Archive for August, 2008

leroi moore, 1961-2008

leroi moore in a 2005 associated press photo.

Fans of the Dave Matthews Band were led to believe that saxophonist LeRoi Moore was on the way to recovery after a serious ATV accident in late June sidelined him from the majority of the ensemble’s summer tour. Word of his death yesterday at age 46 obviously confirmed things were far worse than his audience realized. The specific complications leading to his death haven’t been fully announced. But for DMB fans, the loss is heavy, regardless of the reasons.

A classically trained player with a taste for jazz, Moore helped ground the band’s grooves. Sure, his solos displayed ample chops. But it was in the design of his playing, especially in tunes with a funkier sensibility where sax anchored the bass lines (What Would You Say and Too Much, among them), that the economy of Moore’s playing was best displayed.

At a Riverbend concert earlier this month, my first live glimpse of the DMB in nearly a decade, the band worked – and worked quite mightily – without a saxophonist at all. Fill in player Jeff Coffin was honoring a prior commitment that night with his primary band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. But the DMB is such a profoundly tight unit onstage and off that Moore’s passing – which constitutes the first departure of a band member in over 15 years – can be very much seen as a death in their immediate family.

As a remembrance, we suggest giving a listen to the DMB’s 2003, triple disc live set, The Central Park Concert. On a 16 minute version of Jimi Thing, Moore wails with a bright, boppish tenor break that stands among his finest recorded solos.

Matthews and company will undoubtedly continue. The groove will go on. But expect the bounce and the vibe of the DMB to be very different from here on out.

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR JOYCE PERRY SCHEDULED MAY 8.(Obituary) go to site lincoln university pa

States News Service April 19, 2010 NEWARK, DE — The following information was released by the University of Delaware:

A memorial service for Joyce Perry, who played a major role in the growth of University of Delaware women’s athletics, will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, May 8, at the Bob Carpenter Center. The service Is open to the public.

THIS STORY Print Delicious Digg this Twitter Facebook Ms. Perry, 58, died on Saturday, April 17, at her home after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer.

An outstanding student-athlete in three sports and later one of its most successful coaches, Ms. Perry played a major role in the growth of University of Delaware Blue Hen athletics for over 25 years.

“On behalf of the entire Blue Hen Athletics family, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Perry family,” said University of Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Bernard Muir. “Although I did not know Joyce personally, I know that she was a wonderful person who devoted so much of her life to the University of Delaware and had such a positive impact on hundreds of young people as a coach and teacher. Her loss will be felt by a great many.” A native of Milford, Del. where she was a standout athlete at Milford High School, Ms. Perry earned her bachelor’s degree in 1973 and her master’s degree in 1978 from UD after serving as a two-year captain in basketball and lettering for the first tennis and field hockey teams in UD history. At one point she held the UD record for free throws made in a game with 11 in 1973.

After beginning her college coaching career as head women’s basketball coach at Wesley College in Dover, she became UD’s second women’s basketball head coach in 1978 — succeeding her former coach Mary Ann Hitchens — and went on to serve for 18 seasons, the longest women’s basketball tenure in school history. Her 266 career victories remain a UD career record for basketball — men or women. in our site lincoln university pa

She led the Blue Hens to an 18-year record of 266-212 (.557), six straight winning seasons in 1987-93, three 20-win campaigns, six East Coast Conference regular season titles, and three straight ECC Tournament titles in 1989, 1990 and 1991. During that three-year stretch, she led Delaware teams to a combined record of 62-26 (.704), including a mark of 42-7 (.857) vs. league opponents.

Before UD joined the North Atlantic Conference in 1991-92, her teams posted an impressive overall record of 93-41 (.694) in ECC play and finished lower than third in the league standings only twice in 11 seasons. She coached nine all-conference selections, three conference players of the year, and one conference rookie of the year. Her players also earned numerous academic award.

She was twice named ECC Coach of the Year in 1984 (22-4) and 1989 (23-6) and was inducted into the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. Four of her former players — Candy Cashell, Lori Howard, Colleen McNamara, and Jennifer Riley — are also members of the UD Hall of Fame.

Ms. Perry was an instructional technology specialist with the Avon Grove School District after teaching four years in the UD College of Health and Exercise Science. She continued to compete in basketball and tennis after her coaching career and took part in USTA tennis, Senior Olympics for nine years and in the World Senior Games in Salt Lake City, Utah four times, earning several gold medals.

