Tim Wakefield op-ed in the Cape Cod Times
On knuckleballs, dancing with the one your brought, and life. "The knuckleball is something that might as well have come from a witch’s brew. I’m not sure anyone has ever mastered it. Perhaps it’s a matter of the knuckleball mastering you. There are barely more knuckleball pitchers (2) in the Hall of Fame than back-up catchers (0). Or baristas or Abstract Expressionists, for that matter."
Beatles feature on John Lennon's "Julia"
Exploring the backstory and various versions of an intensely personal--and universal--song. "The site of the accident was visible from John’s window, so his aunt never told him where, exactly, it had happened, but the boy pieced it together, and to a composite of things to haunt him was added that of roadside propinquity."
Beatles feature in The Daily Beast on the remarkable Stowe School tape
A consideration of the Stowe recording as a crucial Beatles document. "These guys were the best R’n’B band that England ever produced, though they morphed so frequently in their evolution that it was as if the Beatles were in the business of discarding skins as much as they were exploding into new forms—and newly invented forms—of music."
Hank Williams op-ed in the Dallas Morning News
The inspiring, inspirting realness of the songwriter's art on his centennial. "His was an art divorced from time, the same way that human nature is. The sound of Hank Williams is the sound of how humans were at the start, and how humans will be at the end — on the inside, that is."
Piece in The Smart Set on the Rolling Stones' best song
A case is made. "Nor is the coda some sonic graft; the outro manages to reach back and infuse all that we’ve already heard — our memory of those notes, verses, choruses — because it germinates out of that progression, and is a further — albeit finalizing — bout of movement. It’s what sends us back out into the world."
Kinks feature in Best Classic Bands
On the delights of The Great Lost Kinks Album. "Nor do any musical artists better epitomize British eccentricity, as extolled by George Orwell in his essay 'The English People,' than these would-be hillbillies of Muswell, abettors and upholders of personal identity. They are strange, but also no more so than any of us when we set aside affectation, pretense and what we presume is expectation, and are most ourselves."
Essay in The Smart Set on the legend that was Arthur Alexander
The power and influence of the ultimate rhythm and blues singer. "You also can’t sound more Black than Alexander. I’m being reductive, but recognizing what makes a sound a quintessentially Black sound is one of those things we know reductively, as clearly as we know whether it’s day or night, because first we feel it — it’s a matter of the body — and that impels our cognition. Black music initially lodges in bodily portions of us. Shakes the physical core. Has root there. But then it progresses — from gut to heart, through limbs, and to the mind, where we might apply a label. Soul. Rhythm and blues. Jazz. Black music."
Piece in Best Classic Bands on the band's July 16, 1963 session for the BBC. "The Beatles fostered community in the works that we might say most made them them, and the backing vocals of McCartney and Harrison suggest friends turning up at the house of another friend to give him whatever he needs to get through what he’s experiencing. This is the sound of both the process and that outcome."
Fourth of July op-ed in the New York Daily News
A personal, annual tradition in Concord. "The flag is an external construct, but without internal due diligence to better know the person within and rise up accordingly, the flag becomes akin to cloth that just happens to blow in the wind."
Feature in Best Classic Bands on the Beatles' Red Album
The importance of an album that might not have seemed very important at first. "What has become popular critical opinion—that the Beatles of 1969 were more inventive than the Beatles of 1963—is also one of the chief fallacies in all of popular music. A wizard tasked with creating a hundred patents a year would be hard-pressed to invent more than those early Beatles did."
Interview about Anton Chekhov stories
A twenty-five minute discussion of four Chekhov stories--"Gooseberries," "Misery," "Children," "Boys," --that will teach a person--for free--more about the art of writing than anything they could learn in however many years in any writing program.
Gene Vincent interview
A discussion on Downtown about Gene Vincent's first album, Cliff Gallup, recordings from Alan Freed's Rock 'n' Roll Dance Party in August 1956 and the BBC's Saturday Club in March 1960, an appearance on Italian television in 1960, and Vincent's cover of "Over the Rainbow."
Interviewed about some dynamic West Coast rock
Thoughts pertaining to key recordings from the Doors, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jefferson Airplane.
On the story of "I Saw Her Standing There" in Best Classic Bands. “'I Saw Her Standing There' is a story about being amazed. Teenage boys and young men play affairs of the heart close to the breast. They don’t effuse. To do so is to look less tough, generally regarded as inadvisable."
New piece on F. Scott Fitzgerald and modern publishing in the The Smart Set
"But we are an auto-pilot society, and that’s reflected in the telling refrain, 'My favorite book is The Great Gatsby!' The horse won’t go to the water on its own. And even when it’s led there, it requires someone else to submerge its head. We don’t go looking. We aren’t open. The water has to be brought to us."
Thirty-five minute radio interview about the best player in ever position in baseball history
Latest Beatles piece
A feature on the Beatles' oft-maligned--and undervalued--cover of "Mr. Moonlight" in Best Classic Bands. "The power of the singing—which requires commitment by design of the song—implies that this person behind it has reason to believe his wish may be granted if he asks hard enough. Even the announcement that the song was next to be played had power in Hamburg: the audience knew that from out of the silence would emerge this blast of a John Lennon vocal, naked and reverberating in the air."