George Jones, Country-Western heartbreak crooner, has died

George Jones, whose beautiful sad country ballads consoled countless broken hearts, died today in Nashville.

Born in Pensacola, TX in 1931, Jones lived his songs. Famous for missing concerts when he was on a drunken tear, he survived drugs, car crashes, several divorces and repeated financial ruin. His third marriage, in 1969, to Tammy Wynette took the meaning of tempestuous into the stratosphere. They wrote and sang of the endless drama and tragedies in their relationship which lasted just six years, but produced some real blockbuster country songs, such as Good Year for the Roses and \We're Gonna Hold On. Their daughter, Georgette, told their story from her point of view in her 2011 memoir, The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George.

One of his most wrenchingly sad songs; He Stopped Loving Her Today, was pure George Jones at his mournful best. The song's subject yearns tragically for years for a lost love and dies with a smile on his face.

Jones won countless awards for his body of work. He was honored by the Country Music Association, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and last year he was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jones, who had been hospitalized on April 18th, was 81.

Purple Rose Theatre: 33 Variations

Here's a potential spring outing: The Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea is presenting 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman through June 1. The director of this production is Guy Sanville. Featured artist is Richard McWilliams, who portrays the role of Ludwig van Beethoven. From the PR website: "In 19th century Austria, Ludwig van Beethoven works obsessively on a commission he cannot complete. In present day, musicologist Katherine Brandt struggles to solve the mystery behind her professional passion: Beethoven’s oft overlooked Diabelli Variations. As she races against time, Katherine not only discovers the true nature of Beethoven’s work, but gains insight into the other mystery in her life: her daughter. Moving between the past and the present, 33 Variations illustrates how the very passions that threaten to overwhelm us can also save us. Contains adult language and content." Tickets are available here.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Slightly Disturbed Electrorock, Jazzy Piano, Bach Cantatas

YOU can access over 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

ROCK / ELECTRONIC
Thirty Day Notice: Somewhere Between Pleasantly Hypnotic and Slightly Disturbing
Lana and Joe (sister and brother) write, perform, mix and produce Thirty Day Notice in their solar powered recording studio in Fiji. Both Lana and Joe are interested in ancient civilizations, secret societies, the soul, fringe science, the occult, aliens, mythology, symbolism, sacred geometry, conspiracy, consciousness, etc., which might explain their pleasant, yet unsettling, sound.

JAZZ / POP / BLUES
Peggy Duquesnel: Creative and Captivating Jazz-Pop Piano
"Old Friends" is a unique collection of eight original instrumental jazz compositions by pianist/composer Peggy Duquesnel performed by a stellar jazz quartet featuring John Patitucci/Bass, Bob Harsen/Drums and Albert Wing/Sax. Duquesnel's compositions take you on a musical journey that encompasses styles and memories of colleagues and mentors she has met along the way. "Waltz for Diana" was composed for Diana Krall; Trottin' for Terry Trotter; "Kiwi Friend" for Alan Broadbent; "Carmen" for Carmen Rodgers; "Wingin' It" for Albert Wing; "Old Friends" for a plethora of fine musicians in her life. Other influences on Duquesnel's writing and playing are artists such as Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Joe Sample, Keith Jarrett and McCoy Tyner.

CLASSICAL
The Sarasa Ensemble: Lively, Bright Baroque
This beautiful recording presents two of Bach's cantatas for solo voice, one—Weichet nur—a celebratory wedding ode and the other his celebrated masterpiece for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin. Internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Dominique Labelle and three time Grammy nominee Sanford Sylvan lend their incredible voices to the Sarasa Ensemble in order to depict both the idyllic, pagan landscape of the first work, and the luminous, "lullaby to the soul" of the second. A third work—Liebster Jesu—features a "sacred dialogue" between these two sublime voices, and the entire album makes clear why The Sarasa Ensemble is so often praised for its great clarity of style.

The 2013 Pulitzer Prizes have been announced

The Pulitzer Prizes for 2013 were announced today.

In 1917, Joseph Pulitzer established these awards to recognize excellence in 21 categories, which include journalism, fiction, drama, music, poetry, and non-fiction. More recently, online reporting was added.

Some of the winners this year include:

Fiction -- Adam Johnson, for The Orphan Master's Son, a timely choice, tells the story of Pak Jun Do, who is sent to the orphan camps in North Korea. First trained as a tunnel soldier (fighting in pitch darkness beneath the DMZ), he is 'elevated' to kidnapper.

History -- Fredrik Logevall, for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam -- Logevall spent 12 years looking at primary diplomatic sources in the archives of Paris, Washington, D.C., and Hanoi to get at the heart of the conflict.

Biography -- Tom Reiss, for The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo -- Reiss delves into the life of the father of Alexandre Dumas, General Alexandre Alex Dumas. Born in Haiti, sold into slavery by his own father, the General eventually went on to military greatness when he reorganized the army of the French Republic.

In 20 categories, each winner receives $10,000 and a certificate. In the Public Service category, a medal was bestowed on the Florida newspaper, the Sun Sentinel, for its investigation into off-duty police officers who endangered the lives of citizens by speeding.

For a complete list, check here.

