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Ben Fong-Torres

Ben Fong-Torres

Posted to New Releases on June 3, 2016

Rod Stewart – It Had to Be You
Rod “the Mod” was by no means the first rock artist to tackle the Great American Songbook –standards that date back to the ‘30s. Among others, Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, Bryan Ferry, Willie Nelson and Linda Ronstadt beat him to it, by several decades. But Stewart has been among the most successful, selling 3 million copies of his first album, It Had to Be You, in 2002. His husky, rock-ravaged voice works nicely with songs like “Moonglow” and “You Go to My Head.”

In this release, the producers hedge their bets, including some of Stewart’s rock hits, like “Maggie May,” “Some Guys Have All the Luck” and “Hot Legs,” along with the standards, performed at Sony Studios in New York for an A&E In Concert special. The musicians are uncredited, but watch for the sexy saxophonist, Katja Rieckermann. Talk about hot legs.

Bonus: An EPK—electronic press kit—with chats with Rod, legendary record exec Clive Davis, and producers Richard Perry and Phil Ramone.

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson - Highwaymen Live
Hey, if four rock stars can form Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, why can’t four country icons become the Highwaymen? That’s just what Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson did in 1985, recording and touring for a decade while maintaining their solo careers.

One evening in 1990, the four, who helped usher in the “outlaw” genre of country music, played the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, and there’s no avoiding a touch of melancholy, watching them in their prime, singing about perseverance, survival and confidence in what lies ahead, even on the other side of life. Cash and Jennings have crossed over.

What clear camaraderie among the guys, evidenced not only on stage, but in interviews, as they talk with warmth and humor about one another. It’s a total mutual admiration society, despite the fact that, as Nelson said, “All of us have an ego the size of a bus.”

Widespread Panic: Wood Tour - Atlanta GA 
Widespread Panic know a lot of songs, including some of their own. This popular jam band, around since 1986, absolutely warrants a triple play of the shows they performed in Atlanta, near their hometown of Athens, as part of their 2012 Wood (acoustic) Tour.

That’s because, as per Panic tradition, the guys did three completely different shows, each comprising two sets (plus encores) and running over two hours. Legend has it that the band picks the songs just before each set begins.

For fans, it’s meant constant surprises, especially since they’re hearing familiar tunes done acoustically. On its three-night run at the Tabernacle theater in downtown Atlanta, opening night began with the Talking Heads’ “Heaven” and included covers of songs by Van Morrison, Willie Dixon, J.J. Cale, Bill Withers and Blind Faith. The next evening, after opening with their own “Porch Song,” the guys covered a different Talking Heads number, “City of Dreams,” and covered Neil Young, the Guess Who and Jimmy Cliff, and performed their near hit, “Ain’t Life Grand.” And for the last concert, they opened with “Papa’s Home” and “Wondering” before covering, among others, Pops Staples, NRBQ, Cat Stevens, the Meters, Warren Zevon, Vic Chesnutt and, yay, the Beatles (“The Ballad of John and Yoko”). They also do songs by Bloodkin, fellow Athens musicians, every show.

That is variety. That’s three nights of delicious jams.

Even if you weren’t reading Rolling Stone magazine in the late '60s /early '70s, you might still know who Ben Fong-Torres is from the movie “Almost Famous.” Ben Fong-Torres is the legendary Rolling Stone Senior Editor who was characterized in the Cameron Crowe movie and now,… More

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