CounterPunch
Ry Cooder Live In San Francisco

Ry Cooder Live In San Francisco

Ry Cooder stopped touring on a regular basis several years ago, but every so often he likes to play at one of the best venues in the country, The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.  I was lucky enough to see him there five years ago with Nick Lowe. This is Cooder’s second live...
Garland Jeffreys' Truth Serum

Garland Jeffreys’ Truth Serum

For more than four decades Garland Jeffreys has been playing, writing, performing, always close to the top, but somehow remaining the invisible man who never gets inside, or when he does get inside, he remains invisible.  Maybe it’s because he’s half black and half Puerto Rican and all American and he sings about it.   From...
The Redfinition of Bob Dylan's Self Portrait

The Redfinition of Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait

In June of 1970, Bob Dylan released his tenth album, a two-record set with the weighty title of Self Portrait. It had a self portrait on the cover done in a style similar to the painting he did for The Band’s Music From Big Pink the year before. For most of the previous four years,...
Van Morrison Gets Political

Van Morrison Gets Political

For Van Morrison, first and foremost, it’s always been about the music, and finding that magic place inside the music that takes you someplace else, outside yourself to the nameless realm beyond.  What many see as an aloof taciturn stage presence that at times seems more eccentric the older he gets has always been about...
Bob Dylan's Sly Trip To Hell On Earth

Bob Dylan’s Sly Trip To Hell On Earth

Tempest is Bob Dylan’s 34th studio album.  He has now been recording for half a century and if this album is an indication, he has no intention of slowing down.  It is an album that is like everything he’s ever done and at the same time like nothing he’s ever done.  It takes quite a...
East Meets Vest

East Meets Vest

The first thing that really hits you listening to David Vest’s new album, East Meets Vest is how brilliantly the piano is recorded.  The crystal clear impact of it hits you with an immediacy as if there was no distance, as if you were right there in the studio or even better a living room. ...
The Art Behind the Man: Bob Dylan and America (Sean Wilentz)

The Art Behind the Man: Bob Dylan and America (Sean Wilentz)

  Historian, professor and writer Sean Wilentz’ new book Bob Dylan in America is neither biography or critical assessment though it is a bit of both.  Comprised largely of previously written though updated articles, the book isn’t so much about Dylan as it is about some of his influences, and how Dylan fits into the...
"Together Through Life" Dancing with Dylan

“Together Through Life” Dancing with Dylan

  If Bob Dylan’s previous studio album,  Modern Times was about (among other things) finding love or maybe just romance, in a world, where some sort of impending doom lurked waiting around the next corner, on the new, Together Through Life, he’s decided, well there’s nothing much you can do about it except sing the...
John Fogerty Makes Peace with His Past

John Fogerty Makes Peace with His Past

On Revival (Fantasy Records), John Fogerty comes to terms with and maybe even makes peace with his past. In doing so he’s created one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and maybe in the past several years. Fogerty’s history has been one of pop music’s legendary nightmares, involving several lawsuits, lingering bitterness between...
"I Had to Rearrange Their Faces and Give Them All Another Name" The Re-Packaging of Bob Dylan

“I Had to Rearrange Their Faces and Give Them All Another Name” The Re-Packaging of Bob Dylan

The autumn of 2007 saw the marketing of Bob Dylan by Sony/BMG like no previous year. Of course promotion has happened every time Dylan releases anything, but this year smacked of product with a corporate touch. Sometime around the end of the summer, visitors to Dylan’s official website, BobDylan.com were greeted not by the usual...
James Brown: Please Don’t Go

James Brown: Please Don’t Go

Late last night, or more accurately early this morning doing my final email check, I noticed the headline: “James Brown hospitalized with pneumonia.” I immediately had a sinking feeling, but reading the article it didn’t seem all that serious. As it turns out, he was already gone when I was reading it. The first thing...
Dylan’s Swing Time Waltz in the Face of the Apocalypse: Modern Times (2006)

Dylan’s Swing Time Waltz in the Face of the Apocalypse: Modern Times (2006)

Sometime back in the era of Nashville Skyline, but long before Self Portrait I was talking with a friend of mine who was heavily into Dylan, and had just written a paper for some course at Columbia University on “Time and Space in Bob Dylan songs.” We were in a little hamlet called Shady in...