- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2002

"You know how some people wander around saying, 'Why am I here?' I don't do that. Making music is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and I know it," declares Toshi Reagon , who'll be performing with her band, Big Lovely, Monday night, at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
The daughter of Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded D.C.'s legendary Sweet Honey in the Rock, Miss Reagon grew up surrounded by music and the evidence of what it could do artistically, commercially, personally. She says she's grateful for that insider's perspective, which has helped her forge her own career and find her own musical voice.
Her joy, wisdom and certainty of purpose are all evident on "Toshi," Miss Reagon's fifth album, which goes on sale in April. Miss Reagon wrote all but one of the album's 12 songs, which were produced by Craig Street (who has worked with Me'Shell NdegeOcello and Cassandra Wilson). Her style covers a wide swath of musical ground. There's a Fleetwod Mac kind of bluesy-ness to "Mountain Top," and "I Hate/I Love" is a guitar-driven ball of energy that contrasts deliciously with the sultry, slow soul of "Something Good."
"I don't bother with defining myself at all," Miss Reagon said. "People ask me what my music is and I say, 'It's good music.' "
Miss Reagon brings that no-boundaries attitude to her live performances as well. She says she thrives on spontaneity and the collaborative creative experience that comes from working with a live band. "None of the songs get played the same any night; I think it's important to be open and available for what can happen," she said. "We're pretty crazy we can go from being quiet and gentle to soulful to loud and rocking."

Fans of the British band Bush have a rare chance to see the band up close when it plays the 9:30 Club Monday night . With 15 million records sold and their latest effort, "Golden State" pushing that number even higher, this current month-long club tour is mere warm-up for its super-sized summer outing.
Bush led by Gavin Rossdale, with Nigel Pusford on guitar, Dave Parsons on bass and Robin Goodridge on drums started in the early '90s with the goal of adding a little rock energy to what they saw as a boring British music scene. "We wanted to be the birthday party," says Mr. Rossdale, the lead singer and songwriter of the group. Their 1994 debut, "Sixteen Stone," and its 1996 follow-up, "Razorblade Suitcase," both went multi-platinum, despite U.S. critics' tagging the band as another Nirvana knockoff.
After detouring in the late '90s down the side road of studio wizardry for "The Science of Things," Bush has put away the circuitry and brought back the instruments for "Golden State."
"We don't think of it as a step backward, it's more like a step forward in the right direction," says Mr. Rossdale of Bush's return to its rock roots. "The band very much wanted to make a band record and were less enthusiastic about disappearing into the machine. We've never sounded better."
The first two singles on "Golden State" "The People That We Love" and "Headful of Ghosts" have both been rock radio hits, and Mr. Rossdale says he has really enjoyed the fresh energy the album has brought to their live shows.
"We try to give 5000 percent every time we perform," he said. "You want people to feel different when they leave, to feel transported and come away thinking that we're a great band and 'Boy, this was a great night.' Can't ask for more than that."

Ten years ago Remy Zero , a quintet of childhood friends fresh out of high school in Birmingham, Ala., started making four-track recordings wrapped in their own artwork and passing them around to their friends. The homegrown effort was fun for a while, until, says guitarist Jeffrey Cain, "we decided we were ready to leave home so we needed to actually start performing live so we could start touring."
They have come pretty far. They signed with a big record label, traveled the world, and are now on their third release, "The Golden Hum." The new CD has yielded comparisons to later U2, Travis and Radiohead and is climbing the charts, largely on the shoulders of "Save Me," the hit single and theme song for the WB TV series "Smallville."
Founded by brothers Cinjun Tate, who sings lead and plays guitar, and guitarist Shelby Tate, joined by Mr. Cain, drummer Gregory Slay and bassist Cedric LeMoyne, the band took its name from an eccentric Boo Radley-esque artist who had been dubbed "Remy Zero" by local youngsters, according to Mr. Cain. Later, while listening to a Kate Bush song, they swore the chorus said "Remy Zero" (it was actually "mammy's hero"). Still, the name stuck.
When Remy Zero brings their golden pop anthems to the Black Cat tonight, Mr. Cain says, fans can expect a "cool conversation of music. Our shows are honest; we don't pull any tricks. We're just sharing what happens among the five people on stage with the audience. We'll give and you'll give back."


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