Introducing Darlene Love by Darlene Love

Nothing But Love from Darlene’s New Album

Introducing Darlene Love is more than an album – it’s a celebration that has brought together a rock and roll all-star cast of musicians and songwriters vying for a chance to work with the acclaimed singer. Love first rose to fame in the 1960s as one of the “girl singers” on producer Phil Spector’s recordings such as “He’s a Rebel” and “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna to Marry.”

The album is a dream project for Steven Van Zandt, perhaps best known as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Van Zandt produced and arranged the album and called on some Hall of Fame songwriters to provide new tunes that include compositions written by Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Webb and the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia.

Although the star-studded list of contributors garners a good deal of justifiable attention, there’s no mistake that Darlene Love is the star of the project. She’s able to use her voice to deftly engage the variety of styles presented on the album and make it one cohesive body of work that could easily be one of the best albums of the year.

Before This World by James Taylor

Photos courtesy Concord Music Group

James Taylor’s fans have been waiting patiently since 2002 for a new album of original material from the singer, and as a reward for that patients, Taylor has given them Before This World, a collection of 10 new songs that has the tone and texture that initially made him an important voice in pop music. At 67, Taylor sounds as fresh and thoughtful as he did when he began pulling in fans in the 1970s with songs such as “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind.” This new collection takes listeners on a physical and metaphorical journey that makes stops in Chicago, Toronto, Montana, Boston, Indiana and Afghanistan, as well as more elusive trails that embrace love and understanding as only Taylor can do.

(right click here to download:  Album Spotlight – Before This World by James Taylor, or steam it on the embedded media player)


Before This World Musicians

Luis Conte:   Percussion Kate Markowitz:   Vocals
Walt Fowler:   Handclaps Arnold McCuller:   Vocals
Steve Gadd:   Drums Rajendra Prasanna:   Shehnai
Larry Goldings:   Piano, Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes, Organ, Accordion and Harmonium Caroline Taylor:   Vocals
Jimmy Johnson: Bass Henry Taylor:   Vocals
Michael Landau:   Electric and Nylon-String Guitars James Taylor:   Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Hi-Strung Guitar, Synth Guitar
David Lasley:   Vocals Sting: Vocals
Yo-Yo Ma: Cello Andrea Zonn:   Fiddle and Vocals


Postcards from Paradise by Ringo Starr

Postcards from Paradise cover

Ringo drum

Ringo Peace

Ringo Starr’s new album Postcards from Paradise finds the acclaimed drummer hitting on familiar themes, including reminiscing about his past, singing about love and playing with good friends who happened to be musical stars in their own right.  Starr also breaks new ground as he produces the 11-track album by himself, a first in his storied career, and sets a distinctive, autobiographical tone.  (right click here to download:  Review of Ringo Starr’s Postcards from Paradise, or listen on the embedded media player)  (For more on Ringo Starr listen to the O&F Showcase feature The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2015.)


Postcards from Paradise Musicians

Glen Ballard – Piano Richard Page – Background Vocals, Bass
Greg Bissonette – Background Vocals, Percussion, Steel Drums, Trumpet Van Dyke Parks – Accordion, Piano, Synth
Jason Boger – Keyboards Todd Rundgren – Background Vocals
Michael Bradford – Bass Ann Marie Simpson – Violin
Steve Dudas – Guitar Gregg Rolie – Organ
Double Trouble – Background Vocals Ringo Starr – Background Vocals, Drums, Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Percussion, Reggae Guitar
Nathan East – Bass Dave Stewart – Guitar
Peter Frampton – Guitar Bruce Sugar – Piano, Keyboards, Synth Strings, Sitar Synth
Warren Ham – Background Vocals, Keyboards, Sax Benmont Tench – Organ, Piano
Amy Keys – Background Vocals Lee Thornburg – Trombone, Trumpet
Kari Kimmel – Background Vocals Windy Wagner – Background Vocals
Steve Lukather – Background Vocals, Guitar, Synth Bass Joe Walsh – Guitar, Background Vocals
Richard Marx – Background Vocals, Guitars Jimmy Z – Harmonica
Gary Nicholson – Guitar


Stripped Down by Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield Stripped Down Cover

Springfield's guitar

Springfield with guitar


Rick Springfield’s new album Stripped Down is a live set that features the Australian-born singer not only playing his biggest hits, but also telling stories and reminiscing about his music career and life.  As the title implies, the songs are presented in a very simple form as Springfield delivers a completely solo performance that feels more like a night of storytelling rather than a concert by a major rock and roll star.  (right click here to download:  Review of Rick Springfield’s Stripped Down, or listen on the embedded media player)


Stripped Down Musicians

Rick Springfield performs vocals and guitar live as well as pre-recorded backing guitars, vocals and percussion


Wallflower by Diana Krall

Diana Krall Wallflower Cover


Diana Krall


Diana Krall’s new album Wallflower finds the singer moving from jazz to pop.  For her 12th studio album, Krall has assembled a collection of cover tunes, primarily from the 1970s, and she embraces and interprets the pop sound in her own unique style.  Overseeing and guiding this new venture is Grammy Award winning producer David Foster, who has been behind a long list of hits dating back to the 1970s.  (right click here to download:  Review of Diana Krall’s Wallflower, or listen on the embedded media player)


