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Erin Freeman, an Atlanta native who since 2007 has been assistant conductor of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Virginia, was named music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus on Friday.Freeman, 40, was one of three main candidates who had been under consideration since last summer. The other two were tenor Gerald Gray and University at Buffalo professor Roland Mar…

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Ah, variety.It’s something we don’t get enough at the Thursday concerts, which typically spotlight the kind of safe, anthemic rock that predictably pleases summer crowds. But starting with the last Canalside headliner, R&B star Teddy Riley, this summer’s series is shaping up as one of the most dynamic in recent memory, with upcoming acts ranging from bluegrass band Yonder …

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LEWISTON – Wednesday evening in Lewiston was typical for Western New York this summer. That is to say: it poured. Several times. However, despite a delay and evacuation, O.A.R. and its openers still took the stage and turned out energizing, if slightly soggy, performances as part of Artpark’s Coors Light Wednesday series.Soul singer Allen Stone started things off, but rain…

GospelRobert Randolph and the Family BandLickety Split[Blue Note]ΩΩΩ½“The most complex instrument in the world” is what Don Was – now head of Blue Note – calls the pedal-steel guitar. And what Robert Randolph has created on that instrument, says Was, is “a unique voice that is equal parts street-corner church and Bonnaroo.”It never hurts when your label president is a fan.…

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The world of arena-sized, grandiose rock music took a major hit when the Tea Party called it quits back in 2005.From the outside, there seemed to be no logical reason for the split – the group (guitarist/vocalist Jeff Martin, bassist/keyboardist Stuart Chatwood, drummer/percussionist Jeff Burrows) appeared to be at the peak of its powers; the well of creative ideas seemed …

Fresh from dates on the Unity Tour – a road jaunt that found him sharing the bill with reggae-jam outfit 311 and the inimitable gritty hip-hop of Cypress Hill – G. Love reconvenes his Special Sauce and heads for the Canalside stage at 5 tonight. One might reasonably expect the fully tenured funk-blues-soul-jam guitarist/vocalist to be suitably fired up to be in the headlin…

Music

The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival has filled the void left by the dissolution of the annual Ozzfest traveling roadshow by assembling a consistently solid lineup of some of the finest proponents of contemporary heavy music under one tent. Mayhem, which comes to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center at 1 p.m. Sunday, is a modern metalhead’s dream come true, with more than a d…

When Rick James died in 2004, he left the people who knew him with a lot of memories.One friend was Jermain Hill, a Buffalonian who went on to manage a record store in California, part of a chain called Peaches Records and Tapes. Hill remembers the day James lost his temper in the store.“Rick and a couple of guys came in the store and saw a George Clinton album that had a …

Music

Justin Bieber brings his Believe World Tour to First Niagara Center on Monday. If you close your eyes and concentrate, you can almost hear the screams already, can’t you?It’s been both the best and worst of times for Bieber of late, as his tour continues to sell out in most venues around the globe, while personal matters become weekly tabloid fodder. With the reports of ne…

Music

So it seems that the controversy surrounding Brad Paisley’s collaboration with rapper LL Cool J, “Accidental Racist,” has finally subsided, and we’re left once again with a more accurate portrait of Paisley – a hotshot guitarist, often witty lyricist and a man given to blurring the lines between traditional country and classic Southern rock.Anyone who doubts Paisley’s abi…

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Local indie rockers Colors in the Air had no grand celebrations planned for their eighth anniversary in August. But tonight, they’ll get a pretty good early birthday present: two featured songs and an appearance on the USA Network’s hit comedy, “Royal Pains.”“It’s clearly a highlight in our career,” drummer Pat Williams said about the Lockport band’s national television de…

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Considering that the outer harbor is basically “Buffalo’s front yard,” it was a poignant moment Monday night during the Black Keys’ brilliant performance before more than 9,000 boisterous fans when frontman Dan Auerbach declared, “It’s like a mini-Lollapalooza out here – this is all right!”Equating the similarity of that scene to the annual festival in Chicago’s Grant Park…

For three decades, Johnny Carson was the greatest single star ever created by American television.And then came Oprah Winfrey. And they’re now doomed to share that distinction for the rest of eternity.Both acquired their gigantic stature in the most obvious way: Their shows were the depots through which the nation’s entire celebrity class made arrivals and departures. Care…

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The Buffalo News Jazz at the Albright-Knox series got off to a lovely, lazy start Sunday. The concert, featuring vocalist Cindy Miller, was everything Jazz at the Albright-Knox should be. It played up the joys of a long, hot summer afternoon. Miller’s style was supremely unhurried and relaxed. Which is not to say it could not be exciting: A veteran performer, Miller has a …

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Pop MusicVarious Artists, “The Lone Ranger: Wanted – Music Inspired by the Film” (Walt Disney). Or is it, “music that inspired the film”? Here is “The Lone Ranger’s” director Gore Verbinski explaining this superb disc of country, bluegrass and roots rock: “These are the artists we listened to on the way to [the] set each morning and in the evenings with the dust, like bitt…