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Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

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4Play: Polar Bear; Sufjan Stevens; Secret Sisters; Black Dub

Jack Pine - January 17th, 2011
1/17/11
Polar Bear - Peepers (Leaf Label)
Here’s a concept: Jazz that is fun, musical, adventurous and not at all boring. Polar Bear is a small combo from England that features two saxophone players. Polar Bear plays jazz that is more about the compositions than any lengthy jazz trance solos. There are touches of Sun Ra, Morphine and Tom Waits (sans vocals). Some songs groove and some float, but it is all fresh and inviting music. It all seems so natural; it is a wonder a band with Polar Bear’s sound hasn’t happened sooner.




Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty)
Let us pause for a moment and thank Stevens, the former Petoskey resident and Interlochen student for his fine ‘03 release “Greetings from Michigan - the Great Lakes State,” and giving our state so much badly needed creative attention. Stevens now lives in Brooklyn. He has always been more than a simple singer/songwriter, but on “The Age of Adz” Stevens has created his most ambitious and biggest sounding recording yet. Musical creativity flows out of Stevens like Beck and David Byrne, to the point where it can be overwhelming. But if you like rich headphone music, “The Age of Adz” is worth a listen, all the way through to the album’s closer, the 25-minute-plus “Impossible Soul.”


Secret Sisters (Universal Republic Records)
Maybe you need some neo-retro classic sounds to go with the neo-retro classic furniture you just got for Christmas. If so, the Secret Sisters would be just the thing. The sisters, Lydia and Laura Rogers, are from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Their first album was produced by Jack White and this one is co-produced by T-Bone Burnett. At times the album flirts with being too cute (“My Heart Skips a Beat”) or too campy (a cover of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s hit “Something Stupid”) but there are also some great songs here, such as Bill Monroe’s “The One I Love is Gone.” The Secret Sisters’ overall sincerity and spot-on harmonies will eventually win you over.



Black Dub (Jive Records)
In addition to his work as star producer (U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan etc.) Daniel Lanois has made some impressive albums on his own, “Shine” from ‘05 being the best of the bunch. This time, Lanois enlists late bluesman Chris Whitely’s daughter Trixie to handle most of the lead vocals. She’s a belter of songs - a more organic version of Joss Stone. The rhythm section with Brian Blade on drums and Daryl Johnson on bass is about is good as it gets. Ample amounts of atmospheric sounds and the lush reverb that Lanois is famous for are featured on every song. Black Dub was on a several 2010 “Best of Lists” and deservedly so.
 
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