Category Massachusetts

THE COST OF A SONG: HONKY TONK HEARTBREAKER JAMES HAND DIES AT 67

Texas troubadour James Hand, a reverent Country & Western traditionalist whose music sounded beamed in from an earlier age of rodeos and radios — and who, later in life, enjoyed success and won a devoted following of fans, musicians, and critics — died early yesterday morning at a hospital in Waco, Texas, surrounded by his […]

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 […]

EYES EVERYWHERE: Remembering Deep Heaven Now’s Jinsen Liu, Boston’s “Dark Lord of the Shoegazer Scene”

I’m saddened to learn of the death of Jinsen Liu, one of Boston’s most adventurous musicians, listeners, and advocates for a burgeoning, always shape-shifting psychedelic-space-rock scene in and around the city during the first decade of the new millenium. In addition to releasing a clutch of albums with his own lushly textured dream-pop band, 28 […]

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.

A LATE BLOOMER IN FULL FLOWER: Becoming Asa Brebner (1953-2019)

“I don’t believe in God, but I believe in music and sharing that with other people. That’s kind of my religion. If I have a religion, that’s what it is.”
— Asa Brebner

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 […]

SECRET WINDFALLS & DIAMONDS DOWN THE DRAIN: The Vinyl Skyway’s Long Cool Journey

Time always seemed to stand still whenever one of The Vinyl Skyway’s songs would crackle to life on the radio inside my parents’ car on a cold-as-chrome winter’s afternoon. I remember being 14 and hunched toward the gleaming dashboard dial as if receiving a secret transmission. There was always something inviting, if somehow slightly baleful, […]

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.

BROKEN BISCUITS & A STROKE OF LUCK: How Corin Ashley Picked Up The Pieces To Assemble The Most Challenging Music Of His Life, and Made Himself Whole Again

“Then, on January 6, 2016, an awful thing most 40-somethings like Ashley don’t ever think about happening – because it would be too awful to ponder – happened. Corin suffered a stroke that paralyzed the playing fingers of his left hand and all but wiped out his vocal cords in one felling swoop. Suddenly, just like that, from a hospital bed far away from the stages he had stood on since he was a teenager in cover bands, Ashley didn’t know if he’d ever speak again, much less sing or play. “

TIME CAPSULES WITH TAPE HEADS: Filling The Road Trip Memory Tank With The Gaslight Anthem

My collection of music tapes have now taken on properties purer and more powerful than the mere music they contained: They’ve banded together to become an immortal, indispensable, untouchable part of my personal cosmos of memory and experience. It’s music that drove a landmark road trip, played through it, came from it, and helped to define it.

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