Author Archive

Dwight Yoakam: Honky Tonk Man

Dwight Yoakam launched a life in music at precisely the wrong time. But over the ensuing decades, he helped bend country music – or at least a significant part of it – in the direction he pursued. For his efforts, he has become a commercially successful and critically acclaimed artist, winning two Grammys and awards

Don’t Forget All About It: ‘Nazz Nazz’ at 50

Building upon the disparate influences of Philly soul, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Laura Nyro, Nazz was quite a unique group. Though today the foursome is remembered chiefly as the band Todd Rundgren played in before launching his own idiosyncratic solo career, Nazz can lay claim to being one of the first power pop groups,

The Lee Boys: Keeping the Love Light Aflame (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… “We are really blessed and fortunate to have a vast array of styles within our music,” Lee says. He suggests that if one listens to the group’s music today, “you got some Led Zeppelin in there, some funk, some modern stuff, and then you got that real gospel drive. That all

The Lee Boys: Keeping the Love Light Aflame (Part One)

In a sense, the sacred steel musical tradition is like one of those tribes living deep inside the Amazon jungle, almost wholly separate from the larger world. But practitioners of the style were in fact influenced by the outside world, and the rich tapestry of influences that inform the style make it wonderfully accessible, even

Long Live the King: The B.B. King Blues Band Carries On

B.B. King was a towering figure in the blues. An artist whose appeal crossed over to a much wider audience, the man born Riley B. King made an indelible mark on the uniquely American musical form. His career lasted more than a half century, ending with his death at age 89 in 2015. But his

Album Review: Aura Blaze – The Sparkling Black

Well, well: this is unexpected. The press on this album suggested something in the vein of Pink Floyd; oddly, one act I don’t hear in this music is Floyd. But as “Overture” Solar Emerge” opens, Aura Blaze sounds more like Caravan. As the song unfolds, the instrumentation reveals hints of National Health and Egg, more

Make Someone Happy: A Conversation with Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett needs no introduction, so we won’t give him one. Here’s a recent Q&A with the acclaimed singer, now in his 93rd year. In recent years you’ve done highly successful collaborations with Lady Gaga and Diana Krall. If you had the ability to go back in time and work with someone you didn’t get

Love is Here to Stay: The Legacy of Tony Bennett

In the history of popular music, Tony Bennett stands tall. His professional singing career can be said to have started at age 13 when he was a singing waiter in New York City’s Queens borough, but it was only after serving in WWII that he landed a recording contract. Bennett’s recording career has seen him

Rising Appalachia: Water is Life

Though it’s easy to take water for granted – just turn on the tap and there it is – for hundreds of millions of the Earth’s people, access to clean water is a goal, not a reality. The United Nations considers universal access to clean drinking water a human right, but that doesn’t magically make

Stranger by the Minute: Porcupine Tree’s ‘Stupid Dream’ at 20

Porcupine Tree began as a ruse; Steven Wilson concocted a backstory for a fictitious band. But the prodigiously talented multi-instrumentalist crafted music to go with the legend, and thus the “group” was born. After a string of albums made essentially at home alone, Wilson put together an actual group and began playing live dates. 1996’s