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."
The word "hippie" has a bad connotation. Hippies don't mind because that's writing services the way of the hippie. In fact hippies love to call themselves hippies.
In music writing, as with anything worth doing, there's always the pull of undeniable predilections, the force of personal bias and pure subjectivity. And then there's the way I feel about the music of Ray Wylie Hubbard.
The force is strong with Sturgill Simpson -- the force of hard-core country music, a la Waylon Jennings and George Jones, that is.
Electricity moved through the air this past Friday night. The clouds came together and unleashed a fury over the city and county of St. Louis.
Joe Pug channels American acoustic music in a way that few modern musicians can. His songs are at once timeless, spare and intellectual. They weave a tapestry of intricate poetry, completed by Pug's indomitable and spiritual delivery.
When George Jones passed away in April, Jay Farrar posted this about him on Son Volt's Facebook page: "George Jones epitomized the spirit of country music. He represented the Honky Tonk zeitgeist like no other." Farrar did Jones' legacy proud last night as Son Volt brought its own unique version of honky tonk -- the apropos title of the band's new album -- to a packed house of adoring fans.