Cookbook Award Winners

The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has awarded the following books (see full list here):

Cookbook of the Year & Best International Cookbook: Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi: 120 recipes that highlight the flavors of Jerusalem

Best American Cookbook: Hiroko’s American Kitchen: Cooking with Japanese Flavors: how to combine Japanese cooking flavors with Western style fare

Baking: Savory or Sweet: Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza: must-have baking guide to breads and pizzas providing the techniques and equipment advice to make them

Chefs and Restaurants cookbook: Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan, the award-winning chef from San Francisco's Slanted Door restaurant presents his life story along with a guide to making delicious Vietnamese food

Culinary History: The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook, tasting their way through centuries of cookbooks and recipes they have been collecting for 45 years, authors Anne Willan and her husband Mark Cherniavsky provide a fascinating history of cooking & cookbooks, lore, and of course recipes from as far back as medieval times

Culinary Travel:Burma: Rivers of Flavor: Burma is opening its doors and this book is a wonderful introduction its culinary marvels

First Book: The Julia Child Award: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deborah Perelman: if you aren't familiar with the author's blog, go to it and see why this book is so popular

Food Matters: Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics: well-researched and written for the average joe, the science behind what a calorie is and much more

Literary Food Writing:Yes, Chef: A Memoir: life of chef, Marcus Samuelsson, from humble beginnings as an orphan to world-renowned chef

Audiobooks for Kids: Wildlife Adventures

Author Carl Hiaasen, born and raised in Southern Florida, spent his childhood amongst the mangrove swamps and freshwater lagoons that surrounded his home. In his books for kids, Florida’s wild places and wild animals take center stage. If you’re in the mood for a wildlife adventure, check out his audiobooks:

Chomp – Wahoo Crane and his classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” who went missing while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades. Read by James Van der Beek.

Scat – Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts near a Florida wildlife preserve and an unpopular teacher goes missing. Read by Edward Asner.

Flush – With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. Read by Michael Welch.

Hoot – Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. Read by Chad Lowe.

Weird and Wonderful New Music

Youth Lagoon -- Wondrous Bughouse

Go down the rabbit hole and find a seat at the Wondrous Bughouse, the textural psych-pop carnival ride that rips holes in the gauze of mortality and peers inside with fascination rather than fear. On the second track, "Mute", singer Trevor Powers reveals, "The devil tries to plague my mind / but he can't quite get inside / I'll place my jar in a burial grounds that only I can find." The album is a dream so tonally rich and charged with clicks, hisses, and scrapes that if you listen to it on headphones the sounds will find their way into the once-tidy folds in your brain.

Dan Deacon -- America

Electronic music is often pigeonholed as dance music with one purpose: to move bodies in a loud room. One listen to America will blow that notion out of the club. The complex range of emotions on America is dizzying if not schizophrenic. Sure, you can dance to many of these songs, but with influences ranging from Philip Glass to Can, the songs and arrangements are also given room to breathe, to contemplate, to be anxious, to be human. Deacon blends live instruments with electronic sounds seamlessly throughout the album, especially on "Prettyboy", which appropriately sits at the center of the track list.

Yo La Tengo -- Fade

The weirdness of Yo La Tengo lies in their use of disparate, sometimes dissonant sounds that still manage to turn out sounding beautiful. On album opener, "Ohm", the buzzy wash of guitars contrasts the soft, lilting melody that almost falls off the rails toward the end. On the next track, "Is That Enough", they overlay lounge vocals and saccharine strings with an undertone of fuzzed out guitars that practically sounds like it's being played in the next studio over. Sometimes I wonder if I'm in on the joke with this band, but I'm always glad I went along for the ride.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #392

Debut novelist Jenny Milchman is definitely one to watch, if Cover of Snow * * (print format) is anything to go by.

Set in remote and insulated Wedeskyull, NY,, in the Adirondacks, Nora Hamilton wakes to find her world totally shattered with the suicide of her rock-solid husband Brendan. Leaving no note and giving no indication of his intent, Nora is at a loss. She needs answers but all she encounters is a bewildering resistance from Brendan's best friend and colleague, fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies layers of secrets and heart-breaking tragedies, which a powerful conspiracy will stop at nothing to keep buried.

"This is a richly woven story that not only looks at the devastating effects of suicide but also examines life in a small town and explores the complexity of marriage. Fans of Nancy Pickard, Margaret Maron, and C. J. Box will be delighted to find this new author." ~ Booklist

Listen-alike:

Sister by Rosamund Lupton.

No time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon.

* * = starred reviews

Roger Ebert, beloved Chicago movie critic, has died

Just one day after announcing he was taking a 'leave of presence' from his 46-year gig as movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and his 31-year career on TV reviewing films, Roger Ebert lost his long public battle with salivary and thyroid cancer.

His announcement yesterday said he would just review the movies HE wanted to see and leave the rest of the reviews to his trusted colleagues at the paper. When he lost part of his jaw and thus his ability to eat or speak, he used his good humor and courage to write about his experience fighting, and often triumphing, against, his devastating illness.

Ebert's long career resulted in a 1975 Pulitzer Prize, the first movie critic to receive this honor. The Webby Awards named him their 2010 Person of the Year. And Hollywood, which lived and died by Ebert's laser-beam ethical demand for excellence in all things film, honored him with his own Walk of Fame star in 2005.

Ebert's career took off in a new direction when he and Chicago Tribune movie critic, Gene Siskel, took their 'point/counterpoint' routine to television in 1975. Originally titled Coming Soon to a Theater Near You, PBS picked it up and renamed it Sneak Previews three years later. There were two more name-changes: In 1981, it morphed into At the Movies. Five years later, accompanied by their signature 'thumbs up, thumbs down' rating system, it settled on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.

Sadly, Siskel died in 1999. He had had brain surgery for brain cancer but it was complications from another surgery that ended his life.

Despite his long fight with illness, Ebert wrote almost seventeen books on movies, the internet, his life (Life Itself: A Memoir, 2011), and yes, even a cookbook for rice cookers (The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, 2010).

Ebert, who was 70, died today in Chicago.

The Wanna Bees!

When we first heard the Wanna Bees at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park last year, we thought that we should surely have them back for more fun! On April 14th at 4 pm at the Downtown Library we will kick off National Library Week with rock and roll for kids!

Wanna BeesWanna Bees

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