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Carrie Underwood coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

She's a top contender for Female Vocalist of the Year at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards. She'll perform on next week's series finale of American Idol.

And this fall, Carrie Underwood is finally coming back to Tampa.

For the first time in six years, the country superstar is bringing her tour to Tampa, with a Nov. 16 show at Tampa's Amalie Arena. She'll be performing in the round, telling stories about her songs and career while audiences have a 360-degree view of her stage. Easton Corbin and the Swon Brothers will open the show.

Performing in the round will give Underwood a chance to delve into the stories and emotions behind songs like Smoke Break, Jesus Take the Wheel, All-American Girl, Something in the Water and Heartbeat.

"I always love being on the road performing for my fans," Underwood said in a statement, "but something about this tour feels more magnetic than ever. Having a 360-degree view of the audience gives me the opportunity to connect with more fans and feed off their energy."

Tickets are $46.25 and $76.25, and they'll go on sale at 10 a.m. April 8, with various pre-sales starting Monday. Click here and here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

 

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This week in Tampa: Duran Duran, They Might Be Giants, Keith Sweat, Safety Harbor Songfest and more

Excited about Duran Duran this weekend in Tampa? You should be just as excited about their opening act: Funk and disco legend Nile Rodgers, performing with his band Chic.

They're the centerpiece of a busy music weekend in town, which also includes shows by They Might Be Giants, Melanie Martinez, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, Andy Grammer, Laidback Luke, the Commodores, Jagged Edge, Living Colour, Ratt, Firehouse, Trixter, Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White, Ace Frehley, Geoff Tate, Shamir, Sander van Doorn, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Citizen, Blackbird Blackbird, Black Uhuru, Chris Botti and Safety Harbor Songfest, featuring Shawn Mullins, Otis Taylor, Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...

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Ry Cooder talks reviving classic country music, the evolution of songwriting and more

Left to right: Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White and Ry Cooder.

Left to right: Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White and Ry Cooder.

At 69, Ry Cooder is out on the road with mandolinist Ricky Skaggs and singer Sharon White, performing a night of country, folk and bluegrass numbers from the 1960s and earlier.

When they hit Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, they'll dive deep into the history of American roots music — Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, the Louvin Brothers, the Delmore Brothers — and try to recapture for a modern audience exactly what makes it so magical.

"That's hit music of the time," he says. "The Delmore Brothers is hit music — very, very popular — and it still retains that rural flavor and simplicity. I always think of it as family music, really, because families sang it. They could sing it. You didn't have to be a genius."

Cooder, Skaggs and White perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Straz Center. Tickets are $45 and up. Click here for details.

For more of our interview with Ry Cooder, click here.

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Simone Porter talks about being a teenage violin sensation, international stardom and more

Simone Porter, 19, is on the cusp of international stardom. She will appear this weekend with the Florida Orchestra, performing a familiar piece: Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. In the last few years, she has debuted for the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and orchestras on other continents.

But she doesn't like to be called a prodigy -- a term, she argues, that implies talents bestowed at birth. In her case, she spent years focused exclusively on foundation work, or playing scales, rather than melodies.

"Without that foundation you have nothing," Porter said in a phone interview. "You are building a range of expressive technique. Without those years of painstaking work with my teacher, the emotional content of these wonderful pieces would never make it past your heart and your mind. To communicate it, you need to work for years in all these tiny little incremental details."

Porter performs with the Florida Orchestra at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center in Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets are $15-$45. Click here. …

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Kathy Griffin talks Donald Trump, Scientology, John Travolta and more

You have to be fast to get a word in when talking to Kathy Griffin, who is making her eighth appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Saturday.

On an 80-city comedy tour, the inexhaustible comic promises two hours of new material including musings on Scientology, John Travolta and the backstage dirt she's famous for. And, yes, she talks about Donald Trump.

"Not only do I know Donald Trump — and I say that with shame — I have known him for years," she said in the conspiratorial, gossipy style she uses to draw in audiences. "I have personal Donald Trump stories that are going to blow your mind... This really is the best and most dangerous year for comedy I can recall."

Griffin's show is at 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $52.50 and up. Click here.

For more of Sharon Kennedy Wynne's interview with Kathy Griffin, click here.

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Sophia Loren talks about her career, Cary Grant, her most famous photos and more

Reading an interview with alluring screen siren Sophia Loren isn't the same as hearing her speak into your ear. But rest asssured, her voice, at 80, remains as alluring as ever.

