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Adele is still winning: '25' album reaches diamond status

Adele's comeback album "25" has reached diamond status in less than a year.

"25" was released last November and features the hits "Hello" and "Send My Love (To My New Lover)." Adele received a plaque for her top-selling achievement at Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday night after performing a whopping six shows at the venue.

The Recording Industry Association of America awards diamond plaques to albums and songs that reach 10 times platinum status. That once was the equivalent of selling 10 million albums or songs but has changed since the RIAA began incorporating streaming from YouTube, Spotify and other digital music services.

So far, "25" has sold more than 9 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.

Adele's 2011 album, "21," also reached diamond status.

Jason Aldean shuns streaming, tops the charts with new album

Country star Jason Aldean rarely has time to be a tourist when he's touring, but during a recent trip to New York, he and his wife, Brittany, found some downtime to walk around the city. The crowds afford the Georgia-born singer a little anonymity that he doesn't always get back home.

"I can go wherever here and you just kind of blend in with everybody else," said the reigning Academy of Country Music's entertainer of the year. "When there are a hundred people walking down the street, you just kind of slip on in there."

A couple of nights later, Aldean and Kid Rock headlined a doubleheader at Fenway Park in Boston in front of tens of thousands of fans.

Despite his star status, Aldean still holds onto his everyman qualities. He isn't a big TV star like some of his country music peers, but he regularly sells out stadiums and arenas and is the first country artist this year to top the Billboard 200 albums chart with his seventh effort, "They Don't Know," released this month.

The title track is an anthem to Aldean's core audience, the small town working class.

"People work hard just to be able to go out on the weekend and have fun," Aldean said of his fans. "They are not flashy. They aren't working on Wall Street. They are just simple people."

But he doesn't shun all recognition. Aldean admits he was confused that he was shut out of the nominations for this year's Country Music Association Awards when the nominees were announced last month. Although his new album wasn't eligible for this year's awards, he was eligible for other nominations such as entertainer of the year or male vocalist.

"It's a little weird to me that you can win the highest honor that one award show has to offer and you can't get a single nomination from the other," Aldean said. "It is frustrating and disappointing. You feel like you're out there and that you've done well and you feel like you've got as good a shot as anybody of being there and you're not."

In the past three years, he's only been nominated for one award at the CMAs, which was album of the year for his last platinum-selling record, "Old Boots, New Dirt." He admits he's a competitive person and he definitely wants to win, but he's come to a conclusion about it.

"Everyone that gets nominated wants to feel like they have a legitimate shot (of winning)," said Aldean, who has received Grammy nominations in the past unlike some of his peers, including Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. "At this point, if we can't even get enough votes to get a nomination, we're definitely not going to win it, so what's the point in getting a nomination?"

One of country's music biggest digital artists, Aldean decided to keep his new album off streaming services for a month, including Tidal, where he is one of the artist-owners along with Jay Z, Beyonce, Madonna and others. As he has said before, he doesn't think songwriters, producers and musicians are being compensated fairly through streaming services.

"Instead of people paying $10 an album, they are paying $10 for a million albums," Aldean said. "You can only split $10 so many ways until there is really nothing left."

Although he says he understands why music fans are drawn to streaming, he said the practice has devalued music. He removed all of his music from Spotify for a year, but he felt like he was the only artist in Nashville to take a stand.

"It was one of those things where everything sort of backfired and made me look like I was sort of greedy for doing it," Aldean said. "In reality, I am trying to look out for everybody else. And I turn around I am the only guy holding the flag. OK, I guess I am a one-man show."

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Online:

www.jasonaldean.com

My Hometown: Springsteen launches book tour in New Jersey

The Boss was back in his hometown.

Bruce Springsteen's latest tour opened Tuesday, and the rocker who usually lets his songs do the talking yielded to fans to take a turn and share their stories of what he meant to them.

They simply wanted to say thank you.

"I want to just tell him he's been my therapy for 40 years," said Joan Forman, of New Jersey.

Fans from all over the world lined up hours before Springsteen's appearance at a Barnes & Noble in Freehold to promote his new autobiography, "Born to Run."

In the book, Springsteen remembers his childhood in New Jersey, his rise to superstardom and personal struggles that inspired songs such as "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road."

Springsteen dressed in all black, from shirt and leather jacket to jeans and shoes and didn't say a word on his way to a small platform where he was flanked by two banners that featured a picture of the book's cover.

