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Music, empowerment: the Essence of it

Photo provided by GMc+Co. Advertising -- Usher

The Essence Festival returns to New Orleans for the July Fourth weekend with four nights of evening concerts in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and three days of the Empowerment Experience at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Among the nation’s largest events, the Essence Festival is expected to draw more than 550,000 attendees… Continue reading →

Former Baker Middle School teacher Dee-1 turns to hip-hop ‘as a form of expression’

Photo by Brittany Baham -- Dee-1

New Orleans hip-hop artist Dee-1 puts a different spin on rap. Rapping for a higher purpose, he writes positive rhymes about being real, righteous and relevant. An LSU graduate and former Baker Middle School teacher, Dee-1, aka David Augustine, went pro with his rap music in 2011. That was the year he released his… Continue reading →

VooDoo Music Experience announces lineup

Associated Press file photo -- Ozzy Osbourne

English indie rock band Florence + The Machine, heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne and Atlanta-based country act the Zac Brown Band will headline the 2015 Voodoo Music Experience. The Halloween-timed music festival returns to City Park in New Orleans Oct. 30- Nov. 1. Now in its 17th year, the… Continue reading →

From playing with Prince to debut in N.O., new album, Andy Allo spreads wings

Photo provided by Captivate Management Group -- Andy Allo

This weekend, Andy Allo, the 25-year-old singer, guitarist and songwriter who spent two years in Prince’s New Power Generation band, will simultaneously make her Essence Festival and New Orleans debuts. Allo left New Power Generation in 2013, which means she wasn’t in Prince’s band when he headlined the Essence Festival last year. This year she’s… Continue reading →

Review: Musgraves wows with ‘Pageant Material’

Photo by KELLY CHRISTINE MUSGRAVES -- Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves strives for a classic ’60s country sound on her second album, “Pageant Material.” Ditching the loops and other contemporary flourishes of her ground-breaking, Grammy-winning 2013 debut, “Same Trailer, Different Park,” the native Texan presents carefully arranged tracks focused on steel guitar, orchestrated strings and brushed rhythms. Lyrically, she shifts… Continue reading →

From Belafonte to the blues: Guy Davis’ uncommon life

Photo provided by Joseph A. Rosen -- Guy Davis

The blues, at its best, strikes a common chord: Guy Davis unspools everyman’s tale with earnest, engaging ease — but his own story is uncommon. This down-to-earth bluesman wears the larger-than-life mantle of his late parents: activist-actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. The New York native travels the world sharing… Continue reading →

Neon Trees to play Dixie Landin’/Blue Bayou on Saturday

photo by Mathew Hartman -- Neon Trees

Singer and keyboardist Tyler Glenn and guitarist Chris Allen formed Neon Trees, the pop and neo-new wave band whose hits include “Animal,” “Everybody Talks” and “Sleeping with a Friend,” in college town Provo, Utah, in 2005. The band’s lineup solidified in late 2007 with the addition of bassist Branden Campbell and drummer-singer Elaine Bradley. “Chris and Tyler… Continue reading →

Bonsoir, Catin: ‘When we play here in Louisiana, everybody’s dancing’

Photo by GREG MILES -- Bonsoir Catin are, from left, Anya Burgess, Christine Balfa, Danny Devillier, Kristi Guillory, Ashley Hayes, Maegan Berard.

Two weekends ago in New Orleans’ Armstrong Park, the Grammy-nominated Bonsoir, Catin made its debut at the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival. The nearly all-female Lafayette band adds swamp pop, zydeco and rock ’n’ roll to its Cajun foundation. “We love all kinds of music,” said Kristi Guillory, the group’s co-founder, singer and accordion player. “Whenever I write… Continue reading →

Louisiana Film Society to screen Sundance favorite “Dope”

Open Road Films photo by Rachel Morrison -- Shameik Moore stars as Malcolm in the new film, 'Dope.'

