pirgu; Jonathan Allen, producer (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Royal Opera Chorus)

 

Best choral performance

“Himmelrand” — Elisabeth Holte, conductor (Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen, Ragnfrid Lie & Matilda Sterby; Inger-Lise Ulsrud; Uranienborg Vokalensemble)

“Janáček: Glagolitic Mass” — Edward Gardner, conductor; Håkon Matti Skrede, chorus master (Susan Bickley, Gábor Bretz, Sara Jakubiak & Stuart Skelton; Thomas Trotter; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Bergen Cathedral Choir, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegium Musicum & Edvard Grieg Kor)

“Lloyd: Bonhoeffer” — Donald Nally, conductor (Malavika Godbole, John Grecia, Rebecca Harris & Thomas Mesa; the Crossing)

“Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1” — Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, choir director (Nikolay Didenko, Agnieszka Rehlis & Johanna Rusanen; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir)

“Steinberg: Passion Week” — Steven Fox, conductor (The Clarion Choir)

 

Best chamber music/small ensemble performance

“Fitelberg: Chamber Works” — ARC Ensemble

“Reflections” — Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene

“Serious Business” — Spektral Quartet

“Steve Reich” — Third Coast Percussion

“Trios From Our Homelands” — Lincoln Trio

 

Best classical instrumental solo

“Adams, J.: Scheherazade.2” — Leila Josefowicz; David Robertson, conductor (Chester Englander; St. Louis Symphony)

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway” — Zuill Bailey; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Nashville Symphony)

“Dvořák: Violin Concerto & Romance; Suk: Fantasy” — Christian Tetzlaff; John Storgårds, conductor (Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra)

“Mozart: Keyboard Music, Vols. 8 & 9” – Kristian Bezuidenhout

“1930’s Violin Concertos, Vol. 2” – Gil Shaham; Stéphane Denève, conductor (The Knights & Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra)

 

Best classical solo vocal album

“Monteverdi” — Magdalena Kožená; Andrea Marcon, conductor (David Feldman, Michael Feyfar, Jakob Pilgram & Luca Tittoto; La Cetra Barockorchester Basel)

“Mozart: The Weber Sisters” — Sabine Devieilhe; Raphaël Pichon, conductor (Pygmalion)

“Schumann & Berg” — Dorothea Röschmann; Mitsuko Uchida, accompanist

“Shakespeare Songs” — Ian Bostridge; Antonio Pappano, accompanist (Michael Collins, Elizabeth Kenny, Lawrence Power & Adam Walker)

“Verismo” — Anna Netrebko; Antonio Pappano, conductor (Yusif Eyvazov; Coro Dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia; Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia)

 

Best classical compendium

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway; American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle” — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

“Gesualdo” — Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor; Manfred Eicher, producer

“Vaughan Williams: Discoveries” — Martyn Brabbins, conductor; Andrew Walton, producer

“Wolfgang: Passing Through” — Judith Farmer & Gernot Wolfgang, producers; (Various Artists)

“Zappa: 200 Motels – The Suites” — Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Frank Filipetti & Gail Zappa, producers

 

Best contemporary classical composition

“Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” — Mason Bates, composer (Riccardo Muti  & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway” — Michael Daugherty, composer (Zuill Bailey, Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony)

“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Jennifer Higdon, composer; Gene Scheer, librettist (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jay Hunter Morris, Emily Fons, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn & the Santa Fe Opera)

“Theofanidis: Bassoon Concerto” — Christopher Theofanidis, composer (Martin Kuuskmann, Barry Jekowsky & Northwest Sinfonia)

“Winger: Conversations With Nijinsky” — C. F. Kip Winger, composer (Martin West & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra)

 

Best music video

“Formation” — (Beyoncé) Melina Matsoukas, video director; Nathan Scherrer, video producer

“River” — (Leon Bridges) Miles Jay, video director; Dennis Beier, Allison Kunzman & Saul Levitz, video producers

“Up & Up” — (Coldplay) Vania Heymann & Gal Muggia, video directors; Juliette Larthe & Natan Schottenfels, video producers

“Gosh” — (Jamie XX) Romain Gavras, video director; Iconoclast, video producers

“Upside Down & Inside Out” — (OK Go) Damian Kulash Jr. & Trish Sie, video directors; Melissa Murphy & John O’Grady, video producers

 

Best music film

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: Steve Aoki — Justin Krook, video director; Brent Almond, Matt Colon, David Gelb, Ryan Kavanaugh, Happy Walters & Matthew Weaver, video producers

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week the Touring Years —  Ron Howard, video director; Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Scott Pascucci & Nigel Sinclair, video producers

Lemonade — Beyoncé Knowles Carter & Kahlil Joseph, video directors; Beyoncé Knowles Carter, video producer

The Music of Strangers — Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble Morgan Neville, video director; Caitrin Rogers, video producer

American Saturday Night: Live From the Grand Ole Opry — George J. Flanigen IV, video director; John Burke & Lindsey Clark, video producers

And Now Here’s a Truly MAJOR Nominee for Outstanding New Artist by the NAACP Image Awards

The California Rocker Q and A with The Musician Known as MAJOR

By DONNA BALANCIA

DB: How does it feel to be recognized as a nominee for Outstanding New Artist by The NAACP Image Awards?

