Chapin channels something powerful in The Calling

In 1992 Mary Chapin Carpenter released Come On, Come On, and though it’s a little hazy as to how I wound up with a copy, the album has since remained one of my favorite collections of songs and performances.

The Broken West nails vintage pop — in all the right ways

It’s the tambourine that gives it away. Those insistent eighth notes from the piano during the chorus, the sparkly harmonies — yeah, these guys are fans of “power pop,” all right. The good stuff too, like Joe Jackson (no, not Michael’s dad) and Alex Chilton, George Harrison’s earlier solo work and all that other stuff that manages to sound like a blindingly sunny day while somehow still breaking your heart.

The Fine Art of Being Wrong (sort of...)

I spend a considerable amount of time being disappointed by music. It’s sad, because I also happen to love music, and have for as long as I can recall. But when the Grammys were just around the corner, and I took a quick glimpse at some of the nominees, it just seemed a little depressing.

Mountain Heart serves up musical surprise

By Chris Cooper

To say that Mountain Heart isn’t exactly your “average” bluegrass band is more than a slight understatement. In fact, somewhere around the middle of Wide Open’s first track, “Traveler’s Prayer,” the band breaks it down with a stack of chords and a rhythmic flair that’s anything but typical for bluegrass. And that’s just the start of it.

As her craft evolves, Jones’ spirit remains true

By Chris Cooper

When Norah Jones swept the 2003 Grammies, it was more than just a victory for a new artist — many (including myself) felt it was a statement in support of truly dedicated songwriters and musicians everywhere. It hinted toward the possibility that it was all right to be good again, and that the sea of technologically and cosmetically enhanced “pop” stars might not be as deep as we feared.

Peaceful sounds: Bryson City woman organizes local musicians for a cause

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Downtown Sylva will host a non-partisan stand for peace on Saturday, Feb. 17, with 12 hours of non-stop music.

Stone Black aims high with a familiar formula

Expectations are tricky things. You can crack open a CD with basically one of two mindsets: “This is going to be good,” or “Ugh. I need a drink.”

Local lo-fi gets a high five

By Chris Cooper

Morning Missed: Broken Cords Of Rotten Wood

Elana James: A fiery violinist takes it solo

By Chris Cooper

Swing can take many forms. It can bop and bounce like Calloway and Ellington, or it can sprout a 10-gallon hat and spurs in the hands of Bob Wills and his Playboys. It’s been reborn time and again whenever a younger generation looks to the past for something new and inspiring to embrace. After all, “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”

Darren Nicholson: Darren Nicholson

By Chris Cooper

Yeah, it’s a quip that’s terribly overused — the one about “... there must be something in the water...”

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