Saturday, October 31, 2015

DITA VON TEESE at 2015 EMA Awards in Burbank

DITA VON TEESE at 2015 EMA Awards in Burbank 10/24/2015:

DITA VON TEESE at 2015 EMA Awards in Burbank 10/24/2015

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KATY PERRY at Rally for Hilary Clinton Campaign

KATY PERRY at Rally for Hilary Clinton Campaign:

KATY PERRY at Rally for Hilary Clinton Campaign

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TAYLOR SWIFT and TOVE LO Performs at The 1989 World Tour in Atlanta

TAYLOR SWIFT and TOVE LO Performs at The 1989 World Tour in Atlanta 10/24/205:

TAYLOR SWIFT and TOVE LO Performs at The 1989 World Tour in Atlanta 10/24/205

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DEMI LOVATO at a Promotional Press Conference in Sao Paulo

DEMI LOVATO at a Promotional Press Conference in Sao Paulo 10/21/2015:

DEMI LOVATO at a Promotional Press Conference in Sao Paulo 10/21/2015

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ZENDAYA COLEMAN at Just Jared Fall Fun Day in Los Angeles

ZENDAYA COLEMAN at Just Jared Fall Fun Day in Los Angeles 10/24/2015:

ZENDAYA COLEMAN at Just Jared Fall Fun Day in Los Angeles 10/24/2015

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ZENDAYA COLEMAN in Modeliste Magazine, November 2015 Issue

ZENDAYA COLEMAN in Modeliste Magazine, November 2015 Issue:

ZENDAYA COLEMAN in Modeliste Magazine, November 2015 Issue

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SELENA GOMEZ at InStyle Awards 2015 in Los Angeles

SELENA GOMEZ at InStyle Awards 2015 in Los Angeles 10/26/2015:

SELENA GOMEZ at InStyle Awards 2015 in Los Angeles 10/26/2015

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Taylor Swift Delivers Chilling Acoustic 'Out of the Woods' Performance

Taylor Swift Delivers Chilling Acoustic 'Out of the Woods' Performance:

Taylor Swift celebrated the one-year anniversary of her blockbuster pop album, 1989, with an acoustic performance of "Out of the Woods," recorded last month at the Grammy Museum's Clive Davis Theater.

Swift introduced the song by saying it chronicled a relationship dominated by anxiety: "I think a lot of relationships can be solid, and that's what you hope for — solid and healthy — but that's not always what you get," she said. "And it doesn't mean that it's not special and extraordinary just to have a relationship that's fragile and somehow meaningful in that fragility."

Though "Out of the Woods" — co-written with Bleachers' Jack Antonoff — thrives as an outsized synth-pop anthem, Swift's stripped-down rendition was an apt complement to her description. With her vocals driving the performance, Swift kept her piano playing simple, staggered and sparse, letting that fragility shine during the bridge when each chord rang out beneath her quickening lyrics.

Since the release of 1989, Swift has spent much of the past year touring behind the record. While a slate of international dates loom this winter, she will finally wrap up her extensive North American leg on Saturday, October 31st, in Tampa, Florida.

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Taylor Swift Files Countersuit Against Radio Host Fired for Backstage Grope

Taylor Swift Files Countersuit Against Radio Host Fired for Backstage Grope:

Taylor Swift has filed a countersuit against the Denver radio host who was fired from his job after allegedly inappropriately touching the singer. In the initial lawsuit, David Mueller claimed he was terminated from his job at country music station KYGO two days after the contact occurred during a photo session backstage at Denver's Pepsi Center. In his wrongful termination suit, Mueller sued Swift and denied that he was the person who grabbed the singer's buttocks. Swift's legal team disagreed.

"Mueller's newfound claim that he is the 'wrong guy' and, therefore, his termination from KYGO was unjustified, is specious," Swift's attorneys wrote in the counterclaim (via The Associated Press). "Ms. Swift knows exactly who committed the assault. It was Mueller." Swift's lawyers added that she was "surprised, upset, offended and alarmed" by the grope.

