Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:11 pm
Becoming a rock star has major implications — just ask John Mayer. The singer-songwriter's personal history and relationships are all public knowledge, thanks to the enormous media attention that the 34-year-old attracts. The attention in turn attracts trouble, but Mayer, who has just released his fifth solo studio album, tries to take it all in stride.
Known for exploring the complexity of human hurt in ways that are both personal and universal, Janiva Magness is a widely praised blues and soul singer. Magness writes from a serious place, and fittingly, her music isn't to be taken lightly: She often weaves a difficult personal history into her songs, but, as her new album's title suggests, Magness pushes through tough times on Stronger for It.
Almost every record you know that was a 1960s radio hit had a secret weapon — a crew of L.A. backing musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew." This group, which included the likes of Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye, helped artists ranging from the Partridge Family to the Beach Boys make great-sounding albums.
Joachim Cooder is no stranger to collaborations, nor is he new to scoring soundtracks, yet Cooder's newest project combines his past experiences in an unexpected way. Son of legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, he took to the drums early on, and eventually played in the famous documentary Buena Vista Social Club. He's also worked behind the scenes, writing for the soundtracks of films such as Lars and the Real Girl.
Hailing from Okemah, Okla., with a serious talent for writing Americana music, John Fullbright is often compared to Woody Guthrie. But Fullbright isn't riding on the coattails of the great folk artists who came before him; in fact, he describes himself as a songwriter, not just a musician, because he's determined to play his own music.
Many fans of American rock love Neal Casal's guitar work, whether they know his solo music or not. Primarily a solo artist and guitarist for Ryan Adams' backing band The Cardinals, Casal built his career on country-rock sensibilities and tireless output. His first solo album came out in 1995, and since then, he's kept up his solo work while playing with The Cardinals, Chris Robinson of Black Crowes and countless others.
Rodrigo y Gabriela plays everything from heavy metal to jazz to acoustic folk. The duo started out in a thrash-metal band in Mexico City, but moved to Dublin in 1999. From Ireland, its inventive instrumental music spread to the U.K., then to Europe and the U.S. before finally finding its way back to Mexico. Rodrigo y Gabriela's big break came in 2006, when the pair's self-titled debut topped the Irish charts.
Zeus' music sounds as if it's being beamed straight out of the '70s, but a shared interest in making music that recalls The Band isn't what brought the Canadian group together. Most of Zeus' members were brought into Jason Collett's backing band, and from there decided to play together outside of their work with Collett.
We've heard from Alt. Latino co-host Felix Contreras in the past, but here we'll hear from the show's other half, Jasmine Garsd. Garsd was raised in Buenos Aires and connected with the Argentine rock scene in her teens. She moved to the U.S.