Rites of Passage (2000), by the Indigo Girls: An Appreciation

How many rites of passage must we endure in a single lifetime? It’s still a good question: how many rites of passage must we endure until finally we mature into the adults that we fervently hope to become? I’ll bet the Indigo Girls ask themselves this question all the time.  Does listening to the IndigoContinue reading “Rites of Passage (2000), by the Indigo Girls: An Appreciation”

Two confessions (maybe three) concerning why Ani Di Franco is an alt rock/folk/jazz singer-songwriter goddess

Dear Ani, I have a confession to make. Actually, I have two confessions to make. Well, maybe it’s three, but I haven’t figured that part out yet. In the end, you will have to decide for me. OK? The first confession is that I broke the first CD in your 2007 song anthology, Canon. ItContinue reading “Two confessions (maybe three) concerning why Ani Di Franco is an alt rock/folk/jazz singer-songwriter goddess”

Why let professional chefs have all the fun? Knife rolls are for the rest of us, too.

I am not a professional chef, nor do I wish to be one. Even the idea of having my culinary creations judged by a teacher according to a standardized grading system fills me with dread. It’s not that I think my cooking technique is inadequate or that my foods are not tasty enough; it’s simplyContinue reading “Why let professional chefs have all the fun? Knife rolls are for the rest of us, too.”

A music review of Sheryl Crow’s 100 Miles from Memphis (2010).

Musical celebrities come and go, but true artists will wait around for you forever. It took me an inordinate amount of time to realize that Sheryl is a true artist with considerable musical abilities, and not merely a megastar celebrity. I blame myself, of course, but also the media. Whenever I tuned in to commercialContinue reading “A music review of Sheryl Crow’s 100 Miles from Memphis (2010).”

Call it the Cowboy State if you wish, but Wyoming to me is pure road trip gold.

If you’re just passing through Wyoming, en route to some other destination, you don’t need a Benchmark Road and Recreation Atlas for Wyoming (the 4th edition is now available). You just need to stay on the Interstates, and leave the rest of this treasure box of a territory to the rest of us. The nativeContinue reading “Call it the Cowboy State if you wish, but Wyoming to me is pure road trip gold.”

A retrospective music review of Craig Chaquico, Midnight Noon (2004).

Higher Octave albums are rarely as astonishing as this Chaquico classic. To say that the album, Midnight Noon, which Craig released when he was approaching 50 years of age, is not my all-time favorite of his Higher Octave music releases is like saying that Sleepy isn’t my favorite of the Seven Dwarves. I mean, youContinue reading “A retrospective music review of Craig Chaquico, Midnight Noon (2004).”

A music review of Craig Chaquico and Russ Freeman, From the Redwoods to the Rockies.

Collaborations between top musicians like Russ Freeman and Craig Chaquico are rarely as sublime as this. Many a famous musician, especially as they get older, has tried to partner with another, well known musician to make an album together. Madonna is a prime example, particularly since she turned 50 and began to associate herself withContinue reading “A music review of Craig Chaquico and Russ Freeman, From the Redwoods to the Rockies.”

An open letter to Ani DiFranco after listening to her 2017 album, Binary. A lot.

The numbers don’t lie, Ani; I did the math. Binary is an act of transmogrification. Ani, it really does pencil out. Great artists frequently do their best, most transformational work in their mid to late 40s. The fans often fail to appreciate the originality and maturity of the resulting work, having grown up on theContinue reading “An open letter to Ani DiFranco after listening to her 2017 album, Binary. A lot.”

A Scandinavian wood-chopping cult classic that touches the heart, head, and hands in equal measure: A review of Lars Mytting’s Norwegian Wood

One of the distinctive features of Lars Mytting’s cult classic, Norwegian Wood, is that is touches the heart, the head, and the hands in equal measure. It’s like an equilibrium triangle of the literary arts, a rare feat in any language. You will want to go out and collect, chop, and stack wood while reading,Continue reading “A Scandinavian wood-chopping cult classic that touches the heart, head, and hands in equal measure: A review of Lars Mytting’s Norwegian Wood”

Moody melodies, quirky turns of phrase, superb supporting cast, & virtuoso guitar licks aplenty: A reflective review of Mark Knopfler, Down the Road Wherever.

Over the course of a musical career spanning more than five full decades, Mark Knopfler has learned to do three things extremely well. He has become a master storyteller, due in no small part to his early years as a newspaper reporter, English major, and lifelong lover of history. He became a virtuoso guitar playerContinue reading “Moody melodies, quirky turns of phrase, superb supporting cast, & virtuoso guitar licks aplenty: A reflective review of Mark Knopfler, Down the Road Wherever.”