NOT MANY BANDS CAN DELIVER CONFESSIONAL, spiritual songs that still make enough noise to fill an arena. But since the Fray's double-platinum 2005 debut, How to Save a Life, which triggered four Top 40 hits and was the best-selling digital album of all time, the Denver-based group's confident and emotional alternative-pop sound has resonated nonstop through radios, MP3 players, theaters, and stadiums from Boston to Berlin.

"I'VE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED WITH EVERY ASPECT of what you can do on the drum set," says New York-based drummer Allison Miller. Given her resume, that open-ended attitude is hardly a surprise.

MUSIC PRODUCER, SONGWRITER, MUSICAL DIRECTOR, engineer, arranger, dealmaker: If it's part of the music business, Walter Millsap III has done it. As a protégé of producer Timbaland, he engineered on The Diary of Alicia Keys, co-wrote songs for artists such as Brandy and Jennifer Lopez, and co-produced tracks for Missy Elliott. He's also developed and written material for a series of new acts--and most recently, he's taken on the role of Musical Director for pop's new It Girl, Lady Gaga.

SOMETIMES ALLEN MORGAN PRODUCES RECORDS. Sometimes he engineers them. And sometimes he creates remixes, like the one he recently made of the Commodores "Brick House." It was so good that the band invited Allen to close out all the shows on their recent UK tour with his updated take on the '70s soul classic.

It's not hard to hear why. Both the original demos and the Sims-polished studio tracks (posted at and on the band's MySpace and Facebook pages) reveal the group's knack for bright, bouncy, hook-laden guitar pop.

WOODWIND PLAYER JIM HORN IS ONE of the world's greatest session musicians. Few, if any, living musicians can boast such stellar credits: Elvis and Elton. Sinatra and Sting. Waylon and Wynona. The Stones, the Who, Bob Dylan, and all four members of the Beatles.

THERE ARE MANY PATHS TO MAINSTREAM musical success, but Jonathan Hamby chose one of the less-traveled ones: He prepared for his current session and touring career by earning a Masters Degree in classical piano performance.

MIKE SHAPIRO HAS BEEN FIELDING THE SAME question for decades: How did a funky drummer from Washington, D.C., become one of the busiest players in the Brazilian music scene?

SINCE THE 60'S MUSICIANS HAVE melded jazz with rock, pop, R&B, and classical music. But few have explored those blends with the tireless vision of pianist, producer, and composer Bob James. After a career of 40-some years, 40-some solo albums, and collaborations with everyone from jazz greats Grover Washington and George Benson to pop greats Paul Simon and Neil Diamond, James remains a restlessly creative force.

Michael Anthony fans were stunned in 2007 when the bassist parted ways with Van Halen, the group he'd anchored for more than 30 years. But they didn't have long to grieve: In 2009 Anthony returned with Chickenfoot, a new band featuring guitar wiz Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and vocalist Sammy Hagar, another Van Halen vet. Chickenfoot's self-titled debut went gold, and the quartet toured extensively, thrilling audiences with their rough-edged sound and unpretentious spirit.