Meridian RIsing

A Tip of the Hat to Jimmie Rodgers

Billed by Paul Burch as “an imagined autobiography” of legendary 1920s singer/songwriter Jimmie Rodgers, the marvelous Meridian Rising opens with a clarinet-spiced ode to the Singing Brakeman’s hometown of Meridian, Mississippi and ends an hour later with the infectious “Back to the Honky Tonks” and “Oh, Didn’t He Ramble,” a Dixieland instrumental. In between are…

James Hunter cover

A Potent Dose of Fifties- and Sixties-Styled R&B

Like fellow Brit Amy Winehouse, who also worked with producer Gabriel Roth, singer James Hunter has been heavily influenced by fifties and sixties American R&B. He first garnered stateside attention with 2006’s wonderfully anachronistic People Gonna Talk. On Hold On!, his fourth and best CD, he continues to reference that era, even going so far…

David-Bowie_Chicago_2002-08-08_photoby_Adam-Bielawski-cropped

The Sad News about David Bowie

“It’s a great time to be David Bowie,” wrote the New York Times in Monday’s edition. The paper detailed his new album, a planned tribute concert, and his work on an off-Broadway musical. But hours after the paper went to press, the Times and others were reporting his death of cancer at age 69. He’d kept…

Ten Miles of Bad Road

Under the Big Blues Umbrella

Like the rock and roll genre, the blues label covers vast terrain—so vast that it would be almost meaningless if it weren’t for the fact that you generally know blues when you hear it. Two new releases offer a case in point: they’re both clearly blues, but the music they deliver is nevertheless quite different.…

Madeleine's Surprise 40th Birthday at Pourquoi Pas

The Best Purchase I Ever Made

[Occasionally, this website addresses topics other than music. This is one of those times.] In the weeks before my wife Madeleine turned 40 in 1999, I decided I wanted to mark the occasion with a night she’d remember, so I invited many of her friends and relatives to a surprise dinner at a fine French…

Tusk (Deluxe Edition)

Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk: A Fresh Look at One of Rock’s Most Underrated Records

Though Tusk received generally positive reviews when it appeared in 1979, the prevailing view seems to be that it paled alongside its huge-selling immediate predecessors, 1975’s Fleetwood Mac and 1977’s Rumours. The consensus was that Lindsey Buckingham had taken over the group and buried its shimmering pop under layers of less-accessible experimental music. Fleetwood Mac’s…