Author Archive

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

Album Review: Dennis Coffey — Live at Baker’s

In the course of his career, Dennis Coffey has made a name for himself several times over. The Detroit guitarist was a key session player in that city’s music scene; as one of the famed Funk Brothers studio aggregation, he lent his skills to numerous funk and soul side of the 1960s and beyond. His

Reviews of Five New Jazz Titles

Tony Bennett & Diana Krall – Love is Here to Stay Tony Bennett is an American institution (watch for my interview with him, coming soon). At age 92 he’s still going strong, long after most all of his contemporaries have left us. Diana Krall is only a bit over half Bennett’s age, but she’s well

Aaron Price: “It’s all music, and it’s all spiritual.”

Aaron Price is one busy musician. He plays bass guitar and keyboards in the nationally-recognized tribute group Wham Bam Bowie Band; he plays barrelhouse piano in a duo with vocalist Peggy Ratusz; he collaborates with guitarist, singer and songwriter Jeff Thompson. But his latest project is an expression of his longest-held musical focus: an album

Emma’s Lounge: All Over the Board

When it comes to making music, eclecticism for its own sake can be confusing for potential listeners. But when it’s executed with authenticity, casting a wide stylistic net can make for compelling music. And that’s the goal of self-described folk-wave group Emma’s Lounge. In celebration of the release of its new album, Confluence, the Asheville-based