June 3 - 9, 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 22

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Music Releases
 By Lee Zimmerman
Music Columnist

Listening with Lee Zimmerman

Glen Phillips: Winter Pays for Summer
(Lost Highway)
As the one-time leader of pop favorites Toad The Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips amassed an impressive legacy, including seven albums with the band that saw sales in the millions. At the start of the new millennium, he embarked on a solo career and last year, began an affiliation with the bluegrass super group of sorts, Mutual Admiration Society. However, those outings were mere precursors for his latest endeavor, Winter Pays for Summer, an effort that provides a turning point in Phillips’ career and elevates him to a new level of maturity as both an artist and a songwriter.
Indeed, those familiar with the effortless, engaging sound that Toad touted throughout the ‘90s, will find Winter Pays for Summer a more intimate and introspective work. Songs such as the fragile “Released,” the aptly-named “Simple” and the closing ballad “Don’t Need Anything,” a tune that’s remarkably similar in tone and structure to the Eagles’ classic “Desperado,” find Phillips turning inward and ruminating on hard issues one’s forced to juggle as the future unfolds and suddenly there are less days ahead than those left behind. More striking perhaps is the way Phillips has fully assumed the singer/songwriter mantle, an insular approach that brings to mind others of that ilk, most notably James Taylor on the well-worn discourse “Courage” and his younger incarnation, John Mayer, on the tangled “Easier.” 
Lest anyone think Phillips is ready for the rocking chair, think again. He’s rocking, but doing so in a different sense—a driven, determined “Duck and Cover,” the resounding “Thankful” and a breathless “Finally Fading” provide proof of that. On the whole, however, this is a thoughtful series of ruminations, one that invites further listens even after making its mark on the very first encounter. 
Visit www.losthighwayrecords.com.
Petra Haden: Sings The Who Sell Out
(Bar None)
The Who Sell Out was one of the most intriguing albums of the ‘60s, a decade that was known for adventurous efforts by some of the greatest bands of all time. It was a quirky attempt, a major leap forward for The Who in their pre-Tommy career. Aside from the fact that it boasted some of their best songs ever, it provided them with their first stab at a concept album, one that satirized the BBC’s playlist of the day, complete with commercials and the catchy radio jingles that littered their airways.
Any attempt to replicate this glorious mix of melody and mayhem would be a daunting task at best, but to do it sans instruments, wholly acapella, seems an unimaginable concept entirely. However when bassist Mike Watt suggested the idea to singer Petra Haden, she made it a triumph entirely her own. Haden, the daughter of jazz great Charlie Haden, had a tentative musical career up until this point, having performed with the quirky combo That Dog in addition to a 1996 solo album, collaborations with Sean Lennon and Victoria Williams, among others, a duet effort with guitarist Bill Frisell and assorted soundtrack contributions. Yet Sings The Who Sell Out is entirely unexpected, a tour de force that finds her effectively recreating every sound—instruments, vocals, even the gag ads and jingles in-between—with her voice alone. Even the album cover—a series of mock-up ad endorsements—is reproduced with Petra positioning herself in place of the band members’ original poses.
Of course, familiarity with the original album would seem to be a prerequisite to fully appreciating Haden’s efforts here. And while she does take liberties with the arrangements—let’s face it, no human could ever recreate the sheer pomposity of Keith Moon’s superhuman drumming—she reinvents the songs with an exuberance that stays true to the spirit of the originals while still redefining them in an entirely new light. To hear such gems as “I Can See for Miles,” Tattoo” and “Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand” recast with such obvious affection is to appreciate and enjoy them all over again.
Visit www.bar-none.com.
Todd Thibaud: Northern Skies
(95North Recording Corporation)
What—you’ve never heard of Todd Thibaud? While a dearth major label interest might excuse you for that oversight, a listen to anyone of his albums, recorded for a seemingly haphazard procession of small independent labels, will quickly have you wondering how such negligence ever occurred. To put it succinctly—Thibaud is terrific.
His latest, Northern Skies, is certainly no exception. A gloriously melodic and easily accessible set of tunes, it will embrace you on first hearing and pull you even closer each time you hear it. From its rousing opener, “Three Worlds,” to its wistful closer, “Only a Fool,” it’s packed song to song with memorable melodies and radio-readdy choruses and refrains. Thibaud fearlessly tackles a variety of genres—effusive power pop, weary rockers, country-tinged ballads and tender, heart-breaking ballads—and ties them all together with confidence and compassion. Highlights are too numerous to mention—and certainly every track is a contender worthy of merit—but the back-porch ramble of “Lost Again,” the extraordinarily evocative “Beautiful Dream” and the mellow acoustic offering “Sleep Tonight” all deserve special note.
Part of the problem of discovering is locating Thibaud’s material in the first place. However, Northern Skies is worth scoping out. One listen and you too will find yourself touting Thibaud forever. 
Visit www.95northrecords.com.

The Blonde and The Maven Jump Right in,
with Both Feet, at Y-100.7’s Summer Splash Concert

 by Robin Roth and Shara Rosayn
Contributing Writers


Y-100 has done it again! Just as the holiday season’s Jingle Ball was a sensational event, the Vera Cadillac Summer Splash Concert turned out to be an amazing, exciting, stimulating musical experience to kick off the summer! As if the line-up wasn't enough, a VERY lucky listener won singer Ryan Cabrera's 2005 Cadillac CTS, courtesy of Vera Cadillac. The Summer Splash concert, held at the Office Depot Center (need we state who has the best sound system ever) on May 24, began with the Pussycat Dolls singing and dancing to the enjoyment of all the men and quite a few of the woman, too.

