Author Archive

We Get What We Deserve: Big Star — Live on WLIR

As the shopworn saying goes – it has been applied to other acts as well – Big Star was a group that sold very few records during its original existence, but nearly everyone who bought it went on to a career in music themselves. The Memphis group was originally led by Alex Chilton (who had

Album Reviews: Two Alex Chilton Compilations

Editor’s Note: Today’s something of a milestone: my 3,000th post. As a general matter, I make a point of not writing reviews that are a response or rebuttal to other views. In fact, for the most part, I avoid even reading other reviews, at least until after I’ve filed mine. But I have been struck

Procol Harum’s Salad Days (Are Here Again) Part 2 of 2

Continued from Part One… Novum stands on its own as an excellent album of new material. Can you tell me about the circumstances leading to making the first new Procol Harum album in many, many years? Well, that’s a very nice comment, I must put in there. Thank you very much. Because that is something

Procol Harum’s Salad Days (Are Here Again) Part 1 of 2

Formed in 1967, the sophisticated and forward-looking British band Procol Harum had its origins in a very different outfit, the Paramounts. Along with pianist/singer Gary Brooker, guitarist Robin Trower, multi-instrumentalist Chris Copping and drummer B.J. Wilson were part of a group that focused on American-style rhythm and blues. The band scored a UK Top 40

Elton John’s Well-deserved Victory Lap

It may be difficult to remember all the details after all these years, but on the occasion of what looks to be his farewell-to-touring tour, it’s worth taking a look back to recognize the cultural phenomenon that is Sir Elton John. Trained from a young age at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music, John (then

Virginia and the Slims’ Smokin’ Jump Blues

Virginia and the Slims play a unique and often under-appreciated strain of American music. Jump blues and swing is a high energy musical style designed as much for dancing as for active listening. Guitarist Sean Anderson started the Asheville-based band in 2013, and since that time the group has built a loyal following with its

Album Review: Day & Dream — With Every Breath You Die

Though it kicks off with the brief “And So It Begins,” sporting a watery guitar figure that recalls Todd Rundgren’s “Tiny Demons,” Day & Dream’s With Every Breath You Die quickly shifts gears into a wholly different style. On representative tracks like “Night Lights,” the Asheville dream-pop/shoegaze band crafts a sound that suggests the influence

Mindshapefist: Plenty of Reasons

Holding a band together for more than a short time is a real challenge, as most musicians will readily admit. But Asheville-based four-piece group Mindshapefist has remained together harmoniously for more than fifteen years. The hard rocking band is currently celebrating the release of Road to Hell, its 7th full length album. Like guitarists David

Album Review: Paul Oscher — Cool Cat

Oscher may be Brooklyn-born, but his vocal delivery suggests he’s from down Texas or Louisiana way. His years spent as a valued sideman for Muddy Waters and Louisiana Red almost certainly influenced his blues style. Cool Cat finds him comfortably exploring a variety of American musical idioms, all from the perspective of a musician immersed

Album Review: Mike Zito — Blue Room

Blues-rock guitarist Mike Zito’s career has gone through a number of phases: currently recording for Ruf Records, he’s near the peak of his powers. From 2010 to 2014 he was part of supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood with Cyril Neville and Devon Allman. In the later part of the previous decade, Zito released three highly-regarded records