Downtown with Rich Kimball


Expatiating on the advancing Red Sox, the 1986 ALCS, a new short story in Post Road called "The Last Field," the nocturnes of John Field, Andrew Hill's "Dedication" off of his 1964 album, Point of Departure, and the 1935 Karloff/Lugosi horror pairing, The Raven. 

A review in Publishers Weekly of the forthcoming If You [ ]: Fabula, Fantasy, F**kery, Hope


Book comes out January 18!

Talking spooky stuff on Downtown with Rich Kimball


Disccusion about a Saki story, episodes of The Mysterious Traveler and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, plus a hilariously weird Halloween safety instructional film from 1985, as well some fall baseball, stairs, and the sun. 

Penultimate guest post on the 33 1/3 blog


A few thoughts on Sam Cooke and what it really means to sing. "Singing and writing have the same objective. To connect, impel. Move. Make us think, feel. When feeling bolsters the thinking, that is the  stuff. And vice versa."

A third guest post about the new Sam Cooke book on the 33 1/3 blog


Steering clear of the oldiest trap! "The best artists change often, but you always know it’s them. The best  artists, at that time, changed faster. They worked harder. They created  at a different rate. It wasn’t six years between albums and sitting on a beach and bragging on Twitter about having written a song for the first time in a decade. That sucks. And that work won’t last. Because it’s a  form of bullshit and hype and empty ceremony. In other words, it’s the opposite of Sam Cooke."

Guest post #2 on the 33 1/3 blog about the new Sam Cooke book


On the subject of being a VL (voracious listener). "What I’m referencing is that transcendent power of a place, a person, a song, an album, a gig, a book, that contains both the personal and the universal, and situates us in both realms. Simultaneously. But completely, so as though it’s not like we sense that we’re part in one  and part in the other. Magic, right?"

Downtown with Rich Kimball


Half hour conversation about the new Sam Cooke book, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963, in Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series. 

Author takeover!


First of five guest posts over at the 33 1/3 blog, on the new Sam Cooke book. "I want to share something with you that’s not heavy at all, in that my aim isn’t to rive the fabric of the universe and let the answers to the mysteries of life pour forth. It’s something frothy, perhaps, but foundational. But I think it gets to the spirit of Sam Cooke and what the purpose of true art really is."

Interview with


Lively Q&A about the Sam Cooke 33 1/3 book. "I think if you’re going to write about something with a record that’s personal you have to do so in such a way that you’re tapping into truth that other people can recognize emotionally, critically, and intellectually. You can’t just be like, ‘This is a thing that happened to me, so you should care about it.’ I wanted the book to have some first person but to have it always be about this journey, these ideas, this album, and ultimately more than the album."

Downtown with Rich Kimball


A conversation about about passive aggressive approaches to interaction, Miles Davis, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, bed and breakfasts, what it means to have someone gunning for you, The Young  Riders, Sherlock Holmes, dowagers, the history of errors in baseball,  Picasso, the Civil War, a future book project on residencis that changed the history of American music, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jackson Pollock, hockey, cornerbacks, David Ortiz, Sam Cooke, the usefulness of the phrase, “Great, good luck,” objectives in writing if you’re any good.

Personal essay in The Smart Set on nightmares


A history of bad dreams, and their role in a writing life. "I was walking 20 miles a day myself, trying to drive the nightmares out of my head, desperate to countervail what had become my new reality: the terror dreams of the night had turned into what each and every day was like. There is a small mercy in some of our worst dreams when we realize that it’s a dream. Or, if we are not totally sure that it’s a dream, we think there’s a reasonable chance. Our dream selves apperceive this. It’s that line of thinking that progresses along a construct of “Maybe? Maybe? Yes? Probably?”

Miles Davis piece in JazzTimes


A look at the ten best Miles Davis live albums. "Miles would have happily told you he was the king of many  things—influence and innovation foremost among them—but I wonder if his  shifting styles, documented so capably on studio dates, have caused us  to overlook his reign as the man with the finest clutch of live LPs in  jazz history. Who else could it be?"

Sam Cooke op-ed in the New York Daily News


A piece about the NFL, "Lift Every Voice," and Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" as the anthem beyond anthems. 

Downtown with Rich Kimball


A discussion of Muddy Waters at Stovall's Planatation in 1941, the Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing" and the codification of joy in song, cool players who weren't stars, the appeal of low-scoring games, what makes college football so great, with a shout out to Keats and William Sloane's novel To Walk the Night, and Hall of Fame NFL coach Bud Grant. 

New fiction in the fall issue of Post Road


Issue #38 features the short story, "The Last Field." "I sat by the bed. I felt like I couldn’t move, like I was bound in that moment, by the stillness. And I just sat there. My mother was not her normal color. More like the color of the bark of a beech tree. I was going to sit there until I could hear that my dad had stopped crying. Because I knew my dad well enough to know that he’d want that. And after about, I don’t know, twenty minutes, that’s when I heard it. The smallest, faintest, little breathing sound."

Sam Cooke book published


Sam Cooke: Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963, an entry in Bloomsbury's popular 33 1/3 series, is now officially available. The book considers how one of America's most important songs--the Civil Rights anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come"--was in-part birthed on stage in Miami's "colored" neighborhood of Overtown at the ultmate rock and soul gig, and explores the unique artistry and compositional brilliance of Cooke. Amazon. Barnes and Noble

New fiction in the September issue of Portland Monthly


A ghost story that is much more than a ghost story, called "The Captain's Walk." Scroll to the end of the issue.

Downtown with Rich Kimball


Covering the John Coltrane JazzTimes feature, the Grateful Dead's "Dark Star," M.R. James's short story "The Mezzotint" as read by Michael Hordern, the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, the sci-fi film The Monolith Monsters, and Charlie Watts. 

Big feature in JazzTimes


2500 word piece on John Coltrane's Ascension album. "Marion Brown reportedly said later that the musicians were actually screaming as they played, and he couldn’t understand how those screams didn’t appear on the tape, as if a skillful engineer had sliced away the evidence. Perhaps the recollection is apocryphal, but it tracks: Ascension is music to bellow to, part Munch’s The Scream figure via postmodern big band, part Whitman’s barbaric yawp amplified to a pitch that could strip the soil from the earth and the epipelagic zone off the sea."

Downtown with Rich Kimball


Interview about new pieces in JazzTimes and The Smart Set on Scott LaFaro and Toni Morrison respectively, the real key to any quality writing, a useless literary agent, baseball, The Golden Girls, a Bob Dylan concert from 1964, the Rolling Stones at Leeds University in 1971, the 1953 sci-fi film, Invaders from Mars. 

New essay in The Smart Set


On Toni Morrison's novel Jazz, and jazz itself. "This felt less like reading, more like pressing play on the stereo. It  also felt like filling up a future dance card; it wasn’t necessarily the  time in life for me to explore the world of the Hot Fives and Hot  Sevens and chase my own teen blues away with some of Bessie Smith’s  brand, but I knew that the moment would come, and jazz would be a part  of my future. Until then, I hung with Toni Morrison."

Downtown with Rich Kimball


Discussing the new personal essay in Salmagundi about running the stairs of the Bunker Hill Monument, John Huston's Key Largo, a rare Ritchie Valens live album, and the five best Red Sox of all-time.