Loren's current tour is her first in the United States. She was thrilled to learn that Grant appeared in 1984 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, where she'll be April 1.

"Oh, life is beautiful," she cooed in a phone interview before her April 1 Q&A appearanace at Ruth Eckerd Hall, part of her first such tour in the United States. "Life is very long and there are many, many things that one can talk about. It's beautiful, very beautiful."

"An Evening with Sophia Loren" begins at 8 p.m. April 1 at Rut Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $55-$150. Click here.

For more of Steve Persall's interview with Sophia Loren -- including the stories behind some of her most famous photos -- click here.

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Duran Duran's John Taylor talks about Nile Rodgers, David Bowie, 'Save a Prayer' and more

No one will ever confuse proper British lads Duran Duran for native Floridians. But singer Simon Le Bon has longstanding family ties in Tampa Bay — his mum’s kept a home in the area for more than 30 years.

“Since '84, since the first time we visited Tampa, there’s always been that connection,” bassist John Taylor said by phone from Los Angeles. “It’s special for Simon, and if it’s special for him, it’s special for all of us.

“You’re going to a lot of cities over the course of a tour, and there’s a great longing for connection,” he added. “The longer you’ve been working, the more time has passed, the more chance that you get to a town and there’s some connection, no matter how tenuous.”

From 1978 until today, over the course of 14 albums, several lineup changes and the occasional hiatus Duran Duran has left a bright and influential legacy, thwarting early critics of their glammed-up looks by becoming unlikely godfathers to an era of pop obsessed with synthesizers and style. …

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Coolio playing free concert following Friday's Tampa Bay Storm game at Amalie Arena

We're less than a week from Opening Day, and the Tampa Bay Rays have yet to announce the lineup for their 2016 postgame concert series. So the Tampa Bay Storm are swooping in with an announcement of their own.

Rapper Coolio will headline a free postgame concert following Friday's Tampa Bay Storm game against the Orlando Predators at Amalie Arena. It's the centerpiece of "Throwback Night," honoring the team's 1991 ArenaBowl Championship with throwback uniforms, giveaways of replica championship rings and more.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m., and the concert featuring hits like Gangsta's Paradise and Fantastic Voyage will take place on the field afterward. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Review: Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire trade hits, horns aplenty at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater

Left to right: Chicago's Keith Howland; Earth, Wind and Fire's Verdine White and Chicago's James Pankow teamed up at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on March 26, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Left to right: Chicago's Keith Howland; Earth, Wind and Fire's Verdine White and Chicago's James Pankow teamed up at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on March 26, 2015.

It’s rare to find yourself having a moment nearly 50 years after you started in show business. But here it is 2016, and that’s exactly where Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire find themselves.

In two weeks, Chicago will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after decades of eligibility. Earth, Wind and Fire, on the other hand, is just getting back on the road on after the February death of founder Maurice White, the brother of bassist Verdine White.

But while they're back in the spotlight for very different reasons, both bands have decided to seize their moment and run wild. On Saturday at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire swapped horns and hits for a jubilant 3 1/2 hours, treating 14,000 dancing fans to a crash course in their sizeable legacies, and capping the night with an all-star finale that felt like a Hall of Fame ceremony in itself.Full Story

Guns N' Roses coming to Orlando

Who wants to take bets on whether this show will actually happen?

Reunited hair-metal greats Guns N' Roses -- Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan, along with Dizzy Reed, Richard Fortus and Frank Ferrer -- have announced a 21-city summer tour following their headlining gig at this year's Coachella festvial. The announcement came via a short teaser trailer, accompanied by only one word: "Patience..."

There are no dates or venues yet, but there is one Florida city on the list: Orlando. (It's familiar turf for Rose, at least, who has brought his version of Guns N' Roses to both the Amway Center and House of Blues in the last five years.)

With half of the music industry expecting this tour to implode, like so many other Axl-affiliated projects, it's no guarantee this show will actually happen. Still, if it's long been your dream to hear Axl and Slash grind out Sweet Child O' Mine one more time before you die, this might be your last, best hope to do so.

None of this news takes into consideration the recent report that Rose might be joining AC/DC as a fill-in for ailing vocalist Brian Johnson on 10 upcoming shows. But like everything else Axl touches, those gigs might not happen, either. …

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Atlanta Rhythm Section's Rodney Justo talks about starting out in Tampa, playing the hits and more

Rodney Justo expects to be flooded with memories when he takes the stage this week for Clearwater's Blast Friday concert.

