Q&A: Marc-André Hamelin

Multiple Grammy Award nominee Marc-André Hamelin is renowned for his dazzling technical prowess, his prolific nature – he has released more than 80 albums – and his deep and wide repertoire. The latest release from the French Canadian pianist is a collection of opera transcriptions and fantasies by Franz Liszt and Sigismond Thalberg. Hamelin performed

The Barbershop Harmony Tradition Lives on in Western N.C.

Barbershop harmony is a quintessentially American musical form. Though its heyday was nearly a century ago, its popularity endures. Today there are at least 30 quartets in the Carolinas District of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Those groups perform far and wide, and there’s also a competitive element. This year’s Fall Festival took place November 11-13

Hundred-word Reviews December 2021 #2

Welcome back for another round of capsule commentaries concerning current creations. Onetwothree – (untitled) What might happen if Trio (“Da Da Da”), Nina Hagen and Neu! got together for a giggle? Well, it might sound a bit like this supremely wonderful pop confection. An all-female group from Switzerland, Onetwothree sounds like Gang of Four in

Hundred-word Reviews December 2021 #1

Happy December! While I’ve been busy with activities related to the impending publishing of my book Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, I’ve found time to put together quick looks at some worthy new music. Here, in the form of 100-word reviews, are five of those. And come back tomorrow

30 Days Out, December 2021 #1: The Nutcracker, Queen Bee and the Honeylovers, Rising Appalachia, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

‘Tis the season. In normal years, things slow down a bit performance-wise in Asheville as we head into the holidays. Touring acts take a break, and holiday-themed events predominate. Even in this endemic era, those traditions still apply. So for this penultimate music roundup of 2021, I’m focusing on the rich local talent found here

Hundred-word Reviews, November 2021

This has been an unusual year, and that’s putting it mildly. With life slowly and tentatively inching in the direction of new-normal, it’s time to bring back my Hundred-word Reviews. These capsule commentaries cover music I think you should know about. Here are five new releases. Carolyn Wonderland – Tempting Fate Electric country blues with

EP Review: Limina – Hidden Spaces

Tyler Durham is best known for scoring film and games. His latest project is Limina, and Hidden Spaces is a 12-inch vinyl EP. Recorded over the course of May to July 2020 (in other words, during the most unsettled portion of the pandemic era), the six tracks are designed by the creator as an immersive

Album Review: Peter Bilt Group — Do It Up

One set of rhetorical questions that I encountered during my research for my new book was as collection of what-ifs. Of the nearly 30 bands that released music on the groundbreaking indie label 415 Records, few realized their full potential. One such case was the criminally underrated band Pearl Harbor and the Explosions. Fronted by

Album Review: The Pulsators — Let’s Play!

From Petaluma, California comes the six-piece band The Pulsators. The band is led by drummer-vocalist Johnny Campbell, a musician who came to my attention as a member of late’ 70s new wave group The Impostors. That group’s story is featured along with the stories of 28 other artists in my new book, Disturbing the Peace:

Album Review: Gabe Stillman — Just Say the Word

From the roaring slide guitar figure that opens “Give Me Some Time,” on Gabe Stillman’s new Just Say the Word, it’s clear that this youthful musician from Pennsylvania is steeped in the blues. Stillman’s 2020 release, Flying High was a collaborative effort that featured the guitarist backed by renowned heartland blues outfit The Nighthawks. It