• 0 Live365 - Powerhouse Radio Shutdown

    Thank you, our thousands of listeners in the USA and around the world for your support of Powerhouse Radio. You made us the number one classic soul R&B streaming channel during most of our Live365 run. "Radio revolution" pioneer Live365 will pull the plug on all of their channels effective January 31, 2016. You can blame The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and very high online music streaming licensing fees for this surprise shutdown.   We began our Powerhouse Radio journey on Live365 in 2001. For a couple of years (2004 - 2006) we also streamed the award winning Live365 Fabfoursoul channel playing all Beatles music by R&B, soul, and jazz performers. Read additional information on Kurt Hanson's Radio and Internet News service about the Live365 shutdown. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Teena Marie Lady T

    Hot irons in the fire! Fiery classic soul. Lady T., Teena Marie didn't have to take a backseat to anyone. I was lucky enough to see her perform live one time. It was in a large Philadelphia arena. The size of the crowd did not distract from the intimate punch Lady T. hammered home that night. Teena Marie, March 5, 1956 - December 26, 2010. R.I.P. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Grammy Boots Soul to the Curb

    In a move designed to downsize the density of awards, the Grammys are streamlining their portfolio of potential winners for 2012. Categories are being sliced, diced, and reduced to 78 from 109. Some separate male and female awards will be combined into new categories. The R&B area was hammered pretty hard. 8 awards have been cut to 4. A review of the awards category restructuring page at reveals that "Best R&B Performance" will take the place of these 4 eliminated classifications: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (dropped) Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (dropped) Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals (dropped) Best Urban/Alternative Performance (dropped) As a result of discontinuing the "Best Female R&B vocal performance" and "Best Male R&B vocal performance," "The Best R&B Performance" now becomes highly competitive. Hip hop lost only one category dropping from 5 to 4. A date for the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012 has not been announced. Look for the show in February. Hopefully it will be shorter, and more entertaining. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Can Record Store Day Save a Sinking Ship?

    Album sales are down 6.1 percent in the first 3 month of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to Nielsen SoundScan. They add that for the first time, iTunes and CD sales online have passed the traditional big box retailers. Amazon and their digital brethren now make up the largest distribution channel for music, and for good reason. Big boxers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have dropped the ball when challenged with stocking a satisfactory variety of the newest music being released. You'll always find the A-list performers in their racks, but you are hard pressed to find a deep selection of new music representing a variety of artists from different niche genres. Jazz, soul, and R&B are frequent victims of this trend. Bookstores including Encore and Barnes and Noble do a better job stocking tunes, but as with the big box stores, music sales no longer represent a growth area. The digital music download world is hurting too. Nielsen SoundScan says that downloads experienced their first year-to-year quarterly sales decline ever, falling about 1 percent between January 1 and April 4. In the same period in 2009, digital download sales were up 13 percent over 2008. CD's will eventually go the way of the horse and buggy, just as electric vehicles will slowly take market share from gas engine cars. Computers inevitably crash, and unless you back everything up, there's still a better element of permanency when investing in compact discs. The CD for many is still an important part of their music collection. Once upon a time, the best place in town to salivate over new releases and bountiful catalogs was the record store. I worked in an independent record store for 3 years part-time as a teenager. Today, only the bigger cities can still support the few independent record emporiums that are left. In Philadelphia, my favorite is Sound of Market Street, surviving in 2010 with an awesome collection of CD's (and vinyl discs). ----- 2022 Update: Sound of Market Street finally closed in 2014 after 30 years in business. ----- A worldwide event has been created to spotlight stores just like Sound of Market (JazSound). Saturday, April 17 will mark the 3rd annual Record Store Day. says that the original idea for this promotion was "conceived by Chris Brown, and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally." The website further amplifies the concept explaining "this is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music." "Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances." Record Store Day is now celebrated on the 3rd Saturday every April. At, I did a random 'search by state' to see what was happening in Texas. Over 50 independent record stores came up in the Lone Star State, so there still is a heartbeat left in this disappearing institution that's now on life-support. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Smokey Robinson Writes the Mighty Classics

    You know you're a great song writer when your catalog of melodies includes hundreds of compositions. At last count, Smokey Robinson had over 460 songs registered in the official online song databases as author (or co-author). Without Smokey, how would Motown have had all of those early hits? Let's not even mention the scores of artists who have covered his songs. "Ain't That Peculiar," Marvin Gaye and George Clinton. "My Girl," the Temptations and the Whispers. "Tears of A Clown," the Miracles and Shalamar. One of your all-time favorites might just be a Smokey Robinson song. When it comes to love and romance, the pen of 'Bill' William 'Smokey' Robinson is number one. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Sharon Jones takes the Long Road to SXSW in Austin

