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Bacterial infection forces Elton John to cancel May shows

Elton John has cancelled more than a month of upcoming shows after contracting an unusual bacterial infection during a South America tour that left him in intensive care for two nights.

John is scrapping all upcoming April and May dates of "The Million Dollar Piano" at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, as well as performance on May 6 in Bakersfield, California.

The "Rocket Man" and "Daniel" singer says in a statement that he became "violently ill" on a flight to the United Kingdom from Chile and "underwent immediate treatment" at a hospital, where he was released on Saturday.

The 70-year-old performer is expected to make a full recovery and hopes to return to a stage in Twickenham, England, on June 3.

Springsteen takes part in surprise show at film festival

Bruce Springsteen took part in a two-hour jam session during a surprise appearance at a film festival in his home state of New Jersey.

Longtime E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt and veteran Jersey shore rocker Southside Johnny were among those who played with Springsteen at the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival on Friday. Also taking part were some former E Street Band members and the Lakehouse Jr. Pros, a band featuring child musicians.

The concert followed the premiere of a documentary film chronicling the history of the Asbury Park music scene. The show featured several rock and R&B staples including Chuck Berry's "Bye, Bye Johnny." Jimi Hendrix' "Voodoo Child" and Little Richard's "Lucille."

Springsteen said it was "great" to see the "old guys still cranking it out."

Music Review: Rub-a-dub-dub and much more from Imelda May

Imelda May's marriage of 18 years recently ended, and "Life, Love, Flesh, Blood" finds her on the romantic rebound. As May gets back into the game, she makes even the words "rub-a-dub-dub" sound sexy.

The versatile Irish singer conveys her emotional ups and downs by belting to the back row and, with equal ease, dropping down to a near whisper. "Can't take it no more," she sings on "Sixth Sense," spitting out the words. "Should've Been You" surveys the wreckage of a relationship backed by happy horns that contrast with her angry words: "I'm the best thing that you ever had."

May's songs recall the 1950s and '60s songs of Roy Orbison, Phil Spector and Leiber and Stoller, and she closes the album with convincing forays into gospel ("When It's My Time"), rock ("Leave Me Lonely") and folk ("The Girl I Used To Be"). Helping to ensure success with her stylistic adventures are producer T Bone Burnett and a crack lineup that includes guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Jay Bellerose

There's blood on these tracks, but also resilience and staying power. May's music sounds retro — and timeless, too.

President Trump welcomes Sarah Palin to White House

President Donald Trump has hosted former Alaska governor Sarah Palin at a White House dinner with musicians Ted Nugent and Kid Rock.

Palin posted photos on social media and her website. They showed the group with Trump, and also posing in front of a painting of Hillary Clinton in the White House. In a post on her website, the former vice presidential candidate said she brought the musicians because Trump told her to bring some friends.

The Wednesday dinner was not on the president's public schedule. The White House said it was a private dinner and provided no further details.

Palin said the "dinner was beyond superb." She thanked "the outstanding White House staff, chefs, Secret Service, and of course the President for making it such a special evening."

Vinyl music gives record stores a boost in a digital world

Record stores have not only survived the onslaught of pirated music, digital downloads and online streaming services. They're now growing in numbers.

Several hundred indie music retailers have opened in the past five years in the U.S. thanks largely to the resurgence of vinyl records, industry officials say.

"Stores are popping up in small towns. There's enough vinyl business to support them. You have a lot of young entrepreneurs who are seeing this opportunity," said Wes Lowe from Alliance Entertainment Corp., the nation's largest wholesale distributor of compact discs, DVDs and vinyl record albums.

That gives music lovers something to cheer as Record Store Day celebrates its 10th anniversary Saturday in stores from Maine to California.

The annual event pays homage to the neighborhood music store, the place where people have long gathered to thumb through vinyl records or cassette tapes. Back in the 1970s, every community had at least one of them, but hundreds went out of business at the onset of the digital music revolution.

The number of independent record stores leveled off at about 2,000 before growing over the past five years to a number that's closer to 2,400, Lowe said.

The resurgence in vinyl sales is helping.

