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Neither age nor tragedy can keep Ringo Starr off the road

Ringo Starr calls from his hotel room amid the neon bling and bustle of Las Vegas, a Liverpudlian accent still peppering that unmistakable voice. Fresh off of rehearsal, the spry and ageless 77-year-old rocker readies for something he doesn’t have to do: tour.

>> Read more trending news

“Every time I put a band together and we talk to the press, they say, ‘You want to tour? You’re still playing?’” Starr said. “And I say, ‘Yep, because that’s what I do. I’m not an electrician.’”

He’s a drummer, arguably the most significant on the planet. Thanks to his Beatles tenure and solo career, the Rock Hall of Famer continues causing countless others to pick up sticks eons after the British Invasion.

“Ringo is the archetype of a great pop-rock drummer,” said Atlanta musician and producer Robert Schneider of psychedelic rockers the Apples in Stereo. “To me, he represents drumming perfection: heavy, groovy and solid, yet a little wild and not overly technical.”

Bill King, editor and publisher of the Atlanta-based Beatlefan magazine, calls him “one of the most influential drummers ever.”

Starr, with his All Starr Band in tow, will display that influence Nov. 11 at the Fox Theatre. Known to have an enduring affection for the city, Starr even invested in a downtown Atlanta eatery, the defunct London Brasserie, in the late 1980s.

His favorite Atlanta haunt today? “The Container Store,” he quipped. “That’s the place for me, brother. I need to contain myself, it seems.”

Yeah, the Beatle the press dubbed “the funny one” more than 50 years ago still has it. Subsequently, his evolution has led from cheeky mop topper to a contemporary poster child for peace and love.

Starr has become synonymous with the phrase, perpetually uttering it in interviews and onstage; consistently waving the two-fingered sign in public; and plastering it on his website and on the cover of his latest album, “Give More Love.” Each year on July 7 — they say it’s his birthday — Starr organizes a public peace and love salute with satellite events dropping all over the planet.

>> RELATED: Ringo Starr turns 77

If ever the world needed Starr to raise his peaceable hands, it might be now.

Fatefully, Starr and company were booked to start their current tour in Las Vegas months in advance of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. A lone shooter took the lives of 59 people, including himself, and injured more than 500 others.

When recalling watching the event play out on television, Starr pauses with muted emotion. “Every time it comes up, I get a tear in my eye that so many went down,” Starr said. “Fifty-nine families have a lot to deal with, and all of those people who were wounded. … It’s hard to deal with it in your mind.”

The day after the tragedy, Starr was scheduled for a business meeting in Vegas ahead of an eight-night residency at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino set to begin less than two weeks later.

“It was a big decision to go or not,” he said. “I decided, ‘Let’s go. Let’s not let it stop our lives. We’ve got to carry on.’”

Then in the midst of the meeting, someone broke the news to Starr that his close friend and collaborator, musician Tom Petty, had died. Trudging forward, Starr made it through the meeting and kept the tour launch date on the books for Oct. 13 in Vegas.

On Oct. 12, Starr and wife Barbara Bach donated $100,000 through their Lotus Foundation to the Nevada Resort Association’s Vegas Strong Fund. The latter benefits those impacted by the Vegas shooting.

Peace and loving his way through adversity seems par for Starr’s course. In 1989, after years of struggling with addiction, Starr entered rehab and surrendered to sobriety. Seven months later, he put together his first All Starr Band.

“And here we are,” Starr said. “The dream is still unfolding.”

The concept of Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band finds the drummer sharing the stage with a who’s who of rotating musicians. To be an All Starr, you need a hit record or two to your credit. The production allows each All Starr to have his or her time in the spotlight, rocking their respective tunes. The rest of the set list, approximately half, goes to Starr with the band backing him on Beatles and solo tracks. This results in a show loaded with a total of about two dozen radio-friendly, classic rock anthems.

Since 1989, a laundry list of performers have held All Starr slots, from Starr’s brother-in-law Joe Walsh and the late Billy “the fifth Beatle” Preston to Shelia E. and Peter Frampton. According to Starr, he’s had 12 official incarnations.

