The irony is that somehow Ive built an entire career on working to change the world, states Billy Bragg. Irony? That thankless job is what Bragg is known for.
Team-buildingIm working on team-building. Trixie Whitley is briefly at home in Greenpoint, on a hiatus from touring to support Fourth Corner, her first full-length album, and is spending it searching for a replacement drummer for the next leg.
As she came onstage at N.Y.U.s Skirball Center, KT Tunstall gestured toward her platinum jacket and trousers and laughingly termed herself gift-wrapped. She sparkled in the spotlight as she picked up her guitar and began Invisible Empire, one of the two eponymous tracks from her recent album, the double-named Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon.
I can make this bold statement now, pronounces Howe Gelb, because Im well over 50 and were allowed to come to conclusions: music in its most pure form is in a state of evolution constantly. I believe that whatever you are doing, however you are playing, it has to keep changing. It is always on its way somewhere. Whatever the music wants from you it will apply itself through you.
On Valentines Day last year, former Mayor Ed Koch stood up at the Algonquin Hotel and declared, I love Marc Anthony Thompson. Marc Anthony Thompson, the creative drive behind the musical collective known as Chocolate Genius, had described what had taken place when he violated the unspoken etiquette of subway riding.
“Twenty-two stops to the city,” chants Garland Jeffreys in “Coney Island Winter.” Twenty-two stops. If you are reading this you may recognize the feeling this song evokesI remember it myselfyou’re living double-digits deep down a subway line to afford the rent while the flame of Manhattan burns in the distance.
The American expatriate of the quintessential Henry James kind is in flight from one reality to another, engaged in a hejira that may transcendentally alter the conditions of his or her life. Often the handcuffs are golden, a suffocating surfeit of material comfort: an unearned inheritance, betrothal to a wealthy suitor. Vulgar American currency buys entrée to high culture, but in the end the European sojourn creates conflict.
Fun is not a word commonly understood to spearhead subversive politics. Yet when Dan Zanes discusses life and music it becomes clear that fun is the sword with which he fights the good fight.
The conversation reaches an awkward pause when I tell Jim White that the Brooklyn Rail music editor wants him for an issue on “underappreciated” artists.