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Ludacris surprises mom by redecorating house for Mother’s Day

Ludacris presented an early Mother’s Day gift to his mom, completing a remodeling product she had started after moving into the rapper’s former home, The Grio reported.

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Ludacris, aka Chris Bridges, said he bought his first home in Atlanta in the early 2000s and decorated it as a bachelor’s pad that included his own logo on the wall. 

“At that point I had really no sense of style,” Ludacris said on the latest episode of “My Houzz.”

Ludacris told “My Houzz,” that he invited his mother, Roberta Shields, to move from Virginia to Georgia into his house. But although Roberta was now closer to her family, a bachelor’s theme was not something she wanted. So, she started to redecorate it.

“This is the first house that I bought when I became commercially successful and I never got rid of it,” Ludacris told Us. “I’ve been wanting to do these changes and help my mom out and make sure I make her proud.

“When she moved into it, she was wanting to make it her own,” Ludacris told The Grio. “But a lot of the rooms my mother has started on are just incomplete.” 

So, as a Mother’s Day present, Ludacris, along with his wife Eudoxie, decided to finish up the remodeling job for her. The couple worked with designer Rachel Oliver to remake the house, making it more modern and feminine.

“It makes me feel that I’m blessed beyond belief,” Roberta said after seeing her new home. “What I would say to them is, ‘Thank you for loving me.’”

“I feel like every child wants to do everything they can possibly do for their mom to give back an ounce of what their mother has given them,” Ludacris said. “This is one step closer.”

Review: Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' join up for uplifting blues

The first collaboration by Taj Mahal and Keb' Mo' — the trailblazer and his by-now experienced disciple — is an easy listen.

It's as a blues album when "TajMo" sounds best, like Mo's resonator guitar on Sleepy John Estes' "Diving Duck Blues," Billy Branch's harmonica on opener "Don't Leave Me Here" and the gruff vocal combination on "She Knows How to Rock Me."

Mo's songs often take the music in other directions. "Om Sweet Om" features exquisite guest vocalist Lizz Wright and a refrain with a sunny, James Taylor-like disposition, while "All Around the World" has Quentin Ware's trumpet solo to accentuate its optimistic outlook, also anchored in pop sounds.

"Soul," the sole exclusive Mahal-Mo' co-write, has an indestructible beat inspired by African rhythms and lists enough global locations to assemble a geography bee. Among the detours, The Who's "Squeeze Box" has lead and rhythm accordions, while Bonnie Raitt hits an unintentional home run on John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change," with her backing vocals placed way, way, way back in the mix.

Mahal is a golden musical reservoir who also helped Mo' (born Kevin Moore) get his first recording contract, while Mo's roots as an acoustic bluesman are part of a musical identity where pop and other sounds also get their due.

"TajMo" is an apparent contradiction in terms, mostly uplifting blues. If there's a follow-up — perhaps "Keb'Mahal"? — there are plenty of other bluesy moods left to explore.

Review: Blondie's 'Pollinator' buzzes with fun hooks, guests

Blondie updates their sound of recent years on "Pollinator" by returning to some familiar and successful foundations.

Joan Jett joins the band on opener "Doom or Destiny," one of the few tracks written by Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, but its thump sets the right tone.

"Long Time," penned by Harry and Devonte Hynes (Blood Orange), is a "Heart of Glass" offshoot and mentions the Bowery, the home of club CBGB where Blondie was an early performer along with the Ramones, Patti Smith and Television, to name a few. The nostalgia is justified, "running circles round a night that never ends."

"Already Naked" also evokes classic Blondie vibrations circa 1979, while Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio contributes "Fun" whose Nile Rodgers-like guitar and disco chorus sounds ripe for a Scissor Sisters cover, should they return.

"When I Gave Up on You" is a perfectly fine ballad marred by The Gregory Brothers' Auto-Tune shtick, but actor and comedian John Roberts' input, along with a surging horn section, boosts the merriment on "Love Level."

