Music: The Lonely Island

Jun 1, 2011, By Matt Gallagher

Anyone who has watched NBC’s Saturday Night Live in recent years has seen “SNL Digital Shorts”—the wickedly satirical, off-the-wall, manic, edgy and often risqué hip-hop/R&B/pop music videos and conceptual pieces that humorously and mercilessly skewer pop culture. These videos are the creation of The Lonely Island, a comedic and musical trio comprising SNL actors and writers Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. In May 2011, the group released its second album, Turtleneck & Chain (Universal Republic), which includes collaborations with Akon, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, Michael Bolton, Beck, Nicki Minaj and Santigold. ...

Music: Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks

Jun 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

The formation of the Tedeschi Trucks Band marks the union of two formidable talents: 40-year-old Susan Tedeschi, one of this country’s finest blues/roots singers and songwriters for the past 15-plus years; and 32-year-old Derek Trucks, who has been writing great tunes and laying down some of the most wickedly soulful slide-guitar licks ever since he was 14—in his own band, as a member of the revitalized Allman Brothers and even touring in Eric Clapton’s group for a spell. The two share so many of the same musical loves and influences—old gospel, rock, blues, jazz, classic soul and R&B—it seems only natural that they would play together in a band. ...

Editor's Note: Are You in the Cloud?

May 1, 2011, By Tom Kenny, Editorial Director

You can’t avoid “The Cloud” these days. The phrase is everywhere, from billboards advertising online banking to Amazon’s recently announced and highly publicized music locker. It’s become one of those terms that is in danger of being genericized, like organic, and enters the vernacular with a meaning that strays from the reality. As Wikipedia makes clear, if you are using your local Outlook email, you’re not in the cloud; you’re sending email over the Internet. If you are accessing your Gmail or Yahoo account, you’re in the cloud. Or to paraphrase Larry Ellison of Oracle from a few years ago, the cloud is what they do, but they used to call it the Internet. Maybe they should just change some words in their ads. ...

Essay: Cloud Collaboration

May 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

It’s more than just a buzzword. Use of what is colloquially known as “the cloud” as a resource in producing audio seems to increase as its economic and practical benefits become more obvious to engineers, producers and musicians. It’s changing how people share information and collaborate on projects large and small, and we’re just beginning to realize the enormous potential of what really is a new way of working. ...

Music: Madeleine Peyroux

May 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

She will never completely escape the Billie Holiday comparisons. She will still have her albums categorized as “jazz” despite a multitude of compelling evidence to the contrary. Madeleine Peyroux’s large and devoted fan base doesn’t see stylistic limitations, but rather appreciates the tremendous breadth of her repertoire, which seamlessly incorporates pop standards, deep blues, country, folk, French classics, distinctive and imaginative takes on songs by some of the great writers of the modern era, and, increasingly in the past few years, her own songs, which span many of those genres. ...

Classic Tracks: The Spinners "Mighty Love"

May 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

Philadelphia was certainly hoppin’ in the early ’70s, thanks in large part to the music scene that revolved around owner/engineer Joe Tarsia’s Sigma Sound Studios. Tarsia’s roots actually go back to the Philly teen-pop of late-’50s/early ’60s acts like Bobby Rydell and Chubby Checker, but by the time he opened Sigma on North 12th Street in August 1968, there was an exciting new brand of Philadelphia soul music taking root: The songwriting/production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, as well as producer/arranger Thom Bell, started churning out an incredible parade of hits, most of them recorded at Sigma by Tarsia. Acts associated with those producers—such as Jerry Butler, Wilson Pickett, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes and The O’Jays—made Sigma one of the top recording studios in the country and helped Philadelphia surpass Detroit (still reeling from the relocation of Motown to L.A. in the early ’70s) as the nation’s soul music headquarters. ...

Classic Tracks: Bonnie Raitt's "Thing Called Love"

Apr 1, 2011, By Blair Jackson

When I call engineer extraordinaire Ed Cherney about the recording of Bonnie Raitt’s commercial breakthrough, “Thing Called Love,” the first thing he says is, “Isn’t that a little recent for a ‘Classic Track’?” “Dude,” I said, “it was recorded 22 years ago!” He got a laugh out of that; it does seem like it was just yesterday in some ways. But it was cut in 1989 and was a keystone of her album Nick of Time, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1990 and sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. alone. ...

Music: Miller Unites Guitar Masters for 'The Majestic Silver Strings'

Mar 1, 2011, By Barbara Schultz

Musician/composer/producer/engineer Buddy Miller is celebrating a couple of deserved Grammy noms for producing Robert Plant’s Band of Joy album and Patty Griffin’s gospel record Downtown Church. He’s also getting ready to release his latest project, The Majestic Silver Strings, which he produced in his home studio, and which brings together four eclectic guitarists...

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