Growing up as a gay person with few visible allies, your support of the gay community meant a lot to me, so thank you.
You’re welcome. I’m hoping I made it popular. You know, get all the knuckleheads listening. There’s power in numbers.
What has the support of the gay community meant to you and how do you view your contribution to the advancement of gay rights?
Well, I partnered up with the [Human Rights Campaign] a while ago. I felt like if we were gonna do something, then we should really do something. When I partnered up with existing groups, that would help move things forward. We got stuff done. We actually got stuff done. We actually worked really hard on passing the hate crimes amendment [in response to] Matthew Shepard ... and so we were able to to something. When we got that thing going, what we contributed and what the HRC was doing, it helped. … And that’s when I saw with my own eyes that something could be done. You have to do the best you can, because maybe you’ll do the best you can and achieve something that moves civil rights forward.
It was during one of the low points, in January of 1968, that Robert Hilburn was cutting his teeth as a freelance writer for The L.A. Times, and found himself the only journalist interested enough in Cash to report on his performance at Folsom Prison. The performance electrified the young writer, who interviewed Cash at length many times over the rest of his life, as well as Cash's family and friends. Those decades of investigation, plus three more years of interviews and writing, became the in-depth new biography Johnny Cash: The Life.
Hilburn will be at The Johnny Cash Museum for a Q&A session and book signing at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1; that one is free and open to the public. He will also be at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Taylor Swift Education Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, which is free with museum admission or membership. For both events, the only books signed will be copies bought on site.
Before he boarded his plane for Nashville, I had an opportunity to chat with Mr. Hilburn. Check out our conversation after the jump.
Take a gander at our Q&A — as well as a live performance of my favorite cut from Ware's record — after the jump.
It’s fair to say the build-up to The City Under the City, L’Orange and Kansas City rapper Stik Figa’s new collaborative work, has been filled with a level of anticipation that no previous L’Orange record has seen. The City Under the City was released last Tuesday (stream it all here or after the jump). Shortly before then, L’Orange and I met up at his headquarters to discuss his creative vision, as well as the new work. Along the way we touched on the difficulties of making full-length, collaborative music. We also traced his musical influences, talked about extreme mental illness and dissected how Hey Arnold! made him the artist he is today.
Otis his been absent from the touring circuit since Inspiration's release, underlining his reputation as an outsider and eccentric, even if — as he states in this New York Times feature — "there’s a misconception that I actually quit." But he's got a new album, the rarities comp Wings of Love, and he's been back on the road including a stop at Exit/In tomorrow night. From what friends in other cities have told me, the live show is great and the band is on fire. All of which is pretty awesome, if you consider the fact that the dude was more myth than anything this time last year.
I'll have a feature in tomorrow's dead-tree edition of the Scene. Also, Shuggie Otis was kind enough to answer a few questions for me via email. See what he has to say after the jump.
Otis plays Exit/In Thursday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, and it's an 18-and-up show.
Dee Goodz has been creating a lot of buzz lately. He’s been receiving positive feedback on his new mixtape and earning a shout-out on Isaiah Rashad’s breakout single, not to mention getting shot in the leg. Quite a few people have been talking about him, which probably means that quite a few eyes and ears are going to be on him when he releases his debut album, FFM, later this year. Dee is a busy guy. Last week, he took a break from recording to come back to town for a few days. He had a few things on his mind, so we got together for a drink and chatted it up. We discussed what he’s been doing in New York for the past year, Nashville hip-hop, his upcoming debut, and that one time he made a rock album.
Where Currin finds fault, I find freakishly good tunes — the acoustic “Evergreen” is gorgeous and the 30-minute “Boleskin” is a wicked gnarly riff meditation that ends on a (SPOILER ALERT!) breezy, creepy note. But who cares what I say? Let’s listen to what I have to say in this week's dead-tree edition about their Oct. 1 show at The Owl Farm!
Finally! You guys have no idea how badly I’ve wanted to talk about Windhand, but I just haven’t had the chance. Ever since the promo gods bequeathed us a copy of Windhand’s Relapse Records debut Soma, I’ve been champing at the bit to hail its praises in print. For serious, Soma has been on repeat at the Scene for months on end, and each listen is more exciting than the last — I’ve been head-banging to this record so much that my chiropractor won’t even talk to me anymore. This Richmond, Va., doom outfit makes epic stoner rumble that soars into the stratosphere, transcending the genre with sweeping majesty and shocking beauty. Vocalist Dorthia Cottrell’s ethereal singing elevates the band’s monstrous riffage to a level that is simply sublime — think The Melvins meets Mazzy Star — and separates Windhand from the rest of the doom pack. Plus they’ve got a song called “Woodbine,” which might not actually be a tribute to my favorite neighborhood, but I’ll take it anyway.
