This week tour dates and flights and meetings were rescheduled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and music writers in the Northeast have been preoccupied. And even though the mood is darker, the show did go on; here are three stories to divert and edify you while we all try to get back to normal.
Some touring artists consider the road a lonesome place, but Tift Merritt seems to revel in the journey. While much of her new album, Traveling Alone, was written in her current hometown of New York City, there's motion to the songs. Whether she's searching for a sweet spot, trying hard to get home or offering up a guide to holding on to moments of stillness, the travel inspires. From the joyful side of the road comes this song, "To Myself."
This past week has been filled with some truly tragic stories of loss and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There are also a few stories of near misses and disasters averted. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, fortunately has one of the latter.
At the archives of Radio Tanzania, more than 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes are stacked in floor-to-ceiling shelves. Each band, musician and recording date is painstakingly notated. The tapes reside inside three musty rooms of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corp., which occupies the old brick-and-concrete BBC building in Dar es Salaam.
Radio Tanzania was the country's only station from its birth in 1951 until the mid-1990s, when competing stations came on the air and state-controlled radio became irrelevant.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 9:03 am
Alt-J is a quirky band that, over the past few months, has found its way to the top of my listening pile and is now my favorite album of the year. I'm not alone. Yesterday Alt-J's album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize. This choice prize for bands in Great Britain is selected by music journalists and other music business folks and often goes to underdogs. This year is no exception.
Elizabeth Doyle was brought up around all kinds of music from an early age, thanks to a truly musical family in South Dakota. Three of her four grandparents were professional musicians, including one radio performer and singing cowboy. Her father had played saxophone and clarinet in the Navy during WWII, and her mother was an avid singer and pianist. Both parents were fans of big-band music, jazz, and the show tunes of the '30s, '40s, and '50s.
Chip Taylor makes his fourth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minn. Even if he hadn't written some of the best known songs in pop music — including "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" — Taylor might still be a contender for the real-life Most Interesting Man in the World.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 9:06 am
One of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '90s, Afghan Whigs recently reunited for a string of live performances in 2012. Singer Greg Dulli, guitarist Rick McCollum and drummer Steve Earle met while attending the University of Cincinnati; bassist John Curley was a photographer at the Cincinnati Inquirer who happened to meet Dulli at a friend's apartment. They became Afghan Whigs in 1986 and attracted a dedicated cult following that's remained fervent long after the band's 2001 dissolution.