Archive for August, 2009

a drummer's life

bill bruford. photo by james compsty.

bill bruford. photo by james compsty.

The week before Labor Day may not exactly be the most apt time to make a recommendation for summer reading. What can I say? I’m making my late summer reading pick now because I read it during the late summer.

Regardless of the season, Bill Bruford’s newly published autobiography, ingeniously titled The Autobiography, is a must read for insight into the often de-glamorized life of a serious working musician.

Bruford established his credentials at the onset of the ‘70s as drummer with Yes, leaving the band at its artistic and commercial apex following the release of Close to the Edge in 1972 for the darker, more daring and vastly more turbulent soundscapes of King Crimson – an alliance that would last, on and off, for 25 years. Even with freelance jaunts in Genesis and Gong interspersed among those tenures, Bruford spent much of the last two decades adjourning to jazz with his Earthworks band only to “retire from active service” as a professional musician earlier this year.

One would suppose then that The Autobiography would chronologically approach and dissect those segments of Bruford’s career and, thus, appeal almost exclusively to retro-minded prog rock die-hards and, perhaps, the curious jazzer. In fact, The Autobiography is a welcome curve ball where Bruford structures the telling of his career as if he were giving an interview. Thus the chapters use mundane questions the drummer has subjected himself too countless times as titles.

Among them: “Do You Still See Any of the Old Guys?,” “Yes, But What Do You Really Do?,” “Are You Making This Up?” and, of course, “Do You Like Doing Interviews?”

You can imagine what the answer to the latter is.

Quintessentially British – as in witty, blunt and conversational in an almost elegant manner – Bruford diffuses all Spinal Tap stereotypes from the onset. He has been happily married for 36 years, so forget tales of sordid on-the-road promiscuity. In fact, his view of music making (which is altogether different from his view of the music business) is often intensely personal.

He goes at length to explain philosophies that differentiate the worlds of art and mere entertainment. “The problem with entertainment is that it’s like juggling eggs,” Bruford writes. “The man who can juggle two eggs has an audience until someone comes along who can juggle three eggs. The problem with art is that it’ll probably kill you. So take your pick.”

Similarly, he takes mutual swings at working practices in America as well as in England: “Americans ‘can do,’ or at least could do.’ In 1968, unusual phrases such as ‘Yep,’ ‘Sure’ and ‘No problem’ could be heard under blue American skies as frequently as ‘Not a chance, mate,’ ‘I shouldn’t think so’ or ‘I wouldn’t if I were you, guy’ were heard in the grey mist of a London morning.”

There are, of course, wonderful postscripts – some extremely insightful – from Bruford’s life in music, although the Yes and King Crimson tales pale next to stories of working with notoriously unreliable electronic percussion devices in the 1980s, the largely unexpected underwriting of one of the drummer’s finest recordings (a 1997 trio album with Ralph Towner and Eddie Gomez titled If Summer Had Its Ghosts) and the almost elegiac sadness, seemingly rooted in perfectionist insecurities, that surrounded his retirement (“I now find further progress blocked both by the rocky mountains of inadequate technical ability and the gulf of imaginative shortcomings”).

It’s a splendid if not sobering read – a chronicle with a happy ending (an enduring family life and ownership of his entire catalogue of solo and bandleading recordings) but a somewhat shaken sense of artistic well being.

Curious about the music that made Bruford one of the most heralded and distinctive drummers in or out of rock music over the past 40 years? Then check out the recordings he considers as personal milestones in the book. Namely:

+ Yes: Close to the Edge (1972)

+ King Crimson: Red (1974)

+ Bruford: One of a Kind (1979)

+ King Crimson: Discipline (1981)

+ Earthworks: Bill Bruford’s Earthworks (1986)

But for a sense of proper perspective in how these albums play out in a truly extraordinary prog, rock and jazz career, spend some time with The Autobiography. It’s the best summer music reading you will find this fall.


The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA) September 17, 1995 | Compiled by Mary Beth Donelan Six Inland Northwest students have been named National Merit Scholarship winners. The awards are financed by the college or university.

The scholars, the college or university they will attend, and their graduating high schools are:

Jeffrey Ridlington, Whitman College, Mead Senior High School.

Kathryn Fanning, Gonzaga University; Pasco High School.

John Cameron, University of Washington; Pullman High School. go to web site beth moore blog

Richard Weeks, Gonzaga University; Ferris High School.

