Tuesday, August 13 2002
Bruce Springsteen is said to have saved rock and roll. Despite the fact at 52 he remains one of the most engaging performers in the history of the genre, it's not his to save anymore.
Monday, August 5 2002
It's a pretty good time to be a jazz vocalist -- particularly a female one. If your name is Diana Krall, it is of course even better.
The intricate four-part harmonies that were the bedrock of the black gospel quartet tradition, were honed over centuries in the work songs that enslaved blacks incorporated into their daily activities as exploited laborers. These harmonies have always had a 'public' visibility that connected them more to the secular world, though so many of the narratives were 'other-worldly', which would also include visions of emancipation and a return to the 'homeland'.
Is there anything common linking these artists? A sound? An aesthetic? A philosophy? I don't really think so. All they have in common is their brilliance at playing jazz music, and having once been signed to the same label.
Monday, July 29 2002
Michael Franti has made a life ignoring conventions. Maybe it stems from a formative childhood, a black boy adopted by white parents. Maybe it arises from an unwillingness to merely regard music as an frippery, an entertainment, merely a dramatic gesture
Dan Bryk's songs have a distinct quirkiness that all have their own separate charm.
Friday, July 12 2002
"I like anything with a good melody, and a meaningful lyric. This probably isn't very hip of me, but I think the Indigo Girls are my favorite group of all time", says Mark Kano of Athenaeum.
We're talking mucho bucks and financial strategy and public image when all is said and done. It's big-time scumbag business.
Wednesday, July 10 2002
Any one comp will give you a fair picture of the possibilities each scene has to offer. One or two will find their way into your lives, as perfect headphone or car driving accompaniment to your summer groove.
Monday, July 1 2002
I understood the value of John Entwistle's rock-solid strength amid the pinball-bouncing craziness of his bandmates' fierce energy. If they were the sizzle, 'The Ox', as he was affectionately known, was the steak.
The camera falls on Entwistle, who's caught with a half-assed grin that quickly turns into a grimace. That one shot says it all for John: the guy standing at the back who had more up his sleeve than he was letting on.
Onstage, while Townshend would be smashing his guitar, Moon kicking over his drum kit and Daltrey scraping the microphone on one of Moon's dislodged cymbals, Entwistle would stand in front of his bass cabinet playing various scales right through the chaos around him.
Friday, June 28 2002
Mention The Clarks to most music fans outside of Pittsburgh, and you're likely to be met with a look of blank indifference. However, the fact that the four-piece band stole the show when sharing the stage with Three Doors Down at the Iron City's IC Light Amphitheatre last summer, tells you all you need to know about The Clarks' popularity in and around their hometown.
The tag 'Soul Brother Number One', attributed to the great funk God James Brown, didn't come without him paying dues -- literally and figuratively.
Byther Smith has been a working man his whole long life, and rightly takes pride in that honest fact.
Bo Diddley is more important than the Stones, more crucial than the Beatles, more fundamental to rock as a lyricist and an instrumentalist and a conceptualist than Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly or Brian Wilson.
Mentioning his name will jumpstart memories of powerful Chicago-style soul blues that telegraphs a rhythm into the soul of any blues fan.
Longhair is the Picasso of keyboard funk.
Dixon's stature only grew with the British Invasion.
Dupree's own life, as well as his music, provide a narrative that touched on so many aspects of the 20th century African-American experience that it at times beggars belief.