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5 of the ACM winners en route to Pittsburgh this summer

Written by Scott Mervis on .

aldeanpresale fullsize story1Jason AldeanGeorge Strait took Entertainer of the Year (by a fan vote) Sunday night at the 49th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS in Las Vegas.

Strait doesn’t have a show booked here, but five of the other big winners are on their way to Pittsburgh this summer.

Jason Aldean, who won Male Vocalist of the Year, his second consecutive win in this category, will be at PNC Park on July 26. Florida Georgia Line, winner for Vocal Duo of the Year, is on that Aldean bill, as is Lee Brice (Song of the Year for “I Drive Your Truck”).

Miranda Lambert, who won a record fifth consecutive year as Female Vocalist of the Year, is set to open for Luke Bryan at Heinz Field on June 21.

Tim McGraw, Video of the Year winner for “Highway Don’t Care,” plays the First Niagara Pavilion on June 6.

Here is the list of winners

Entertainer of the Year
George Strait

Male Vocalist of the year
Jason Aldean

Female Vocalist of the year
Miranda Lambert

Vocal Duo of the year
Florida Georgia Line

Vocal Group of the year
The Band Perry

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY KOHL’S
Justin Moore

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
Same Trailer Different Park – Kacey Musgraves
Producers: Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves
Record Label: Mercury Records

Single Record of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]
Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert
Producers: Chuck Ainlay, Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf
Record Label: RCA Nashville

Song of the Year [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]
I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice
Songwriters: Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, Jimmy Yeary
Publishers: Beattyville Music (BMI), EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. (BMI), Great Day At This Music (BMI), Happy Tears Music (ASCAP), Vistaville Music (ASCAP), Watch This Girl Publishing (BMI)

Video of the Year [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] *(Off Camera Award)
Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw Featuring Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
Producers: Tameron Hedge, Chandra LaPlume
Director: Shane Drake

Vocal Event of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]*(Off Camera Award)
We Were Us – Keith Urban And Miranda Lambert
Producers: Nathan Chapman, Keith Urban
Record Labels: Capitol Records Nashville, Hit Red Records, RCA Nashville

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Something's Rotten about this 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

Written by Scott Mervis on .

john-lydon

Buried in the middle of the second paragraph of the press release about the touring “Jesus Christ Superstar” is this little bombshell:

“English singer-songwriter and lead singer in Public Image Ltd. (PiL) and Sex Pistols, John Rotten Lydon, will play ‘King Herod’.”

This is absolutely classic (!) starting with the dainty reference to Rotten as “English singer-songwriter.”

“I’m here to sing with the King of the Jews, who could ask for anything more?” the punk rocker says in the release.

His previous experience for this would be working with Malcolm McLaren — Jewish King of the Punks in England. (As for acting, he was most notably in the 1983 film "Corrupt" with Harvey Keitel, and you have to figure this is better than him playing a hippie in "Hair.")

Herod has all of one song in “JCS,” but Rotten is likely to draw an inordinate amount of the attention for this production.

The 50-plus city tour, which hits Consol Energy Center on Aug. 12, also stars Brandon Boyd of Incubus as Judas, ‘N Sync vocalist JC Chasez, as Pontius Pilate, Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams as Mary Magdalene and young Brit Ben Forster, who won England’s ITV Superstar competition in 2012, as Jesus. There will be more 50 cast and musicians on stage.

Andrew Lloyd Webber notes in the release: “Jesus Christ Superstar began life as a rock album...probably because nobody believed back in 1969 that you could present a stage musical about the last days of the life of Jesus Christ. I shall never forget its first live performance in the Civic Arena, Pittsburgh on July 12th 1971. Of course JCS subsequently became a legit theatre stalwart, but I, personally, have always hankered after seeing it again in the arenas where it started.”

Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan sang on the original album, but that first arena tour featured Jeff Fenholt (who became a Christian evangelist and claimed to be a member of Black Sabbath briefly in 1985) as Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas, and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene (the latter two also played in the film and Broadway versions).

Co-creator Tim Rice added: “In 1971 Andrew and I were thrilled by the first-ever Jesus Christ Superstar tour of the United States. We certainly did not imagine then that 43 years later we would be witnessing another America-wide tour of our first big hit show. We are delighted and grateful that enthusiasm for Superstar has been maintained over the years and this new production presents the work in its most powerful format — as a true rock experience.”

Boyd noted: “I grew up on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classics and never imagined I would be playing a role in one, let alone with such an incredibly diverse cast of players. Truly an honor!”

The tour kicks off on June 9 and runs through Aug. 17, so Pittsburgh is at the tail end.