Charles De Grasse, University of Chicago, Walla Walla High School.

Ryan Ciolli, University of Oklahoma, Hanford Secondary School, Richland.

Cathy Johnston, Pasco, and Nancy Stewart, Spokane, were runners-up in the Treasures for the Tree Ornament Contest sponsored by Crafts ‘n Things magazine.

Two Inland Northwest students have been accepted to attend Dickinson College, Pa., in the fall:

Claire Innes, daughter of Charles and Wanda Innes, is a graduate of St. George’s School.

Jennifer Harrell, daughter of Michael and Mary Harrell, is a graduate of Gonzaga Preparatory School.

Helen Tennican, recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, with degrees in biology and Chinese studies.

Leonard Jansen, a retired Spokane attorney, has been named to a three-year term on the Whitman College Board of Overseers which is responsible for recommending policies related to institutional administration. here beth moore blog

Jansen has been a chapterman at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, director of the Scottish Rite Foundation and president of the Lind and Ritzville Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Downtown Spokane Rotary Club, chairman of the Spokane Public Library Board and director of the Deaconess Medical Center Foundation.

Dr. Kelli Pearson has been elected chairperson of Business Excellence for Women, formerly Professional Resource Options.

Other newly elected board members are: Cari Lynn Cramer, Ellie Chambers, Maggie Crawford, Colleen Striegel, Susan Thomas, Marlene Waltermire and Kerry Faggiano.

Five athletes represented the Spokane Silver Mermaids at the XXIX AAU Junior Olympic Games in Des Moines, Iowa. They competed in the 14-15 age group in synchronized swimming.

The team of Karissa Crossley, Beth Moore, Megan Murphy, Nikki Velategui and Becky Weaver, finished 13th.

The trio of Moore, Murphy and Velateui, finished 13th, and the duet of Moore and Murphy finished 19th. In a solo performance Velategui finished 21st, and in a solo Crossley finished 23rd.

In figure competition, Beth Moore placed 32nd out of 140 athletes in the competition. Other athletes placed as follows: Megan Murphy, 86th; Nikki Velategui, 99th; Karissa Crossley, 116th; and Becky Weaver, 127th.

Compiled by Mary Beth Donelan

summer album of the week: 08/29/09

the beach boys: surf's up (released august 1971)

the beach boys: surf's up (released august 1971)

You know summer is fading when the group most associated with fun in the sun starts an album with a pollution diatribe called Don’t Go Near the Water. With Surf’s Up, The Beach Boys’ grew less infatuated with catching waves and surfer girls and more with a world view that mirrored the group’s own fracturing status. The late Carl Wilson’s plaintive high pop tenor shines through Long Promised Road and Feel Flows. But the last words again go to Brian Wilson who forges Til I Die and Surf’s Up‘s title tune into glorious requiems. Even the album cover of a deflated Don Quixote signaled summer’s end. And indeed, after 1973’s Holland, The Beach Boys ceased making credible new music. But even with all its despondency, Surf’s Up remains part of a stunning final chorus.

We conclude out Summer Album of the Week series on Sept. 5 with something kinky. 

chamber of cartoons

clancy newman.

clancy newman.

The seed for the piano quintet Clancy Newman will premiere Saturday as part of the UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington was a single sound. It all began with a melody the cellist had in his head.

The trick is, though, he first heard it when he was nine.

“It’s just one of the most extraordinary things,” said Newman, the festival’s composer-in-residence and a 2004 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. “It’s that moment of inspiration, where your mind is at that moment.”

If the melody for Dream Sequence – the piece that will be premiered as part of a Saturday evening festival program that will also include works by Haydn, Enescu and Dvorak- came to Newman when he was a child, where did the inspiration emerge from? He began playing cello at the age of six and wrote his first musical composition at seven. So what ignited the creative impulse that yielded a full melody when Newman was nine?

“Cartoons. I would say that maybe it came from the world of cartoons,” he said. “The melody is spooky in a sort of cartoon like way. As the piece develops, the melody changes. It becomes almost fugal at times. In other instances, there is almost a jazz influence. There’s maybe even a rock ‘n’ roll influence. It’s all over the map.”

But then Newman has been all over the map a bit himself. He holds dual citizenship in the United States (being a native of Albany, New York) and Australia (where his parents reside). He, in fact, composed much of Dream Sequence while spending the late winter and early spring in Melbourne.

