Results for The Boss


SXSW 2012

Streaming was also a big topic at this year's SXSW Music Conference in Austin, TX. Every year Jim, Greg and over 2000 bands converge upon the state capital for what proves to be the biggest music gathering in the country when it comes to bringing together industry professionals, fans and artists. At the "Pennies from the Celestial Jukebox" panel, representatives from streaming services and labels talked about this new revenue stream. It's not much, but pieced together could be significant. The problem is a lack of transparency when it comes to breaking down costs and revenues. So Greg wonders if the new boss is the same as the old boss.

And speaking of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen gave the SXSW keynote address this year. And it was an optimistic one, according to our hosts. He spoke alone for an hour, sharing wisdom and telling members of the music community that it doesn‘t matter what tools you use to make music, it’s all about having heart.

When not going to talks and panels, Jim and Greg are in the trenches-going to shows and listening for the next big thing. Here are their favorite discoveries of this year's fest:

Go to episode 330

Alan Lomax Archive

With the recent passings of both Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, Jim and Greg have been thinking about the importance of preserving the recorded legacy of America's roots music giants. No one has done it better than the Alan Lomax Archive. From the 1930's through the 1980's, Lomax travelled the country making field recordings of American folk musicians. And now all that tape has been transformed into ones and zeroes. Don Fleming, Executive Director of The Association for Cultural Equity, talks to Jim and Greg about making over 17,000 Lomax recordings available to stream online as part of the Global Jukebox project. Don hopes the expanded access will encourage more artists to sample and draw inspiration from Lomax recordings, not just heavy-hitters like Moby and The Boss.

Go to episode 340
The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story

Bruce Springsteen The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story

Bruce Springsteen fans are always hungry for more of The Boss, and they get it with the release of a new box set, The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story. But what about folks who don't belong to the "Cult of Springsteen"? Greg loved hearing the reissue of the 1978 album. The previously unheard recordings illustrate Springsteen's sound right after his hit Born to Run. It's a mix of the romanticism of that record and the leaner, meaner rock of Darkness. Greg gives it a Buy It rating. Sound Opinions listeners know Jim is no Bruce-lover, but he counts Darkness as one of the better albums. Going back to these unreleased tracks, it's even clearer what an anomaly it was. The songs on the The Promise reissue are full of the Born to Run era, over-the-top schmaltz. So Jim says Trash It.

Go to episode 261
Working On a DreamWorking on a Dream available on iTunes

Bruce Springsteen Working on a Dream

Bruce Springsteen has released his 16th album called Working on a Dream. Debates about The Boss are notorious on Sound Opinions, but with each new album the slate is wiped clean. So has this record made Jim a convert? Not exactly. He hates the half of the album that contains one warm and fuzzy, inspirational song after the next. And he hates the other half, full of monumentally failed experiments, even more. Jim gives Bruce a Trash It, and that's no surprise to our listeners. What is a surprise is Greg's take. He is, for the most part, a Springsteen appreciator. But, he isn't hearing great songwriting on Working on a Dream. Musically, it's okay, but lyrically, it's disappointing. Greg gives the album a Try It.

Go to episode 165
Wrecking Ball (Special Edition)Wrecking Ball available on iTunes

Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball

Get ready for another classic Sound Opinions Bruce Springsteen debate. Historically, Greg is in the pro-corner, while Jim is in the con. But, there have been exceptions. And on this 17th release Wrecking Ball, which is like a soundtrack to Occupy Wall Street, Greg says you lose the songwriter's sense of urgency and anger because of the glossy production. The album goes straight for stadium anthems, so he can only give it a Burn It rating. Jim thinks he's letting The Boss off easy. He compares the performance to that of a bad Irish bar band and says Trash It.

Go to episode 327

Music News

In true punk fashion DC concert promoter Seth Hurwitz is rising up against the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Hurwitz and his company It's My Party filed an 11-count lawsuit seeking to block the merger and charged that Live Nation has been acting like a monopoly. Or in layman's terms–they're bullies. In an attempt to improve their current PR status, Live Nation has created“No Service Wednesdays.”On those days consumers can purchase tickets without the service fees. It's only one day a week, but it's a start.

A recent examination of ticket sales from Bruce Springsteen's Meadowlands concerts showed that The Boss held back 2200 tickets from being sold. 90% of the best seats were reserved for friends and family of the band, venue employees, record-label executives and their guests. Jim and Greg point out that this is not news and does not make Springsteen complicit with scalping. But, he's helping those scalpers to mark up prices by making the tickets themselves so rare.

Vinyl sales continue to soar. There was a 50% increase this year, and SoundScan predicts sales will hit almost 3 million this year. That's just a blip compared to the 120 million CDs that will be sold, but any good news is welcome for the music industry.

Go to episode 186

Music News

Bruce Springsteen Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in Greensboro in protest of North Carolina's new“bathroom law,”which dictates that transgender people use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate. Bryan Adams also called off a concert because of a similar law in Mississippi. Jimmy Buffett is going on with a pair of North Carolina gigs for the sake of his fans, but says he'll reconsider playing in the state in the future. Jim argues that The Boss is unfairly penalizing his fans and would make more of an impact by speaking out from the stage and leading a march to the Statehouse. Greg counters that Springsteen's cancelation has led to far more media coverage and awareness of the issue.

Steve Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week, but took the opportunity to blast the Hall during and after the ceremony. He criticized the lack of transparency in the nominating process and its exclusion of women, as well as calling the whole induction process unpleasant. Jim and Greg have never had kind words to say about the Hall of Fame, pointing out that while Miller's criticisms aren't new, nothing seems to have improved.

Go to episode 542
world tours

South Africa

The Sound Opinions World Tour has been to Sweden, Japan, and Mexico. This week, Jim and Greg finally touch down in the African Continent – South Africa to be exact. Their field guide is Andy Davis, editor of the South African music and culture website Mahala. Andy confesses that his first record was The Boss's Born in the U.S.A., but he says he quickly embraced the music of his homeland with a little help from Johnny Clegg and the Queen of Afropop, Brenda Fassie. Davis says what's special about South African music is its "hybridization": the way musicians combine traditional guitars, rhythms, and vocals with synths and global genres like hip-hop. The result is a music scene varied enough to include rap in Afrikaans and Xhosa, South African house, and folk-pop about the apartheid struggle.

To find out what it's like to be a band in South Africa post-apartheid, Jim and Greg speak to rising Cape Town act John Wizards. The two main men behind the band are John Withers, a white South African from Cape Town, and Emmanuel Nazaramba, a black Rwandan. The two men met outside a café in Cape Town, and despite their differing musical backgrounds, John says his tracks and Emmanuel's vocals clicked right away

Here's our South Africa playlist on Spotify.

Go to episode 405