Ms. Perry is survived by her husband, Gregg Perry of Lincoln University, Pa., who is a coach at UD, and their sons, Rhett and Trey.

Memorial contributions may be made to HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 6147, Denver, CO 80206.

critic's pick 33

randall bramblett: "now it's tomorrow"

When a songsmith like Randall Bramblett remains so overlooked for so long, you really have to wonder about the future of popular music and the tastes that drive it. For over three decades, the Georgia-born writer and multi-instrumentalist has quietly navigated pop waters with a string of seven unassuming solo albums and another five with the equally neglected Sea Level.

A long running affiliation with Steve Winwood (which includes a 1994 Traffic reunion) and more recent collaborations with jam band fave Widespread Panic have provided Bramblett at least some level of visibility. But every few years, he drops another diamond of an album full of songs that embrace a rich Southern legacy (more in the literary character of his lyrics than in the music) without ever overemphasizing the inspiration.

Now It’s Tomorrow is his latest gem. It’s perhaps a little more electric in design than past solo albums and is rooted a touch less in the fanciful Southern stride of such stellar works as 2001’s No More Mr. Lucky. But all of the striking components are on display.

The stories all come with a very human cast and the singing bears a familiar humidity, meaning there are echoes everywhere of sterling soul. But Bramblett’s vocal delivery is forever cool. Much like the music it services, the singing reveals a soul savvy accent that favors conversational ease over forced hipness. And the music itself, though it rocks with a more fortifying edge than before, shifts from jazzy strides to playfully discreet grooves that emphasize Bramblett’s colorful runs on organ and saxophone. Longtime pal Davis Causey, a co-hort since before the Sea Level days of the late ‘70s, continues to anchor the tasteful guitar punch of Bramblett’s songs.

There is no denying the bittersweet air draped over much of Now It’s Tomorrow. Some Mean God is, in part, a eulogy to Bramblett road manager Stuart Collins, who died last year. But it’s as much a song about emotional displacement as anything. “Now the aggravating sun shines into my eyes,” Bramblett sings over subtle, soulful syncopation, in an acknowledgement of loss and the newer, harsher world view that comes in its wake.

Blue Road is the flip side of that grief. It begins with a cloudy mix of Rhodes-style electric piano and discreet guitar twang as it beckons for a detour off the interstate into the rural riches Bramblett knows so well. The music quickly lightens into summery swing. There is also a suggestion of romantic upheaval under the surface, just to keep the tune from becoming too much of a joyride.

Best of all is You Better Move, a none-to-subtle intervention designed to pull a friend out of the darkness (“loneliness is a treasure you claim you deserve”). But the tune is also the sum of Now It’s Tomorrow‘s very arresting parts: specifically, melodies that pump up the scratchy contours of Bramblett’s voice, guitars that charge with an almost elegant desperation and a story that, amid all the musical might, confronts human frailty.

It’s hard to imagine Now It’s Tomorrow changing the big picture for Bramblett. Muscular as the music is at times, it doesn’t veer very far from the stately Southern tone that has long distinguished his recordings. But maybe the album will at least open a door or at least get Bramblett booked in a concert locale somewhere close to Lexington again. After all, his music has always been inviting. That we don’t pick up on it more readily is pretty much our own fault.


Capitol Hill Press Releases March 10, 2000 00-00-0000 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 10, 2000 Congressman Gallegly Announces More Than $450,000 In National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grants To Benefit The 23rd Congressional District WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded three grants totaling more than $450,000 that will benefit the 23rd Congressional District’s environment, Congressman Elton Gallegly (R-Ventura County) announced today.

Congress created the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to form partnerships with government, corporate and non-profit organizations and fund environmental projects. site foundation grants

The Foundation awarded $180,000 to the Community Alliance with Family Farmers to provide California farmers along the Central Coast with practical information on biological farming methods and conservation techniques for management of wetlands and other natural resources. Another $175,500 was awarded to the San Francisco Estuary Institute to produce a comprehensive study of the exotic species in marine and estuarine waters from San Diego to Port Hueneme. web site foundation grants

Finally, $99,250 was awarded to California CoastKeeper for a community kelp monitoring program along the Southern California coast from Santa Barbara County to the Mexican border.