Similarly, Newman works today out of New York City. He was one of the first students to graduate from a five year exchange program between The Julliard School and Columbia University. But he is also a member of the Chicago Chamber Musicians.

“Basically, my life is a lot of traveling,” Newman. “Just in the last year, I’ve been at home in New York far less than 50% of the time. I’m always traveling all over the world. Of course it’s difficult to compose when you’re traveling. So since my parents have a house in Australia, I have a place I can stay that is somewhat isolated. I can get a lot of work done there.”

Newman has traveled a bit stylistically, as well. While studying at Columbia, he performed in New York, especially in Greenwich Village haunts, as part of a rock band playing amplified cello. It was a fun experience, but also an eye-opening one that left Newman with little respect for the business avenues of the pop world.

“I learned a lot from the experience, about the pop world vs. the classical world. It made me somewhat cynical of the pop scene, though. The amount of pressure you seem to be under to sell out and lose your integrity is great. I think it is extremely rare for a pop artist to emerge who hasn’t submitted to that pressure in some way.

“I still listened to rock music and enjoyed it. I’m still a fan of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd. So it’s possible, I suppose, I might have still arrived at some of these same places with my music if I hadn’t played in that group.”

Newman hesitates for a moment before divulging the name of “that group” where he amped up the cello. Then, somewhat sheepishly, he comes clean.

“It was called Clancy. But that makes it seem like I was more involved in it than I actually was. Really, the lead singer ran the show. He asked me if it would be OK if the band used my name. I said yes, but I’m not sure whether it was such a cool idea or not.”

For now, the former Clancy member and present day Newman is exploring chamber compositions that offer challenge for the artist and accessibility for the audience.

“There is always a desire as a musician for music that is challenging and interesting. It’s OK to challenge the audience a little bit, too. But I think it’s also important to have the audience leave satisfied enough that they will want enjoy such an experience again. Certainly when I write my own music, I think a lot about that.

“I think the pendulum is swinging now toward music people actually want to listen to. And, judging by history, it will probably swing too far in that direction. Nonetheless, it’s definitely important to find that balance between the simple and the complex. But that balance is not easy to find. Not at all.”

The UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington will be held at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday at Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, 2400 Newtown Pike. Ticket are $15 and $30 tonight and Saturday; $10 on Sunday. Call (859) 225-0370 or go to

HP Releases Line of Printers and PCs Geared Towards African-American College Students.

Entertainment Close-up July 11, 2009 HP announced it has introduced a new line of printers and PCs specifically for African-American college students.

“HP wants to be a partner to parents looking for the right resources to help their children succeed in school,” said Lesley McNorton, manager, African-American Marketing, HP. “Our line of products is great for students, offering a combination of affordability, power, fashion and kindness to the environment.” The line of HP PCs include the following: site hp photosmart c4780

– The HP Pavilion dv2z is less than 1-inch thin and starting at 3.81 pounds.

– The HP Pavilion dv6t offers digital entertainment features and mobile technologies.

– The HP Pavilion dv3t includes extended battery life and a range of connectivity options for students.

The line of printing solutions include:

– The HP Photosmart Plus All-in-One wirelessly prints photos, web content and everyday documents – from class schedules to homework assignments.

– HP Photosmart C4780 All-in-One is a wireless printer that offers a color display with an HP TouchSmart frame, this printer delivers lab-quality photos, everyday prints, copies and photo reprints – all without a PC – and it uses ink cartridges made from at least 50 percent recycled plastic. hp photosmart c4780

HP said all of these printers are part of the HP Eco Solutions program and carry the HP Eco Highlights label and have Energy Star qualification.

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in performance: steve earle/allison moorer

steve earle performed to a sold out audience last night the opera house. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

steve earle performed to a sold out audience last night the opera house. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

Upon exiting Steve Earle’s sold out solo performance last night at the Opera House, an audience member made a point of letting me know that the show was “too political.” Another, outside on Short St., was ecstatic about the evening, waxing on about how the concert was the best of Earle’s many outings in Lexington over the past two decades. While it was hardly their intention, both underscored a fascinating duality that has long existed within Earle’s music. Admittedly, the contrasts run more to the emotive and, at times, spiritual extremes of the Texan-turned-New Yorker’s songs than to political ends. But they were in glorious abundance nonetheless during the two hour performance.

