Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 4:43 pm
Last Friday, a Top 40 radio station in Calgary, Alberta, introduced listeners to a new format. As one on-air stinger put it, "90.3 AMP: Now twice the music."
When they say "twice the music," though, they actually mean half the song. That is, this station plays songs that have been heavily edited: long opening riffs, instrumental breaks, even a chorus or two might disappear. The goal, the station's representatives say, is to keep listeners from getting bored.
Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 8:50 am
The Newport Jazz Festival turned 60 this year, and expanded to three days to celebrate. Throughout last weekend, more than 45 bands performed at Fort Adams State Park in coastal Rhode Island, playing through abundant sunshine, pouring rain and anything in between.
Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 10:11 am
Labor negotiations for New York's Metropolitan Opera took a surprising turn Saturday evening. Twelve of the opera's 16 unions faced the threat of a lockout at midnight Sunday, but negotiations were put on hold for a week while an outside analyst takes a look at the Met's finances.
Originally published on Sat August 2, 2014 9:40 am
When you exit Interstate 81 in southwestern Virginia and arrive in the small city of Bristol, you see what it looks like to age. The Art Deco Paramount Theater on State Street has not only the good bones, but also the healthy glow it did when it was built more than 80 years ago. Back then, this small southern city was an unavoidable stop for travelers.
Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:37 am
Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.
Today, there's so much music being released that it can be hard to know what to check out, let alone buy. Mark Rye says that when he worked at a record label in the 1970s, the process was easier ‚ÄĒ in part because you could often guess what a record would sound like if you knew who released it.
"At that time, it was very much an identifier for the kind of music," he says. "So you would go into a record shop and you would look for what the new releases on certain labels were because those records were probably the kind of music that you would like."
At the Metropolitan Opera, drama is usually onstage. But for the past several months, it's been in the newspapers.
Contract deadlines for 15 of the 16 unions at the Met in New York are set to expire at midnight tonight, and negotiations will likely go down to the wire. A lockout shutting down the world's largest opera house seems imminent.
Management wants concessions from the unions to offset dwindling ticket sales. Union employees think they're being asked to pay for unchecked spending.
How do you know you are in East Nashville? Follow the beards, a current joker might say. If you do, you'll find yourself in an area tucked in between Nashville's neat downtown and the city's eastern edge, separated from each by the twisting Cumberland River. To the west, tourists flock to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium ‚ÄĒ the "Mother Church of Country Music." The Opryland complex ‚ÄĒ the venerable stage and radio show's comfortably suburban home since 1974 ‚ÄĒ is to the east, where the city sprawls into malls, hotels and tourists attractions.
Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:37 pm
One hundred years ago today, the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. The conflict drew in country after country and grew to an unprecedented scale. An estimated 9 million combatants lost their lives and more than 21 million were wounded in what came to be known as The Great War and, eventually, World War I.
Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 11:32 am
When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.
At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.
The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.
For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.
It's starting to seem like even the bros are tired of bro country. The truck-loving Florida Georgia Line has switched up its game with the chart- dominant "Dirt," a sensitive ballad about marriage and farming.
Jorge Drexler's songs have been called introspective and literate. He's been compared to Paul Simon. But a couple years ago, the Uruguayan musician began to wonder what it would take to write dance-oriented music. That's the assignment he gave himself on his latest album, Bailar en la Cueva, or "dancing in the cave."
No theme has dominated country radio playlists and charts more in the past couple of years than celebration of the sort of small-town good life that features trucks, beer and scantily clad women as the must-have accessories. The young country duo Maddie & Tae aren't fans of the third element in the "bro-country" trinity.
The Newport Folk Festival has been around for more than half a century now ‚ÄĒ this is its 55th year, to be exact ‚ÄĒ and the event now routinely sells out months before its lineup is even announced. And why shouldn't it?
Originally published on Sun November 16, 2014 1:53 pm
It still surprises me that a few of my colleagues who regularly attend music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Budweiser Made in America still haven't heard of, or don't seem to know much about, the annual Essence Festival, held every July 4th weekend in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:01 am
When Kwok-Ming Cheng went to a Whole Foods in New York City to pick up some pre-ordered sandwiches over the Fourth of July weekend, he wasn't expecting to get tapped with a new nickname.
"Are you Ching Chong?"
That's the question Cheng said he heard from a customer service representative at the grocery store.
It's a slur I and many other Asian-American folks have heard at some point in our lives. But every time I hear it, I can't help but wonder, "How is this thing still around? And where did it even come from?"
An announcement on the band's Facebook page said Ramone died on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. Ramone had been in hospice care for bile duct cancer, NPR has confirmed with Peter Erdelyi, Tommy's brother.
Carlo Bergonzi endures. Not only is the Italian tenor approaching his 90th birthday (on July 13) but for decades he sang with tireless warmth and precision, representing a certain old school approach to carefully cultivating one's vocal resources.
Garth Brooks fans abound in Ireland, and now 400,000 of them won't get to the chance to see him perform. Brooks has cancelled five concerts after the Dublin City Council refused to grant him more than three. Melissa Block speaks to Rachel Flaherty of The Irish Times about the controversy.
News that a Nashville developer is paying $4.4 million for a half-century-old recording studio has sparked a battle in Music City. On one side is singer-songwriter Ben Folds, inspired by the musical history made in that studio. On the other, a trailblazing musician who made that history.