Category Tributes

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, […]

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 […]

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

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 […]

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.

KING HENRY THE BRAVE: Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s Life and Numbers Beyond 755

Henry Aaron is 84 years old now. And as hard as it may be to believe, the number of distant springs that have passed since he made his storied and successful homerun record-breaking bid now amounts to more than half his age. It was 44 years ago this week — a fitting number, indeed — […]

WALTER BECKER (1950-2017), STEELY DAN’S CO-ARCHITECT OF IMPOSSIBLE COOL

What sometimes seemed like so much shiny “Pop” on the outside  — and yes, much of it certainly was intelligent, immaculately crafted pop music (“Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”; “Hey Nineteen,” “FM” etc.) — Steely Dan’s music held a far more slippery substance, both instrumentally and lyrically, that simmered and squirmed inside that lacquered shell of crisp studio perfection.

CHRIS BELL’S PURE POP COSMOS: Big Star’s Other Bright Light

News that a biography and at least three vinyl compilations of the work of Big Star co-founder Chris Bell are coming out this year — including “The Complete Chris Bell,” a massive six-LP (!) retrospective due July 7 by Omnivore Recordings (the same folks who’ve issued some tasty Big Star releases in recent years, including […]

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