Holiday Music for 2019

‘Tis the season for holiday music. It’s a genre that often gets a bad rap, for good reason: a lot of it is pretty dire. Though there are classics (like Roy Wood’s “I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day,” ELP’s “I Believe in Father Christmas” and the Kinks’ rocking “Father Christmas”) it remains a

Hunger for the Dreams: ‘The Allman Brothers Band’ at 50

When the eponymous debut album by The Allman Brothers Band appeared on record store shelves in November 1969, record buyers may have thought they were discovering a new group. To be fair, they were, but the group’s members were already seasoned veterans of the music scene. Founded by brothers Duane (guitar) and Gregg (keyboards) Allman,

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #1

As 2019 heads toward its end, there’s time for one more house-cleaning set of quick reviews. Here’s a look at notable new releases in jazz, blues rock and even country. Junior Watson – Nothin’ to it But to Do it Let’s not hold it against the artist that the cover art for this album is

Rock and Bounce: Big Freedia and Low Cut Connie

Note: This story was originally published in October in Mountain Xpress. Combing different musical genres is more common than it was a generation ago; the barriers between styles have been knocked down by groundbreaking artists. While a hip hop/rock hybrid like Run-D.M.C.’s “Walk This Way” was revolutionary in 1986, today’s musical marketplace is filled with

The Spirit of Christmas Lives in Hendersonville, N.C.

In between his jam-packed musical schedule, Hendersonville-born-and-raised Blake Ellege found the time to attend and graduate from the International University of Santa Claus. Fulfilling a lifelong ambition – a dream, really – Ellege says that he’s preparing to make his first annual “complete formal transformation” into the jolly St. Nicholas for the 2018 holiday season.

Joseph Hasty: Learning, Teaching, Working and Playing

Originally from Hickory and currently settled in Morganton, multi-genre multi-instrumentalist Joseph Hasty is immersed in a life of music. By day he’s a schoolteacher, but when class lets out, he’s off to a gig. Audiences might find him playing guitar or upright bass, and – depending on the venue – the sounds they’ll hear could

Let’s Talk About ‘Nuggets’ with Lenny Kaye (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … You had moved on by then, right? I only lasted like five or six months at Elektra. And about six months after I was gone and forgotten about it, somebody called me up from there and said, “We have the rights to all these records, these songs. What do we

Let’s Talk About ‘Nuggets’ with Lenny Kaye (Part One)

On this day of Thanksgiving I’d like to give thanks to Lenny Kaye for creating Nuggets. It’s not hyperbole to assert that Nuggets affected the course of popular music. In its own way, the 2LP set released on Elektra Records in the early ’70s influenced an entire generation of musicians. The compilation curated by Lenny

Emotional Content is Dream Theater’s Secret Ingredient

Over the course of its three decades, progressive metal band Dream Theater has periodically created albums centered about thematic concepts. 1999’s Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was the band’s first concept album, and also marked the debut of Jordan Rudess and the group’s keyboardist. In 2002, the Boston-based band released Six Degrees of

Fifty-plus Years On, REO Speedwagon Keeps the Fire Burnin’

Midwestern rockers REO Speedwagon had been together for more than 13 years before the band scored its first top ten single. That song, “Keep On Lovin’ You” marked a new beginning for the group. And REO Speedwagon’s durability has been proven over and over again ever since: nearly 40 years after that single (and several