Category Singer-songwriters

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 […]

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 […]

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.

Leaving Traces and Circles Around The Sun: Farewell Neal Casal (1968-2019)

Neal Casal was a multi-tasking, multi-genre musical threat: a fine singer, composer, and detail-oriented storyteller; a fluid and lyrical lead player as well as bedrock-solid rhythm guitarist; and an unassuming personality who proved a versatile sideman and good-natured complement to the legends and stars in the spotlight.

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

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, […]

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.

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.

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