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Bridging the Music Gap

Love Billie Holiday, Charlie Daniels, or Cyndi Lauper? Then check out their hot contemporary counterparts!

  • Bridging the Music Gap, Meghan Trainor, Kendrick Lamar and Brittany Howard

    Bridging the Music Gap

    Match your yester-year taste with these hot contemporary artists, which includes the recently Grammy-nominated Kendrick Lamar, Meghan Trainor, Alabama Shakes.  

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake
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    Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake

    Even before Justin Timberlake left ’N Sync and teamed with producer Pharrell Williams, he was channeling Michael Jackson’s singing and fancy footwork. Now, just about every other hit Timberlake comes out with sounds like it’s paying homage to the King of Pop.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Cyndi Lauper/Meghan Trainor
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    Cyndi Lauper/Meghan Trainor

    It’s difficult not to think of Cyndi Lauper’s childlike quirkiness, vivid visual aesthetic and enormous mass appeal when listening to Meghan Trainor’s bubbly yet snarky vocals or watching her eye-popping, decidedly retro-looking videos — which appear as though they were conceived by a toned-down John Waters.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, The Charlie Daniels Band/The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
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    The Charlie Daniels Band/The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

    Politically, the front men of these two country bands are opposites — Charlie Daniels leans toward the right, while Reverend Peyton is decidedly left. Nevertheless, both combos boast knee-slapping hootenanny music that bristles with hilarious, sometimes devilish lyrics and irrefutable instrumental virtuosity.  

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Otis Redding/Leon Bridges
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    Otis Redding/Leon Bridges

    The late Otis Redding’s conversational, often lamenting style of singing informs much of Leon Bridges’ groove. This newcomer has a retro-soul sound and look that’s turning on R&B fans both young and old.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Ramsey Lewis/Robert Glasper
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    Ramsey Lewis/Robert Glasper

    Pianist Ramsey Lewis cultivated a huge following by crafting a populist brand of jazz that was as catchy as it was sophisticated. Jazz pianist Robert Glasper uses the same strategies with his embracement of contemporary hip-hop, R&B and pop.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Prince
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    This musical genius’ stream of albums in the ’80s caught the zeitgeist of the time as well as blurred the lines of pop, rock and funk. Prince’s talents as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and bandleader remain unassailable as he enters the fifth decade of his distinguished career.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, The Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section/Alabama Shakes
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    The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section/Alabama Shakes

    These session musicians fashioned an intoxicating blend of country and soul music that became its own subgenre and enticed major talents such as Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett to record at the legendary Muscle Shoals, Ala., studio. The Alabama Shakes admirably update that sound — with the added attraction of front lady Brittany Howard, who can caress a lyric as tenderly as Ann Peebles or belt one out as ferociously as Etta James.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Duran Duran/Walk the Moon
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    Duran Duran/Walk the Moon

    England’s romantic music scene of the ’80s seduced many fans with its anodyne pop and giddy music videos that jolted with “teen spirit” sexiness but weren’t threatening. Walk the Moon concocts a similar brand of pop confetti, with front man Nicholas Petricca exuding the same sort of nonthreatening rock-star eroticism.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Talking Heads/Vampire Weekend
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    Talking Heads/Vampire Weekend

    Few bands in the ’80s could surpass the Talking Heads’ lofty blend of musical whimsy and wit that tucked elements of funk, African and Caribbean music into its distinguished brand of poppy new-wave music. Without negating its own artsy personality, Vampire Weekend unquestionably is heir to the Talking Heads.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Gil-Scott Heron/Kendrick Lamar
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    Gil Scott-Heron/Kendrick Lamar

    Before there was hip-hop, there was Gil Scott-Heron, whose insightful, socio-politically laced songs and poems gave voice to a disenfranchised black America in the ’70s. Rapper Kendrick Lamar’s second disc, To Pimp a Butterfly, has already been hailed as one of the best hip-hop discs of all time because of its gripping political commentary, personal revelations and musical sophistication.

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  • Bridging the Music Gap, Billie Holiday/Cécile McLorin Salvant
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    Billie Holiday/Cécile McLorin Salvant

    Since winning the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, 26-year-old Cécile McLorin Salvant has been taking the world by storm, thanks to her expressive singing and intriguing repertoire, which often draws from the 1920s and ’30s. Like the iconic Billie Holiday, Salvant knows how to deliver a lyric, and she’s not afraid to touch upon the darker, often mercurial realities of romantic heartache, social morals and the battle of the sexes.

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