Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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Ross Boissoneau

 
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Play that funky music, jazz band

Music Ross Boissoneau Where can you go to get your fill of big band jazz? This Friday, April 11, you can head to Milliken Auditorium at the Dennos Museum to see not one, but two groups performing music by the likes of Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman and, um, Wild Cherry.
Yes, that’s right, the NMC Jazz Lab Band and the NMC Jazz Big Band will each perform a set of pieces recalling the heyday of the big bands. But Wild Cherry? Mike Hunter, who directs both groups as well as the NMC Vocal Jazz Ensemble, promises that the rendition of “Play That Funky Music” will be a treat for listeners of a jazz bent as well as those who remember its original incarnation in the disco-fied ‘70s. “It’s a really fun, funky big band treat, originally redone by Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band,” said Hunter.
 
Monday, March 24, 2008

CCR Keeps on Choogling

Music Ross Boissoneau Originally a fun idea for a few private parties, Creedence Clearwater Revisited – the rhythm section of the original Creedence Clearwater Revival plus a couple of stand-ins for the missing Fogerty brothers – has become a regular working band since its inception in 1995. Heck, it’s even come complete with lawsuits of the type that helped scuttle the original band back in the ‘70s.
 
Monday, January 28, 2008

Roy Taghon

Other Opinions Ross Boissoneau We all know we’re going to die, we just don’t want to believe it. Nor do we want to believe that others are.
It doesn’t matter. It still happens every day, far too often. It’s just that some are so unexpected, and leave gaping holes far beyond their family.
That is what Empire is going through right now. If you ever stopped for gas at the station at the corner of M-72 and M-22, the one owned for years by his parents and by his grandparents before them, you probably saw Roy Taghon. He was the skinny guy at the counter, the one with the sparkling eyes dancing behind those big glasses. Forty-two years young, his hair heading south, his legs heading somewhere. Roy was never still for more than about a minute. Too much caffeine, you might think, but the strongest thing I ever saw him drink was milk.
 
Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

Music Ross Boissoneau Mannheim Steamroller, helmed by the ever-busy Chip Davis, talks with Express’ Ross Boissoneau about Mannheim’s latest holiday album, Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, and the Kennedy Space Center. Yes, all of that is related somehow - read on!
EXPRESS: Why did you first decide to do a Christmas album?
DAVIS: I have always been fascinated with the history and tradition of Christmas carols. When I recorded my first Christmas album in 1984, it was because I wanted to take the carols that I knew and combine modern day instruments with instruments from the Renaissance era. Ever since the first Christmas record, the fans have participated on what songs would be included on the next one.
 
Monday, December 3, 2007

Brian Setzer

Music Ross Boissoneau When Brian Setzer brings his Christmas show – and his swinging 17-piece orchestra – to the Odawa Casino in Petoskey for Saturday night’s show, the place will be both swingin’ and rockin’ - that’s a given. But what fans might not realize is just how much holiday music they’ll hear, and just how it will be... well, Setzerized.

SWINGIN’ SETZER
Since bursting onto the scene with his big band in 1994, Setzer has headed the swing revival, but while many of the bands that rode that wave have all but disappeared (think Squirrel Nut Zippers or Royal Crown Revue), Setzer has kept on keeping on.
While some of his music already has a certain cheesiness – it’s been compared to Doc Severinsen’s “Tonight Show” band with tattoos – that cheese factor increases dramatically as Setzer & crew take on the holiday sounds of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” Rogers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” and everyone’s favorite, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” So what? The soulful saxes, punchy trumpets, and rollicking trombones make short work of any criticism.
 
Thursday, November 29, 2007

4Play

Music Ross Boissoneau John Fogerty – Revival – Fantasy
Since John Fogerty disbanded Creedence Clearwater Revival, he’s abdicated his role as spinner of Americana to the likes of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen.
 
