Dr. Dre and Mister Rogers Song Added to National Recording Registry

The Library of Congress designates 25 recordings for preservation, in what it is billing as “the ultimate ‘stay at home’ playlist.”
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The Best Of Kenny Rogers – Kenny Rogers

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The Best Of Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Country

Price: $ 19.99

Release Date: August 8, 2005

© A Capitol Records Nashville Release; This Compilation ℗ 2005 Capitol Records, LLC

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Country

Love Songs – Kenny Rogers

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Love Songs

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Country

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: February 28, 2000

© ℗ 2004 Madacy Special Products

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Country

Kenny Rogers, Who Brought Country Music to a Pop Audience, Dies at 81

One of the first country artists to sell out arenas, Mr. Rogers sold more than 100 million records in a career that spanned decades.
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20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best Of – Kenny Rogers

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20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best Of

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Pop

Price: $ 6.99

Release Date: January 1, 2003

© ℗ 2003 Universal Music Enterprises, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Very Best of Kenny Rogers – Kenny Rogers

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Very Best of Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Rock

Price: $ 29.99

Release Date: January 5, 2009

© This Compilation ℗ 2008 EMI Records Ltd

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Daytime Friends – The Very Best of Kenny Rogers – Kenny Rogers

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Daytime Friends – The Very Best of Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Country

Price: $ 6.99

Release Date: December 31, 1992

© This Compilation ℗ 1993 Capitol Records Nashville

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Don Henley pays glowing tribute to Kenny Rogers after he passed away on Friday

The 72-year-old star has hailed the influence Rogers had on his own career, having signed his former band Shiloh to his record label and later, introduced him to his future bandmates in the Eagles.
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Country legend Kenny Rogers dies, aged 81

Country music singer Kenny Rogers died peacefully at home on Friday night, according to his family, of natural causes. His career stretched back to the 1950s. Matthew Larotonda reports.

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The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years – Kenny Rogers

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The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Country

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: September 21, 2018

© A Capitol Records Nashville release; This Compilation ℗ 2018 Capitol Records Nashville

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Bob Hope Show: Guest Stars Roy Rogers & Dale Evans – Bob Hope Show

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Bob Hope Show: Guest Stars Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

Bob Hope Show

Genre: Arts & Entertainment

Price: $ 0.99

Publish Date: April 6, 2007

© ℗ © 2007 Radio Spirits, Inc.

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Tom Hanks reveals the exact moment he knew he wanted to play Mister Rogers

Tom Hanks hadn’t really watched “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” until a few years ago. But a clip of the show from 1981 solidified his admiration for the late Fred Rogers.

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Ruse & Romance – Suzanne G. Rogers

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Ruse & Romance

Suzanne G. Rogers

Genre: Historical

Publish Date: February 13, 2019

Publisher: Idunn Court Publishing

Seller: Draft2Digital, LLC

Unjustly labeled a flirt, Kitty Beaucroft is in need of a fiancé. Lord Philip Butler's father wants him to settle down before he can become a landowner. With no intention of following through, Kitty and Philip enter into a temporary engagement as a means to an end. Unfortunately, someone knows the truth and is determined to expose them.

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Heard It In A Past Life – Maggie Rogers

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Heard It In A Past Life

Maggie Rogers

Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: January 18, 2019

© Capitol Records; ℗ 2019 Debay Sounds LLC, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Magical Misperception – Suzanne G. Rogers

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Magical Misperception

Suzanne G. Rogers

Genre: Fantasy

Publish Date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Idunn Court Publishing

Seller: Draft2Digital, LLC

For one magical summer, Jona is selected to be a companion to Prince Lee and help him practice social graces. Despite her joy, however, she is expected to follow the rules: never speak to the queen unless spoken to, never forget she's merely a servant, and never, ever fall in love with the prince. Are the differences between a prince and a commoner too large to overcome, or are they just a matter of magical misperception?

iTunes Store: Top Free Books in Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Fred Rogers – Kevin Bales & Keri Johnsrud

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Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Fred Rogers

Kevin Bales & Keri Johnsrud

Genre: Jazz

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: March 14, 2018

© ℗ 2018 GabNat

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Hellbent – Randy Rogers Band

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Randy Rogers Band

Genre: Traditional Country

Price: $ 7.99

Release Date: April 26, 2019

© ℗ 2019 Tommy Jackson Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Country

Heard It in a Past Life – Maggie Rogers

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Heard It in a Past Life

Maggie Rogers

Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: January 18, 2019

© Capitol Records; ℗ 2019 Debay Sounds LLC, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Alternative

Heard It In A Past Life – Maggie Rogers

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Heard It In A Past Life

Maggie Rogers

Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: January 18, 2019

© Capitol Records; ℗ 2019 Debay Sounds LLC, under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Alternative

The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years – Kenny Rogers

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The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years

Kenny Rogers

Genre: Country

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: September 21, 2018

© A Capitol Records Nashville release; This Compilation ℗ 2018 Capitol Records Nashville

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Country

Ariana Grande Seemingly Shades Pete Davidson After ‘SNL’ Proposal To Maggie Rogers: ‘Thank U, Next’

Pete Davidson’s latest joke about his failed engagement isn’t doing him any favors with his former fiancée.

