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.
For the cover of the April 20, 2018, issue of Creative Loading in Charlotte, we recreated an iconic Village Voice hip-hop cover. The idea was to prop up the Charlotte hip-hop scene and to acknowledge 420 — the international annual Weed Day celebration. We had a blast doing the cover shoot.
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.
Elizabeth Cotten was barely a teenager when she wrote one of the most iconic songs in the American folk canon. It took decades for music historians to give her proper credit.
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.