Pop Culture

Song of the Season: Driving Home for Christmas

by M.C. Antil on December 20, 2016

Gravelly voiced British slide guitar virtuoso Chris Rea was at the crossroads. His career was going nowhere. His label was about to drop him, and the records he’d released in his native England had flopped. What’s more, while in London to finish the album that would satisfy his contract, when he asked the label for […]


Song of the Season: I’d Like You for Christmas

by M.C. Antil on December 19, 2016

To many late Boomers and early X’ers, she was little more than the middle-aged ER nurse in Emergency, the two-dimensional Jack Webb procedural from the 70’s. But to their parents, she was something else altogether. Throughout the late 40’s and 50’s she was the leggy, smoky actress/singer who doubled as the better half of jazz pianist and actor, Bobby […]


Song of the Season: Father Christmas

by M.C. Antil on December 18, 2016

Today’s Song of the Season may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise you there is not a person reading this now who would not benefit from a deeper appreciation of it — especially at this joyful but reflective time of year. Ray Davies was not rock’s greatest composer, but what he remains […]


Song of the Season: Jingle Bells

by M.C. Antil on December 17, 2016

They are three Mormon sisters from Utah. And yet, unlike, say, Mormon songsters Donnie and Marie Osmond, the trio’s music is anything but white-bread and middle-of-the-road. They’re nominally listed as a country act, yet SheDAISY’s arrangements and (at times) edgy song choices seem to be the embodiment of almost everything today’s safe and formulaic country is […]


Song of the Season: Christmas Must Be Tonight

by M.C. Antil on December 16, 2016

Before it was called roots music or Americana, there was the Band, four Canadians and a laid back mandolin-playing drummer from Arkansas whose music was a throwback to a time when, as an experiment in not just democracy, but self-destiny, America was still untamed and, in a very real way, still unrealized. And I’ve long contended that, […]


Song of the Season: The Perfect Christmas

by M.C. Antil on December 15, 2016

Daniela Andrade is a head scratcher like few contemporary artists. A twenty-something millennial with a voice that is simultaneously angelic and full-bodied, a citizen of Canada who splits her time between Montreal and Toronto, and an artist who mixes in a handful of truly great originals with a number of just stunning, if not jaw […]


Alan Thicke: From Moment to Memory

by M.C. Antil on December 14, 2016

I was standing outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, near one of the quasi-upscale restaurants that lie just east of the place. A group of people, some from the restaurants, some from the Staples Center, were waiting at the taxi stand for a cab. That’s when I saw him. I’d been told more times […]


Song of the Season: Baby It’s Cold Outside

by M.C. Antil on December 14, 2016

Frank Loesser’s particular genius was that he could put conversational English to music, whether it was the everyday English of colorful, street-educated hustler types (Guys and Dolls) or the English of ambitious and manipulative three piece suit types (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying). For today’s song of the season, I bring you […]


Sharon Jones and Me

by M.C. Antil on November 21, 2016

Three years ago this very week I got the news no one ever wants to receive. I had somehow managed to contract full-blown cancer. Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma, to be exact, in the form of a tiny, almost microscopic tumor at the base of my tongue. So the first week of December, two weeks […]


Cohen, Russell Now Belong to the Ages

by M.C. Antil on November 17, 2016

Within hours of each other this past week, my generation lost two of its greatest songwriters. Leonard Cohen was a brilliant and iconoclastic Canadian poet who went through life thinly disguised as a troubadour/folk singer. Leon Russell, meanwhile, was a one-time piano-playing prodigy from a red-dirt town in Oklahoma who over a half century ago moved to L.A. and reinvented himself as […]