“Billy Paul” and the Elegist of Music City

Vince Gill (promotional image, photo credit: JWright)

Introduction Those of you who follow us on Facebook know that we often recognize artists’ birthdays. That’s mostly my work. With plenty of thinking about mortality in our blog posts, it’s worth celebrating the musicians that help us find our way to meaning through their art. Besides, as 2016 already has … → read more

Jon Langford interview, Part Two

Jon Langford (Photo by Barry Phipps, courtesy the artist and Bloodshot Records) Today we continue our conversation with transplanted Chicagoan and jack-of-all-trades (music, art, comic interludes, storytelling) Jon Langford. You can read Part One here; Part Three appears Friday. Today we find out why Langford wanted to record an album … → read more

Let my guitar playing friend do my request

Jerry Garcia I first remember hearing Merle Haggard’s song “Sing Me Back Home,” which we introduced in the previous post, in a cover version performed by Richard Shindell. It’s possible I heard a taped Grateful Dead version before then, but Shindell’s is the first one I remember. Shindell added the … → read more

Sing Me Back Home

Merle Haggard‘s 1968 hit, “Sing Me Back Home” gives us three chords and the truth about compassion and the power of music. In it, we hear forgiveness and reconciliation, but with an unwavering certainty of outcome. There is clinging to life, but an acceptance of death. It is about the … → read more

Outlaws, Bandits, and Troubadours

Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt After such a long post last time, I plan for this one to be long on music and short on text.  If there’s a narrative to capture here, it’s that I think “Pancho and Lefty” has become a favorite for singer-songwriters and performers following … → read more

They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave

Woody Guthrie Working Class Hero Less graphically than “On a Hill Lone and Gray,” Woody Guthrie provides his own rendering of the Jesus story.  In this one, the multitude is still implicated, but in a slightly different way; and, the Jesus depicted is decidedly human, a working man of the … → read more