In Mueller's suit, the former radio host did not deny that the inappropriate contact happened; instead, he blamed the buttock grab on one of his co-workers. According to Mueller's lawsuit, the co-worker approached Mueller backstage at the Denver concert and "described and demonstrated how [he] had put his arms around her, hands on her bottom" while taking a photo with the singer. Mueller's suit also accused Swift's security team of verbally abusing him and his girlfriend.

However, following the incident, KYGO was presented with enough evidence against Mueller that he was fired two days later, Swift's reps said after Mueller filed his lawsuit in September. If Swift were to win her countersuit, she has promised to donate the money to charities "dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard."

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Steve Martin and Edie Brickell on 'Unexplored Territory' of New Album

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell on 'Unexplored Territory' of New Album:

As an 18-year-old newcomer to the banjo, Steve Martin sensed the instrument had something resembling an "emotive" quality to it. "But I had no vision in my head," he tells Rolling Stone Country. "No picture, no story, no nothing." That all changed a few years ago: When Martin began writing music with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell for what would become their 2013 Grammy-winning album, Love Has Come For You, the actor and bluegrass aficionado at last began to grasp the complete emotional power of his longtime instrument. "Edie was able to tap into what I believe is inherent in the banjo and come up with fantastic scenarios, great visuals, great writing," Martin says.

Related: Hear a Lively Track from New Steve Martin–Edie Brickell LP

So strong was the duo's partnership that this week, Martin and Brickell return with So Familiar, the second installment in their musical collaboration. Due on October 30th via Rounder Records and produced by famed producer Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt), the LP is in many ways a continuation of the melodic-folk music displayed on Love Has Come for You. Through increased orchestration, string accompaniment, the addition of baritone sax and collaborations with the likes of banjo wizard Béla Fleck however, Martin says he believes the two were able to tap into "unexplored territory" this go-round.

The lilting and lush bluegrass-tinged folk affair of an album most notably places a higher emphasis this time on characters and narrative. It's a direct result of Martin and Brickell's work on their debut musical, Bright Star, set in the 1920's South and based on an early 20th century newspaper article found by Brickell. The musical, for which Asher is serving as music supervisor, features a handful of songs from So Familiar, and is scheduled to begin performances at Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 2nd; it lands on Broadway next March.

Martin sounds nothing short of a giddy child when reveling in his and Brickell having written a musical together. "It's tremendously exciting!" he says of Bright Star. "It really was something to aspire to and to have accomplished. We don't know if it's a hit or not but we know we're on Broadway."

"I am jumping up and down on the inside," adds Brickell. "It's the most exciting thing. It's a huge dream come true."

The two admit they were initially focused on the musical when starting to write their latest songs following a 2014 joint tour with Martin's longtime band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. Much of their most recent material, Martin explains, evolved out of discussions between he and Brickell on their mutual love for musicals; only after piecing together several songs for Bright Star did the pair agree a separate album with re-orchestrated versions of songs from the musical might make sense. Still, Martin clarifies, "[So Familiar] is almost a completely different experience from the musical. We just thought, 'Wouldn't it be the best time to put out this record when the musical is being mounted?'"

Brickell wrote many of the album's lyrics with concrete characters in mind, a songwriting style most evident when the harmonic vocalist sings of deviant déjà vu in a bluesy whisper on the title track or reflects on wilder times over rolling piano lines and pedal steel on "Way Back in the Day."

Musical collaboration came rather effortlessly to the longtime social acquaintances who first decided to join forces following a chance encounter at a Manhattan party circa-2012. Brickell (who is married to Paul Simon and scored hits in the late-Eighties with her band, New Bohemians) says she was long inspired by Martin's evocative banjo playing, emphasizing the way in which it provides a sonic trampoline by which she can visualize scenes and characters.

