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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Owen R. Smith.

September 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Blake Shelton charms with hits, humor and a personal moment | Concert review

With his ninth studio album due out in just over a week, Blake Shelton was feeling the passage of time Friday night at the Tacoma Dome. “Did you know I’ve been coming to Washington for 13 freaking years?” he asked, almost as if he couldn’t believe the number. Shelton, 38, brought it back to basics in an…

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Comments | More in Country | Topics: Blake Shelton, Tacoma Dome

September 16, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Florida Georgia Line start the party at the fair | Concert review

Florida Georgia Line -- Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley -- strike a pose at the Washington State Fair Monday, Sept. 15. (Lindsey Wasson)

Florida Georgia Line — Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley — strike a pose at the Washington State Fair. (Lindsey Wasson)

There are few country bands that possess the pop flair and down-home charm needed to ignite a party the way Florida Georgia Line did Monday, Sept. 15, at the Washington State Fair.

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Comments | More in Country | Topics: "Cruise", "Here's to the Good Times", brian kelley

September 16, 2014 at 5:56 AM

New David Bazan album with string quartet a stunner | New recordings

David Bazan + Passenger String Quartet, ‘Volume 1’ (Bazan)

More than two years after they first started collaborating, David Bazan and the Passenger String Quartet have released their first collection of songs together. “Volume 1” is an elegiacal, beautiful album with a title that suggests maybe, if we’re lucky, this is just the beginning of a long partnership.

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Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: 'Volume 1', David Bazan, New Recordings

September 14, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Bass, sweat and cheers for Katy Perry at Tacoma Dome

Artifice is inherent to pop music, but you still need actual talent to pull it off. Katy Perry might not have said anything of much importance Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome, but her real trick was making you not care one bit.

Before a predictable sold-out mix of screaming preteen girls (and their surprisingly enthusiastic parents), Perry opened the “Prismatic” tour with her hit single “Roar,” rising from the depths of the stage enclosed in a cocoon of LED panels. The crowd dutifully provided their own roars as Perry led them in a triumphant sing-along, opening with a moment most artists would kill to close their sets with.

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Comments | Topics: Katy Perry, Prismatic Tour, Tacoma Dome

September 3, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Country stars Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Florida Georgia Line shine in Puyallup fair music lineup

If you think no state fair is complete without elephant ears, corn dogs and country music, you’re in luck. Some of the brightest stars in the country-music constellation are set to shine on the Washington State Fair grandstand stage over the next two weeks, including Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban and Toby Keith. Clay Walker gets…

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Comments | More in Country, Festivals | Topics: country, lineup, puyallup fair

August 12, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Chris Staples doesn’t leave much of an impression | New Recordings

Chris Staples American SoftChris Staples, ‘American Soft’ (Barsuk)

Right about the time Ben Gibbard’s Death Cab for Cutie was getting its start on Barsuk Records in 1997, another raspy-voiced singer, Chris Staples, was recording his first album with Twothirtyeight. Now Staples is getting his own chance to work with Barsuk, which releases “American Soft” Tuesday, Aug. 12.

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Comments | More in Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: "American Soft", Barsuk Records, Chris Staples

July 31, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Watershed weekend

Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum (pictured) and Jake Owen roll into the Gorge Amphitheatre this weekend for the Watershed Festival. Now in its third year, the country-music shindig has been sold-out for weeks on the strength of a solid lineup that includes Randy Houser, Kip Moore and Billy Currington, plus locals like “The Voice” contestant Austin…

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Comments | More in Country, Festivals | Topics: "Beachin'", Jake Owen, Lady Antelbellum

July 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Charles Bradley leads dance party to end Timber! Fest

Charles Bradley performs at Timber! Outdoor Music Festival on Saturday. Photo by Owen R. Smith.

Charles Bradley performs at Timber! Outdoor Music Festival on Saturday. Photo by Owen R. Smith.

Charles Bradley hugged me. Wading into a sea of  ecstatic revelers Saturday night at Timber! Outdoor Music Festival as the final strains of “Why Is It So Hard” played, Bradley cast his arms open wide, pulled me into an enormous bear hug and whispered his sincerest thanks for coming to watch him play. I stood there, as more people pushed to get their moment with Bradley, stunned. I have experienced very few things in my 20 or so years of attending concerts that have given me real pause, but that indelible moment of gratitude from an artist who had just spent over an hour killing himself on stage is something I will carry with me long after I’ve stopped writing about music. It was exactly the sort of moment that organizer Kevin Sur had hoped for when he booked Bradley, whom he called the most gracious performer he’d ever seen.

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Comments | More in Dance, Festivals, R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop | Topics: Charles Bradley, Timber Festival

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