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.
Frampton Comes Unplugged
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.
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.
Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson: May the Circle Be Unbroken
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.
“Freight Train”: The Whitewashing of Black History
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.
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.
Jeffrey Lewis: Singing Historian
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
The Year in Music: DailyKemp’s Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2022
These 10 albums, the best of them conceptual works, were my personal favorites in 2022.
Black-Alternative Music Fest: Reclaim Your Space
A talented and energetic young singer-songwriter named Le Anna Eden decided that Charlotte, North Carolina, needed a Black alternative music festival. So she gathered her tribe and made it happen.