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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. Stanley Cup finals could put Garth Brooks concerts at Amalie Arena in jeopardy

    Music & Concerts

    Garth Brooks may be one of the biggest musicians in history, but even he might not be able to take down the Stanley Cup finals.

    The NHL on Thursday announced the schedule for the 2015 Stanley Cup finals and, depending on how this weekend's Eastern and Western conference finals shake out, Brooks' three-concert stand at Tampa's Amalie Arena could be in jeopardy.

    Game 2 of the finals is scheduled for June 6, the same night Brooks is scheduled to play two concerts at Amalie Arena. But, two things have to happen for that conflict to come to a head....

    Country music star Garth Brooks is scheduled to perform two concerts June 6 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  2. As its last original musician retires, the Florida Orchestra looks to new beginnings


    TAMPA — In 1964, Evelyn Pupello was a shy 16-year-old who lived through the strings of her violin.

    That timidity showed when she auditioned for the Tampa Philharmonic. Maestro Alfredo Antonini, a legendary conductor whose resume included the original score to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, was not impressed.

    "He told me to go home and eat more meat and potatoes," she said. "I guess I had a pretty weak tone."...

     Evelyn Pupello,  violinist with the Florida Orchestra, rehearses with the orchestra at the Mahaffey Theatre, Thursday, 5/14/2015. Pupello started with the Tampa Philharmonic Orchestra in 1965 just after graduating from Hillsborough High School in Tampa and before the merger of the Tampa and St Pete orchestras. She is retiring May 30 after 50 years.
  3. Meet Jay Cridlin, the new pop music/culture critic for the Tampa Bay Times and

    Music & Concerts

    On April Fools' Day, I got a call from what sounded like a guy and his buddies at a bar. The conversation went something like this:

    "Yeah, hey. I'm hoping you can settle a bet for us."


    "You remember that movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

    "I do."

    "Do you know if the actors in that movie were actually the ones singing?"

    "For the most part, no, but it depends. I know George Clooney didn't actually sing I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow; that was a guy named Dan Tyminski, who plays guitar with Alison Krauss and Union Station."...

    Tampa Bay Times Pop Music/Culture Critic Jay Cridlin
  4. Country has changed, but Garth Brooks is still the ultimate ticket

    Music & Concerts

    "And the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year," drawled Garth Brooks, who owns a record four of those trophies, "goes to Luke Bryan." • Nashville's Bridgestone Arena erupted in a standing ovation. Bryan's head sunk to his hands. He kissed his wife, hugged his friends, made his way to the stage as his massive hit Play It Again cascaded from the speakers. And when he arrived to accept his trophy, he turned back to Brooks with an incredulous look on his face. • "Well, first of all," he said, "I've never met Garth. Hey, Garth. Can I hug you again?"...

    Garth Brooks performs at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., in September. Getty Images (2014)
  5. SoundBytes; Tove Lo, Twenty One Pilots, Sean Paul, Zappa Plays Zappa and more


    -- The Tampa Bay Storm are getting in on the live concert game. This Saturday is "Country Night" at Amalie Arena, featurng a pregame concert by Rachele Lynae, above, whose singles include Party 'Til the Cows Come Home." She'll play for an hour starting at 6 p.m., and fans who show up early will be able to enter a raffle for a pair of Garth Brooks tickets. Click here for details....

  6. Florida Georgia Line: Why America loves, hates and loves to hate country's hottest duo


    Innovators, instigators, idiots. Heartbreakers, hellraisers, heroes. Call 'em what you want, there's no denying Florida Georgia Line have set the world of country music ablaze.

    For the last two years, Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have been opening gigantic shows for the likes of Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean. Just two weeks ago, they toppled both of those acts to win Best Country Act at the Billboard Music Awards. And they're in the midst of their first huge headlining tour, which will hit Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday with Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard in tow (click here for details)....

  7. Love or hate them, Florida Georgia Line bring bro-country to the masses

    Music & Concerts

    To hear Frankie Ballard tell it, life on the road with Florida Georgia Line is every bit as wild as you'd expect.

    "Every show is sold out, people swinging from the rafters, excited to see the guys play their first headlining tour," said the singer, who's been opening for the country duo since January. "I can't think of another tour I'd rather be on."

    Florida Georgia Line are as white-hot as any act in Nashville, a couple of earth-shaking, genre-blasting hellraisers with a seemingly bottomless well of big, bodacious, Billboard-topping hits. No act better represents country music's new world order, in which pop and hip-hop are held in as high esteem as the legends of the Grand Ole Opry. ...

