The Wanted’s Nathan Sykes Sheds Eurodance for Lounge on New Track

Nathan Sykes of the Wanted has stepped out of the club and into the lounge on his debut solo track "More Than You'll Ever Know." The sultry R&B-tinged track is now available as a free download. The 21-year-old's new sound is a far cry from his band's Eurodance vibe, which came across on some of their biggest singles like "Glad You Came" and "Chasing the Sun."

Sykes' as-yet-untitled debut album is set to be released later this year, with an official first single arriving later this spring. On the LP, the pop star collaborated with Babyface, Diane Warren and British producer-songwriter Harmony Samuels.

Previously, Sykes had worked with Samuels on "Almost is Never Enough," his duet with ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande off Grande's 2013 debut Yours Truly. "He really helped me create the sound and he's now the executive producer on the album," Sykes told Hunger TV when he announced his solo career earlier this year.

The youngest member of the Wanted is the first to step out on his own following the UK boy band's hiatus last year. Prior to the announcement, the band had released their third album, Word of Mouth, and starred in the E! reality series The Wanted Life. The show chronicled the band recording their third album alongside Sykes' throat surgery to remove a nodule from his vocal cords.

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Vanilla Ice to Perform at BET Selma Anniversary Concert

BET has put together a three-hour concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic voting-rights march in Selma, Alabama on Sunday with scheduled appearances by Bill Withers and Rick Ross, among others. But it's one name in particular that has drawn scrutiny: Vanilla Ice.

The president of BET Event Productions, Paxton Baker, who helped select the Salute Selma lineup with Harry Belafonte, recently explained the surprising booking to, which described the "Ice, Ice Baby" rapper as "not the type of artist [one] would expect to perform at a concert celebrating one of the seminal moments in the American civil rights movement."

"Vanilla Ice was in the Soul Train Awards two years ago and he's a really cool person," Baker said. "When we call him for things, he likes working with us and we like working with him. He's one of the people we call to participate in things with us, and if he can do it, he absolutely will. I sent him a text and within two minutes his response was two words: 'I'm in.'"

The exec also explained that the network only began booking the event on February 19th when Selma reps asked for help putting together the March 8th event.

Vanilla Ice will perform "one of his own songs," according to (and it's easy to speculate which one hit he'll play) alongside an updated version of the 1989 single "Self Destruction," the anthem for the Stop the Violence Movement led by KRS-One. Joining him for the performance will be Rick Ross, Bell Biv DeVoe, Flavor Flav, Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, D-Nice and other artists who have yet to be announced.

The concert will take place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where authorities attacked King's peaceful protesters during their march toward Montgomery on what subsequently became known as Bloody Sunday, March 7th, 1965. Other artists confirmed to appear include Aloe Blacc, BeBe Winans, Kirk Franklin, Yelawolf, Blind Boys of Alabama and Keith Sweat, among others.

Belafonte and Peter, Paul and Mary's Peter Yarrow, both of whom participated in a concert for those marching with Dr. King five decades ago, will also take part in the event.

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Hear Danielle Haim Help Tobias Jesso Jr. Pine on ‘Without You’

Haim have been fairly vocal of their love for rising singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr., so it's appropriate that Danielle Haim contributes to Jesso's sweet and somber new single "Without You." 

"Why can't you just love me?" sings Jesso on the longing, sentimental piano-driven track. Haim's steady rhythm keeps the song from getting too melancholy as he sings, "But there is nothing out there for me, without you."

The track will appear on Jesso's debut album Goon, set for release on March 17th via True Panther Sounds. In an interview with Pitchfork, Jesso revealed that an all-star lineup of producers contributed to Goon, including Ariel Rechtshaid, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, John Collins of the New Pornographers and Girls bassist Chet "JR" White. "The writing will always be the most important [thing] to me," the singer-songwriter said in a statement. "The production, playing and singing I am still figuring out."

Like "Without You," the upcoming LP is heavy on the heartbreak, something Jesso and his producers felt his growing fanbase — which features the likes of Adele and Taylor Swift — could relate to. "Everyone has gone through a breakup and survived," Jesso tells Rolling Stone. "People are like, 'You know, [I'd] rather hear something I can really grab onto.'"