Closer "Fragments" starts and ends in a cloud of gloom but the band, propelled by drummer Clem Burke and Harry's passionate vocals, pulls out the stops during a vigorous middle section. At nearly seven minutes long, there's plenty of time for the mood changes and it should be a highlight of their shows.

Blondie emphasizes energy, excitement, New York vibes and solid beats on "Pollinator." The rest is up to you, pistils and stamens.

Jay Z, Chili Peppers to headline Meadows Festival in NYC

Jay Z is set to headline another music festival.

The rapper is the top-billed act for this September's Meadows Music and Arts Festival in New York. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gorillaz are also listed atop the lineup.

Future, Nas, Weezer and LL Cool J are among other notable acts for the three-day concert set to begin on Sept. 15 at Citi Field in Queens, home of the New York Mets.

This is the third music festival on Jay Z's plate in the coming months. He's also set to appear at the V Festival in England in August and his own Made in America Festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend.

The Meadows Festival is in its second year.

Joy, relief and rousing Louvre party for France's Macron

Screams of joy, sighs of relief and rousing dance music.

A wave of human emotion wafted across the palatial esplanade of the Louvre Museum on Sunday night as thousands celebrated the victory of president-elect Emmanuel Macron — and the defeat of his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen.

Across town at a wooded chalet, Le Pen's supporters remained combative, pledging to turn her party's strongest-ever electoral score into a major opposition force.

"Relief, relief, relief! There was a fear that the French would choose nationalism. It's been a difficult moment - the country is so divided. The atmosphere of the election — while not exactly civil war — was of a deep clash of ideas," 20-year-old student Alice Whitehead said as she partied at the Louvre.

Crowds cheered with joy and frantically waved tricolor flags as the results were announced on large plasma screens in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum, a former royal palace on the shores of the Seine River in central Paris.

"Macron President!" they chanted. Supporters were of all ages, but including a notable number of young people and children.

As dusk set in, strobe lights accompanied a loud DJ set that saw thumping hits by Rihanna and Sia — and a version of the Marseillaise — echo around the historic courtyard. Supporters danced, jumped and sang.

Sarra Zaoui, 8, enthusiastically waved a flag and grinned as she was hoisted up on top of a traffic light in front of the museum's famed Pyramid.

Another group of girls who spoke in Arabic to their mother shouted in French "Vive la République, Vive la France!"

Emmanuel Oulai, a 35-year-old insurance broker from Paris, was subdued but hopeful.

"This election has changed French politics a lot," he said. "This result shows that there are many people who believe in renewal."

"Also, he has a wonderful name!" Oulai joked.

Parisians lined streets outside his campaign headquarters as Macron left in a motorcade to join the party at the Louvre. There, the European anthem, "Ode to Joy" played as Macron strode out to address his supporters.

Macron fans cited his commitment to a united Europe, his open-minded views — and the fact that he is not Le Pen, whose National Front party has tapped widespread frustration with globalization and immigration but is also tainted by a racist past.

Le Pen's election night event took place at a chalet in the Bois de Vincennes, a vast park on the eastern edge of Paris. After her defiant concession speech, Le Pen's supporters put on a happy face, pointing to her 36 percent support as a win for a party long seen as a pariah.

When the results appeared on a big TV screen in her election-night venue, people in the room chanted "Marine, the voice of the people!" and sang the French national anthem. Later, Le Pen herself did a mean jitterbug to the song "YMCA" with party dignitary Jean-Lin Lacapelle.

"Legislative elections are coming soon, so we are going to continue this beautiful fight that she started," said supporter Fabienne Chauvet.

Didier Roxel, a National Front supporter, will run in France's June parliamentary election from the Paris suburb of Saint-Germain-En-Laye.

"Now we enter combat," he said. "The true opposition is us."

Jazz Fest wraps with performances by Trombone Shorty, Meters

The seven-day New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival wraps up with hometown favorites Trombone Shorty and The Meters.

Trombone Shorty and his Orleans Avenue band close out the venue's Acura Stage Sunday while The Meters will be closing out the Gentilly Stage.

Trombone Shorty, whose real name is Troy Andrews, just released a new album, Parking Lot Symphony. Since 2013 he's been the closing act for the festival's main venue.

