Music

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Emmylou Harris celebrated her birthday last week. In the world of the Cosmic American Music, attention must be paid. Skipping over great swaths of her career, I thought I might take the occasion as an excuse to revisit her story along with a few of the videos that reflect her artistry. She is, to say the least, still going strong. In the time of the great hunkering down, this may »

Bill Withers dies at 81

Featured image I am sorry to pass on the news that Bill Withers died on Monday at the age of 81. The cause, according to his family, was heart complications. The news will break the hearts of anyone who leaned on his music to get through sad times or celebrate happy occasions. Where were you the first time you heard “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971? If you were around at the time, »

Joe Diffie, RIP [Updated]

Featured image COVID-19 has claimed one of its more prominent victims in country singer Joe Diffie, age 61. I remember Diffie fondly because he was on the radio in the early 1990s, when I first started listening to country music. I liked “Third Rock From the Sun” the only popular song, to my knowledge, whose theme is the nature of causation. Aristotle would approve, I think. Cause and effect, chain of events »

Smoke gets in your eyes

Featured image Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. So the saying goes. There is plenty of Wuhan coronavirus smoke, and few doubt there will be a fire. However, no one knows how big the fire will be or how much damage will result from measures to extinguish it. Later today, I will write about some forecasts of how bad this epidemic is likely to get. For now, as a change of pace, I »

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Featured image What better time to immerse ourselves in the blues than now? Taking an approach with a wide focus, I thought I would pick a few favorites with no principle of selection other than my own deep fondness for the artists and the songs. The level of writing, performance, and production is so high that these songs overcome their thematic sadness. For historical purposes I recommend the work of my favorite »

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Featured image I’m taking the liberty of reposting this tribute to a great song with an unusual story behind it as a break from the news of the day. From Ella Fitzgerald to Fran Landesman to T.S. Eliot and Geoffrey Chaucer, here we go: There are a few torch songs that lament the coming of Spring. This time of year, if you’re tuned to one of the right stations, you may well »

Wynonna defies the panic

Featured image We appear to be in the “cancel all the things” phase of the Coronavirus panic. I don’t purport to know the appropriate level of concern, although I assume it should be high. I take it, however, that many Americans of different stripes are highly invested in raising the level of concern to a panic and exploiting it for their own purposes. That can’t be right. My wife and I joined »

La-la means I love you

Featured image Written by William Hart and Thom Bell, produced by Thom Bell and Stan Watson, “La-La (Means I Love You)” is a classic of Philly soul, vintage 1968, and a memorable hit for the Delfonics. What a beautiful pop song. I don’t think they make ’em like this anymore. Hart sang the shimmering falsetto lead on the hit single. Laura Nyro responded deeply to the song. As she did with so »

The Porgy and Bess experience

Featured image Even if you love the music of George and Ira Gershwin, as I do, you are highly unlikely ever to have seen a faithful production of Porgy and Bess. Productions of the opera are few and far between; they become events. I was therefore excited to attend a showing of the Metropolitan Opera’s Porgy and Bess at a local theater participating in Fathom Events programming this past Wednesday. It’s the »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image For a change of pace and for the sheer pleasure of the thing, I would like to pay tribute to Don Everly on the occasion of his birthday yesterday; he turned 83. Younger brother Phil died at the age of 74 six years ago. In the Cosmic American Music the Everly Brothers have a constellation all to themselves. They brought the close harmony singing of traditional country music into the »

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 »