Tag Archives: Alt-country

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 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.

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

Robert Fisher’s Willard Grant Conspiracy conjure a mostly deserted world of long, lingering shadows where guys like Nick Cave and Mark Eitzel brood in a half-light that’s either salvation or damnation — a distinction that depends on whether you think being alone is solitude or isolation. A world where the songs thread through a musty room and gather there like settling smoke. Eventually, if you’re lucky, a cracked window swings open from the wind, bringing a new beam of sound and a fresh light with it to remind you that you’re alive.

THE OTHER “NEW YORK, NEW YORK”: Ryan Adams’ accidental anthem for a stricken city

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
The cover of Ryan Adams’ second solo album, “Gold,” released Sept. 25, 2001. By tragic coincidence, the album’s lead single, “New York, New York,” dropped Sept. 11, 2001. The jarring image of an American Flag turned upside down on the album cover,  and the single…

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE: The Drive-By Truckers Roll From Darkness To Daylight And Hit The Road Behind A New Live Album

The band’s 2001 landmark, ‘Southern Rock Opera,’ caught on with a broad audience that included hipsters and college kids, aging classic rockers, and ordinary folks who loved the sound of loud electric guitars set to lyrics that meant something. Both album and band also fared far better in the North and West than the group’s home turf: “The South is our weakest region – I think it’s because it’s too close to home,” said bandleader Patterson Hood. “We’re singing about stuff that’s right down the street. And nobody wants to hear that.”

LIFE AFTER DEATH (THEN & NOW): The Sad and Beautiful World of Sparklehorse

  To mark the supremely sad occasion this week four years ago (March 6, 2010 to be exact) when we lost Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous to suicide — he had battled depression and other serious health problems over the years leading up to his death — here’s the full-length “Director’s Cut” of a feature profile I wrote on […]

SWEETHEART OF THE RADIO: Sarah Borges, Northern Gal With The Southern Sound

Hello weekend warriors: As promised, here’s the second installment of this weekend’s edition of “RPM,” which showcases, and takes a look back at, two of Boston’s finest musical exports of the past decade, Sarah Borges and Girls Guns and Glory (see my previous post for the first feature on this superb band I wrote for […]

KING SIZE TALENT: Charlie Chesterman, Scruffy Sweetheart of The Rodeo

Besides his exuberant rock & roll music — and he made a lot of it, thankfully for us, over the years — his easy laugh is what I most identified with Charlie Chesterman.  The Iowa transplant who moved to Boston and made his mark as one of the city’s most beloved singer-songwriters, first with the essential local ’80s outfit Scruffy […]

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