MAJOR: It feels amazing. I’m thankful.

DB: Do you think it takes more than talent to make it in music today? 

MAJOR: Absolutely, it may sound cliche but ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. The talent may get you there but good character can keep you there.

DB: When did you first know you had what it takes? 

MAJOR: I’ve always believed I had “IT” (not perfect but great) from a young age … I just learned not everyone will get it at the same time – so I kept it excellent and just gave it time. Now more of the world is taking notice and I’m thankful for that.

DB: What role has the church played in your musical growth and inspiration? 

MAJOR: The essence of church is at my core. I learned the power of faith, belief, and unity from the church. Got NOTHING but love for the church. Always will.

DB: Who are your mentors? 

MAJOR: I get inspiration from any one who’s WINNING. I’m always taking notes. But the most recent heroes of my today are Elvin Ross (film composer) and Stevie Wonder (the legend). Mr. Wonder for obvious reasons including his recent public support of my career and Elvin Ross for all of the wisdom he gives me. I’m grateful. Like for real.

DB: What advice would you give a young musician today?

MAJOR: Keep it champion. That means excellent in every way possible. The world won’t be able to deny you.

 

NAACP Image Awards FAQ: The two-hour awards ceremony will be broadcast live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium at 9 P.M. ET PT tape-delayed on Saturday, Feb. 11 on TV One.  A live 90-minute red carpet pre-show, co-hosted by Terrence J and Nischelle Turner, will begin at 7:30 pm.

LeBron James will be presented with the NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Award, and Harvard Law professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. will be honored with the NAACP Chairman’s Award.

Other presenters are yet to be announced, as is this year’s NAACP Entertainer of the Year. Reginald Hudlin and Phil Gurin are the executive producers. Co-executive producers are Kimmie H. Kim and Byron Phillips. Tony McCuin is the director and Robin Reinhardt is the talent producer.

 

Going Abstract with Ty Segall: Southern California Rocker Rips in Three Sold Out Nights at Teragram LA

Josh Homme and Pals Support Segall’s Rockin Show

By DONNA BALANCIA

Night Three of Ty Segall at The Teragram Ballroom was even better than the rest as fans and friends crowded into the sold out house to see the master of the abstract do his rockin thing.

Promoting his new album, Drag City, Ty brought on some new tunes as well as some old favorites — he’s the only musician we can think of who puts his set list on tissue paper.

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo of Ty Segall © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ty has only gotten better with age and cuts an impressive figure calling to mind all the greats — is there any genre of music this guy can’t play?  If Paul McCartney, Neil Young and The Stooges had a baby it would be Ty.

Ty’s new album Drag City is one for the collection. Check out the single”Break a Guitar.”

Ty Segall and the Signature Blend

His signature blend of avant garde that mixes with punk, garage and the blues — there are even times when Stevie Ray Vaughn comes to mind — blows the crowd away. Crowd surfing and moshing go hand in hand with Ty’s shows.  People even feel comfortable enough to jump on stage with him and announce their birthdays, as is what happened last night.

But there was no time for chit chatting and socializing, except maybe backstage where Josh Homme and his wife were among the music pals who made a visit to their longtime friend.

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ty Segall: ‘One of the Best’

“I’ve seen Ty a bunch of times and every time he’s great,” said a fan who drove up from whence Ty hails — the county of Orange. “He’s one of the best out there.”

The fans don’t overexaggerate.  It’s Ty’s sixth session at Teragram Ballroom since it opened, employees estimate, and he’s probably the closest thing to a house band the DTLA music staple has.

The toilet paper set list was punctuated with some standards as well as new tunes, all of which left the crowd of all ages stunned and stammering.

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We particularly liked his style of dress — sort of a dark Mariachi style resplendent with red flowers adorning the arms, his flying blonde hair and moves like Elvis a stark contrast.   But isn’t the contrast that what it’s all about with Ty?

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ty Segall at Teragram Ballroom - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ty Segall at Teragram Ballroom – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ty Segall tuning - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ty Segall tuning – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

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