“Blue Wing” and the Legend of Little Willie John

"Blue Wing," original art by Tom Russell (used by permission)

Prelude On the road for work a few months ago, I was driving between Cheyenne and Denver. I had a chance to meet up with an old friend for coffee on the way. Early in our conversation, I noticed she had some new ink on her left forearm, a cluster of … → read more

Podcast: Memphis TN
Episode #16-27 | airing 7-06-16

With the recent death of guitarist Scotty Moore and the release of William Bell’s wonderful new recording This is Where I Live I felt it was the perfect time to listen to artists who did their best work in Memphis and songs about that great musical town. We’ll also sample … → read more

And his mama cries: In the Ghetto

Elvis Presley, 1970 In considering Chris Smither’s song “Every Mother’s Son” in preparation for this week’s first post, I kept being drawn to the contrast between it and Elvis Presley’s blockbuster “In the Ghetto.”  The two songs appeared within three or four years of each other, both being a little … → read more

Badlands and bad seeds

In a previous post on Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” (the song, not the album), we saw how The Boss ripped the song from the headlines, chronicling the murder spree, conviction, and pending execution of the killer Charlie Starkweather and his girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate. But, actually, that’s not quite so. Some … → read more

This story has no end: Part One

Going to the Movies: Icons and Idols   The “Frankie and Johnny” story has gone through a few cinematic adaptations over the years.  It also appears in a few film musicals in productions that are otherwise unrelated to the “Frankie” story.     “She Done Him Wrong” (1933), stars Mae West … → read more