"It spoke to me and I just pulled the personality out," Brickell says of Martin's dutiful banjo plucking. "That came in the form of images and certain phrases. It just flowed through me and settled in my consciousness, and I paid attention and then understood where I was in the story and how to offer the rest of it.

Adds the singer: "It's basically just being flat-out inspired by someone's gifts and skills."

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Chris Janson on Timing, Temptation and Triumphant New Album

Chris Janson on Timing, Temptation and Triumphant New Album:

"This is the first time I've ever held my actual album," says Chris Janson, the affable underdog behind 2015's country song of the summer, "Buy Me a Boat." "It's really happening."

Lounging on the leafy patio atop Warner Brothers' Music Row headquarters, the newly-minted star turns his just-delivered album (also titled Buy Me a Boat) over and over in his hands. Inspecting each photo and song title, he grins and shakes his head in disbelief over his long and laborious path to this moment. Over the last six years Janson has persevered through two failed record deals, two EPs and three singles that failed to make a major impression — but never released a full-length album.

That was before fans got on board with the independently released "Buy Me a Boat," however. A delightfully sarcastic blue-collar kiss-off built on hot-rod twang, the song steadily climbed radio charts and became Janson's first Number One in September. Now signed to Warner Music Nashville, he'll release his long-awaited debut album on October 30th.

In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone Country, the modest Missouri native explains how his first-ever big-time release came together, and how it compares to his buoyant calling card. According to Janson, fans will find rowdy up-tempos, deeper-meaning ballads and even a guest appearance by Tim McGraw on Buy Me a Boat, all of it co-written by Janson and played with a proud, straight-ahead country sound.

"Every song on this record is just a simple song written by a simple dude — me," he says. "Every time I've tried to overthink something in my life it either failed, or I wasn't that proud of it. . . I can tell you right now that I'm never gonna make records I have to sit around and think about forever. I want to have fun with this stuff."

Indeed, the project was put together in near-record time to capitalize on the success of "Buy Me a Boat," which was first championed by DJ Bobby Bones. Of the album's 11 tracks, Janson co-produced five with Chris DuBois and Brent Anderson (the crew behind "Buy Me a Boat"), while Byron Gallimore (McGraw's hit-maker of choice) led the sessions for six others. As a result, the record has a loose, under-the-gun feel that's undeniably exciting.

"It's probably the quickest turnaround in history," the singer-songwriter jokes, "but it wasn't a rushed process. It was thought-out and planned just enough to be right, but not planned enough to get in the way."

Luckily, the team had plenty of material to work with. A prolific songwriter, Janson simply turned in a list of his favorite songs. The label did the same, and they met in the middle. As a result, the album features a diverse mix of testosterone-fueled debauchery, cautionary tales of sin and thankful ballads of blessing.

Such variety has always been a hallmark for Janson, who co-wrote McGraw's over-the-top 2012 hit "Truck Yeah," as well as LoCash's jubilant current single "I Love This Life" and two tracks on Hank Williams Jr.'s upcoming new album, It's About Time.

"On the 'Truck Yeah' side, 'Power of Positive Drinkin'' is kind of like that," he says. "It's rocking, raucous, rowdy, kind of in your face. And then songs about life and legacy like 'Where You Come In,' 'Holdin' Her,' 'Messin' With Jesus' — those have more of a serious undertone to them than just the hands-in-the-air, make-you-wanna-sing kind of thing."

With its bait-and-switch title, "Messin' With Jesus" is actually a Saturday-night/Sunday-morning duet about redemption and getting right with God. Dripping with steel guitar and twangy vocals, the song raises questions of faith, a common theme for Janson, who counts himself as a Christian but won't claim to be a perfect example.

"I'm not scared of Jesus," he says. "Whether you believe in him or not, that's your business. I do believe personally and I like to keep that relationship good, but I'm right on the fence [between living right and wrong] all the time."