Haim recently contributed vocals to Calvin Harris' bewitching single "Pray to God" off his 2014 album Motion as well as appearing on "Meltdown" with Stromae, Lorde, Pusha T and Q-Tip off the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. This summer, the sisters will be joining Taylor Swift on her 1989 tour for select dates. 

Additional reporting by Cady Drell

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Hall and Oates Suing Granola Company Over ‘Haulin’ Oats’

Hall and Oates are suing a Brooklyn-based granola company, Early Bird, for dubbing one of their products, "Haulin' Oats," according to The New York Post.

"The name and mark Haulin’ Oats is an obvious play upon Plaintiff’s well-known Hall & Oates mark, and was selected by defendant in an effort to trade off of the fame and notoriety associated with the artist’s and plaintiff’s well-known marks," the group claimed in the suit. A spokesperson for the group reiterated this claim when reached for comment by Rolling Stone, adding that group owns the registration for "Haulin Oats."

"Hall and Oates' company, Whole Oats Enterprises, owns a Federal Trademark Registration for the identical mark 'Haulin Oats' covering breakfast foods that is used in connection with the sale of 'Haulin Oats' branded oatmeal by Whole Oats Enterprises’ licensee," the spokesperson said.

"Early Bird Foods' use of the mark on their own products is likely to confuse consumers and lead them to believe that such products are affiliated with or approved by Hall and Oates, which is not the case," he continued. "Prior attempts to discuss this matter with Early Bird Foods were unsuccessful and Whole Oats was left with no other choice but to file suit in order to protect its valuable marks and goodwill."

While the band is both seeking damages from Early Bird and insisting that the company change the name of the product, owner Nekisia Davis did not appear to be phased by the lawsuit, responding to Rolling Stone's request for comment with a simple, "Say it isn't so." Davis also noted that Early Bird is offering a 25 percent discount on bags of Haulin' Oats through the weekend with the coupon code SAYITISNTSO.

Amidst their litigiousness, Hall and Oates have a number of tour dates lined up for the spring and summer, starting with a few one-off dates followed by short treks in May and June.

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Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert Lead ACM Charity Lineup

The dates for the Academy of Country Music's third annual ACM Party for a Cause Festival have been announced, and in keeping with this year's relocation to Texas for the ACM's 50th anniversary celebration, the lineup of performers is a big one.  

Set for April 17th and 18th at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, performers at the event will include Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Darius Rucker and Eli Young Band. A number of country legends are also on the bill, including Alabama, Clint Black, Patty Loveless and Ronnie Milsap, with more acts expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. The two-day outdoor music festival will be taped for a two-hour special, ACM Presents: Superstar Duets!, airing Friday, May 15th on CBS. This year marks the first time these two signature ACM events, Party for a Cause and the ACM Presents TV special, will be combined as one.

Party for a Cause joins the recently announced "One Night, Two Cities, All Music" gala, which will be hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood on April 17th in Dallas and Fort Worth. Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Keith Urban and Little Big Town are among the other artists joining Brooks and his wife Yearwood.

The 50th ACM Awards will be telecast live from Arlington's AT&T Stadium, Sunday, April 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Proceeds from ticket sales for the ACM Party for a Cause Festival will benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic arm of the Academy. Tickets are on sale now.

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Pharrell Helps the Band Perry Harmonize on New Album

Pharrell Williams is doing a little country music moonlighting in the time he has off from coaching budding artists on NBC's The Voice. The hat-"Happy" music mogul has hooked up with the sibling trio of Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry, better known as the Band Perry, to work on material for their highly anticipated third album.

"We're being really crazy about the different collaborations that we're diving into," the group's Kimberly Perry recently told CMT After Midnite host Cody Alan. "We got to hang out with Pharrell a couple weeks ago. He's a huge country music fan, and he also really loves what we do with harmony. One thing that we worked on with him was this song where all three of us sing different interwoven vocals on the verse and on the chorus."

Perry also dispelled the notion that Pharrell's distinctive hats, like the vintage Vivenne Westwood topper he donned (and dominated social media with) at the 2014 Grammy Awards, are permanently attached to the R&B superstar's head. "He does not wear the hat all the time; he does wear Adidas all the time," she revealed with a laugh.