I caught up with drummer Ryan Wolfe while the band was on yet another cross-country trek to discuss songwriting in stoner metal, staying engaged in and staying cool on the road while things are heating up for the band. Windhand plays The Owl Farm on Tuesday with Brother Ares, Tijuana Goat Ride and Wood Splitter. The show is all-ages and $5, and the doors open at 8:30 p.m.
Check out Soma and dig into the interview after the jump.
As a member of The Cairo Gang, Olsen has also been a part of Will Oldham’s Bonnie “Prince” Billy traveling circus. Her first solo release, 2011’s Strange Cacti, was recorded in her kitchen, released on a friend’s tiny tape label, and quickly became a collectors’ item. Her second LP, Halfway Home, including significant contributions from The Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly and others, earned well-deserved rave reviews on its release last fall. A master of vocal techniques — especially at knowing when not to use them — she’s mostly worked in a country-folk vein, with some strong tinges of Latin and European folk. Last year, Olsen began working with a new band who amplify her psychedelic rock bent, which she tells us features prominently on her forthcoming record from Jagjaguwar. If her latest single, “Sleepwalker” b/w “Sweet Dreams,” is any indication, it’s going to be a beast, with all the power of the old Angel and more.
You can catch a peek for yourself when Olsen plays The Stone Fox Friday night, with support from Honey Locust and Lylas. The show starts at 9, and cover is $8.
Meanwhile, we recently had a caffeinated phone chat with Angel, covering quite a bit of ground including sociology, economics, record labels, noise rock and Birdcloud. Check it out after the jump.
The above video features a burgeoning music journalist named Marcel interviewing local guitar virtuoso William Tyler before Tyler's Aug. 1 show with Ty Segall at Santa Cruz's The Catalyst. In the clip, Marcel demonstrates his knowledge of Tyler's former outfit, Lifeboy, as well as other Nashville-rooted rock acts including Lambchop, Silver Jews and The Pink Spiders — the former two of course being bands of which Tyler was once a member. The two also discuss Tyler's recent Merge Records debut, Impossible Truth, the placement of Lifeboy's "Number One" on the Drop Dead Gorgeous soundtrack, where Tyler finds inspiration and more.
"You know more about Nashville rock clubs than, like, most people 20 years older than you," Tyler tells the whippersnapper. I'll say. Also, Marcel does his research, and if his Tumblr is any indication, he turns in cleaner copy than about half the freelancers who write for me. Well done, Marcel. Stay at it, and you'll have us all out of jobs soon. You know what they say: Kids these days! They're ... eerily intelligent and competent, apparently.
Well, maybe you're interested in seeing prolific indie/emo songster Owen (aka Mike Kinsella of American Football and Joan of Arc, and also Tim Kinsella's little bro) do his thing at The End tonight with Slingshot Dakota. That's cool. Contributor Ryan Burleson wrote a Critic's Pick on that one for us. Similarly earnest (but perhaps more in vogue) North Carolina indie-folk outfit and recent Merge Records signees Mount Moriah, however, will be playing at The High Watt. Contributor Chris Parker spoke with Moriah frontwoman Heather McEntire and put together a feature for us. Here's a little excerpt:
Their debut spun sweet country-folk that played on McEntire's honeyed vocals and [guitarist Jenks] Miller's gift for bite-size hooks, something of a holdover from their first collaboration, the pop-minded and relatively short-lived Un Deux Trois. Their personalities are increasingly evident on [their latest LP] Miracle Temple, as McEntire invests more emotion in her vocals and Miller provides greater guitar detail in the form of subtle drones, textures and tension.
Overall, the songs are taut and watertight. It's Americana that sounds as informed by Yo La Tengo as Gillian Welch. The cover image of a barn engulfed in flames effectively illustrates the album's attitude.
"It represents rebirth and having to kind of burn something down to build it back up," McEntire says by phone from her North Carolina home. "On another level you have this very American image, this barn, right? And then the fire touches on some religious stuff, but mostly it's not being afraid to turn tradition on its head a bit."
Show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $10. Fellow folk-tinged indie rocker Jesse Sykes will open, along with Nashville's own excellent shape-shifting pop songstress Natalie Prass.
Thanks for the extra info, dudes! Two of my favorite local boosters right there.
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