Jeff Miers, The Buffalo News

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Jeff Miers

Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.


Rapsody The 9th Wonder protégé has made one of the coolest hip-hop records of the year in the form of "Laila's Wisdom." Rapsody has been a guest artist of merit on projects by the likes of Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar, but with the sheer breadth of soulful influences congealing on "Laila's Wisdom," the depth and intricacy of her lyrics …

Steely Dan always used ringers, in the non-pejorative sense. For co-founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, it was always about the song – not the singer, the music, not the player, though they always hired the best of the best to interpret the songs they wrote. Every great band leader, from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis to Frank Zappa, found the wisdom in this ap…

I was not convinced he had it in him. But Eminem took the opportunity during the recent BET Awards to reacquaint hip-hop with its core tenets. He free-styled a brutally impassioned topical discourse. And he did so for no personal gain that I can readily ascertain. In fact, the superstar risked alienating a healthy portion of his fan base. Or maybe not. Perhaps the peopl…

Sharon Jones The late singer's final recording, "Soul of a Woman," is a heart-melting swan song. Out Oct. 17. King 'HRVST' Phoenix – whose "Ti Amo" is stuck in my head - headlines the new HRVST Festival, at RiverWorks on Oct. 14. http://buffalonews.com/2017/08/15/manchester-orchestra-joywave-added-hrvst-lineup/ Son also rises Dhani Harrison, son of Beat…

When Walter Becker died in early September, I wasn't feeling so hot myself, and I didn’t really deal with the feelings his death conjured in me. Now that I'm beginning to mend, I've been thinking about the Steely Dan co-founder, recalling the many times I'd been lucky enough to see him perform, and pondering the fact that I've been listening to Becker's music since my…

The Associated Press called Jason Isbell "arguably the finest songwriter putting pen to paper today," and they're not wrong. Now, that premier songwriter and purveyor of forward-looking Americana is bringing his band to the area. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit will play the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Jan. 30. Tickets are $63, $48.50, $3…

For Buffalo musician and educator John Bacon, Jr., jazz icon Thelonious Monk's legacy is so indelible that he was moved to create a month-long tribute to the man. "Monktober in Buffalo," a multivenue affair spread throughout October, is a labor of love for Bacon in celebration of Monk's 100th birthday. "As time goes on, I think of myself more as a composer who happens …

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame dropped its initial list of nominees for the class of 2018 on Thursday, and took a few steps toward soothing some old wounds by compiling a fair and balanced roster Fans of the Moody Blues, Judas Priest and Kate Bush have been clamoring for their heroes' induction for years, and Thursday's announcement brought them to the cusp of such a …

Take away Bon Jovi, and you've got the first-ever list of nominees for the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame made up solely of wholly deserving artists and bands. Jon Bon Jovi & Co. came dangerously close to giving this list a bad name. Happily, not quite close enough. The roster of potential inductees for the Rock Hall class of 2018 was released Thursday, and in additi…

The universe feels particularly cruel, cold and uncaring today. While the pop world was in full free-fall and reeling from the unspeakable horror of the Las Vegas concert massacre on Monday, it suffered a further blow late in the afternoon with the announcement, first that Tom Petty had been found unconscious and rushed to the hospital in full cardiac arrest, and later …

Sometimes it seems to me that the music knows more than I do. Lyrics from a favorite Flaming Lips tune of mine had been popping into my head at random all through June and July, and I was simultaneously trying to ignore them and discern whatever it was they were trying to tell me. The Lips' song "In the Morning of the Magicians" pokes its finger into some serious exi…

Plant, Pretender Robert Plant's duet with Chrissie Hynde from forthcoming new album is delicious. Bobby D. Dylan's endless road trip comes to Shea's Nov. 18. Jazz supreme Kamasi Washington's new "Harmony of Difference" is a face-melter. https://open.spotify.com/album/1mFuFPBz9kBDdXylMNolu7 Beautiful Blue New Blue Note All Stars' "Our Point of Vi…

How do we avoid thinking of this as a normal state of affairs? How can we walk into a concert setting – an arena, a nightclub, and now with this latest hate-fueled massacre, even an open-air festival setting – without admitting that we fear for our own safety? What happened during the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday evening has been labeled the deadli…

It's not particularly distinguished-looking, if we're telling the truth. If you were visiting Buffalo from some other burgh, you'd probably blow right through it on your way to more welcoming environs. It's just concrete, really, and some scattered trees, the edge of a cemetery at the block's northernmost end, a few storefronts, some of them now empty, an abandoned nigh…

A new mural has been unveiled in North Buffalo and its subject is that is near and dear to the hearts of Buffalo music lovers: the Tragically Hip and the band's dynamic poet-performance artist-singer, Gord Downie. The mural, depicting Downie in concert during the Hip's "Man Machine Poem" tour, adorns the side of the Hertel Liquor Library building, directly across from t…