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Tag: Lenny Kravitz (1-9 of 9)

How country music went crazy: A comprehensive timeline of the genre's identity crisis

Are you aware that Nashville is currently embroiled in an outright civil war?

The country music genre has gone through quite a transformation in the past couple years, adopting the electric guitar sounds of nearly-defunct rock radio, the rap-infused cadences and AutoTune normally reserved for hip hop, and, most controversially, the pop elements left behind as that genre gravitated toward electronic dance music. And attitudes have become ever more contentious between traditional and modern-country fans in 2013. Lately, the frustrations have reached a boiling point.

The straw that broke the camel’s back arrived two weeks ago, when Zac Brown called Luke Bryan’s No. 1 single “That’s My Kind of Night” the “worst song I’ve ever heard.” That remark caused Jason Aldean to hop on Instagram and tell Brown, “trust me when I tell u that nobody gives a shit what u think.” The country community quickly took sides in the debate, and the resulting feud has catapulted country music’s identity crisis straight into the spotlight.

These days, pop-country is more popular than ever — but also more despised than ever. Stars like Brown, Alan Jackson, Kacey Musgraves, and Gary Allan have begun publicly expressing unhappiness with their format, which this year has become an increasingly homogenous platform for men (a few weeks ago, Carrie Underwood was the only solo female in the Top 20) singing about trucks and beers and girls and then more trucks.

Tensions have been brewing all year long (and really, much longer than that) — and there’s been no shortage of public feuding among the genre’s A-list. As country fights to figure out what it should look and sound like, its biggest stars are airing some very honest (and sometimes harsh) opinions. Here’s a timeline of country’s wild, crazy, and sometimes mud-slinging year:

January 23: Blake Shelton calls classic country fans “old farts” and “jackasses”
While speaking in a GAC special, The Voice coach angered thousands of elderly country fans when he remarked, “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’ Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.” The comment caused a controversy that endured for weeks and helped spark this year’s debate about traditional-country vs. pop-country.
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CMT Awards: Best and worst of the broadcast

CMT-MIRANDA-LAMBERT.jpg

The real winners were announced last night at the 2013 CMT Music Awards, a fan-voted program that technically honors country-music videos. Still, here are a few more honors from the unremarkable telecast you should feel free to weigh in on:

Worst hosts: With dead eyes and a stiff posture, Jason Aldean left returnee Kristen Bell to once again try way too hard to elicit laughter from the crowd. Their ongoing gag about which duet to sing together (a thinly veiled attempt to get people to use the #CMTawards hashtag) was downright painful — and frequent teleprompter issues didn’t help. These two were no Brad and Carrie. They were no Blake and Reba, either. Heck, they were no Blake and Luke — and that’s saying something. READ FULL STORY

Lenny Kravitz brings 'Black and White America' to New York City's Terminal 5: EW on the scene

Lenny Kravitz’s band is no letdown in the cool department.

The crew’s lone lady sports a shaved head and taps her shoeless feet while shredding her guitar. The horn section follows suit. One member rocks well tailored, yet unkempt dreads. Another, like his lead man, has a mini ‘fro. While the second guitarist resembles Sideshow Bob—but in a “I’d hang out with him” way. All look like if weapons replaced their instruments, they’d be equally capable of defending our planet from the end of days.

Kravitz is captain, of course. And last night at New York City’s Terminal 5, he and company tore it down. The twenty-year veteran dropped his ninth album, Black and White America, Tuesday and he was the evening’s headliner of the Samsung AT&T Summer Krush concert.

Ever the sex symbol, he made ladies squeal upon his arrival. In sunglasses, a fitted black shirt, leather pants, and boots, Kravitz wasted no time getting to his classics. Watch him perform “American Woman” after the jump:

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Lenny Kravitz: What's on My iPod -- an EW Q&A

Lenny Kravitz may be brushing up his big-screen resume (he appeared in Precious last year and plays a key role in the upcoming films based on The Hunger Games), but music remains his first love.

The veteran rocker’s ninth album, Black and White America, hits store shelves both real and virtual on August 30, and as you can tell by his current heavy-rotation selections below, he’s still deeply inspired by an eclectic mix from the past.

Shuggie Otis, “Strawberry Letter 23″
“The story is that Shuggie Otis was a Prince-type character who played all the instruments and wrote all the stuff. I think Quincy [Jones] wanted to produce him or something like that. It didn’t end up happening. This is what I hear. So he covered the song with the Brother Johnson, which is the version most people know. But Shuggie is amazing—he had that Prince vibe back then, with the hair and the ‘stache. He gives me a lot of inspiration now. I just love his sound and his songwriting.”

Little Jimmy Scott, “Day By Day”
“This is from an album called The Source. There’s a photo of a beautiful woman on the cover, and the record company didn’t put him on the cover because they said he wasn’t attractive. He’s been the inspiration for a lot of legendary female jazz singers. He sounds like a woman, but he’s a man. I just can’t get over his phrasing; it’s so beautiful. A friend of mine first played this for me, and it was just mind-blowing. I couldn’t get over it–it’s the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. I put this on at the beach and just lose it.”

Serge Gainsbourg, “Aux Armes Et Caetera”
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Serge Gainsbourg lately. I live half the year in Paris, and I’ve always sort of loved him. You get the reggae mixed with Serge and it’s a great combination. People either get him or they don’t get him. It’s almost like Dylan in a way. My French is limited, but I look at the lyrics and get people to explain things. Of course, I don’t get the full meaning, but anyone who is French will tell you he is the lyricist.” READ FULL STORY

Rihanna, New Kids on the Block, Chris Brown, Lenny Kravitz, and more set to rock Today show's Toyota concert series

NBC’s Today show recently announced the lineup for their annual concert series.

