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Letters 05-25-2015

Michigan’s Depleted Funds So now we know why the Michigan legislators wanted to rush Proposal 1 down our throats.

Legality of Marriage & Divorce An article in the May 25th issue of Time reveals that: “We now have reached a point where fewer than half of kids leaving high school will have their parents living together.”

Cold Paradise Your May 18 cover story “Why is Northern Michigan So White?” is preposterous. For starters, we have plenty of diversity in this region: German, Polish, Swedish, Lithuanian, Norwegian, French Canadian, etc. – all groups that flourish in colder, harsh winter climates.

Unpave Those Roads Michigan legislators recently put before the people a proposal to increase tax to increase funds to the DOT and road commissions across the state for road repairs. The proposal failed by a significant margin.

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4Play: Various Artists, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriquez, Lang Lang, Gary Husband

Ross Boissoneau - January 3rd, 2011
Various Artists – Soul Revival (Shout/NPR)
This compilation, put together by National Public Radio, starts off with a bang. “Do the 45” by Ryan Shaw harkens back to the heyday of soul shouters like Sam Cooke and Al Green. Eli “Paperboy” Reed keeps up the momentum with “Am I Wasting My Time?” complete with spine-tingling yelps. Both feature instrumental backing reminiscent of the best soul music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, with chittering rhythm guitars, organ, handclaps and horns. Raphael Saadiq’s “100 Yard Dash” is more sedate than the title might suggest, and Chaka Khan’s “Disrepectful” with Mary J. Blige is an unqualified treat. Imagine a whole CD like that. Now stop imagining and listen.



Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez – The New Bye & Bye (Train Wreck Records)
Songwriter Chip Taylor (Jon Voight’s brother, composer of “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning” among others) teamed up with young fiddle player/vocalist Carrie Rodriguez after hearing her at SXSW in 2002. This is a compilation of some of their best work alongside four new songs. Perhaps the best testament to its success is that it’s impossible to tell which are the old songs and which are the new. Taylor’s rough-edged voice is complemented by Rodriguez’s sweeter hue. It would be nice if they could sing more in tune, but those who like their folk with a generous dose of twang will likely enjoy this recording.


Lang Lang – Live in Vienna (Sony)
There’s no doubt that Lang Lang is the most celebrated pianist in classical circles and beyond, from gigs at the Grammys and the Olympics to this recital in Vienna. His bravura style is occasionally over the top, but it’s hard to argue with the results. On this two-disc set, he performs two Beethoven sonatas, including “Appassionata,” as well as one each by Prokofiev and Albeniz. As a tribute to Chopin’s 200th anniversary, he also performs three of that composer’s works. Lang Lang’s playing may be overly enthusiastic at times, but it’s never florid. The “Appassionata” in particular rings with joy and passion, from hushed pianissimos to strident fortes.


Gary Husband – Dirty and Beautiful Volume 1 (Abstract Logix)
British drummer/keyboardist Husband has played with loads of folks in the jazz/rock firmament, and they’re all here with him. John McLaughlin, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, Allan Holdsworth, Robin Trower, Steve Hackett, Mark King and a host of others join him for a bracing set that touches on fusion, soft jazz, ambient rock, all with aplomb. Husband seldom lets things get out of control; the one criticism might be that it’s just a little too polite. Best tracks? Probably “Moon Song” with Hackett and English bass ace Laurence Cottle, or the spooky “Afterglow,” with Husband conjuring up images of fire and ice with his keyboards. But truly any tune is worth the price of admission.
 
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