When I was music editor at Rolling Stone in the ’90s, I was asked — well, told — to do a Q&A with Jimmy Buffett. Not being a fan of his music, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed talking to him. Buffett died today at 76.
The choice was between music and track. Fortunately for all of us, this Charlotte-based hip-hop R&B singer chose music.
In 2009, EMI issued remastered versions of The Beatles’ entire back catalog. Instead of sending advance copies, though, the company asked writers to come to New York City and listen to the recordings at Electric Lady Studios. Off I went, having been given the extraordinary task of reviewing music that had been reviewed a million times since the band’s heyday.
From today’s vantage point, it’s difficult to get across just how ubiquitous Frampton Comes Alive! was in 1976. Forty years later, Peter Frampton recorded acoustic versions of some of the hits from that album. I wanted to talk to this man whose music had played such an integral part of my high school years.
Kevin “Mercury” Carter released a homemade six-song EP that reveals a vocalist of uncommon abilities. Not only does his extraordinary range rival those of Prince, Mariah Carey, and Queen’s Freddie Mercury, but Carter’s nuanced sense of tone and dynamics, the melodic creativity of his arrangements, and his mature lyrical abilities are as remarkable as his voice.
In 1996, Capitol Records released a box set of country singer Merle Haggard’s music. After this review ran in Rolling Stone, a writer for a conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, took me to task for putting a liberal spin to the songs of a conservative artist. But as I wrote in this review — and I stand by it — seeing Haggard simply as a “conservative” doesn’t do him or his full body of work justice.
In 2012, within the span of two months, North Carolina lost two of its most famous and most loved musical voices, Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs. This was my tribute to them.
Renaissance Man may be an overused label, but it fits Jeffrey Lewis — snug but comfortable, like those old T-shirts he wears in Youtube videos that have him singing the histories of Chinese Communism and New York punk
These 10 albums, the best of them conceptual works, were my personal favorites in 2022.
At the end of a road that was supposed to go on forever, Gregg Allman sat down with Acoustic Guitar magazine in 2014 to talk about The Allman Brothers Band’s rocky journey.