Dictionary.com announced that it added over three-hundred new words to its dictionary a few days ago, with the terms ranging in meaning from stochastic terrorism to 420. Alongside new words such as bitchface, sext, cat café, and man bun is the word petrichor, a delightful term for Phish fans as well as the general public, particularly those who have been antsy trying to figure out what to call the smell of rain.Dictionary.com defines petrichor as “a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground.” It’s is a relatively new word, created in the 1960’s by Australian scientists who developed it to describe the scent of rain in the air, which we now know is caused by “an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.” Dictionary.com does not take the job of adding new words to their dictionary lightly; rather, the online dictionary employs various methods of research to ensure each word they add is worthy of the honor. One way is to look at new words that are used regularly over a number of different text sources, which is how Black Lives Matters made the list. The dictionary also uses users search data to identify words that are frequently looked up but that do not lead to a dictionary entry. In the case of petrichor, the lexicographers at dictionary.com added the word because many people wrote in requesting its definition be added.So while Dictionary.com cites that petrichor was added to its dictionary primarily because of written requests by users, we like to believe that Phish’s “Petrichor” off Big Boat might have had something to do with it. The song opens with the lyrics, And the rain came down and washed it all away, so clearly Phish was in on the word’s definition before Dictionary.com was. Following this past year’s New Year’s gag, an extravagant rain-themed choreographed Broadway dance to “Petrichor” with simulated rain eventually turning to “raining cats and dogs,” we have an inkling suspicion that us phans helped petrichor earn its dictionary spot, either by looking it up or from it being mentioned frequently following New Year’s across the web.For those who need a refresher, you can check out pro-shot footage of Phish’s 2016 New Year’s Eve gag below, courtesy of the band.[Cover photo: Jeremy Scott]
Last night, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hosted their annual ceremony at Barclay’s Center, where legendary acts like Pearl Jam, Journey, Yes, Joan Baez, Electric Light Orchestra, and Tupac Shakur were inducted into the prestigious club. Of course, as usual, the hours-long event featured a dazzling lineup of live performances, reunions, and tributes. The majority of the evening’s live sets centered around the artists being inducted this year, but one of the more memorable performances focused on a legendary artist who is no longer with us.Honoring the untimely passing of rock superstar Prince in early 2016, Lenny Kravitz delivered electrifying renditions of two of the Purple One’s most popular tunes, “When Doves Cry” and “The Cross.” Kravitz was backed by Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, who imbued the songs with a celebratory energy. After leading “When Doves Cry” with a tambourine in hand, Kravitz strapped on his guitar for 1987 Sign O’ The Times single “The Cross,” which built to a joyous gospel peak. You can watch fan-shot footage of Lenny Kravitz’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Prince tribute below, courtesy of Youtube user MarchofTheRashbaum:Kravitz was one of many artists to speak about Prince’s influence on them and their work in the wake of his death at the age of 57 last April. In a conversation with Rolling Stone, he explained, “[Prince’s 1980 album Dirty Mind] was a pivotal moment for me. Just seeing the album cover opened up my imagination. Here was an African-American cat, skin color like mine was, playing the guitar like I wanted to play… he had a very deep impact on me. I was able to see where I could go. The music, the vibe, the color, the hair, the band members, everything, was amazing to me.”You can check out our full recap of the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony here.[h/t – Rolling Stone][cover photo via Mike Coppola/Getty Images]
“All of a sudden there’s a song – there in your hotel room playing your guitar – and you write it, and two or three years later it will come true. It keeps you on your toes.”These words, spoken by Townes Van Zandt, support a popular notion of the songwriter in American popular culture: A rambling man, on the road with a band, playing venues both squalid and splendid, creating songs from thin air with little more than a beat up guitar, bottle of booze and hotel notepad.And there’s no doubt that countless great tunes have been written in such a manner. But there’s another question worth asking: In 2017, are most songs written that way?To find out, we spoke with six songwriters who will be at the ninth annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival over Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28) in Martinsville, VA. These six artists: Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass), Anders Osborne, Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange), Lyle Divinksy (The Motet), Marcus King, and Wood Robinson (Mipso) bring different backgrounds, hometowns, experience levels and genres to the craft of songwriting.Perhaps unsurprisingly, they write songs in different manners. In fact, some artists create songs with very little “writing,” literally speaking. For proof, read on to learn about the surprising