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Whether you know it or not, you hear Curtis Mayfield’s influence every day. Sure, his grooves have been endlessly sampled, but the gorgeous soul music he created, especially after he split with the Impressions, the groundbreaking group, whose unique blend of gospel and soul made him famous, have inspired countless artists, from Paul Weller and Johnny Marr to Alicia Keys and Kendrick Lamar. “I discovered Curtis Mayfield in the 1970s, and his music really opened my mind as to what was possible, rhythmically and stylistically,” Paul Weller, who has covered the legend several times over the years, most notably in…

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Along with Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann was the heartbeat of the Grateful Dead for more than thirty years. After more ups and downs than any band should have to endure, it all came to a crashing halt when Jerry Garcia, the band’s guitarist, heart and soul, and titular leader, died in 1995. But far from retreating or retiring, Kreutzman is as busy as ever. His recent book, Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams and Drugs with the Grateful Dead, recounts the history of the most famous jam bandv in the world, as well as the many adventures and career…

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The “Canyon” referred to in the title of Andrew Slater’s Echo in the Canyon is Laurel Canyon. The co-writer/director’s 82-minute nonfiction film explores the music scene that emerged out of this mountainous enclave in Los Angeles and the impact “California Sound” had on a subsequent generation of musicians. For a brief moment in music history, Laurel Canyon was the epicenter of the folk-rock sensibility. Despite being located inside one of America’s largest cities, the Canyon boasts exquisite surroundings captured onscreen with splendid cinematography, picturesque environs that appealed to countercultural residents with their return-to-nature vibe. As record producer Lou Adler relates:…

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Having penned the ultimate snarling garage rock song, “Wild Thing,” songwriter/artist Chip Taylor set forth a legacy that would be assured for decades to come. A seasoned, gifted songwriter logging over 50 years of experience in the trenches —  he also composed the hits “I Can’t Let Go,” “Angel Of The Morning,” “Try (Just A Little Bit Harder,” “Julie,” among others — Taylor continues to be a vibrant participant in music, writing songs and issuing his own studio albums. His latest, Whiskey Salesman, is a rootsy slice of Americana. He’s also building a whole new fan base of younger generation…

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“I love this place and it means a lot to me, because when I was young, before I wanted to be a lumberjack, I really, really wanted to be an explorer,” Monty Python’s Michael Palin tells me, as we sit in an office at New York City’s venerable Explorer’s Club. “It was very frustrating living in the north of England and wanting to be an explorer, partly because I couldn’t grow up fast enough. Places were being explored, and the unknown places were shrinking away. We had climbed Everest, but I had only been as far as Nottingham. It was…

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Guitar player, songwriter, producer, actor, political activist and lord of his own music radio kingdom with Sirius XM’s Little Steven’s Underground Garage, Jersey’s finest, Steven Van Zandt, is an artist always on the move. With Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band on an extended hiatus, Little Steven has re-kick started his solo career in recent years, releasing two new studio albums and a live record. His latest, Summer Of Sorcery, is a groove-tastic sonic love letter to the good ‘ol days of the ‘60s and early ‘70s with affectionate knowing nods to many of his key musical avatars:  James Brown,…

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After a brief hiatus, during which David Coverdale dropped hints of possible retirement, he has reassembled Whitesnake, and the classic hard rock band has launched  a full-scale sonic assault with their new album, Flesh and Blood, which is due out May 10 on Frontier Records and can be pre-ordered now at this link. The album harkens back to the group’s early roots, but also displays a greater musical diversity that may surprise some.  The music video for the cut “Shut Up & Kiss Me” has the indelible Whitesnake stamp all over it, and makes a special reference to the group’s…

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Interviewing someone who has spent time inside The Rolling Stones can be a daunting task for a journalist. With the exception of the “core four”, band members are careful about what they can and can’t say, and sometimes the interviewer may actually know what’s on the radar for the band more than the interviewee.  Bernard Fowler has been a member of the Stones’ extended band for over 25 years, singing backup vocals on both live and recorded albums since 1989,  a term that exceeds the age of most bands. His work with the Stones actually goes back to his days…

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Like their moniker, The Zombies are an unstoppable, undying musical force that refuse to go off quietly in the still of the night. Championed by the likes of Tom Petty, Paul Weller, XTC, The Bangles and countess others as a pivotal influence, The Zombies’ music continues to endure and flourish drawing in new generations of fans to their spectacular and creatively inventive body of work. Fittingly, after years of being passed over, The Zombies were finally inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. A few days after the ceremony, we sat down with Zombies bassist, vocalist and principal…

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Some things are worth waiting for.  “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” TV special was filmed in December of 1968, but was shelved for decades as folks assumed its footage had been lost forever. Fast forward many years later, the footage was discovered in a barn in England, and 28 years later, the landmark rock and roll TV spectacular finally saw release in 1996. It was a fantastical music event, its playful traveling circus big-top atmosphere replete with clowns, trapeze aerialists and fire eaters, colorful staging and powerful performances captured some of rock’s legendary icons at the peak of…

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