Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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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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