Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Lute's Dreamville debut, West 1996 Pt. 2, due on Friday

Posted By on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 7:52 PM

Nearly two years ago, Charlotte rapper Lute announced he had signed with J. Cole's Dreamville label. His debut album for the label, the long-awaited West 1996 Pt. 2, is finally set for release this Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.

It's a big moment for the 28-year-old rapper, born Luther Nicholson, who was on the verge of leaving the music industry just before he got signed. The father of a newborn, Lute's priorities had changed and he knew he had to do right by his daughter and hold down a day job. He was on the verge of releasing an album that was going to be his farewell to the rap game when a 2 a.m. phone call from J. Cole changed his world.

Instead of saying goodbye, he's waited two years to say, "I'm back." The story is told in a short documentary, Lute: Still Slummin', that was released last week. The film lets Lute tell the story of his signing and gives insight into his home life.

Since his signing, he's been on tour with Cole and was featured on 2015's Revenge of the Dreamers 2 album, but this is the moment fans, and Lute himself, have been waiting for.

We've been expecting big things from Lute ever since his debut mixtape, West 1996, put him and his crew, Forever FC, on the map. The talented lyricist with the old-school flow earned a Creative Loafing Best of Staff Pick award for Best Local Rapper back in 2012. We've been looking forward to the new release for quite some time and can't wait to see what's in store for his burgeoning career.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Beloved Charlotte School of Rock Instructor Dies

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 10:48 PM

Eric Lee Lockwood, the music director of Charlotte's School of Rock, cofounder of the band Little District, and a fixture on the city's music scene for almost 15 years, died near his home in Pineville in the early morning hours of August 8. The much-respected singer-songwriter and music educator was 34.

  • School of Rock photo
  • Eric Lockwood
Due to the delicate nature of Lockwood's death, the family has not released any further details at this time. He is survived by his wife Christina, and family that includes his cousin, Cole Flodin, the entire School of Rock student body, and David Bowie — his dog.

Lockwood, a native of Sandy Run, S.C., touched every life he came across in Charlotte's music communities with his irrepressible positive energy, love of music, dedication to his students, and pride in his work and theirs. Candace Williamson Steude recalls Lockwood's passion for music and drive to educate the next generation. “He had such an amazing energy for teaching; it just was awe-inspiring,” Steude, 43, a music educator who worked alongside Lockwood, says. “I became a better teacher just being in his presence and soaking up the unconditional support and encouragement.”

Chas Willimon was a member of Charlotte's Milkjug Music Collective with Lockwood in the early aughts. Willimon remembers the singer-songwriter as "a fine musician, a compassionate and funny guy and, to a fortunate many, a friend. You always knew you were a friend whenever you hung around him,” Willimon says.

Since Tuesday morning, Lockwood's Facebook page has been a stream of tributes — from friends, co-conspirators, and most poignantly, his students. The outpouring of grief and love from Lockwood's students — many of whom credit him with getting them out of their shells and helping them navigate the treacherous waters of adolescent self-image — is impossible to forget.

Lockwood (left) with Little District. - REVERB WEB SITE PHOTO
  • Reverb web site photo
  • Lockwood (left) with Little District.
One of those grieving students is Magdalene Criswell, who recalled her first lesson with Lockwood in her post. "He made me play and sing my favorite song for him, even though I felt mortified by the very idea,” Criswell wrote. She was 17 at the time and convinced she was awful. But Lockwood loved it. “From that moment, he never stopped encouraging me in music, and in life," Criswell wrote. "There's no one like Eric Lockwood, and there's never going to be again.”

Lockwood, who joined School of Rock in 2009, soon became the top instructor and right-hand man to then-director Jill Livick. When asked to remember Lockwood, Livick was initially at a loss for words, but her words came eventually. “Eric was a friend, a mentor and a force. He was stubborn and vocal and passionate about making Charlotte a thriving music scene,” Livick says. The source of Lockwood's strength and passion, Livick is convinced, was his heart. “He wanted everyone to realize that they could be the best versions of themselves possible. His absence will be grieved by so many.”

It's not just students and fellow educators who are grieving — parents of Lockwood's students are saddened, too. “Eric was one of the truly good people you meet in your life, right to the core," says Mike Gruver, whose son Nick studied under Lockwood. "The respect that the kids had for him, and the respect of their parents, was unparallelled.” Teachers like Lockwood, Gruver says, come only once in a lifetime. “An incredible person.” Grover says. “The arts and music community and the School of Rock family won't be able to replace him.”

