Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips at the Fillmore.

Let’s face it: fame found as a result of an appearance on American Idol can be a mixed bag. On one hand, there’s the bad (William Hung, that guy who sang that “Pants on the Ground” song, Nikki McKibbin). On the other hand, without Idol none of us might ever have been exposed to Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson… While I haven’t seen the ABC reboot of this show, I have been known to follow the show in the past. Ever since Phillip Phillips‘s audition with a brilliant cover of “Thriller,” I’ve been a big fan. Over the years, I’ve seen him go from a no-name hopeful on a reality TV singing competition to winning the whole shebang, to opening for John Mayer, to headlining a Napa music festival. Now he’s released his third album, Collateral, which he played San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore this week to promote. [read the whole post]

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o.a.r. headlines Live in the Vineyard 2016 Night 1

o.a.r. headlines Live in the Vineyard 2016 Night 1

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again: Live in the Vineyard. For those unfamiliar, this is a biannual celebration of food, wine, and music, featuring a mix of hit artists and those that are up-and-coming. Events take place in locations all over the Napa Valley, typically culminating each (weekend) day in a concert at Napa’s Uptown Theatre. The event is exclusive in the sense that essentially the only way to attend is to win tickets via one of many contests available via the internet or the radio. This year’s fall event took place last weekend, with Friday night’s show a representative mix of the new and the tried-and-true: Britain’s Got Talent star Calum Scott, bluesy soul married duo JOHNNYSWIM, up-and-coming singer/songwriter Wrabel, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, and celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band, o.a.r.. [read the whole post]

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John Mayer channels Jimi Hendrix with a head scarf and a guitar

John Mayer channels Jimi Hendrix with a head scarf and a guitar

Ladies and gentlemen, the John Mayer of old is back. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably know why I say this. ¬†Either way, I’ll start (briefly) from the beginning anyway. Mr. Mayer & I go way back: I was first introduced to his music just before his breakthrough hit “No Such Thing” exploded (circa Inside Wants Out, 2001-ish), and was immediately hooked. His fame continued to grow over the years. I didn’t notice at first, but somehow the seemingly almost shy, sweet, clever lyricist with an unusual tone and stellar guitar skills had become unrecognizable. He seemed to have bought into his own celebrity, and even if I’d have wanted to, I couldn’t have defended friends who insisted he’d become the ultimate “douche.” It didn’t keep me from listening, but it made me sad nonetheless. And then, miraculously, in 2010, he was somehow alerted to this drastic change in himself. Abruptly quitting Twitter, John took a hiatus to get back to himself. Then he lost his voice, which threatened the future of his career, though in the end it finally healed. Last year finally brought us the delicious folk/country-rock Born and Raised, and Wednesday ended my unintentional John Mayer hiatus as I finally had the chance to see him live for the first time in the better part of a decade, at Wheatland’s Sleep Train Amphitheatre, with recent American Idol winner Phillip Phillips in support. [read the whole post]

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