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation proves that public- private partnerships provide strong benefits for society,” Gallegly said. “For every dollar Congress appropriates to the Foundation, it provides more than $3 for conservation projects. By including numerous companies, government agencies and non- profit organizations, the Foundation also ensures a common goal and agreed-upon agenda to protect our environment.

“These three projects the Foundation recently funded benefit not only our farmers and fishermen, but all of us who live in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.” NO PORTION OF THIS TRANSCRIPTION MAY BE COPIED, SOLD OR RETRANSMITTED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN AUTHORITY OF FEDERAL DOCUMENT CLEARING HOUSE, INC.

… and we’re back

hi there.

hi there.

welcome to the new server. hopefully, you’ve had a comfortable trip. things are still a little bumpy on this end. while the overall look of  ‘the musical box’ won’t change, we’re still working out some bugs, especially in the picture posting department. so, as they say as at the cineplex after ceiling tiles fall on your head during a renovation, “please pardon our mess. we’re expanding to serve you better.”

we’ll be back with new stuff tomorrow. on tap for the rest of the week: critic’s pick 33 with randall bramblett, a listen to bob dylan in cincinnati, a state fair wrap-up and a two part interview with rolling stones keyboardist chuck leavell, who plays here next week. stay tuned!

in performance: “american idols live”

syesha mercado: the highlight performer of "american idols live."

syesha mercado: the highlight performer of "american idols live."

At its best, last night’s three-hour American Idols Live marathon was a vindication. Granted, much of it wasn’t. But there were instances – teases, almost – where the concert possessed a level of pop smarts that outpaced the juggernaut TV series from which it was sprung.

One such moment came when David Archuleta blended the 1961 Ben E. King pop-soul standard Stand By Me with a few verses of Beautiful Girls by Jamaican reggae rapper Sean Kingston. On the surface, that might not have seemed like much of a leap, as Beautiful Girls borrows heavily from the lyrical construction of the former hit in the first place. But Archuleta, the runner-up of American Idol’s seventh season, used his comfortable tenor to make the tune a retro vehicle with an honest sense of swing.

Of course, when Archuleta spoke between songs, the armor came down and what stood before the crowd of 8,500 was a good natured 17 year old who couldn’t help ending almost every sentence with a chuckle.

The concert was, in essence, the reverse of conventional pop music marketing. Most acts hit the road to promote a new recording. American Idols Live was more of a victory lap for the 10 finalists of season seven. Each was presented as part of a Casey Kasem-style countdown. The 10th place finalist (modern R&B singer Chikezie Eze, who was another of the evening’s nice surprises) started the show. Each successive vocalist was afforded three songs a piece, save for Archuleta (he was awarded four) and season champ David Cook (who was given nearly a half-hour of stage time).

One house band, heavy on ‘80s-flavored keyboard orchestration, backed everyone up. And save for The Time of My Life – a flat ballad that won an American Idol songwriting competition and sung last night by Cook – the evening’s full repertoire was a jukebox of cover tunes that shifted from Feist to Ray Charles.

We’ll save for another time the bigger debate on American Idol’s credibility factor in manufacturing pop stars like fast food and then sending the newly idolized Idols on the road to sing music that is in no way theirs. To an audience devoted to their TV generated heroes, the performance provided a very obvious thrill

Watching girls grab the arms of their husbands, boyfriends or, in many cases, fathers when Jason Castro (No. 4) whittled the Gnarls Barkley soul hit Crazy into a folkish serenade or when Archuleta rose from the floor seated behind a piano for Robbie Williams’ weepy Angels was all the evidence one needed that American Idol has hit a bullseye with its target audience.

Cry foul over the heavy sentimentality the show heaped onto the crowd. The simple truth remains that pop stars sing and girls (and a few mothers and grandmas) cry. Like it or not, that has been part of the pop game since Frank Sinatra began his reign 60 years ago. It lived on last night.

Cook was something of a novelty in the pack. Dressed in a worn t-shirt and jeans, his set centered around two dirge-like makeovers: a grunge take on the ‘80s Lionel Richie single Hello and a version of Billie Jean fashioned far more on Chris Cornell’s doomsday remake than the Michael Jackson original. The diversion was nice, but the performance dragged. More than a few fans – having groveled enough at the feet of their Idols, no doubt – made their way to the exits, bypassing the ensemble finale of Don’t Stop the Music.