An opening set of Townes Van Zandt tunes set the attitude in motion. The late, legendary Texas songsmith proved to be a massive presence during the concert. Earle played a total of nine Van Zandt songs, eight of which came from his recent Townes tribute album (the lone exception was Rex’s Blues, which Earle has long performed as a medley with his own Ft. Worth Blues). But the show opening Where I Lead Me and Colorado Girl also emphasized the extraordinary contrasts within the music and the performance itself. The chilly world cast of the former (“the street’s just fine if you’re good and blind, but it ain’t where you belong”) was enforced by Earle’s magnetically weatherbeaten vocals. The latter song’s honestly country mindset was open, almost romantic in comparison. Earle responded in kind with vocals full of folky solace and hope.

And so it went, two by two, for much of the evening. The almost Dylan-esque narrative of Van Zandt’s Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold prefaced the dire, destitute Marie, a song Van Zandt introduced to Earle at the height of the latter’s early ‘90s drug addictions. At the end of the set, Earle slammed two extraordinary Van Zandt opposites together, using the ghostly Lungs as a lead in for the striking reawakening of To Live is to Fly.

Earle approximated such pairings with his own music as well. Wife and opening act Allison Moorer joined in as two songs from 2007’s Washington Square Serenade album were placed side by side (the global village reverie City of Immigrants and the more overtly romantic Days Aren’t Long Enough) while wildly differing tales of rural strife played out when the violent airs of Taneytown gave way to the pin-drop-quiet of Goodbye. Similar rural boundaries were drawn during an encore that placed the faithful Harlan Man next to the renegade Copperhead Road

But the most homespun duality surfaced late in the performance when Earle matched an immoveable song of rural tradition and survival (the title tune to 1999’s The Mountain) with his most profound prayer of peace (the title tune to 2002’s Jerusalem)

Political/entertaining; dark/light; romantic/worldly – those were just a few of the epic contrasts on display during this sublime performance. How appropriate it was, then, that it took to the music of two master songsmiths last night to stitch such myriad themes and emotions together.

Moorer’s sadly brief opening set was a delight as well. It mixed inspired covers (Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot), homeland inspired originals (Alabama Song, Getting Somewhere) and few fine unrecorded previews from a forthcoming album. But it was Moorer’s vocals – clean, unforced and regally Southern – that gave her luscious Americana portraits such rich, electric vitality.

Swiss Army opens Monroe headquarters

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) October 2, 2007 | Cara Baruzzi Employees and company officials, some from as far away as Switzerland, gathered Monday to celebrate the grand opening of Victorinox Swiss Army Inc.’s new North American headquarters at 7 Victoria Drive.

The 160,000-square-foot building, which the company began constructing in June 2006, is “an important milestone in the history of our company,” said Charles Elsener, president of Victorinox Group, the Swiss parent company of Swiss Army.

He traveled from Switzerland to attend the grand opening. “I already got the impression from our employees that they are enjoying their new surroundings,” he said. “The building is beautiful.” Elsener’s great-grandfather, Karl Elsener, created the original Swiss Army knife in 1897. Prior to opening on Victoria Drive, the company’s North American headquarters was in Shelton for 30 years. web site victorinox swiss army

Company officials said they decided to relocate operations to Monroe because the new site allowed them to expand their office and warehouse space, as well as house both under the same roof.

The new, two-story state-of-the-art building, where 175 employees work, has 40,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of warehouse space.

“We worked very hard on this, on making sure Swiss Army came to the town,” said First Selectman Andrew Nunn. “It is a great day for the community.” The $26 million headquarters project received more than $2.1 million in financial incentives, mainly tax breaks, from the state and town, said Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.

“We wanted to help and make it a reality,” he said. “We are committed to the Swiss Army Brands because they are committed to Connecticut.” Rick Taggart, president of Victorinox Swiss Army Inc., said that, when deciding where to relocate the North American headquarters, company officials wanted to remain in Connecticut. site victorinox swiss army

“We’re very proud to be a Connecticut-based company,” he said.

Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, who is Connecticut’s business advocate, and state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal also attended Monday’s event, where guests were given tours of the headquarters.

Swiss Army Brands manufactures knives, watches, multipurpose tools and cutlery that are marketed throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It also markets Victorinox apparel and travel gear.

Cara Baruzzi can be reached at or 789- 5748.

Cara Baruzzi

going to townes

steve earle. photo by ted barron.

steve earle. photo by ted barron.

