Album Review: Robert Berry’s 3.2 — Alive at Progstock

Most music fans know of Keith Emerson for his work with Emerson Lake and Palmer. The progressive supergroup scored a succession of hits and well-regarded albums through the 1970s. Sure, naysayers point to them as part of the so-called “dinosaurs” that punk is thought to have saved us from, but the truth is far more

The dB’s in Black and White (Part Four)

Continued from Part Three… The other three dB’s are even more direct on the matter. “I hate power pop,” says Gene Holder. “The dB’s were more experimental [than that]. Chris’s songs, especially, were always pretty odd, which was really cool.” Will Rigby agrees, noting that in his estimation, The dB’s had “a little more intellectual

The dB’s in Black and White (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… By the time the quartet’s first single, “Black and White” b/w “Soul Kiss” was released in 1980, Rigby says that Stamey and Holsapple (who had moved to second guitar) “were on an equal basis in the band.” Gene Holder agrees, noting that there was never anything like a power struggle in

The dB’s in Black and White (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… A single credited to Chris Stamey and The dB’s featured an a-side (“(I Thought) You Wanted to Know”) played by Stamey with Television’s’ Richard Lloyd, who wrote the tune. “Chris wanted to have a band to promote that,” recalls Holder. Individually, he and Rigby had both recently moved from North Carolina

The dB’s in Black and White (Part One)

Four musicians from North Carolina came together in the 1970s as The dB’s. Perennial critics’ darlings, the group never hit the big time on the level of their friends, kindred spirits and fellow southerners R.E.M. But The dB’s influenced a generation of indie rockers who would follow in their wake, and they left behind an

Album Review: Allan Holdsworth — Jarasum International Jazz Festival 2014

“In the moment.” That’s one of the phrases bassist Jimmy Haslip employs in his brief liner note essay for this, the latest in the ongoing series of archival live Allan Holdsworth performance releases. This set documents a concert in Gapyeong-gun, South Korea. The show was the final stop on a two-week pan-Pacific tour that included

Album Review: Ellen Starski — Sara’s Half Finished Love Affair

Tuneful, heartfelt and impeccably arranged singer-songwriter fare is the stock in trade of Ellen Starski. On the Nashville artist’s latest release, Sara’s Half-Finished Love Affair, she presents a varied set of songs. Rising above the singer-with-an-acoustic milieu, Starski draws deftly from glitchy 90s’ alt rock (Suzanne Vega’s 99.9F° seems a useful reference point), Americana (the

Album Review: Walker Brigade — If Only

If we’re honest, it’s not the hardest thing in the world to create a batch of hard rocking tunes. It’s substantially more challenging to write durable melodies, and/or to create meaningful lyrics that exude passion, commitment and authenticity. And to do all of those things at once is a rare feat indeed. But a new

Album Review: Spygenius — Jobbernowl

Those Cantabrigian masters of melody are at it again. Jobbernowl may sport an inscrutable title, but the music is accessible in the extreme. Spygenius’ knowing way with ear candy tune creation is showcased once again on their latest release. The wordplay that is a baked-in characteristic of their music crops up immediately: the opening sonic

Bryan Sutton’s Guitar Camp and Celebration

Note: This feature was written as a preview for events that took place the first week of June 2022. — bk One of the brightest stars in the bluegrass/Americana galaxy is bringing the expertise of top guitarists to a session of learning and collaboration. Billed as the first annual event hosted by Asheville native Bryan