Tommy Ramone Dead, Legend of The Ramones Endures

One of the pivotal bands to emerge from the New York City punk scene in the mid-seventies, the Ramones provided a subversive antidote to much of the over-produced, over-indulgent pop and rock music of the era.

An Interview with Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains

For over half a century the Chieftains have served as global ambassadors of traditional Irish music, and Paddy Moloney has been there from the very start.

Interview: John Illsley, Formerly of Dire Straits, Celebrates Survival with New Solo Album

While Mark Knopfler has enjoyed more critical and popular success since the band’s demise, Illsley has nonetheless produced a string of respectable solo works as well, including his latest LP, Testing the Water.

DVD Review: Elton John - The Million Dollar Piano

“It has to be a little over the top,” Elton says. “It’s Vegas.”

Boz Scaggs: The Instinct of a Musical Survivor

Call it intuition or a sixth sense or just faith in his own perception: Boz Scaggs knows when he’s onto something good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Good Old War: Getting Better All The Time

If the members of Good Old War share an abiding ambition for the music they make, it’s that each new record should be better than the last one. With their latest, Come Back as Rain (Sargent House), the indie-folk trio—Keith Goodwin (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Dan Schwartz (vocals/guitar), and Tim Arnold (vocals/drums)—nurture the fluent harmonies and shimmering acoustic guitars that distinguish their sound while reflecting an increasingly concerted effort to grow and progress over time.

"Even when there’s no new album to make, we’re still all writing, constantly," Arnold explains. “We all sit down, look at lyrics, look at structure, look at what chords are being used, what key it’s in, whether it’s going to sound good, what words are being used. And we all get together and work it out and build it with three people."

The songs that comprise Come Back as Rain had mostly been written before recording sessions began at ARC Studios, an Omaha, Nebraska compound owned by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. “Of course when we got there we changed stuff, naturally, added different things,” Arnold points out, adding, “We try and get prepared every time we go into the studio.”


It’s been just four years since the release of Good Old War’s full-length debut, Only Way to Be Alone, but they’ve nonetheless come a long way. Arnold agrees. “We’ve just all gotten more comfortable with each other as musicians,” he says. “If we’re just jamming we know where each other’s going to go; we have signals to subconsciously use on each other to go in certain directions. After a while with playing with someone you just get into a rhythm. It gets easier.”

That’s not to say it’s gotten easy. With a headlining tour now underway and showcase performances scheduled this week at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin the stakes continue to rise. “We’re very hard on ourselves when it comes to the live stuff,” Arnold insists, stressing that such consideration occurs well before they take the stage. “We go into the studio and if we have a song, we’re like, ‘It needs to be able to be played acoustic and sound just as good. Let’s not put too much stuff on here, keep it kind of simple so when we do play it live it’s not going to be a huge departure from the record.’ We’ve got to keep that in mind the whole time.”

As with any other musical group in which each member has an equal say creative disagreements are bound to happen, culminating in some rather heated moments. “There is definitely tension,” Arnold concedes, “but for the most part we trust each other. We lean on each other sometimes. And when someone has a very strong opinion on something, it’s usually like, ‘Fine. If you really feel that strongly about it, then let’s do it.’ And it usually works out.”

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Cowboy Junkies Marching into The Wilderness with Free MP3 Download


On March 27 the Cowboy Junkies will release The Wilderness, the final installment of the veteran band's four-volume album cycle, "The Nomad Series." In anticipation a free download is now available for "Angels in the Wilderness," a track that, according to a blog post by Junkies frontwoman Margo Timmons on the band's official website, was partly inspired by author Marilynne Robinson's novel, Gilead. The book, which according to Timmons "takes the form of a letter written by an elderly, dying pastor to his seven year old son," is credited, in fact, with influencing a great deal of the new album.