Hype surrounding an artist is one thing. That artist living up to the hype is quite another. Singer and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. certainly rises to the occasion. The 28-year-old jazz and blues singer whose music mixes country and Rock ‘N Roll plays the guitar with such precision and skill he was an easy choice for VH1′s November You Oughta Know artist. His new album, Blak and Blu, is like honey drizzled into a warm cup of tea. It soothes. Through and through it’s real feel good music. Read more…
You Oughta Know
Like dropping a cherry on top of her whirlwind release week, Taylor Swift visited Katie Couric at ABC News on Friday night to announce that she is taking her record breaking new album Red out on tour. The tour will kick-off on March 13 (13 being Taylor’s lucky number) in Omaha, Nebraska, and will hit 45 North American cities for a total of 58 shows. And then — good news to great news! — she announced that she’ll be taking VH1 You Oughta Know‘s Ed Sheeran with her.
“Happy to announce that I am special guest on @taylorswift13′s tour of North America next year, cannot wait,” tweeted Ed after the good news broke. The young singer-song writer from England puts on a truly impressive show, and gets along famously with Taylor. If they can make a casual kitchen floor duet sound this good, can you imagine what will happen when they bring their Red duet “Everything Has Changed” to a big stage? We suspect you won’t want to miss it.
Tickets go on sale November 16th, will you be there?
You Oughta Know artists Delta Rae‘s label debut Carry The Fire is hewn mostly from blues or country-rock tradition, but a close listen suggests many and diverse influences. When asked about this, Eric Hölljes began ticking them off — “passionate, vocal heavy, folk-pop, rock” — before catching himself. It’s “terrible,” he apologized, “because I’ve pretty much said most genres in that description. We have a lot of influences.” The breadth of their influences might make for long-winded answers during interviews, but our ear suggests there’s otherwise nothing so terrible about it. Sometimes it means following up a song that rings with gospel influence with another that sounds straight rock-n-roll; other times that means hearing a Kanye West song and then being inspired to write “Bottom of the River,” a song that Brittany Hölljes insists has Kanye “written all over it.” Read more…
We’ve been rocking out to Delta Rae‘s You Oughta Know Live session all month, and we still can’t get enough! And “Bottom Of The River” feels especially appropriate today, as the sky’s are a fall grey and the sidewalks littered with leaves because Halloween is just around the corner, and this song is certain to get you in the mood. But not in the kitschy and purely seasonal way a song like “Monster Mash” might. Rather, Delta Rae will draw you in with their vocal harmonies and then chill you to the bones with their creeping stomps and the clanking of chains in a trashcan. And by the time they get around to offering, “Hold my hand, oh baby it’s a long way down,” you might just want to!
You can download an MP3 of Delta Rae’s chilling “Bottom Of The River” performance here on VH1 Tuner for free! But be quick — the link expires at midnight on November 1st and you don’t want to miss out.
UPDATE (11/1/12): Sorry, this download has expired!
Though you might think otherwise after watching this powerful performance, the members of October’s You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae were all smiles at their You Oughta Know Live. The family-and-friend folk-rock — or gospel, or show tunes, or whatever else might move them! — crew seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. But as you’ll see, when the count runs down and it’s time to play, the music takes a hold of them in a way that’s almost spiritual.
This stripped down rendition of “Bottom of the River,” from their outstanding debut album Carry The Fire, is the perfect example of the power these six can wield. Instruments left aside, the song builds around their vocal harmonies and is dragged forward by the clanking of chains in a trashcan. When they perform it, the group stomp the song out like an evil in need of exorcising. Delta Rae boasts four vocalists and six members total, and when they all get going they really get going. The end result is a performance so chilling that you’ll be left actually looking for a hand to hold.
Delta Rae also performed their inspiring “Morning Comes” and their heart-tugging “If I Loved You,” or check out their full You Oughta Know Live session here. And then check back for more Delta Rae treats throughout the month!
