My new Think Again column revisits the terrible “problem” of liberal academia, and it’s here.
Bob Kuttner gave Kabuki Democracy a nice review in The American Prospect here.
And the Jewish Journal of LA reviewed it here.
And CSPAN’s Book TV will broadcast a talk I gave at Busboys and Poets in Washington DC this Saturday at 7 and Sunday at 1. More info here.
Live shows: John Doe, Joan Osborne, Cowboy Junkies, “The Music of Neil Young”
Cds: Miles, “Bitches’ Brew Live,” Cowboy Junkies’ “Demons,”The Jayhawks, "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow The Green Grass,” Bob Dylan, “Witmark Demos.”
Blurays: Jeff Back House Party
I caught two shows in Lincoln Center’s terrific “American Songbook” series recently, which take place in the Allen Room overlooking the entrance to Central Park at Columbus Circle and always seems to inspire the performer with its power and beauty. The first was John Doe playing the kind of country music that makes his records with the Knitters and the Sadies such a joy. He didn’t have either band with him, but he put together a lovely pickup band that featured his daughter on vocals and did a bunch of originals—some of which were reworked X songs and a few were classics, and one or two may be classics some day. (My vote goes to “Wrecking Ball” co-authored by the great Dave Alvin.) Anyway, it was a pretty relaxed, enjoyable show, in contrast to the Joan Osborne show which also did not suck at all, but was quite a production. Togther with her longtime collaborator Jack Petruzelli began Osborne premiered a new song cycle modeled on Van Morrison’s "Veedon Fleece" and "Astral Weeks." It’s about a love affair that blossoms and then, I think disappears, though I’m not sure, and featured lots of six string players video and a couple of dancers including the evening’s choregrapher, Lily Baldwin. It’s hard to appreciate music the first time you hear it but Osborne is such a strong vocalist and the band found its groove a few times so the evening never dragged. She came back for some plain old Joan Osborne songs, and everybody went home happy, thinking they had seen something special. Anyway, here’s the rest of the season if you’re in town.
A few nights later, I caught a Cowboy Junkies show at City Winery. They’re in the middle of an ambitious four volume “Nomad series” on their own label, Latent Recordings. I don’t actually know why it’s a series, but this album is all songs by the late Vic Chesnutt. It’s a perfect match. The Junkies always sound like the Junkies, but the lush, warm arrangements of Chesnutt’s beautiful compositions all sound new amidst the excellent arrangements, intuitive communication and soothing voice of Margo Timmins and her mispucha. City Winery is the perfect place to relax and immerse oneself in the, um, vibe. And Ms. Margo is an awfully a good-looking fifty, by the way, if I’m allowed to say that. More here.