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Musician (and World Traveler) Morley Debuts New Album

A Jamaica, Queens native, singer-songwriter Morley makes music that is global, to say the least. Her latest album, Undivided (due out today, April 3rd), was recorded hot off the heels of a year of travel and takes cues from the music of the Sahara and Morocco. Morley’s brand of internationally influenced pop has been pegged by some as the missing link between Sade and Joni Mitchell, touting love and tolerance to hip-hop beats and acoustic guitar. And well, we love it.

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Hotel Spotlight: Ritz-Carlton's Hotel Arts Barcelona

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Awe-inspiring Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi may have some competition and it comes in the form of the Hotel Arts Barcelona. The five star Ritz-Carlton owned luxury hotel boasts a soaring 44 stories designed by iconic Chicago architect Bruce Graham. Stay in one of the nearly 500 rooms (or 28 very exclusive duplex apartments) with panoramic Mediterranean views and only a sunny jaunt away from the shore. When you can pull yourself away, zip around Barcelona in one of the hotel’s smart cars, complimentary as part of the Club Level package.

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Beloved Austin Band The Gourds Dishes on BBQ Joints, Travel, and Its New Album

the Gourds music group

Austin’s roots rock veterans the Gourds are no strangers to the road. For seventeen years they’ve toured the U.S. and abroad with their sweet and spicy brand of southern country-blues-rock. With a new record out, Old Mad Joy, and a whopping nine other studio albums under their belt, the band shows no signs of slowing down. The Old Mad Joy tour takes the Texans from San Francisco to Philadelphia and dozens of towns in between. Frontman Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell calls the live show “kind of a cross between a revival, a house party, a pep rally and a pow wow.” We connected with the guys to ask about their time on tour and tips for would-be road warriors.

Q: You hail from Austin, which has been an indie hotbed for some time now (here’s looking at you, SXSW). Have you noticed a shift in the city’s music scene over the course of your careers?

A: Yes, the scene has been constantly changing for decades now. The biggest change has come from the economic boom of the last 15 years; dot com bubble/high tech expansion and real estate bubble. Also the focus of the city on encouraging downtown residential occupancy and a ridiculous sound ordinance has transformed live music into a migratory population in search of affordable leases and appropriate neighborhoods. The musicians and service workers sort of gravitate nearer to these places. So, lots of them are now in east Austin. The styles have become much more diverse and the talent level much more exceptional.

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