Local Current Blog

Music News: Bob Dylan is recording another standards album

Bob Dylan as seen in a recent music video

Bob Dylan is currently in the studio working on a standards album that will be a follow-up to Shadows in the Night, his 2015 collection of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra. Engineer Al Schmitt says “it’s going great” and that Dylan’s “mood in the studio is fabulous.” (Billboard)

The Current will be covering the 2016 Grammys live. Follow @TheCurrent and thecurrent.org on Monday night for updates with host Mac Wilson and The Current’s staff.

Kanye goes on SNL, releases Life of Pablo

Kanye West finally released his new album The Life of Pablo — exclusively on Tidal and on his own website — after his appearance on Saturday Night Life. Why the delay from Friday’s planned release date? West was apparently in the studio with Chance the Rapper, finalizing Chance’s contribution to the song “Waves.”

Despite the mammoth buzz around this release (and rapid critical acclaim for its music), West says he’s still $53 million in debt; he suggested (ironically, via Twitter) that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg invest $1 billion in “Kanye West ideas.”

In a memorable sketch from SNL, white people watch Beyoncé‘s “Formation” video and are surprised to discover the star is black.

Tributes galore

At the annual pre-Grammys party hosted by music mogul Clive DavisBeck teamed with the surviving members of Nirvana to cover David Bowie‘s “The Man Who Sold the World” — a song played by Nirvana on their MTV Unplugged appearance. (Rolling Stone)

Another Bowie tribute came courtesy of the Flaming Lips, who played an eight-song Bowie cover set at each of two shows in Aspen, Colo. “It still seems unbelievable that he was actually a real man,” said Wayne Coyne. (Rolling Stone)

Lionel Richie was 2016’s MusiCares Person of the Year; a pre-Grammys event in his honor set a new record for funds raised to support the charity, which provides for musicians in need. Among the highlights of the musical tributes: Florence Welch covered “Dancing on the Ceiling,” Rihanna did “Say You, Say Me,” Stevie Wonder sang “Three Times a Lady,” and Dave Grohl performed “You Are.” Taking the stage, Grohl also reminisced about getting a muffin basket from Richie after Grohl broke his leg on tour — with Richie personally calling to confirm that the muffins had arrived. (Rolling Stone)

At the Troubadour — the venue where the Eagles first came together as a band — the Americana Music Association hosted a Saturday night tribute to Glenn FreyBonnie Raitt, Brandi CarlilLee Ann Womack, and others were on hand to sing the songs of the late music legend. (Billboard)

On Friday night, Robby Krieger and John Densmore — the only surviving original members of the Doors — joined a tribute to the band’s keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who died in 2013. The concert, which marked what would have been Manzarek’s 77th birthday, was the first time Krieger and Densmore had publicly performed together in 15 years. (Billboard)

Eagles of Death Metal return

On Saturday night in Stockholm, Eagles of Death Metal played their first official show since the Paris attacks on Nov. 13. On Tuesday, the band will return to Paris to play a show at the Olympia. (Rolling Stone)

Musicians fill their trophy cabinets

On Saturday, Kendrick Lamar was presented with the key to his home city of Compton, Calif. “Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal artist whose work has served as a catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation,” said mayor Aja Brown. (Pitchfork)

Meanwhile, Toronto mayor John Tory handed the key to that Canadian city to Drake, the hip-hop star who’s expanded the city’s presence on the international music map. (Among other Toronto key-holders: Celine Dion.) (Billboard)

Drake’s award came at the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game, where his Canadian team prevailed over an American team led by Kevin Hart. The game’s MVP? Win Butler of Arcade Fire. (Rolling Stone)

On the TV

Vinyl, the new HBO series produced by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese, premiered Sunday night, with an impressive attention to the details of its 1973 music-industry setting. (Rolling Stone)

Apple is making its first venture into the world of original TV programming with a show called Vital Signs, with Dr. Dre as producer and star. “Each episode of the dark, semi-autobiographical Vital Signs delves into one of the rapper’s emotions,” notes Rolling Stone. A premiere date has not yet been set.