    The annual Austin, Texas music extravaganza, SXSW, (South by Southwest), will draw dynamic acts from all over the globe for the March 17 - 21 (music week), 2010 showcase. 1987 was the first SXSW in Austin, a unique music city that mixes jazz, blues, rock, country, & folk. This Texas town claims to have "more original music nightclubs in a concentrated area than any other city in the world." One group getting a lot of attention this year is Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who will perform Wednesday evening, March 17. Within some music circles, the R&B authenticity of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings is hotly debated. Without question, Sharon's soulful delivery is genuine. Are the Dap-Kings the second coming of original instrumental virtuosity on par with Booker T. & the MG's (Memphis), The Funk Brothers (Motown), or MFSB (Philadelphia)? No, if that's what you're looking for. I'd argue that Jones & company have fused these influences to produce a contemporary neo classic soul sound that doesn't necessarily mimic the expectations of past legacy styles. When you have a diverse ethnic mix of musicians in a group, fresh sounds are often invented. People who have seen Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings rave about their intense live show. It's also rare for a performer to jump into the music game after the age of 40, and achieve the success Sharon has earned. You've heard the sound of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings in these movies: Soul Men (sound track), Up in the Air, American Gangster and The Great Debaters. If you won't be in Austin for SXSW, here's the current international tour schedule for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Friday, March 26, Snoe.down Festival - Rutland, VT Saturday, April 10, Astra - Berlin, Germany Tuesday, April 13, Trabendo - Paris, France Wednesday, April 14, Koko - London, UK Thursday, April 15, Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands Saturday, April 17, Wanee Festival - Live Oak, FL Thursday, April 22, Festival Internationale de Louisiane - Lafayette, LA Friday, April 23, The Howling Wolf - New Orleans, LA Saturday, April 24, Double Decker Festival - Oxford, MS Friday, April 30, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY Saturday, May 1, Apollo Theater - New York City, NY Thursday, May 6, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, VA Friday, May 7, Ram's Head Onstage - Annapolis, MD Saturday, May 8, Jefferson Theater - Charlottesville, VA Sunday, May 9, The NorVa - Norfolk, VA Tuesday, May 11, Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC Wednesday, May 12, Orange Peel - Ashesville, NC Thursday, May 13, Center Stage - Atlanta Atlanta, GA Friday, May 14, Cannery Ballroom - Nashville, TN Saturday, May 15, Nelsonville Music Festival - Nelsonville, OH Monday, May 17, The Southgate House - Newport, KY Tuesday, May 18, Majestic Theatre - Detroit, MI Look for the new Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings collection, I Learned the Hard Way, their 4th album, scheduled for release on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Beyonce Dominates the Grammy Awards

    The big story at the 2010 52nd annual Grammy Awards was Beyonce's dominance with 6 new trophies, but there were some other interesting musical moments. For instant gratification, the opening performers usually hit some high notes, and that's what Lady Gaga & Elton John did. The Grammy show is not for you if you have a short attention span, as you have to sit through the dull moments to experience the true gems of the evening during the three and 1/2 hour marathon. After Celine Dion, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, and Carrie Underwood performed Michael Jackson's "Earth Song," 2 of Michael's children accepted a lifetime achievement award with short, moving comments. Jamie Foxx and T-Pain, who won for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (with Kanye West who did not perform), brought some energy and excitement to the evening (that often dragged along). Hats off to The Dave Matthews Band for an impressive well played set. Best act introduction: Quentin Tarantino bringing on the most bleeped performance of the night: Eminem, Lil Wayne, and Drake. Come on guys! You are on rated G TV. Beyonce' has come a long way. Anyone who can win in such broad musical categories can take comfort in knowing that they've arrived - big time. Beyonce's Grammy Awards: Song of the Year - "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" Best R&B Song - "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" Best Female R&B Vocal Performance - "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance - "At Last" from Cadillac Records Best Female Pop Vocal Performance - "Halo" Best Contemporary R&B Album - I Am...Sasha Fierce Previous Post | Next Post  

  • 0 5 Soulful Favorites Touch 2009

    Although the sun has set on the golden age of classic soul, the sprit of the music continues to live on with new tracks that embrace the tradition. Every year, there are always great examples of very good new music. In order, here are my 5 soulful 2009 favorites: Beyonce' - "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" - This could have been a Destiny's Child track. Simple rhythms, a fabulous hook, and a razor sharp contemporary message. It's brilliant pop music that grows on you. Michael Jackson - "This Is It" - Somewhat ignored by radio, this track is delightful, reminding us that we've lost an amazing prodigy. Mariah Carey - "I Want To Know What Love Is" - A talent takes a good song and makes it great. This Foreigner classic has been given a memorable dramatic reading as well as a breath of fresh air. Lionel Richie - "Just Go" - He didn't write most of the songs this time around on his latest album, however , Lionel Richie maintains his mass appeal star power with this strong performance. Whitney Houston - "I Look To You" - Last, but not least, two thumbs up for Whitney Houston, who has come back from despair to share her soul through this charming, but somewhat formulaic, new and appealing ballad. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 Michael Jackson Wake - Thriller and Bad

    Yes the abundant coverage of Michael Jackson's tragic death will eventually end. Among what I've watched, read, or listened to in several U.S. cities (and from around the world) over the past few days, here's a highlight and low light: Thriller: Donnie Simpson's excellent radio interview with Smokey Robinson on Washington D.C.'s WPGC. Bad: O'Jay Eddie Levert dropping the "s" bomb during the group's lifetime achievement acceptance remark at the BET Awards/MJ tribute program. What's one thing you have liked and/or have disliked about the coverage of the Michael Jackson tragedy? Leave a comment. Previous Post | Next Post

  • 0 2009 BET Awards Build some Buzz

    The O'Jays are saluted with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and both Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean receive humanitarian honors during the 2009 BET Awards scheduled for this Sunday, June 28th. Just one airing can't do, so look for multiple repeats of this television special in the coming weeks. Nominees for the Best Female R&B Artist: Beyonce' Keyshia Cole Keri Hilson Jennifer Hudson Jazmine Sullivan Rihanna, where are you? Nominees for the Best Male R&B Artist: The-Dream Jamie Foxx Ryan Leslie Ne-Yo T-Pain John Legend and Chris Brown, where are you? BET needs to add a legacy award for the R&B category. It's done in the Grammy Awards. 2008 saw many very good traditional releases, including Labelle's Back To Now, and the Soul Men movie soundtrack. Is jazz dead? The BET Awards could be well served to give this genre the spotlight it deserves. Jazz is an excellent live performance platform. BET could help spark some interest in this particular craft of musical expression by exposing it to the hip hop generation. Previous Post | Next Post

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