Some musicians seem to have been born with Nashville style. Others have to cultivate one.
You can file keyboardist and songwriter Eddie Kilgallon in the latter category. "I'm a native New Yorker who moved to Nashville in '93," he says. "I had to get accustomed to some things, like putting cornbread in your beans. But a songwriter friend had invited me down, and as soon as I put on headphones in the studio and started playing, it was a life-changing moment. I knew I was moving to Nashville."
Some CeCe Winans albums feature up-tempo, radio-ready R&B tracks. Others, like her latest release, Throne Room, are straight-up gospel projects. But the way the Nashville-based singer sees it, both approaches come from the same place.
You may not have heard of Emil Richards, but you've definitely heard him. A lot.
Wth 1,800 film score to his scredit, Richards, 71, is in all likelihood the most recorded mallet player in history. He also boasts session credits with 750 recording artists, from Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland to George Harrison and Frank Zappa.
Twenty years ago, when MIDI was young and the airwaves percolated with the first generation of synth-pop hits, David Frank ruled the charts, both as a member of the hitmaking duo The System, and as a songwriter and arranger for such artists as Phil Collins, Robert Palmer, Chaka Khan, and others.
Sometimes you get it right the first time. Take the case of Hoobastank, a young California rock quartet who scored a major success with their self-titled 2001 debut. Their sound melded the dark aggression of such predecessors as Tool and Alice in Chains with a unique brand of radio-ready tunefulness. The result: The radio/video hits "Crawling in the Dark" and "Running Away."
Singer/songwriter Nikka Costa makes no bones about her affinity for the music of the decade in which she was born.
"When in doubt, go back to the '70s," she says. "There's no disputing the creative freedom of that era. There was so much going on in the world that inspired artists. Music was less about business and marketing. And the music was just plain better. There's still good music coming out today, but it's harder and harder to find."
Brett Tuggle is one of the most in-demand keyboardists in rock, with credits that include Stevie Nicks, David Lee Roth, Chris Isaak, Coverdale/Page, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, and Whitesnake - not to mention his current touring gig with the reunited Fleetwood Mac.
This was supposed to be No Doubt's year off.
"We'd decided to take some time apart after touring behind our last record, Rock Steady," explains band bassist Tony Kanal. "Being in a band together this long is like being married. We wanted to reenergize ourselves and get back together when we had something to say musically."
Michael McDonald is responsible for some of the most beloved songs of the last three decades. After leading the Doobie Brothers through the most successful phase of their career with hits like "Takin' it to the Streets," "What a Fool Believes," and "Minute by Minute," McDonald embarked on a distinguished solo career whose highlights include rousing duets with such R&B greats as James Ingram and Patti Labelle. His husky baritone voice and dramatic piano-based tunes remain one of the most iconic sounds in pop.
When Michael Herring was five years old, his violinist grandfather paid him a dollar a week to take guitar lessons.
It was a shrewd investment. Today Herring commands a substantially higher weekly wage when he tours with the likes of Christina Aguilera, Anastacia, and Prince or adds guitar tracks to discs by NAS, Dru Hill, Mariah Carey and others.