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No Boundaries by The 5 Browns

No Boundaries by The 5 Browns (2006)
Five siblings accomplished an amazing feat when all trained at Juilliard. All remarkable pianists, The 5 Browns put their spin on classical favorites and other lesser known songs. Enjoy Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Stravinsky’s “The Firebird,” and so much more.
No Boundaries is a treat. It’s the perfect way to relax after a long day.

Riot! by Paramore

Riot! by Paramore (2007)
Paramore’s second studio album Riot is a breath of fresh air to today’s music scene. Lead singer Hayley Williams gets you pumped up, making you wanting more after each song. Paramore became increasing popular with the release of “Misery Business” – the song reached #3 on U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. Songs from Riot! are featured on Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The album was certified Platinum in the U.S. & the U.K. 
Paramore will release their third studio album – Brand New Eyes – before the end of the year.

Check out this acoustic performance of Paramore's hit single "Hallelujah."

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Songs of the Civil War by The 97th Regimental String Band

Songs of the Civil War, Volume 1: Battlefields and Campfires by The 97th Regimental String Band (1990)
Abraham Lincoln once said that there could be no army without music. This patriotic CD stirs up the ghosts of the Civil War with lively renditions of many classics. These include marches such as "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and "The Battle Cry of Freedom" that were sung in the battlefields as well as mournful ballads such as "Just Before the Battle, Mother" and "Coming to us Dead" that were sung around the campfires.

The 97th Regimental String Band brings new life to these American standards with their instruments that give the tunes an authentic 19th century sound. A love of music connects generations, and we can learn a lot about the past by listening to it, literally. History buffs as well as enthusiastic music lovers will enjoy this CD that will help the listener gain a deeper appreciation for the soldiers who risked everything for what they believed in.
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Return of Saturn by No Doubt

Return of Saturn by No Doubt (2000)
Return of Saturn is No Doubt's fourth studio and follow up album to their massive breakthrough hit Tragic Kingdom. The album sound is a bit of a departure, though it does keep the band’s ska & reggae influences. There are many great songs that invite you into Stefani's world of love, distrust, and wanting children. Return of Saturn spawned four singles: “New,” “Ex-Girlfriend,” “Simple Kind of Life,” and “Bathwater.” Visit No Doubt's site for music and videos.
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U.S.A.-U.K. by 7th Heaven

U.S.A.-U.K. by 7th Heaven (2008)
7th Heaven is a local rock band known for their 30 songs in 30 minute pop/rock medleys, fun and energetic stage presence, and variety of music for all audiences. Their latest CD titled U.S.A.-U.K. includes “Better This Way,” “Gravity,” and the song heard during the Chicago Cubs commercials “This Summers Gonna Last for Ever.” My favorites are what I call the rock ballads: “Gave You My Word” and “Still Be Here."

If you get a chance to see them live at a local fest this summer, you’ll hear a few of their songs, a 30-minute medley and other classic rock and recent hit songs from Metro Station to Journey and sometimes Neil Diamond. Look for them at the Concert in the Park in Darien on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 -- also check out a list of their other local appearances (including one tonight at 6:00 in Downers Grove).
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Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

Back to Black by Amy Winehouse (2006)
Amy Winehouse’s Grammy award-winning album is great to listen to. Her persona doesn’t match her voice; she sounds like ‘60s Motown. The different style has a lot to do with the production. She wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album.

Read the Washington Post review of the album. Check out her website to listen to the CD,  watch exclusive footage, and get more information on the artist.
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Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt

Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt (1995)
Tragic Kingdom is No Doubt's third studio album and the most popular album of the band’s career. This album dished many massive hits including the band’s most popular song “Don't Speak.” No Doubt appeared on the scene with the song “Just a Girl” empowering ladies everywhere. “Spiderwebs” was released shortly after, increasing the bands popularity and introducing a ska/pop mix to the music scene. Their massive hit “Don't Speak” introduces the growing tension of the band and of Gwen and Tony's failed relationship.

Tragic Kingdom spawned an incredible seven singles! Some didn't chart as well, but the band made music videos for six out the seven singles. The singles include the songs mentioned earlier, plus “Excuse Me Mr.,” “Happy Now?,” “Sunday Morning,” and “Hey You!” Listen to songs and find out more about the album on the official website.

