“Sarah has a real gift for using the palette of sound. Her guitar tone is classic, precise, and could have been on a Ventures or Shadows instrumental. But there’s a brooding and undulating maelstrom that she develops until finally it’s just blasting. I like the emotion but also the intelligence.” Anxious, turbulent, foreboding –but with stunning glimpses of great beauty– I went deep on Sarah Lipstate’s pandemic-friendly soundscapes.
“I got this husband and these two cats, so that’s theoretically three boys I have to clean up after. But there’s no coping. I posted something [on social media] about being hunkered down and holding on in West Orange, ‘I got some champagne and I got a good smoke.’ You talk about coping! If I didn’t have this champagne and this marijuana here, I’d have a story to tell you.”
I spoke with some of our most cherished musical elders about the perils of working and surviving during the pandemic, including Gary Bartz, Laraaji, Terry Allen, Hailu Mergia, and Ms. Bettye LaVette.
In 2017, I was invited to Robert Northern’s home in Takoma Park to chat about the music collected in Divine Music. With news of his passing today, I’m posting the full interview from this box set. I think often about his story about playing music for the wild animals in the Ngorongoro crater:Continue reading “Brother Ah Interview”
“I was going to stop playing music as a career. I felt that with all this mess, we didn’t need another musician. I was ready for the Black Panthers, or to leave the country or something. I knew I had to do something.”
“You look at early rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, soul music, there were hundreds and hundreds of small labels in Memphis that were saying ‘why not me?’ Of course, there are hundreds of reasons for ‘Why not them,’ but they still persevered and cut a record.” Deep into the Mississippi mud of a Singing Dentist, a future prophetess boogie-fying Pigmeat Markham’s “Order in the Court,” and Gutbucket Chic, this is a great comp for fans of Dâm-Funk, PPU, and the like.
Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987 for Bandcamp
“I try to look at these records as collaborations between the label and the musicians. We have no interns, I pack every order, I answer every email, I try to take as much pride in the daily operations as I do the grand picture.” Exploring eclectic, trailblazing guitar soli in the 21st century (inspired by Johnny Smith, John Fahey, punk, and noise) with the Vin Du Select Qualitite label.
VDSQ Brings a Punk Aesthetic to Acoustic Music for Bandcamp
“Al Green made seriously sensuous music, but the fascinating, evergreen quality of it all is in how he embraces and wrestles with both the carnal and spiritual manifestations of love. The friction between the sacred and profane can be heard in nearly every note, alluring and manic in equal measure. Al Green is as suave and silken as he is shattered.”
A Guide to the Essential Al Green Deep Cuts for Bandcamp
“Ann Peebles succinctly covered a wide emotional spectrum—able to capture love’s ache in one song, then heel turn and nonchalantly break up a home the next. She conveys the breadth of humanity, our ability to impart bliss and anguish, cruelty and sweetness, on those we love the most.”
Some recent work: