Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

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4Play: Willie Nelson, Richard Thompson, Dierks Bentley, KT Tunstall

Ross Boissoneau - December 20th, 2010
Willie Nelson - Country Music (Rounder Records)
When Willie Nelson was busted for pot, yet again last week, he said “I feel great! I feel six ounces lighter.” It is that kind of spirit that is featured on this recording. The Grammy-nominated “Country Music” has the relaxed feel of Willie getting together with his best buds and playing classic country tunes with mostly acoustic instruments. It has the sound of a group of pickers crowding around one mic and swapping solos on fiddles and mandolins. “Satisfied Mind,” “Pistol Packin’ Mama” and Hank Williams’ “House of Gold” are standouts, but the collection includes 15 tunes and they are all good and fun.



Richard Thompson - Dream Attic (Shout Factory)
It is not easy for the uninitiated to cozy up to Richard Thompson’s heavy English accented snarl, but his dazzling guitar playing makes it worth the effort. “Dream Attic” is a sparkling live recording of all-new material. It includes a wide variety of styles from Irish to rock-a-billy and has the flow, with peaks and valleys, that feel more like a concert than a bunch of songs. The best moments are still when Thompson lets loose on his Stratocaster. Forty years removed from his days with Fairport Convention, he sounds as good as ever.




Dierks Bentley - Up On the Ridge (Capitol Records)
It used to be when a country star would cross over he would go slick in an attempt to appeal to a pop music audience. Nowadays the thing to do is to go back to the roots and and make a bluegrass album. On “Up On the Ridge” Bentley recruits some of the best with the likes of Alison Krauss, Del McCoury and mandolinist extraordinaire Chris Thile and his band, the Punch Brothers. It is still something less than hardcore bluegrass. Bentley pushes it just far enough where it will still be played on modern country radio, but it is a fine album and has plenty of surprises including bluegrass versions of Bob Dylan’s “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power),” U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Bottle to the Bottom,” a duet with Kris Kristofferson.


KT Tunstall - Tiger Suit (Relentless)
Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall is best known for her hits “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See,” a tune inspired by Patti Smith. Tunstall doesn’t quite have Smith’s intensity and sense of music as art (who does?), but on “Tiger Suit” Tunstall makes it clear she is a creative force to be reckoned with and is a lot more than a one or two hit wonder. Recorded in Germany at the same studio where U2’s Achtung Baby and David Bowie’s Heroes were recorded, Tunstall ventures into the world of electronica and dance rhythms without letting it all overwhelm her own distinctive energy and personality.
 
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