Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Ross Boissoneau - November 11th, 2004
Elvis Costello – The Delivery Man – (UMG Records)

Here it is at last, the album almost no Elvis Costello fan was looking for: The followup to 1981’s “Almost Blue.” Costello shocked nearly everyone when he made the musical move to Nashville honky-tonk with that record, and on “The Delivery Man” Costello explores country twang and emotion once again. Guests include Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, and John McFee, one of the members of Clover with whom he recorded his debut disc (McFee subsequently became a Doobie Brother). But this is more than just a country homage. There’s no shortage of rock voltage (“Bedlam” in particular) alongside the rootsy twang, while “The Name of This Thing Is Not Love” features jazzy lounge organ. And while “Almost Blue” was a collection of covers, Costello wrote or co-wrote all the tracks herein.

Elvis Costello – Il Sogno – (Deutsche Grammophon)

Okay, this is really the album no Elvis fan was expecting. But having delved into most every other type of music on the planet, perhaps we should have been looking for Costello to explore the palette of the symphony orchestra. But even if one could have anticipated such a move, no way would it have been expected that the disc would be so original, so rich, and so rewarding. Listeners will hear traces of Stravinsky, Debussy and Bernstein in the jazzy swells, playful dissonances, and bursts of orchestral color. This is a mature, full-bodied work that Costello himself orchestrated as well as wrote. Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra bring it all to glorious life.

Anita Baker – My Everything – (Blue Note)

Baker’s first new album in far too long – 10 years, to be exact. While tastes and trends have changed dramatically in that time, Baker has not. And that’s a good thing. Her rich alto hasn’t lost a thing, and her new songs are for the most part engaging, if not challenging. Maybe there’s nothing here on the level of “Sweet Love” or “Caught Up In The Rapture,” but there’s a lot here that comes close: The opening “You’re My Everything,” “Like You Used To Do” (a duet with Babyface), and especially the concluding “Men in My Life,” a paean to the domestic life, extolling the virtues of her husband and her sons. A welcome return.

Will Ackerman - Returning: Pieces For Guitar – 1970-2004 (Mary’s Tree)

As founder of Windham Hill, Ackerman is as responsible for New Age as anyone. His label released much of the genre’s formative music, by the likes of George Winston, Liz Story, Shadowfax, and his cousin Alex de Grassi. Ackerman puts to use over 20 years of listening and learning as he revisits some of the music he’s previously recorded. “In A Region Of Clouds” boasts a wistful, slightly countrified melody, while the gentle lines of the following “Last Day at the Beach” invite the listener to drift off, its gentle lines and ethereal beauty disappearing the way summer settles into fall. “Hawk Circle,” from 1980, and the following “Barbara’s Song,” written a decade earlier, work together beautifully, as does the entire album.

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