Just over a year ago, when Steve Earle was performing at the Kentucky Theatre, the seeds were planted for his next project.

At the time, the long celebrated songsmith was touring behind an album called Washington Square Serenade. The recording was a celebration of his new home (New York), his new wife (fellow Americana singer and scribe Allison Moorer) and his new sound (a merger of stringed folk charm and drum loops produced by John King of the Dust Brothers).

But even in the midst of a tour with Moorer and DJ Neil McDonald as his only accompanists, the next chapter of Earle’s career was being written. In actuality, someone had already penned it for him.

“I don’t know what Allison’s next record is going to be like,” Earle said prior to last year’s show. “But I know I’m going to make an album of Townes Van Zandt songs. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time. I’m just going to go ahead and do it. So I think I’ll start recording it as soon as I get done with this tour in November.”

By mid May of this year, the Van Zandt tribute was completed and released with the name of his artistic mentor as the album’s title: Townes. This wasn’t the first time Earle appropriated the name. He had long ago awarded it to his eldest son, now an esteemed roots music stylist in his own right by the name of Justin Townes Earle.

As Long Star songwriters go, few artists came armed with music as full of dark, literate human detail as Van Zandt. Among his finest and more established songs was Tecumseh Valley, which told the story of a miner’s daughter that endured a lifetime of hardships only to die alone as a prostitute. It’s unrelenting in its sadness, yet Van Zandt – who died on New Year’s Day 1997 – doesn’t embroider undue sentimentalism into the work. The story is, in fact, unavoidably poetic.

Earle recorded a version of Tecumseh Valley for Train a Comin’, the 1995 album that served as his reintroduction into a performance world after incarceration and a massively debilitating drug addiction.

Of course, Van Zandt was no angel either. Living a life as colorful and dangerous as his music, he battled alcoholism for years. Lauren St. John’s 2003 biography of Earle, Hardcore Troubadour, recounts a visit Van Zandt made to Earle in 1994 when the latter had hit rock bottom with his addiction.

“I must be bad if they’re sending you,” Earle told Van Zandt at the time.

steve earle with townes van zandt circa 1987.

steve earle and townes van zandt circa 1987.

One of Van Zandt’s most frightening misadventures was recounted by the writer himself on a live recording cut with Earle and longtime Texas songwriting pal Guy Clark in 1995. It was released in 2001 as Together at the Bluebird Cafe.

The story goes that Van Zandt was rolling dice with a friend. The jackpot at stake was a pistol. The wager was a gold tooth – his own. Van Zandt lost but defiantly insisted on paying up. He then performed makeshift oral surgery on himself with a pair of pliers and glass of Southern Comfort as anesthetic. But he extracted the wrong tooth.

When Earle brought the songs of Townes to Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall by way of a solo acoustic performance last June, you couldn’t help but sense the humidity in the music. Admittedly, that was easy as Memorial Hall possessed no air conditioning. Everyone – artist and audience alike – all but sweated themselves into puddles that Saturday night. But the performance went beyond that. It delivered loving but often coarse dramas, from the death rattle verse (and vocals) of Lungs and Where I Lead Me to the gorgeous affirmation of To Live is to Fly.

“We were folk singers,” Van Zandt told me in a 1995 interview before he and Clark performed at the Kentucky. “And that’s what we still call ourselves today. In the early days you picked up your guitar on Wednesday or Thursday for a $25 gig in Houston or Dallas. But action is in the air again for us, my friend. Action is in the air.”

In Cincinnati, Earle made a point to mention that Townes wasn’t simply a dark monument to a friend and mentor. He wanted to spotlight the lighter contours of Van Zandt’s songs. Of course, he stated that before singing the harrowing Lungs. But there were also moments of pure grace, like the lovely Colorado Girl – a song as melodically open as the Rocky Mountains are spacious.

David Letterman seized upon the folklore-level darkness that has come to represent Van Zandt’s life and career when Earle sang Colorado Girl on The Late Show in June.

“Let’s just leave it that he was an interesting fellow and led something of a tortured life,” Letterman told Earle. “Is that safe enough for a sentence or two?”

Without missing a beat, Earle softened the blow. “He was one of the best songwriters that ever walked the earth.”

