Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
The Black Keys
The Black Keys Enlist Gary Clark Jr., Yola, The Marcus King Band & More For Let's Rock Tour
Allah Las and Jessy Wilson will also join the GRAMMY-winning band on tour
The Black Keys are going back on tour this summer and bringing some special guests with them. The "Lonely Boy" band will have Gary Clark Jr., The Marcus King Band and Yola on their trek across the country.
The Let's Rock tour launches Aug. 7 in Seattle before heading to Salt Lake City, Denver, Cincinnati, Chicago, Toronto, Camden, N.J. and other cities. The band closes out the road trip in Jacksonville, Fla. on Sept. 6. Allah Las and Jessy Wilson will also join them on tour.
The Akron, Ohio band released their album Let's Rock last year. They had not released new music since 2014's Turn Blue. Vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach spoke to the Recording Academy about their hiatus and how a recording session with Glenn Schwartz inspired him to text drummer Patrick Carney about recording together again.
"[The session] just brought back so many great memories that I just texted Pat, 'Let’s make a Black Keys record,'" he said.
Presale for the tour starts Friday 10 a.m. local time. For more information, visit the band's website.
Photo: Kelly Samson, Gallery Photography
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photos (L-R): courtesy of the artist, Gary Miller/WireImage via Getty Images, Samer Ghani
5 Younger Musicians Keeping The Blues Alive: Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Marcus King, Buffalo Nichols & More
If the blues in the 21st century conjures suburban sports bar nightmares, it's time to wake up: these five younger bluesbreakers keep the flame burning.
Does blues-based music have a certain agelessness?
Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, the early Beatles and Stones — all of them, and so many more — seemingly walked out of this primordial soup and flipped the world on its head. At their peak, their songs could have been written this morning.
But timelessness can be a double-edged sword. While the parameters of 12 bars has beene a launchpad for innovation and imagination, it can also stymie and bind.
Most of us know the shadow side of the issue: pentatonic scales and pitch harmonics, laboriously picked out in the suburban sports bars of America. God bless, but it's difficult to imagine that's keeping the blues alive, per se. Negative associations with the genre can even wall it off from youthful possibilities
If the utterance of the b-word conjures visions of scrunch-faced dads, let's unwind them. In the 21st century, younger folks are excellent stewards of this music; GRAMMY.com takes a quick tour through five of such bluesbreakers.
The St. Louis native has been shedding and performing since he was a pre-teen — and by hitting the ground running, he left much of his competition in the dust.
Since his early years under the tutelage of GRAMMY-winning blues great Henry James Townsend, Knox has successfully married his craggy, gravitational voice with his combustible way with an electric guitar.
At just 16 years old, Knox recorded his debut album, 2010's Man Child, with guitarist Michael Burks and his band. The album was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut, among other impressive plaudits.
In the ensuing years, Knox has released reverent yet unflinching works, including 2011's Here I Am and 2017's Black and Blue. A stabbing attack in 2017 couldn't sideline him: he's been burning it up on stages up to this very week.
"The world don't owe me nothing," Knox said the following year. "I ain't never felt no kind of privilege in this world. Mules have kicked me, but didn't damage my pride. The rattlesnake bit me, but just crawled off and died. I represent St. Louis blues like no other. I am the blues."
Dan Auerbach has deservedly made his biggest impression on the music industry via the Black Keys. But his production and label work with Easy Eye Sound has proven to be an equal and parallel stream — and it's allowed him to elevate young luminaries like Marcus King.
"I just feel very fortunate that I get to make records with artists that I love, and people that blow me away," Auerbach told GRAMMY.com in 2022. Which King clearly did — and then some.
The album they made together, 2022's Young Blood, is drenched in the blues, but also the music in its wake: Cream, Hendrix, Sabbath, Led Zeppelin. (With some Free, ZZ Top, and Creedence for good measure.)
Thereby, King is a bridge from pure blues to all manner of realms in the rock 'n' roll canon — smoldering psychedelia, fried Southern rock, head-shop heavy metal.
"It ended up sounding like something new to me," King told Spin. "Even though it was inspired by music I've listened to for a long time." With that in mind, let King's artistry straddle two zones: your memories, and what's coming down the pike.
A native Texan, Ally Venable took profound inspiration from one of the Mount Rushmore figures of blues guitar: the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan.
"I didn't really know a whole lot about guitar before I discovered him," Venable admitted to Guitar Girl magazine. "And then my influences opened to discover who Albert King was; that was Stevie's big influence. Then I soon discovered who Buddy Guy was, right?"
Speaking of the latter legend: Guy appears on her all-the-way-there 2023 album Real Gone, on the romping "Texas Louisiana."
And that's not the only high-profile cosigner on the thing: three-time GRAMMY nominee Joe Bonamassa — one of the most influential guitarists of the past three decades — augments her sound for the downcast "Broken & Blue."
Venable strikes a terrific balance as a singer, songwriter and guitarist; she imprints herself on your brain without contrivedness or reinventing the wheel. Often, pushing the blues forward is contingent on simply being yourself — as Venable proves throughout Real Gone.
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
Upon winning a GRAMMY for Best Traditional Blues Album, a 23-year-old Christone "Kingfish" Ingram offered a shout-out to his generation — and grew visibly emotional.
"For years, I had to sit and watch the myth that young Black kids are not into the blues," he said, golden gramophone in hand. "So, I just hope I can show the world different."
In this enterprise, he's been a smashing success. By the time he was old enough to vote, Ingram was playing with the likes of Gary Clark, Jr.
As a guitarist and vocalist, Ingram radiates vitality; he offers a distinct and personal vantage, a ripping story to tell. And that GRAMMY win helped galvanize him.
"I have different album ideas. I want to put out a gospel record sometime soon," he told GRAMMY.com in 2022. "Yeah, so it definitely lit a fire under me, for sure."
The singer, guitarist and songwriter born Carl Nichols is deeply aware of how the term "blues" can be a trap or a constraint. For a while, he didn't want to even assume the label.
"It's just not creative, it's not inclusive, it's not diverse — it's not even good most of the time," he told the Austin Chronicle in 2022. "But I've been leaning into it because I'm already in it, so I'm trying to see what I can do with it."
By simply picking up a guitar and opening his mouth, Nichols doesn't just do something with it: he changes the game. The millennial's voice is both a sonorous cavern and a raw nerve: his lyrics have a haunted, lived-in quality that draws you in.
"If you see me in your town looking tired with my head hanging down / You may wonder what went wrong, why am I always all alone," he sings at the top of "Lost and Lonesome," the opener from his self-titled 2021 debut.
Throughout that inspired dispatch — leading into his hotly anticipated new album, The Fatalist, out Sept. 15 — Nichols addresses that question.
Just listen to the white-knuckled advance single "The Difference." Like everyone else on this list, this is a younger person with fathoms of feeling — and the wherewithal to execute it vitally, in the now.
Photo: Rachel Kupfer
A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea
James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.
It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.
Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.
Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.
In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.
Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.
There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out GRAMMY.com's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.
Say She She
Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.
While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."
Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.
Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.
Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.
Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.
L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.
During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.
Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.
Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.