Although the members of the Dave Rawlings Machine took the stage in Madison Friday night dressed as every rural American archetype, the reason wasn’t to get a start on Halloween trick-or-treating. This Appalachia-loving string band was just getting in character to do what musical evangelist do best: Bring the fire to the people.
As a favor for those ghost and ghoul wannabes, here are a few songs that are worth adding to your Halloween playlist in time for the costume parties to come.
Authors and critics might be correct when they write off Detroit-area saxophone player Steve Mackay as simply a sideman to the Iggy Pop-led Stooges in the early ’70s, but doing so sadly undervalues the importance of his contributions. Hired hand or not, any musician would want to be involved in making a musical masterwork.
After a 30-year absence, Elvis Costello returned to Madison on Thursday night for a performance that seemed designed to prove a single theory: He’s just gotten better over the years.
For the next two days, the center of the introverted underground-rock world will leap from hipster blogs and snarky music websites to a real-world stage in western Wisconsin as the inaugural Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival begins on Friday in Eau Claire.
Indie-folk siren Ani DiFranco has joined dozens of other performers to contribute to an online songwriting protest against the flying of the Confederate battle flag in the wake of a shooting rampage at a historic black church in South Carolina last month.
It’s a cliché that a genius’ work is often only recognized after death, but this will surely be the case when history renders its final assessment of maverick jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman. His life’s work was anything but a worn-out cliché.
When Dave Letterman is remembered in the history of television, it will likely be for his unique comedic persona and his pivotal role in upsetting the rather rote late-night talk-show format. Few, however, would recognize Letterman as a patron of pop music.
Hailed in his lifetime as “the king of the blues,” B.B. King had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, this was one blues legend who truly lived up to the billing. He died on Thursday at the age of 89 years old.
With all the articles, books and documentaries that have examined and reexamined the hallowed history of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll, it’s still surprising that an important group like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band remains unheralded for their crucial contributions to pop music. Put bluntly, if it weren’t for the Butterfield band, both the American blues revival and Age of Aquarius would have been very different, or not occurred at all.