Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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4Play

Ross Boissoneau - May 3rd, 2007
Various Artists – A Tribute to Joni Mitchell - Nonesuch
With Joni Mitchell in semi-retirement, this star-studded tribute reminds us of what an interesting songwriter Mitchell was (and presumably still is). When artists as diverse as Bjork, Prince, Brad Meldau, Annie Lennox and James Taylor can find something in common with the music, you know you’re onto something. Sarah McLaghlan’s take on “Blue” is mesmerizing, and no less is Lennox’s reworking of “Ladies of the Canyon.” Those two tracks are followed jarringly by Emmylou Harris’s twangy “The Magdalene Laundries.” If it all sounds a bit bizarre, you’re beginning to get the idea. So what works, and what doesn’t? Elvis Costello’s “Edith and the Kingpin” features bass clarinet leading the horns alongside vibes in an altogether brilliant arrangement, while Lennox is her always original self. But best of all is k.d. lang’s version of what may be Mitchell’s most familiar tune - “Help Me.” Arresting, engaging, and occasionally uneven, this tribute is every bit as arresting as Mitchell herself.


the bird and the bee – the bird and the bee - Metroblue
The bird and the bee – all lowercase please – is the duo of instrumentalist Greg Kurstin and singer Inara George, daughter of the late Little Feat vocalist Lowell George. George’s almost-little girl voice is never overwhelmed by the instrumental backing, and much of it works very well. Occasionally it brings to mind other duo efforts, such as Yaz or Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin. But George is no bluesy belter, a la Yaz’s Alison Moyet. No, she’s all soft and breathy - more like a Suzanne Vega, to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance at times. This contrasts with the deliberately artificial-sounding synths and programmed percussion, giving the project an off-kilter vibe; the robotic backing vying with the very human sound of George’s voice. Points off for the unnecessary profanity that mars the overall success of the album. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.


Ryan Shaw – This Is Ryan Shaw - Red Ink
Remember soul music? Ryan Shaw certainly does, and if there is any justice in this world, this disc will help bring it back to the fore. The disc harkens back to artists as diverse as James Brown, Otis Redding and Was (Not Was), with a little Jackie Wilson thrown in for good measure. But while young – Shaw is just 26 – he sings like he’s been around a while. The backing instrumentation varies from track to track. “Working On A Building Of Love” is a great singalong, with guitars and drums pushing things along. On “I’ll Be Satisfied”, it’s a greasy organ and bari sax assisting Shaw. The concluding “Over & Done” features a backing vocal group and handclaps that concludes it nicely. Riding atop it all for all he’s worth is Shaw, one minute moaning, the next crooning, then putting it all together as he testifies. Shaw pulls out all the tricks and all the stops, and it works.


Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby – Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby - Sony Legacy
Those looking for some kind of balance between Skaggs’s rootsy sound and Hornsby’s jazzy pop are in for a shock. This is full-throttle bluegrass, including a hilarious take on Rick James’s “Superfreak.” Funky it’s not. But “Superfreak,” which closes the album, and Hornsby’s opening, “The Dreaded Spoon,” an ode to dessert, are alone worth the price of admission. In between, Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder are matched stride for stride by Hornsby, who channels the countrymost leanings of his jam-band days with the Grateful Dead. Once you get past the initial shock – if you do – the highlights are many. “Across the Rocky Mountain,” “Come On Out,” even Hornsby’s “Mandolin Rain” all feature the sound of friends furiously getting down with mandolins, fiddles, and piano, vying with vocals for airspace.
 
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