Make us your home page

Jay Cridlin, Pop Music/Culture Critic

Jay Cridlin

Jay Cridlin is the Pop Music/Culture Critic for the Tampa Bay Times and tbt*, and the editor of Soundcheck, a blog about music and concerts in Tampa Bay. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2002 and has been with the Times ever since.

Phone: (727) 893-8336


Blog: Soundcheck

Twitter: @JayCridlin and @tbtsoundcheck

Instagram: @cridlin

  1. Music Planner: Toby Keith speaks out; Fifth Harmony and Kygo ready to pop

    Music & Concerts


    IN HIS OWN WORDS: Toby Keith


    Let's skip the tired debate over Toby Keith's place in politics and culture, the red-versus-blue antagonism that in Dubya's America positioned him as something of an inverse Dixie Chick — reviled and beloved with equal devotion, and a symbol of all that was right/wrong with musicians who dare speak their mind.

    Let us instead focus on Keith's underrated skills as a songwriter. Yes, Keith actually writes most of his own hits, which makes him a rarity in modern Nashville. This summer, the man with 20 No. 1 country hits was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his more than two decades of story-songs about earnest, blue-collar jocks, lunks, roughnecks and soldiers trying to say and do what's right in hard times....

    Norwegian DJ Kygo.
  2. Coming soon, it's 'Bey Day' for Beyonce fans at Tampa's Ritz Ybor


    Every February, the Ritz Ybor in Ybor City celebrates "Dre Day," a party with a West Coast Dr. Dre theme -- Dre beats, Dre costumes, Dre photo booths, etc.

    This September, the party is getting a lot more fierce. Sasha Fierce, that is.

    The first-ever "Bey Day," celebrating all things Beyonce, is coming to the Ritz on Sept. 3, the day before Queen Bey's 34th birthday. Expect live tribute acts; classic Beyonce, Destiny's Child and Jay Z videos all night courtesy of VJ Nick James; specialty cocktails like the "Drunk In Love" and "Bootylicious"; prizes for "single ladies," a Tampa Bay Fashion Week dress contest; Beyonce birthday cake and more...

     Beyonce attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.
  3. Chance the Rapper coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    It's shaping up to be an amazing autumn for hip-hop fans in Tampa Bay.

    On the large side, you've got acts like J. Cole, Big Sean, Chris Brown, YG and Kid Ink coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. On the smaller side, you've got Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples at the Orpheum and Cannibal Ox at the Local 662.

    And today we get news of the show that might trump them all: Chance the Rapper on Nov. 5 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg....

  4. Martin Lawrence, Eric Paslay, Sutton Foster, more coming to Tampa's Straz Center


    In case the calendar has been sneaking up on you, July 31 is right around the corner -- it's Friday, in fact.

    Friday is the day that most single tickets to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts' 2015-16 season go on sale to the general public. That includes a slew of Broadway shows; speakers like Cary Elwes and David Sedaris; concerts by the likes of Matisyahu, Patti LaBelle, Itzhak Perlman and Will Hoge; and the Straz's annual Club Jaeb Americana series....

  5. SoundBytes: Jose Gonzalez, Slow Magic, Thee Oh Sees and more


    -- A few years ago, Swedish indie-folk singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez brought his band, Junip, to Ybor City -- a rare treat for fans of the band and even Gonzalez himself, but still, it wasn't really a proper solo set, was it? So here's an awesome concert to announce: A show by Gonzalez on Sept. 29 at the State Theatre. Tickets are $22-$25 and they go on sale Friday. Click here....

  6. 'Legends of the Old School' Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, more coming to Tampa's USF Sun Dome


    Let the battle of the old school throwdowns begin!

    Coming first, on Aug. 22, we have Funk Fest Tampa Bay, with '90s R&B and hip hop stars Jodeci, SWV, Dru Hill and 2 Live Crew, among others, coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

    Then on Sept. 19 it's the Super Freestyle Explosion, with a host of freestyle pop icons -- Stevie B, Taylor Dayne, Lisa Lisa, the Original Cover Girls and more -- coming to Amalie Arena....

  7. Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui talks fan armies, social media, her song of the summer and more


    Most of us will never know the work that goes into leading a fan army.

    “We’re always engaging them on social media, letting them know that they’re important and reminding them as often as possible that they are so important to us,” said Lauren Jauregui of the wildly popular girl group Fifth Harmony. “It goes beyond that whole celebrity-fan relationship. In person, they’ll ask us for advice on things. We have major moments with them. We make them feel so special and let them know that as people, they’re important, not just as our fans.”...

