Music

Ron Pope and the Nighthawks - "Bad Intentions" (audio) (premiere)

Ron Pope returns with a new band, a new album, and one hell of a new single.

Georgia-raised singer-songwriter Ron Pope has made a name for himself as a solo artist, but Ron Pope & the Nighthawks is his first album with his new band, and will be released on 8 January. The irresistible new song "Bad Intentions" is a fantastic example of what to expect, with its blend of Americana, pop, ragtime, and one hell of a hootenanny chorus.

"We were visiting my wife’s parents’ in Georgia and I was awake in bed at two o’clock in the morning," Pope tells PopMatters. "Everyone else was asleep and into my head pops, 'I got baaaaaaadddd intentions but I got a gooooooood heart' and I knew I wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon. I said, 'You better get out of bed right now and write this song or you’re going to lay here humming like a lunatic in the dark all night,' so I sat on the floor in the bathroom for a few hours writing a bunch of verses and the chorus. That rising diminished chord thing is all Alan Markley (I’m not that smart) and it totally takes it to Dr. John land in my mind, which is exactly what I was hoping for. We brought in our friend Jay Collins to lead the horn section and play sax (he has played with so many awesome people I couldn’t possibly list them all, but the Allman Brothers and Levon Helm are two of my personal favorites) and he wrote us these badass, super sexy charts and conducted the section like a hero. On the road, Alex Brumel plays sax (of course) because Alex Brumel would play all the instruments in this band if he had more hands. Those are drunk people singing harmonies, which happens sometimes when you work 18 hour days in the studio without ever seeing the sun."

Over the Rainbow: An Interview With Herb Alpert

Music legend Herb Alpert discusses his new album, Over the Rainbow, maintaining his artistic drive, and his place in music history. "If we tried to start A&M in today's environment, we'd have no chance. I don't know if I'd get a start as a trumpet player. But I keep doing this because I'm having fun."

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The Cigarette: A Political History (By the Book)

Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".

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