Report: MerleFest 2013, Day 1

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Opening Day at MerleFest 2013 was both spirited and bittersweet on the campus of Wilkes Community College, as tributes to American music icon Doc Watson have just gotten underway during the four-day “traditional plus” music festival – unfortunately, the first without Watson – which he founded in 1987 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Watson passed away […]

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Short Takes: Ry Cooder, T Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Revue And More

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Ry Cooder Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch) Rating: Who needs Lewis Black, Bill Maher or Jon Stewart when you have Ry Cooder? The famed slide guitarist and world music enthusiast releases his most incisive and sardonic political album, mixing wry observations on bankers, politicians and war mongers into upbeat, even jovial rock, […]

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Bob Dylan At The Ryman Auditorium

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Last night, Bob Dylan brought his never-ending tour, as well as opening act Leon Russell, to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The songwriting giant last played the venue in 2007, and last rolled through Music City in 2010, when he played the Municipal Auditorium. For me, it was a chance to compare and contrast. I was at […]

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Leon Russell: Live in Japan/Live in Houston

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Got live if you want it.

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Garth Brooks Leads 2011 Songwriters Hall Of Fame Inductees

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Garth Brooks has been roped into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame; the country music icon joins Leon Russell, Allen Toussaint, John Bettis, Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly in the 2011 class of inductees. Last year saw Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, and Earth Wind & Fire join the Hall of Fame ranks. The new members will […]

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Paul Simon, Neil Young, Elton John To Help Induct Rock Hall Of Fame 2011 Class

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(Elton John and Leon Russell) The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is gearing up for its 2011 induction ceremony. It has been announced that Neil Young will deliver the induction speech for Tom Waits, Paul Simon will introduce Neil Diamond, and Elton John will induct Leon Russell, whom he recently collaborated with. Also to […]

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Elton John and Leon Russell: The Union

Elton John and Leon Russell The Union Decca Rating: Wait, wait, wait. Come back here. It’s cool – it’s totally understandable that you saw that pair of names, said meh and wanted to skip. It’s not like Elton John hasn’t spent the last decade and change taking it upon himself to expand the possibilities inherent […]

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Single File: Ray LaMontagne, Elton John and Leon Russell, Waaves and More

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Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise – “Beg, Steal or Borrow” By this time, most have heard this catchy folk ballad, but in all probability, it’s still stuck in their heads. Sorrowful pedal steel pierces the heart of insatiable wanderlust and the one-two acoustic strumming cuts a […]

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Elton John Thinks Modern Songwriters Are “Pretty Awful”

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Does Elton John read American Songwriter? If he did, he’d know that when it comes to great songwriters, our talent pool is pretty stocked. But the usually shy and reserved Englishman had this to say about the current generation of tunesmiths –”Songwriters today are pretty awful, which is why everything sounds the same. Contemporary pop […]

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MasterWriter’s Barry DeVorzon: What It Takes To Succeed

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If you’re serious about your craft, you’ll appreciate having hit songwriter and MasterWriter creator Barry DeVorzon walk you through the ins and outs of MasterWriter in an online demo. In this free web video, taken from a live taping on March 13th, Barry begins with a personal story that illustrates how songs become hits, followed […]

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