The Blonde: Count me out of the enjoyment statement. Did you see the bodies on those girls? It was enough to make me never eat again…well, until after the show, that is! By the way, did they sing?
The Maven: Yes, but like you, I'm sure nobody noticed!

Guest host Lindsay Lohan came to the stage and, after A LOT of smiling and giggling, introduced Gavin DeGraw, who recently released his second CD titled Chariot. He's a casual guy with phenomenal talent.


The Maven: Gavin is just as cute in person as he was in his videos. Do you think he was impressed when Bo Bice sang his song “I Don't Want to Be” on “American Idol”?

The Blonde: I don't think he cares as long as he got his royalty check! He was so good, though! I wish he took his hat off so I could see just how cute he was!

April 20, 2005 marked 12 years together for the next act. They were in semi-retirement for 5 years, and their first studio album since then will be released June 14, titled, Never Gone. The single “Incomplete” is the number one most increasingly played song on the radio. A THUNDEROUS and well=deserved applause greeted the Backstreet Boys’ return!

The Blonde: Now, THEY gave an outstanding, exciting, performance. Fun, to watch and to hear! Glad they’re back!

The Maven: While you were shooting pictures, I was able to see what went on backstage. Aaron Carter (Nick’s brother and a popular singer as well) was in the audience signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans. When BSB began to sing, he tried to get to the press area and was met with some resistance. After some security discussion, they allowed him in! By the way, BSB's single “Incomplete” was featured on “American Idol” and sung by Anthony Federov.

The Blonde: OH MAV, enough with “American Idol”!
After some light banter from Lindsay, the next act was introduced. Jesse McCartney is an Emmy-nominated actor from “All My Children” and presently stars in the smash series “Summerland.” He also co-wrote four songs on his CD, so add songwriter to his list of accomplishments.

The Blonde: Jesse was so adorable and professional on stage, it's hard to believe how very young he is! This is a talent that will be around for a very LONG time. Paul McCartney must be so very proud of his son Jesse!

The Maven: BLONDE, you got it wrong again! (What a surprise?) He's NOT Paul's son, but he is gorgeous and talented! The girls in the audience were screaming so loud, my eardrums were bruised!

The Blonde: Ah, Mav, ah, that might have been me screaming! SORRY!

The Maven: A little jealous of Mary Kay Laterno are we?

There was nothing simple about the performance of Simple Plan. Their new CD, Still Not Getting Any, is filled with their best work yet, which they proved at the concert! They had the crowd jumping and screaming.

The Blonde: Fist of all, I so related to the title of their album! In addition, they caused a fight between my little girl and I because she didn't get to go. Simple Plan is HER number one favorite band…AND I CAN SEE WHY! They had ME jumping, and you try taking photos while jumping!
The Maven: I know this band was once labeled a punk-rock band, but I love them. Their songs truly say something, and I understand every word! Their energy should be bottled! It would give Red Bull a run for their money.

When Mario took the stage, everyone was wrung out from the previous band, but it wasn't long until he had everyone dazzled. Tyler Hilton, whose song is the theme song for the TV series “One Tree Hill,” performed next and lit up the stage.  

The Blonde: I thought Tyler Hilton was Paris' sister, but then when I saw HIM, I felt silly and realized he was actually her brother!

The Maven: Tyler is NOT related to Paris or Nicky Hilton! Don't feel bad; I don't watch the show, so I didn't know who he was either!

The next act blew the roof off the Office Depot Center. When Gwen Stefani took the stage, her petite size didn't diminish her stage presence at all! After she ended with “Hollaback Girl,” the floor shook!

The Blonde: GWEN STEFANI WOWED ME! Something about her reminded me of Madonna. Gwen has such an interestingly unique quality to her vocals. Her style on stage is electric. It was hard shooting her because she doesn't stop moving for one second! GREAT ENTERTAINER! P.S. Great body…
The Maven: I am a TRUE Gwen fan, so I don't want to gush! Not only do I LOVE her, but I got to enjoy Gwen's performance standing next to Kevin from the Backstreet Boys! (I didn't want him to notice me staring at him, so I moved across the aisle to stare at him!) He danced to all the music and, since I was moving to the music too, I guess you could say we danced together.
The Blonde: You g’ahead and say that if it makes you happy!
To complete this already star-studded evening of music, the concert was topped off with equally brilliant and crowd-screaming performances by Ryan Cabrera and Ciara. It doesn't get much better than this, rock fans. Let's give some kudos to Y-100 and the Office Depot Center!
The Blonde: I have never seen so much summer splash without any water! Maven, this was the perfect evening, except for one minor thing. I resented the publicity heads announcing that the press was not allowed to FLASH! If I want to take my shirt off at a rock concert, who are they to tell me NO!
The Maven: ONCE AGAIN BLONDE, you got it wrong! They were referring to the flash on the photographers’ (that includes YOUR) cameras!
The Blonde: Never mind! Rock on!
1.  The Pussycat Dolls
2.  Guest host Lindsay Lohan
3.  Gavin DeGraw
4. Jesse McCartney
5. Gwen Stefani
Photos by Robin Roth

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