A few country stars had a chance to jam with B.B. King over the years, but none got the opportunity Keith Urban had in 2009. The country picker and the blues great led an all-star jam at the Grammys that year. King died at the age of 89 on Thursday night (May 14).
Urban, King, bluesman Buddy Guy and John Mayer performed “Bo Diddley” at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. The then-83-year-old leads off this clip, with Mayer singing the next couplet. Then, it’s Urban’s turn. He smiles as he sings at King riffing on Lucille, his signature guitar. It’s as sound as iconic as any in music, as pure and simple as a bar of Ivory.
Guy jams along before his own blistering solo. If you love great guitar playing, this February 2009 performance was your heaven. At only two minutes long, the moment is over before you know it. Urban and the band finish with a flourish before the Staples Center crowd erupts.
King’s death was not a surprise, as his health had been failing in recent years. In April he was hospitalized with dehydration, and news slowly began to leak that his playing days were coming to an end. He was one of the blues’ first great showmen. Few have enjoyed the commercial success King had during a long (nearly 60-year!) career. Television commercials and restaurants were part of his empire. The music was always paramount, however. A few of his well known hits include “Why I Sing the Blues,” “Sweet Sixteen” and “The Thrill Is Gone.”
George Jones and B.B. King were two of the most important musicians of the 20th century in their respective genres, and they teamed up for a powerful rendition of the classic song “Patches.”
Originally recorded by the Chairmen of the Board in 1970, the song tells the poignant story of a boy was raised ”on a farm way back up in the woods” and has to take over responsibility for his family from his dead father. Soul singer Clarence Carter recorded the definitive version of the track that same year, scoring a huge chart hit. “Patches” won a Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Song in 1971.
Jones and King recorded the song in 1994 for an album titled Rhythm Country and Blues, which featured cross-genre collaborations from other all-stars pairings, including Vince Gill and Gladys Knight, Aaron Neville and Trisha Yearwood, and Natalie Cole and Reba McEntire. Their version takes full advantage of their different vocal approaches, with Jones’ signature soulful country voice leading most of the verses, alternating with King’s gritty blues delivery.
The track is highlighted by a guitar solo from King, employing the signature clean tone and lyrically melodic approach that made him one of the most important and distinctive blues musicians of his generation.
Jones passed away in 2013 from hypoxic respiratory failure at the age of 81, and King died on May 14, 2015 at the age of 89. Check out the clip above for a rare collaboration between the two music legends.
Keith Urban and Eric Church‘s collaboration video for “Raise ‘Em Up” is a beautiful visual, and now the two singers are taking us behind the scenes of the filming. The new clip shows what went into the making of the music video.
In the clip, Urban is seen in a dimly lit room playing his guitar — much like the video. It shows the cameras preparing to shoot the two men, and also allows fans to see that Urban and Church had a lot of say in the “Raise ‘Em Up” video — Urban is actively speaking to the director and watching the framing of the shots. He provides input and ideas to the director, clearly wanting to make the video the best he can. Urban also opens up about the song and why he chose it.
“Well I got sent this song, ‘Raise ‘Em Up,’ and it was just one of those songs that was magical for me,” he says. “The second I heard it, it just really, really went in and I could feel it. And the song’s not written as a duet, but I’ve known Eric for a couple of years, and I was really hoping I would find something we could do together on this record.”
Urban says it was the second verse that helped him realize it was the perfect song to do alongside Church.
“When he sent it to me, what I was floored with is it felt like I’d written it,” Church explains. “I was blown away. It was a hit. It was a big song and I was honored to sing on it.”
We’re pretty glad the collaboration came about. Watch the video above to go behind the scenes with the two singers for the filming of “Raise ‘Em Up,” and catch Urban this summer performing at fairs and festivals, including headlining slots at the Taste of Country Music Festival and Country Jam in June.
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard were two of the founding fathers of the outlaw country movement, and they have paired up again to release a new studio album collaboration.
“Me and Merle got a new album coming out called Django and Jimmie, and the title track is about Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers,” Nelson says. “Both of those guys were very influential in both of our careers.” The album will be released by Legacy Recordings on June 2.
Haggard adds there are both new songs and a couple of classics on the new album. The pair previously collaborated on Pancho & Lefty, a honky-tonk hit that reached No. 1 after its release in January 1983. The critically acclaimed title song cemented Nelson and Haggard’s place as one of country music’s great partnerships.
The pair completed a number of follow-up hits, including 1987′s Seashores of Old Mexico and 2007′s double album, Last of the Breed, with Ray Price.
Django and Jimmie includes 14 new recordings, including a dual tribute to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rogers, and the outlaw country tune “Unfair Weather Friend.” Nelson and Haggard also pay musical tribute to each other through emotionally moving solo performances. Nelson recorded a cut of Haggard’s “Somewhere Between,” and Haggard covered Nelson’s “Family Bible.”
“It’s good music,” Nelson says of the new album. “I got a good feeling about it.”
Kelly Clarkson is adorable — and she has an amazing sense of humor. The singer hit the streets of Sydney, Australia with a local radio station to sing car karaoke, with hilarious results.
Clarkson is currently enjoying some time Down Under for a few shows, but she’s also getting a little Australian culture while she’s there. Part of that is socializing with the locals, which included a car trip on the streets of Sydney with Jackie O from KIIS 106.5 to sing a few radio tunes. It took Clarkson a little while to get warmed up for singing — she had to change the station to make sure it wasn’t her own tune. When Beyonce‘s “Drunk in Love” came on, though, Clarkson was ready to belt out a few lyrics — though she didn’t always understand them.
“It took me forever to figure out what ‘surfboard’ meant,” she says with a big laugh. She repeats the lyrics to the song, “‘Grindin’ on that wood, surfboard, surfboard‘ … I totally pictured a surfboard. I’m thinking Beyonce is pretty hot.”
That was the first sign that Clarkson was warming up to the silly karaoke game. The next sign was when she was dared to sing to random people on the street. Of course, she opened her door and happily accomplished the dare. She then took on a challenge she’d previously turned down — singing one of her own songs. With the windows down, she sang the lyrics to “Since U Been Gone,” and it was awesome.
A movie based on Dolly Parton’s upbringing will be the first project in a new partnership between the singer and NBC. Coat of Many Colors is named after the famous Parton song from 1971. It will air during the 2015-16 television season.
While Parton is executive producer of the movie, it’s not clear if she’ll appear. When the deal was struck in January, both sides said she’d act in some of the future movies based on her life and music, but did not specify which or how many.
“I am so excited to be involved with my friend Bob Greenblatt, who produced the Broadway version of ’9 to 5: The Musical’ with me, and my longtime friend and former agent Sam Haskell,” Parton said in January. “We want to create projects for NBC that are both fun and inspirational with a family audience in mind.”
Parton made a surprise appearance at NBC Upfronts in New York City this morning to talk about the project. Haskell is from Magnolia Hill Entertainment.
The song “Coat of Many Colors” is about a girl whose mother stitches together a coat from rags given to her. Along the way she tells the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat, but when the young girl goes to school, she’s mocked by her classmates. Parton wrote the song about her own mother and a coat she was given when she was young. Today, that coat hangs at the Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood.