Author Archive

Todd Cecil: Have a Cigar

Cigar box guitars are very much in vogue now; it’s not at all unusual to see a nationally touring act take the stage with a hand-fashioned instrument featuring a body made from a wooden cigar box. But the instrument favored by Todd Cecil is quite a bit more exotic than most. “That’s the Lowebow,” he

A Few Moments with Aaron Burdett

North Carolina-born Aaron Burdett is an award-winning singer-songwriter with an impressive back catalog; he released his first official album in 2005. Burdett’s latest is Refuge, and it explores an even wider musical landscape than his previous efforts, with elements of folk, rock and even classic country. Do you research when you’re writing songs with a

Hundred-word Reviews, November 2018 Part 2

Here we go: even more hundred-word reviews. All new or recent releases, all worth a listen. RC & the Moonpie Band – All This I love me some rock ‘n’ roll. And I like (and occasionally love) the blues. What I enjoy far less often is the point on the Venn Diagram in which the

Hundred-word Reviews, November 2018 Part 1

More hundred-word reviews. If you’ve wandered in here before, you know the drill: they’re all worthwhile and deserve deeper coverage. These ten are all archival, reissue or compilation releases. Oakland Elementary School Arkestra – The Saga of Padani Let’s begin by acknowledging that this disc isn’t for all tastes. Imagine the Residents meeting Sun Ra,

Asheville Moth GrandSLAM: Slam-dunk Stories

The oral tradition predates the written word by thousands of years. Throughout history, storytelling has provided both a creative outlet and a focus for community. The Appalachian narrative tradition has remained especially vibrant; to wit, the International Storytelling Center is based in nearby Jonesborough, Tenn. And in Asheville, gatherings and competitions in which people share

Listen to This: The Zuider Zee Story (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… After the Shine’s Gone Looking back some forty-plus years, Orange isn’t sure what plans –if any – CBS/Columbia had for his group. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, we’re with the largest record company in the business, so that’s got to mean something,’” he says. He does recall playing a gig at Alex

Listen to This: The Zuider Zee Story (Part 1)

(An edited version of this story appeared previously in Goldmine.) In 1975, a Memphis-based band called Zuider Zee recorded an album for Columbia Records. The melodic, power pop-leaning collection of songs was released, and it didn’t sell. Zuider Zee never made another album. But that wasn’t the end of the story. In fact it was

Album Review: Jazzville — Blue Skies

Jazz is one of the few musical idioms in which artists can record and/or perform the compositions of others and still gain widespread critical acclaim. The form itself is designed to allow — and perhaps even demand — a fresh and original approach to existing material. Against that backdrop, Blue Skies, the debut release from

Album Review: Geoff Gibbons – Shadow of a Stone

Geoff Gibbons is a Vancouver-based singer-songwriter; this four-song EP is merely the latest in a long string of releases. There’s a contemplative and majestic feel to these songs, with arrangements that put the vocals (and, by extension, the lyrics) right out front. The instrumentation is solid and subtle, but it’s all designed specifically to provide

Album Review: Dave Brubeck — Time In

The opening solo piano strains of “Last Waltz,” the opening track on Dave Brubeck’s 1966 LP Time In are lovely enough. But they suggest that the album is going to be a somewhat staid, fussy and classically-leaning collection of songs. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with that; Brubeck has always been a master of many styles.