Access Hollywood Latest News

Now That the Light Is Fading – EP – Maggie Rogers

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Now That the Light Is Fading – EP

Maggie Rogers

Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 5.25

Release Date: February 17, 2017

© ℗ 2017 Debay Sounds LLC under exclusive license to Capitol Records

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Mister Rogers Movie Trailer Is Released And It Already Looks Like A Tear-Jerker

Mister Rogers is back in the neighborhood and already has us reaching for the tissues. 

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Holy Night – Margaret Rogers

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Holy Night

Margaret Rogers

Genre: Instrumental

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: December 27, 2017

© ℗ 2017 Margaret Rogers

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7 Reasons Why Tom Hanks Is Perfect For The Role Of Mr. Rogers

Tom Hanks is set to play Mr. Rogers in the forthcoming biopic “You Are My Friend” about the TV personality’s life and friendship with journalist Tom Junod. The Oscar-winning actor is the perfect choice to take on the role of late “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” star Fred Rogers. Watch to find out why!

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Hardcore Gangbang: Truth Or Dare – Starring Jessie Rogers In Her First Gangbang

Jessie Rogers has a slumber party at her house where her and her girlfriends engage in a game of truth or dare which leads her to reveal her darkest sexual fantasy! In this fantasy a group of 6 men follow her home and break into her house while everyone is sleeping. Once inside they tie up her parents and bust into her room to have their way with her. She is made to submit to their hard cocks while she struggles to get away, and screams for help to no avail. They double penetrate her and even get two cock in her tight ass before spilling their loads all over her face and leaving the same way they came in.

Watch the Full Length, High Quality Movie!

Jessie Rogers has a slumber party at her house where her and her girlfriends engage in a game of truth or dare which leads her to reveal her darkest sexual fantasy!

Stars: Jessie Rogers Karlo Karrera Alex Gonz Marco Banderas Mr. Pete Ramon Nomar Toni Ribas

Categories: High Definition Double Penetration All Sex Anal GangBang

Scene Number: 2

Orientation: Straight

Studio Name: Kink

Anal Pay Per View

Now That the Light Is Fading – EP – Maggie Rogers

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Now That the Light Is Fading – EP

Maggie Rogers

Genre: Alternative

Price: $ 5.25

Release Date: February 17, 2017

© ℗ 2017 Debay Sounds LLC under exclusive license to Capitol Records

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Alternative

Hold My Beer, Vol. 1 – Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen

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Hold My Beer, Vol. 1

Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen

Genre: Country

Price: $ 6.99

Release Date: April 20, 2015

© ℗ 2015 Lil’ Buddy Toons

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Country

Churchin’ with Pastor Tim Rogers – Pastor Tim Rogers

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Churchin’ with Pastor Tim Rogers

Pastor Tim Rogers

Genre: R&B/Soul

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: October 6, 2015

© ℗ 2015 Sag Music Group

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DeLorean & Bam Rogers Keep Grinding For The “Pay Off”

Talented or not, breaking into the music game is no easy task and the public rarely gets to see the blood, sweat and tears put into the craft. Yet Houston emcee Delorean puts it all out there with assistance from Bam Rogers on a new cut called “Pay Off.” With production from Mosley and 30Two, Delo goes in while proving that you have to grind for what you want spitting, “I always knew this is what I wanted to do. So I did it.” 


Filed under: Music Tagged: bam rogers, Delorean

Ian Rogers Leaving Apple Music for Unrelated Industry

Rogers will reportedly be taking a job in Europe in an unrelated industry.
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5 Surprising Facts About Kenny Rogers

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Wilder’s Mate – Moira Rogers

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Wilder’s Mate

Moira Rogers

Genre: Science Fiction

Publish Date: March 8, 2011

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Seller: Samhain Publishing Ltd.

