SHANIA’s BACK — It’s hard to believe that country-music icon Shania Twian hasn’t released any new music in almost 15 years! He re-appearance on NBC’s Today Friday last was pretty spectacular. She did look a bit older, but had a great show, introducing her new single just days after announcing a September 29th release date for a new album entitled Now. Twain sang her comeback single “Life’s About to Get Good” and debuted the Now track “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed.” Before taking the stage, Twain sat down with the show’s hosts to discuss Now and her decision to return to country music 15 years after releasing her last album, 2002’s Up!
“I’m a go-getter,” Twain says. “I’m a fighter. I have a lot of determination in me. I’m fiercely independent. That’s what motivates me: challenge, and facing my fears. Of course it was scary coming out again after so many years, and writing the whole album alone, which I did on purpose to push myself and really find and rediscover myself as a songwriter, because that’s really at the base of everything.”
During her concert set, Twain trotted out two old-school fan favorites “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” The Nineties superstar is gearing up for the promo push behind her new album and appears on Rolling Stone Country’s new 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.
She also mentioned her divorce from Mutt Lange. I have to give her props for her honestly.
My only criticism, and it’s a slight one for sure, was that her four-piece bank looked like something out of Seattle in the Nirvana-age. Dressed in black, with long stringy hair and just slightly askew… it seemed a but out of place. As I said, just a slight shade.
90 million albums is nothing to dismiss. Shania’s back for sure.
SHOF — Jay Z made history Thursday by becoming the first hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The man who helped present the award was another trailblazer, the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama. The two have much in common, as Obama mentioned in his speech.
Perhaps the most immediate thing they have in common, though, was that neither man was actually at the event. Obama gave his speech in a prerecorded video, and Jay Z tweeted about it later. E! reported the rapper was not able to attend the awards gala in New York City due to his wife’s impending borth of their twins.
In the video, Obama named and congratulated all the inductees before turning to Jay Z (given name Shawn Carter), whom he called “a true American original.”
“I like to think Mr. Carter and I understand each other,” Obama said. “Nobody who met us when we were younger men would have expected us to be where we are today.”
The former president continued, highlighting some of the personal difficulties both men faced and, in their own ways, overcame.
“We know what it’s like not to have a father around,” he said. “We know what it’s like not to come from much, and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did. So we try to prop open the door of opportunity so that it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well.”
Obama sprinkled in a bit of his signature wit as well, saying, “Jay and I are also fools for our daughters, although he’s going to have me beat once those two twins show up,” referring to twins Jay Z and his wife Beyonce just had.
Speaking of Beyonce, Obama tossed in a knowing reference to her and Michelle Obama, saying, “Let’s face it. We both have wives who are significantly more popular than we are.”
It isn’t particularly surprising to see the former president speaking about the rapper. The two share a long and abiding respect for each other, perhaps even friendship.
“I’m pretty sure I’m still the only president to listen to Jay Z’s music in the Oval Office,” Obama said. “That may change at some point, but I’m pretty sure that’s true now.”
Also inducted, and regrettably generating significantly less ink, were James Pankow and Robert Lamm of the band Chicago.
SHORT TAKES — I’ve seen several For Your Consideration commercials on TV about Jennifer Lopez’s Shades Of Blue TV skein being tub thumped for an Emmy nod. These type of ads usually appear only in the trade media. I think the show’s great and it should indeed be in the running. The nominations come out next month and the Emmy show itself, is in September … Just saw the latest trailer for Blade Runner 2049. Just excellent; although the visuals did look a bit busy. I still hold the original in high regard as one of the best movies … ever. Our spy at Warner Brothers, Lucifer, says that Edward James Olmos returns to reprise his role from the original and hesitated when I asked him in Rutger Hauer returns too. From his facial expressions … I think Hauer does. Here’s the trailer with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCcx85zbxz4 It’s out October 6 … Bruce Springsteen is tentatively set to play a week’s worth of shows at the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway in the fall. If there ever was a music artist ready for Broadway, it’s the Boss. Can I suggest another? Micky Dolenz. His shows at Feinstein/54 Below earlier this year were just so perfect. Intimate, funny, introspective. He’d be perfect for the Great White Way … All this hubbub about Dylan lifting some wording for his Nobel-prize acceptance speech? If you read his terrific memoir, Chronicles; Volume One, you know that no one can fashion a sentence like Bob. The book was poetry and completely different from any other book I’ve ever read. I listened to the speech, on audio no less, and then listened to it again. Just brilliant … Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam will hold a release event for the new album, The PGS Experience, on Monday, July 10 at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC … When Micky Dolenz appeared on WGN News last week, before his two shows at Chicago’s City Winery; the Soul Children of Chicago had a surprise for him. Watch it here: http://wgntv.com/2017/06/13/walt-whitman-and-the-soul-children-of-chicago-perform-live/