methods that Andrew Marlin employs when creating fresh material for Mandolin Orange. Then, catch their afternoon set at Rooster Walk 9 over Memorial Day weekend.Editor’s Note: This is the fourth story in a six-part “Road to Rooster Walk” series about the craft and process of songwriting. Previous installments featured The Motet, Greensky Bluegrass, Marcus King, Anders Osborne, and Andrew Marlin.Just like last week’s band, Mandolin Orange, Mipso hails from the stringband stronghold of Chapel Hill, N.C. But unlike their Tar Heel brethren, Mipso features four songwriters, not one.The combination of Wood Robinson (bass/vocals), Jacob Sharp (mandolin/vocals),Joseph Terrell (guitar/vocals) and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle/vocals) gives the band an embarrassment of lyrical riches, each with his or her own approach to the craft.“I know that for Jacob, he writes based on a single line that will come to mind, and spend months working around that one line. For Libby, I know that it’s a lot to do with kind of the thematic content of the verse that she writes. She usually writes when she’s driving, and a verse will come to mind,” Robinson said. “And then for Joseph, it’s kind of more on the same lines as Libby does, where he’ll have a rhythm and meter to a verse that he’s working on and then expound upon that.”For Robinson’s part, he admitted no regular process or method to his songwriting, claiming instead that his songs are realized only when “the divine light shines upon” him.But unlike Marlin or Osborne, most Mipso songs are far from finished when introduced to the rest of the band.“None of us are extremely attached to the initial blueprint of the song that was originally brought to the table,” Robinson explained. “So if someone has a good idea, it’s just a good idea. And that can make the song even better. So sometimes (the finished product) was just what the original songwriter wrote and intended. But probably much more often, to a typical listener’s ears, it would be apples and oranges, very different between what was initially performed for the rest of the band, and what the band ends up performing.”For an example, look no farther than “Momma,” off the band’s 2015 release, “Old Time Reverie.”Sharp wrote the song about his late mother, each stanza depicting a different hypothetical conversation between himself and his mother, father and brother.Sharp first presented the song, which at the time was just guitar and lead vocals, to Terrell while the band was on tour in Japan. The two proceeded to work out many of the harmonic elements of the song but left it unfinished.“Then when we got into the studio, with the help of Andrew Marlin, who was producing that record, we started adding orchestral” violin elements, and fretless electric bass, to the song, “that are really beautiful and really haunting,” Robinson explained.The finished product “wound up being much more than a single guitar with a singer – which it could live very comfortably as,” Robinson said, “but it feels like a much more band-orchestrated arrangement.”Though all four songwriters vary in their creative methods, Robinson said they share an appreciation for the craft of songwriting, and the fact that studying one’s trade will only lead to improvement.“There’s some serious truth to the fact that you learn the craft by knowing the craft,” he said. “We all listen to a lot of music and a lot of songs. And almost all of the best songs have already been written. And to recognize that and try to learn from the ones that already exist – you know, you listen to a record with headphones on and you take notes. And find those turns of phrase that you like so much. And somehow some of that sentiment will seep into your head. I know that that has helped me a lot in learning from some of my favorite songwriters. And I know that that’s how all of us think: You can’t write a good song if you haven’t heard one before.”Songwriters who influence Wood: Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon (“among the true greats.”) Jonathan Byrd, Robbie Fulks, Simon Linsteadt, Andrew Marlin, Neil Young. (“There are so many. It runs the gamut.”)Song: “Momma”
On November 17th, Eavesdrop will drop their debut full-length album dubbed Tides. The sextet born from western Massachusetts manages to find a sweet spot between progressive rock, Americana, and the space in between, offering a simultaneously ethereal and down-to-earth full-length album debut with Tides. However, don’t take our word for it that the group is well-worth a listen. Tides was co-produced by Soulive’s drummer extraordinaire Alan Evans (in addition to Eavesdrop’s own Ross Bellenoit), with Evans also stepping in to engineer and mix the project and making for one hell of an endorsement.Eavesdrop’s trio of vocalists—Kara Rose Wolf, Kerrie T. Bowden, and Laura Marie Picchi—gracefully exchange lead vocal role across the album, with each song underlined by gorgeous backing harmonies. Behind these three women, the band itself is tight on Tides, with each number anchored by guitarist Ross Bellenoit, bassist Marc Seedorf, and drummer Sturgis Cunningham.You can snag Eavesdrop’s debut full-length album, Tides, when its released on November 3rd via CDBaby. The band will also be hosting an album release celebration on November 17th at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, with tickets for the event available here. For more information about Eavesdrop and to stay dialed into Tides and their upcoming tour dates, head over to the band’s website or follow their Facebook page.[Photo via Eavesdrop’s Facebook page]
