Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy

“He’s the keeper of the keys…”In our opening post this week on Warren Zevon, I was careful while interpreting the lyrics to point out that the readings were mine.  It’s not clear to me that any of Warren’s lyrics have a totally static intentional meaning.At several points in his biography, … → read more

EMILY PINKERTON: Ends of the Earth

Emily Pinkerton: Ends of the Earth

          EMILY PINKERTON Ends of the Earth Green Jeans 003 www.emilypinkerton.com   At first, the thought of blending the music of Appalachia and the Peruvian Andes seems unlikely, but Pinkerton, who was coincidently born in Valparaiso, Indiana, does just that on this collection. The instruments are … → read more

Warren Zevon – Early Ballads

It’s easy to say that the murder ballad today is obsolete, and that those of us obsessed with the genre are like those odd people on Antiques Roadshow that know a whole lot about certain picky sorts of old stuff mysterious to most.  (Aw, who am I kidding?  Usually when I … → read more

KATE CAMPBELL: 1,000 Pound Machine

Kate Campbell, 1,000 Pound Machine

        KATE CAMPBELL 1,000 Pound Machine Large River 5112 www.katecampbell.com/large-river-music www.katecampbell.com   This is Kate Campbell’s 14th release. Bookending the collection is Kate’s musical explanation of the mechanics of her “1,000 pound machine”: her piano. The first cut has lyrics, the last cut is an instrumental version … → read more

When you hear my pistol growlin’

This is our third post on “Swannanoa Tunnel.”  Read the first one here, and the second one here. “Ashville Junction” Today’s post will be longer on music and shorter on writing, covering a wider variety of approaches to “Swannanoa Tunnel.”  In the previous post, I suggested that the song was … → read more

This old hammer killed John Henry, won’t kill me

This is the second of three posts on “Swannanoa Tunnel.” You can read the first here and the third here. North Carolina-based musician and radio host Wayne Erbsen makes a curious claim in introducing his performance of “Swannanoa Tunnel” on the compilation album In the Land of the Sky:  Songs and Stories … → read more

NORDIC FIDDLERS BLOC: Nordic Fiddlers Bloc

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc: Nordic Fiddlers Bloc

        NORDIC FIDDLERS BLOC Nordic Fiddlers Bloc Etnisk Musikklub 98 www.emcd.no     The fiddle trio might not take in all the Nordic countries, but with members from Norway, Sweden and the Shetland Isles – which was long ago settled by Vikings, even if it is Scottish … → read more

CHEYENNE BROWN: Parallel Latitudes

Cheyenne Brown: Parallel Latitudes

          CHEYENNE BROWN Parallel Latitudes Bird Creek 001 www.cheyenneharp.com   Cheyenne Brown is Alaskan by birth but she has spent the last nine years in Scotland where she has studied the harp and won numerous awards. Parallel Latitudes is a cycle of tunes ranging from the … → read more