Flame-haired songstress Rihanna will kick off the Toyota-sponsored affair on May 22, making this her fourth time on the Rockefeller Plaza stage.

Nineties pop studs and upcoming tour brothers New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys perform a few Fridays after, on June 3, while acts like Chris Brown, Train, an Maroon 5 all join later.

Check out the entire roster of performers after the jump:

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'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' to host weeklong tribute to Bob Marley with Jennifer Hudson, Chris Cornell, Lenny Kravitz and more - EXCLUSIVE

Last year, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon invited a handful of bands to pay tribute to the Rolling Stones in honor of the re-release of Exile on Main Street. It was a tremendous week of music, featuring performances by the likes of Green Day and Phish tackling classics like “Loving Cup” and “Rip It Up.”

Starting on Monday, May 9, the musical guests on Late Night will all tip their (giant, dread-covering) hats to reggae legend Bob Marley in honor of the 30th anniversary of the great one’s passing.

Monday night’s show features Bob’s son Ziggy, while Tuesday night’s (May 10) episode welcomes Chris Cornell. Jennifer Hudson checks in on Wednesday (May 11), Jakob Dylan pays his respects on Thursday (May 12) and Lenny Kravitz wraps things up on Friday (May 13). Each artist will perform a classic Marley tune that pays tribute to his revolutionary spirit and deep influence on music.

“Big up Jimmy Fallon for honoring the memory of my father,” said son Ziggy, who will also spend time on the couch discussing his father’s legacy with Fallon. “Much respect.”

Though Fallon is still a relative newcomer to the late-night scene, his show has rapidly grown into the best place to see after-hours performances from some of the greatest names in music.

He shrewdly hired the Roots as his house band, and since the show’s inception has played host to a number of huge musical moments, from the drum-off between Ringo Starr and Roots drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson to Fallon dressing up as Neil Young to perform Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” (with assistance from a very game Bruce Springsteen) and bananas hip-hop collective Odd Future’s first network appearance.

The weeklong tribute to Marley promises to be yet another notch in Fallon’s ever-expanding musical belt. So tell us, readers: What Bob song would you like to see each slated artist get irie on?

More on EW.com:
NBC renews ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ — EXCLUSIVE
Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon sing Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’
Phish to appear on Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Exile on Main Street’ tribute week

Rihanna and Lenny Kravitz to highlight NBA All-Star game

Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, Cee-Lo Green and Josh Groban will perform during the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Los Angeles later this month. According to Billboard, Rihanna will sing two hits from her album, Loud, during halftime of the Feb. 20 showcase, and Kravitz will play his new single, “Come On Get It,” when the teams’ rosters are introduced. Groban will sing the American national anthem; and Melanie Fiona will present the Canadian anthem.

Keri Hilson and Bruno Mars will perform during the pregame festivities, and Hilson will also sing the national anthem before the NBA slam-dunk contest on Feb. 19, which will also feature songs from Green, Far East Movement, and Cali Swag District.

EW Exclusive! Mos Def and Lenny Kravitz perform the Gulf Aid track, 'Ain't My Fault.'

We’ve just got our hands on the rather nifty video for “Ain’t My Fault,” the track which Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, the Preservation Hall Band, Trombone Shorty, and Tim Robbins have recorded to benefit Gulf Aid, the nonprofit established in response to the oil spill off the Louisiana Coast. Mos Def performed the track at a relief concert in New Orleans yesterday—a show that also featured Kravitz, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, and Kermit Ruffins, and which will air on FUSE this Saturday night. But you can see the video after the jump.

Take a look, tell us what you think, and, obviously, feel free to make a donation.

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Michael Jackson: Lenny Kravitz confirms leaked 'collaboration' is genuine

Lenny Kravitz has just released a video statement confirming that the leaked track “Another Day” is indeed a collaboration between himself and Michael Jackson. “The version that’s out is…not mixed, but it is the track,” says the singer in the video. “The song was recorded by Michael and myself. I produced it for him, I wrote the song, and I played all the instruments on the track. It was one of the most amazing musical experiences that I’ve ever had. It was done by two people who had respect for each other and who loved music.” Kravitz also says he has no knowledge as to the identity of the DJ who can be heard on the song.

A portion of “Another Day” leaked to the net over the weekend, and it was widely reported that the track was a collaboration between Jackson and Kravitz. Following Jackson’s death, Kravitz told an interviewer that he “got to work with Michael on a track that has not been released.”

So what happens to the song now? TMZ is reporting the track was “never meant to see the light of day” and that Jackson’s label Sony wants to have the song pulled from the Internet. In Kravitz’s video statement, meanwhile, the rocker says that he would “like to see this thing straightened out as soon as possible” so that fans can “hear the track in its entirety, the way it was meant to be.” You can see the video in full below.

What do you think of Kravitz’s statement and of “Another Day” itself? Is it deserving of a proper release?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Nick Jonas’ ‘Who I Am’ video
Kanye West is back in the studio and getting inspired by…Maya Angelou?
New Jay-Z video
The 10 best singles of 2009: EW’s definitive list
Flaming Lips cover Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album; results are surprisingly awful
The year in NSFW video: What were the gnarliest, nakedest music clips of ‘09?

Photo credit: Jackson: Kevin Mazur; Kravitz: Radim Rotek/PR Photos

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