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Jon Lindsay’s NC Music Love Army Battles Bigotry with New CD

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 4:53 PM

Back in 2013 when Pat McCrory and his gerrymandered government were dragging North Carolina back to Jim Crow with a litany of unconstitutional legislation, Jon Lindsay and the North Carolina Music Love Army recorded “Dear Mr. McCrory," a protest song lambasting the state’s restrictive voter ID requirements. The United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently struck down the discriminatory law. 
Jon Lindsay (Photo by Johnny Ching)
  • Jon Lindsay (Photo by Johnny Ching)

Now, with voter suppression on the ropes, Lindsay and the Love Army return to take on trans-phobic House Bill 2 with "When You Were a Young Man,” a new song addressed to the governor which Lindsay calls “a sequel to ‘Dear Mr. McCrory’.”

Featuring Pierce Freelon, JSWISS, and Topiq the Smooth Prophet, the tune is a teaser for a new six-track EP, Happy Old Pictures, which will be released on Love Army Records on Friday, Oct. 7, one month before the national and state election.

Recorded with a collective of tarheel musicians including Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown), Kenny Roby (Six String Drag), Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), BJ Barham (American Aquarium) and a host of others, the new disc pairs two older tunes - “Dear Mr. McCrory” and anti-lynching indictment “The Ballad of Lennon Lacey" – with four new songs penned by Lindsay.

The Gospel-infused “Zebulon," is a character portrait of a McCrory’s supporter, “ a guy who feels his world is slipping away from him and never coming back,” Lindsay says. The title tune, “Happy Old Pictures," acknowledges that progressives also need to let go of nostalgia. “Maybe we can never get back to the progressive past we’ve lost,” Lindsay maintains, “but we can get out in the streets with our sisters and brothers and make it something better.”

The EP’s release coincides with Stand Against HB2, “a powerful concert series that has been touring statewide,” says Lindsay. The all-star show, boasting a rotating roster of tarheel performers, comes to the Neighborhood Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 24th with Carey, Six String Drag, The Houston Brothers, The Loudermilks and many more joining Lindsay onstage.

Lindsay is donating money raised by his music and shows to a slate of progressive candidates running for public office across the state. He’s heartened that the right wing’s racist voter suppression has been checked, but adds that McCrory’s administration will have a lasting effect for generations. “It will take a long time to undo the damage they’ve done,” Lindsay says.

Happy Old Pictures tracklist:
1. Zebulon
2. Happy Old Pictures
4. When You Were A Young Man
5. Ballad Of Lennon Lacy
6. Dear Mr. McCrory

Stand Against HB2 at the Neighborhood Theatre lineup:
Caitlin Cary/Tres Chicas
Six String Drag
The Houston Brothers
Alternative Champs
The Loudermilks
Jeffery Dean Foster
Jack The Radio
Ancient Cities
Rapper Shane
Someone's Sister
Christy Snow + many others

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reverb Fest, Snug 600 announce lineups

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 12:07 PM

Here's a quick rundown of recent concert announcements for the Charlotte area:

* Reverb Fest, a benefit for Drums for Cures, will be held at the Neighborhood Theatre on May 16. The lineup includes Beach Fossils, Elvis Depressedly, Yardwork, Jackson Scott, The Mineral Girls, Family Bike, Aggrocragg and Shell.

* The Snug 600 taking place at Snug Harbor on May 22 and 23 has announced its lineups. The Poontanglers, Viajando, No Anger Control and the Gore Gore Luchadores will perform on Friday night. Jesse Clasen, Zack Mexico and Spirit System will perform on Saturday night.

* Rob Thomas will perform at the Uptown Amphitheatre with Plain White Ts on July 28. Tickets go on sale on April 3.

* Ariana Grande will peform at Time Warner Cable Arena on July 21. Tickets go on sale on April 4.

* Van Halen will perform at PNC Music Pavilion on Sept. 11 with Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Tickets on sale April 3.

* Michael Franti & Spearhead at the Fillmore on June 25. Tickets on sale April 3.

* Primus with Dinosaur Jr. at the Fillmore on July 20. Tickets on sale April 3.

* 106.5 The End's Big Birthday Bash will be held at the Uptown Amphitheatre on June 6 featuring Cake, New Politics, Flagship and Big Data.

* 311 will perform at the Uptown Amphitheatre on July 24 with The Green. Tickets on sale April 10.

* Nicki Minaj announced her only Carolinas concert which will take place on Aug. 4 at PNC Music Pavilion. Meek Mill, Rae Sremmurd, Tinaashe and Dej Loaf are also on the bill.

* The Rolling Stones' closest concert will be in Raleigh on July 1. Tickets are expected to range from about $60-350 and go on sale April 13.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

N.C. Music Hall of Fame announces 2015 inductees

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 3:37 PM

Eric Church, Warren Haynes and Nappy Brown are among those who will be inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame this fall.