The latest lineup proves to be the longest running with the core remaining the same since 2012. It features Todd Rundgren; Gregg Rolie (Santana); Richard Page (Mr. Mister); Steve Lukather (Toto); and veteran drummer Gregg Bissonette. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Warren Ham (Kansas) joined in 2014.

“Over the years, we’ve really gotten to know each other,” Starr explained. “We know where each other is heading. Once we get the harmonies right, we’re off (and running).”

Despite the fact he could easily dominate the stage himself for the entirety of a show, Starr opts for the communal experience of making music with others, allowing all involved a chance to shine.

“He likes getting to play to other peoples’ numbers,” said King. “As he says, all he ever wanted to be was a drummer. To him, the fact that he still gets to do that is the ultimate payoff. He’s spent his life doing what he wanted to do, which is play drums.”

Taylor Swift’s new album gets favorable reviews

Taylor Swift’s sixth album arrived as expected on download services just before midnight Friday, and it’s already getting a good reputation. 

>> Read more trending news

What might have been unexpected was how “Reputation” -- Swift’s 15-song album that was released after four pre-releases and a three-year album hiatus by the singer -- was received by critics, Billboard reported.

The album had more than 400,000 pre-orders, The Associated Press reported on Nov. 3. Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, was predicting sales of more than 2 million in the album’s first week.

The reviews have been positive so far. The Los Angeles Times called “Reputation” Swift’s “most focused, most cohesive album yet.” Rolling Stone said it was an album “full of one-on-one adult love songs.”

It is “her most intimate album,” Rolling Stone continued. “A cycle about how it feels when you stop chasing romance and start letting your life happen.

“That’s a daring swerve from a songwriter who’s scored so many brilliant hits about pursuing the next romantic high,” Rolling Stone wrote.

Before the album’s official release, Swift previewed four songs from “Reputation”: “Look What You Made Me Do,” “... Ready For It?” “Gorgeous,” and “Call It What You Want.”

>> Taylor Swift previews fourth song from album

“Don’t let the album title fool you,” USA Today reported. “Taylor Swift doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation.”

The New York Times called “Reputation” a “public renegotiation, engaging pop music on its terms, not hers.” It is “fundamentally unlike any of her other albums in that it takes into account -- prioritizes, actually -- the tempo and tone of her competition.”

Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

The holiday season is upon us and that probably means the icicle lights are going up at your local hangouts, your neighbors are starting to set up the decor in their front yards and, of course, Christmas music is likely on a continuous loop everywhere you go — or it will be soon.

» RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

If you’re not all that excited about the last bit, you’re not alone.

In fact, according to some mental health experts, hearing Christmas music can be psychologically draining, especially for those working in retail who have to listen to holiday tunes blasting in their stores regularly. 

» RELATED: 9-year-old battling cancer to celebrate Christmas early this year

“People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out -- tune out Christmas music -- because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else,” Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the United Kingdom, told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

Music tends to bypass rationality and go straight for our emotions, Blair said. "It might make us feel that we're trapped. It's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.”

>> Read more trending news

While previous research has shown that adding Christmas music or scents to the shopping experience yields a positive experience for shoppers, it could also lead to impulse buys, due to the music’s emotional influence, Blair said.

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

The United Kingdom’s Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers also told Sky News it “ask(s) employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting.”

» RELATED: President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

Increased stress during the holidays is also a major trend in the U.S., according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Some common holiday stressors could include financial demands of the season, dealing with the interpersonal dynamics of family and maintaining personal health habits, including an exercise regimen, a 2015 Healthline study on consumer health found.

» RELATED: 12 expert-approved tips to avoid holiday weight gain

Ellen Braaten, a psychology professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared some tips in a Harvard Medical School report on holiday stress and the brain:

“People who feel stressed during the holidays should evaluate how they spend their time, decide what they want the holidays to mean to them, and keep their expectations for the season realistic.”

“The holidays are just another time of year,” Braaten said, “certainly something to mark, but not the end-all, be-all.”

Read more about holiday stress and the brain at neuro.hms.harvard.edu.

Taylor Swift releases tracklist for 'Reputation' album

Taylor Swift just dropped the track list for her highly anticipated album, “Reputation,” and her fans are excited.