Pharrell is also dipping his toes in country music a bit on The Voice this season. So far, his team includes country-soul singer Meghan Linsey, formerly of the duo Steel Magnolia, and a soulful rock singer named Sawyer Fredericks, who put a unique spin on a beloved country classic, "Man of Constant Sorrow," during his blind auditions.

There's no word yet on the exact role Pharrell is playing with the Band Perry's album — co-writer, co-producer, duet partner and/or mentor. The follow-up to the group's 2013 Pioneer — which produced two Number One hits, "Better Dig Two" and "Done" — is expected to be out later this year. The Perrys are keeping fairly tight-lipped about it, but newlywed Kimberly did hint to Rolling Stone Country last year that her marriage just might inspire a tune or two.

"We're trying to have a little more romance about this new album," she said. "We are definitely ping-ponging between [touring and writing], but we're allowing more time for creative flow, too."

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Iron Maiden Singer Was in ‘Considerable Pain’ After Cancer Treatment

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson suffered "considerable pain and discomfort" from the chemotherapy and radiology to treat a small tumor on the back of his tongue, but the singer remains optimistic for a full recovery, according to a note from the band's manager Rod Smallwood.

As Smallwood points out, radiology is cumulative, collecting in the body where it stays for about three weeks after treatment ends. Dickinson finished his seven-week course in mid-February, and while the pain and discomfort are still there, they will continue to alleviate over the next few months.

Once the swelling and pain have disappeared, Dickinson will be able to take an MRI scan, which will officially determine whether the cancer is gone. "However, prognosis continues to be extremely good and everyone is optimistic for a full recovery," Smallwood wrote. "Following the scan, we will officially update you on this website at the appropriate time, probably in late May."

While it will take a few more months after that for Dickinson to be fit enough to play with Iron Maiden, Smallwood said the band remains completely supportive and will base their future plans on his progress.

Smallwood also passed along Dickinson's thanks and appreciation for the "tremendous support and kind wishes. He has been extremely touched and encouraged by the genuine and affectionate response from our global family of Maiden fans."

Prior to his diagnosis, Dickinson — when he wasn't touring with Iron Maiden — was indulging his passion for flying and daredevilry. Last year, the rocker flew a 100-year-old plane during a reenactment of a World War I dogfight and invested a reported $450,000 in the "world's longest aircraft," the Hybrid Air Vehicle, which he hopes to one day fly around the world.

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Zac Brown Band Announce New Album ‘Jekyll + Hyde’ and 2015 Tour Dates

Zac Brown Band have always prided themselves on diversity, so it's quite fitting that their new album is titled Jekyll + Hyde. Due April 28th, the new LP marks the group's first via a new partnership with Southern Ground, John Varvatos Records and Big Machine Label Group. Clothing designer-turned-music exec Varvatos has one word for the new set of tunes: "insane." And Brown just hints to expect the unexpected.

"Our boundaries have dissolved and we're going to still do things that are somewhat familiar that people like, but we're also going to stretch out and take chances beyond what we've done before. Some people are going to be really surprised," the singer told Rolling Stone Country back in November.

A big surprise they're leaking today is Jekyll + Hyde 's 16-song track list. (See below.) Soundgarden and Audioslave lead singer Chris Cornell is featured on a song called "Heavy Is the Head," and pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles duets on "Mango Tree." Digital pre-orders will include immediate downloads of the Cornell collab, plus the Jason Isbell-penned "Dress Blues" and the band's current, feel-good single, "Homegrown." (Listen to "Homegrown" here.)

While "Homegrown" is certainly a country radio friendly tune, the album is expected to have major crossover potential. Big Machine President Scott Borchetta plans to have his team market the music on a larger, international scale. "This music will play in a lot of places," he tells Rolling Stone Country. "[Zac Brown Band] have always been a great live band, as well as a country radio staple from day one. Now, after spending some time with Zac, I'm blown away by his creativity and vision. I think ZBB are entering their most successful and prolific chapter." 

