Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Tucker Carlson recently found himself quoting the lyrics from Don McLean’s smash hit “American Pie” without quite knowing what they meant. Being an inquisitive fellow, Tucker thought to go to the man himself to ask (video below). I am a long-time fan of Don McLean and could not have been more delighted to see him. He is now 74 years old. Having watched Mike Douglas interview him on Douglas’s daily »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image This morning I want to revisit a few of the secular pop songs that seize on Christmas in one way or another for their own artistic purposes. Last year I added three more selections to the lineup. I’d like to stick with it again this year. These are my selections in chronological order of release along with my notes on them. In the video below Johnny and Edgar Winter perform »

There’s something about Suzy

Featured image We skipped Games 6 and 7 of the World Series to see Suzy Bogguss performing with Craig Smith (lead guitar) and Elio Giordano (bass) at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday and Wednesday evenings this week. Several Power Line readers were in the house. I snapped the photo on the right from Table 152 as she was performing “Letting Go,” a song written by Doug Crider (her husband). She mentioned »

Kanye’s Conversion

Featured image You likely have heard about Kanye West’s new album, “Jesus Is King.” West apparently has converted to a quite traditional style of Christianity. This is not surprising in itself, as most African-American churches are conservative, but some, like Andrew Walker at National Review, think it may be important: “Kanye West’s Conversion Could Be a Cultural Wrecking Ball.” One of the songs on Jesus Is King is “Closed on Sunday.” It »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image With the coming of Halloween on Thursday it may be an opportune moment for a diversion. I certainly need one. If you listen to the right radio stations at this time of the year, you will hear a few songs associated with the holiday. On WUMB’s Highway 61 Revisited show yesterday morning, host Albert O devoted the entire four hours to songs fitting the holiday. Probably foremost them is “I »

Judy Miller remembers Mr. Jimmy

Featured image Judy Miller is the former New York Times reporter and author of the gripping memoir The Story. We hosted Judy for three days this past summer; I read her memoir to get a better handle on her distinguished career and the Pulitzer Prize she picked up along the way. I couldn’t put the book down. Judy is a meticulous reporter of diverse interests and a natural storyteller as well. The »

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Featured image Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter are on a brutally arduous tour together celebrating their thirty-plus years of friendship. We saw them last night at St. Catherine College’s O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in St. Paul before an intensely appreciative audience. My purpose here, as usual, is to bring a song or two with which you may be unfamiliar to your attention for the sheer pleasure of the thing and to alert you »

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Featured image This category is normally Scott’s beat, but I think his hunt for the great exclamation point has detracted from his YouTube viewing. A preface: one of my favorite interviews interspersed with the music of the The Last Waltz, Martin Scorcese’s film about the blowout final live performance of The Band in 1978, features one of the members (I think it was frontman Robbie Robertson, but I don’t recall just now) »

Woodstock @ 50

Featured image Forget asking about citizenship status on the next Census. I’ve always wanted to have the Census ask: “Were you at Woodstock in 1969?” The event was such an icon for the appalling baby boomer generation (to which I sadly belong) that I estimate that you’d get 5 million Yes responses to the question. Maybe that many people believe they were there by astral projection during an acid trip or something. »

At the Grateful Dead meet-up

Featured image Taking a break from the news, I attended the first international edition of the so-called Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the suburban AMC multiplex in Eden Prairie, Minnesota last night. This year’s Meet-Up featured a showing of the Dead’s June 17, 1991 concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (setlist here). Arriving at the Eden Prairie mall an hour early to have dinner with my friend Mike Frost saved »

Rhyming Albuquerque

Featured image This morning I’m flying to Albuquerque on my way to St. John’s College in Santa Fe to study Montaigne’s “Apology for Raymond Sebond” next week. It’s the longest essay in Montaigne’s Essays, by far. I hope to deepen my understanding of this difficult essay over the next week. At the moment I will only say that Montaigne is a most humane and companionable writer. We have much to learn from »

Musical notes

Featured image I am crazy about American popular music. I admire the songwriters, the performers, the musicians, the producers, the historians and even (in the case of Norman Granz) the managers. In just the past year, for example, I have paid tribute to Ella Fitzgerald (and Granz), Bob Dylan, David Bromberg, Ann Hampton Callaway, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy LaMott, Philip Furia (for his books »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Ernest Hemingway famously declared: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. It’s the best book we’ve had.” For me, all American music comes from one band founded by Roger McGuinn called the Byrds. It’s the best band we’ve had. Yesterday McGuinn turned 77. Long may he run. Chris Hillman was the Byrds’ original bassist. He had become a California bluegrass star fronting his »

Color Him Father

Featured image I wrote this on Father’s Day a few years ago. It is a post that struck a chord with at least a few readers. I am taking the liberty of reposting it today in honor of the day. My father was a thoughtful man in his own way. In the last years of his life he recited for me the things for which he was most grateful. In retrospect I »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Albert O spins the tunes on WUMB’s four-hour Saturday morning show featuring music of the ’60’s and 70’s. The show takes its name from Bob Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited — that’s the name of the show. Dylan is the show’s tutelary spirit. Albert observes Dylan’s birthday each year by devoting the show to Dylan’s songs, mostly as performed by others. The show can’t help but prompt one to reflect »

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan is first and foremost a songwriter. He somehow absorbed the folk, rock, country and blues traditions as a precocious young man and then recapitulated them in his own voice many times over while adding a twist of modernist poetry to the mix. On his birthday, I want to take the liberty of reposting some notable cover versions of great songs you may not have heard before, at least »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 78. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there. We’re going to celebrate him as long we’re both still around to enjoy the occasion. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house »