>> Read more trending news

According to the track list, there’s only one song with features on the album, but Swift is bringing in musical heavyweights, including Ed Sheeran and Future. Considering both are from wildly different genres, the song “End Game” is sure to be quite the experience.

Some fans can’t wait to hear the collaboration.

Others think Swift, Sheeran and Future make an odd and unfavorable motley crew. 

Swift officially released the 15-song track list after photos were leaked on the internet.

Here’s the full track list:

1. ... Ready For It?

2. End Game

3. I Did Something Bad

4. Don’t Blame Me

5. Delicate

6. Look What You Made Me Do

7. So It Goes...

8. Gorgeous

9. Getaway Car

10. King of My Heart

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied

12. Dress

13. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

14. Call It What You Want

15. New Year’s Day 

Swift has been promoting her new album in major ways: secret listening sessions at her house, the album cover plastered on UPS trucks and race cars, and a 72-page magazine.

“Reputation” is Swift’s sixth studio album and is set to drop on Nov. 10. The album will be released amid much speculation about who the songs are about. The lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” is supposedly a clap back at the media and public after a drama-filled few years, and as the lyrics in the song say, the old Taylor is “dead,” -- and she’s looking to rise again with a new style, sound and relationship.

RELATED: Taylor Swift might be headed back to court after songwriters claim she stole their lyrics

Garth Brooks gets honest about why he lip-synced his CMA performance

You might have noticed awkward timing during Garth Brooks’ performance at the CMA Awards and chalked it up to the typical delay that is built into live television shows. Brooks and his music didn’t seem to be in sync -- because they weren’t.

>> Read more trending news

But being the artist that he is, Garth openly admitted to reporters backstage, shortly after he was named the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year, that he was lip-syncing to his newest hit single, “Ask Me How I Know.” And it was for good reason -- his voice was under the strain of 12 shows in 10 days, and as he spoke, the coarseness in his voice was evident.

RELATEDGarth Brooks draws major applause for his CMA Awards performance

Brooks said he and his team made a “game time call” on whether they should sing his tracks or lip-sync, and he chose the latter.

“We decided to lip-sync it because my voice just isn’t going anywhere, and we wanted to represent country music the best we can,” he said.

With a seven-night run in Spokane, Washington, starting Nov. 9, the superstar said he was doing his best to save what voice he had left for those performances.

RELATEDGarth Brooks makes no bones about wanting a sixth CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy

Brooks also took the opportunity to give a nod to Female Vocalist winner Miranda Lambert.

“Let me tell you who fought the good fight tonight, in my opinion: Miranda Lambert. She’s one of few females we play, so you’d think she’d want to play it safe. She came out and she stuck country music in all of our faces tonight, traditional country music. So, she’s fighting the good fight.”

In a night that was filled with optimism, hope and healing, where artist after artist spoke about the family that is country music, it was just like Brooks to shine the spotlight on one of his peers.

Chance the Rapper surprises Chicago City Council meeting to argue against ‘cop academy’

Chance the Rapper often shouts out his native Chicago in his music (“You cannot mess with the light/ look at little Chano from 79th,” he famously rapped in fellow Chicagoan Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”), but he doesn’t limit his Windy City advocacy to song form.

On Wednesday, Chance (real name Chancellor Bennett) showed up unannounced to Chicago’s City Hall for a city council meeting, arguing that the assembled aldermen should vote against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal for a new $95 million police academy. Chance said the city government should instead invest such funds in Chicago Public Schools.

“My name is Chance the Rapper. I’m here representing the city of Chicago: The students, principals, parents, and teachers of Chicago,” Chance began. “I think you guys are familiar with the work that I’ve been doing. We’re doing a lot of work with Orr Academy, which is just down the street from where this proposed police academy is gonna be at. This school, with just $100,000 in 3 years, is about to make some transformative changes. It’d be awesome, though, if we could get pools at their school, or a new library, or a museum, or any of the things that are proposed in the budget for this $95 million cop academy … There are a lot of different services that need to be funded. Obviously schooling is my big thing, but there are a lot of ways to transform the city without policing.”