This week, neo-soul pioneer D’Angelo was scheduled to be in the midst of an 8-date European run. However, all of the upcoming shows were recently postponed until late June or July. In a statement obtained by British music publication NME, D’Angelo’s management explains:“As D’Angelo has been working in the studio, deep in the recording process, he apologises to any fans that this announcement might impact and is excited to see you all in June. We thank you for your continued patience and cooperation and look forward to an amazing tour.”The R&B/soul maven earned enormous commercial and critical success with his first two albums, Brown Sugar (1995) and Voodoo (2000). However, particularly following the release of the video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel)“, the lead single from Voodoo, D’Angelo began to feel uncomfortable with his growing “sex symbol” status. The discomfort he felt toward that distinction, in addition to a bevy of other adverse personal situations, led D’Angelo to step away from the spotlight at the peak of his fame, beginning a hiatus from the public eye which lasted nearly 14 years.He finally resurfaced with the release of his universally-acclaimed third LP, Black Messiah, in 2014. The album was a critical smash, debuting at #5 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Chart and #1 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. Considering the high quality of all his previous efforts, we can’t wait to hear what D’Angelo is cooking up in the studio!Tickets purchased for the March European run will be valid at the rescheduled shows. You can see a list of the postponed D’Angelo shows below. For more information on the rescheduled dates, head to the individual venue websites.D’Angelo Postponed 2018 Tour Dates:03/06 – London, UK @ Eventim Apollo03/08 – Zurich, CH @ Volkhaus03/09 – Paris, FR @ Le Salle Pleyel03/11 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso03/12 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso03/14 – Hamburg, DE @ The Docks03/15 – Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle03/17 – Copenhagen, DK @ DR Koncerthuset[H/T – NME]
Vulf Records sent out an extremely “low volume” e-mail today, more or less announcing a new band called The Fearless Flyers with very little information. The first taste of this band comes in the form a music video for their brand new song “Aces of Aces”. Vulfpeck bassist Joe Dart and guitarist Cory Wong team up with drummer Nate Smith and guitarist Mark Lettieri for the debut premiere, supplemented with a crowdfunding link to support the first pressing of a limited supply of 12″ vinyl–suggesting a full record is on the way.Produced, composed, and mixed by Volfmon Jack Stratton (bandleader/multi-instrumentalist of Vulfpeck), the new release seems to point at a full record coming from The Fearless Flyers. “Aces of Aces” showcases the timing and perfection of the musicians who play under Stratton’s guidance, clearly reminiscent of early Vulfpeck days. With Joe Dart and Nate Smith holding down the complicated grooves, guitarists Cory Wong and Lettieri communicate with their instruments as if they share the same brain. Tight and funky, this is the stuff of legends.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet during the past two days, then you’ve probably encountered the viral “Laurel”/”Yanny” audio clip that has taken the web by storm. To break it down, the short clip consists of a person saying… well, that’s the issue. You see, some people claim to hear “Laurel” while others claim to hear “Yanny”, which has led to some heated debates around water coolers and dinner tables the world over. Of course, there’s a perfectly logical explanation for all of this. And who better to drop this knowledge on us than John Mayer? The Dead & Company guitarist took to Instagram to explain the musical science behind the “Laurel”/”Yanny” phenomenon. The short version is that people who first encountered Phish during 3.0 are more likely to hear “Yanny”, and fans who caught the band during their ’90s heyday are more likely to hear “Laurel”, but its a little more complicated than that.I’ll let John explain:
Every summer, the beloved Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, Oregon hosts Northwest String Summit, showcasing the top and up-and-coming bluegrass bands and talent. This year’s event will take place from July 19th through 22nd, and luckily for you, if you can’t make the event, JamGrass TV will be streaming select sets throughout the weekend!Starting on Thursday, July 19th, Horseshoes and Handgrenades will get the webcast started, with performances by Steep Canyon Ranger, Railroad Earth, and Greensky Bluegrass to follow, on the webcast’s opening day.Friday’s webcast will feature sets from The Lil Smokies, Dustbowl Revival, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Yonder Mountain String Band. JamGrass TV will keep the virtual festivities going Saturday, with performances from Front Country, Keller & The Andys, Mandolin Orange, Fruition, Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Leftover Salmon’s Funky Brass Breakdown featuring special guests Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman and Skerik. On Sunday, the festival’s final day, The Talbott Brothers, Jon Craigie, Music of Jerry & Dawg, Leftover Salmon, and The Infamous Stringdusters will be broadcast live.The full webcast schedule can be viewed at JamGrass TV. Tickets for Northwest String Summit can be purchased on their website.