Springsteen's fans waited hours to share how his music helped them fight cancer, how they fell in love listening to his songs, how his lyrics are the soundtrack of their lives.

"I love his music and his shows. They give me more joy than anything," 25-year-old Erin Brown said. "His music collection is what ties things in life together rather than religion for me."

Brown wore a homemade shirt with a heart on the back and was in tears when she approached Springsteen.

"Come here, sweetheart," he told her.

"Hi, Bruce. I love you. You're the best," she said.

They snapped some photos and Brown hugged Springsteen. Brown sent the snapshots from her mobile phone to friends, and one replied they looked like a couple: "Which I love," she sighed.

Brown drove eight hours overnight from Cameron, North Carolina, to the bookstore off Springsteen's famed Highway 9 — which seemed like a small drive down the boulevard compared to others who flew long distance from Europe.

Phil Beard, of Liverpool, England, arranged a trip around Springsteen's appearance. Beard said he's been to 63 Springsteen concerts on two continents over 40 years and hoped to convince him to play a gig in Liverpool. Beard's wedding anniversary is the same date as Springsteen's birthday, Sept. 23.

"It's a coincidence. That's what we say, anyway," Beard said, laughing.

One woman posted in a Springsteen fan page on Facebook that she booked a flight from Munich to London to New York, planned to meet The Boss, then fly right back from Newark, New Jersey to Paris.

Springsteen signed plenty of books — Barnes & Noble said about 2,000 were sold and he stayed for almost four hours.

Springsteen, 67, is coming off the marathon "The River" tour that revisited a chunk of his 1970s catalog. Like his lengthy shows — a stop this month in Philadelphia lasted nearly four hours, four minutes — fans were still outside in the parking lot late in the afternoon.

The book tour will also take Springsteen to New York; Philadelphia; Seattle; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Portland, Oregon.

But his first stop was Freehold, a town where he once mused in song, "Would they have dumped me if they knew I'd strike it rich/straight out of Freehold."

The small, blue-collar community has a walkable downtown filled with stores, restaurants and many government buildings. While its neighborhoods of mostly small homes are close-knit, the town has been beset at times by racial tension, economic distress and downtown blight.

"On these streets, I have been rolled in my baby carriage, learned to walk, been taught by my grandfather to ride a bike, and fought and run from some of my first fights," Springsteen writes in "Born to Run." ''I learned the depth and comfort of real friendships, felt my early sexual stirrings and, on the evenings before air conditioning, watched the porches fill with neighbors seeking conversation and respite from the summer heat."

He concludes the first chapter of his book by describing the Freehold of his youth with a variation of the "heart-stopping, pants-dropping ..." introduction he normally uses for the E Street Band.

"Here we live in the shadow of the steeple, where the holy rubber meets the road, all crookedly blessed in God's mercy, in the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, race-riot-creating, oddball-hating, love-and-fear-making, heartbreaking town of Freehold, New Jersey.

"Let the service begin."

___

This story has been corrected to show that Springsteen's birthday is Sept. 23, not Sept. 27.

Memorials come down at Paisley Park ahead of public opening

The flowers, artwork and memorials that have adorned Paisley Park since Prince's death are coming down.

WCCO-TV reports (http://cbsloc.al/2dzhtP5 ) that staff members removed memorial items Monday that fans have left outside the pop superstar's home in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen since his death in April.

The city and the singer's estate said the artwork and flowers were creating more traffic and risk to pedestrians. They're asking that visitors not place any new items near the fence.

The move comes just days before Paisley Park opens to the public as a museum.

Prince died of an accidental fentanyl overdose.

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Information from: WCCO-TV, http://www.wcco.com

Beyonce and Bieber lead the nominations for MTV EMAs

MTV has announced the contenders for this year's Europe Music Awards , with Beyonce and Justin Bieber coming out on top with five nods each for the music awards.

Bieber is up for Best Song for "Sorry," while Beyonce is in the Best Video category for "Formation." Bieber also takes on Best Pop Act, while Beyonce is up for Best Live Act.

The pair go head to head for Biggest Fans and both artists will fight it out in the male and female categories respectively, where Bieber will compete against Calvin Harris, Drake, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd and Beyonce will face Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Adele.

Adele and Coldplay both have four nominations.

This year's EMAs will take place in Rotterdam on Nov. 6.

___

An earlier version of this story misidentified the Beyonce song "Formation" as "Foundation."

