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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 30, 2003 | From Staff and Wire Reports
Clarence Alexander "Skip" Scarborough, 58, who shared a Grammy in songwriting for "Giving You the Best That I Got," died of cancer July 3 in Los Angeles. Scarborough lived in Owings Mills, Md., but was in the Southland to visit family and work on a songwriting project. He earned his Grammy, with co-writer Randy Holland, in 1988 for best R&B song. The single of "Giving You the Best" was recorded by Anita Baker.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2014 | By Amy Kaufman
Keira Knightley is used to early wake-up calls. The actress has a penchant for period films, and it takes a while to get tied into a corset. But on the set of the modern-day romance "Begin Again," the British star's call time was decidedly later than on "Anna Karenina" or "Pride & Prejudice. " "I'm so used to sitting in a chair for two hours getting my hair and makeup done," she said recently via telephone from the U.K., "but this time I turned up half an hour before I needed to start shooting and chucked my hair in a ponytail.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 30, 2010 | By Reed Johnson
With early-bloomer musicians such as Natalia Lafourcade, there's sometimes a thin but crucial line between precociousness and preciousness. When this gifted Mexican pop-rocker released her self-titled solo debut in 2003, she was not yet 20 summers old. But Lafourcade -- a daughter of musicians who grew up singing mariachi and who plays guitar, piano and several other instruments ably and writes or co-writes most of her material -- already had...
ENTERTAINMENT
April 21, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Onstage at a sold-out McCabe's in Santa Monica on Saturday night, Mary Gauthier immediately jumped into songs from her forthcoming album, “Trouble & Love,” offering up “False From True” and the title track. Then she explained to the audience that she had decided to bring out the new material at the start “so you wouldn't think the new songs accidentally got happy.” Even before her critically lauded 2005 breakthrough, “Mercy Now,” the Louisiana-born singer and songwriter recorded three albums that shone a light on some of the darkest corners of the human heart, but in a way that ultimately uplifts listeners.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 17, 1997 | JOHN ROOS, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Jason Bonham is his father's son. The progeny of one of rock 'n' roll's most famous drummers, the late John "Bonzo" Bonham of Led Zeppelin, is a drummer too. But while he embraces his family legacy, Bonham, 32, wants to use songwriting to become his own musician. Last year, he released a live album of 10 Zeppelin covers, "In the Name of My Father--the Zep Set," and donated the proceeds to charity.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2012 | Evelyn McDonnell
A Natural Woman A Memoir Carole King Grand Central: 488 pp., $27.99 -- My favorite scene in Carole King's long-awaited "A Natural Woman" comes near the beginning -- appropriately, since the teen hitmaker was the epitome of an early starter. The high school student born Carol Klein had just signed a recording contract with ABC-Paramount. She was attending her first session as a guest when her host Don Costa, the conductor of the session's orchestra, had to leave the room.
ENTERTAINMENT

Muffs Get in Touch With Softer Side : Unmemorable and Uninspired * 1/2 : MY SUPERHERO : "Station One" : Risk : * : The biggest reward in covering a local music scene is watching talented bands progress and get better. Or, in the case of Sugar Ray, watching a lousy band become pretty good. This is the opposite. : On its first two albums, Anaheim's My Superhero showed flashes of excellence. With "Station One," it graduates from its own custom label to a real one, teams with Thom Wilson, studio shepherd to more excellent O.C. rock recordings (Adolescents, T.S.O.L., Vandals, the Offspring, the Joykiller), than any other producer, and lays an unalloyed dud. : The instrumental work is competent enough, blending a bit of ska rhythm with a main course of punk-pop, with an organ to lighten the textures, squiggly synthesizers for that popular 1980s New Wave cheap home-electronics touch, and more slab-like guitar chugging than is healthy. : The songwriting? : Well, a lot of excellent songwriters say they start with an intriguing title and build from there. The titles on this album are "So Wrong," "Stupid People," "Without You," "Out of There," "On Our Way Now," "Know You Again," "Best Days," "Too Late," "Lost Cause," "Weak Answer," "It's a Better Day" and "Alone"--about as intriguing as a grocery list. In this case, you can judge a book by its chapter titles. : The melodies are not memorable, the vocals, falling somewhere on the grainy-toned Elvis Costello/David Lowery axis, lack liveliness or varied phrasing. The lyrics are as bland as the titles suggest, most having something or other to do with coming-of-age issues. : "Alone," a valedictory to the hopes and sacrifices of the touring rocker's life, is worth a second listen, but not a third; a couple of other tracks are passable, the rest bland, except for "Weak Answer," a weak excuse for a song that establishes a meager melody and takes it nowhere. : Take similar elements and put a spark of melodic inspiration and zestful performance into them, and you get albums like Lit's "A Place in the Sun" and the Orange County Supertones' "Chase the Sun," two of the year's best local punk-pop releases. : Subtract those qualities and you get what we have here: a total eclipse of inspiration that one can only hope is a setback, not a death knell, for a band's promise. : * My Superhero, Fenix Tx, I45 and Frenzalromb play Thursday at the Glass House, 200 W. 2nd St., Pomona. 7 p.m. $8.50-$10. (714) 740-2000 (Ticketmaster) or www.goldenvoice.com. : Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent). : Mike Boehm can be reached by e-mail at Mike.Boehm@latimes.com.

