Lowe’s Straitjackets

Though he’s known primarily for his 1979 hit single “Cruel to Be Kind,” singer-songwriter Nick Lowe is a revered figure in rock and pop music. A key figure in the British punk and new wave scenes of the late 1970s and early ’80s, Lowe has since turned his own music in a more low-key direction.

Sidney Barnes: A Preview

Note: I recently conducted a wide-ranging and lively interview with Sidney Barnes; the result of that is an in-depth feature running soon in Record Collector Magazine. In the meantime, this shorter feature will whet your appetite. — bk Born in a West Virginia mining town, Sidney Barnes eventually moved with his family to New York

Book Reviews for the End of 2017

With so much of 2017 spent writing a book of my own, I’ve found less time than usual to read the works of other authors. Happily, three titles that I did read were all superb. Here’s a quick close-to-end-of-year rundown. Women of Motown: An Oral History by Susan Whitall Seeing Whitall’s name on this book

Book Review: Richard Lloyd – ‘Everything is Combustible’

Discorporate and We’ll Begin. Everything is Combustible is not your run-of-the-mill rock memoir. But then Richard Lloyd is nobody’s idea of a run-of-the-mill rock musician. As a founding member and leading light of Television, Lloyd was at the front edge of New York City’s music scene in the late 1970s. And Everything is Combustible addresses

Emily Saliers: Indi-going Solo

Decatur, Georgia-based folk rock duo Indigo Girls started in the mid 1980s, but Amy Ray and Emily Saliers had been friends since childhood, and musical collaborators for some time. After some singles and an EP, Indigo Girls released their debut album, Strange Fire, in 1987. They’ve gone on to widespread popularity, with more than fifteen

Album Review: Angel Olsen — Phases

Across her first three albums and an EP, Asheville’s own Angel Olsen has carved out a musical niche of her own. Her music is perhaps best described as a collection of familiar, well-worn melodies and styles to which she applies her own stamp. Her most recent release of new material, 2016’s My Woman drew upon

Big as Ever: Russ Wilson’s Famous Orchestra

Asheville, North Carolina is populated with scores of hard-working, ever-busy creative people who endeavor to bring their chosen art to the public. But among those, perhaps the busiest of all is Russ Wilson. It’s difficult to keep a current tally on just how many musical projects he’s juggling at any given moment, but of late

Olivia Newton-John Returns to Live Performance with All-hits Show

Olivia Newton-John has been a pop star for more than four decades. She got her professional start on Australian TV and radio, and cut her first single in 1966. Newton-John made a name for herself with the release of her first solo album, 1971’s If Not For You. On that record and several that followed,

Album Review: The Fritz — Natural Mind

The phase-shifted synthesizer pads that introduce “Stuck in Between,” the opening track on The Fritz‘s new album Natural Mind, evokes thoughts of 1970s r&b outfit like the Brothers Johnson. But as soon as that thought forms, a repeating guitar figure enters, sounding like a more accessible version of the 1980s lineup of progressive rock giants

Vinyl Roundup Part Two

Today I take a look at four simply superb reissue/compilations, all on vinyl. Don’t Look Now Original Soundtrack (Waxworks) Don’t Look Now was a 1973 thriller starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, two of the era’s hottest actors. The film, directed by Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) is based on Daphne du