The Louisiana Film Society and the Louisiana International Film Festival are presenting a pre-release screening of “Dope” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. A favorite with audiences and critics at the Sundance Film Festival, “Dope” follows a young man named Malcolm (Shameik Moore) as he navigates life in a tough Los… Continue reading →

Janet Jackson to play the Smoothie King Center on Sept. 30

FILE - In this May 23, 2013 file photo, six-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum selling artist  Janet Jackson arrives at a benefit at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, during the 66th international film festival, in Cap d'Antibes, southern France. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Janet Jackson will perform Sept. 30 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The show is part of the singer’s “Unbreakable World Tour.” She previously played the Smoothie King Center, then known as the New Orleans Arena, in September 2001. Jackson is a Grammy-winning, multi-platinum selling artist and member of the Jackson family of musicians that… Continue reading →

Summer jazz concert series starts at LSU

Photo provided by the LSU School of Music -- 'Hot Summer Nights and Cool Jazz' brings together a quartet, mostly of LSU faculty, along with guests artists.

The Hot Summer Nights Quartet never does the same show twice. And even if it decided to perform the same lineup two nights in a row, audiences would still hear a different program. “We improvise, so we could never duplicate what we played the night before,” Willis Delony says. “We may plan out a program,… Continue reading →

Musicians honored at Slim Harpo Music Awards

Photo by Matthew Schlenker -- James Johnson, left, and Jimmie Vaughan at Slim Harpo Awards 2015.

Last week’s Slim Harpo Music Awards brought Texas music stars Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton to Baton Rouge. At Chelsea’s Café, honorees Vaughan and Barton graciously accepted their Slim Harpo Legends Awards. Following the ceremony, Vaughan, Barton and Tilt-A-Whirl performed with a special guest, original Slim Harpo band member James Johnson. A Grammy-winning Louisiana… Continue reading →

In 'match made in heaven,' Stephen Colbert tabs New Orleans native Jon Batiste as new 'Late Show' bandleader

Jon Batiste performs at the 2014 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Friday, June 13, 2014, in Manchester, Tennessee. (Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: INVW

Stephen Colbert, the new host of CBS’ “The Late Show,” has named New Orleans native Jon Batiste as the show’s band leader. “His music makes the audience feel so good, we may have to install a ‘Do Not Make Love’ sign,” Colbert said Thursday in a CBS news release. “I’m thrilled,” Batiste said in… Continue reading →

Lil Boosie to Rolling Stone: 'I miss Louisiana sometimes ... But I don’t miss the hatred; I don’t miss the crooked cops'

In this March 10, 2014, file photo, rapper Lil' Boosie, whose real name is Torence Hatch, appears at a news conference in New Orleans.(AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie, at 32, is living large in Atlanta, with a new album, Touch Down 2 Cause Hell, and what Rolling Stone calls a new attitude of optimism and hope. He sat down with the magazine for a far-reaching interview that touches on music, life in prison (He was Continue reading →

Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell together again for new album

Invision/AP photo by AMY SUSSMAN -- Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris

Even though the server got his order wrong, Rodney Crowell waits patiently for his egg-white omelet. He chats with Emmylou Harris as she picks at her grapefruit, revealing his easygoing nature and their comfort with each other. But more than having similar personalities, it’s evident they share the same sense of… Continue reading →

Blake Shelton, Superfest delayed by severe rains, but classy, country-home show warms Tiger Stadium crowd

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Country music star Blake Shelton closes out the 2015 Bayou Country Superfest, Sunday, May 24, 2015, on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

Blake Shelton, country singing star and coach for TV’s “The Voice,” felt some pressure Sunday night in Tiger Stadium. Shelton, Bayou Country Superfest’s Sunday night headliner, took the stage 30 minutes after his scheduled starting time. Earlier, he’d watched his singing star wife, Miranda Lambert, perform during a rainstorm that drenched Tiger Stadium. Wind and… Continue reading →

Taylor Swift dazzles fans in Baton Rouge with first stadium concert on her ‘1989’ world tour

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Taylor Swift performs as part of her 1989 World Tour, Friday, May 22, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Friday night in Baton Rouge, superstar Taylor Swift returned for her second appearance in LSU’s Tiger Stadium. “Well, hi, my name is Taylor, and I love the sight of a 50,000-person stadium in Baton Rouge,” Swift said after the first two songs of the evening. Opening songs — “Welcome to New York,” a pop empowerment… Continue reading →

QA: Miranda Lambert expects thrilling party at Bayou Country Superfest

The Advocate caught up with Miranda Lambert who detailed her expectations of the Bayou Country Superfest and her experiences in Louisiana: 1. What excites you most about playing Bayou Country Superfest? Last year I was about to release my latest album, Platinum, and I missed out on the festival entirely, so I'm really excited to see everyone down there! 2. Whats your favorite… Continue reading →

