How do you define a boy band? Is it the style of music? The look? The dancing? The shadowy figure in the background pulling the strings of the four to six good-looking young men picked specifically to appeal to a broad but almost always young female audience?
Grammy-winning vocalist Suzy Bogguss topped the country charts through the late '80s and '90s with hits like "Hey Cinderella" and "Cross My Broken Heart." She went on to start her own label and widen her range to include pop and jazz.
Now as this program winds down - the last broadcast is scheduled for August 1 - we thought it would be nice to hear about the music members of our staff are listening to as part of our series, In Your Ear. Producer Freddie Boswell has spent most of her life living and traveling outside of the U.S. from Kenya and Tanzania to (unintelligible) and England, and that definitely informs what's on her playlist.
Carlo Bergonzi endures. Not only is the Italian tenor approaching his 90th birthday (on July 13) but for decades he sang with tireless warmth and precision, representing a certain old school approach to carefully cultivating one's vocal resources.
Miranda Lambert has painted herself as one of country music's bad girls: Whether it's solo or with her trio Pistol Annies, she's got a deep catalog of songs about revenge, guns, cigarettes and beer. But her new album, Platinum, shows a more vulnerable side.
King Khan & The Shrines, a psychedelic garage/soul band from Berlin, is led by the charismatic Arish Khan. Khan grew up in Montreal, the son of South Asian parents, and first played in punk bands. The group has been recording together since 2000 and released its latest album, Idle No More, last fall.
Khan is fascinating: He's both an over-the-top performer and a far-ranging thinker. In this session, he discusses the new album's title, which comes from a Canadian indigenous people's movement.
Gil Evans was born in Canada in 1912. He latched onto jazz and, in time, taught himself to write it. First, for dancers, Evans arranged tunes off the radio for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra as well as the sweet, warm sounds of flutes and French horns. Then Evans downsized the Thornhill sound to a nonet for The Birth of the Cool.