The longtime Tampa resident and founding member of the Atlanta Rhythm Section got his start in the music business playing in the house band at the Clearwater Municipal Auditorium in the early 1960s. At the time, the venue, demolished in 1973, was renowned for bringing in big names including Neil Sedaka, Fabian and Roy Orbison, who eventually invited Justo to join his band, the Candymen, which in large part led to the creation of Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1971.

"It all started just down from where we will be playing, at the end of Cleveland Street,'' said Justo, during a phone interview. "My friends and I would grab a bite around the corner and head on in to play. I've always loved Clearwater.''

Blast Friday kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Clearwater. Click here for details.

For more with Rodney Justo, click here for Piper Castillo's interview.

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This week in Tampa: Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Third Eye Blind, Migos, Johnny Mathis and more

It's an eclectic week of music in Tampa Bay, bringing together legends like Johnny Mathis with up-and-comers like Migos. Other big names on the calendar this week: Third Eye Blind (above), Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Boombox Cartel, the Baseball Project, Chino y Nacho, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Of Montreal, Ryan Montbleau, Lil Wyte, Young Dolph, Cormac McCarthy and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

WUSF jazz host Bob Seymour retiring from Tampa Bay airwaves

WUSF Public Media

It's the end of an era for the Tampa Bay jazz scene.

Bob Seymour, the longtime host and jazz music director for WUSF-89.7 FM, will retire this weekend after 35 years on the air. His final episode of Saturday Night Jazz will air at 9 p.m. Saturday, during which he'll play some of his favorite records, the ones that led him to become one of Florida's great jazz evangelists.

Seymour has interviewed a wide range of jazz musicians over the course of his career, from legends like Chick Corea and Dick Hyman to local artists at every level. He was known as a tireless supporter of the Tampa Bay jazz scene, and made WUSF's "all night jazz" lineup a cornerstone of the art form in Florida.

"It's been such an honor to be associated with this music, and with such great colleagues here at WUSF," Seymour said in a statement. "And the time has sure flown by. I've made so many lasting friendships in the music community, and really treasure the relationship with the listeners who have joined us for All Night Jazz."

If you miss his final show Saturday night, WUSF will air a feature piece about Seymour's extensive career at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Monday, and 8:40 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.

-- Jay Cridlin

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SoundBytes: AlunaGeorge, Aesop Rock, Laidback Luke, W&W and more

-- Today in out-of-nowhere bookings: AlunaGeorge, the electro-R&B outfit best known for their hit single You Know You Like It, is coming to the Orpheum on May 22. Tickets are $17-$35 and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry are teaming up for a tour that'll hit Crowbar on May 21. Tickets are $15. Click here.

-- Aesop Rock is coming to the State Theatre on July 8 alongside Homeboy Sandman, Rob Sonic and DJ Zone. Tickets are $19 and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- This year's Florida Strawberry Festival just ended, and we've already got our first act confirmed for 2017: The Oak Ridge Boys on March 9.

-- Dutch EDM superstars W&W are coming to Shephard's Beach Resort on April 10. Tickets are on sale now for $5.05 and up. Click here.

-- And speaking of Dutch EDM superstars: Laidback Luke is coming to the Amphitheater on April 2. Tickets are $15. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Johnny Mathis talks about his 60 years in show business, staying healthy, losing his home at age 80 and more

Johnny Mathis

Becky Fluke

Johnny Mathis

This is legendary crooner Johnny Mathis's 60th year in show business, a milestone few pop artists can match.

A barrier-breaking teen idol whose career and influence stretch from Tin Pan Alley to the modern era (fans of Sam Smith might find much to love in his gentle, lilting tenor), the Texas-born, California-raised Mathis is one of the 20th century's iconic vocalists, with his holiday albums and hits like Chances Are and Wonderful! Wonderful! considered American classics. And at age 80, he's rolling right ahead with a tour that will bring him to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on March 31.

"When the opportunities come along, you want to take them," Mathis said in a recent phone interview. "You've got to leave space along the way to live, and to do the fun stuff."

Mathis’s show at Ruth Eckerd Hall is at 8 p.m. March 31, and is sold out. Click here for details.

For more of our interview with Johnny Mathis, click here.

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