It wasn't until I saw the Avett Brothers live that I understood the big fuss surrounding this stripped-down roots band. The recorded songs I liked from 2009's I and You and Love I attributed to Rick Rubin's studio wizardry, not to the magic of two North Carolinian brothers. After giving a good vinyl listen to … Continue reading Concert Review: Avett Brothers at the Cumberland County Civic Center (3.3.14)
My copy of the now infamous Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Rolling Stone cover photo has been on my desk for a week. Living in Maine, it got to me days after it initially hit news stands, so by the time I pulled it from my mailbox, this country was in a full throttle yelling match over the … Continue reading Rethinking Rolling Stone’s Boston Bomber Cover and the Way We Discuss Ideas in America
Since it came to my attention two weeks ago that Heady Topper has been named the best beer in America and the best IPA in the world by some beer rating outlets, it became my unbridled mission to get my hands on a can during my Vermont trip. As a Vermont ex-pat living in Maine, … Continue reading Is Heady Topper the Best Beer in America, Nay, the World?
I wanted to hate Dawes. Badly. Before I heard a note from leadman Taylor Goldsmith's guitar marinated in Neil Young fuzz, I only knew that they were the darlings of the rock and roll old guard. They've received nods from Jackson Browne and Heartbreaker organist Bentmont Tench who both play on Nothing is Wrong. Chris … Continue reading Album Review: Stories Don’t End, Dawes
Some voices don't age well. Dylan's once mercurial croon is now a raspy drone. And will someone tell Roger Daltrey to please stop. His days of properly belting "Baba O'Riley" are long gone. Some voices, though, seem to grow into their songs as the singer ages. Case in point: the American songwriting genius John Prine. … Continue reading Concert Review: John Prine Live at Portsmouth Music Hall (4.20.13)
Let's get something clear right off: Josh Ritter is the best singer/songwriter on the scene these days. Best is a slippery term, but I stand behind my diction. Argue as you probably should with such a bold statement, Ritter is the man who gave us "The Temptation of Adam" (Historical Conquests) and "The Curse" (So … Continue reading Album Review: The Beast in its Tracks, Josh Ritter
In the summer of 2007 on a campus in the Bread Loaf Wilderness in Ripton, Vermont, I inadvertently incited an argument between two writers. While discussing Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker in a fiction writing workshop run by the patient and at times clairvoyant Patricia Powell she noted that Danticat’s book was a novel that … Continue reading What the Concept Album Can Teach Short Story Writers