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Author George A. Paul

Rock Cellar contributor George. A. Paul recalls some of the standout moments from his time at the NAMM Show 2020 this past weekend in Anaheim …  From new product innovations and education sessions to live performances, artist signings and more, there is always a dizzying array of things to see and do at The NAMM Show. The music industry trade show is held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center and is only open to music industry professionals. NAMM 2020 just concluded after a four-day conference from January 16-19. The first event on my Thursday morning schedule was “Stories Behind the…

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This time of year is a veritable bonanza for music enthusiasts, as elaborate box sets, special vinyl reissue packages, compilations and more suddenly become available. With the Christmas and Hanukkah countdown getting shorter, Rock Cellar cherry-picked some noteworthy 2019 releases for a helpful last-minute music gift guide for the fan(s) on your shopping list — or for yourself! We won’t judge. (All titles below refer to physical products.) The Beatles – Abbey Road (Apple Corps/Universal Music Group) The lowdown: And in the end, producer George Martin returned to helm the Fab Four’s studio swan song. Among the Beatles’ most popular and…

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As a frequent guest on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s, Steve Martin often did a recurring skit with the catchphrase “I’m just a wild and crazy guy.” Danny Wilde, half of veteran pop/rock duo The Rembrandts, facetiously describes songwriting partner Phil Solem in a similar way while referencing “Broken Toy,” a catchy standout on their new album Via Satellite. “He has a different way to say what’s on his mind than I do. I’m more of a romantic guy; he’s the twisted freak,” explained Wilde, in a recent phone interview from home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.    With lyrics like…

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When Melissa Etheridge began the creative process to what would become 15th studio album, The Medicine Show, she took a different tack than usual. Utilizing bassist David Santos’ home studio outside Nashville, the veteran singer/guitarist crafted the sonic terrain first. “I had a very specific idea of what I wanted the music to sound and feel like,” said Etheridge, calling from Pennsylvania amid a summer tour including several shows with Pat Benatar. “I was able to get the rhythms going. A lot of them started on drums. I’m not an accomplished drummer, but I started laying the rhythms down, the…

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When the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’s 2019 lineup was announced, there was plenty of talk about how rock music was underrepresented among the 175+ acts. The world-renowned music festival/cultural event had previously hosted headliners like Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, AC/DC, Guns ‘N Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Muse, The Cure, Oasis, Radiohead, The Killers and more. This time, Tame Impala was the only top-billed rock band to fill that role. Over the past two decades, Coachella has become a barometer for the current music climate. Last week, Rolling Stone even…

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Alan Parsons made his initial mark in the music world by engineering or producing successful late 1960s and ‘70s releases by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney & Wings, Al Stewart, Ambrosia and others. After forming The Alan Parsons Project with Eric Woolfson and a releasing a run of bestselling albums, they emerged with the mesmerizing Eye in the Sky in 1982. It became the studio group’s highest charting work, while the lush title track reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56hqrlQxMMI Last December, a lavish four-disc box set was released to mark the 35th anniversary of Eye in…

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A cinematic quality surrounds several songs on The Last Few Beautiful Days, The Motels’ first new studio release in a decade. Its cover art displays a shuttered Troy, N.Y. movie theater built in 1914. Martha Davis says her compositions serve as time machines or travelling agents and are “supposed to transport you…When I was a five-year-old kid listening to [Stravinsky’s] ‘The Rite of Spring,’ my mind was blown. I remember floating in space; free falling.” The veteran singer, calling from a large farmhouse property she shares with six dogs, nine cats, four alpacas and three goats outside Portland, Ore., was…

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