The highlight of the night, far and away, was 21 year old Florida singer Syesha Mercado (No. 3), who delivered with ease and expression hits by three new generation pop-soul divas: the Rihanna groovefest Umbrella, and a pair of power ballads – Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You and Beyonce’s Listen.

In a long evening of pop pageantry, Mercado, like Archuleta with his King/Kingston medley, showed American Idol had in its possession something its biggest critics never would have dreamed possible: soul.

jerry wexler, 1917-2008

jerry wexler in 1979

jerry wexler in 1979

He was the producer and record mogul who first coined the term “rhythm and blues.” But as a true soul music stylist, Jerry Wexler needed no words. Admittedly, one might think he did, considering he was once a journalist. But as a defining force in bringing soul music to mainstream America, Wexler spoke volumes upon volumes, primarily as a producer, without opening his mouth or playing a note on a record.

Wexler died yesterday the age of 91.

As co-chieftain of Atlantic Records during its 50s and 60s heyday, he helped establish – and, in several cases, re-establish – the music of Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Booker T. and MGs and many others. He went on to work both sides of the color barrier, whether it was with Dusty Springfield on her fabled 1969 album Dusty in Memphis or with such New Orleans pioneers as Professor Longhair and Dr. John.

And then there was this curious footnote to a work life surrounded by soul music: Wexler is credited for signing a then-unknown Led Zeppelin to Atlantic in 1968.

For an extraordinarily insightful look at Wexler’s remarkable rock and soul life, keep an eye out Tom Thurman’s documentary Immaculate Funk, which has aired many times on KET. But for a big spicy slab of Wexler’s intellect at work, check out Franklin’s Live at Fillmore West.

The 1971 album is remarkable not only because it presents the Queen of Soul at one of the artistic apexes of her career (when her soul-savvy music began to echo the social restlessness of the early ‘70s); or because it highlights an extraordinary band led by the late, great soul sax man King Curtis; or because it sports a still-thrilling cameo by Charles on Spirit in the Dark.

No, Fillmore West works Wexler skillfully captures an event, the soul sound of a moment. He was masterful at piecing together artful R&B, layer by layer, in the recording studio. But Fillmore West was a masterwork. It chronicled more that creation of art. It presents for posterity, the eruption of a soul volcano.

in performance: zz top/brooks & dunn/rodney atkins

dusty bill, billy gibbons and frank beard

zz top: dusty bill, billy gibbons and frank beard

There isn’t a lick about the Texas trio known as ZZ Top – from the chest-length whiskers of guitarist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill to the mix of blues, boogie and groove that percolates throughout their music – that comes as a surprise.

“Same three guys, same three chords,” remarked Gibbons half through the band’s set last night at Freedom Hall in Louisville, one of the final opening day rites of the Kentucky State Fair.

Come to think of it, Gibbons made the same remark when ZZ Top last played the State Fair in 2004. But there was comfort to be found in the band’s familiarity. When Gibbons and Hill sauntered down a runway during the show-opening Got Me Under Pressure, you were again struck by their animated, near-comic appearance. The two were dressed identically in black, right up to their head gear: backwards baseball caps held in place by goggles. Gibbons’ beard was a little shorter and greyer. Gibbons was a little taller. But that was about it as far as cosmetic differences went.

The duo has been decked out like matching gnomic hipsters onstage for the past 25 years. But that didn’t make seeing them that way again last night, side by side, seem any less fun.

Ditto for the music itself. There wasn’t a tune played that post-dated 1983. That meant the 75 minute set was split mostly between MTV-friendly tracks from ZZ Top’s career redefining Eliminator album – which still sounded static in spots, especially during Sharp Dressed Man and Legs because drummer Frank Beard was locked into a synthesized, metronomic groove – and more blues savvy fare from Tres Hombres and Fandango, which were released a decade earlier.

The latter selections served as the show’s biggest delights. While what you heard, again, was pretty standard stuff from the ZZ Top songbook – as in the still-feisty Tres Hombres medley of Waitin’ for the Bus and Jesus Just Left Chicago – Gibbons and Hill opened the performance up. They opened things way up, in fact, for 1972’s Just Got Paid where Gibbons let loose with a hearty intro and concluding jam on slide guitar that nicely unveiled the band’s rootsier profile.

The closest thing to a surprise  ZZ Top offered was a comparative obscurity from Eliminator, titled I Need You Tonight, that borrowed more from Gibbons’ blues might than the video-savvy grooves that drove the album’s bigger hits.

