Strange happenings in music today

By Chris Cooper

Here are a few things about “modern” rock and pop that I’ve found interesting (in a morbid curiosity kind of way) or just plain depressing recently. Maybe I’ve too much time on my hands. Maybe some of this will actually make sense. Who knows? Read, then discuss amongst yourselves.

Remarkable talent shines in Rosser’s latest

By Chris Cooper

Man, I don’t want to start off with the whole “He’s done it again!” thing. You know, the kind of review where the author is obviously a fan of the artist already, and can do nothing but toss out glowing praise for every note, every beat, every letter of the liner notes. I so don’t want to come off as “that guy.”

Knight rolls with the punches

By Chris Cooper

It’s pretty rough going for the characters in Chris Knight’s songwriting.

There’s booze, violence and regret lurking around every corner. There are sad folks using other sad people to make themselves feel better, families losing their farms, and the loneliness and stillness that come with loss. But they still manage to party at the local juke joint, look back on better days, and keep an eye out for a glimmer of hope here and there.

A stripped-down, heartfelt message from Kate Campbell

By Chris Cooper

Kate Campbell’s roots in southern storytelling and musical tradition run deep. Her earlier albums, specifically Songs From The Levee and Moonpie Dreams bridged the gaps between folk, country and pop in a manner not unlike Mary Chapin Carpenter’s mid-90’s work.

Canvas stretchers

Yes, this is another of those pesky “music you may want to check out” articles. The “canvas stretcher” opening refers to a few artists that, in my opinion, took a relatively comfortable, recognizable form of music (the canvas, if you will) and pushed it (stretched) somewhere a bit further outside the standard boundaries.

Mountain Metal Fest raises a joyous noise

By Chris Cooper

Hold one of your hands up, left or right, whichever you prefer. With your palm facing outward, curl your middle and ring fingers, as well as your thumb, into the palm of your hand, leaving the index and pinky fully extended. You are now making the universal “metal’ sign, similar to the Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign. You may use this particular gesture either in lieu of (or as a precursor to) clapping after a song. If you wish, it can be used to indicate the “metallitude” of someone or something, as well.

Rebel Records roundup

Rebel records, the venerable bluegrass-only imprint that’s as much a home to royalty like Ralph Stanley as it is young upstarts like Steep Canyon Rangers, has issued a slew of fine CDs in the last few months.

Big sounds in this intelligent, intentionally bumpy ride

By Chris Cooper

A rather popular band was recently branded with the criticism of being “a small band trying to sound big.” It’s an interesting idea, because in a different context (and in regards to a different band), it could easily be taken as praise.

An eclectic night at Guadalupe Café

By Chris Cooper

There’s an age-old argument that rears up whenever there are multiple acts on the roster for a show: who goes first? Nobody wants to go first. It’s like being “volunteered” for the chore everybody else skillfully avoided. So what to do when you find your group in this somewhat unenviable position?

Soul Infusion’s fifth

By Chris Cooper

Late Friday night, after the festivities died down and the crickets had begun a serenade for the wee hours, I asked Jason and Karin Kimenker to imagine what they might say 40 years from now about their experience as proprietors of Soul Infusion Tea House. Jason waxed poetic about the whole thing; describing the reciprocal nature of giving and receiving he’s learned from a community he’s grown to love. Karin said she’d just laugh.

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