Lyric Opera staging 2 epics in 1 season

The stagehands were having trouble fitting a missing chunk of Carthage into place, but Michael Smallwood wasn't worried.

"That's why we have these technical rehearsals before the singers show up," Smallwood said in an interview last month in the darkened auditorium of the Civic Opera House where he was watching the set being assembled for Berlioz's "Les Troyens."

Smallwood, Lyric Opera's technical director, had overseen the same process a few weeks earlier for another 19th-century epic on the Lyric's schedule this fall: "Das Rheingold," the first installment in Wagner's "Ring" cycle. Because these are large-scale works posing considerable challenges, it's rare for a company to inaugurate new productions of both in the same season.

"Das Rheingold," with Eric Owens as Wotan, opens the season on Oct. 1. "Les Troyens," starring Christine Goerke as Cassandre, Brandon Jovanovich as Enee and Sophie Koch as Didon, premieres Nov. 13. Lyric music director Andrew Davis conducts both.

"It is a lot to bite off," Smallwood said. "But as big of a season as it is, it's also an exciting season. And that has payoffs, the reaction you get from an audience seeing these pieces at the end of the night."

"Les Troyens," directed by Tim Albery, uses a set designed by Tobias Hoheisel made of a steel frame with plastic panels that depicts a circular walled city nearly 25 feet high and 50 feet in diameter. For the opening acts in Troy, the wall is missing big pieces, which are strewn about the stage to show the destruction from 10 years of war. When the scene shifts to the shining new city state of Carthage, the wall is pristine — and plugging the gaps smoothly and quickly during intermission was one of the challenges for the technical rehearsal.

Given the huge forces it requires (18 solo roles, 94 choristers, expanded orchestra) any "Troyens" is going to be expensive. But thanks to the single set, this one turns out to be what Albery calls "a budget production, weirdly."

Lyric's general director Anthony Freud said the decision to do a minimalist staging was made "for both artistic and economic reasons."

"It's possible to make spectacle out of space rather than out of clutter," Freud said. "In a very spectacular, but visually spare way, we are distilling the story down to its essentials."

The set fits snugly onto Lyric's new state-of-the-art turntable, purchased as part of the company's $16.5 million fundraising campaign to upgrade its technical capabilities. (The turntable is also critical to the Lyric's third new production of the season, Mozart's "The Magic Flute.")

"We can feed information from the turntable to a video server and sequence its movements automatically to make sure it turns just the right amount as the action proceeds," Smallwood said. Before, he said, "your most reliable mark was always your two pieces of tape (one on the turntable and one on the stage floor) and making sure they lined up."

The turntable is but one item on a list of upgrades that includes a series of new lifts and traps. Davis acknowledged that previously "we were still rather antediluvian in our technical abilities here." The new "Rheingold," he said, "would not have been technically possible without the work we've done over the past summer."

That's especially true because director David Pountney has conceived his "Ring" as a theatrical experience rich in magical stage effects — with the unusual wrinkle that the audience will be able to watch how many of these effects are being created.

"For instance," Davis said, "the Rhinemaidens are on hoist lifts that will be moved around on stage by the crew in plain view of the audience. And at one point they'll actually be singing above my head, over the orchestra pit.

"It's very effective, and quite whimsical at times, which I think makes a nice change in Wagner."

Whimsy is also evident in the set designs by the late Johan Engels, which include enormous heads for the two giants made of fiberglass shells and inflatable boots and hands made from polyester-coated nylon.

Beyond the three new productions, Lyric is doing something else unusual with its repertory this season. Or rather, not doing something.

There are two bel canto works (Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" and Bellini's "Norma"), two other French operas (Bizet's "Carmen" and Massenet's "Don Quichotte") and one Russian opera, Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin"). There's also a spring run of Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady" in what has become an annual musical theater presentation.

But, as Davis noted, "no Verdi or Puccini at all!"

"For a company that used to be referred to as 'La Scala West,' it's a curious season in that respect," he said. "But subscriptions are selling very well."

___

Online:

https://www.lyricopera.org/

Life-size bronze tribute statue to Glenn Frey now in Winslow

A life-size bronze tribute statue to the late singer-songwriter Glenn Frey of the Eagles has been installed in the "Standing On The Corner" park in Winslow, Arizona.

It joins the statue that many feel looks like Jackson Browne that has stood in the city's downtown area since the late 1990s.