On the other side of the coin, "Power of Positive Drinkin'" finds Janson putting deep thoughts aside for a wild night at the bar. Janson actually quit drinking when he met his wife Kelly, but he remembers the feeling well. Co-written with DuBois and Mark Irwin, the cheeky anthem is Janson's new single, one that mines the same ironic territory as "Buy Me a Boat."

"Beer five, and I'm comin' alive/Beer six, man that went down quick/Seven, eight, nine, I'm feelin' fine/And by number ten, life's good again" goes its chorus.

"People have been asking, 'How can you relate to 'Power of Positive Drinkin''?" Janson says. "I can relate because not so long ago I was that guy, I totally get it. . . I've drank a lot of beer in my life, and whatever problems I had walking in, they were gone by 10.

"I could still drink to this day," he continues. "I just choose not to because it always made me feel bloated and fat — I'm 135 pounds, so 10 beers makes me feel like a balloon, man."

All told, Janson believes his time has finally arrived. Holding his debut album for the first time, he has the look of a proud father imagining all the possibilities that lie ahead. (He actually is a dad too, to a son and a daughter with wife Kelly, and two "bonus kids" — he refuses to call them "step children.")

"For as rowdy and raucous as it will be at times, there will be storytelling, too," he says of his album, and his career in general. "That's always been my goal: to be a renaissance man of sorts with songs and have some identity. I finally feel like I have that identity."

Buy Me a Boat arrives tomorrow, October 30th, and Janson will celebrate the release with a performance at his home away from home: the Grand Ole Opry. On February 18th, he returns to the road on a major tour, opening for Blake Shelton.

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Watch Rod Stewart Plead 'Please' With the Roots on 'Fallon'

Watch Rod Stewart Plead 'Please' With the Roots on 'Fallon':

Rod Stewart shook, shimmied and wailed through a performance of his new song "Please" on the The Tonight Show Wednesday, with house band the Roots dutifully serving as his backing band.

"Please" appears on Stewart's new record, Another Country, and is one of several originals the rocker co-wrote with producer Kevin Savigar. It's a sultry, pleading blues burner, criss-crossed with conversing guitars and, on Tonight, driven by Roots drummer Questlove's splashy, steady beat.

Stewart, however, showed he's still in complete control, busting out slick footwork and belting the track in his eternally raspy, ripped-heart voice. Most impressive were the howls he unleashed throughout "Please," accenting his final a cappella belt with a few well-earned shadowboxing punches.

Another Country marks Stewart's 29th studio album and follows 2013's Time. Along with the new LP, the rocker has been busy this year: He reunited with the Faces for their first public gig in over two decades in September, and also appeared alongside Miguel, Mark Ronson and A$AP Rocky on the latter's "Everday."

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Crystal Method Distance Themselves From Russian Drone Video

Crystal Method Distance Themselves From Russian Drone Video:

The Crystal Method have released a statement objecting to the use of their song "High Roller" as the soundtrack to drone footage that Russia's state broadcaster released. The sleek footage, embedded below via The Telegraph, surfaced online Monday and claimed to depict Syrian forces moving into Jobar, a Damascus suburb controlled by people rebelling against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Related: The Crystal Method Overcome Health Scare for New Album

"It has come to our attention over the last 24 hours that the Kremlin via Russian state broadcaster VGTRK have used our song 'High Roller' as the soundtrack to some shocking drone footage from Syria," the electronic-music duo, who released the tune in 1997 on their debut album Vegas, wrote in a statement. "The use of our music in this context is in no way authorized and the Crystal Method do not condone the use of violence for the resolution of any conflict. Our hearts go out to the people of Syria affected by this terrible war and their friends and families."

The Crystal Method also offered an exclusive statement to Rolling Stone. "Upon being made aware of the video we immediately issued take down notices to YouTube (on Tuesday evening) via our publisher BMG Rights who issued the take down notice," the duo says. "By Wednesday the video had appeared across numerous websites outside of YouTube, including the Daily Telegraph and CNN and it became impossible to control how it spread.

