Over the last decade Staind has established itself as one of hard rock's most successful bands. Relentless touring and full-throttle performances have earned the Massachusetts quartet a fanatical live following, while tuneful, slickly produced songs such as "Been a While" and "Outside" have become huge radio-fueled hits.
He's British by birth, yet Albert Lee is one of the finest guitarists to master those quintessentially American genres, country and rockabilly. Since attaining fame in the '70s as Emmylou Harris's instrumental foil, he's played with Eric Clapton, Dolly Parton, Joe Cocker, Jackson Browne, George Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Jerry Lee Lewis, Travis Tritt, and many other leading rock and country artists. We spoke to him during a rare break in his overbooked schedule.
One of Britain's most promising--and successful--young artists, Katie Melua bucks the trend toward prefab pop chanteuses. A native of the former Soviet country of Georgia, she charts an unlikely path through the kind of jazzy folk-pop terrain once trekked by iconoclasts like Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell.
Alison Sudol is in disguise. In fact, she's in the disguise: the classic horn-rimmed glasses, fake nose, and mustache mask. Tonight she's just enjoying Halloween in her hometown of Seattle, but for Sudol, the 22-year-old pianist and singer/songwriter behind A Fine Frenzy, taking on a new identity--in her case, a clever band name drawn from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream--allows her the freedom to pursue her melodic brand of confessional songwriting, with just enough of a buffer zone to keep her true self intact.
When keyboard player and multi-instrumentalist Zach Gill first met singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, both were students at UC Santa Barbara. They quickly found common ground: "Jack was the only other person I knew who wrote songs," Zach remembers. "We would show each other our songs, and help each other a little bit with them. For a while we had sort-of rival bands, and then we all became friends and played music together all the time."
After seven years drumming with the Yellowjackets, Marcus Baylor is still the group's newcomer. But he makes no apologies for not being a founding member of the long-running smooth jazz combo. "I think I was three years old when they started in 1979," he observes.
Keyboardist and producer Jeff Lorber helped define the sound of instrumental jazz with the Jeff Lorber Fusion in the mid-'70s. Since then, he's continued to make musical waves with his own records as well as collaborations with some of the genre's best-known players--including the young Kenny G, who got his first big break in Lorber's group.
Watertown, New York isn't known as a hotbed of country music, but it's produced at least one great player: Sean Paddock, drummer for Kenny Chesney and all-around Nashville session ace.
Hilary McRae is the first "developing" artist signed to Starbucks' Hear Music label, but the singer/songwriter makes compelling music whose maturity belies her 21 years. McRae's recently released album, Through These Walls, showcases her supple voice, sharp writing, and soulful keyboard chops.
When the bassist from the sunny pop-metal band White Lion lands a gig with fast, ferocious Megadeth, it sounds a bit like a good boy gone to the Dark Side. But in fact, James LoMenzo has long excelled at all shades of rock and metal.