  8. Funk Fest Tampa lineup: Jodeci, 2 Live Crew, Dru Hill, more coming to Raymond James Stadium


    We've said this before, but it bears repeating: Funk Fest, the annual traveling tribute to old-school hip hop and R&B, hasn't had an easy road in Tampa Bay.

    It's been held in three homes (Vinoy Park, Curtis Hixon Park and Raymond James Stadium) over the past five years. Some headliners have arrived late; others haven't shown at all. And there have been many complaints about amenities....

  9. Kacey Musgraves' band celebrates 'Happy Bibthday' at Tampa Bay Rays game


    Despite losing 5-1 to the Baltimore Orioles, there was much for the Tampa Bay Rays to celebrate on Saturday. An announced crowd of 24,327 -- their largest home crowd since Opening Day -- was in the stands, many of whom came for a free postgame concert by country star Kacey Musgraves....

  10. This week in Tampa: Dave Matthews Band, Kacey Musgraves, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Idina Menzel and more


    We've got just a jam-packed week of music this week, with tons of '90s alternative rock (Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Dave Matthews Band, Slipknot, Tonic, Everlast), reggae-rock (Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, Original Wailers) and country (Kacey Musgraves, Bellamy Brothers) leading the way.

    One of the bigger shows is Broadway and Let It Go sensation Idina Menzel, who plays Ruth Eckerd Hall on July 28; click here to read Andrew Meacham's interview with her. Here to walk you through the rest of a busy week, including Fifth Harmony, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Harry and the Potters, Authority Zero, Rocky Votolato, Bro Safari and more, are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa......

  11. Review: Florence and the Machine's 'How Big,' Muse's 'Drones'

    Music & Concerts

    America may be the home of the Whopper, but if you're in the market for big, blinding rock 'n' roll bravura, start your search across the pond.

    Larger-than-life rock goddery is a grand British tradition, from Freddie Mercury's heaven-sent tenor to Jimmy Page's Jurassic power chords to Elton John's Donald Duck duds.

    "We may be a small country," as Hugh Grant put it in Love, Actually, "but we're a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter."...

    On new album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine shows off those dreamy vocals fans have come to expect.
  12. Music Planner: '90s rock nostalgia, outdoor reggae-rock, Kacey Musgraves at Rays game

    Music & Concerts

    ROCK REWIND: Relive the '90s at MidFlo

    We're in the thick, sweaty heat of late summer, which is about the time of year the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre starts ramping up its concert game — especially when it comes to '90s rock nostalgia. Last week, it was Kid Rock; next month it's Incubus, Deftones and Sublime With Rome. But this week might top them all.

    Kicking things off are brainy goths Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson (7 p.m. Friday, tickets are $29.50-$69.50) in what's shaping up as a career-spanning hits tour. Expect to hear Manson's The Beautiful People and The Dope Show and Smashing Pumpkins' 1979, Disarm and Bullet With Butterfly Wings in all their raging glory. Plus, Billy Corgan has suggested he might soon retire the Pumpkins moniker for good. He's even bringing along original drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, which does suggest he's in victory-lap mode. ...

    Marilyn Manson performs at Riviera Theatre on February 5 in Chicago.
  13. Review: Sam Smith bares soul, breaks hearts at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    With all he's been through over the past few months, it’s a miracle Sam Smith is still with us.

    Career-threatening vocal cord surgery this spring. A Segway accident last week. A terrible sunburn in Miami only Monday. What’s next, Legionnaires’ disease? Spontaneous combustion?...

    Sam Smith performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on July 21, 2015.
  14. Rays Postgame Concerts: After 9 years, free shows still rock the Trop


    On Saturday, the Rays and partner Ruth Eckerd Hall will host country star Kacey Musgraves in their 70th postgame concert since 2007.

    For nine years, the concert series has been a bright spot amid hand-wringing over the Rays' attendance woes, drawing tens of thousands of additional fans to the Trop to see acts like the Beach Boys, ZZ Top, LL Cool J, Calvin Harris, Miranda Lambert and Train....

    Joan Jett threw out the first pitch before a 2014 Rays game; she and her band the Blackhearts performed a free postgame concert afterward.
  15. Rays concert series brings life, and a few extra fans, to the Trop

    Music & Concerts


    Extra-inning games: Good for baseball fans, mayhem for postgame parties.

    So when the Rays broke an eighth-inning tie against the Chicago White Sox on June 13, a chorus of cheers went up beyond Tropicana Field's centerfield wall.

    "Once that final out happens," said Brandon Groc, Ruth Eckerd Hall's entertainment manager, "it's going to be organized chaos."...

    Fans flood the outfield for the concert by Kidz Bop after the Rays’ game against the Boston Red Sox at the Trop on June 28.