If there was a central novelty to the evening, it was the fact that ZZ Top was co-billed with the cosmopolitan country-pop duo Brooks & Dunn.

While the three ZZ members played scrunched together in the center of the show’s massive stage, Brooks & Dunn’s 70 minute set was an all out production with elaborate video projections (ZZ used a few, too, but they weren’t nearly as ornamental) and a firestorm of red, white and blue confetti that showered the crowd during – what else? – Only in America. Brooks & Dunn also came to town packing a seven member band and a trio of backup singers.

Beyond that, the duo stuck to familiar roles, as well. Ronnie Dunn handled the bulk of the vocal duties, underplaying the beachcombing repose of Neon Moon and hitting a more celebratory stride for the duo’s hit cover of B.W. Stevenson’s My Maria. Kix Brooks was primarily the cheerleader who stepped up for tunes (Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up for Nothin’ and She Likes to Get Out of Town) that tended to push the party mood a touch too severely.

Some of the material was simply an ill fit. Play Something Country, for instance, sounded like a rewrite of the ‘90s Little Texas hit God Bless Texas – and that wasn’t country at all. And what was up with the Pink Floyd-ian flourishes that kicked off the finale of Boot Scootin’ Boogie?

None of that seemed to bug the audience, though. While there was a healthy number of empty seats in the back and upper decks of Freedom Hall, those on hand seemed honestly thrilled by Dunn’s gospel-like delivery of Believe and the almost Poco-ish country-rock decorum of the show-opening Cowboy Town.

Rodney Atkins turned a tight half-hour opening set that offered crisp, efficient deliveries of the radio hits These are My People and If You’re Going Through Hell. Though it was hardly Atkins’ fault, having a third act on the bill made for a mighty long evening. When Brooks & Dunn joined ZZ Top for Tube Snake Boogie, roughly four hours after Atkins hit the stage, the clock had sailed past midnight.

It was a lot of bang for the concert buck, to be sure – maybe even too much. After Hill led ZZ through a finale of Jailhouse Rock, the house lights came up to reveal an arena that was already half vacated. Even the State Fair midway had closed for the evening.

Now, what was that old saying again about staying too long at the fair?

sounds of the state fair, pt. 1

kix brooks, left, and ronnie dunn. photo by chapman baehler.

brooks & dunn: kix brooks, left, and ronnie dunn. photo by chapman baehler.

Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of the Kentucky State Fair. There is absolutely nothing on earth like them.

Where else can you see a tightrope walking tiger, cheer a pig race, commune with everything from goats to chickens and to deceptively docile bovine and then chomp down on a corn dog in 95 degree heat?

But, as David Letterman says, that’s not why you called. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re fancying a tune or two to cap off your State Fair adventure. Well, as usual, you’re in luck and then some. On tap over the next 11 days will be country music and rock ‘n’ roll – sometimes on the same bill (shoot, sometimes it may even come from the same act). But there will also vintage pop, hard rocking Christian music, a disco flashback, a hearty blast of ‘90s R&B and more.

We’re outlining the first slew of shows here, which will take you through the weekend. The rest we will save for Monday.

The majority of the shows are free. But, as usual, there are guidelines you need to keep in mind when you’re packing up the family for a full day at the wonderland that is the Kentucky State Fair.

Here is what you need to know:

+ All fairgrounds concerts, whether at Freedom Hall or Cardinal Stadium, will start at 8 p.m.

+ All free performances will still require admission to the Fair itself.

+ Parking at the Fair is $5 per vehicle.

+ If you’re attending a Cardinal Stadium performance and it starts to pour, the show will go on. Concerts will only be cancelled in the event of lightning.

+ The higher price listed for the ticketed performances includes Fair admission.

That’s it. Got the sun block? Got the Pepto Bismol? Got the earplugs? If so, get on up to Louisville. Starting tonight, it’s State Fair time.

Tonight: Brooks & Dunn/ZZ Top/Rodney Atkins at Freedom Hall  – They teamed up awhile back for a CMT Crossroads special. Now, that “Lil’ Ol’ Band from Texas” rejoins the Goliath country music duo for a full tour. Knoxville’s Rodney (These Are My People) Atkins will open ($41, $46).

