Tony Bennett’s duet album has ‘heart’

NEW YORK — Tony Bennett doesn’t speak Spanish and he was not familiar with most of the Latino artists he recorded with for his new album, “VIVA Duets.” But to his delight, the great American crooner discovered some common ground while recording: “They sing with the heart.” The 12-track album, out on Monday, includes collaborations with superstars like Christina Aguilera, Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony, as well as names like Chayanne, Juan Luis Guerra, Thalia and Ricardo Arjona. Songs include “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” ‘’Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me),” ‘’For Once In My Life,” ‘’The Best Is Yet To Come,” and “Return To Me (Regresa A Mí),” an English/Spanish duet with Mexican great Vicente Fernandez. Bennett greeted The Associated Press for a recent interview while surrounded by his oil and watercolor paintings in his art studio in Manhattan (with a real life landscape of Central Park as a backing). He

was putting some finishing touches to a watercolor he was working on while whistling the tune “Fly Me To The Moon.” He’s as proud of his art work as of his singing career, professing his love for both art expressions and showing proudly how, as an octogenarian, he’s just taking on sculpting with a bust of his friend Harry Belafonte. “It’s a lifetime study I enjoy very much,” he said. The Associated Press: You recently turned 86 and you keep recording, traveling, painting. .... What is the secret of your longevity? Tony Bennett: Many people say, “How come you’re not retiring?” I love life, so much. There are two things that I love very much: I sing and I paint ... It’s really a lifetime study, so you keep learning from it. My ambition, if I get lucky enough, is to actually attempt to learn more and more and get better as I get older. AP: Your voice still sounds impeccable. How do you keep it in shape? Bennett: Well, I had very


Singer Tony Bennett has released his second duets album with various Latin musicians, “Viva Duets.”
good training. I was in the Second World War ... and when I got back under the G.I. Bill of Rights the United States gave us schooling ... to make up for (the education) we would have had when we were in the Army. I made a very good move by joining the American Theater Wing. They gave us the best teachers. I had a real great education on how to preserve my voice and how to think about it and I had great teachers who taught me how to perform. It’s helped me right through the years, I still remember everything they taught me. AP: A new duets album is coming out, “VIVA Duets,” this time with all Latin stars. Bennett: I loved it. I had no idea what to expect and what I found (is) it’s kind of what they taught me in school — never to compromise and just

do quality. And that’s completely different than the outside world. The record companies want the latest fashion — rap or disco or whatever is coming out next. And I never did that. I went along with my teachers: Never do anything unless it has quality. AP: You recorded the songs in person with them. You even traveled to Vicente Fernandez’s ranch in Mexico. Bennett: It was fantastic! He’s the favorite. They treat him like Frank Sinatra in the Latin countries ... He had a beautiful recording studio right on the grounds and we recorded right there. AP: Any anecdotes of that trip? Bennett: We had lunch with him and his wife and his people; my wife was with me. They were so gregarious. I said, “You have all these animals in your ranch, is fantastic.” And “Oh, you like it?” Someone came over with a small dog to my wife and said, “Here, this is for you” (laughs). But we have a dog so I said, “Thank you, but we have a dog.” The dog was ador-

able though (laughs). AP: Juanes once said he warms up his voice with a tape you were generous enough to share with him. It’s obvious that younger singers may have a lot to learn from you. Have you found yourself leaning from them? Bennett: Yeah, a lot of them, every one of them. See, the one thing about the Latin singers, the majority of music that Latinos love, that the public loves of the Latinos, is they sing from the heart. And that doesn’t go away. That makes the record never sound oldfashioned.

There’s some gimmick that’s popular for 10 weeks and then forgotten. ... (But here) there was so much feeling in their performances that it will always sound good. Twenty years from now the same record will sound good because it has the feeling. They all sing with so much feeling and the public responds with so much feeling.

