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By Wesley Case | November 7, 2011
If Drake's brand of hyper-detailed rap-meets-loverboy-R&B turns you cold, it's time to step away from the Internet for the rest of the month. Late last night - hours after Drake hosted a two-hour radio stint on his hometown's Flow 93.5 and premiered his collaboration with the Weeknd, "Crew Love" - "Take Care" leaked, almost in its entirety. (We still don't have the closer "The Ride" or all of the bonus tracks.) But it's safe to start dissecting the record as a whole, or at least as a substantial preview to the retail version.
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | October 9, 2014
At some point, a band eyeing pop ubiquity must make a late-night stop at NBC's Studio 8H in Manhattan. In January, it was the turn of Bastille - a British rock quartet riding the success of a chart-topping single called “Pompeii” - to perform on “Saturday Night Live,” and the magnitude was not lost on drummer Chris Wood. If it had been, Wood's friends and family were there to constantly remind him anyway. “Everyone just kept saying to us, 'You realize it's a really big deal, right?
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | May 17, 2013
John Rzeznik, lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, should know a thing or two about wedding songs. He wrote the inescapable hit "Iris" in 1998, which plenty of newly married couples have played for their first dance, including, most famously, singer Avril Lavigne in 2006. And yet, for his own upcoming wedding in July, Rzeznik has no clue what song he and his fiance, Melina Gallo, will dance to. "I'm just happy that I'm getting married. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm still a guy," Rzeznik said from his Los Angeles home recently.
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Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | October 1, 2014
With a string of No. 1 hits at country radio in recent years, Jake Owen has earned the right to steer his career. So when it came to designing the set of his Days of Gold Tour this year, the 33-year-old singer-songwriter filled the stage with tiki bars, nautical ropes and palm trees. Owen wanted it to look like Riverside Cafe - a bar located on the Indian River in his hometown of Vero Beach, Fla. - for sentimental reasons, and not just because they cook “a good fish sandwich.” “It's the place that really embraced me when I started playing guitar,” Owen said on the phone recently from Missouri while on the road.
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By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun | March 31, 2011
When Sara Bareilles' new album was released, it surprised many by heading straight to the top of the charts. It was a shock not just because it was just Bareilles' second album, coming off 2007's "Little Voice," but also because of the kind of music she makes. At a time when dance-infused hip-hop is dominating the Billboard charts, here was a 13-track album of upbeat, traditional pop nestled at No. 1, with 90,000 units sold, according to Nielsen Soundscan. "There's a lot of stuff out there that's dance and club-oriented," Bareilles said.
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By Sam Sessa, The Baltimore Sun | March 29, 2012
In 2009, Baltimore singer/songwriter ellen cherry was temporarily sidelined with a nasty throat infection. Unable to sing, she sat down at her upright piano and began writing the songs which would later become her new album, "Please Don't Sell the Piano. " It's about as bare-bones as you can get; while there are a few string arrangements, most of the album is just the piano and cherry's intimate, heartwarming voice. Produced by Baltimore Americana singer/songwriter Caleb Stine, "Please Don't Sell the Piano" is cherry's most personal album.
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | January 3, 2012
There's a moment from Kyle Durfey's adolescence that has always stayed with him. He was sitting next to his dad in their Crofton home, watching the sci-fi movie "Contact. " In the film, Jodie Foster's character sees her long-deceased father walk up to her on a beach in space. "I'll be damned," Gordon Durfey said to himself, just loud enough for his son to hear him. The significance wasn't lost on the teenager: Durfey realized his dad was imagining meeting his father again. It's a feeling Durfey knows well now. "The Lack Long After," the second album from Durfey's Baltimore screamo band Pianos Become the Teeth released in November on Topshelf Records, is about the death of Durfey's dad, who died of pneumonia in April 2010.
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2014
After the Counting Crows released their fifth album, 2008's “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings,” singer Adam Duritz had had enough - not of the spotlight or the road, but of himself. “I got kind of sick of myself at that point,” Duritz said on the phone from his home in New York recently. “I got tired of just emptying [my] guts onto the page every few years for people. I think I needed a break from it.” So the 49-year-old Baltimore native - who will return on Friday with the Crows to headline the Black-Eyed Susan Day concert at Pimlico Race Course - shifted his focus creatively.
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By Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn and Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn,THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER | October 8, 1995
It was a week of superstar debuts at the nation's record retailers, though some of the stars have apparently lost a lot of shine in recent years. Prince and AC/DC managed to bow their latest albums in the top 10, but David Bowie and the Grateful Dead had to make do with the top 30 and Diana Ross opened at No. 114.Speaking volumes about the state of music today, the old warhorses struggled to the gate while such perky newcomers as Alanis Morissette, Coolio...
