Song of the Season: Father Christmas

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 […]

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Song of the Season: Jingle Bells

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 […]

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Song of the Season: Christmas Must Be Tonight

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, […]

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Song of the Season: The Perfect Christmas

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 […]

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Alan Thicke: From Moment to Memory

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 […]

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Song of the Season: Baby It’s Cold Outside

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 […]

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Amid Sox Buzz, a Slumbering Giant Stirs

December 9, 2016

At MLB’s annual Winter Meetings this year, which recently concluded in the nation’s capital, it was the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox that made all the headlines. But as far as I was concerned, it was baseball’s perennial 800-lb. gorilla, the New York Yankees, that made the most news — even if it wasn’t reported […]

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Sharon Jones and Me

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 […]

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Cohen, Russell Now Belong to the Ages

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 […]

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Ali and Me: A Moment Frozen in Time

June 15, 2016

Susan Swain is one of those fiercely intelligent and incredibly wise people with whom, every so often in life, you’re blessed to cross paths. (And if you’re thinking intelligent and wise are redundant there, you may just be one for whom store-bought knowledge and hard-fought wisdom are destined to run on parallel tracks.) Whatever, the simple fact is […]

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