Merle Haggard: Down Every Road

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.

Where Were You on 9/20?

I was talking to a friend recently about police violence against people of color. It hasn’t stopped. According to January 2023 data from Mapping Police Violence, Black people are still three times more likely to die at the hands of police than white people, even though they were 1.3 times less likely to be armed.

Cleo Jones: Redeeming Rap

Tamara McIlwain remembers a time when powerful young female rappers ruled the airwaves with positive messages. It was the late ’80s and early ’90s. The queens were Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and the sassy Salt ‘n Pepa. “Women like that — they had something to say,” says Mcllwain