The Meters are considered one of America's pioneering funk bands who have inspired artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The group is also featured on this year's Jazz Fest poster by artist Francis X. Pavy.

Other acts featured on Sunday are Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, an R&B group that dates back to the 1970s, and Blues Traveler.

Legend of 1977 Grateful Dead show at Cornell lives on

The Grateful Dead performed thousands of concerts, none acclaimed quite like their May 8, 1977, show at a Cornell University field house on a freakishly snowy night.

Revered by Deadheads and honored by the Library of Congress, the Barton Hall show is back in the psychedelic spotlight on its 40th anniversary. On Monday, "Grateful Dead Day" will be rung in, literally, with Dead tunes played on chimes in Cornell's clock tower. There's a new book on the show, "Cornell '77," by Peter Conners. And a remastered recording titled "Cornell 5/8/77" is being commercially released to complement the bootleg tapes that have stoked the reputation of the show for four decades.

"It was just an exceptional show from the get-go," said Mark Nathanson, who as a 19-year-old drove to the show from Toledo, Ohio. "You could tell that the environment was right, the band was right, the crowd was right. All the combinations that are required for one of those magical shows were all there."

The Dead played an estimated 2,300 shows over three decades from their 1965 birth in the San Francisco Bay Area through frontman Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. Their shows were famous for their length, counter-cultural vibe, improvisational style and wide-ranging musical vocabulary ranging from bluegrass to psychedelic rock.

Identifying the absolute best show over the 30-year span is as useful as trying to name the greatest painting or the strongest superhero. But Barton Hall is a consistent contender on top-ten lists by both critics and fans.

Ithaca's show was sandwiched between Boston and Buffalo on a swing through the East Coast. At least several thousand fans packed into the old stone building on the Ivy League campus. Aficionados say the band was tight on that tour after months in the studio, but their mood seemed loose that day.

Nathanson recalls Garcia grinning on stage and earlier sticking his head from the band's Cadillac window to launch good-natured gibes at people waiting to get in.

Students who paid $6.50 for an advance ticket ($7.50 at the door and for non-students) heard a band at its height on a good night. The legend came later.

High-quality bootleg tapes recorded from the soundboard became popular among Deadheads to trade and share. Version of songs including "Morning Dew" and "St. Stephen" built the show's reputation over the years. Covers that night included Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," an appropriate choice since it was Mother's Day.

Even some of the people there say they only fully appreciated the performance after listening to the tapes.

"I vaguely remember thinking this was a really good show," said Robert Cooper, then a 26-year-old Cornell graduate living on a commune nearby. "But to say I went home and said, 'This is probably one of the greatest shows ever!' No."

Even the establishment was impressed, eventually. The Barton Hall show was inducted into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, a rarified collection that showcases America's recorded heritage. It was part of a 2011 class that also included Prince's "Purple Rain," and the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

More official honors came this year when county officials proclaimed Monday as Grateful Dead Day. The proclamation will be read that evening before "Playin' in the Band" and some other Dead standards are interpreted on Cornell's chimes.

Barton Hall's legend was built on the music. Cultural historian Dennis McNally, who has written about the Dead, said it was a brilliant show in a year many Deadheads consider the band's finest. But he said the show's reputation also was burnished by weird weather that day. What started as a fine spring day ended with a plunge in temperature and an unusual May snowfall that required Nathanson to clear several inches from his car.

"The fluorescent lights that were in the parking area really made the snow look like sparkling diamonds," Nathanson recalled, "and I said ... 'a pristine ending to a pristine show,' as we got into the car."

Streisand ponders 'what might have been' with Clinton

Barbra Streisand usually talks to her audience, but Saturday night she had a special message for two guests: Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Streisand gave former president and former Democratic presidential candidate much more than a shout out at her concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, her hometown.

She noted that she performed at President Clinton's inauguration and then went on to list his accomplishments, including lowering taxes for some and raising taxes on the rich.

"And speaking of taxes, he showed us his tax returns," she said, a dig at Republican President Donald Trump, who has refused to release his.

