Music (458)

It feels good to say that Crowded House is back with an album containing some of leader Neil Finn’s strongest material in years. The band’s seventh LP, “Dreamers Are Waiting,” their first since 2010, features a new Finn-family oriented lineup and an inspired and memorable batch of songs that invite repeated listening.

Time marches on and with it comes a growing number of still active rockers hitting the milestone age of 80, an almost unthinkable prospect back when they created the soundtrack of the 1960s and 1970s.

Blues, country, and jazz artists pointed the way, along with the first rock and roll stars from the 1950s, proving it was possible to perform well during your golden years and still maintain your dignity.

B.B. King performed through the end of his life at age 89. 84-year-old blues legend Buddy Guy is set to launch a tour this July and why not? I caught one of his last shows before the pandemic put a temporary halt to concerts and it was a truly inspired show.

Jazz sax great Irv Williams lived to be 100 and he maintained a regular weekly gig at a jazz club near his Minneapolis home almost to the end. So did the late guitar legend Les Paul who played weekly club dates in New York City up to age 94.

Chuck Berry played “Johnny B. Goode” for the last time just a few days shy of his 88th birthday. Jerry Lee Lewis, “The Killer,” is still performing at age 85. Willie Nelson is scheduled to launch his next “Outlaw” music festival tour this August at age 88.

Is 80 the new 70? Will 90 become the new 80? It doesn’t matter as long as you can still do it, want to do it - and this might be the most important part - people want you to do it.

These rockers have already knocked on the door of 80 or will be there soon, and they’re still getting it done by performing, recording or both.

This week’s edition of Sound Bites includes new albums from well-known artists, some of whom are releasing their first new music in years.

Tiffany is back and she says she’s ready to rock – and cook, but more about that later. The singer, who enjoyed back-to-back number one singles from her 1987 self-titled 4-Million selling debut LP, will release the new single “Hey Baby” on May 28, backed with an updated version of her first hit, a cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” originally recorded by Tommy James and the Shondells.

The new songs are a taste of Tiffany’s new edgier sound that she calls “rockin’ and retro, with a punk-grounded flair.” Her new album “Shadows” will out this fall and will coincide with a tour of the same name set to launch on June 5.

During the following interview, which aired on BIG 104 FM, Tiffany discusses the new album and tour, and how she plans to fuse her two great passions, music and cooking.

The reigning champion of air guitar in the United States says he is stoked to defend his title at this year’s national championship set for June. ‘Smiley Rod,’ a Nashville-based artist manager, says his surprise win in 2020 was no fluke and that he’s prepared to virtually shred winningly once again to bring home another U.S. win. After that, he says, he’ll take the world title.

This week’s edition of Sound Bites could have contained more than twice as many titles as appear here, so fast and furious the new releases keep coming. Here’s a sampling of some of the best new material I’ve heard issued over the last two weeks.

Now we wait for the party. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has released the long-awaited list of inductees for the class of 2021. According to rock hall president and CEO, Greg Harris, the 36th group of recruits is its most diverse to date.

The six names to be ushered into the hall under the performer category are Foo Fighters, The Go-Gos, JAY-Z, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, and Tina Turner.

Foo Fighters, The Go-Gos, and JAY-Z all appeared on the rock hall ballot for the first time. Harris said they are all deserving of induction.

“Everyone on this list belongs in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Harris said during an interview with The Maine Edge that aired on BIG 104 FM.

When Tedeschi Trucks Band and friends performed at Arrington, VA’s annual four-day jam-centric LOCKN Festival on August 24, 2019, they unleashed a set for the ages. Special guests Trey Anastasio of Phish and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II joined Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and their 10-piece band, for a searing performance of Derek and the Dominos’ epic 1970 double album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” The set was mixed by Trucks, Bobby Tis and Brian Speiser, and is due for release on July 16 on vinyl, CD and digital download.

The connections between the “Layla” album and Tedeschi Trucks Band have long been a topic of conversation among fans.

When Eric Clapton formed Derek and the Dominos with American-born musicians Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon in 1970, the group name afforded the guitarist a degree of anonymity following the mega-success of Cream and the too-much-too-soon supergroup hype that caused Blind Faith to implode the previous year.

Recorded in Miami between August and October 1970, “Layla” is perhaps rock’s greatest album of unrequited love, created at a time when Clapton was hopelessly obsessed with the wife of his best friend, George Harrison. The Dominos first act was to become Harrison’s backing band earlier in the summer during the recording of the triple album “All Things Must Pass.”

In steamy Florida in late August, producer Tom Dowd arranged a union of Derek and the Dominos with the Allman Brothers Band, whose second album, “Idlewild South” he’d just finished producing. After some studio jams, Duane Allman stayed behind to add further fire to the Dominos’ lineup on slide guitar.

The “Layla” album, a blend of original impassioned soulful blues and some carefully chosen covers, was released on Susan Tedeschi’s birthday, November 9, 1970.

Here’s a good problem to have: so much new music, so little time to absorb it all. I’ve chosen five titles worthy of your consideration in rock, blues, country, and folk-pop released within the last two weeks.

We may not always notice them, but wild things are unrelentingly growing and creeping around us. Even the most securely constructed edifice of the unnatural world has elements of nature growing on, around or through it.

That notion of wildness being found in the most ordinary places – and how the two interrelate – is at the heart of pianist Ben Cosgrove’s fourth studio LP “The Trouble With Wilderness,” a beautiful and fascinating instrumental concept album that celebrates the certainty of nature’s presence in the most unnatural spaces.

The Boston-based Cosgrove has deep ties to Maine and says he plans a return to Portland soon where he feels most at home although in a normal year his home could be just about anywhere.

For a decade prior to the Covid lockdown Cosgrove performed about 200 shows per year around the country.

“It’s the lifestyle that works best for me,” Cosgrove says. “I really get a lot out of talking to a room full of people every night and being able to move around and live lightly. I’m not great at sitting still so the last year has been a bit of a challenge.”

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