"At this point we, the Crystal Method, just want to make certain that people know that we in no way endorsed this usage of our music as the soundtrack to this appalling footage," the continued. "Whether or not there is anything else we can do about it that is meaningful is quite honestly questionable, as, at this point, the footage along with our song has basically gone viral."

The Telegraph contends that the Russian military and government may have created the video as propaganda to convince the country's citizens that they should intervene in Syria. It reports that since Russia began airstrikes three weeks ago to accompany its Syrian ground attacks in support of al-Assad, alongside Iran and Hezbollah, the effort to take over Jobar has ramped up. The United Nations claims that some 120,000 Syrians have been displaced since Moscow began its airstrikes, according to The New York Times.

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Hear Electric Light Orchestra's Upbeat New Song 'One Step at a Time'

Hear Electric Light Orchestra's Upbeat New Song 'One Step at a Time':

Lush textures of clickety-clackety keyboards, slide guitar and disco-ish drums open up "One Step at a Time," a new Electric Light Orchestra single that will appear on the group's upcoming LP Alone in the Universe. When frontman Jeff Lynne, who recorded nearly every instrument on the record, sings, though, it sounds like classic ELO, as he pleads for understanding before a relationship totally breaks down.

When it comes out on November 13th, Alone in the Universe will be the first Electric Light Orchestra LP since 2001's Zoom and it finds Lynne flying solo mostly. "I did everything except the shaker and the tambourine, which my engineer Steve [Jay] played," he told Rolling Stone earlier this month. "It was just a two-man exercise, with him manning all the lifeboats and me doing all the singing and playing."

So far, Lynne has released two songs from the album, the reggae-tinged "When the Night Comes" and the piano ballad "When I Was a Boy." He has also put out a quasi-autobiographical video for the latter song, which depicts him as a young man looking up at the group's trademark spaceship logo.

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Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Stapleton, Steve Martin Added to CMA Awards Broadcast

Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Stapleton, Steve Martin Added to CMA Awards Broadcast:

Country music's biggest stars will be joined by some of Hollywood's finest, along with athletes and other celebs who'll be announcing winners and presenting trophies during next week's 49th Annual CMA Awards telecast.

The latest country artist to be added to the already stellar lineup is CMA nominee Chris Stapleton, who will be joined, according to CMA organizers, by "a very special guest" who will be announced Monday, November 2nd. (In fact, Rolling Stone Country will help reveal that guest on our Ram Report Monday, in an exclusive interview with Stapleton.) The "Tennessee Whiskey" singer is a first-time CMA nominee, with nods for Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year. He's also nominated for Album of the Year for Traveller, which he produced with Dave Cobb. While Stapleton only receives one nomination for the category, he could potentially receive a second trophy as a producer of the LP.

Stapleton and his mystery guest join previously announced performers Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley with Lindsey Stirling, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Kacey Musgraves, Blake Shelton and Zac Brown Band. The show's co-hosts, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, will both perform during the three-hour telecast, as well.

Added to the list of awards presenters are Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Lee Ann Womack, reigning New Artist of the Year Brett Eldredge, Charles Kelley of Vocal Group of the Year nominee Lady Antebellum, and CMA Country Christmas host Jennifer Nettles. Country artists Reba, Darius Rucker and Cole Swindell will also appear, along with musicians Edie Brickell and Steve Martin and a capella performers Pentatonix. They'll be joined by actor Kiefer Sutherland, actress Erika Christensen of the ABC drama, Wicked City, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, ESPN College GameDay's Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis, and Heather O'Reilly and Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team. The pre-televised CMA awards and honors – including the trophies for CMA Broadcast Personality and Station of the Year – will be hosted by Frankie Ballard.

Also previously announced are the one-of-a-kind collaborations throughout the night as Eric Church joins Hank Williams Jr. for the show-opening musical number, Reba teams with her Vegas pals, Brooks & Dunn, Thomas Rhett performs with rockers Fall Out Boy and Keith Urban, in a clever nod to his recent hit single, "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16," is joined by John (formerly Cougar) Mellencamp.

