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Blues Hall Of Fame Inducts Aretha Franklin, Seminal Recordings & The "Greatest Drummer In the World"

Aretha Franklin

Photo: Tim Boxer/Getty Images

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Blues Hall Of Fame Inducts Aretha Franklin, Seminal Recordings & The "Greatest Drummer In the World"

On the eve of the 40th annual Blues Music Awards, the Blues Foundation honors some of the genre's finest performers, contributors and recordings

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2019 - 04:24 am

For a genre with as rich of a history as the blues, the honor of becoming a Hall of Famer is that much more prestigious. On May 8, artists, industry professionals, and fans gathered in Memphis, Tenn., to induct this year's class into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame, a class comprised of blues legends, historic recordings and more.

The ceremony, held at the Orpheum Theater’s Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education, was one of the kickoff events for the foundation’s Blues Music Awards Week, highlighted by the 40th anniversary Blues Music Awards held the following night at the Cook Convention Center. The reverent yet celebratory tone of the night was set by the event co-hosts, GRAMMY winner Dom Flemons, who was nominated at the BMAs for his GRAMMY-nominated solo album Black Cowboys, and longtime blues radio personality Bill Wax.

In all the foundation inducted five performers, one non-performer, five songs, one album, and one book of blues literature into the hall of fame, which was established in 1980. In addition to plaques commemorating their induction, all the honorees are featured in new exhibits in the $2.9 million Blues Hall of Fame, opened in 2015 in the foundation’s downtown Memphis headquarters.

“If you visit you will see such exciting artifacts as [new inductees] Pee Wee Crayton's red Fender Stratocaster, Booker T. & the MGs' Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, Duck Dunn’s bass, and original blues albums and single recordings,” Barbara Newman, head of the 40-year-old Blues Foundation, told the audience.

The induction of Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famers Booker T & the MGs, the legendary house band at Memphis’ Stax Records, by their label mate, soul singer William Bell, was one of the highlights of the evening, with the group’s guitarist, Steve Cropper, giving a tearful tribute to his departed bandmates Donald “Duck” Dunn, Lewie Steinberg and Al Jackson, Jr.

“Duck and I always said Al was the greatest drummer in the world. If you don’t believe it watch some of the videos sometime. He was the greatest R&B drummer I ever worked with," Cropper said, calling out another R&B traps legend in attendance, Bernard Purdie, for confirmation. “I know he was a big fan of Al Jackson’s just like we were.”

Purdie was also singled out in the induction of Aretha Franklin, the recently deceased GRAMMY Legend and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for whom he played on such classics as “Rock Steady.” Accepting for her family, Franklin’s cousin and longtime backup singer Brenda Corbett highlighted the bluesier side of the Memphis-born Queen of Soul’s catalog, including “Today I Sing the Blues” off of her first album.

“On behalf of the Franklin family we want to thank you for your love, for your generosity, but mostly for your respect,” Corbett said, echoing the title of Franklin’s best-known song.

The business of the blues has its heroes, too. On this night celebrating the genres great trailblazers and champions, 87-year-old Recording Academy National Trustees Award recipient Chris Strachwitz of the legendary roots label Arhoolie inducting his friend and business partner, the late Moses “Moe” Asch, founder of Folkways Recordings.

The Blues Hall Of Fame also singled out singles in this year's class. Blues guitarist Bob Margolin inducting “Rollin’ Stone,” a recording by his one-time boss, inaugural Blues Hall of Fame inductee Muddy Waters, with Waters’ son, bluesman Joseph “Mojo” Morganfield accepting. The song birthed the namesake of both Rolling Stone magazine and legendary British rockers the Rolling Stones.

Other inductees included big band leader and nine-time GRAMMY winner Count Basie, Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bessie Smith’s recording of “St. Louis Blues,” slide guitar great Elmore James’ recording of “Shake Your Moneymaker” and his album The Sky Is Crying. The following night at the 40th annual Blues Music Awards, "Shake your Moneymaker" would serve as a fitting finale with Reverend Peyton’s Big Band backing saxophonist Mindi Abair, Flemons, Cropper, and the E Street Band's Steven Van Zandt.

Just days prior to the four-year anniversary of his passing, 15-time GRAMMY winner B.B. King’s recording of “Every Day I Have the Blues” was inducted. Pioneer blues singer Ida Cox, 17-time GRAMMY winner Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” the book Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941-1942, and Connie Curtis “Pee Wee” Crayton were also honored, rounding out an astounding class of 2019 and an unforgettable night in Memphis.

For more information, including a complete of the more than 300 inductees into the Blues Hall of Fame, visit blues.org.

Blues Music Awards Celebrate The Late Michael Ledbetter & Much More In Memphis

Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

Seattle's Museum Of Pop Culture To Host Pearl Jam Exhibit

Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

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Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards

Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category

GRAMMYs/Nov 20, 2019 - 06:28 pm

The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.

Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville                                                                        

 
This star-studded compilation album from 11-time GRAMMY nominee J. Cole and his Dreamville Records imprint features appearances from some of the leading and fastest-rising artists in hip-hop today, including label artists EARTHGANG, J.I.D, and Ari Lennox, plus rappers T.I, DaBaby, and Young Nudy, among many others. Recorded in Atlanta across a 10-day recording session, Revenge of the Dreamers III is an ambitious project that saw more than 300 artists and producers contribute to the album, resulting in 142 recorded tracks. Of those recordings, 18 songs made the final album, which ultimately featured contributions from 34 artists and 27 producers.

Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.

Championships – Meek Mill

In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.

i am > i was – 21 Savage

Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.

IGOR – Tyler, The Creator

The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.

The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae

Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.

Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

Rosalía 

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

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Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour

El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2019 - 12:25 am

Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.

El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.

 

RELATED: How Rosalia Is Reinventing What It Means To Be A Global Pop Star

"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.

Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork. 

Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist. 

Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.

2019 Music Festival Preview: Noise Pop, Coachella, Ultra & More

Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift Plots 2020 World Tour With U.S. Dates For Lover Fest East & West

Following dates in Europe and South America, Swift will land in the U.S. for Lover Fest East and West, where the pop star will open Los Angeles' brand new stadium

GRAMMYs/Sep 18, 2019 - 02:38 am

Taylor Swift  will be spreading the love in support of her hit album Lover.in 2020, but it may or may not be in a city near you. The GRAMMY winner announced plans for her summer 2020 tour in support of her seventh studio album, including two shows each in Foxborough, Mass. and Los Angeles for Lover Fest East and West respectively as the only four U.S. dates announced so far.

The tour kicks off in Belgium on June 20 and hits festivals in seven European countries before heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 then heading to U.S. Swift will then present Lover Fest West with back-to-back Los Angeles July 25 and 26 at the newly named SoFi Stadium. The concerts will serve as the grand opening of the much-anticipated NFL venue. The tour will wrap a double header at Gillette Stadiuim in Foxborough July 31 and Aug 1

"The Lover album is open fields, sunsets, + SUMMER. I want to perform it in a way that feels authentic," she tweeted. "I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some. Introducing, Lover Fest East + West!" 

Lover was released Aug. 23 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her sold-out tour for her previous album, 2017's Reputation, was the highest grossing U.S. tour ever, breaking her own record.

Tickets for the new dates go on sale to the general public via Ticketmaster on Oct. 17.