Music

The following should not be construed as legal advice — just good advice. We asked Julian Petty, who represents Ali, Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples and the estate of Biggie Smalls — and at one time worked with Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder — to come see us at Microphone Check as part of our continued effort to put ever more people on game.

In his new memoir, Deal, drummer Bill Kreutzmann tells a story about the Grateful Dead's tour of Egypt. Instead of filling hookahs with "black, gooey tobacco," the band "filled the entire hookah with hash. No tobacco!" In the midst of Middle East trouble, the Grateful Dead's members were unwitting ambassadors of American culture.

"Everybody had fun," Kreutzmann tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "Yes, indeed."

"United we stand, divided we shall fall."

Ladysmith Black Mambazo's latest song, with Malian singer Salif Keita, is a plea for peace in South Africa, which has been grappling with the fallout from deadly violence against immigrants from other parts of Africa.

Bellows' debut album, Blue Breath, was among my Top 20 records of last year. What sets Bellows apart from thousands of other guitar-bass-drums bands out there is its heart. Oliver Kalb sings about things that matter to him in ways that matter to me. His sing-song, matter-of-fact phrasing and guitar melodies are memorable, and the harmonies are lovely, with the staying power to drift in my head for days on end.

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