Ben Easton

Ben Easton is a writer and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s a member of The Academy Blues Project (ABP), a rock quartet with whom he has recorded and produced six records. Easton performs in-residence at Sid Gold’s Request Room, NYC’s flagship modern piano bar, playing Live Piano Karaoke sessions from a repertoire of 2,000 popular songs. Once, while stopped at a red light in Nashville, he received an unprompted, but nevertheless welcomed, wink and toothsome smile from Little Richard through a tinted car window. Favorite covers record of the moment: To Love Somebody - The Songs Of The Bee Gees 1966-1969.

May 112022

Kendall Roy, the most wily of the Roy progeny featured on HBO’s Succession, has been in the music game for a few years now. Played with disquieting intensity by Jeremy Strong, Kendall made his musical performing debut on the show’s second season with a hip-hop tribute to his father, Waystar Royco chair Logan Roy, on the stage of a particularly epic/off-the-rails company shareholder meeting. (Yes, it’s as bizarre as it sounds.) Now, with the belated release of Succession’s Season 3 soundtrack, we have another musical nugget from the show to share: Kendall Roy’s live cover of Billy Joel’s “Honesty.” Continue reading »

Apr 272022

Picture this: Shaggy and Sting — on a sandy beachfront, bangin’ on about Frank Sinatra. This scene may sound like some luxuriant fantasy tableau (or, possibly, a clunky callback to Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”), but it is also now a sweet, sweet reality. Continuing their unlikely creative partnership in the wake of 2018’s 44/876, Shaggy has announced his latest album: a full-length reggae Sinatra tribute record, brilliantly titled Com Fly Wid Mi and featuring Sting in the producer chair. Continue reading »

Apr 122022
Jack White National Anthem Detroit Tigers

Jack White is coming off a gangbusters weekend. Last Friday saw the release of Fear of the Dawn, White’s first of two solo albums that will be released this year. He also kicked off his Supply Chain Issues Tour, supporting the new record with a sold-out hometown show at the Detroit Masonic Temple (where a side auditorium bears his name in tribute). As reported by the Detroit Free Press, he also got married on stage on Friday night to his longtime girlfriend, the musician and songwriter Olivia Jean (in the wake of a performance of The White Stripes’ matrimonially-minded “Hotel Yorba” and just a few miles down the road from the song’s namesake). If this all weren’t enough, Jack White also made a midday appearance at Detroit’s Comerica Park baseball stadium on the very same day — playing his first cover of the National Anthem for the Detroit Tigers Opening Day game. Continue reading »

Apr 052022
Elvis Presley David Fenech Pierre Bastien

Elvis Presley was many things: rock n roll luminary, Hollywood workhorse, peanut butter and banana sandwich maven. But rarely, if ever, is The King considered avant-garde. His music, movies and moves may have been rebellious at the outset, but it’s hard to deny that Elvis was entrenched in the mainstream for the whole of his career. This spring though, a pair of open-minded French musicians, David Fenech & Pierre Bastien, bring The King into uncharted, and decidedly more esoteric, cultural territory: the 21st-century noise-rock underground. Elvis swiveling around on bespoke Bandcamp pages and on limited white-label LP pressings — whoda thunk? Continue reading »

Mar 212022

For a certain ilk of artist, boutique destination music festivals in Mexico have become a recent mainstay of the January/February touring cycle (or lack thereof — who wouldn’t want to scuttle off to Mexico for a lost weekend rather than tour in the depths of winter?). Acts like Wilco, Brandi Carlile and an array of others in the indie/jam/rock firmament have been parading down south of the border to the all-inclusive resorts of Riviera Maya. Though Dead & Co.’s plans were thwarted this winter by the Omicron variant in the final hour, many other acts were still able to perform without snafus or health scares. Atop the heap of performers who made their way successfully to Riviera Maya, Mexico this February were My Morning Jacket, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, and Phish. Continue reading »

Mar 172022

Billy Joel isn’t taking too many wild musical swings these days. His performing life mostly revolves around a once-monthly helicopter commute from Long Island to Madison Square Garden, where he has performed in-residence, save for a pandemic pause, since 2014. While some artists use their runs at the Garden to pull out deep cuts or spontaneous stunts, the hallmark of Joel’s performances—which now exceed 100—has long been their reliability. In a given MSG setlist you can count on hearing all of Joel’s hits in fine form, albeit in a slightly different jumble from month-to-month. A surprise grab might constitute relative standbys like “Zanzibar” or “All For Leyna.” Even in the realm of covers, Joel and his long-running band haven’t gone much beyond a trusty rotation of karaoke rock anthems. Play it, Piano Man. Continue reading »