Twangfest's third night took a string-heavy turn into traditional country territory. Local band Half Knots opened the night with a set of heartbroken songs given melancholy power by Danny Kathriner's soft tenor vocals.
In his three-decade career, Marshall Crenshaw hasn't taken traditional routes. He's a Michigan-born singer-songwriter with a penchant for complex chord structures and pub rock-flavored pop while portraying other musicians. In the early years of his career, he played John Lennon in a production of "Beatlemania," then found himself onscreen as Buddy Holly in the 1987 film "La Bamba."
"I want to take this hall with me. You're so lucky," Rosanne Cash told the audience at the Sheldon near the end of her set, which began with her calling the century-old venue "one of the best-sounding halls in the whole country."
The music business isn't known for long-lasting pairings. Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison are an exception, moving their relationship that's lasted over twenty years into the studio for their collaborative album, "Cheater's Game."
The lights didn't suit Patti Smith.
Middle ground doesn't exist when it comes to Bob Dylan shows. The response is either, "I can't believe I walked six blocks in the rain for this," or "I have printed set lists from every show he's played in the past five years! Do you want to see them?" I overheard both of those snippets within seconds of standing among the rain-besotted crowd in the Peabody's lobby.
The Flatlanders story reads like a Hollywood script - high school friends Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock formed a band in 1972 in Lubbock, Texas. They record an album, broke up before it was released, made their own successes in the music world, only to reunite 30 years later, lauded as innovators.
In June Amanda Palmer raised over a million bucks via Kickstarter from fans wanting to help make her new album possible. Four months later, when she invited professional musicians to play in her shows without pay, she kicked off the Great Kickstarter Backlash of '12.
And so it goes in American music: It takes a Brit to remind us how great American-made genres can be.
October 27 and 28, 2012 on the eve of Superstorm Sandy and in the shadow of the construction at Ground Zero in Manhattan, Joe Pug took the stage at Pace University to thank the man who created his job -- Woody Guthrie.