Category Essays

Smashing Mirrors & Smashed Guitars: Pete Townshend, Purveyor Of Power Chords, Turns Seventy Five

The sentiment of my original story still holds. Happy 75th Birthday, Mr. Townshend, and many more.  So glad you didn’t die before you got old. You had so much more to say and do. And in turn, over the years you’ve certainly inspired me (and many others) to listen to, live through, and reflect upon, […]

THE DAZIES: From Blue Skies To Grey (And Back Again)

One of the things I miss most about Boston is the music and the people who make it. Over the span of nearly two decades spent as a music critic and columnist writing about the plethora of sounds emanating from the city, I never stopped being excited about discovering bands and musicians I hadn’t heard […]

OPENING DAY PAGES OF THE PAST: Off The Wall, and Baseball Jonesing In The Season Of Quarantine

Pining for an Opening Day and a season that (so far) is not to be calls for truly drastic measures. With the COVID-19 virus waylaying any sense of normalcy or structure to our lives, including the simple, life-affirming act of watching the game of baseball, I’ve settled on the next best thing to keep the […]

FROM SCUD MOUNTAINS TO CHAPPAQUIDICK SKYLINES: The Geography Of Joe Pernice + Hick Rock With The Lonesome Bros

“I hate my life,” Joe Pernice confides with a strange, almost carnal tenderness. “Don’t be alarmed if someday soon you hear I’ve gone away.” Before the song’s over, he’ll change the “if” to “when”, and as the tune dissolves into the distance, Pernice sounds more certain than ever.

PHAIR WEATHER FRIEND: Hanging Out In Guyville 25+ Years Later

It’s been a life-altering twenty five-plus years since we were all twenty five (or thereabouts), an age when most of us don’t have much of a clue about how life-altering the next twenty five years are going to be.

PICTURES AT ELEVEN: Drawing Dad Close Amid The Lines Of A Life

Leafing through one of my decades-old sketchbooks while unpacking from our exciting but exhausting move from Boston to Philadelphia last summer, I flipped through, with casual curiosity, the sturdy paper stock pages of pencil drawings, mostly of superheroes and baseball players and my dank cabin at my first (and only) sleep-away camp. As I turned […]

A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock & Roll: Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo, and the Torched Twang of Americana

Despite its recent arrival as a charted radio format, Americana is nothing new. In fact, its very existence is predicated on the past. Rock & roll has always been an untidy bastard — rooted as much in outlaw country as it is in backporch blues or jukejoint R&B. Just listen to early Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, or Chuck Berry.

Rocking The 617 24-7: Inside the Vortex of a Spectacularly Noisy Universe

It speaks volumes — maybe decibels is a better word — about the consistent musical vitality of this city that I simply could not keep up with all of the adventurous, surprising, inspiring, and thrilling music that reached my ears over the years. But man, I tried.

A ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD: Tom Petty, 1950-2017

He became a stadium superstar in later years, but Tom Petty’s early, brilliant records of underdog striving were what got us (and many other kids tuned in to their radios during the ’70s) hooked. Our appreciation of the man on what would have been his 67th birthday Friday.

MANNISH BOYS AT THE MOCAMBO: What, No April Wine?

The 300 lucky radio station contest winners who crowded into a dozen buses bound for Toronto’s El Mocambo Tavern one early March evening in 1977 began booing when they thought they wouldn’t be seeing the club’s headliners, April Wine, after all. Also on the bill that night was some opening act called The Cockroaches. They […]

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