No Doubt will be touring this summer. Catch them in Chicago on July 11! If you want to catch their first concert in 5 years, tune into The Today Show on Friday, May 1.
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Still Unforgettable

Still Unforgettable by Natalie Cole (2008)
Eight-time Grammy winner Natalie Cole continues her exploration of American pop standards in this sequel to her 1991 Grammy LP of the Year Unforgettable: With Love. I found it to be a nice blend of smooth jazz and big band sounds, but I don't think she needs to do any more duets with her dead father!

Rock Steady by No Doubt

Rock Steady by No Doubt (2001)
No Doubt’s fifth studio album is absolutely one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. Many agree that Rock Steady was a smash from their previous album Return of Saturn (2000). As a result of much collaboration, Rock Steady touches on many musical styles. Grammy-winning hits “Hey Baby” and “Underneath it All” can still be heard on most radio stations today. Every track on this album is superb; Gwen and the boys really did an excellent job. No Doubt will be touring in 2009 as well as releasing their next highly anticipated album (check their website for updates).

Rock Steady had four singles: “Hey Baby,” “Hella Good,” “Underneath It All,” and “Running.” Sly & Robbie, The Neptunes, Prince, and William Orbit were among the many artists No Doubt collaborated with on the album.

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Bleed Like Me by Garbage

Bleed Like Me by Garbage (2005)
Garbage’s fourth studio album Bleed Like Me very much shows that Manson and the boys can still rock. As soon as I picked up this album a week ago, it’s been playing nonstop in my iTunes. Some of the gem songs on the album include “Bleed Like Me” and “Why Don’t You Come Over” because of their ability to catch you right away. Manson’s sweet voice along with awesome guitar riffs makes this album an instant classic to any collection.

Bleed Like Me includes contributions from drummer Matt Walker (Filter, The Smashing Pumpkins) and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Ima Robot, Beck, Nine Inch Nails).
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Two Men with the Blues by Willie Nelson and Wyntan Marsalis

Two Men with the Blues by Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis (2008)
Two Men with the Blues is truly something special. Recorded on January 12 and 13, 2007, at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis, two of the most significant figures in modern-day country and jazz, stirred the sounds of New Orleans, Nashville, Austin and New York City into a joyous live performance of blues and standards. Try it – you'll like it!

Ultimate Grammy Collection—Classic R&B

Ultimate Grammy Collection—Classic R&B (2008)
The Grammys are supposed to showcase the notable songs for the year. The nominees generally do represent the best of the best. If you crave hearing Aretha do “Respect,” Sam & Dave sing “Soul Man,” Otis Redding’s lament “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” then you are in for a treat because this CD has all that and more. Song after song brings back memories of the '60s and '70s powerhouse of music. The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer and the Isley Brothers are just a few of the artists featured. Released to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Grammy Awards, the collection features the best of R&B winners.
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Love, from Italy by Andiamo

Love, from Italy by Andiamo (2007)
Want to visit Italy but just can’t get away? Put on this new CD from the classical crossover group Andiamo and get ready to enjoy the warmth and sensual pleasure of the classic Italian song, the Italian opera and the popular Italian song. The group consists of three Italian tenors: Claudio Catalano, Paolo Fanale and Giovanni Cavarretta. They sing thirteen famous, traditional, and popular songs, including O Sole Mio, Volare, Arrivederci Roma and Mona Lisa. This is great music to cook to! Everything is better with wonderful music.

Visit the record label's site to listen to excerpts, get the Italian lyric translations, watch videos, and see pictures (and read bios) of the group. Also check out the group's MySpace page for videos and more.
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Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing

Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing by Ahmad Jamal (1958)
A classic jazz recording by local talent Ahmad Jamal originally released in 1958. "But Not for Me" (George & Ira Gershwin) is a Jamal classic but listen for "Poinciana" (N. Simon, B. Bernier). It is pure genius!

Can't wait to borrow the CD to hear some of this music? Listen to samples at Amazon.com. Check out a biography about the artist or an interview with Jamal at All About Jazz. Read the articles that have appeared in the Chicago Tribune since 2000.
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One Chance by Paul Potts

One Chance by Paul Potts (2007)
Get ready for the finale of American Idol with this CD from Paul Potts -- the winner of Britain’s Got Talent (the British version of American Idol). Potts has always loved to sing and performed with local opera companies near his home in Wales. His singing range includes the very lower register that add depth to a piece as well as the higher register that enable him to leave the listener astounded. He performs operatic numbers such as "Nessun Dorma" by Puccini, "Music of the Night" by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Everybody Hurts” (Ognuno Soffre) by R.E.M., plus “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night.”

Visit his website to track his blog, get biographical info, follow his world tour, and more. Preview the album at Amazon.com.