To write about music, you must first come to terms with your fanboy urges. You must brush off the fairy dust and see your heroes for who they really area picture that in many cases is all too human. Yet that first blush of idolatry is an experience you never quite forget, no matter how many times you interview a person.
There was a time, back in the St. Elmo's Fire 1980s, when Steve Earle's first album, Guitar Town, was an object of abject slobbery for a generation of rock critics. Turning a near-mint LP copy of that album over in his hands, Earle begins to reminisce about a record that changed Nashville and country-rock music and, for many, remains his undisputed career masterpiece.
James Brown at B.B. Kings in New York on Friday night. Big semi-crazed shows, what they used to call revues, like the one Brown brought to town are fast becoming a lost art. The band featured three horns, three drummers, four female backup singers called Bittersweet (two black, two white) and four guitar players all of whom were killer and all of whom played in widely diverse styles.
With increasing frequency, a litany of strange packages began arriving in my mail recently. Inside were, and continue to be, a series of very strange discs, entitled, Rockabye Baby!, that purport to be rock tunes made into lullabies. My first reaction? Smoking crack, as well all well saw in the 90's, can be a terrible, terrible thing.
Robert Baird reports from South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas.
I couldn’t resist. It was a sunny Monday afternoon and after a cruise on Austin’s famous drag, (otherwise known as Guadalupe), past the old (real) Antone's club, which is now a dry cleaners, I parked the rental car and slid into a nearly deserted Hole-in-the-Wall, for a shot of Patron Silver and to soak in a little classic Austin atmosphere.
So I'm sitting in traffic on MOPAC, the north/south expressway in Austin, listening to Willie Nile sing "Streets of New York," a tune that can be thought of as his "Jungleland" from his latest album, Streets of New York, on the CD player of my rented Jeep Liberty.
SXSW Part 3
So it was definitely the year of the female singer at SXSW 2007. Lily Allen was sassy and backed by a horn section. White dudes hooting on tenors, always a good time. The person I was with turned to me about halfway through and said, "I like this but I can’t tell you why." I took that to be a good sign.