This is not the first time Chance has publicly advocated on behalf of CPS. Back in March, Chance even met with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner amid a high-stakes budget negotiation to convince him not to withhold funding from Chicago’s schools. When that didn’t work, he personally donated $1 million to CPS, and called for others to follow suit. The difficulty of that struggle influenced his stance on the proposed training facility, as he made clear on Wednesday.

“What are we doing? I’ve been asking for money for over a year now to fund these classrooms,” Chance told the aldermen. “But on the Fourth of July weekend, they announced they’re proposing a $95 million cop academy. What is y’all doing? It doesn’t make sense, and I’m very confused. You guys have a lot of power here, and that’s the reason why I showed up at 8 am. I feel like, maybe if you guys hear me say it…”

Chance is not the only person making this argument. Students, teachers, community organizers, and activists from around Chicago have banded together under the hashtag #NoCopAcademy to protest the proposed facility, and instead argue for community investment. CPS teacher Dave Stieber recently expressed the protestors’ frustration for the Huffington Post, writing, “Every year our students watch as librarians, counselors, social workers, support staff, security, and teachers are cut … Yet through all of this, Chicago always finds money for policing.”

When Chance showed up to City Hall on Wednesday, he was joining a crowd of protestors who had already gathered. Unfortunately, their efforts did not make much of a difference, at least on Wednesday’s vote. The city council overwhelmingly voted to acquire land for the proposed academy, with only Alderman Carlos Rosa voting against.

“A set back for now, but there’s a grassroots army rising up to break every chain, end racist policing, and put working and poor Chicagoans of all backgrounds first,” Rosa tweeted after the vote. “There will be other votes and this is just the beginning.”

Chance, too, continued to use the #NoCopAcademy hashtag in defiance of the city council’s vote. Watch the video of his talk below.

Keith Urban performs 'Female' at CMA Awards in response to Harvey Weinstein scandal

Over the last few days, Keith Urban has been dropping little hints to some big news. Not only would Wednesday be the day that Urban found himself vying for multiple CMA Awards, but it was also the day he was dropping a new single.

>> PHOTOS: 51st annual CMA Awards show

>> PHOTOS: 51st CMA Awards red carpet arrivals

On Wednesday night, he performed the new single, "Female," in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

>> Watch a clip of the performance here

>> Read more trending news 

The song, which Urban delivered onstage at the 51st annual CMA Awards, included lyrics such as, “When you hear somebody say somebody hits like a girl, how does that hit you?” and “When somebody laughs and implies that she asked for it just ’cause she was wearin’ a skirt, oh, is that how that works?”

>> Hear the full song here

Pink performed 'Barbies' at the CMA Awards, and fans had plenty to say

Each year, it seems the Country Music Association invites an artist from outside the country genre to sing at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville during the CMA Awards. Last year, the surprise act was Beyoncé. Prior to that, it was Memphis-born pop singer Justin Timberlake.

>> PHOTOS: 51st annual CMA Awards show

Just last month, it was revealed that Pink was going to be the unexpected guest for the 51st annual CMA Awards ceremony Wednesday. However, it was unclear what song she would sing, or if she would sing a duet.

>> On Rare.us: Watch Kenny Chesney and Pink’s sun-drenched new video

Nonetheless, she delivered a stripped-down performance of her emotional ballad, “Barbies,” from her seventh studio album, “Beautiful Trauma.”

>> Watch a clip of the performance here

>> Read more trending news

The female powerhouse, who is known for soaring across the stage like an acrobat, didn’t need all of the bells and whistles for her performance. Instead, she sat on a bar stool as a string section played along.

>> PHOTOS: 51st CMA Awards red carpet arrivals

After her performance, fans took to social media with their opinions about whether Pink belonged at the CMA Awards. And, yes, some people seemed a tad confused.

>> 2017 CMA Awards: Winners list

“Retweet if you’re confused as to why Pink is performing right now #CMAawards,” one person tweeted.

“Shame we didn’t have any country artist that could have performed instead of Pink on the CMA Awards. #CMAawards,” another person added.

On the other hand, many fans were delighted by Pink’s presence at the CMAs.

>> Montgomery Gentry’s Eddie Montgomery joins CMAs Troy Gentry tribute performance

“Shout out to @Pink for having one of the most country performances of the night. You did amazing sweetie. Beautiful song #CMAawards,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

“Thank you for sharing your voice with #Nashville and the #cmaawards,” another fan wrote.

