6 mins

Never Die Young

When James Taylor released his 12th album, Never Die Young, in January of 1988, I was 13 — just the right age to have little to no awareness of his place in the rock firmament. He’d started coming out of his mid-period slump with his previous effort, 1985′s That’s Why I’m Here, but he wasn’t ...

1 min

The Division Bell

I don’t care what’s included, there’s absolutely no possible configuration of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell that could justify charging $135 for a deluxe box. I’m admittedly not a huge Floyd fan, and my objections stem more from the album’s overall dullness than any “Pink Fraud” Roger Waters loyalty argument, but still — I’m having a hard ...

3 mins

Thank Goodness Sonny Knight’s “Still Here”

Sonny Knight

I’d never heard of Secret Stash Records before the ever-indispensable Heavy Soul Brutha hipped me to the existence of Sonny Knight and the Lakers’ new I’m Still Here LP, but based on the aforementioned evidence, I’m convinced that the Minneapolis label is doing the Lord’s work. Bluntly put, this is some fine, fine stuff — ...

2 mins

Hunting the Hunter

Charlie Hunter

There are artists whose music I love, but whose output I find too prolific to follow — guys like Bill Mallonee, who I think is a genius songwriter but blasts records out at a bewildering pace, or Charlie Hunter, who seems to eat, sleep, and breathe with his trademark seven- and eight-string guitars strapped around ...

6 mins

Make It Your Own


The old man reached under his bed and pulled out an ancient cardboard guitar case. Opening it slowly, he removed the oldest Gibson guitar I had ever seen and strummed it once with his giant brown thumb. “I gots it tuned like a banjo — the fourth string down. You tune it to suit yourself.” ...

9 mins



The ukulele might be the official instrument for YouTube cover artists and Zooey Deschanel wannabes, but I’ll tell you something else it’s good for: Aging writers who have always loved music but have never had enough patience to develop any actual musical skill. If you know me, you know I was a recording artist in ...

6 mins

Deeper Still


“Man, you suck.” These are supposedly the words spoken by Miles Davis to Chet Baker when Baker, after straining through a gig with Davis in attendance, walked up to introduce himself. In his book Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, author James Gavin traces the tale back to Baker himself, who ...

5 mins

Sabougla Voices


“Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of my art,” wrote my friend Arend Anton in a recent Facebook post. “I used to ride the waves of creativity, and this convinced me that art was spontaneous and uncontrollable. Now that I’m a bit older, the waves seem to have receded and I’ve been ...

4 mins

Shy Dog

When it comes to relationships, I’ve never been much of a stand-up-and-fight kind of guy. When it’s over, it’s over, and it’s time to move on. A few times, though, moving on has been easier said than done — and with one relationship in particular…

Older posts