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GREIN ON GRAMMYS:
FACTS AND FEATS
Women dominate. (12/11a)
GRAMMYS KEEN ON
KENDRICK, DRAKE
It's nomination day. (12/7a)
WHO’S NOMINATED,
WHO’S NOT
...and who's going, "WTF." (12/10a)
RAINMAKERS: IT'S POURING DOWN VISIONARIES
The Max factor. (12/10a)
SPRINGSTEEN ON FILM:
A FATHER'S STORY
Bruce's Broadway act on film. (12/7a)
GRAMMY NERDS BREAK IT DOWN
Wow, they really are nerds, huh?
REVERBERATIONS OF TAYLOR'S DEAL
What does it all mean? What did it cost? Answer the second question first.
IS IT COLD IN HERE?
It's fine, really. We'd just like to feel our extremities again.
EGGNOG
A sweet and creamy vehicle for the intoxicating liquor that blocks out the agony of the holidays.
Critics' Choice
PINK SWEAT$ WILL SOON BE ALL THE RAGE
12/11/18

You may have read about Human Re Sources artist/songwriter Pink Sweat$ in our recent New & Developing Artists rundown; you’re likely to hear quite a bit more about him soon. The 26-year-old Philly native developed his considerable songwriting versatility working with artists ranging from Nashville’s Florida Georgia Line to hip-hop breakout Tierra Whack and pop breakout MAX; on his own he’s racked up 13m Spotify streams and press love (New York Times, Fader, Hypebeast) thanks to jams like “Honesty” (the twisty video for which has earned 1.7m+ YouTube views and appears below),  “No Replacing You” and “Would You.”

What all these stats don’t tell you is that dude has some serious old-school R&B mojo, complete with a truly pure falsetto, and a distinctive, fearless style. Check it.

SPRINGSTEEN ON FILM:
A FATHER'S STORY
12/7/18

By Phil Gallo

“Long Time Comin’” is not what anyone would call a key piece of the Bruce Springsteen catalog. He wrote it in the mid-1990s and played it live, but didn’t record and release the song until 2005’s Devils and Dust.

He added the song to his Springsteen on Broadway set a year ago, along with “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to play on nights his wife, Patti Scialfa, was unable to make it to the Walter Kerr Theater to sing their two duets.

In Thom Zimny’s film of Springsteen on Broadway, which opens a limited theatrical run in New York and L.A. today and premieres 12/16 on Netflix, it amps up Springsteen’s notion that his father has been a driving force in his art, perhaps more than any singular figure.

He talks about his father early in the show, between “My Hometown” and “My Father’s House,” and, in the film, returns to the subject by singing about a fictional young man, the product of an absentee pop with kids of his own.

He sings: “Now down below and pullin' on my shirt/I got some kids of my own. 

"Well if I had one wish in this god forsaken world, kids,  it'd be that your mistakes would be your own./Yea, your sins would be your own.”

The addition of “Long Time Comin’” and “Tom Joad” sitting alongside the Bruce-Patti duets on “Tougher Than the Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise” gives the film a different weight than the stage show—not to mention a longer runtime. It’s heavier on film than it was live.

Everything about the stage show is presented the way Springsteen has played it over 236 nights since October 2017: the stories about growing up Catholic with a hard-working mother; his ambitions to use song to define himself and what it means to be an American; the friends he lost in Vietnam; his bandmates; and his purpose in life.

It’s rich and detailed, Zimny’s camera keeping the focus tight on the lone performer after establishing shots early on. Via that intense intimacy, we watch Springsteen coming to terms with his father, the identity behind so many of his song’s characters—the factory workers, men without options, the family men who avoid emotional connections. Springsteen’s father, Doug, he says, is “my hero and my greatest foe.”

Nothing beyond what theater-goers have been seeing has been added to the film. On the two nights Zimny shot in front of an invited audience, Bruce was a little loosey-goosey with the script, dropping f-bombs and veering toward the political in a way that reviewers did not see when it opened 14 months ago.

The show builds as any solid Broadway musical should, the final impact being a medley of “Dancing in the Dark” and “Land of Hope and Dreams” that works as well as any classic Broadway 11 o’clock number. “You’ve provided me with a purpose,” he says in the segue leading into the songs. “I hope I’ve been a good traveling companion.”  The vitality and joy in his voice says this journey still has miles to go.

DYLAN'S BUFFET OF DELIGHTS
11/24/18

By Phil Gallo

While the leftovers are down to dried bits of turkey, the vegan stuffing and that cockamamie cranberry dish your brother’s girlfriend got from a questionable cooking site, we have one more reason to be thankful: The final stops of the current leg of Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour.

Dylan’s spending his post-turkey week at New York’s Beacon Theater, opening the six-night run Friday with a set packed with classics given dramatic new twists in the arrangements and more recent songs played with vigor.

Spending the night, save for one song, at the grand piano, Dylan has dramatically shifted the power source of his band after years of standing behind and electric keyboard. He took several distinctive solos—old-timers might be reminded of his shift in guitar playing in the late ‘80s— and displayed an affinity for cocktail jazz in places. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and “Make You Feel My Love” were shaded in ways we haven’t previously heard from him. The two brilliant interpretations, linked by their depth in emotional resonance, could not be further apart: “Don’t Think Twice" was brittle, dark and bitter; "My Love," warm and caressing.

To top it off his voice was clear, his diction sharp. A song’s arrangement might throw you—the calypso-reggae twist on “All Along the Watchtower”; the down-tempo talk-sung “It Ain’t Me, Babe”; “Cry Awhile” set against Link Wray’s “Rumble”—but a Dylan concert no longer feels like a Name That Tune contest.

There have certainly been times over the last three decades when Dylan gives his live performances a healthy shake-up and the presentation feels thoroughly reinvigorated. Add the October-December 2018 run to that running list But with the Frank Sinatra tunes and the abundance of pedal steel solos excised, this shift feels more dramatic than others. Now, Charlie Sexton gets to flash his guitar wizardry—the man is as adept at conjuring mid-‘50s Chicago blues as he is echoing pop styles of the 1960s—the material from Dylan’s last album of original material, the underrated Tempest (Columbia) from 2012, has been thoroughly absorbed and the twists on the classics are smart rather than trivial. To call out one hard to describe example, when upright bassist Tony Garnier whips out his bow to ease Bob through a tempo change on “Like a Rolling Stone,” you feel like you’re experiencing something very special.

Dylan’s sold-out Beacon run continues Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday-Saturday.

Set List
Things Have Changed
Honest with Me
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Highway 61 Revisited
Simple Twist of Fate
Cry Awhile
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Honest With Me
Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
Scarlet Town
Make You Feel My Love
Pay in Blood
Like a Rolling Stone
Early Roman Kings
Don’t Twice, It’s All Right
Love Sick
Thunder on the Mountain
Soon After Midnight
Gotta Serve Somebody

Encores
All Along the Watchtower 
Blowin’ in the Wind