A new generation is enamored with old-school vinyl albums and turntables, joining older listeners who grew up with record albums and audio purists who prefer the full, warm sound of albums to modern compressed digital audio files.

Sales of vinyl albums have grown from fewer than 1 million records a year in 2005 to more than 13 million in 2016, according to Nielsen Music.

And money is being invested in expanded production capacity. Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and producer Jack White got into the act by launching a vinyl pressing plant earlier this year in Michigan.

Record Store Day got off to a raucous start with heavy-metal band Metallica in San Francisco in 2008, but the story begins off the beaten path with an indie record store chain operator in faraway Maine. Chris Brown from Bull Moose Music hatched the idea in 2007 for an event that started the following year with 200 stores and has grown to 1,600 participating record stores on Saturday.

New vinyl releases are a hallmark of the event. This year, tributes to two stars who died in 2016 include several 12-inch extended mix hits from Prince and a first-tune release of a demo album used to promote David Bowie before he became famous. Others include Elton John's reissue of his favorite concert recording dubbed "17-11-70"; a live recording from The Doors; a flexi-disc from Emerson, Lake and Palmer with cuts from "Brain Salad Surgery;" and Toto's "Africa" pressed on an album shaped like the continent.

There's also the second annual Record Store Crawls, a 12-date tour by Warner Music that will escort participants by bus to local record stores. It kicks off Saturday in New York and will also visit Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Performers include Savoire Adore, Craig Brown Band, Angelica Garcia and others.

Brown doesn't think it's any coincidence that the growing popularity of vinyl records coincided with the creation of an annual event to celebrate stores with vinyl. "They call it the 'vinyl resurgence' but it started with Record Store Day," Brown said.

Almighty Music Marketing, a market research firm in California, estimates that more than 500 stores have opened since 2010, and believes the trend will continue.

Its president, Vince Hans, added that part of the growth is independent stores filling gaps left by the closings of big box retailers.

The new stores aren't always conventional. These days, there are combo stores selling comics and records. And there are even restaurants and bars selling records.

"You have to innovate to be successful now," said Michael Kurtz, Record Store Day co-founder and president of the largest coalition of independent record stores.



Review: Ron Sexsmith reliably melodic on 'The Last Rider'

Ron Sexsmith maintains his melodic consistency on "The Last Rider," 15 pop songs absorbed by the threat of loneliness and ways to avoid it.

The Canadian recorded his 13th solo album with his touring band, adding to its ease and intimacy. Sexsmith has said he thought this could be his final recording for some time, but the pleasure of the experience might make him reconsider.

Sexsmith is at his most romantic on "Evergreen," ''Our Way" and "Worried Song," his significant other appearing in different guises as the source of hope, security or inspiration.

"Radio" is low-voltage power pop about the days when young lives revolved around the AM/FM dial and "people could move you with just a voice and a song." Sexsmith sounds a little like Rufus Wainwright on the lighthearted "West Gwillimbury," also a trip down memory lane, as is "Breakfast Ethereal," about a "soft focus world where tomorrow seemed bright."

"Dreams Are Bigger" has a singalong chorus worthy of a long-distance dedication — "If your dreams are bigger than your worries, you'll never have to worry about your dreams" — with musical hints of New Orleans, while "Man at the Gate (1913)" was inspired by a postcard purchase and dwells on anonymous lives and connections across the years, also recurring themes in the Sexsmith catalog.

There are no surprises here but don't be distracted by the apparent familiarity of some of the tunes. Sexsmith's range may not be wide but his aim is true.

Review: Admit it, Brad Paisley is really good at country

When you can namecheck the UFC and Zebco fishing reels in the lead track to your 11th studio album, "Love And War," you are probably Grammy Award-winning country music machine Brad Paisley and you can do no wrong.

Paisley is the salve when someone throws a curveball at country. He's that dependable voice of bro-country. All of the familiar icons are here: beer cans, pickup trucks, lip-kissing and jobs you have to get to. But the hidden secret is that Paisley can play the paint off a guitar and get the biggest names in the business to sing along with him on his strongest tracks.