The new video for Walk The Moon‘s “Tightrope” drops the boys into a campy camp-ground dance party, complete with face-paint like they wont and woodland creatures seemingly still dancing off Taylor Swift’s last break-up. The boys are joined round the roaring orange campfire by dancing lions and tigers and zebras, and also some warriors carrying worrisome weapons and looking hungry for the blood of a You Oughta Know artist. Looking only a little concerned, the boys get on their trademark face paint — which, for the record, looks seriously expert compared to the smeared on war paint-style look they wore in the “Anna Sun” video — and start rocking. Are these guys ever not having fun? So serious as they are about making good music, they are about having a good time — and here, that really shows.
Our November You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae runs with a crew six deep, bonded in part by blood and in total as a band. The Hölljes siblings make themselves apparent (see: all that fair blonde hair), but when the count runs down and the music kicks in, the connection between the band as a whole is so strong it suggests a family anew. And their gravity, when they are in-synch like that, is seriously strong. Just watch them perform their gripping and gospel inflected “Bottom of the River,” like they have recently on Big Morning Buzz Live and Conan, and you will feel the strong pull of their orbit, too. And you might just like it.
Our tremendous photographer Michele Crowe spent the day with Delta Rae, snapping away as they warmed up for and then rocked their You Oughta Know Live session last month. You’ll see the love they have for each other and their music — and hear it and feel it, too.
You Oughta Know Artists The Lumineers struck gold with their debut single “Ho Hey.”As a song, it begins from the ground, starting you stomping first as it works its way up and into your heart. As an introduction to the band, it seemed enough to start a movement, as they have spent the better part of this year ho-ing and hey-ing their way up the charts and across the country. There’s more to their self-titled debut album, though, and we’ve always been partial to “Stubborn Love,” a tender song about love aches and now their second single. Today the song gets the video treatment, and it gives us a glimpse of what The Lumineers’ ascendent summer might have looked like — performing for ever larger crowds and on the streets of Nashville for CMT, eating at diners, posing for fans in record stores, and then performing so more. Some of it looks like work to us (particularly the lugging of instruments part), but they make it all just look like love. Keep your head up, keep your love, indeed.
Bruno Mars stepped out of the songwriting shadows and into the spotlight in a big way with his 2010 solo debut, Doo-Wops And Hooligans, an album that spawned two #1 singles (“Just The Way You Are” and “Grenade”), sold a few million copies worldwide and earned Mars eight Grammy nominations (including a win for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance). The album was a highly entertaining mélange of styles and sounds, which ran the gamut from bombastic ballads (like “Grenade”) to Motown-leaning tracks (“Just The Way You Are”) to crazy catchy lite reggae dittys (see “The Lazy Song”).
In a Billboard cover story last week, the You Oughta Know artist announced that he’ll be releasing his highly anticipated sophomore album, Unorthodox Jukebox, on December 11. The album’s first single, “Locked Out Of Heaven,” was released on YouTube last night, just as word was breaking that Bruno Mars will be both the host and musical guest on the October 20th episode of Saturday Night Live. And, quite frankly, we’ve had the song On Repeat for the last 12 hours and change.
The song is clearly inspired by Outlandos d’Amour-era Police as, on first listen, we thought we were listening to the group’s stone classic, “Roxanne.” A clipped, almost staccato Andy Summers-ian guitar tone that’s paired up with a very Sting-like bassline provide the backbone for the song, but the song’s production is very of-the-moment*. The song’s structure is flawless, too, as we have come to expect from Bruno Mars; the verses are emotional, the bridge (“Your sex takes me to paradise”) provides the build, and the song pays off in a killer chorus (“You make me feel like I’ve been locked out of paradise/For too long-ong-ong”). We’re gonna have this one On Repeat all day and, if history is any indication, for the next few months to come.
Hey ho up and away Mumford & Sons go! Once just a band we thought You Oughta Know, the banjo swinging boys from London have swayed and stomped their way to international stardom over the past few years, and all with only one album to their name. Just this week the band treated their fans to a second effort, Babel, and already its on track to sell more than 600,000 — enough to give them the biggest debut of the year so far. And not just biggest, the biggest by a huge margin: Babel‘s foretasted first week sales more than double first week sales of Justin Bieber‘s Believe (374,000 records sold), Madonna‘s MDNA (359,000 records sold) and last week’s chart-topper, P!nk‘s Truth About Love (280,000). And they say nobody buys records anymore…
We can’t tell you for certain this happened, but we do have a few sneaking suspicions as to why: Read more…