Muddy Waters

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The articulate melodic eloquence of Bill Frisell

Many of us have embarrassing moments in our past, but when one of the hippest jazz dudes around admits to donning a leisure suit and playing in a show band, you prepare for a wince on the seismic level.
Rolling with the changes
By JIM MACNIE  |  June 17, 2011

Music for the love of it

Whether driving his Men of Great Courage on a tune about a spooky midnight stroll, or gently declaring a deep camaraderie with “We Shall Always Remain Friends,” Cutler’s concocting a soundtrack to the feelings in the room.
From the Schemers to the Men of Great Courage, Mark Cutler’s songs have always gotten to ‘that special kind of place’
By JIM MACNIE  |  May 07, 2010

Excerpt: Evening’s Empire by BIll Flanagan

In this chapter, "The Drugs Don't Work," aging rock star Emerson Cutler and his manager, Jack Flynn, are seeking inspiration — and desperately trying to jumpstart his career.
An excerpt from Bill Flanagan’s new novel, Evening’s Empire , the true story of a band that never existed
By BILL FLANAGAN  |  February 05, 2010

Mystic muso

“America’s Pre-eminent Music Writer Dead at 52” was the headline on Robert Palmer’s obituary in Rolling Stone after his liver failed in 1997.
The erudition of Robert Palmer
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  November 06, 2009

Levon Helm | Electric Dirt

Helm's 2007 Dirt Farmer won the Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy for its acoustic arrangements of songs plucked from the Delta soil of the Band drummer and singer's rural Arkansas youth.
Dirt Farmer Music/Vanguard
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  June 26, 2009

Various artist | Chicago Blues: A Living History

The first two generations of electric Chicago blues are either dead or on the endangered list, but this double-disc set proves the style still has teeth and claws.
Raisin (2009)
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 17, 2009


Cadillac Records

Cadillac Records writer/director Darnell Martin lets the music speak for itself
Music speaks volumes
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  December 11, 2008

Bob Dylan Unboxed

This October, Columbia Records is releasing Tell-Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 , a collection of recordings by Bob Dylan that are different from recordings issued on the seven studio albums he released in that period.  
Everything you wanted to know about Tell-Tale Signs but were afraid to buy
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  October 15, 2008

What good can the blues do?

You can’t ask too much of the blues. Like the raw emotion they’ve become synonymous with, the blues are not cerebral. They are not progressive or revelatory.
Pam Baker and the SGs help you drown your sorrows
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  September 17, 2008

Murder in six degrees

You’ve probably never heard of Peter Ivers.
Peter Ivers — pals with john Belushi to the Circle Jerks — was killed in 1983. A new book recalls his fascinating life — and mysterious death.
By MIKE MILIARD  |  September 10, 2008

Blues juniors

A guitar howls through the streets of downtown Chattanooga just as the sun begins to set, pealing out an elaborately improvised solo pasted onto the end of “Red House.”
Back Door Slam rejuvenate a British tradition
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  August 19, 2008


Remembering a Rhode Island icon

There was never anyone remotely like Jeff Thomas.
Jefferson Thomas was in the vanguard of the Providence underground
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  July 30, 2008

Folk trails

A former student of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, Walker is a legendary figure best known for his intoxicating fusion of Indian raga and American folk.
Peter Walker’s sound circles the world
By SUSANNA BOLLE  |  July 07, 2008

Indie gets the blues

White rockers generally come by the blues one of two ways.

The Gossip, the Black Keys, and the Kills

By MATT ASHARE  |  April 23, 2008

Rough power

Watching Bill Gage perform with his band, BILL, is an eye-opening experience.
Bill Gage has Down syndrome. And his band rocks
By IAN SANDS  |  March 27, 2008

Blues redux

Demystifying the origins of the blues has become a cottage publishing industry.
The music’s other life
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  February 12, 2008


Show and tell

After a brief late-December break from the usual boatload of good shows, the flood picks up right where it left off in early January.
A whole new year of live music
By WILL SPITZ  |  January 04, 2008

Basic black

Bluesman Bobby Rush is notorious for stage shows full of double entendres and hoochie dancers that have made him king of the chitlin circuit.
Bobby Rush digs his roots
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  August 07, 2007

Other music meccas

By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  June 29, 2007

Koko Taylor

The title here is befits the kind of shouting, romping music this grand madam of the blues began performing roughly a half-century ago.
Old School | Alligator
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 03, 2007

Éminence grise

When I first met Joe Boyd, I knew him only as a legend, the force behind the psychedelic and folk-rock movements of the 1960s.
Joe Boyd remembers; remembering Joe Boyd
By DANA KLETTER  |  March 27, 2007


The heart of soul

“At Stax Records, I learned the formula for success,” says William Bell.
At 50, Stax Records keeps on beating
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 20, 2007

Otis Taylor: Definition of a Circle

Otis Taylor has been this decade’s dark magus of contemporary blues, but his eighth disc has a sense of uplift and energy — hope, really — captured in lyrics that often show a more joyful bent and in arrangements that benefit from an even stronger pulse
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  February 13, 2007

Laughter from space

A History of Violence was a tense mob movie, but that title could also serve a documentary about Buddy Guy’s guitar attack.
Buddy Guy’s royal blues
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 12, 2006

Fancy footwork

Could Little Rhody get a national award for the skill with which its politicians steadily shoot themselves in the foot?
Halitosis Hall denizens still excel when it comes to self-inflicted woes
By PHILLIPE & JORGE  |  November 29, 2006

Police on my back

Phillipe & Jorge hear unconfirmed reports that a taxi driver, in one of those Mideast countries run by hirsute sons of the dessert, was charged with being a terrorist, or infidel, or simply just a fan of oldies, for playing the Clash’s “Rock the Cas
Since when do you get busted for playing a Clash tune?    
By PHILLIPE & JORGE  |  April 27, 2006


Got live if you want it

Mai Cramer was a beloved figure in local roots-music circles. For 24 years she hosted the popular show “Blues After Hours” on WBGH radio and was a tireless champion of the music.
This spring’s roots and concert rundown
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  March 08, 2006

Blues schooled

A charter member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Bishop has just released his first disc since the murder of his daughter Selina in 2000.
Elvin Bishop gets his groove back
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  January 13, 2006