• Down-home diva

    The first time I saw Lucinda Williams was in 2000. She walked tentatively on stage, hiding beneath what looked like a 50-gallon cowboy hat, surrounded by a band of men and the unwanted glare of a hot white spotlight. But while her stage presence was yet a work in progress, the songs were complete in their rootsy brilliance. Tales of life back home in Lake Charles, La., and timeless stories of love.... Read More
  • Heart-shaped boxes: Musical Valentines

    For the under-valued diva lover For years, it seemed you couldn’t watch a major Hollywood movie without hearing Jennifer Warnes’ gorgeous voice singing the theme song. Beginning with the Oscar-winning “It Goes Like It Goes” from “Norma Rae” and continuing with Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated “One More Hour” from “Ragtime,” the Oscar-winning “Up Where We Belong” from “An .... Read More
  • Solo a-go-go

    Bryan Ferry It’s almost impossible to imagine any Bryan Ferry fan not being delighted by his stellar new album “Olympia” (Astralwerks). With the exception of a cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren,” it’s his first album of original material in more than 15 years. Ferry is reunited with some of his former Roxy Music bandmates on a few of the tracks. Maybe that’s why the album f.... Read More
  • Sweet Ambrosius | Singer’s new video tackles gay bashing

    R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius tackles gay-bashing, suicide and homophobia in the urban community in her latest music video. Her song “Far Away” was written after a close friend attempted suicide. “Because they’re in such a bad place in their lives, there’s nothing you can do to help someone if they can’t help themselves,” she said. In the clip, a man seen with Ambrosius appears to .... Read More
  • Soundtracks that have a shelf life of their own

    ‘For Colored Girls…’ Tyler Perry’s toxic film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls…” has rightfully come and gone from movie screens. On the other hand, “Music From and Inspired by The Original Motion Picture For Colored Girls” (Atlantic) is vastly better than the film and definitely deserves a longer lifespan. Knockout tracks by Lalah Hathaway (“Sun”), Sharon .... Read More
  • Autobiography explores Sondheim’s early years

    Hearing Stephen Sondheim interviewed just feet away from me was completely unplanned. During my annual trek to Ravinia to see “Sunday in the Park with George,” a voice came over the loudspeaker and announced that Sondheim would be interviewed on the main stage in 10 minutes, along with James Lapine, who directed a number of Sondheim shows. I made a mad dash to a front row center seat in time t.... Read More
  • Duos

    OMD Devo isn’t the only new wave legend to make a 2010 comeback. Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey, better known as OMD (a.k.a. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark), return to the fore with “History of Modern” (Blue Noise/Bright Antenna). OMD’s first album in nearly 15 (!) years, “History of Modern” does a decent job of reminding us of the band’s contributions to electro-pop music, goi.... Read More
  • ‘Tis the season for yuletide melodies, rhythms

    ‘Glee’ Here’s a great big holiday surprise (not!): Ryan Murphy and the folk$ at Fox have come up with a seasonal soundtrack. “Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album” (Columbia) features the talented cast making their way through a series of traditional and contemporary holiday selections in full-tilt “Glee” style. The most-spirited include “We Need A Little Christmas,” “Merry Chr.... Read More
  • Pretty in ink | an interview with Ariel Aparicio

    A modern-day gay Renaissance man, Ariel Aparicio had 2009’s third most requested video – “Pretty In Pink” – on the LGBT cable network LOGO. The same year he released the EP “The Bedroom Tapes” ( Aparicio returned to Logo’s “The Click List” with the videos for “Lucille” and his remake of the late Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died.” More recently, he rec.... Read More
  • Holiday harmonizing

    When Madison’s Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus opens for The Nylons’ Dec. 18 performance at The Barrymore Theatre, the gay and gay-friendly musical group’s 20-minute set will cap what has been a remarkable year, according to artistic director Ken Forney. “It’s exciting for us musically to open for The Nylons, and there’s a good chance we will gain exposure to people who have never seen .... Read More