She also introduced Hillary Clinton as "the winner of our country's popular vote."

She later talked about hearing a recent interview by Hillary Clinton and said it "makes us yearn for what could have been, what should have been. I was thrilled to hear yourself describe yourself as an activist citizen and part of the resistance."

Taking another shot at Trump and his tweeting habits, she quipped: "Usually when a man that age is up at 4 a.m., he forgot to take his Flomax," referring to a medication to treat the prostate.

Despite the Trump barbs, she called for a bridging of the political divide before breaking into "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Streisand had been a longtime Democratic fundraiser and supporter, and friend of the Clintons.

Streisand, who recently turned 75, was doing two dates in the New York City area, calling it a mini-tour. She hinted it could be her last.

When the audience moaned, she shrugged her shoulders and said, "You know — other things to do."

___

Online:

Http://www.barbrastreisand.com

Miley Cyrus takes to Instagram to clarify hip-hop remarks

The pop star took to Instagram over the weekend to clarify remarks in a recent interview that some have seen as denigrating hip-hop music and rap lyrics.

"So, to be clear I respect ALL artists who speak their truth and appreciate ALL genres of music," Cyrus wrote Friday. "I have always and will continue to love and celebrate hip hop as I've collaborated with some of the very best!"

But, she added, "At this point in my life I am expanding personally/musically and gravitating more towards uplifting, conscious rap!"

In a Billboard magazine interview published online Wednesday, Cyrus gave a generic example of sexually explicit lyrics about women, and said that such lyrics "pushed me out of the hip-hop scene a little."

On Instagram, Cyrus added that as she gets older, she understands the effect music has on the world.

"I feel the younger generation needs to hear positive powerful lyrics!" she wrote.

Cyrus also told Billboard that she hadn't smoked marijuana in three weeks — the longest she's ever gone without it. The 24-year-old former Disney star also said she had been surprised by the reaction to her much-discussed twerking performance at the MTV Music Video Awards in 2013, alongside Robin Thicke.

Cyrus is promoting an upcoming album. Its lead single, "Malibu," is set to be released Thursday. She said her new music is unlike anything she has recorded before.

Loretta Lynn remains hospitalized in Nashville after stroke

Country music legend Loretta Lynn remains hospitalized after having a stroke, a publicist said Saturday.

Sony Music publicist Maria Malta said nothing has changed from information posted on Lynn's website.

The website says the 85-year-old singer and songwriter was admitted to a Nashville hospital Thursday night after suffering the stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Malta confirmed that Lynn is still in the hospital.

Lynn's website says she is responsive and expected to make a full recovery.

It says Lynn has been advised by doctors to stay off the road while she recuperates, and upcoming scheduled shows will be postponed.

Lynn's sister, the Grammy-winning singer Crystal Gayle, said in a statement emailed by her publicist, "Many of you have heard that my sister, Loretta Lynn, had a stroke. She's a strong woman and I know she'll come out of this. Our family appreciates your prayers, love and support. We pray for a speedy recovery."

Born a Kentucky coal miner's daughter, Lynn had a string of hits starting in the 1960s with the biographical "Coal Miner's Daughter," ''You Ain't Woman Enough," ''The Pill," and "One's on the Way." Her songs reflect pride in her humble background and speak frankly of her experiences as a young wife and mother from poor Appalachia.

Her 1977 autobiography was made into a popular movie that brought an Oscar for Sissy Spacek's portrayal of the singer. More recently, Lynn won two Grammy Awards in 2005 for her album "Van Lear Rose."

She continues to tour and record regularly, but had to postpone shows last year after suffering injuries in a fall that required surgery. She is set to release a new album this August, called "Wouldn't It Be Great," and she will be the subject of a new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum also in August.

One of the icons of country music, Lynn blazed a trail as a strong-willed singer and songwriter who wrote honest, and at times frank, songs about sex, divorce, cheating and even birth control.

She had six children with her husband of 48 years, O.V. "Mooney" Lynn, who died in 1996.

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This story has been corrected to show that O.V. Lynn's nickname was spelled Mooney, not Moonie.

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