August 11, 1999 | MIKE BOEHM, TIMES STAFF WRITER
On the Muffs' fourth album, front woman Kim Shattuck pretty much has ditched her old persona as a screaming spitfire and let her gentler side take hold. Oh, there are two or three of her old "yaaarrrgghh!" howls dispersed among this CD's dozen songs (not counting a closing instrumental), but it sounds as if it's there for the sake of form or nostalgia more than because she really needs to roar. Shattuck's attempt at a kinder, gentler way of being confrontational generates some nice humor on "Room With a View," a sway-along waltz in which she tries to let an unwanted suitor down gently but ultimately has to be blunt to get her message across: "I don't like it; I want you out of my face."
ENTERTAINMENT
December 16, 1990
I really enjoyed Robert Hilburn's article, but I felt that I had to set the record straight about his comments on Living Colour. Besides the fact that they should have been listed in the top five, I disagreed with his suggestion that Vernon Reid is the only saving element of the band. Although I agree that Reid's songwriting and musicianship is excellent, it is only the combination of this with the other three elements of Living Colour that makes them one of the best of the new groups.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 24, 1988 | JOHN VOLAND, Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press
Perestroika-- Russian for "restructuring"--will take on a new shade of meaning in October when 20 American songwriters embark for a "songwriters summit" in Moscow and Helsinki that's being called "Music Speaks Louder Than Words." In details of the trip delivered by sponsors and participants at a press conference Tuesday, the songwriting squad will meet with their Soviet counterparts and compose some tunes together, thereby restructuring both teams' notions of pop songwriting.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 28, 1998 | RANDY LEWIS
*** Sara Evans, "No Place That Far," RCA. The Missouri farm girl's second album ranges impressively enough from gospel bluegrass to chiming, Byrds-inflected country rock to make some predictable material worth overlooking. Five tunes she co-wrote--among the album's strongest--demonstrate her songwriting skills. She's also a strong singer in the Patty Loveless mold, but with more expressiveness.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 19, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
Devonté Hynes was probably the only person at last weekend's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to sing about the troubles of homeless New Yorkers and pose for a backstage photo with the pop star Katy Perry. But for Hynes, such contrast is the norm. Beloved by tastemakers for his work in a series of disparate indie bands - including the punky Test Icicles and the folky Lightspeed Champion - the 28-year-old musician has also affected the pop mainstream through collaborations with Solange, Kylie Minogue and Florence & the Machine.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 14, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
It was an offhanded comment by singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester, but it stopped Elvis Costello cold when he was chatting with Winchester for his short-lived music-interview series “Spectacle” on the Sundance Channel a few years ago. In an aside, the inordinately gifted songwriter casually identified “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz” (one of the first songs for which he'd gained acclaim in the early 1970s) as the first song he'd ever written. Then he nonchalantly moved on to finish the main point he was making about the art of writing songs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 12, 2014
Jesse Winchester, 69, a U.S.-born singer who established himself in Canada after dodging the Vietnam War and who went on to write songs covered by Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett and Joan Baez, died of bladder cancer Friday at his home in Charlottesville, Va., according to his agent Keith Case. Winchester's best-known songs include "Yankee Lady," "Biloxi," "Say What" and "Mississippi, You're on My Mind. " Artists as diverse as Reba McEntire, Wilson Pickett, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and the Everly Brothers have performed Winchester's pieces.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 5, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