Go Radio’s new album offers more consistent, solid tunes



‘Close the Distance’
Go Radio (Fearless) ½ With a second rock-solid full-length album in as many tries as the frontman for Go Radio, it seems like Jason Lancaster has officially left Mayday Parade behind him. “Close the Distance” is more consistent than last year’s “Lucky Street” and finds Go Radio on the cusp of something truly special. Lancaster and his bandmates have settled into a comfortable groove on this 11-track collection of driving rock tunes. Things get off to a fast start with “I Won’t Lie” and “Baltimore,” and Go Radio additionally hit all the right notes on “Go to Hell,” the title track, “Things I Don’t See” and “The Ending.” It’s hard to break free from the emo pack, but Lancaster has done it.

“While You’re Out Looking for Sugar,” “Teardrops,” “I Got The Blues,” “Pillow Talk” and “Stoned Out of My Mind.” Not her best effort, but still a fascinating platter.

‘The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake’
Martha Redbone Roots Project (Blackfeet)  Having cut her chops performing retro soul and R&B, singer/songwriter Martha Redbone has made a pretty dramatic shift in her music with her latest project, “The Garden of Love.” This 12-track collection of Appalachian folk songs set to poetry of William Blake is a revelation. It’s as if Redbone finally found her musical calling. You won’t find a bad song in the bunch, and Redbone is especially effective on the title track, “Hear the Voice of the Bard,” “On Another’s Sorrow,” “I Heard an Angel Singing,” “A Poison Tree” and “Why Should I Care for the Men of Thames” (with Jonathan Spottiswoode). Highly recommended.

Walk Off the Earth stop by Mr. Smalls in Millvale Tuesday night at 7:30. Tickets for the all-age show, which includes Julia Nunes and the Mowglis, are $20. Call 412821-4447 for additional information.

‘Don McLean: American Troubadour’
Don McLean (Time Life) ½ Don McLean will be forever known for his epic masterpiece “American Pie,” but casual fans might be surprised to learn there is much more to the singer/songwriter’s life and music than the tune named the fifth-best song of the 20th century. “Don McLean: American Troubadour” is a fascinating 84-minute documentary that focuses on the 67-year-old’s life and enduring career. While plenty of attention is justifiably given to “American Pie,” the DVD explores other classic songs (“Vincent,” “And I Love You So,” “Crying,” “Castles in the Air,” “1967”), and through extensive interviews with McLean and others examines this influential artist’s fascinating life. A must for music lovers.

about Danish indie duo the Raveonettes is their ability to reinvent themselves musically. Their early albums sounded like retro throwbacks to the days of malt shops and motorcycles and they switched gears in 2009 with the deliciously gloomy “Raven in the Grave.” For sixth album “Observator,” Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo strip things down and serve up their most intimate recording yet. The nine-track, 31-minute release sweeps by too quickly , but there’s more than enough time to appreciate standouts like “Young and Cold,” “Curse the Night,” personal favorite “Sinking With the Sun,” “She Owns the Streets” and “You Hit Me (I’m Down).” Can’t wait to see what direction the next record takes them.

signature raspy drawl has never sounded better. Songs like the title track, “The Shadow of a Black Crow,” “Be Real,” bluesy gem “Rock and Roll Me,” “The Beating of Your Heart” and “Change the World” are flatout fantastic and make “4th Street Feeling” an album you should seek out.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor offers listeners a stunning return
since her last record, 2008’s “I Know You’re Married, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! But I’ve Got Feelings Too.” She became a mother for Ascend!’ Godspeed You! Black Emperor the first time, yet she also lost hers, singer/songwriter (Constellation) Kate McGarrigle. ½ “Come Home to Mama” Had someone told me at the end of September that is centered by a tender, yet I’d have a new Godspeed rejoiceful “Proserpina,” You! Black Emperor album written by McGarrigle, a in my hands by the end song that should cripple of the year, I would have your heart. Around it are laughed at that idea. Yet punchier, poppier songs than here it is, four all new cuts we’re used to hearing from on a fourth full-length that folk-leaning Wainwright, is in stores already. What a including “Can You Believe It?”; ’70s-flavored, paranoid wonderful surprise. For a longtime fan of “Radio Star”; and arresting, GY!BE and of cinematic suggestive “I Wanna Make instrumental music in An Arrest.” This is a fruitful general, having new stuff trip through sorrow, catharfrom the band is a loaves- sis and artistic rebirth. and-fishes-level miracle, and having absorbed the album ‘Apocryphon’ as many times as possible The Sword (Razor & Tie) before writing about it, I am ½ Austin, Texas, traditional in full rejoice mode over this stunning, emotional, almost metal band the Sword have religious experience. Two been going a decade now, epics — the captivating, having released four albums gnarly opener “Mladic” and in that frame. Their latest the more contemplative “We is Southern-style, stonerDrift Like Worried Fire” — embracing “Apocryphon.” Adopting more esoteric make up 40 minutes of this document, along with two lyrical content this time shorter cuts, and it’s a stun- around and eschewing a conning return no one could cept piece, the band plugs in their hulking riff machine have anticipated. and have at it, scoring again ‘Come Home to Mama’ and again on opener “Veil of Isis”; Sabbath-inspired “The Martha Wainwright Hidden Masters”; and sci-fi(V2/Cooperative) laced “Dying Earth” and the ½ Martha Wainwright has cosmic title track. Sounds known both joy and tragedy great with a cold beer.