We’ll have to hope that Jesus or one of his disciples doesn’t strangle the abrasive Rotten before they get here.

Me? I'm only going if this ends with an encore medley of Sex Pistols/'N Sync/Incubus songs.

Tickets details will be announced soon. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Friday, April 4 at 10am local time. They range from $29.50 to $125 plus applicable fees and service charges. In addition, a limited number of Gold Circle tickets and Superstar Premium VIP packages are available.

 

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Blues Challengers vying for shot at Memphis

Written by Scott Mervis on .

 

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Fourteen acts will have 20 minutes to make it to Memphis on Saturday.

The bands/solo artists will hit the stage April 5 for 10th annual Blues Challenge, presented by the Blues Society of Western PA at the Tonidale in Oakdale.

Each will play a 20-minute set, and one band and one solo artist or duo will be chosen to represent the society at the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. It begins at 1:30 p.m. A dinner buffet will be available during the break early in the evening, and there will be an after party/jam with last year's winner, Billy the Kid and the Regulators, at 10:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12; $10 for society members; $6 students. The Tonidale is at 7011 Steubenville Pike, Oakdale. Go to bswpa.com

Here is the list of contenders:

1. Mia Z
2. Jimmy Adler and Charlie Barath
3. Chris Yakopcic
4. Bo Hog Brothers
5. Pet Cro
6. Melinda
7. Scott Albert Project
8. Blues Devils
9. Ms. Freddye Band
10. Paul the Resonator
11. Bottom Shelf Blues Band
12. Eugene Morgan
13. Gordon James Band
14. Ruby Red and the Dirty Devils

 

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Stormy new album wasn't as easy as 1,2,3

Written by Scott Mervis on .

 

1231,2,3 — that’s the number of years since we heard from this Pittsburgh indie band that became critical darlings upon releasing 2011’s “New Heaven.”

1,2,3, returns on May 27 with a sophomore double album, “Big Weather,” on their new label American Hermitage.

A second album almost didn’t happen, as frontman Nic Snyder, one of two former members of power-pop band Takeover UK, quit the band in late 2012 due to burn-out from touring and working on the follow-up.

As the label describes it, “Several months later, after a few nights of drunken persuasion, he re-convened with the rest of the band and coaxed them back, wanting to finish what they had started. Snyder had been inspired by ’70s dystopian movies, combined with a pattern of strange weather and its resulting destruction (a tornado ripped through his aunt’s house in Pennsylvania… something that shouldn’t happen in PA), along with the tsunami that devastated Japan two weeks later.”

In the making, the band recorded storms and “listened to nothing but local oldies radio stations,” while recording entirely on primitive gear, using nothing but creaky old guitars, a bass, and things to bang on.”

“This album is undoubtedly ridden with flaws,” Snyder comments, “but so are its creators, and the circumstances under which it was created… and in that regard, this album feels very special to me.”

The band is sharing the first two singles, “Big Weather Pt. 1” “Leave Me In The Sky With The Lawnchair,” both dubbed “disaster ballads,” as free downloads via Soundcloud.

The release show is going to be Friday, May 30 at Brillobox in Bloomfield.

Big Weather Tracklisting: 

1. Big Weather Pt. 1
2. Leave Me In The Sky With The Lawnchair
3. Pontoon Song
4. Waiting For The Horsemen
5. Mile High Grass
6. Bus To Babylon
7. Refusal Bop
8. Shapes of Wrath
9. Fear_Pure Elevation
10. Rebuilding
11. Stone Haus
12. Porch Swing Song
13. Big Black Car
14. Big Weather Pt. 2
15. In The House of The Locust
16. When The Levee Broke at The County Fair
17. Strawberry
18. Faith Hill
19. Where We Lived
20. Sick of the End

 

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Stage AE updates: CHVRCHES, 311, Jurassic 5 and more

Written by Scott Mervis on .

 

CHVRCHESCHVRCHESStage AE has unleashed a constant barrage of concert announcements on Monday morning, with acts coming in all flavors, from the pop-rock R5 to the hip-hop Jurassic 5 to jam faves Yonder Mountain String Band.

May 29: R5. $25 advance/$30 day of show. Indoors. On sale April 4.

June 11: CHVRCHES. $22/$25. On sale April 4

June 18: O.A.R. & Phillip Phillips. $39.50 Advance/$42.00 Day of Show. On sale April 11.

July 9: Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth. $25.00 Advance/$30.00 Day of Show. On sale: April 11.

July 14: 311 and Sublime with Rome. $39.50/$42. On sale April 4

July 30: Word of Mouth Reunion Tour with Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies. $25. On sale April 4

 

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