Marcus King and Billy Strings, two of the country’s hottest young guitar players, will join forces for the second time ever at the Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival in Martinsville, VA. In addition, the Marcus King Band is joining the lineup for the festival, which is going down May 23rd through 26th, 2019.King & Strings is a collaboration between southern rocker Marcus King and progressive bluegrass ace Billy Strings that has only happened once before, at last year’s Rooster Walk 10. The original lineup featured Billy Strings and his band, consisting of bassist Royal Masat, banjo player Billy Failing, and mandolinist Jarrod Walker, along with Marcus King and legendary drummer Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit). The exact lineup for the 2019 iteration of King & Strings is yet to be announced, but with both Billy Strings’ and Marcus King’s bands in the house, it’s sure to be one hell of a good time.Last year’s King & Strings late-night set included songs from both artists’ respective catalogs, highlighting both of their uniquely refined skill sets. The performances also featured covers of Merle Haggard’s “Swinging Doors”, the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See”, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”, Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times”, Johnny Winter’s “I’m Yours & I’m Hers”, Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful,” Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant’s “Rocky Top”, Rick Derringer’s “Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo”, and more, all strung together by instrumental communication between the six stellar musicians onstage.These two great acts join a lineup that already includes Shovels & Rope, Billy Strings, Mountain Heart, Yarn, Kendall Street Company, State Birds and C2 & The Brothers Reed. According to the festival organizers, approximately 40 more bands will be announced in the coming months!For more information on Rooster Walk 11, head here.
Rapper Action Bronson is scheduled to release his second book in a few months—a 224-page publication on everything cannabis. The forthcoming book, titled Stoned Beyond Belief, is scheduled to arrive towards the tail end of his upcoming North American concert tour on March 19th via Abrams Image. Stoned Beyond Belief will follow the 2017 publication of his debut cookbook, Fuck, That’s Delicious, based on his Viceland TV series of the same name.According to the book’s pre-order page on Amazon, Stoned Beyond Belief will act as an ultimate love letter from Bronson to the world’s most magical plant: Weed. The book was co-penned with James Beard Award-winning food writer, Rachel Wharton, and will look to take readers through “every corner of the pot galaxy.” Cannabis-related topics which Bronson and Wharton cover throughout the book include highly scientific botanical analyses, studies of medicinal benefits of the controversial plant, and a guide to the world of weed paraphernalia.Related: Snoop Dogg Announces New Cookbook, ‘From Crook To Cook’The rapper from Queens, New York has never been shy about his love for weed, and often incorporates the plant into his television show and media appearances.Action Bronson – “Guess The Weed Strain” – Complex News[Video: Complex]Bronson independently released his latest studio album, White Bronco, on November 1st, 2018. The food-loving rapper will continue promoting the new material from White Bronco with a winter-into-spring concert run scheduled to begin next month at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on February 11th. The tour will hit a mix of major U.S. and Canadian markets including New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Detroit, Minneapolis, Denver, Vancouver, Seattle, San Diego, Oakland, and Los Angeles, just to name a few. The North American tour is scheduled to wrap following his appearance at the inaugural Sonic Temple Festival in Columbus, Ohio in mid-May. Bronson is also scheduled to appear at the 2019 National Cannabis Festival at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on April 20th.Fans can click here for detailed ticketing information for the upcoming Action Bronson tour.[H/T Billboard]