Brockmire. Everyone’s favorite off the wall broadcaster is back again for its third season. Hank Azaria plays Jim Brockmire, who’s now sober and back in the big leagues calling Spring Training games for the Oakland A’s. In addition to dealing with the oddness that is central Florida, Brockmire must also contend with his new broadcasting partner, former college softball player Gabby Taylor (Tawny Newsome); producer Gus (Richard Kind) who’s laid back approach to his job annoys Brockmire to no end; Matt The Bat (J.K. Simmons), an ex-player turned broadcaster who, when he’s not taunting Brockmire, reminds him that he’s only there to keep the seat warm until he comes back from medical treatment; and his long lost mother (Linda Lavin), who comes back to torment him as much as re-connect. Also back is Amanda Peet as his on-again, off-again girlfriend Jules and Tyrel Jackson Williams as his former producer, roommate and handler Charles. After taking a much darker tone at the end of Season 2, it’s great to see the show return to look at the quirky, stranger side of the baseball and everything within its orbit. Season 3 of Brockmire airs Wednesday nights at 10pm Eastern on IFC. You can also go to www.ifc.com to view Episode 1 online, extras and much more.
Amazing Grace. After a brief rollout in select theaters this past winter, Sydney Pollack’s 1972 documentary on Aretha Franklin rolls out nationwide. Recorded live at The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Franklin is backed by The Reverend James Cleveland along with some of the top session players in the business, taking gospel standards and contemporary songs to heights that have to be seen – and heard – to be believed. It’s Aretha at the peak of her powers with uplift you in ways that will be felt long after the movie is over. Amazing Grace opens nationwide this weekend. You can also go to www.amazing-grace-movie.com for more information.
Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas. The former Daily Show correspondent back for a new season of his acclaimed HBO series. Once again, Cenac will feature documentary-style field reporting to tackle some of the biggest issues Americans are facing today. This time, Cenac will tackle public education, talking with teachers, principals and other civic leaders to see what can be done to improve the current system. As always, Cenac does this with dry wit, literally taking the road less traveled to find common ground. A much welcomed return to one of the most unique and informative shows on TV. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas airs this Friday at 10pm on HBO. You can also go to www.hbo.com for more information.
The Criterion Channel. After the FilmStruck went down, fans were left without a major streaming service strictly devoted to classic films. But starting Monday, The Criterion Channel will end the drought. It will feature over 1,000 films from their permanent library, with hundreds of special features, new original programming and much more. Simply put, it’s the greatest films from all over the world, at your fingertips, with a ton of extras to help you fully appreciate their greatness. Go to www.criterion.com to sign up.
On The Line – Jenny Lewis. The phrase ‘been there, done that’ was tailor made for Jenny Lewis. The Southern California native has been a child film star, led the band Rilo Kiley, branched out as a solo artist and has weathered fractured family relationships and the ending of a long term relationship. Lewis channels all of these experiences and more on her outstanding new solo album. She’s joined by a A-list crew of collaborators – Benmont Tench, Don Was, Beck, Ryan Adams, Jim Keltner, and RIngo Starr for tracks that go from lo-fi to grandiose with biting detail and relative ease. The sound runs from Laurel Canyon introspection, SoCal rockers to playful funk, all anchored by Lewis’ rich vocals and insightful songwriting. Lewis has always drawn comparisons to other great singer-songwriters such as Emmylou Harris and Aimee Mann. With this album, she now stands as an equal. One of their year’s best. On The Line by Jenny Lewis is available now on Amazon, Itunes and all major streaming services. You can also go to www.jennylewis.com for tour dates and more information.
You’re The Man – Marvin Gaye. In 1972, Marvin Gaye was at a critical, commercial and creative peak. His album What’s Goin’ On firmly put soul and R&B in the album format, anchored by hit singles, ‘Mercy Mercy Me’, ‘Inner City Blues’ and the title track. Eager to keep the momentum going, Gaye continued with politically charged funk, issuing the single, ‘You’re The Man’ ahead of the 1972 Presidential election. It was intended to be the primer for an album of the same name, with the song reaching the Top 10 on the R&B charts. An album’s worth of material was cut, but Gaye, for reasons that were never made public, scrapped the project. Now, coinciding with what would have been Gaye’s 80th Birthday, this thought to be lost project is finally getting a formal release. While tracks such as ‘The World Is Rated X’, ‘Where Are We Going’ and ‘I Want To Come For Christmas’ continue many of the themes introduced on ‘What’s Goin’ On’, the album also serves an introduction to what would eventually get explored in depth on future releases such as Let’s Get It On and I Want You. Gaye is at his creative peak as a vocalist, arranger and producer. This is a lost gem that is finally having its moment to shine. You’re The Man by Marvin Gaye is available now through Amazon, Itunes, and all major streaming services.
Talk Is Cheap (Deluxe Edition) – Keith Richards. The As the 80s were drawing to a close, the last thing that Keith Richards wanted to do was a solo album. But Mick Jagger diving head first into his own solo career and their primary band largely inactive, Richards was itching to make new music. He put together The X-pensive Winos, which featured Steve Jordan on drums, guitarist Waddy Wachtel, Charley Drayton on bass, and Ivan Neville on keyboards. Released in the fall of 1988, Talk Is Cheap featured blistering garage rock, raunchy 50s rock n roll, Hi Records soul and JBs-era funk. It was a hit with critics and fans, and its considered the best of all of the Stones side projects. Now Talk Is Cheap is being reissued with a ton of extras including six bonus tracks (four of which featuring long time Chuck Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson); an 80 page booklet with an new essay by Anthony DeCurtis, new comments from Richards, an unseen material from his personal archives; lyric sheets and much more. With guest appearances by Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Sarah Dash, Mick Taylor, Maceo Parker, The Memphis Horns, Joey Spampinato and Patti Scialfa, this is a new look at a rock classic. The deluxe edition of Talk Is Cheap by Keith Richards is available now through Amazon, Itunes and all major streaming services
New York CIty: Play It Loud: Instruments Of Rock And Roll. The Metropolitan Museum Of Art has teamed up with The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to present the first major museum exhibition examining the musical instruments that fuel rock n roll. It will feature over 130 instruments dating back from 1939 through 2017 including Jimmy Page’s rig from his days in Led Zeppelin; Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick’s 5-neck guitar; smashed instruments by Pete Townshend and Kurt Cobain; Bo Diddley’s rectangular guitar, horns, pianos and much more. There will also be vintage posters, costumes, audio and visual presentations and much more. To see the gear of some of the greatest rockers ever, will guide you to explore their work with a new depth and appreciation. A must see exhibit. Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock And Roll will be at The Met April 8th through October. You can go to www.met.org for tickets and more information.