Roots and Roses

Something More Than Free Jason Isbell Southeastern Records, 2015 Americana artists are a dime a dozen.  The field is as crowded as that of the 2016 GOP hopefuls, and sometimes it can feel just as stodgy and unimaginative.  How long can a genre go back to the well of its influences – the cadences and […]

Read more "Roots and Roses"

Top 5 Gillian Welch Songs

by Noah Kucij Call it acoustic roots-rock or slowgrass or modern folk, but the music of Gillian Welch (pronounced like the gills on a fish, as she sometimes tells audiences in a conspiratorial stage whisper) is less interesting to classify than it is to hear.  She’s better known for the traditional elements of her sound […]

Read more "Top 5 Gillian Welch Songs"

Born to Run in Circles

The Silver Gymnasium Okkervil River ATO Records, 2013 by Noah Kucij The problem of the past – what to make of it, what to keep and what to throw away – has always been with us in the arts.  While the great minds of the Renaissance had to dig up and dust off the Classics in […]

Read more "Born to Run in Circles"

Radio Pantoum

by Noah Kucij   I’m not talking about some golden age when one box was enough, one big ass cherry cabinet, brass knobs, glass, transistors, wires, tubes, the whole brood gathered. When one box wasn’t enough, one big ass cherry bomb went off in the middle of culture. Strings, transistors – brooders gathered over the […]

Read more "Radio Pantoum"

Top Five Lucinda Williams Songs

  by Noah Kucij I know Lucinda Williams reminds you of your mom. And that’s fair enough: her breakthrough album, for which she won her first Grammy (the fanny pack of accolades), came out when she was 45. But because her CDs came standard in turn-of-the-century Subaru Outbacks, you may have missed what she’s been […]

Read more "Top Five Lucinda Williams Songs"

Bristle with the Energy

Chronicles of a Rush Fan by Noah Kucij My older brother introduced me to Rush around 1988.  A good big brother is a careful arbiter of musical taste, so the first thing he played for me was side two of the second cassette (it was all cassettes all the time back then), 1975’s Fly By Night.  […]

Read more "Bristle with the Energy"

Ode to Cassettes

by Noah Kucij You could index the thickness of influence in tape’s grey grizzly hiss – was it a clean copy, a Maxell swiped from Rite-Aid, unwrapped and christened, blue ballpoint a line at a time, still crisp handed over the table at lunch, or was it your brother’s old Beasties, the casing opaque, magic […]

Read more "Ode to Cassettes"

Hammersmith dervishes

Pour Down Like Silver  Richard and Linda Thompson Island Records, 1975 by Noah Kucij You may have heard something by Richard Thompson, or you may just have heard something about Richard Thompson: songwriter’s songwriter, guitar geek’s darling, balls-to-the-wall live performer, daring interpreter who’ll slide from Prince’s “Kiss” into an 11th-century English peasant dance.  Maybe none […]

Read more "Hammersmith dervishes"

Five Comfort Food Albums

by Noah Kucij I watch a lot of cooking shows.  And while I can appreciate the glamor and high technique of a five star dish gussied up for the camera, I like just as much to see great cooks take on simple pleasures.  “Comfort food” brings us home, gives our palates just what they want when they want […]

Read more "Five Comfort Food Albums"