    Vocalists Taylor Dye, left, and Madison Marlow of the musical duo Maddie and Tae perform at the “Reba and Friends Outnumber Hunger” concert on March 31 in Burbank, Calif. Other performers included Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Eli Young Band. 
  8. Seven steps to not hating Florida Georgia Line

    Music & Concerts

    So you haven't swilled the moonshine-spiked Kool-Aid, and you don't believe Florida Georgia Line is the greatest thing to hit country music since sliced whiskey. Maybe you outright loathe them. Fear not: We're here to help. Here's a seven-step guide to loving — well, at least tolerating — the biggest stars of Nashville's butt-rock revolution.

    Jay Cridlin, Times pop music/culture critic...

    Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line perform at the 2014 Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. 
  9. Patrick Wilson, Wilson family's 'Big Stone Gap' sets fall release date


    If you’ve been waiting for the chance to see Patrick Wilson and his famous St. Petersburg family together on the big screen, you’ll finally get the chance this fall.

    Wilson’s indie movie Big Stone Gap, based on the bestselling novel by Adriana Trigiani, will hit theaters Oct. 9, filmmakers announced over the weekend. It will be distributed by New York company Picturehouse....

    Ashley Judd and Patrick Wilson in 'Big Stone Gap.'
  10. Review: Rush turn back the clock on four decades of rock at Tampa's Amalie Arena


    It's a guesstimate, but scanning Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sunday night, I'd say a solid third of the sold-out crowd of 14,827 was wearing Rush T-shirts.

    "It's not retro, it's original!" I overheard one T-shirted fan emphatically attest to another.

    Who would doubt it? Rush's legendarily obsessive fans live and die with the band, and you just know many have a drawer full of faded tees back at home. Rush may not be cool, you see, but for 40-plus years, they've never gone out of style....

    Guitarist Alex Lifeson and Rush performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 24, 2015.
  11. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings storms, superstar DJs, surprise guests to Tampa


    Is Tampa's rave scene unkillable? At the Sunset Music Festival, it’s starting to look that way.

    For the second straight year, severe weather forced Tampa’s rowdiest day-glo bacchanal to evacuate thousands of fans into Raymond James Stadium. For the second straight year, pretty much everyone complied with patience and good humor. And for the second straight year, the second the music resumed, so did the party, the mood barely dinged by the storms....

    Skrillex performed at the Sunset Music Festival in Tampa on May 23, 2015.
  12. Festivals and forecasts: How do events like the Sunset Music Festival prepare for weather disasters?


    John Santoro knew nasty weather might force him to pull the plug on his biggest party.

    "We're in Tampa," said the co-organizer of the annual Sunset Music Festival, a fluorescent carnival of electronic dance music that returns this Saturday and Sunday to Raymond James Stadium. "It just goes with the territory."...

    Workers build the main stage for the 2015 Sunset Music Festival outside Raymond James Stadium.
  13. SoundBytes: Madonna, DVBBS, The Temperance Movement and more


    -- If you had tickets to see Madonna at Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena on Aug. 29 and 30, bad news: The Material Girl has postponed those dates -- and others in Atlanta and San Juan, P.R. -- to January. Madonna's new Florida dates are Jan. 23 and 24. "Assembling all the elements will require more time than we realized," Madonna said in a statement. "I promise you this show will be worth the wait."...

  14. After last year's Sunset Music Festival storms, safety is a top concern

    Music & Concerts

    John Santoro knew nasty weather might force him to pull the plug on his biggest party.

    "We're in Tampa," said the co-organizer of the annual Sunset Music Festival, a fluorescent carnival of electronic dance music that returns this Saturday and Sunday to Raymond James Stadium. "It just goes with the territory."

    He's right. There's a 50 percent chance of rain for this weekend's event, and the festival is expecting about 10,000 more people than in the past. It's bringing what happened last year back into focus....

    Performer Tianna Nevin Quesenberry dances on the main stage during DVBBS set at the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in 2014. 
[Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  15. 97X Barbecue set times, schedule unveiled: Here's when to see Awolnation and more


    This weekend is something of a festivus maximus in Tampa Bay, with three major festivals going on throughout the region: The Sunset Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday; the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival on Saturday; and the 97X Barbecue on Saturday.

    Set times for each event have been trickling out all week -- here are Sunset's -- and today we have a look at the schedule for the 97X Barbecue at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Here's when to catch everyone on the lineup:...