This year's ceremony will be held on Oct. 15 in Kannapolis. The full list of inductees, all born in North Carolina, is R&B singer Gerald Alston of the Manhattans, country singer Eric Church, R&B singer Chuck Jackson, Southern rock guitarist Warren Haynes of the Allman Bros. and Gov't. Mule, Carolina beach music artists The Fantastic Shakers, musician Jay Spell, blues singer Nappy Brown and gospel singer/songwriter the Rev. F.C. Barnes.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Chris Brown's Charlotte concert rescheduled for March 14

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 11:05 AM

The Chris Brown concert scheduled for tonight, Feb. 9, at Time Warner Cable Arena has been rescheduled for March 14. Brown hasn't performed any of the scheduled dates for the Between the Sheetz Tour yet because of ongoing legal issues.

He originally delayed the tour to complete a stint of community service (at least eight have been postponed), but on Friday announced that he has completed it and was looking forward to the tour. Hollywood Life is reporting that the tour will resume on Feb. 12.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

57th Annual Grammy Awards nominees announced

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Nominees have been announced for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards being held on Feb. 8, 2015. Sam Smith and Beyonce are each nominated in five categories with the announcement for Album of the Year set to be announced tonight.

Among the nominees are a few Charlotte connections:

* Marsha Ambrosius & Charlotte singer Anthony Hamilton were nominated for the song "As" under the Best Traditional R&B Performance category.

* Jay Joyce was nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical category. Among the listed credits for Joyce is Charlotte band Matrimony's major-label debut, Montibello Memories.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New album benefits local musician Luke Hill

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 12:19 PM

A new compilation album has been put together to help benefit Luke Hill, a local musician who was the victim of a hit-and-run on Nov. 4, 2014.

A benefit show was held on Nov. 15, but now a digital download has been put together as the fundraising continues. Artists featured on the album include Hill's band Animals along with Junior Astronomers, Flagship, The Business People, Jeremiah Wilde, Warsong, Soils, One Amazin Kid and Deep Sky.

Hill was struck by a car while walking home from work and suffered a broken arm, fractured ribs and a brain bleed. The last update posted says Hill is out of the hospital and headed to rehab to work on speech and his motor skills.

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Who are the 10 richest recording artists in the world?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 11:17 AM

If someone asked you to name the top 10 richest recording artists in the world, who would be at the top of your list? Jay Z? Madonna? Taylor Swift? Paul McCartney?

You might be surprised by a couple of names on this list, compiled by Wealth-X.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Killer Mike gives emotional speech about Ferguson

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 10:35 AM

In the wake of the grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown, Killer Mike, who was performing in nearby St. Louis last night, gave an emotional speech to the crowd after hearing the news. Mike is one-half of the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels.

... very grateful that everyone in this room is here. I would like to say, 'Rest in peace' to Michael Brown. ... I would like to give all thoughts and prayers to the people out there peacefully protesting. I also give thoughts and prayers to the people who could not hold their anger in because riots are only the language of the unheard. We usually come on to Queen’s ‘Champion,’ and I just got to tell you today, no matter how much we do it, no matter how much we get shit together, shit comes along that kicks you on your ass and you don't feel like a champion. So, tonight, I got kicked on my ass when I listened to that prosecutor. I'm gonna tell you. You motherfuckers got me today. I knew it was coming. I knew it when fuckin' Eric Holder decided to resign. I knew it wasn't gonna be good. I gotta tell 'em, 'You motherfuckers got me today.' You kicked me on my ass today, because I have a 20-year-old son and I have a 12-year-old son, and I’m so afraid for them. You motherfuckers... You motherfuckers... (unintelligible)... you motherfuckers that we vote for... (unintelligible) You motherfuckers got me today.

When I stood on the bus, and I cried, and I hugged my friend and he came and he hugged me, right there, and I said, ‘These motherfuckers got me today.’ When I stood in front of my wife, and I hugged her and I cried like a baby, I said, ‘These motherfuckers got me today.' You motherfuckers will not own tomorrow, we will not live in your fear, we will not accept your pain, we are not going to keep playing that race card, because we know, we know you don’t value my skin. We know you do value his (El-P), but you know what, we’re friends and nothing is going to devalue that.

Before I came out here, there was no peace in my heart and I wanted to walk out to ‘Burn This Motherfucker Down.’ But I got to tell you, I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, something said, ‘Just look for something Martin King might have said.’ So I googled Martin King and Wikipedia popped up, and he was 39-years old when you motherfuckers killed him. He was the same age as I am, the same age as El. He was a young man when they killed him.

But I can promise you today: If I die when I walk off this stage tomorrow, I’ll let you know this: it is not about race, it is not about class, it is not about color. It is about what they killed him for. It is about poverty, it is about greed and it is about a war machine. It’s about a war machine that uses you as a (unintelligible). So as I go tomorrow, I might go the day after, but the one thing I want you to know it is us against the motherfucking machine!

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