Think a vampire-hunting bloodhound is dangerous? Try threatening his woman. Bloodhounds, Book 1 Wilder Harding is a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on America’s frontier. His enhanced abilities come with a high price: on the full moon, he becomes capable of savagery beyond telling, while the new moon brings a sexual hunger that borders on madness. Rescuing a weapons inventor from undead kidnappers is just another assignment, though one with an added complication—keeping his hands off the man’s pretty young apprentice, who insists on tagging along. At odds with polite society, Satira’s only constant has been the aging weapons inventor who treats her like a daughter. She isn’t going to trust Wilder with Nathaniel’s life, not when the Guild might decide the old man isn’t worth saving. Besides, if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that brains are more important than brawn. As the search stretches far longer than Wilder planned, he finds himself fighting against time. If Satira is still at his side when the new moon comes, nothing will stop him from claiming her. Worse, she seems all too willing. If their passion unlocks the beast inside, no one will be safe. Not even the man they’re fighting to save. Warning: This book contains a crude, gun-slinging, vampire-hunting hero who howls at the full moon and a smart, stubborn heroine who invents mad-scientist weapons. Also included: wild frontier adventures, brothels, danger, betrayal and a good dose of wicked loving in an alternate Wild West.

iTunes Store: Top Free Books in Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Fort Tilden – Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers

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Fort Tilden

Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers

Genre: Comedy

Price: $ 11.99

Rental Price: $ 6.99

Release Date: August 14, 2015

A comedy about Allie and Harper and their needlessly difficult journey to the beach.

© © 2015 Orion Releasing LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Pixaki User Guide – Luke Rogers

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Pixaki User Guide

Create pixel art on your iPad

Luke Rogers

Genre: Art & Architecture

Publish Date: May 13, 2015

Publisher: Luke Rogers

Seller: Luke Rogers

Here’s everything you need to know about Pixaki, the powerful pixel art creation app for iPad. Discover the tools, techniques, and shortcuts you’ll need to draw amazing pixel art in this official guide.

iTunes Store: Top Free Books in Arts & Entertainment

A Fair of the Heart – Donna Marie Rogers

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A Fair of the Heart

Welcome to Redemption, Book 1

Donna Marie Rogers

Genre: Contemporary

Publish Date: June 28, 2007

Publisher: Donna Kowalczyk

Seller: Donna M. Kowalczyk

Single mother, and work-at-home beautician, Lauren Frazier can barely keep a roof over her head, let alone stop it from falling down around her. When handyman Caleb Hunter shows up at her door for a haircut, he's the answer to her prayers—and the attraction is instantaneous. Too bad her troublesome ten-year-old son isn't quite as thrilled to have Caleb hanging around. Old wounds have kept Caleb from returning to Redemption permanently. When he receives word of his mother's unexpected death, guilt and regret bring him home again, but will the love of a good woman keep him there? Beautiful, witty, and strong, Lauren excites Caleb like no woman ever has, but she's a package deal, and he's not sure he's prepared to take on a ready-made family.

iTunes Store: Top Free Books in Romance

There’s Only Been You – Donna Marie Rogers

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There’s Only Been You

Donna Marie Rogers

Genre: Contemporary

Publish Date: June 25, 2013

Publisher: Donna Kowalczyk

Seller: Donna M. Kowalczyk

Lies destroyed their past—will the truth end their chance at a future? Sara Jamison has no clue where Mike Andrews ’ been all these years, but she knows where she’s been—busy raising their son. Two weeks after he accused her of cheating and disappeared from her life, Sara discovered she was something she never expected to be—an unwed pregnant teenager. But with the love and support of her annoyingly alpha-male family, she’s managed to make a good life for herself and her young son. She even owns her own business, Sara’s Bakery, which she’s built into a thriving success. Sure, she works too hard and her social life is nonexistent, but for the most part, she’s content. Until the day Detective Mike Andrews walks into her bakery and back into her life…

iTunes Store: Top Free Books in Romance

Pro Skater Jereme Rogers Found Not Guilty in Brutal Assault Case

Pro skateboarder Jereme Rogers can do kickflips of joy … because a jury acquitted him on all charges stemming from a fight last year. TMZ Sports broke the story … Rogers was arrested after he allegedly took part in a beatdown at a Hollywood club…


TMZ Celebrity News for Celebrity Justice

Conversations with Kenny Rogers, Mary Gauthier and The Groundlings’ Tracy & Laraine Newman, Plus Marcus Goldhaber


A Conversation with Kenny Rogers

Mike Ragogna: Kenny, let’s start with your latest album, You Can’t Make Old Friends. I think in the case of Kenny Rogers, you probably can’t count the number of old friends you have.

Kenny Rogers: I am so lucky because I’ve enjoyed a long span… The interesting thing about the music is that there’s kind of an American Idol mentality today and I don’t think that’s wrong, but everybody likes the hero and they push them up the charts and then it’s, “Okay, who’s next?” I think the faster you go up, the faster you come down. I think I was at that period of time where people had to buy the whole album, and in buying an album you got to see what else the artist was interested in and you got the feel of the depth of what was really important to that guy or that girl. I think the longer it takes to reach the pinnacle of your success, the longer your glide ratio down, and I think that’s what I’ve been lucky on. I had a chance to build up a fanbase over a period of about forty years and they don’t forget. I think they understand it when I do a song that’s different or when I do a duet, because it’s typical of what I do.

MR: You have many famous duets, recordings with Dottie West, Dolly Parton, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton and many others. How do you choose your partners?

