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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

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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 […]

DOUBLE THRILLER ON THE RHYME: The Glands’ Ross Shapiro, 1963-2016

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
Glands main man Ross Shapiro, far right. The Glands were the perfect, enigmatic epitome of ‘indie-rock’ (whatever and however you conjure the term), and a woolly little ball of fuzzy contradictions. They were over-achieving, under-heard slackers from the coolly independent musical hotbed of Athens, Georgia, yet somehow,…

STONED BRUSSELS ON THE BISCUIT: Revisiting The Legendary ’73 Radio Broadcast

As a small tribute to today’s birthday boy, guitarist extraordinaire Mick Taylor, (who turns an improbable Seven-O), here’s my take on one of the most famously obsessed-over, and mythologized slabs of live rock & roll of the past 50 years that Mr. Taylor was intrinsic to bringing to life — and which, until fairly recently, wasn’t even officially released (and even then, as a mostly digital-only treat). Hence this review, written by my alter-ego “Leedslungs71,” of another enterprising foray into the nether realm of unofficial, fan recordings that have kept this blistering concert and indelible moment alive and humming across generations of listeners for more than forty years. (This piece first appeared at the terrific Collectors Music Reviews blog and website, which is populated by those of us who care about such things).

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.

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 — […]

REGARDING THE END: Life, Death, and The Wondrous World of Robert Fisher’s Willard Grant Conspiracy

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
Amid birthdays and valentines, sad news hit this week as word spread that Robert Fisher, singer, songwriter, storyteller, and bandleader extraordinaire of the Willard Grant Conspiracy, died after a year-long struggle with cancer. I hadn’t spoken to Robert much in recent years, after his move…

TRUE BLUES: The Stones Get Back To The Bedrock

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
Finally it can be said. This is the Rolling Stones album we’ve all wanted them to make (‘we’ meaning those of us who care, or cared, about the Stones at any point, that is): a blues album that gets back to the band’s bedrock rhythm…

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