What I’ve Been Doing for the Past Couple of Months: Part II

A quick round-up of my most recent publications:

George Thorogood and the Destroyers: Self-titled and Move It On Over (review, 10/1/13) – PopMatters
George Jones: Amazing Grace (review, 9/17/13) – PopMatters
Vince Gill and Paul Franklin: Bakersfield (review, 8/21/13) – PopMatters
Elvis Costello and the Roots: Wise Up Ghost (review) – Pretty Much Amazing
Neko Case: The Worse Things Get … (review) – Pretty Much Amazing

The Replacements in ’13: A Fan’s Reaction (live review, 10/1/13) – Paste Magazine

Here’s hoping I can get a little better about keeping after this! As always, feel feel to get in touch if you have questions, concerns, thoughts, opinions, what have you.  Drop me a line in the comments section, or see my “contact” page for other options.


What I’ve Been Doing for the Past Couple of Months

Been a long time, hasn’t it?  What with writing, editing, and starting a new job at Ballotpedia, I just haven’t had the time to keep this thing up-to-date.  To make things right, here’s a rundown of my recent publications (dating roughly from July 1 to present).

Album reviews: 

Elvis Presley: Elvis at Stax (review, 8/16/13) – PopMatters
Charlie Robison: Live at Billy Bob’s, TX (capsule review, 7/29/13) – PopMatters
Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup: Sunny Road (capsule review, 7/22/13) – PopMatters
Randall Bramblett: The Bright Spots (review, 7/18/13) – PopMatters

Live reviews:

Chris Isaak: 28 July 2013 – Carmel IN (review, 8/16/13) – PopMatters

Blog posts and miscellany:

For Your (Re)consideration: The Rolling Stones in the 1980s (blog post, 7/18/13) – PopMatters

In less than a month, I’ll be heading to Riot Fest (Chicago) to cover the reunion of the Replacements for Paste Magazine.  Stay tuned for more!

Apropos of Nothing: Merle Haggard: “Working in Tennessee” (2011)

“Well, the water came in, the water went out. / I saw the Hall of Fame floatin’ about. / Look at me! / Working in Tennessee.”

Man’s got half a lung missing and he’ll still kick your ass up the street and back again.  Full of piss and vinegar and swinging like a wrecking ball, Haggard lays down yet another classic (is anyone keeping score?).  Why?  Because he can and you can’t.  Consider yourself privileged.

REVIEW: Willie Nile: American Ride (2013)

Easily one of the best albums I’ve heard this year.  An excerpt from my review for PopMatters:

“Rock (with or without the roll – usually without) remains to this day a very white, very male, very middle class form, and like most pop music that doesn’t take the lion’s share of its audience from the pre-teen demo, it has its niche market (at present, white collegiates and post-collegiates). But that’s not breaking news – pop music has been fractured for decades. And for as long as this fracturing has been pop’s modus operandi, there have been self-styled revivalist rock ‘n’ rollers excavating the music’s past and iconography, searching for and extending the music’s secrets. Bruce Springsteen has made one hell of a career out of it, as have many others. With American Ride, Willie Nile joins their ranks and proves he can do it just as well as the best of them, sometimes better – Springsteen included.”

Willie Nile: American Ride (review) – PopMatters

REVIEW: John Fogerty: Wrote a Song for Everyone (2013)

I’m a little late posting this one (busy week), but here’s my review of the new Fogerty record, Wrote a Song for Everyone, via PopMatters.

“More than Dylan, or even Springsteen, Fogerty is the great populist songwriter of the rock era. Songs like “Fortunate Son” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” (just two of the more prominent examples, each featured here) set the standard for a certain kind of rock ‘n’ roll—socially engaged in subtle, metaphorical ways, and unrelentingly egalitarian in its appeal. When he fronted Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty was spinning off masterpieces of that form at an impossible—and, as it turned out, unsustainable—rate.”

John Fogerty: Wrote a Song for Everyone (review) – PopMatters

Fair warning: the following music video’s a little on the corny side.  But John Fogerty can do whatever the hell he wants.  Did you ever write something as good as “Green River” ?  Didn’t think so.

INTERVIEW: Jason Isbell (via PopMatters – 2013)

My first interview, with the very talented and always interesting Jason Isbell, was published this week via PopMatters.  Here’s a taste:

“Yeah, commiserating is underrated, I think, in art. People love to be listened to and represented and they love it when they feel like you have some of the same problems that they do. Everybody deals with things like romantic difficulties in relationships and death and cancer and abuse. Like the song “Yvette”, for example. It’s sort of a complement to “Daisy Mae” off the last record. I got to a point, I guess when I was probably 30, or 31 years old, where it occurred to me almost everyone you meet was sexually abused as a kid, almost everybody, by someone. That never happened to me, believe it or not, but the percentages are just staggering, and writing a song about something that’s that depressing, I think it’s good to discuss it. Some people like to discuss those things, maybe they don’t want to start the conversation themselves, but sometimes those things help folks to relate and get those things out of their system a little bit.”

“Commiserating is Underrated in Art”: An Interview with Jason Isbell (interview) – PopMatters

REVIEW: Jason Isbell: Southeastern (2013)

In my second review for Paste Magazine, I cover Jason Isbell’s excellent new release, Southeastern, out today.  A snippet of the review:

“By any reasonable aesthetic criteria, Southeastern is a triumph. It’s a vindication for those of us who have charted our lives by his work, carrying songs like “Outfit” around like talismans. It’s the most potent expression to date of Isbell’s talent (including his DBT output) and, hopefully, a harbinger of great things to come.”

Jason Isbell: Southeastern (review) – Paste Magazine