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Hear a 1976 Live Version of Marshall Tucker Band's 'Take the Highway'

Hear a 1976 Live Version of Marshall Tucker Band's 'Take the Highway':

Doug Gray remembers well the members of the Marshall Tucker Band posing for a snapshot near the Eiffel Tower in 1976.

The seeming incongruity of the burly, bearded Spartanburg, South Carolina group standing in front of the Paris landmark was not lost on them. As the band's lead singer recalls with a chuckle, people were "mesmerized because we were big, country-ass looking boys."  Out on their first European tour, the Marshall Tucker Band weren't sure how their brand of boot-stomping southern rock was going to translate across the pond.

As they surveyed the Hammersmith Odeon stage in London they were uneasy but excited. "Let's face it, the Beatles played there. And the Queen went and hung out and listened to music there. And some amazing orchestras had played there," says Gray. "I thought, 'This is either going to be real hard or real good.'"

There was culture shock on both sides of the stage, but it ended up being real good.

"We were amazed and stunned at the response" to the tour, he says, which included stops in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France before concluding with four gigs in the U.K. Those last shows — in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, England and Glasgow, Scotland — have been memorialized on the 10-track collection Live in the UK 1976, out today. "The music crossed lines," says Gray. "The minute we started 'Can't You See' or 'Take the Highway,' people were up and digging it."

Hear the epic version of "Take the Highway" — flute solo and all — from the show at the Apollo Theater in Glasgow below in a Rolling Stone Country exclusive premiere. The album also includes other familiar MTB tracks like "Searchin' for a Rainbow," "Fire on the Mountain," and a version of the country classic "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" with guest Bonnie Bramlett of Delaney and Bonnie fame.

The album captures the original line-up of the group—including Gray, chief songwriter and guitarist Toy Caldwell, his bassist bother Tommy, flute and saxophone player Jerry Eubanks, drummer Paul Riddle and guitarist George McCorkle— in its vital early years and Gray wanted to be sure the sound quality was up to snuff.

"I didn't take any of the music away or add any music but I knew that we had to update it and make it sound it fresh," he says of the tweaking he did to the live recordings.

Averaging more than 100 shows a year, Gray says there is no chance of the Marshall Tucker Band — who have played with everyone from jazz fusionists Spyro Gyra to descendants like Kid Rock and the Zac Brown Band in the last 44 years — slowing down anytime soon.

"We go out there with these guys who have a blistering fever to play this music as good if not better than the way we played it then," Gray, the sole original member, says of the current line-up. (Both of the Caldwells and McCorkle have passed away and Eubanks retired.) And the crowds keep coming as new generations hear the music. Says Gray with a chuckle, "They got trapped in the back seat and their parents kept playing that 8-track over and over."

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Watch Steve Martin, Edie Brickell's Plucky 'Won't Go Back' on 'Fallon'

Watch Steve Martin, Edie Brickell's Plucky 'Won't Go Back' on 'Fallon':

So Familiar, the second collection of banjo-fueled folk music from Edie Brickell and Steve Martin, hits the racks today, arriving two and a half years after the pair's Grammy-winning debut, Love Has Come for You. Celebrations for the new release began a little early, though, with Brickell and Martin hitting The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon yesterday evening to perform the album's first single, "Won't Go Back."

They had more than a few reasons to celebrate. Several songs from So Familiar will hit Broadway early next year, when "Bright Star" — a musical featuring Brickell and Martin's music — makes the jump from regional playhouses to the Great White Way. "It's tremendously exciting!" Martin recently told Rolling Stone Country, adding, "We don't know if it's a hit or not, but we know we're on Broadway."

With Martin on banjo and Brickell on lead vocals, the duo brought similar excitement to their Fallon performance, where they bounced between the song's half-time verses and harmonized chorus with help from a six-piece band of percussionists and pickers.