Steve Earle and Allison Moorer perform at 7 tonight at the Lexington Opera House. Tickets are $29.50 and $36.50. Call (800) 745-3000 or (859) 233-3535.

critic’s picks 86

richard thompson: walking on a wire 1968-2009

richard thompson: walking on a wire

On the stunning and lovingly performed High Wide & Handsome, Americana songster Loudon Wainwright III places his own splendid compositions on hold and devotes two full discs to the music of Charlie Poole, a renegade banjo stylist who squeezed a lifetime of old time and pre-bluegrass country music into a hard-living, five year bender cut short by the Great Depression and his death in 1931.

Had Poole hailed from England instead of North Carolina, his life story would have been ideal material for Richard Thompson, the masterful British songsmith and guitarist who has continually fashioned fascinating tunes out of the plights of his often ramshackle characters, from the urchins of Dickensian London to the stiff-upper-lip classes that roam those pavements today.

That Thompson and Wainwright are long time pals and will be touring together this fall (alas, there will be no dates in this region) under the preposterously apt billing of Loud and Rich underscores the links and wonderful contrasts between their two new retrospective collections.

Thompson’s Walking on a Wire might seem like a lesson in redundancy to some. It is the guitarist’s third boxed set anthology. Its biggest flaw: no unreleased material to entice hardcore fans. Its biggest plus: the most comprehensive assembly of Thompson’s music to date. It covers songs from every album he has issued since his beginnings with Fairport Convention in the late ‘60s. It’s all prime stuff, too. The artistic, emotive and visceral command of the collection’s 71 tunes never once wanes.

For those taken by the dark underlings that wander through Thompson’s songs, we have Genesis Hall (with Fairport), Withered and Died (with ex-wife Linda Thompson) and a pair of acoustic 1994 heartbreakers, Beeswing and King of Bohemia. Need a blast of Thompson’s riveting guitarwork? Then crank up the ‘70s adventures Night Comes In and The Calvary Cross or a volcanic concert version of 1999’s Hard on Me. And for unsentimental love songs that are nothing short of epic, there are classics old (Dimming of the Day, A Heart Needs a Home) and recent (She Sang Angels to Rest).

loudon wainwright iii: high wide & lonesome

loudon wainwright iii: high wide & lonesome - the charlie poole project

Wainwright’s retrospective, of course, covers a career entirely removed from his own. But as is the case with his original material (and, for that matter, Thompson’s), Poole’s music values the whimsical as well as the stoically dramatic with a strong instrumental undercurrent propelling both.

A case in point: The solo banjo version of High Wide & Handsome‘s title tune. “Let’s live it up,” Wainwright gleefully sings. “Might as well, we’re all dying.” As such sardonic twists have long been earmarks of Wainwright’s tunes, Poole’s songs become a natural fit. Similarly, the album’s light, loving instrumental cast is assisted by the brilliant New York cellist Erik Friedlander (especially during one of Poole’s final recorded compositions, 1930’s Where the Whippoorwill is Whispering Goodnight) and pianist Paul Asaro (the heart-stopping The Letter That Never Came).

A master Brit guitarist and songwriter rightfully celebrating his own music; an American contemporary honoring a renegade inspiration – taken as a whole, these wonderful collections emphasize the artistic rewards of being Loud and Rich.

on air emergency

very emergency: greg melnyk, jacob bell, ken fletcher, garrett hodges, neghan hodges, danny maupin. photo by nate eckelbarger.

very emergency: greg melnyk, jacob bell, ken fletcher, garrett hodges, meghan hodges, danny maupin. photo by nate eckelbarger.

Fans of local rockers Very Emergency should tune in to The Bob and Tom Show on Tuesday morning. The Lexington band will be on the air discussing a current string of concert dates as opening act for veteran pop celebrity Peter Frampton. Tune in around 9 a.m. and you will hear from Mr. Frampton himself who is scheduled to call in and join the chat.

The Very Emergency/Frampton connection began when the localites cut a version of Frampton’s 1977 pop hit I’m in You. Frampton heard it, gave his nod of approval and offered to add guitar and vocals. That planted the seeds for playing a few concerts together, although when Frampton was in Louisville last Thursday to play the Kentucky State Fair, Very Emergency was playing here at home at The Green Lantern.

The final shows featuring both acts will be held this weekend in New York and New Jersey. I’m in You is available locally on a re-released version of Very Emergency’s Chris Kimsey-produced debut album, The Getaway.