KR: The trick I’ve learned from doing duets is you don’t start with a partner, you start with a song and then you say, “Who could sing this song well?” It’s unfair to bring somebody in on a song they can’t really perform. It doesn’t make any sense for me to sound good on it, since I know I can do it, and then have a song that they can’t really put their heart and soul in. That’s what I think I’ve been best at, finding the right people for the right songs, and the right people are Sheena Easton and Kim Carnes and Dottie West and of course Dolly Parton, and Ronnie Milsap. I did a duet with Ronnie Milsap that won a Grammy. It was an exciting thing, it was “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine,” two guys fighting over a girl. And I did another song with Kim Carnes and James Ingram called “What About Me?” where there’s three people in a relationship going, “Hey, wait a minute, what about me?” It was a great piece of music, it did pretty well. But I really loved the voices together, I thought we all sounded good, and that’s the trick.

MR: Kenny, your material has been A-league since The First Edition. How do you choose what you record?

KR: I think that’s always been my strength, finding good songs and recognizing their value. I figure if a song touches me I have a shot at making it touch someone else. If it doesn’t touch me I’m no good, I can’t bring anything to the table. But I just love finding those songs. There’s one on this new album called “You Had To Be There,” about a father that visits his son in prison, and he’s complaining about his son and what he’s done and how ashamed he is and his son says, “Wait a minute, you had to be there back when I was nine.” It’s just so true. It’s a wonderful piece of music.

MR: How do you keep your voice in shape?

KR: I’ve made a lot of money with a bad throat, that’s all I can tell you.

MR: Ha, I disagree, sir.

KR: Well, I think there’s a certain amount of honesty in what I do and I think that shows up on tracks and I’m so thrilled with that. I’ve tried to do a couple of things that were out of my territory and I realized just how bad they were, so I think you stick with your strengths as a rule.

MR: You’ve incorporated a fair amount of styles into your repertoire, so how would you describe your growth over the years? Has there been a particular thing that’s really evolved to get you to this point?

KR: First of all, I think styles are developed through appreciation. If I do something and enough people say, “I don’t like it when you do that,” I quit doing that. And if I do something they like I try to find more places to do it. That’s how you develop a style. For me, I think I’m a country singer with a lot of other musical influences. I’m in the music business because of Ray Charles. I went to see him when I was twelve years old, and somebody said the other day it’s amazing the number of men who determine between the ages of twelve and fifteen what they want to be in their life. They want to be a fireman, they want to be an astronaut, whatever it is, and I decided I want to be a musician. I didn’t even know I could sing, but everybody laughed at everything Ray Charles said, they clapped for everything he sang, I thought, “Boy, I just want to do that.” That’s how I determined what I wanted to do.

MR: Ray Charles was another artist who straddled all sorts of genres, especially with country songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

KR: He did that album Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, that was an eye-opener for me, because what he did was he sang country songs to R&B tracks and I thought, “Well I can do that!” so that’s when I got in touch with Lionel Richie because I loved all the stuff he did with The Commodores. When you break them down musically, they were really country songs. He’s incredible, he writes from the art, so I thought it would be fun to do this. I called Lionel and I said, “I’d love for you to write a song for my next album.” He said, “Well I’m really very busy,” and I said, “Okay, it’ll go on the greatest hits album and it’ll probably sell five or six million,” and he said, “How’s Sunday night at eight o’clock?” But it was really a good friendship and a great musical relationship. I think he put us through the years, too.

MR: Yeah. “Lady” is such a classic, but when I hear his “Stuck On You,” even back in the day I thought, “Wait, that could be a Kenny Rogers song.”

KR: Yeah, that’s what I told him! I said, “How dare you! How dare you write something and not let me have it.” I’m so selfish sometimes.

MR: What is your advice for new artists?

KR: Pay your taxes on time and put twenty percent aside. That’s it. If you’re going into it for the money, don’t get into it. The money only comes after years of unrewarded effort. I think that if you go into it because it’s what you want to do… My mom gave me the greatest advice when I was young. She said, “Son, always be happy where you are. Never be content to be there but if you’re not happy with where you are, you’ll never be happy.” It really worked for me. When I was at the low point of my career, when First Edition was breaking up, I was still happy. “Hey, I’m still making music, what do I need?” I think that’s what my advice would be. Assuming you have some talent going into it, stay true to yourself, because I’m a believer that we’re all three people–I’m who I think I am, I’m who you think I am, and I’m who I really am. Now, the question is, how close are those three together? When you look at the people who have survived, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, they are who they say they are. That’s how the longevity comes in.

MR: Making the transition from The First Edition to Kenny Rogers the solo artist must have been interesting.