On the same week as Jekyll + Hyde's release, Zac Brown Band will kick off their North American stadium tour, with the first show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on May 1st. Other venues on the schedule include Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field, among other massive sports venues. (See a full list of cities and dates on the tour here.) Fan club members will be able to buy tickets for select shows starting March 10th, with general public sales starting March 13th.

The band will test out a few of Jekyll + Hyde's tunes live from New York this weekend, as they make their Saturday Night Live debut.

Zac Brown Band, Jekyll + Hyde Track List:

"Beautiful Drug"

"Loving You Easy"



"Mango Tree" (featuring Sara Bareilles)

"Heavy Is the Head" (featuring Chris Cornell)



"Tomorrow Never Comes"

"One Day"

"Dress Blues"

"Young and Wild"


"I'll Be Your Man (Song for a Daughter)"


"Tomorrow Never Comes" (Acoustic Version)

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Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe Is Now a Ballet Composer

It's not often that the lead singer of a heavy metal band that Rolling Stone described as "too brutal for thrash" would provide the score for a ballet, but Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe is defying expectations by contributing music to a friend's dance project. Blythe and Matthew Frain, a member of the Richmond Ballet in Richmond, Virginia, have teamed up for Inventory, a short piece scheduled to debut at the city's dance festival on March 22nd.

"[Frain] asked me if he could use some [preexisting music] and I said, 'Sure, but why don’t we just conceptualize a piece from the ground up, together,'” Blythe told Richmond magazine (via The Guardian). "Artistically, I don't live in some heavy metal cave — most of my favorite frontmen all work in various disciplines — Nick Cave, Henry Rollins, David Yow; these are men whose musical work I admire and respect. These guys have made some of the most original and caustic tunes in the history of music, but they also have produced some really beautiful art and literature. Those are the types of artistic role models I look to for inspiration — they stay busy and work hard."

As evidenced by Inventory's trailer, Blythe – here credited as D. Randall Blythe – relies on drones and sparse piano notes to create an ambience that recalls Lamb of God's sense of dread without ratcheting up the volume. Blythe admitted to Richmond that he is a fan of ballet – he recently attended a staging of The Nutcracker with his wife and parents – and that he had to learn the terms of the art form while collaborating on the score.

"Once the ballet starts, our work is done, and our 'baby' is out of our hands into the world to live on its own. As an artist, it's quite amazing to witness," Blythe said, later adding, "I guess some fans of my band or metal music in general might be surprised, because they only know me as a two-dimensional cartoon-character-like screaming frontman of a metal band."

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Grateful Dead Members, More Booked for Jerry Garcia Tribute Show

Before the Grateful Dead reunite for their three-night farewell stand in Chicago this July, its four surviving members — Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh — and a number of special guests will pay tribute to Jerry Garcia at a special gig at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on May 14th.

Dubbed "Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music of Jerry Garcia," the show will feature performances from Lesh's outfit Communion, Kreutzmann's Billy and the Kids, Bruce Hornsby, Eric Church, Buddy Miller, David Grisman, Greensky Bluegrass, Moe., Los Lobos, O.A.R., Railroad Earth, Widespread Panic, the Disco Biscuits, Yonder Mountain String Band, Trampled By Turtles, Jimmy Cliff, Jorma Kaukonen, Stu Allen, Grahame Lesh, Ross James, Alex Koford and Jason Crosby. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Famed musician Don Was will serve as the show's music director and lead the official backing band. The "Dear Jerry" concert will also be filmed, with plans to release a movie digitally and through traditional outlets in the future.

"Jerry gave his heart, soul, and music to his band mates, fellow musicians, and to millions of fans around the world," Keith Wortman, the show's creator and executive producer, said in a statement. "Whether playing in the Grateful Dead, his acoustic and bluegrass bands or his beloved Jerry Garcia Band, his songs made us happy just to be alive."

Tickets go on sale Monday, March 9th at 10 a.m. ET via Ticketfly. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Merriweather Post Pavilion box office or at the 9:30 Club box office in Washington D.C.

A few months after "Dear Jerry," the Dead will celebrate their 50th anniversary by playing their final three shows together at Chicago's Soldier Field from July 3rd to 5th. For these "Fare Thee Well" shows, Lesh, Weir, Kreutzmann and Hart will be joined by Hornsby on piano, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. 

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