Quick QA with Brantley Gilbert, Cassadee Pope: Two artists performing at Bayou Country Superfest rank their favorite Louisiana dishes; offer reflections on LSU Tiger football

Cassadee Pope; Brantley Gilbert

The Advocate caught up with country music artists Brantley Gilbert and Cassadee Pope for their impressions and reactions to Louisiana culture and living. Here are their answers: Brantley Gilbert 1) What excites you most about playing Bayou Country Superfest? What excites me the most about playing the Bayou Country Superfest is everything that’s leading up… Continue reading →

Lafayette Concert Band plans memorial show

The Lafayette Concert Band will honor America’s military heroes who died in defense of their country with its annual “Songs of Remembrance” concert at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Bayou Church, 2234 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette. The 70-member, all volunteer adult community band, under the direction of Gerald Guilbeaux, will perform marches and patriotic selections in this… Continue reading →

Rush rules: Art-rock band wins hearts, minds, air guitar followers

Photo by RANDY JOHNSON -- Rush

When Foo Fighter Dave Grohl inducted Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, he said, “They did it from the ground up. No hype, no bulls***, without any help from the mainstream press — cough — Rolling Stone!” Early on, the Canadian art-rock band Rush was dismissed as another Led Zeppelin, inspired… Continue reading →

Nick Jonas talks hit singles, JoBros, Timberlake, acting

Invision/AP photo by CHRIS PIZZELLO -- Nick Jonas performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Nick Jonas may have become a sex symbol to female fans in the last year, but the singer says his new tour won’t cater just to the ladies. He’s thinking about his male fans, too. “I don’t think I’ll cater physically to the women so that it’s not polarizing to my… Continue reading →

Duchovny cuts new record, tears up about ‘X-Files’

Invision/AP photo by Evan Agostini -- David Duchovny is joined by actress Gillian Anderson for a surprise performance of Neil Young's 'Helpless' at The Cutting Room on May 12 in New York.

Whether you remember him as FBI agent Mulder from “The X-Files” or the womanizing novelist Hank Moody on “Californication,” David Duchovny wants you to know him as something else: The 54-year old actor recently released his first album, “Hell or Highwater.” The actor-director claims he’s never set out to pursue a… Continue reading →

Superstar Taylor Swift encores in Tiger Stadium


Taylor Swift returns Friday to Tiger Stadium. It will be her second performance in the venerable football fortress. In 2010, the then 20-year-old Swift topped day one of the first Bayou Country Superfest. Her appearance was a mutual love fest between the young singer and her even younger fans. Shortly into that Superfest show,… Continue reading →

Season 3 ‘The Voice’ winner, ascending country music star Cassadee Pope proud of debut album

Photo by MEGAN THOMPSON -- Cassadee Pope

Cassadee Pope, the 25-year-old singer from West Palm Beach, Florida, who won season three of “The Voice,” lives in the heart of Nashville. She’s one of country music’s ascending stars. Last month, Pope made her debut at Stagecoach, the country music festival in Indio, California. She earned great reviews. “That was incredible, really fun,”… Continue reading →

Bette Midler: Still ‘divine’ at 69

Advocate photo by J.T. BLATTY-- Bette Midler brought her ‘Divine Intervention’ tour to the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Bette Midler named her current 22-city North American tour the “Divine Intervention” tour. The singing star and actress has used the word “divine” throughout her career. As every fan knows, her 1972 debut album was titled “The Divine Miss M.” Tours called “Divine Madness,” “Experience the Divine,” “The Divine Miss Millennium Tour” and more followed.… Continue reading →

'King of the Blues' legend B.B. King, who played New Orleans Jazz Fest and in Baton Rouge in 2013, dead in Las Vegas

FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2007 file photo, B.B. King performs at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, in Salisbury, Md.  King died Thursday, May 14, 2015, peacefully in his sleep at his Las Vegas home at age 89, his lawyer said. (Matthew S. Gunby/The Daily Times via AP) NO SALES

LAS VEGAS (AP) — B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday at home in Las Vegas. He was 89. His attorney, Brent Bryson, told The Associated Press that King died peacefully in his… Continue reading →