Sir Mick Jagger helps him out with stellar vocals on "Drive of Shame," a raucous twang of a track. John Fogerty weighs in on the album's title song, "Love And War," a soaring call-out to take care of America's veterans when they come home broken.

Resistance is futile. If you like country, then there are a couple of Paisley songs you love. If you're new to the genre, he's an easy way in because he surrounds his music with everyman themes and solid musicianship.

"Love And War" has tracks that will burn up hot country spots on the radio dial and cement his place as the most dependable act in the business. The mix-down throughout is a tad flat, but this is meant to be heard in a bar, in a truck, on the road and on the go.

You can hate bro-country, but don't hate Brad Paisley for being the best at it.


Ron Harris is on Twitter at

Review: Robyn Hitchcock rocks out in new self-titled album

Robyn Hitchcock rocks out on his new, self-titled album, restoring some electric zing to his guitar playing without any loss of melody.

Hitchcock's prolific career since The Soft Boys has often alternated between acoustic albums and electric ones but it's been a while since he plugged-in this convincingly.

He's lived in Nashville for a few years and there are distinctively Music City U.S.A. touches on some tunes — the tongue-in-cheek Johnny Cash tribute "I Pray When I'm Drunk" or the pedal steel guitar on "1970 in Aspic." Most of the rest, however, have that indelible stamp of Englishness Hitchcock expresses in such an unforced, if decidedly eccentric, way.

Hitchcock uses some Richard Thompson-like guitar tremors on "Virginia Woolf" for a visually raw take on her and Sylvia Plath's similarly self-inflicted demises. He empathizes without condoning — "Sometimes it hurts where you don't wanna hurt."

The Kinks once did the soundtrack for "Percy," a film based on a book by Hitchcock's father, Raymond. So it completes the circle that there are echoes of former Kinks frontman Ray Davies on "Raymond and The Wires," Hitchcock's heartfelt homage to his dad by way of a shared 1964 trolleybus ride.

"Autumn Sunglasses" has a psychedelic feel, its swirling backing vocals, strings and backward guitar all at the service of loopy lyrics and a Lennonesque melody.

Gillian Welch, Grant-Lee Phillips, Emma Swift and Wilco's Pat Sansone contribute vocals and Brendan Benson's crisp production boosts the guitar-centricity.

As for Hitchcock himself, well, the album's dynamic opener is "I Want To Tell You About What I Want." Auspiciously, he makes no concessions on the other nine songs, either.

Review: Davies relays his 'Americana' experience in song

Think of "Americana," the first release of new material from former Kinks frontman Ray Davies in nine years, as a musical memoir of sorts. It's a welcome return for one of rock's signature voices and it finds Davies in a reflective and introspective mood.

Cowboys. Coca Cola. Highways. New York. Silent movies. The Kinks.

They all get referenced over 15 tracks, as Davies sings about his life working and living in America over the past 50 years. Davies finds the perfect backing band in The Jayhawks to tell his stories both in song and spoken readings from his 2013 memoir.

But it's more than just a nostalgic travelogue.

Davies, who penned some of rock's most well-known songs including "Lola" and "You Really Got Me," is also one of the best — and perhaps most underrated — storytellers. His signature sharp wit and razor-sharp insight are in full force on "Americana."

On the standout track "Poetry," Davies beautifully questions what has become of a country dominated by fast food restaurants, shopping malls and a bland sameness.

"Where is the poetry, what is the rhyme?" Davies sings, wistfully. "What is the meaning? Give us a sign."

There's no better place to start looking for those answers than "Americana."

Bruce Langhorne, 'Mr. Tambourine Man' inspiration, has died

Bruce Langhorne, an influential session guitarist who often collaborated with Bob Dylan and inspired his song "Mr. Tambourine Man," has died. He was 78.

Family friend Cynthia Riddle said Sunday that Langhorne died Friday at his home in Venice, California, of kidney failure.

The musical prodigy was born in Tallahassee, Florida, but from the age of four lived in New York City's Spanish Harlem neighborhood with his mother. He studied classical violin before taking up guitar at age 17.

A mainstay of the Greenwich Village folk rock music scene in the 1950s and 1960s, Langhorne played with the likes of Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot and Buffy Sainte-Marie, among others.