Wallflower Musicians

Bryan Adams – Lead Vocals Graham Nash – Backing Vocals
Michael Bublé – Lead Vocals Rafael Padilla – Percussion
Dennis Crouch – Bass Dean Parks – Guitars
Nathan East – Bass Karriem Riggins – Drums
David Foster – Keyboards, Piano Timothy B. Schmit – Backing Vocals
Jim Keltner – Drums Ramon Stagnaro – Acoustic Guitar
Diana Krall – Piano, Lead Vocals Stephen Stills – Backing Vocals, Guitar
Christian McBride – Bass Michael Thompson – Ebow Electric Guitar
Blake Mills – Guitar


Melody Road by Neil Diamond

Melody Road album cover

record player

ablum alt



Melody Road kicks off Neil Diamond’s new contract with Capital Records and finds the Brooklyn-born singer working with an A-list of musicians (listed below).  (right click here to download:  Review of Neil Diamond’s Melody Road, or listen on the embedded media player)  (For more on Neil Diamond, listen to the O&F Showcase feature A Merging of the Mediums — Popular Music’s Influence on TV Themes, Part 1:  The 1970s)


Melody Road Musicians

Musician Artist Associations
Richard Bennett – Guitarist Ringo Starr, Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent, Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, T-Bone Walker, Billy Joel, Mark Knopfler ♦ Former member of Neil Diamond’s band
Jim Cox – Keyboardist Albert Lee, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Aerosmith, Henry Mancini, Ringo Starr, George Strait, Linda Ronstadt, Rodney Crowell, Aaron Neville, B.B. King.
Neil Diamond – Guitarist/Singer/Song Writer In addition to his own recordings, has written songs recorded by UB40 (“Red, Red Wine”), Smash Mouth (“You are My Number One”), Urge Overkill (Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”), Glen Campbell (“Sunflower”), Monkees (“I’m a Believer”), among others
Alan Estes – Percussionist John Williams, Randy Newman, Alan Silvestri, Beach Boys, Nancy Wilson, David Cassidy, Juice Newton, James Newton Howard, Walter Murphy, Tommy James, Frank Zappa, Barry Manilow, Boz Scaggs
Mark Goldenberg – Guitarist Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Eels, Natalie Imbruglia, Chris Isaak, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Peter Frampton, William Shatner
Hadley Hockensmith – Guitarist One of the founding members of the jazz group Koinonia and member of Neil Diamond’s band for more than 25 years
Smokey Hormel – Guitarist Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, Dixie Chicks, Josh Groban, Kid Rock, Jennifer Nettles, Beck, Tom Waits, Norah Jones, John Doe, k.d. lang, Natalie Merchant, Adele
Rami Jaffee – Keyboardist Wallflowers, Foo Fighters, Pete Yorn, Soul Asylum, Pearl Jam, Stone Sour, Joseph Arthur, Coheed and Cambria
Jacknife Lee – Guitarist/Producer Cars, U2, R.E.M., Robbie Williams, Snow Patrol, Bloc Party, AFI, Hives, Weezer, One Direction, Vega4, Editors, Taylor Swift, Ric Ocasek, Two Door Cinema Club, Crystal Castles
Greg Leisz – Guitarist Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Eagles, k.d. lang, Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Joe Cocker
Blake Mills – Guitarist Pink, Beck, Lana Del Rey, Kid Rock, Norah Jones
Greg Phillinganes – Keyboardist Stevie Wonder, Jacksons, Michael Jackson, Toto, Eric Clapton
Tim Pierce – Guitarist Joe Cocker, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Rob Thomas, Rick Springfield, Phil Collins, Don Henley, Santana, Chris Isaak, Dave Matthews Band, Goo Goo Dolls
Matt Rollings – Keyboardist Lyle Lovett, Billy Joel, Clint Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Larry Carlton, Mark Knopfler, Reba McEntire, Suzy Bogguss, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Taylor, Richie Sambora
Jeremy Stacey – Drummer Lemon Trees, Sheryl Crow, Nick Harper, Eurhythmics, Joe Cocker, Andrea Bocelli, Susanna Hoffs, Robbie Williams, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Mark Wingfield, Iain Ballamy, Chris Squire, Syn, Sia Furler, Zero 7
Sebastian Steinberg – Bassist Soul Coughing, Marc Ribot, Neil Finn, Tim Finn, Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway, Dixie Chicks
Benmont Tench – Keyboardist Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, U2, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Rolling Stones, Don Henley,  Ringo Starr, John Fogerty, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Ramones
CJ Vanston – Keyboardist Prince, Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr, Celine Dion, Bob Seger, Richard Marx, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Anna Vissi, Yellowcard, Steve Lukather, Dennis DeYoung, Toto
Joey Waronker – Drummer/Percussionist Beck, R.E.M., Atoms for Peace, Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, Pink, Doobie Brothers, Tracy Chapman, Sia, John Doe, Five For Fighting, Nelly Furtado, Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Lisa Marie Presley, Willie DeVille
Don Was – Keyboardist/Producer Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Ziggy Marley, Bob Seger, Ringo Starr, Iggy Pop, Joe Cocker, Hootie and the Blowfish, Randy Newman, Black Crowes, Jackson Browne, Barenaked Ladies
Waters Family (Maxine, Julia and Oren) – Backing Vocals Patti La Belle, Paul Simon, Pet Shop Boys, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, John Fogerty, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston ♦ Featured in the movie 20 Feet from Stardom