Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for LiveNation
The Black Crowes Flashback To '1972': Rich Robinson Details The Memories & Moods Of New EP
The Black Crowes' new EP, '1972' celebrates a musical year where "everyone was going for something unique." Guitarist and co-founder Rich Robinson offers a track-by-track breakdown of how they came to cover tracks from '72.
The Black Crowes have always pulled from previous eras, meshing old time rock 'n' roll with elements of blues, soul and glam, and fashioning it into something fierce enough to sit alongside the artists who influenced them, yet fresh enough to fit in with contemporary pop. The Atlanta, Georgia group’s ability to conjure the past while bringing something gritty and new to the present has served them well throughout their almost three-decade long career.
After a couple breaks over the years, brothers Chris and Rich Robinson’s most recent reunion in 2019 coincided with a tour announcement and planned track-by-track celebration of their 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker. But the pandemic forced cancellation for over a year, and the tour has just resumed in recent months.
Money Maker’s standout jam had to be their cover of Otis Redding’s "Hard to Handle" which became a breakout hit on MTV and radio, and went to No.1 on Billboard’s Album Rock Tracks chart. The song was a mostly faithful cover in terms of arrangement, but vocally, Chris added a smidge of Southern twang to the mix and a lot of sexy swagger, too, while Rich’s guitarwork amped up the tempo and rhythmic heft.
Despite their obvious inspirations (the Stones, the Faces), the Crowes are more than retro rock redux. Yet after eight albums, they are at their best when referencing and reinterpreting the music they love. Which makes their latest, 1972, a joyous idea and real treat for fans as the band continues to tour the country.
The EP, which is available exclusively on Amazon Music right now (the release will widen to other streaming platforms at a later date), features six iconic songs from ‘72. As Rich shared with GRAMMY.com after the band’s intimate record release show at the famed Whiskey Au-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in LA, the project is about highlighting the musical diversity of this particular year, while also paying tribute to it.
"We honored the year because to me, what’s amazing about that snapshot in musical history was the scope of the music being played and less of the over-commercialization of music," he explains. "Nowadays, everything is over generified. Back then, you had Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, or the Rolling Stones, or Cat Stevens in the '70s. David Bowie to Bob Dylan to Neil Diamond…. Everyone was going for something unique. When you heard Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones or Little Feat you knew exactly who it was, so that’s why we chose to focus on that era specifically."
We asked the guitarist to give his specific thoughts and feelings about all six of 1972’s classic song choices, and detail how the Crowes came up with the final tracklist.
"Rocks Off" (The Rolling Stones)
Exile on Main Street is one of those albums that meant so much in our lives. Some albums were earth-shattering as they pertained to a piece of music that really stuck with me. Exile was one of those records I’ve never put down. "Rocks Off" is such a brilliant rock 'n' roll song. We wanted to do it because of the pure influence that the Rolling Stones and that record had on us as musicians and songwriters.
"The Slider" (T-Rex)
It’s tough for me to talk about the mood of the era when I was 3 years old in 1972, but what I can comment on is what that song and T-Rex meant to me as I started listening in my teens and still listen today. T-Rex exuded something that was so meaningful musically, and coupled with his personality, the two intertwined perfectly.
"You Wear It Well" (Rod Stewart)
A great song is a great song. Early Rod is one of those things we listen to all the time, the Faces and his early records where basically the Faces played on them. He’s just a phenomenal singer. A brilliant songwriter. "You Wear It Well" conveyed something organic about the time that Rod really captured.
He and Ronnie Wood were able to do that at that time when not a lot of bands could. Songs like this and "Every Picture Tells a Story" and "Maggie May" have that acoustic guitar with the drum and his beautiful voice on top. It’s just so meaningful.
"Easy To Slip" (Little Feat)
I remember listening to [Little Feat] all the time on the school bus in 1990. That’s when it kind of hit me, the brilliance of Lowell George, of the songwriting, of the rhythm section. Everything about the band was stellar. "Easy to Slip" grabbed me instantly. It was something I felt a strong connection to so I thought I could maybe sing it.
"Moonage Daydream" (David Bowie)
It was an interesting choice. We tried to choose songs that we could bring a little bit of ourselves to. "Moonage Daydream" is one of my favorite songs on that record, and it’s a little different for Bowie. It’s a journey. I love the tempo, his way with words, that phrasing. To put our take on that song was really far out and I’m very happy with the result.
"Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone" (The Temptations)
It's such a brilliant song but we’re not an R&B band, so we had to figure out a way to make it work. Adding that rock 'n' roll element on the choruses in particular and a little slide in there helped make it our own. I’m really happy with the way it came out while simultaneously showing respect to the song.
The song is a gift. There’s a million bands, a million guitar players, a million singers, but it’s nothing without the song. In particular, it was amazing to do justice to, show reverence for, and bring a little bit of ourselves to this one.
GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw
On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.
In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.
Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year
Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration
Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the
The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at
"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community."
Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list.
At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in
After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.
In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.
Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized.
For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or email@example.com.
Photo: The Recording Academy
Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Alexa Zaske
This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.
The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.
Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."
Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.
Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed.
Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.
My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.
For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.
(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)
Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images
Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs
Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards
As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.
Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.
"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."