KR: You know, when you think about First Edition songs, they were really country music. The First Edition had “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” we had another song called “But You Know I Love You,” it was really a country group who stepped out of bounds to do “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” It was not a big leap for me. Plus my mom listened to country music forever when I was a kid, so I was very familiar with it. I actually got into jazz as an accident. I played upright bass and sang with this jazz group and loved it beccause I think it gave me a great musical comprehension of a different style of music. Then of course going with the New Christy Minstrels taught me the value of story songs with social significance. That was a big part of my career, I didn’t just do songs, I did songs that had something to say. “Coward Of The County” is about a rape, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” is about a Vietnam veteran that came home. “Reuben James” is about a black man who raised a white child. They all have something to say and I think that’s the key to having long-range hits. But mostly you have to be true to yourself, because if you’re lucky enough to have a long career, the public does not like surprises. They like to know who you are.

MR: Yeah, and they like to love who you are as well. I think that’s a part of why fans follow artists beyond the creativity.

KR: That’s right. I’m always amazed at how much people will do for someone they like and how much they won’t do for someone they don’t like.

MR: [laughs] Kenny, many of your songs embedded themselves into the culture. For instance, you couldn’t turn on a radio or go out to a bar without hearing “Lucille” or “The Gambler” for decades. Are you aware you’ve impacted pop culture?

KR: I’m very aware of that. In fact, I just did a Geico commercial based on that and it’s really funny. I love songs like that, and I think I’ve had a couple of those, but “The Gambler” has just such repeatable dialog and it’s actually not about gambling, it’s a way of life. I think it sort of applies in so many different circumstances and situations.

Transcribed By Galen Hawthorne


A Conversation with Mary Gauthier

Mike Ragogna: Mary, it’s been four years, right? How could you do that to us!

Mary Gauthier: What did I do? Oh, the records. [laughs] It takes a while, man! It’s hard work, writing these things.

MR: What went into this one? Take us on a little tour of Trouble & Love.

MG: Well, it’s a story of loss. There’s the beginning and the middle and the end of the process that we go through, mostly when we lose something important to us. I tried to capture that while I wrote this thing. I wrote thirty-five songs for this record and eight songs made the cut.

MR: Since only eight songs made the cut, does that mean the others were purely for the purpose of a catharsis?

MG: It’s not for a catharsis, really. The process is about trying to capture lightning in a bottle. Songwriting tends to try to make sense out of utter chaos and put a story to it with a beginning, a middle, and an end, under four minutes, that then we look at and go, “Oh yeah, that’s what happened! I couldn’t make sense of it when I was in it, but yeah, I’ve been through that. I don’t really write for catharsis, I get that kind of work done in therapy. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably be in therapy all of my life. [laughs] Every time I think I’m done, I’m not. I write to make sense of things that are confusing and emotionally complex and like Hank Williams, I try to simplify it so that I can play it for people and they can look back at me and go, “You’re not alone, Mary, yes, I have felt this too.” In that simple act we somehow create a connection that means a lot to both the artist and the listener.

MR: The song “When A Woman Goes Cold,” that in particular seems to set a lot of the tone of how you were feeling at the time. What do you think about that?

MG: I’m not sure if I got into how I was feeling so much as how she was
feeling. I think the song captures a phenomenon that might or might not be unique to women, which is that once you push a woman past the point of no return, she can’t come back. There’s a place where she disappears. I have experienced this from both sides, I’ve been that person and I’ve been on the other side of that person, and I’ve seen it enough to consider a phenomenon, and that’s how the song was born. I’m like, “Okay, I thought it was just me or just her, but it’s happened enough for me to think maybe there’s a universal in there,” and as a songwriter I’m going for the universal always. My personal diary is irrelevant to most people and it’s not good enough, it’s not deep enough, I’m looking for human nature and I think I nailed something there, because the way audiences react, particularly women, tells me a lot of people have experienced this thing.

MR: And there’s another song like that, “I’ve Learned To Live Alone,” which to me is as blatant a statement of what you went through.

MG: Yeah. You know, when you reach a certain age you’ve lost someone, it’s just part of life. We connect and we move along and then it disconnects and there’s loss, and that loss is a grieving process. The goal, I think, is to not stay stuck in the sorrow but to keep moving through it and keep the heart open. I think it’s hard to explain what this song captures, but I think the character’s moving forward, reluctantly, doesn’t want to let go but has to. It’s beginning to move past the sorrow into acceptance. There’s a matter-of-factness about it that tries to speak to acceptance. In the acceptance of the loss comes some peace.

MR: Mary, one of the albums that affected me the most over the last couple of years was Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Ashes & Roses. Now here comes your album that touches the same nerve in some respects. Is there something in the water? I’m not making light of what you went through to get to this album, but it seems like songwriters are connecting even more deeply with their lives for their art.

