My new Think Again column is called “Conservatives Prefer Reagan Fantasies to Reality (And So Did Reagan)” and it’s here.
I did a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review called “The Girl Who Loved Journalists” about the Stieg Larsson trilogy, which I very much enjoyed, and that’s here.
I did an interview with a German newspaper on the future of media and it’s called “Blood on the Newsroom Floor: The video” here.
And for the Daily Beast, I wrote up “What Liberals Want From Iowa’s Caucuses” here, which you can still read, if you want to, but it’s ok if you don’t.
My friends Steve Earle and Allison Moorer are doing a five-week residence at City Winery (with friends) and the Wall Street Journal was nice enough to say “he’s part of a lineage of country songwriters who, like Townes Van Zandt and Johnny Cash, never could toe the line.” I went to the Winery twice in the past couple weeks. Most recently I caught up with Little Feat, whom I’d not seen since the passing of Lowell George back in 1979. Now led by Paul Barrére and Billy Payne, they’ve reformed and play Dead-like, well actually, Furthur-like shows (sans drummer Richie Hayward who died of penumonia in 2010), including some of the same songs, like “The Weight” and “Long Black Veil,” which makes them, like the Allmans, a roots/blues/jazz/traditional Americana outfit. Larry Campbell sat in on fiddle the night I saw them and nobody was sorry to be there. They played three sold out nights.
A week or so earlier, I was quite happy to be there for one of the four sold out nights by the Fab Faux, who are pretty much a guaranteed good time as well as musically ambitious without being pretentious. It’s a long way from seeing McCartney at Yankee Stadium and this is mostly a good thing. The songs are played more inventively and the stage patter is less annoying. Of course there are no voices like Paul’s or George’s or John’s, but it’s a pretty damn good cure for a bad mood. You can watch them play “Hey Bulldog,” something I’m pretty sure the Beatles would not be playing if they were all alive and together today, here.
In between those two shows, I caught the first night Gov’t Mule’s two night annual trip to the Beacon for New Year’s Eve. I was not there the night they played “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” which strikes me as a truly inspired choice. But I did see them open with a Parliament/Funkadelic song with the horrible title of “Maggot Brain,” which was pretty crazy, and it segued into Pink Floyd’s “One Of These Days” and “Fearless.” Funnily enough, they were joined by the Fab Faux guitarist Jimmy Vivino and did a really sweet “Working Class Hero,” which the great and deeply underrated Mr. Haynes has recently convinced the mighty Allman Brothers Band to play as well. Next, Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo, who was also in town for a City Winery gig, came on for from “Smokestack Lightning” into “John The Revelator.” Both guitarists stuck around for the encores of “Politician” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” into “For What It’s Worth.” Again, this music is, like Duke Ellington, “beyond category,” a bastardized, mongrelized American invention shared by the Dead, the Allman Brothers, late Miles, Hot Tuna, Little Feat, David Bromberg, and the spinnoff bands of each of these. It deserves to be celebrated, but not so much that the celebration detracts from the unpretentiousness of the music. The Mule site is here. Get Warren’s album if you don’t already have it.