>> Tears fall as Carrie Underwood pays tribute Vegas shooting victims, stars lost

And perhaps you’d consider Pink to be an odd choice for a country music awards show, but she’s no stranger to country music, as she was nominated for her first-ever CMA Award this year. Pink earned a nod in Musical Event of the Year for “Setting the World on Fire,” her duet with Kenny Chesney.

Prince’s Revolution will perform in Atlanta in 2018

The Revolution is coming.

BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene

In April, “Doctor” Matt Fink and Mark “BrownMark” Brown, members of Prince’s illustrious ‘80s band, The Revolution, said they hoped to play Atlanta, but were unsure of a date.

It took seven months of planning, but The Revolution is officially headed to the Tabernacle.

The band – Fink, Brown (who recently relocated to the Atlanta-area), drummer Bobby Z, keyboardist Lisa Coleman and guitarist Wendy Melvoin – will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 24.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Nov. 9 via www.ticketmaster.com (a pre-sale starts at 10 a.mm. Nov. 8 with the code BEATS) for $35-$65. Floor tickets are general admission and all balconies are reserved seating.

In April, The Revolution performed at Celebration 2017 at Paisley Park to commemorate the first anniversary of Prince’s death.

 

 

 

http://music.blog.myajc.com/2017/04/22/the-revolution-remembers-prince-at-paisley-park-celebration-concert/

 

 

Miley Cyrus responds to criticism over Texas church shooting comments

Miley Cyrus responded to criticism of her initial reaction to the news of the deadly church shooting in Texas with a commentary on white men, guns and President Donald Trump.

>> Chelsea Handler's tweet about Texas church shooting draws ire

On Sunday, Devin Kelley, 26, killed 26 people after he opened fire in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Cyrus wrote that the shooting was a “TERRORIST act by a WHITE AMERICAN MAN” and said she was “mortified by our country" and its "lack of control/laws” in an Instagram post. 

>> See the post here (WARNING: Linked page contains profanity)

Fans were divided by the post.

“Gun laws are not the issue!” one Instagram user argued. “Without guns, the shooter would probably still be alive and have killed a lot more people! But since there was a GOOD GUY WITH A GUN he was able to put a stop to the shooter! Drugs safe illegal, people still find a way to get them. Drinking and driving is illegal, people are dying everyday because of it. Laws do not stop people.”

>> Chelsea Handler doubles down on Texas church shooting comments

Another wrote, “Thank you Miley for the passion and love you speak with not everyone will agree with you and that’s ok but the point is a discussion most be had and something most be done.”

In a follow-up post, Cyrus said she was “aghast” by the reaction to her first post.

"It is completely amazing to me how defensive and in denial this country really is!" she wrote. "You are not focused on the horrific tragedy I addressed but more angered that I am putting a BIG bright spotlight on the fact it was a 'WHITE AMERICAN MALE' terrorist that walked in & killed 26 people (including children) leaving 20 severely injured!"

>> See the post here (WARNING: Linked page contains profanity)

She also criticized Trump for saying the focus should be on mental health, not guns, while on a foreign policy trip to Japan.

“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation,” Trump said in a press conference.

>> Trump says Texas church shooting result of 'mental health problem,' not guns

“I’d like to believe that EVERY person who takes the life of another being is 'mentally ill'…. it’s hard to conceptualize that a sane human could commit such a hideous crime. BUT I am sorry Donald Trump this absolutely is a 'GUNS SITUATION,'” Cyrus wrote.

She then received backlash for speaking on the part that external factors such as gender, race and religion played after a mass shooting.

>> Read more trending news

In her final post, Cyrus told her fans that it was not her intention to “generalize or stereotype.” She shared pictures of the men in her family with the caption, “Just a few of my favorite WHITE AMERICAN MALES.”

“You are all correct to believe every human deserves the same respect …. but please keep that in mind when you’re judging others. NOT just with the race, religion, gender or sexuality which YOU identify with. Deal?” she wrote.

Cyrus ended her statements with a heart emoji.

>> See the post here

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