MG: I agree. I think Bob Dylan showed us that songs can rise to the level of literature and he proved it over and over again, that’s why they keep trying to get him a Nobel Prize for literature, because there is no Nobel Prize for songwriting. There should be, and he should be the first one to have that put around his neck. He taught us that songs can go to the place where literature goes, which is a deep exploration of the human condition, and Chapin is one of the very best, Chapin is brilliant. Her songwriting is incredible. I walk with the knowledge that this is my goal, this is what I want to do as a songwriter, I’m hoping to connect in that way. Ultimately what I want is for my songs to outlive me, I want my songs to keep being played even after I’m gone.

MR: And it’s not so much about your personal legacy but the legacy or power of what you’re saying.

MG: Exactly! It’s so that people can go, “Yeah! Me too, me too. I’m not alone. This is not just something that’s happened to me because God hates me.” This is the human condition, this is what we are here to deal with and most of us end up in the position to have to deal with it. It’s biblical in scope, some of these things are just going to repeat in perpetuity. Each being comes in and boo, some of this is going to happen. So I think it creates hope, when you see yourself in songs, even if the songs are intense and considered “sad songs.” I think sad songs can be very helpful, as long as they’re honest. An honest song, there’s life in it. That’s why I didn’t make a record with thirty-five songs, that’s why I didn’t put all those songs in it, because some of them were just too sad, it wasn’t the truth. The truth is that sadness is a temporary state in grief. You move to acceptance, and through the acceptance of what’s gone down your heart reopens and hopefully, love will come back. It almost always does if you’re open to it.

MR: That’s why I used the word “catharsis” earlier.

MG: I kind of flinch a little at “catharsis” because it just sounds so “confessional.” I’m not saying I’m not confessional, I’m just saying that I wanted to go all the way down to the human condition. I don’t want it to be a melodic reading of my diary, to me that’s just incredibly boring.

MR: How did you approach this album, and moreover the whole batch of thirty-five songs? Was it different from the last time you made a record?

MG: The process was about the same, you sit and stare at a blank page with a guitar in your hand until something happens, the process remains the same. I have a writing room, I have totems in my writing room from so many different places I’ve traveled; I’ve got a Harry Potter wand that was given to me by someone in England; I’ve got eagle feathers given to me by an American Indian, I’ve got hobo nickels given to me by hobos, just a pile of stuff. I’ve got a Bob Dylan 45 of “Positively Fourth Street” that was given to me by a woman in Belgium; it’s an absolutely 45 in perfect condition. I’ve got stuff in here that was given to me in love and kindness, so it surrounds me in my writing room and I come in here and sit down and work. I’m hoping to conduct electricity somehow, I’ve got a lightning rod hanging out the window, looking for the lightning, and if that doesn’t change, that doesn’t change.

MR: You’ve got a few cool people guesting on this project, too, such as Beth Nielsen Chapman. What was the recording process like? What were you up to?

MG: We were up to something that was really old-fashioned. We recorded on tape, we didn’t use computers and Pro Tools and so forth. We recorded on tape and that required dusting off an old tape machine and finding tape to record on to. We didn’t use headphones, we all sat together in the room and played together. it was stripped down, the old fashioned way, the way Sinatra recorded. Get everybody in there and you play together. I think that’s my favorite, too, because there’s an honesty in it and there’s also a humanity in it, there’s imperfections and, for lack of a better word, mistakes. But oftentimes the mistakes are the most beautiful part. So we just stripped it down, I got the best players that I could get my hands on in Nashville, Guthrie [Trapp] is an incredible guitar player, Lynn Williams is an incredible drummer, and we just played them. We played the songs four or five times and we knew when we had it, and when we had it we moved on to the next one. We cut this thing in less than a week.

MR: When you listened back to Darrell Scott’s performance on your track “Old Soul,” what did you think?

MG: That still takes my breath away. He just outdid himself. He is incredibly gifted, he’s one of the most gifted artists I’ve ever met and he’s a dear, dear friend. We just put him and said, “Just sing. Just sing, Darrell. Just sing. Get in there and just sing,” and he sang his heart out. I’m so very grateful that he took time out of his unbelievably busy schedule to come work with me on this record. He contributed so much, he’s just phenomenal, and I bow to him, he’s a monster. We’ve been working together for a long time, we’ve taught songwriting together around the world, we’ve been friends for a long time and it’s been a real joy to watch the world come to find him and finally see him get his deserved claim. He’s been great forever.

MR: I bet it’s nice to have supportive friends accompanying you on musical adventures.

MG: It’s fun to share with people that are also on their own journey. We give each other standing ovations, we’re very supportive. Nashville’s not competitive, not the circles I run in. We can see what each other’s done and it inspires us, but we’re not trying to crush each other, we’re trying to help each other because we realize how hard this is, what we’re trying to do.

MR: Excellent, that’s so healthy, and it’s so not what the atmosphere was when I lived in Nashville.

MG: Well you were probably around commercial country music.

MR: Exactly.

