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Dave Swarbrick, RIP

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On June 3, 2016
The great British folk-rock violinist has died. Like Guy Clark, Dave Swarbrick did not exactly lead a life that one would call healthy. He was actually reported dead in the 90s, but was only in the hospital. I will always remember him primarily for his fiddling on “A Sailor’s Life” when he was with Fairport […]

Guy Clark, RIP

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On May 17, 2016

The great Guy Clark has died. One of the finest country-folk singers ever and a foundational figure in the alt-country genre, Clark had been sick for some time. He was not only good friends with Towne

Music Notes

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On May 14, 2016

Algiers A very busy week so I didn’t read a lot of good music pieces. However, last Friday, I saw Waxahatchee at the Columbus Theater in Providence. It was just Katie Crutchfield and the bass pl

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Music Notes

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On May 7, 2016
Haven’t done one of these in a few weeks. Here’s some interesting articles, album reviews, and tidbits. Country music humor is almost universally terrible as comedy, from “Uncle Josh” routines performed by any number of old-time and country bands through World War II to Minnie Pearl and Grandpa Jones to Ray Stevens. Some of the […]
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Music Notes

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On April 16, 2016
Here’s an excerpt from a new book on the history of the banjo: West African kings understood that music is power. They made sure their official audiences were accompanied by song. They traveled with music, too: when the king of Mali returned from a journey, wrote the fourteenth-century scholar Al-’Umari, “a parasol and a standard […]

The Best of Haggard

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On April 13, 2016

One more Merle Haggard post is necessary to commemorate of the career of one of the greatest musical artists in American history. I wanted to share with you 10 songs I think are just outstanding. My l

On the Hag

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On April 7, 2016

A few disorganized thoughts on the death of Merle Haggard. This death is a tremendous blow to the world of American music. One of the finest singers and songwriters of any genre in American history, w

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Merle Haggard, RIP

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On April 6, 2016
Fuck everything. Life is no longer worth living. Merle Haggard is, in my opinion, the greatest artist in country music history. Much more later. …If you have never read the legendary New Yorker profile of Haggard, do so. This is near the beginning: In Hampton, Virginia, at five o’clock one drizzly, cool January morning, Theresa […]

Music Notes

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On March 26, 2016

Some music news and notes for a Saturday evening. Steve Young died last week. The country songwriter of the 1970s produced hits for a lot of people, including Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. He mad

Music Notes

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On March 12, 2016

A few musical items of interest. One of my ten favorite albums of all time is back in print. That is Sonny Sharrock’s Ask the Ages. The great guitar player died soon after making this album, jus

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