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Bonny Light Horseman's Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson & Josh Kaufman Are Moving Folk Forward Together

Bonny Light Horseman

(L-R) Josh Kaufman, Eric D. Johnson and Anaïs Mitchell
Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy

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Bonny Light Horseman's Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson & Josh Kaufman Are Moving Folk Forward Together

The all-star trio discuss their traditional-rooted, modern-grown supergroup and the joy of making, "Real folk music for everyone, which is rad"

GRAMMYs/Aug 19, 2019 - 11:08 pm

Super groups are never a gimme. But walking through the audience at this year's Newport Folk during Bonny Light Horseman's set, which was only their fourth or fifth gig together, you'd think it was always this easy. Experienced and accomplished in their own arenas, Tony winning singer/songwriter and playwright Anaïs Mitchell, Fruit Bats' Eric D. Johnson and The National and Bob Weir collaborator Josh Kaufman play something that sounds like folk but feels like soul, complimenting each other's strenghts on stage to brave new ground for each of them, together.

This chemestry is also evident on the group's eponymous first single, "Bonny Light Horseman," a thoughful, lilting, timeless waltz worked up as a thesis statement for the trio's honest look back and bold step forward. We caught up with Mitchell, Johnson and Kaufman just after their Newport Folk set to hear what ignited their all-star collaboration, how their modern take on folk took shape, and what their future plans are as they gear up to head out on the road with this fresh new project.

Can you tell me how the group came together?

Mitchell: Right, so we all know each other from the different angles and obviously are involved in different projects. We realized that we all were hungry to play around with traditional music. And we found that when we do it together, it feels very natural and…

Kaufman: Personal. [We] connected to it.

Mitchell: Yeah. So we started making some music together and then our very first gig was at the Eaux Claire Festival in Wisconsin. And they gave us a gig when we didn't even have a band name or any songs. So it was really sweet of them, and we had an occasion to rise to, and we worked up a set. And then we took part in this residency in Berlin, called the People Residency, which is also curated in part by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner. And that was where we started to make recordings and work with a bunch of people that also were at that residency. And then, we finished that record in Woodstock, last year. So we're starting to play some shows. We haven't played that many, and we're excited to put this record out.

The material on the new record, did you write together or is this more about re-imagining traditional music?

Johnson: Well these guys started it, but I would say it's very re-imagined. It's not Renaissance fair music or something. When you say "traditional music" that could be… we're not civil war reenactors or something. I wouldn't say it's a hyper-modern lens or something like that, but fully modern, totally graspable with modern years, but pretty respectful, too.

Mitchell: I would say whatever it takes for us to feel it. I think some of the songs are more of a straight reinterpretation and some of them it feels like we co-wrote... We've often talked about it. It doesn't feel like a research project. It's for whatever makes us feel it, and it's the feelings that are big and the chords are open and it's whatever feels good.

Kaufman: You can also let go of this music because it's taken from, we don't know who, and it seems like it's for everyone. Real folk music for everyone, which is rad.

What do you think playing live with this group brings each of you that you haven't experienced in your other projects?

Mitchell: Singing with Eric has been kind of a revelation. We didn't even know each other before this project, and definitely I sing different when we're together.

Johnson: Same

Mitchell: That is awesome. It feels like I can let go more.

Johnson: Yeah. This applies to the live show, but also I think our relationship with the record too, is where it's ours and it's not and at the same time, and when you're playing a live show you're almost watching it happen from above yourself. At least that's how I feel about it. I'm sort of enjoying it as a fan too, in a strange way. Then all three of us have been singer/songwriters for forever, but it's different than being locked into your own movie, I guess. You're watching somebody else's movie, but you get to act in it.

What do you have planned between now and the record release? What's the rest of 2019 look like?

Johnson: We have a few dates in September. We're having our first "tour." It's a very small tour, but it's going to be fun.

Mitchell: We get to open up for Mandolin Orange at the Ryman, which is exciting.

Photo Gallery: Backstage At Newport Folk Festival's 60th Anniversary

 

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

Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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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.

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