‘The Soul Sessions Vol. 2’
Joss Stone (S-Curve) ½ Joss Stone was just 16 years old when she took the world by storm with her debut album “The Soul Sessions.” This fresh-faced young Brit with a big, big voice put her stamp on a series of American soul classics and it made for one of 2003’s more enjoyable records. Stone hasn’t quite become the superstar I thought she would, but has a handful of enjoyable albums on her résumé. And keep in mind, she’s still just 25. She tries to recapture that magic on “The Soul Sessions Vol. 2,” with varying levels of success. The album is rock-solid, but can’t measure up to the jaw-droppingly good original. Stone’s voice is awesome, if a tad dramatic, and she serves up nice renditions of “I Got the...,”

‘Natchez Trace’
Kevin Bowe & the Okemah Prophets (self-released)  Kevin Bowe started his career playing in punk bands before transitioning to the world of folk/rock. With pals Peter Anderson and Steve Price joining him as the Okemah Prophets, Bowe has cobbled together a twangy gem in “Natchez Trace.” It’s a sprawling, 17-track release that, while a smidge overstuffed at 58 minutes, is so good you won’t mind at all. The opening one-two punch of “Fallen Satellites” and “Long Goodbye” are fantastic, and Bowe & the Okemah Prophets also deliver the goods on “Power Trip,” “Everybody Lies,” “Waitin’ for the Wheel,” “My Favorite Pain” and “Every Little Bit Hurts.” the centerpiece of the set is “The L.A. Suite,” a trio of tunes that showcase Bowe’s gifts.

‘4th Street Feeling’
Melissa Etheridge (Island) ½ Heartland rocker Melissa Etheridge has been churning out quality records for almost a quarter century and latest effort “4th Street Feeling” is a worthy addition to her impressive résumé. The 15-track release finds Etheridge looking back warmly on her life and career, and her

The Raveonettes (Vice)  One of the things I like best

Emotional Brooks goes into Country Hall of Fame
on hand to salute him Sunday night, Brooks teared up as he spoke with NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Garth Brooks reporters on the red carpet. He only got promised he’d be emotional during his more emotional as the night went along. Country Music Hall of Fame induction. “I moved to this town for one reaBut the tears started before he made it son and that was to get ‘Much Too all the way into the building. Young to Feel This Damn Old’ cut by Reflecting on personal heroes George George Strait,” Brooks said before the Strait, Bob Seger and James Taylor ceremony as his eyes began to redden.

“That’s what George is singing tonight. It’s gonna be so cool. I’m a fan. So I get to be a fan tonight.” Brooks was inducted along with trailblazing singer Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus “Pig” Robbins, whose rolling signature sound has adorned countless hits across the radio dial.

Manilow returns to Broadway
NEW YORK — Looks like Barry Manilow is making it again — on Broadway . The Grammy Awardwinning singer will start a 17-show stand on Jan. 18 at the St. James Theatre. His new show, “Manilow on Broadway has tickets rang,” ing in price from $50 to $350.

∂ Trash it

∂∂ Bypass it

∂∂∂ Consider it

∂∂∂∂ See it

∂∂∂∂∂ Worship it