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Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | July 2, 2014
In 2006, the Baltimore funk-jam band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong started from a modest and typical beginning: Two new friends - Greg Ormont and Jeremy Schon - playing acoustic guitar together in a University of Maryland dorm room. The duo took their songs to coffee shops and open-mic nights around campus, and a year later, added drummer Dan Schwartz and bassist Ben Carrey to complete the act.  Since then, Pigeons have lived on the road (Ormont said the group played 196 shows in 2013)
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | August 28, 2014
With more than 20 years of experience, R&B singer Joe has had a front-row seat to watch the genre evolve.  And in 2014, the 41-year-old singer born Joseph Thomas believes R&B needs to remember romance - and being in love with more than only yourself - still matters. To him, the influence of rap's street bravado has chilled a genre that has long identified with warmth. “I just want it to be a little bit more about love and more about respect, and to talk about things that's going on right now, as opposed to bigging yourself up and making yourself look real smooth and fly,” Joe said on the phone earlier this week from New Jersey.
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By Dan Singer and The Baltimore Sun | July 15, 2014
They say fame changes people, but even after winning “American Idol” and releasing a platinum-selling album, Leesburg, Ga.-based singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips wants nothing more than to be himself. “I already knew what kind of artist I was and knew what type of music that was 'me,'” Phillips said on the phone recently while on tour in Buffalo, N.Y. Phillips - who is co-headlining Merriweather Post Pavilion with O.A.R. on Saturday - took the “Idol” crown in 2012 after wowing judges and viewers with his commanding vocals and guitar playing.
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Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | July 2, 2014
In 2006, the Baltimore funk-jam band Pigeons Playing Ping Pong started from a modest and typical beginning: Two new friends - Greg Ormont and Jeremy Schon - playing acoustic guitar together in a University of Maryland dorm room. The duo took their songs to coffee shops and open-mic nights around campus, and a year later, added drummer Dan Schwartz and bassist Ben Carrey to complete the act.  Since then, Pigeons have lived on the road (Ormont said the group played 196 shows in 2013)
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | June 25, 2014
Names are not what they seem for the Baltimore rock quintet Vinny Vegas. Start with the band's name: It is not the alter ego of lead singer Scott Siskind, but rather an obscure reference to a professional wrestler from the early '90s. Then there's the title of the group's debut album, November's “The Big White Whale,” whose vinyl release will be celebrated at a Vinny Vegas-headlining show at Metro Gallery on Saturday. Despite cover art that depicts a diver next to a massive whale, Siskind said the title has nothing to do with Herman Melville's novel.
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | June 6, 2014
When O.A.R. sold out New York's Madison Square Garden in 2006, it was the culmination of years of touring for the Rockville quintet. The grass-roots approach to building a fan base worked for a rock band whose albums have never reached higher than No. 12 on the Billboard 200. But for singer Marc Roberge, the band's living-on-the-road reputation had an unsettling undercurrent to it. "I remember one poster we had that says, 'O.A.R.: Always on...
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By Wesley Case, The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2014
After the Counting Crows released their fifth album, 2008's “Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings,” singer Adam Duritz had had enough - not of the spotlight or the road, but of himself. “I got kind of sick of myself at that point,” Duritz said on the phone from his home in New York recently. “I got tired of just emptying [my] guts onto the page every few years for people. I think I needed a break from it.” So the 49-year-old Baltimore native - who will return on Friday with the Crows to headline the Black-Eyed Susan Day concert at Pimlico Race Course - shifted his focus creatively.
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By Sam Sessa, The Baltimore Sun | April 16, 2010
Lately, life has been a blur for singer/songwriter Ben Harper. At 5 a.m. last Friday, Harper and the Relentless7 walked out of Jackson Browne's Groove Masters recording studio in Santa Monica with a fully mixed new record. Without missing a beat, they finalized their plans for the next national tour, which started yesterday in Illinois, brings them to Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion on April 20 and continues through the summer. It's only been a year since Harper's last release, "White Lies for Dark Times" – Harper's first with the Relentless7 – but the square-jawed singer doesn't take much down time between albums.
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By Zap2it.com | April 23, 2005
Camera-loving American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis may or may not have TV-engineered pop stardom in his future. He will, however, have a record in stores next month. Pray for the Soul of Betty, the rock band Maroulis fronted before auditioning for the Fox show - to the camera-captured disdain of some of his bandmates - will see its self-titled album hit music stores May 10. The album is being distributed by KOCH Records, the label that inflicted two William Hung albums on the public last year.
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | March 12, 2014
Ask Dwele his favorite song from “Subject,” his 2003 debut album, and the soul singer will hem and haw a bit before narrowing the options to two. The tone-setting “Truth” makes the cut because of its “feel good” nature, he said, while “Without You” immediately transports him back to the late-night studio session that birthed it. “It was 3 or 4 in the morning in Philly,” Dwele, 36, said on the phone from his hometown of...
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By Wesley Case and The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2014
Rising country star Kip Moore could have recorded the follow-up to his 2012 debut album in Nashville's plushest studios, but the 33-year-old “Somethin' 'Bout a Truck” singer chose a bare-bones setting that literally had more roaches than luxuries. “No TV, no couches, no nothing in there,” Moore said on the phone last week from the road. “It helped play a mind trick on me, too. I like that feeling of being on edge and not being happy where I was.” The setup is contrived, but for Moore - who performs Friday at Patriot Center as apart of Lady Antebellum's Take Me Downtown Tour - it produced the results he desired.
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