Tonight – P.O.D./Pop Evil at Cardinal Stadium – Perhaps the only known link between Christian metal music and WrestleMania, P.O.D. has forged considerable mainstream popularity over the past 15 years. Its new When Angels and Serpents Dance album welcomes guitarist Marcos Curiel back to the fold. (free)

Friday: Vanessa Hudgens/Corbin Bleu with Jordan Pruitt/Drew Seeley at Freedom Hall – OK, parents. This is the one you drop the kids off for. Hudgens and Bleu are better known as Gabriella and Chad from the absurdly popular High School Musical series, which is already preparing its third film for an October release ($26, $31).

Friday: Boyz II Men/Midnight Star at Cardinal Stadium – Boyz II Men defined a new R&B generation in the ‘90s with hits like End of the Road and 4 Seasons of Loneliness. The group still boasts three of its five original vocalists. Midnight Star’s roots, of course, stem back to its mid-70s formation at Kentucky State University (free).

Saturday: Brad Paisley, Jewel, Chuck Wicks, Julianne Hough at Freedom Hall – Paisley’s Vegas-style stage show is a full evening unto itself. Throw in opening sets by the newly country-converted Jewel and TV-bred Nashville newcomers Wicks and Hough and you’re talking a concert that will call for some serious baby sitter bucks ($44, $49).

Saturday: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Cardinal Stadium – Jett was rocking Rupp Arena as an opening act for The Police as far back as 1982. Over 25 years later she still loves rock ‘n’ roll and continues to garner ecstatic reviews for her live shows (free).

Sunday: The Oak Ridge Boys/The Roys at Cardinal Stadium – The Oaks may have thrown a few curve balls to their fans over the past year, like recording with country outlaw offspring Shooter Jennings. When it comes to the State Fair, though, the group’s Sunday concert spot is a bonafide tradition (free).

WALK THE LINE.(reports of the fashion models debuts)

WWD February 4, 2006 | Love, Carter Byline: Carter Love NEW YORK – The girls are back in town – models from near and far have again landed in Bryant Park.

Here, some of the hot new faces making their New York runway debuts. web site brown hair color

Katsia Damankova/Ford Age: 17 Hometown: Minsk, Belarus Height: 5’9 1/2″ Eye color: Brown Hair color: Light brown Major show options:

Calvin Klein, Costello Tagliapietra, Marc Jacobs, Phi Fashion week must-have: Cell phone Behati Prinsloo/Supreme Age: 17 Hometown: Namibia, Africa Height: 5’10” Eye color: Green Hair color: Brown Major show options: Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Peter Som, Marc by Marc Jacobs Fashion week must-have: “My iPod Nano and Alexander McQueen heels.” Irina Lazareneau/Marilyn Age: 21 Hometown: Montreal Height: 5’9 1/2″ Eye color: Brown Hair color: Brown Major show options: DKNY, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Luella Bartley Fashion week must-have: “Food and music.” Hilary Rhoda/IMG Age: 18 Hometown: Chevy Chase, Md.

Height: 5’11” Eye color: Blue Hair color: Brown Song she has on repeat right now: “Diamonds,” by Kanye West Fashion week must-have: “A great moisturizer to keep a natural glow.” Natalia Halicka/Next Age: 17 Home country: Poland Height: 5’9″ Eye color: Gray green/brown Hair color: Brown Major show options: Calvin Klein, DKNY, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs Song she has on repeat right now: “Anything by Usher.” Eva Poloniova/DNA Age: 15 Hometown: Krnov, Czech Republic Height: 6′ Eye color: Green Hair color: Brown Major show options: Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, Zac Posen, Ralph Lauren, Prada Song she has on repeat right now: “New York, New York,” by Frank Sinatra Fashion week must-have: Digital camera Magdalena Frackowiak/Next Age: 16 Hometown: Gdansk, Poland Height: 5’11” Eye color: Brown Hair color: Dark blonde Major show options: Vera Wang, DKNY, Betsey Johnson, Diesel, Luella Bartley Fashion week must-have: “High heels for strutting it to the designers, and sneakers for getting me there without blisters.” Eugenia Mandzhieva/Trump Age: 19 Hometown: Elista, Russia Height: 5’11” Eye color: Brown Hair color: Black Major show options: Calvin Klein, Milly, BCBG, Baby Phat Song she has on repeat right now: “Beyonc’s new one.” Meredith Mason/Elite Age: 15 Hometown: Toronto Height: 5’10” Eye color: Blue Hair color: Dark blonde Major show options: Calvin Klein, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Jill Stuart, Hanuk Song she has on repeat right now: “Heart of Glass,” by Blondie Fashion week must-have: “Pencil-thin jeans, preferably Diesel or vintage Levi’s.” Egle Tvirbutaite/Major Age: 17 Hometown: Siauliai, Lithuania Height: 5’9″ Eye color: Green gray Hair color: Dark brown Major show options: BCBG, Bill Blass, Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein, Jill Stuart, Diesel Song she has on repeat right now: “Losing My Religion,” by R.E.M. brown hair color

