By Clarence Yu The Rolling Stones guitarist rumored to release an album of jazz and easy listening standards. HELL has just frozen over. The World’s most elegantly wasted human being, Keith Richards, is rumored to release an album of “soft music” containing standards by Hoagy Carmicheal, Fats Domino, Andy Williams, Judy Garland and Elvis Presley. The never before released tracks, recorded during various phases of his storied 40-odd year career, can be found on this music blog. As a personal fan of Richards, I have various outtakes and bootlegs of the said recordings, and they would indeed make a nice collection for release. For people who will think that Richards is pulling a Rod Stewart on them, think again. The Rolling Stones guitarist is no stranger to soft music -- he’s been recording various easy listening tunes since the days of “You Got The Silver” off 1968’s Let It Bleed, continuing with songs such as “Coming Down Again,” “Memory Motel,” “Slipping Away,” and most recently, “This Place Is Empty,” off 2005’s A Bigger Bang. Moreover, on his two solo efforts, Talk Is Cheap (1988) and Main Offender (1992), Richards has shown his softer side with the ballads “Make No Mistake” and “Hate It When You Leave.” It would be fun however to see public attention to the rumored album. While many of the tracks as I have heard them would probably need polishing and re-mixing, there is ample time to do so, as the Rolling Stones have scheduled their next album release for autumn of 2009, with their next world tour scheduled for 2010. Between now and then, I’m hoping that Keith should be able to release something substantial enough. Michael Buble and Josh Groban have nothing to fear though, as Richards’ voice as a crooner is an acquired taste, only for the most discriminating.
Recently in Josh Groban Category
By Pocholo Concepcion Inquirer MANILA, Philippines--All the chatting and nibbling stopped as women rushed forward with their cameras and men craned their necks for a better view of the good-looking Josh Groban, guest of honor at the inauguration of MTV Philippines’ new office at the Silver City Mall in Pasig City. Groban, the 26-year-old American singing sensation whose expressive tenor and lyrical baritone has sold some 15 million records worldwide, is due to perform Wednesday night and Thursday night at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Wednesday night’s show is strictly invitational. Those watching Thursday’s performance should be shelling out as much as P5,000 to P20,000 apiece. MTV Philippines helped negotiate the Manila concerts. The Philippines is the only Asian country that Groban has visited thus far. At the inauguration party, the invited guests came dressed in suits and formal attire. Groban turned up casually garbed in a striped T-shirt, blue jeans, black denim jacket and low-cut Converse sneakers. He was also unshaven. The look seemed to reflect Groban’s desire to shatter any resistance that people, especially those unfamiliar to his music, may still harbor against it. Not classical Though he personally refuses categorization, the music Groban has recorded in five best-selling albums since 2001 has been described in various instances as classical, easy listening, gospel and operatic pop. Groban cares little about what critics call it. He has been quoted as saying: “I’ve never tried to make people believe that this was classical music ... it’s pop music. I have a huge respect for opera, which is why I’ve never done opera. There will be a specific time and place if and when I decide to tackle something from that genre. In the meantime, I’ve just been experimenting and trying things that work for my voice.” Wearing blinders In a quick exchange, Groban told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that his environment as a child helped spark his love for music. “Growing up in Los Angeles, I was very fortunate that musical acts came around and ... my parents were great. [They] made sure I was exposed to live music when I was younger.” He recalled watching a stage musical when I was nine: “[There] I was in the audience ... getting chills and thinking to myself, ‘If I could make people feel the way I feel right now with my voice one day, that’s everything that I’d want to do.’ From that age, I just felt I had music running through me and I had blinders on and that was all I wanted to do.” Collaborations Groban’s knack for collaborating with just about any artist he fancies continues in his latest album, “Awake” (Warner), which features the African male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and veteran jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount [and] I would love to continue to expand,” he said. “There’s a certain thing that I do very well. But working with [other] artists allows me to widen my sound and bring my fans on a whole new journey.” Beyond the CDs Asked what Filipinos can expect to hear at the PICC shows, Groban remarked: “The concert will allow me to bring forth a part of myself that I can’t get across on the CDs. It’s high energy, it’s a great celebration and, for me, a real retrospective of the last five years of my career.” In 1998, while studying musical theater in Michigan, Groban was introduced to Grammy-winning producer/arranger David Foster, who gave him jobs as rehearsal singer for several high-profile events. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, he was a stand-in for renowned Italian singer Andreas Bocelli and got to rehearse “The Prayer” with Celine Dion. More guest stints followed and, in one benefit show, Groban shared the stage with Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Don Henley and Robin Williams. But it was a pivotal appearance as guest character in the television series “Ally McBeal” -- in which he was made to sing -- that paved the way for his entry into the recording and concert scenes. Photo by Rudy Esperas