Broadway honors James Taylor

22. January 2015 07:48 by Julie Merar in Music   //  Tags:   //   Comments ()


A legendary array of singers, including Grammy Award winning artist Sting, recently played a tribute performance to singer/songwriter James Taylor at the infamous venue 54 Below. Taylor broke out in the early 1970s with the timeless classic "Fire and Rain," and has since become one of the most recognized names in music. Today, Taylor is one of the most renowned performers across the globe and is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriter's Hall of Fame. In this recent tribute, which took place on Dec. 29, 2014, some of Broadway's hottest talent contributed to "54 Sings James Taylor," a collection of the musician's hits that span the past 40 years.

Featured singers included Sally Ann Triplett, Nicholas Rodriguez, Ryan Andes, Arthur Greene, T. Oliver Reid, Zach Dobbins, Michael Winther, Karl Kenzler, Zak Resnik and Charlie Pollock. These talented vocalists came together to honor the classic American songwriter, who's all-time greatest hits include "Steam Roller," "Shower the People," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),"and "You've Got A Friend." The show was directed by T. Oliver Reid and Mark Hartman provided musical direction. Hartman, along with musicians Sean Harkness, John Miller and Warren Odze played in the backing band.

While much of Taylor's recent work consists of cover songs, the musician is credited with being a significant contributor to the rise of the singer/songwriter genre. In many ways, Taylor's introspective and sensitive lyricism coupled with soft acoustic guitar has evolved into a genre of its own. Over time, Taylor's first collection of greatest hits, released in 1976, has sold more than 10 million copies. Taylor continues to provide an incredible live performance and will be performing at Fenway Park accompanied by Bonnie Raitt in summer 2015. 

The venue
Also known as Broadway's Supper Club, 54 Below is a highly-respected venue that blends world class dining and performances from some of Broadway's best singers and actors. This venue is exceptionally close to Times Square and has served as a hangout for both Broadway's elite and audiences from around the world. Today, 54 Below has been refurbished by multiple Tony Award winners to make it one of the most desirable and unique eateries in the area. Multiple shows are performed at this intimate venue each evening, and there's nary a bad seat in the house.

Pretty Lights to head 2015 Euphoria Festival

18. January 2015 10:45 by Julie Merar in Music   //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

If you were already excited about the 2015 Euphoria Festival at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas, then there's more reason to celebrate with the announcement that Pretty Lights will officially be headlining. Derek Vincent Smith, better known by his stage name Pretty Lights, is an electronic DJ from Fort Collins, Colorado best known for his transformative live performances that blend hip hop and electronica backed by a tremendous display of lights, pyrotechnics and lasers. His breathtaking shows have made Pretty Lights a mainstay on the festival circuit, and now that he's guaranteed to perform at Carson Creek Ranch, the festival seems to be off to a great start, despite not yet releasing a full line-up.

Euphoria Festival 2015 
Euphoria Festival is a boutique music and camping celebration that has taken place over two days in the past. However, this year the festival has been extended to three days, and brings together some of the best jam bands and EDM performers from around the world. Without being restricted by corporate music labels, Euphoria Festival can truly focus on connecting people and creating a genuinely unique atmosphere. In general, the crowd of Euphoria Festival mainly consists of Millennials. This year's fest will take place from April 10-12, 2015, and tickets start at about $119. 

Who is Pretty Lights? 
In the past, the Euphoria Festival has brought in crowds of around 10,000 people. However, with Pretty Lights announced as the headliner, there could be significant growth this year. The artist is known for his multi-layered material that can quickly change in tempo and sound. He has wowed clubs around the world and opened for such acts as The Disco Biscuits and Widespread Panic. Over the past decade, Pretty Lights has performed at numerous major festivals including Coachella, Ultra, Bonnaroo, Rothbury, Summerfest, Electric Zoo and Movement. No matter who else fills the bill at Euphoria Festival, Pretty Lights is sure to round out the weekend and be a highlight performance.

Smith released his first album as Pretty Lights in 2006, Taking Up Your Precious Time. This was followed up by the 2008 release, Passing by Behind Your Eyes, and all the while he maintained a rigorous touring schedule. In 2013, Pretty Lights released A Color Map of the Sun, which received a Grammy nomination for best dance/electronica album, and an EP in 2014 titled The Hidden Shades.

Diana Ross will be first performer at the reopened Kings Theatre

16. January 2015 08:41 by Julie Merar in Music   //  Tags:   //   Comments ()


Diana Ross, the legendary singer and actress best known for her work with The Supremes, will officially be the first performer in the remodeled Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on Feb. 3, 2015. The theater, one of five of New York's "wonder theaters," was closed for approximately 40 years, during which time it was left to decay. Recently, the old theater has been restored to its state of grace and beauty, and will again become home to performers from around the world. "An Evening with Diana Ross" will be the inaugural concert at this historic venue,  and as part of the grand reopening, the Kings Theatre will also host free tours and open houses. 

After performing at the King Theatre, Ross will be traveling across the U.S. performing in Durham, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee and several dates throughout Florida and Texas. Tickets for "An Evening with Diana Ross" are still available. 

The remodel 
Remodeling the Kings Theatre was a major challenge that included expanding the theater footprint by 7,000 feet and modernizing many of the facilities while restoring the original aura of the legendary venue. Costing more than $90 million, which was raised by a combination of public and private funding, the restoration first broke ground in early 2013. The theater originally opened in 1929, and with the slight expansion will now hold over 3,000 seats, making it the largest theater in Brooklyn. Much of the original decor was faithfully restored, including the terra cotta facade, however front-of-house amenities were updated to convenience audiences.

Who is Diana Ross? 
Diana Ross was the lead singer of The Supremes in the 1960s before becoming an immensely successful solo artist. During her time with the group, The Supremes had a dozen No. 1 pop singles. Ross broke off from the group and quickly saw success on her own with the hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." During this period she also focused on a burgeoning acting career, and was nominated for an Academy Award after starring in a film biography of Billie Holiday. After recording a duet album with the legendary Marvin Gaye, Ross continued to produce a steady stream of chart-topping singles. However, the biggest hit of her career came with "Endless Love" in 1981, a duet composed and performed with Lionel Richie.

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