Love, Carter

the boss bowl?

bruce springsteen. photo by danny clinch.

bruce springsteen. photo by danny clinch.

Word has it that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band may wind up as the featured halftime performer at Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1.

That report came yesterday from the New York Post. But then again, one of the Post’s lead stories also dealt with an employee caught taking a bath in a sink at Burger King: “Taking a bath, his way,” read the headline. Shoot, it even came with exclusive online video, which I reluctantly passed on. But take heart, Whopper-inos. The guy’s been fired.

But if the Boss news is true, Springsteen will follow in esteemed company. In the wake of the Janet Jackson ballyhoo of 2004, the Super Bowl streamlined heavily its halftime program by offering, in successive years, three-or-so song sets by Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince and, earlier this year, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The online concert site Pollstar said no one with the NFL or Springsteen have confirmed the Super Bowl spot yet. But Pollstar gave a merry chase to the possibly of a “Boss Bowl” by referring to a Boston Herald column written by Fox News blow-hard Bill O’Reilly published on Sunday that trashed the free-speaking politics of Springsteen, Neil Young and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

So sayeth rock patriot O’Reilly: “What annoys me about Springsteen, Young and Martin, in particular, is that they never debate the issues. They never show us exactly how deep their political thinking is, how wide their frame of reference is. Instead, they yell out dumb stuff to their zombie followers and revel in the applause. Overseas especially, any knock on America is greeted with rapture.”

Wow. Another informed and worldly manifesto from Mr. Bill. Too bad Springsteen can’t be as openly patriotic as the present day Beach Boys, which received O’Reilly’s blessings in the column. And what a shame the zombies can’t chum up to country stars that O’Reilly claims “generally don’t go in for this kind of stuff because their audience has little tolerance for it.”

Just reading the word “tolerance” in something penned by O’Reilly cracks me up. My recommendation would be for Mr. Bill to take in a Hank Williams, Jr. concert sometime. I guarantee he will never look at “tolerance” or country music the same way again. The crowd would devour him whole.

I’d love to argue the point further and exhibit the deepness and width of my frame of reference. But, you see, I must go. Need more dumb stuff from Boss. Zombie mad.

critic’s pick 32

"harps and angels"

randy newman:

In the final verses to Potholes, one the ten fascinating ruminations of personal and professional politics that make up Harps and Angels, Randy Newman breezes over all of the irksome romantic remembrances in his life. “One forgives as one forgets,” he sings in his usual sleepy, sardonic voice. “And one does forget.”

Trouble is, he doesn’t completely forget. The tune turns savagely inward when Newman recounts how his father, upon meeting his second wife for the first time, reveled in telling the story of how the singer walked 14 batters in a row during a childhood baseball game only to leave the field in tears. Newman has confessed in interviews that the story – a view of romantic fancy balanced by youthful mortification – is true.

It’s important to understand the personal impact of Potholes. That’s because the rest of Harps and Angels, Newman’s first album of new non-soundtrack music in nine years, takes generous potshots at the rest of modern civilization.

On Only a Girl, a remarkably less complimentary romantic fable, Newman doesn’t realize until the last verse how a woman of questionable beauty (“wears orthopedic shoes; it’s some sort of uglification she’s into”) became enamored with someone of his advancing years: “Maybe it’s the money. Jeez, I never thought of that.”

Then there is the accidental near-death experience in Harps and Angels‘ title tune, where heavenly hosts croon an awful lot like The Raelettes. As it turns outs, the protagonist is nearly yanked up to heaven too soon due to a “clerical error” but is given a tongue-lashing all the same for his earthly misdeeds. Not that this sways his sense of spiritualism. “You know, boys, I’m a not a religious man,” Newman sings. “But I sent a prayer out just in case. You never know.”