Langhorne is perhaps best known for his work on Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home."

He's survived by his wife of 29 years, Janet Bachelor.

Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer, Tom Coyne, dies

Tom Coyne, a Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer who worked on numerous hit recordings by Adele, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Metallica and more, has died. He was 62.

The Doyle Funeral Home in Morristown, New Jersey, said Coyne died Wednesday. He had multiple myeloma, a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells.

The New Jersey native began his career in the 1970s and scored his first hit with Kool and the Gang. He worked for five years at the Hit Factory before moving to Sterling Sound, where he remained for the rest of his career and eventually became a managing partner.

Coyne won six Grammys and a Latin Grammy during his career, earning a combined 37 nominations overall.

He won a Grammy earlier this year for Adele's Record of the Year, "Hello."

Husband of Heart singer Ann Wilson sentenced in teen assault

The husband of Heart lead singer Ann Wilson has been sentenced for allegedly choking her nephews during a concert in suburban Seattle. reported Friday ( ) that Dean Wetter pleaded guilty March 9 to two counts of assault. He was sentenced as part of a plea deal to 364 days in jail, with all the time suspended.

Wetter will pay restitution, be on probation, undergo counseling and have no contact with the boys.

Court documents say the incident happened when then 16-year-olds were watching Heart perform in August 2016 and wanted to look inside Ann Wilson's tour bus.

Documents say Wetter started yelling after they left the door open, allegedly punching one of them in the head and grabbing him by the throat.

When the other teen stepped in, Wetter allegedly grabbed his throat "and squeezed to the point he could not breathe."


Information from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

Paul Simon's oceanfront home in danger of slip sliding away

Paul Simon's cottage on eastern Long Island is in danger of slip sliding away.

Newsday ( ) reports the singer-songwriter's home in Montauk, New York, is being moved back 80 feet (24.3 meters) from the edge of a bluff.

It's part of an effort to save the home from erosion.

A geologist consulting on the project, Wendi Goldsmith, says work began in February to temporarily move the one-story cottage a safe distance from the drop-off.

A 50-foot (15.2-meter) buffer of native vegetation will be planted as part of the effort.

Simon's summer home is about 20 feet (6 meters) from the bluff's edge, facing the Atlantic Ocean.

He could not be reached for comment.


Information from: Newsday,

Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy Takes a Break After Heart Procedure

Night Ranger singer and drummer Kelly Keagy said the surgery was meant to to address "a heart abnormality."

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New Max's Kansas City Reissue to Be Expanded With Rare Tracks

On May 5, Jungle Records will release Max's Kansas City 1976 & Beyond, a double-disc, 40-track compilation that's four times bigger than the original 1976 release.

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Alex Lifeson Says It's 'Unlikely' That Rush Will Tour Again

Just in case you've been wondering whether the members of Rush have changed their minds about retiring from the road, Alex Lifeson just offered an update, and the answer still sounds like "no." Continue reading…

Listen to Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie's New 'In My World' Single

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie have released "In My World," the first single from their upcoming self-titled album.

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Researchers name loud shrimp after Pink Floyd

A newly discovered species of shrimp that uses a bright pink claw to create a sound loud enough to kill small fish has been named for Pink Floyd.

The shrimp found on Panama's Pacific coast has been dubbed Synalpheus pinkfloydi in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa. Oxford University Museum of Natural History researcher Sammy De Grave is one of three researchers credited with discovering the creature. He says the description of the shrimp was "the perfect opportunity to finally give a nod to my favorite band."

According to Oxford, pistol or snapping shrimps close their enlarged claws at a rapid speed to create an imploding bubble. The result is a sound so loud it can kill or stun a fish.

Pink Floyd is also honored in nature with a damselfly named after its 1969 album "Ummagumma."

Yes vs. Yes: Who Actually Owns the Band's Name?

Yes split into two bands just 72 hours after being inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, seemingly out of the blue.

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Founding Molly Hatchet Bassist Banner Thomas Dies

Bassist Banner Thomas, a member of Molly Hatchet's lineup during the band's earliest and most commercially successful years as a recording act, has died at the age of 63.

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