Music

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Daryl Hall made a house call on Darius Rucker in Charleston for an episode of his Live From Daryl’s House series a few years ago. By my lights there isn’t a bad song or a dull moment in the episode. The whole episode is posted here and it’s all highlights. Darius’s number 1 country hit “Wagon Wheel” was a revelation to me (video below). I was unfamiliar with the song. »

A personal look back

Featured image This past December brought to mind some of the happiest parts of my life. John Hinderaker’s retirement party accounted for a good share. Working with John turned into a friendship that has changed my life for the better. The party took me back to our professional relationship. We started writing columns and articles together on the side of our law practice at the end of 1991. In his usual style, »

From this moment on

Featured image Today is the centennial anniversary of the birth of Frank Sinatra. William Ruhlman provides an excellent overview of Sinatra’s long career. According to William Butler Yeats, “The intellect of man is forced to choose/perfection of the life, or of the work…” If there is such a choice, there aren’t many artists to whom it is available, but Sinatra would be one, wouldn’t he?Omniscient Twin Cities deejay Pete Lee calls Sinatra »

Time Between

Featured image Chris Hillman was a teenage bluegrass star on the Los Angeles music scene in the early ’60s. Within a few years he had moved from mandolin to bass and become one of the founding members of the Byrds together with Roger (then Jim) McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark. The Byrds brought McGuinn’s jangly 12-string guitar and their brilliant Beatles harmonies to the music of Bob Dylan, turning both themselves »

Bon Jovi to Waters: Drop Dead!

Featured image Some years ago, I was in the office of a straitlaced, middle-aged lady who was in charge of my law firm’s support staff. I noticed a photograph on her desk of herself with a long-haired guy who looked like a rock musician. It seemed incongruous, so I asked about the picture, and she told me this story. She and her husband had a boat in a marina on the St. »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll explains: WHY I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC. She writes: There is a biopic about the eccentric jazz genius Thelonius Monk called “Straight, No Chaser.” I saw it years ago. In one scene that made a vivid impression on me, some snotty, self-absorbed “journalist” whose name I didn’t catch – who cares? — is interviewing Mr. Monk and asks him what kind of music he likes. Monk says, “I like »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image And now for something completely different, we turn to Italian luthier and musician Galeazzo Frudua. Mr. Frudua has produced a series of entertaining instructional videos breaking down the vocal harmonies on several of the Beatles’ best songs. His enthusiasm is contagious and his accent is endearing. If you have a Beatles song that you love because of the melody and the harmony parts, Frudua probably has posted a video to »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay occupies what is at the least a narrow journalistic niche. He’s a humorist writing a sports column or vice versa. His most recent column — “The NFL begins: Is your TV big enough” — is a good example, in a question-and-answer format. So, for example, we have this: Who will play the Super Bowl L halftime show? The head says Taylor Swift, but the »

Evingson’s Fresh Frish

Featured image We are crazy about jazz singer Connie Evingson. Yesterday we attended the second of her two sold-out productions of Fresh Frish at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis. Following up on Connie’s album Little Did I Dream, the show featured songs from the extensive catalog of St. Paul’s own Dave Frishberg. Frishberg didn’t make the show last night but he accompanied Connie on the recording. Last night Connie called on Jon »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image The End of the Tour is a film that depicts the late writer David Foster Wallace making his way to the Twin Cities for a reading from his novel Infinite Jest at the Hungry Mind Bookstore (also deceased) in St. Paul. The movie is based on David Lipsky’s book Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip With David Foster Wallace. I went to see the movie »

Fact vs. Theory: A special case

Featured image The ceiling collapsed during a performance at the famous Minneapolis rock venue First Avenue on Wednesday evening. Star Tribune rock critic Jon Bream and two other reporters covered the story of the ceiling collapse here. The story is no joke; the ceiling collapse sent three people to the hospital. Bream and his colleagues reported: A 30-foot-by-30-foot section gave way during a concert about 10 p.m., the Minneapolis Fire Department said. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image We’ve been taking an appreciative look back at songwriter Jimmy Webb, who celebrates his birthday this week. Webb is a winner of numerous Grammy awards and a member of the National Songwriters Hall of Fame. He first achieved fame as an incredibly precocious songwriter in the ’60s — the composer of the shlock epic “MacArthur Park” as well as of several hits for the Fifth Dimension and, perhaps most notably, »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I wrote briefly here this past Sunday about songwriter Jimmy Webb and posted a video of his song “All I Know” with Linda Ronstadt contributing the harmony vocal. I want to stick with Webb for another week or two. Next week I’m thinking we’ll turn to his relationship with Glen Campbell. This week I want to take a look at Shawn Colvin’s performance of one of Webb’s buried gems. Shawn »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Jimmy Webb seems to me a songwriting genius. He has certainly made some permanent contributions to the Cosmic American Music. In 2010 Webb called on several of his friends and admirers to revisit a few of those contributions with him on the disc Just Across the River, recorded in Nashville. (He did it again, incidentally, for the 2013 disc Still Within the Sound of My Voice.) The friends who turned »

Eyes of the World (with Comment by Steve)

Featured image Chatting at a Claremont Institute event ten years ago, Steve Hayward blessed my love of the Grateful Dead. Steve is an expert consumer not only of prog rock, but also of jam bands. He even sent me his own compilation of favorite numbers by the jam band String Theory stringing it out. Essential Dead member Jerry Garcia died in rehab in 1995. The surviving members of the group have reunited »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image After much thought and deliberation, I’m moving Hall & Oates out of the category of guilty pleasures. Among other things, their best work honestly draws on their background in Philly soul. Moreover, in the spirit of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage diktat, I ask (facetiously) who’s to judge? As Justice Kennedy might put it, all music seeks to comfort the lonely heart; all music must be accorded equal respect. (Not.) »

My Traveling Star

Featured image Sirius XM has turned over one of its channels to James Taylor 24/7 in connection with the release of his new compact disc. I first saw him perform in a basement dive with Joni Mitchell in Boston in the fall of 1968, a week or two before his first album was released on the Beatles’ label. I’ve been a fan ever since, though I have not kept up with all »