The Bob and Tom Show airs in Lexington on WKQQ, 100.1 FM.

update: The TV version of Very Emergency’s Bob and Tom Show appearance airs at midnight tonight (technically, 12 a.m. Wednesday) on WGN America.

in performance: over the rhine

linford detweiler and karin bergquist of over the rhine. photo by michael wilson.

linford detweiler and karin bergquist from cincinnati's over the rhine. photo by michael wilson.

Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine has played all kinds of Lexington venues over the years, from no frills outdoor shows in Thoroughbred Park to packed nights at The Dame and the Kentucky Theatre. But never has a local setting been as complimentary to the band’s pop-folk charm as Natasha’s Bistro was last night.

With kitchen, bar and audience chatter largely absent, an environment for active listening was established that Over the Rhine’s husband-and-wife founders Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler greatly benefited from.

That’s not to say the full quintet lineup didn’t modestly rock out at times. Don’t Wait for Tom, a merry ode to hipster Tom Waits, had Bergquist hammering a cookie sheet for droll percussive effect while utility man Kenny Hutson summoned a nicely jagged electric guitar break that recalled one time Waits henchman Marc Ribot. Similarly, Who’m I Kiddin’ But Me accorded round robin solos to all members, including a cheery bashing bout from drummer Mickey Grimm.

With the exception of the show-closing All I Want is Everything, the entire 85 minute concert whittled Over the Rhine’s 20 year career down to music recorded and released between 2003 and 2007. But such a marginalized repertoire still yielded all kinds of quiet delights, from the ghostly meditations within Ohio to the subtle and spirited rhumba Trouble to the plaintive country accents that unfolded during the show-opening Born.

Such performance intimacy seemed to honestly delight artists and audience patrons alike.

summer album of the week 08/22/09

the beatles: revolver (released august 1966)

the beatles: revolver (released august 1966)

A mere eight months after The Beatles released Rubber Soul, thus establishing an artistic depth and stylistic variance that exceeded the band’s out-of-bounds pop appeal, we received Revolver. While it opens with George’s topical Taxman, Paul quickly cuts deep with Eleanor Rigby, an elegy of devastating loneliness set to a string quartet. Just as things get heavy, Ringo sings the tune that forever endeared The Beatles to children: Yellow Submarine. Meanwhile, George is getting metaphysicial with Love You To while John gets trippy on I’m Only Sleeping and, at album’s end, the pioneering psychedelic exercise Tomorrow Never Knows. Amazingly, Revolver still sounds cohesive and thrilling while displaying The Beatles’ almost frightening escalation of pop art maturity.


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) January 30, 1987 | Ed Quill, Globe Staff A Newton psychiatrist who sued the makers of the 1979 movie “The Bell Jar,” alleging that the movie defamed her, has been awarded $150,000 in a settlement.

Parties to the settlement also agreed that future showings of the movie will prominently include a disclaimer that the characters portrayed are fictitious. go to web site defamation of character

Although the attorney for Jane V. Anderson, the plaintiff, told an eight- person jury in US District Court that he would not ask for a specific amount in damages, the prepared suit had sought $6 million.

Lawyers on both sides said the consent judgment, a binding court order, may cause writers of fiction and screenplays to be especially careful when creating fictional characters based on the lives of real people.

Anderson told reporters yesterday, “I got what I wanted — not only straightening out the facts, but also that the allegation that I was a homosexual was a defamation.” Victor Kovner, a New York lawyer who specializes in First Amendment rights, represented one of the defendants. Kovner said: “Many of the serious concerns about the potential impact of this lawsuit upon the authors of fiction were not realized. Nonetheless, it must be noted that the law, as it stands, provides insufficient protection for authors of fiction.

“Until the courts recognize that fiction is entitled to a special measure of constitutional protection, claims by people who identify themselves with one character or another will continue to threaten expression by authors of fiction.” Harry L. Manion 3d, who represented Anderson, said, “The precedent set is that if you are dealing with autobiographical material in a drama or in any literature, due care must be taken not to write anything false about a living person or it is defamation of character.” Anderson contended during the week-old trial that her reputation had been damaged, not by the 1963 publication of the autobiographical novel about suicide written by Sylvia Plath, who later committed suicide, but by the 1979 movie version. Anderson alleged that the fictional character Joan Gilling was based on her, and that the movie portrayed the character as a lesbian.

Anderson alleged defamation of character, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional harm. She had just concluded direct testimony before the jury and Judge Robert E. Keeton when the settlement was reached.