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Adele to Film TV Special at Radio City Music Hall

Adele to Film TV Special at Radio City Music Hall:

Three days before issuing her new album 25, Adele will perform a one-night only concert at New York City's Radio City Music Hall that the singer will film for a television special. The concert will take place on November 17th and Entertainment Weekly reports that the program, Adele Live in New York City, will air on NBC on December 14th.

Outside of that broadcast, Adele has a busy schedule of television appearances ahead of her new LP. She'll appear as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on November 21st and is set to perform on Today on November 25th; both shows air on NBC. In the U.K., the "Hello" singer will also be the focal point of a one-hour special, Adele at the BBC, which will be filmed before a studio audience early next month and hosted by talk-show host Graham Norton.

Adele revealed the title and track list of the new LP, set for release on November 25th, last week. She released the song "Hello" and put out a mournful video for the single, the latter of which broke the record for single-day views on Vevo. Subsequently, Lionel Richie has joked about its similarities to his own "Hello," Rick Ross has issued a remix of the tune and Ellen has spoofed it.

The singer has described 25 as a "make-up record," the antithesis of a breakup record. "My last record was labeled a 'break-up record,' and rightly so, because it was a break-up record," she told Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe in a recent interview. "This record is all about how I feel as opposed to how someone else has made me feel, it's about how I made myself feel."

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Kurt Cobain's Intimate 'Montage of Heck' Soundtrack: 5 Key Tracks

Kurt Cobain's Intimate 'Montage of Heck' Soundtrack: 5 Key Tracks:

The first-ever Kurt Cobain solo album comes out on November 13th. Brett Morgen, director of this year's haunting Cobain documentary, Montage of Heck, whittled down more than 200 hours of previously unreleased material, drawn from the Nirvana leader's private cassette tapes, to arrive at Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings. "I curated the album to create a feeling that the listener was sitting in Kurt's apartment in Olympia, Washington, in the late Eighties, and bearing witness to his creation," Morgen told Rolling Stone. Here's our preview of five standout songs.

"The Happy Guitar"
A young, cheerful Cobain plays a jaunty folk-blues number on acoustic guitar like he's holding down the stage in a mid-Sixties Greenwich Village coffeehouse. Morgen says that on the early tapes, "You're hearing [Cobain] smile," and this is what he means. On a later acoustic instrumental, "Letters to Frances," Cobain sounds like an aspiring John Fahey, fingerpicking an intricate melody with delicate facility.

Cobain revs up the distortion for an upstairs-downstairs riff that suggests Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in his early-Seventies prime and pushes his voice up to a manic, shredded falsetto. The neighbors must have been delighted. But there is a genuine song — clearly indebted to Cobain's Northwest-punk idols the Melvins — coming through the turbulence. At points, Cobain shouts "Solo!" and "Chorus!" where he plans to put more noise and ideas later.

"And I Love Her"
The grunge-rock avenger often cited as the John Lennon of his generation covers this Paul McCartney ballad — originally recorded by the Beatles in 1964 — with blatant, plaintive need. "We all thought of Kurt as in the Lennon camp," Morgen says, "but there was a lot more Paul in Kurt than he let on. I could see him doing his own version of [McCartney's 1970 solo LP] Ram with Courtney and Frances."

"She Only Lies"
Heard near the end of Morgen's documentary — as Cobain nearly takes his own life in Rome, then succeeds in Seattle — this emotional seesaw between accusation and helplessness literally sounds like the depth of despair: Cobain picking a bone-y riff on bass guitar, singing as if he is already receding into the distance. He never recorded the song again. "There is only one version," Morgen says. It is more than enough.

"Do Re Mi" (medley)
"There is no resurrection," Morgen says of his Cobain film — it ends with the singer's death. But the Montage album concludes with more hope: the breaking-light spell of "Do Re Mi," Cobain's last known song. An excerpt from his 1994 demo appeared on the 2004 Nirvana box set, With the Lights Out; Morgen includes the complete surviving performance. "You leave," the director says of the soundtrack, "with more of a sense of the legacy."

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