MG: This is not that. We’re trying to be artists, we’re trying to be in Paris with the creative types at the turn of the century. We’re looking for Gertrude Stein, we’re looking for truth and beauty on a level that surpasses what’s come before us. We’re digging for diamonds and gold, we’re not digging for country fucking radio. Every now and then something accidentally happens and you land here and it’s great because it just pays the bills like you wouldn’t believe, but that’s not the goal.

MR: Many have covered your material such as Jimmy Buffett and Blake Shelton.

MG: Yeah, every now and then they find songs and record them and I’m so grateful. I’ve got to tell you, it really helps. But we don’t sit down with that as the goal, that could never be the goal for me. I don’t sit down and try to figure out what Blake Shelton would record. I just try to get to my truth and every now and then it intersects with their truth, which is a great honor.

MR: Are you proud of your albums in that way? You’re pretty confident that your career has followed that paradigm until now?

MG: Yeah. I know that each record I’ve put out is the very best that I could do at the time. With that I can live peacefully, I have peace around my work because I know I never, ever, ever stopped for a moment until I knew it was the best I could do, every single syllable, every single note, I didn’t phone in any of it. The best that I can do is the best that I can do and I have that peace. Yeah.

MR: What advice do you have for new artists?

MG: The way I see it, and I believe this is true, the entire music business is an inverted pyramid, and the tip of the pyramid sits on a song. There would be no music business without songs, so the song is what matters. You’ve got to get your songs right, and for me your song’s not right until you’re utterly honest. So my advice is to strip it down, be vulnerable, get real, get honest, people resonate with that and it matters more than anything. That’s been my experience and I think that’s why I have a career.

MR: Are you going to be touring?

MG: Oh, I’m touring like crazy. I’m working with Iraq War veterans, US soldiers, we’ve got an organization called Songwriting With Soldiers, I’ll be with three other female writers working with female vets who have incurred trauma in Iraq and we’re going to help them tell their story through song, and in that we’re going to hopefully take that giant step from victim to storyteller. Once you tell your story it no longer tells you. We’re hoping to help them. Then I’m going to the UK, I’ve got a conference I’m speaking at, I’ve got tour dates and tour dates and tour dates, I’m booked all the way through January at this point. When this record hits, I’m gone for a year, period. I’m out of here!

Transcribed By Galen Hawthorne

photo courtesy of The Groundlings

A Conversation with The Groundlings’ Tracy & Laraine Newman

Mike Ragogna: Forty years is a long time! How did you come up with the group’s name and how did it all begin?

Tracy Newman: In 1973 or so, when we were doing shows at the Oxford Theatre–before we built the current Groundlings Theatre on Melrose–we were just a group of 25 or so actor/improvisers who were taking classes with Gary Austin, our fearless leader. We had a meeting to come up with a name for our group. A few people–including Laraine and I and I think, Mary Cross–wanted “The Working Class,” and Gary, or someone, suggested “The Groundlings.” In Shakespeare, “groundlings” were the people in the cheap seats at a show–from Hamlet–“Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise.”

Laraine Newman: There have been several versions of this and I don’t know which one is true. I don’t know who came up with the name, all I know is we put two names to a vote: The Groundlings and The Working Class. I felt we would outgrow the style of a name like The Groundlings. That it was a Renaissance Fair kind of notion. I thought The Working Class was great because we were a class and I liked the double entendre of the political reference. It’s a good thing I’m not a gambler.

MR: What does it mean to be a Groundling these days?

TN: Well, if you’re in the main company or the Sunday company, and you’re in the shows, you get the enviable opportunity to perform for TV and film people who are looking for talent. It didn’t used to be like that at the beginning, but after Laraine Newman was plucked out of the company by Lorne Michaels, for a new NBC show he was launching–a little, live comedy show called Saturday Night Live–The Groundlings were on the show bizz map.

MR: What are some of the highlights of your time together? Are there any that were life-changing on a personal level?

TN: Do you mean with The Groundlings or with Laraine as my sister? Having Laraine as my sister is completely inspiring and life-changing. I love her. She’s brilliant. Even as a little girl, she had me laughing all the time. Being in The Groundlings was life-changing because I got to be involved on the ground floor of the new wave of comedy in LA. I was laughing all the time and because there was so much writing and re-writing, I was totally prepared for my TV writing career.

LN: Tracy is responsible for my being in The Groundlings and the rest is history. If that isn’t life changing, I don’t know what is. She is so amazingly talented and inspires me by how she continues to explore her talent. She has a particularly brilliant daughter as well. I think just working with Tracy and peeing in our pants. Laughing till we couldn’t breathe.

MR: Why do you think The Groundlings has such a loyal fan base?

TN: Because they’re home grown. They’re a staple here in LA. Come rain or come shine, you can count on big laughs at The Groundlings. You’re sure to see the stars of today and tomorrow every time you go to a show. It’s a guaranteed good time. Where else can you pay $ 15-$ 20 and sit in a 99 seat theatre and see Laraine Newman, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Paul Reubens, Lisa Kudrow, Melissa McCarthy–the list is endless–in an all improv show, just because they happened to drop by or had a free night? Where else can you see so many brilliant kids who are just starting out and will most likely soon be on SNL or in a movie or sitcom?