Browne and Frey co-wrote the Eagles' song "Take it Easy" in 1972 that included the lyric "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona."

Two morning radio personalities from Phoenix classic rock station KSLX — Mark Devine and Paul "NeanderPaul" Marshall — helped fund the $22,000 Frey statue, along with the Standing on The Corner Foundation and the City of Winslow.

Last weekend's installation ceremony kicked off Winslow's annual "Standing On The Corner" music festival.

Devine said in a statement that after Frey died in January at age 67, "we thought a statue would be a great way to pay tribute to his everlasting impact on Arizona's history."

Marshall said "the song has two writers, so we thought adding another statue that will last forever would be perfect."

The statue depicts a long-haired, mustachioed Frey — the way he looked in the early 1970s.

The other statue that resembles Browne is of a man with boots, jeans and a guitar. In front of it is a Route 66 shield painted on the road and behind him is a mural with a woman looking in his direction — a visual reference to the lines in the song: "Well, I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me."

The origins of the song date back to the early 1970s when Frey was living below Browne in a $60-a-month Los Angeles apartment.

Frey said in a 2003 interview that Browne came up with the Winslow line after getting stranded there once but was stumped on how to finish the verse. Frey suggested the flatbed Ford line, and it clicked.

Shops around the Winslow park display Eagles tour posters and sell T-shirts, magnets and mugs depicting the hit song and its lyrics.

Drone to the face doesn't stop Bone Thugs-n-Harmony show

The hip-hop rhythms of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony are too fierce to be stopped. Even by a drone to the face.

The group was performing at the High Life Music Festival in Victorville on Sunday when a drone buzzed up and smacked rapper Stanley "Flesh-N-Bone" Howse in the face. He winced and grabbed his head, but he and the rest of the group didn't stop the show or even the song.

It's not clear whether a fan, the band or someone connected to the festival had launched the drone, which was about 2 feet wide.

Messages left with police and representatives for the group weren't immediately returned.

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, whose other members are Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone and Krayzie Bone, began in Cleveland in 1993 and is known for mixing singing with rap.

Life-size bronze tribute statue to Glenn Frey now in Winslow

A life-size bronze tribute statue to the late singer-songwriter Glenn Frey of the Eagles has been installed in the "Standing On The Corner" park in Winslow, Arizona.

It joins the statue that many feel looks like Jackson Browne that has stood in the city's downtown area since the late 1990s.

Browne and Frey co-wrote the Eagles' song "Take it Easy" in 1972 that included the lyric "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona."

Two morning radio personalities from Phoenix classic rock station KSLX — Mark Devine and Paul "NeanderPaul" Marshall — helped fund the $22,000 Frey statue, along with the Standing on The Corner Foundation and the City of Winslow.

Last weekend's installation ceremony kicked off Winslow's annual "Standing On The Corner" music festival.

Devine said in a statement that after Frey died in January at age 67, "we thought a statue would be a great way to pay tribute to his everlasting impact on Arizona's history."

Marshall said "the song has two writers, so we thought adding another statue that will last forever would be perfect."

The statue depicts a long-haired, mustachioed Frey — the way he looked in the early 1970s.

The other statue that resembles Browne is of a man with boots, jeans and a guitar. In front of it is a Route 66 shield painted on the road and behind him is a mural with a woman looking in his direction — a visual reference to the lines in the song: "Well, I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me."

The origins of the song date back to the early 1970s when Frey was living below Browne in a $60-a-month Los Angeles apartment.

Frey said in a 2003 interview that Browne came up with the Winslow line after getting stranded there once but was stumped on how to finish the verse. Frey suggested the flatbed Ford line, and it clicked.

Shops around the Winslow park display Eagles tour posters and sell T-shirts, magnets and mugs depicting the hit song and its lyrics.

Music director at Catholic church fired for gay marriage

A music director at a Catholic church in Rhode Island says he has been fired because he married a man.

Michael Templeton tells The Providence Journal (http://bit.ly/2dx6gPb ) he was fired last week from his post at the Church of St. Mary in Providence. He says the Rev. Francesco Francese and a representative of the Diocese of Providence told him he needed to leave because of his 2015 marriage to his partner of five years.

Bishop Thomas Tobin says someone who holds a ministerial position in the church is expected to live in a way that's consistent with church teachings and the church "had no choice but to respond."

The newspaper reported 30 members of the parish protested by singing over a prayer during Sunday's service.

___

Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com

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