How much legwork does pop stardom require? Next weekend Aloe Blacc will appear along with some of music's buzziest acts - OutKast, Haim, Skrillex, Lorde - at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the idyllic annual gathering near Palm Springs that for many artists serves as proof that they've arrived. On a recent afternoon at USC's Galen Center, though, Blacc found himself somewhat deeper in the record industry's promotional trenches. The L.A.-based soul singer was rehearsing for an appearance on Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards, and as he conferred onstage with his young collaborators - two dozen excited schoolchildren with whom he was to perform his song "The Man" - crew members installed miniature geysers designed to spew the network's trademark green slime.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2014 | By Kevin Bronson
Not two hours after he performed his passion project in an 88-seat theater on a recent Sunday night, Ross Golan made the rounds at a Grammy after-party hosted by Daft Punk, smiling as Jay Z and Beyoncé glided by and making nice with Madonna and Skrillex and Pharrell Williams. Inhabiting either world would have been inconceivable five years ago to Golan, whose first rock band had failed, whose second was flailing and whose days were spent toiling in his condo. Which was in foreclosure.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 16, 2014 | By Todd Martens
In 2013, films such as "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Spring Breakers" and "Pain & Gain" showed us the corrupting power of cash. The just-scraping-by stress articulated by New York rock band the Parquet Courts, on the other hand, captures the souls who just can't get a break - a soundtrack for twenty- and thirtysomethings who graduated college and have found dead-end jobs rather than a career. There's humor, but it isn't always pretty. Stoned, starving and facing a meal that's little more than a bag of Swedish Fish, the souls that populate the Parquet Courts' most recent full-length, "Light Up Gold," are all on a mission of sorts, but what they're searching for often isn't clear.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 30, 2011
The local combo So Many Wizards has a bit of Vampire Weekend's humid single-string guitar riffery to it, but the band approaches songwriting in a nonlinear fashion that makes the twee-ness of its vocals seem studied and wry instead of cloying. Here the band releases a new single, "Inner City/Best Friends. " The Smell, 247 S. Main St., L.A. 9 p.m. Fri. $5. thesmell.org .
ENTERTAINMENT
April 7, 2008 | Geoff Boucher
This week is already off to a big start for Fergie -- she was scheduled to perform Sunday night at the all-star "Idol Gives Back" concert and join her classic-rock heroines in Heart on their "Barracuda. " "My plan," Fergie said Friday afternoon, "is to get my inner rock chick on. " Stepping on any stage under the "American Idol" banner is a major deal these days, but Fergie said she was equally excited about a different Kodak Theatre event: At the ASCAP 25th annual Pop Music Awards on Wednesday night, she is poised to pick up major honors.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 3, 2014 | By Meredith Blake
NEW YORK - Since you're probably wondering, let's just get this out of the way: Jessie Mueller, the actress playing the title role in "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" on Broadway, has met the famed singer-songwriter but only once, during a surprise visit to a rehearsal last fall. "It was brief but beautiful," the 30-year-old actress recalled during a recent lunch at a burger joint across the street from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, where "Beautiful" has been in previews since November and will officially premiere Jan. 12. "She was just as cool as I wanted her to be. " The jukebox musical uses hits by King and others to tell her remarkable life story.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 27, 2013 | By Mikael Wood, August Brown, Chris Barton and Gerrick D. Kennedy
The Times asked its reporters and critics to highlight figures in entertainment and the arts who will be making news in 2014. Here's who they picked: Kelela | Singer-songwriter With its spacey textures and shape-shifting grooves, Beyoncé's self-titled album - released this month on iTunes with no warning - felt like the superstar end point to a year rich in adventurous R&B. Among the underground acts that appear to have inspired her is...
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