Harps and Angels really heats up, though, when the current political climate comes into view. Borrowing a page from Newman’s sadly prophetic 1972 tune Political Science, one of the first pop songs to suggest America wasn’t nearly as beloved globally as we thought we were at home, comes A Few Words in Defense of Our Country. A parable fittingly set to a loping country melody, it reflects on the final months of the Bush era, discovers the flip side of Franklin Roosevelt philosophy in action (“What are we supposed to be afraid of? Why of being afraid”) but finally finds its only sad comfort in the fact the administration didn’t sink to the dictatorial depths Hitler and Stalin.

And let’s not forget A Piece of the Pie, a view of a corrosive class system and failing American Dreams where the feel-good but corporately co-opted patriotism of John Mellencamp gets skewered (“Johnny Cougar’s singing it’s their country now; he’ll be singing for Toyota in the fall”).

As pointed, funny and unsettling as Newman’s songs can be, they are as arresting musically as they are lyrically. Referring often to the elegant Southern orchestration of 1974’s classic Good Old Boys, Newman drapes his snapshots of a wilting America and checkered personal past in limber strings, suggestions of ragtime and Dixieland and, of course, the lazy, strolling accompaniment of his own piano playing.

Harps and Angels does come with two plaintive love songs (Losing You and Feels Like Home) that exhibit their own emotive ripple effects. But as a whole, the album is a scrapbook that reveals, in typical Newman fashion, an unrepentant wit and an eerily frank confessional streak. Slap all of that together and you have a view of a life parade that lumbers along in tune as it veers ever so profoundly off course.

issac hayes, 1942-2008

issac hayes

issac hayes

For one generation, he was the cat that sang about “that cat Shaft.” To another, he was the womanizing, foul-mouthed father figure known as Chef on South Park.

But to any audience, Isaac Hayes was the soul man supreme. He died on Saturday at age 65 in Memphis, the city he was essentially a musical ambassador for.

Hayes was, regardless of how commercially visible his music or career was, a template for cool. But in the early ‘70s, he was also a true innovator whose records became orchestral incantations where vocals were spoken as much as sung. Barry White ran with the formula in the mid ‘70s when Hayes’ hits started to settle. But Hayes was always the man. He was the one who designed the breathy, baritone-rich romanticism that defined a vocal era in R&B music.

But Hayes was so much more than that. Along with the Staple Singers, he helped write the last great chapter in the golden age of Stax Records. That meant forging a soul sound that was reflective of the times. Funk discreetly prevailed in his best songs, as in the mantra-like guitar riff that percolated throughout 1971’s career defining Theme from Shaft. But Hayes, like the underappreciated Motown producer Norman Whitfield, also took a nod or two from psychedelia. A prime example: the fuzzy guitar counterpoint that injected the Burt Bacharach staple Walk On By with a sense of urban urgency. It became Hayes’ breakthrough hit in 1969.

Hayes’ charisma often carried over to movie screens as well, right up through Hustle & Flow in 2005. A personal favorite was a slice of pure camp: 1981’s Escape from New York, where he played a gang leader called The Duke who paraded around the decimated city in a Continental with twin chandeliers as hood ornaments. The Duke was a bad shut-your-mouth, too

But a defining screen appearance came in the1973 concert documentary Wattstax, where he closed the day-long “Afro-American Woodstock” with Shaft. The concert, staged the previous year, commemorated the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. But it also, perhaps unintentionally, chronicled the end of Stax Records’ reign as one of the most influential soul labels to blossom out of Memphis – or the entire South, for that matter.

bernie mac (who died friday), hayes and samuel l. jackson

"soul men": bernie mac (who died friday), hayes, samuel l. jackson

Coincidentally, one of Hayes final filmed performances will be released this fall. He will be featured in Soul Men, a comedy starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. Mac died on Friday at the age of 50. The premise: two veteran R&B singers reunite after 20 years at the Apollo Theater to honor the passing of their band leader.

There remains, of course, the music. While dozen of Hayes anthologies have been issued over the years, it’s best to stick with the early Stax recordings – specifically 1969’s Hot Buttered Soul, 1971’s soundtrack to Shaft and Black Moses and, for a time capsule view of what a vital R&B voice Hayes was to his generation, the 2004 remastered CD and DVD editions of Wattstax.

All were cut in an age where soul music was way, way more than simple entertainment. It was groove. It was heart. It was social consciousness. It was Isaac Hayes.

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