LN: I know what it means to me to be a Groundling today. I’m so proud of the incredible creativity and talent that has come out of the company. I don’t ever consider myself to be an erstwhile Groundling. I will always feel connected to it as I do to SNL. As for the current people coming through the school and company, the sky is the limit. There is not other place I can think of where you can get the kind of training that is offered there. The Groundlings has created their own technique for crafting characters and writing for them and as far as I know, that is singular to them. My God, I never imagined it would be so venerable but, if you can make it there…..

MR: It’s unusual to jump from comedy to music or back and forth. How do you merge the worlds? Laraine, do you have other juggling tricks?

TN: Before I joined Gary Austin’s class that became The Groundlings, I was a singer/songwriter. When I was in The Groundlings, I started the song improv class. After a few years, I turned it over to the astounding Phyllis Katz, who was and is the strongest song-improviser I’ve ever seen. When I wrote for TV, I often placed my songs in the shows I was writing for. When I left TV writing, it was only natural that I would go back to being a singer/songwriter. The worlds were always intertwined. In fact, on Wednesday, May 21st at 10PM, I’m bringing my band to The Groundlings to do a one-hour show. It’s part of the 40th Anniversary month of the company. Gary Austin is a singer/songwriter now, too, and I was going to open for him, but he’ll be recovering from surgery at that time, so I’m doing the show alone… well, with some surprise guests.

LN: The work I do in animation is a natural progression from doing characters and employing the technique of improvisation. Through the years, because I love my work so much, I’ve simply sought to explore dialects and stretch my voice for the sake of it, never knowing I’d be able to use those skills. Unlike Tracy, I’m not a singer. I realized that when I took singing lessons from her teacher. Sure, I can carry a tune and I discovered I have a 4 octave range and that’s why I can sound like a baby, a small child, a teenage boy or an old crone..but can I sing? F**k no.

MR: What was the creative process like for the material?

TN: We would improvise in class, and when there was a particularly funny scene, we would recreate it, and perform it over and over to make it better. In the early years of the Groundlings, a scene could stay in the show for two or three years. I was in a sketch called “Reunion” that opened the show for years!

LN: I worked a lot with my sister Tracy and there was no better cheerleader, judge, and teacher. She pushed me to explore my characters and brought out material I never even considered. Sometimes we created sketches through improv but more often, since my main work in the show were ‘in one’ character monologues, I would have things I wanted to say as my characters and would start with a big rambling piece of crap with some pretty good jokes in it. Then night after night of performing the pieces, each time improvising something and keeping the stuff that worked, I’d arrive at a crafted piece I was happy with.

MR: Where do you go from here, post 40th anniversary?

TN: Well, you know, there is life after The Groundlings 40th Anniversary. For me, it’s continuing my singer/songwriter career, which is really fun for me.

LN: Home, where I take off my makeup, put on my pajamas and eat in front of the TV…..oh, did you mean what’s next? Well, I have a pretty great animation career that keeps me quite busy plus stage shows that are tremendous fun and sometimes an on camera role here and there that actually pays some money. You can look for my upcoming shows on Facebook or http://www.larainenewman.com

MR: What is your advice for new artists?

TN: If you like the show at The Groundlings, and you feel you’ve found your home, take the beginning class and find out if it’s really where you belong. If it is, then be persistent and keep taking classes until you either get in or start getting work in the business as a writer or whatever. More importantly–make friends in class. These people will be the future of comedy, and you want to be a part of it.

LN: Read books and other things but read! Work hard. Get plenty of sleep. See as many other performers as you can so you can be sure what you’re doing is original. Be supportive of other performers. This is your world and your family.

photo credit: James Dean

Groundling Info: http://tracynewman.com/upcoming-events-list/http://tracynewman.com/upcoming-events-list/


Photo credit: Eric Van den Brulle

According to Marcus Goldhaber…

“We made this music video to reinforce the mission of the ‘Come Home America’ project: to bridge the gap between civilian and military families. The video utilizes new footage of soldiers and families reuniting to help express the desires of so many military families, especially those with veterans who have already served multiple consecutive tours. This song is not politically motivated; it’s my response to an overwhelming desire across the country to be a more connected society, and to understand why so many of our troops come home and develop varying cases of PTSD or severe depression that unfortunately lead to suicide. The ‘Come Home America’ project uses music to share different stories and perspectives to help elevate the conversation about military life in this country. We’ll back this up on May 23rd with an official launch at The Cutting Room in New York as an official Fleet Week concert, with support from Liberty USO. My hope is that through music, we can all learn more about our differences and take better care of each other.”

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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