Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 2:14 pm
When Jozef Van Wissem plays the lute, he doesn't sit. Instead, the New York-based Dutchman stands, looming over his low-hanging instrument like the "figure in black" character in "Black Sabbath" — that'd be the song "Black Sabbath," from the album Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath — that scares the living bejeezus out of everyone.
Hugely good news for all you wandering minstrels: After years of pressure from groups like the American Federation of Musicians, the FAA has just passed a bill that (finally!) allows musicians to carry their instruments as carry-on luggage or, for larger instruments, to buy an extra seat. However, the federal agency has a year to implement the new standards.
Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.
"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."
The dB's secured a place in rock history as one of the pioneering jangle-pop bands of the early '80s. Deftly combining new wave and power-pop, it created a melodic niche for itself among its Southern peers — bands like The Feelies and R.E.M.
The New York Times writer Jon Pareles called Lionel Loueke "the gentle virtuoso" for the engaging way Loueke melds African guitar traditions with jazz harmony. Loueke gets African-style rhythms going, tapping on his guitar and using his effects pedals. He sings and harmonizes with his own voice.