Manion said lawyers for the defendants approached him Wednesday about a settlement after Anderson’s testimony.

In the settlement, the charges of invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional harm were dropped.

All 14 defendants joined in issuing a statement that the movie “unintentionally defamed the plaintiff . . . in that it coincidentally, but falsely, seems to portray her as having homosexual inclinations; as having made a suicide attempt; as encouraging another person to commit suicide; and as a person who committed suicide by hanging.” Although a disclaimer in small type was included at the end of the movie noting that the characters were fictitious, the defendants agreed to include the same disclaimer both at the beginning and end of the movie in larger type. website defamation of character

Videocassettes or videodiscs of the movie already in circulation will not be recalled, but those made hereafter will display the new disclaimer.

Five of the defendants were not included in the payment of damages, either because they refused to agree to it or could not be reached yesterday, according to their lawyers, Kovner and Alexander Pratt Jr.

Those not included in the payment provision were CBS Inc., Home Box Office Inc., Time-Life Films Inc., LaMarca Productions Inc., and Ted Hughes, the poet laureate of England, who was Plath’s husband and administrator of her estate.

The defendants who agreed to the payment were: AVCO Embassy Pictures, which made the movie; Vestron Inc., which made the movie available for rental on video cassette; Marjorie Kellogg, who wrote the screenplay; Robert A. Goldston, the executive producer; Lawrence Peerce, the director; Brandt-Todd Productions; Jerrold Brandt Jr. and Michael Todd Jr.; and Bonime Productions Ltd.

Kovner, Hughes’ attorney, said that the settlement “confirms that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Hughes . . . Indeed, all agree that, until the commencement of this lawsuit, Mr. Hughes never met nor had he any knowledge of Dr. Anderson.” quill ;01/29 CORCOR;01/30,12:16 BELL30 Ed Quill, Globe Staff

in performance: peter frampton

peter frampton. photo by david dobson.

peter frampton. photo by david dobson.

“This is not the Kelly Clarkson concert,” shouted an announcer before Peter Frampton took the stage at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville last night. That seemed a fair enough warning, especially since the American Idol star was performing just around the corner at Freedom Hall to round out the Kentucky State Fair’s opening night festivities.

Admittedly, Frampton has designed more than a few attractive pop songs over the past four decades, the likes of which wouldn’t have seemed at all foreign in Clarkson’s show. And, yes, quite a few were spotlighted again by Frampton last night. Among them: a wistful All I Want Be, a still chipper Show Me the Way (introduced by Frampton as coming from “that double album live thing,” referencing 1976’s multi-platinum Frampton Comes Alive!; the song’s studio version actually dates back to 1972) and the more sentimental Baby I Love Your Way, which was reunited with the tropically minded acoustic prelude Nassau that accompanied it on 1975’s Frampton album.

But those were the expected songs. The instances during the two hour performance where Frampton truly came alive unfolded in works more directly linked to his still monstrous guitarwork. After opening with a double shot of vintage Motown (Shotgun and Signed, Sealed, Delivered) and a nicely bittersweet slice of  ‘70s pop charm (Lines On My Face), Frampton dug into 2006’s Grammy winning instrumental album Fingerprints for Boot It Up. Recalling the muscular roar of the hard fusion music Jeff Beck has explored on and off for years, Frampton made a black Gibson Les Paul sing with gallant, propulsive riffs and an ensemble groove that bordered on funk.

Time and time again, that wonderfully volatile tone pushed its way to the forefront of the performance, whether it was through the crunchy chords and solos at the heart of Frampton Comes Alive!-era rockers like (I’ll Give You) Money and a 20 minute marathon reading of Do You Feel Like We Do, or in the bludgeoning wah-wah sounds summoned for a hearty cover of the Soundgarden hit Black Hole Sun (also from Fingerprints).

Frampton the guitar hero was also in the driver’s seat for an elegiac but still feisty new tune called Thank You Mr. Churchill while pedal effects and live loops created a whirlpool of layered guitar mayhem before the show closed with a thoroughly vital encore of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Of course, there wasn’t anything gentle about the interpretation. For a rock veteran set to turn 60 next spring, Frampton is anything but mellow these days. Sure, he still sings the ‘70s pop hits with a huge, tireless smile on his face. But the joy of this show was rooted in the simple pleasures that surface when a cranked up, joyous and thoroughly schooled guitarist lets his fingers do the shouting.

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