Thursday, September 6, 2007

A look back at Summer 2007

Features Ross Boissoneau Ice cream, beaches, parades - it’s easy to pick the best of summer in those categories. The trick is to find the hits of the season in the more - well, shall we say less-thought-of places.

Rodent of the summer
Remy, the rat who’s the almost-title character of Disney/Pixar’s summer hit, Ratatouille, is smart, funny, and conniving. Unlike his real-life counterparts, however, he has amusing sidekicks, including France’s most famous chef, brought back to life by his oversized imagination, and the staff at the late chef’s restaurant. Ratatouille gets the vote here as movie of the year. (www.ratatouille.com.)
 
Thursday, August 23, 2007

Attack of the guitar gods

Music Ross Boissoneau This year’s Guitar Masters Series at Interlochen includes axe-slingers that other guitarists stand in awe of, guitarists from the area who have made it big elsewhere, and at least one guitarist nearly everyone has heard, though they may not heard of him.
Got that? Well, that’s what you get when you include fingerstyle master Leo Kottke, and Traverse City’s own Jeff Bihlman from the Bihlman Brothers/Son Seals Band and Kenny Olson of The Flask. Then there’s Howard Alden, who’s played on albums by a who’s who of jazz musicians but is perhaps most notable for being the musician behind Sean Penn’s leading role in Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown.”
As was the case last year, the series is split into three nights, with days given over to classes for guitar students. The shows will be held each night at Corson Auditorium at 8 p.m.
The first night’s show on Thursday, Aug. 23, features Kottke, who has been enthralling audiences and dumfounding other guitarists since the late ‘60s. His breathtaking technique and unusual tunings on the guitar have earned him a cult following since his 1971 disc “6 and 12-String Guitar” on fellow guitarist John Fahey’s Tacoma label.
 
Thursday, May 3, 2007

4Play

Music Ross Boissoneau Various Artists – A Tribute to Joni Mitchell - Nonesuch
With Joni Mitchell in semi-retirement, this star-studded tribute reminds us of what an interesting songwriter Mitchell was (and presumably still is). When artists as diverse as Bjork, Prince, Brad Meldau, Annie Lennox and James Taylor can find something in common with the music, you know you’re onto something. Sarah McLaghlan’s take on “Blue” is mesmerizing, and no less is Lennox’s reworking of “Ladies of the Canyon.” Those two tracks are followed jarringly by Emmylou Harris’s twangy “The Magdalene Laundries.” If it all sounds a bit bizarre, you’re beginning to get the idea. So what works, and what doesn’t? Elvis Costello’s “Edith and the Kingpin” features bass clarinet leading the horns alongside vibes in an altogether brilliant arrangement, while Lennox is her always original self. But best of all is k.d. lang’s version of what may be Mitchell’s most familiar tune - “Help Me.” Arresting, engaging, and occasionally uneven, this tribute is every bit as arresting as Mitchell herself.
 
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Christmas Music

Music Ross Boissoneau Christmastime is here,” sang the Peanuts gang 41 years ago in the classic TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And so it is again, with as many new recordings of holiday chestnuts as you could hope to fit under the tree.
Speaking of Peanuts, one of the offerings this year is a remastered version of the soundtrack to that seminal animated special. Vince Guaraldi’s creations remain staples of the holiday season, whether it’s Schroeder’s – I mean Guaraldi’s – “Linus and Lucy” or the immortal “Christmas Time Is Here,” heard here in not only instrumental and vocal versions, but an alternate vocal take, one of four bonus tracks on the disc.

 
Thursday, November 23, 2006

The New Cars

Music Ross Boissoneau What is 40% Cars, 40% Utopia and 20% the hardest hitting man in rock and
roll?
Take a look under the hood and you’ll see it’s The New Cars, featuring
original Cars Elliot Easton and Greg Hawkes (guitar and keyboards,
respectively), with Todd Rundgren and Kasim Sulton channeling Ric Ocasek
and the late Ben Orr. Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, who’s also spent time
with Todd and Jefferson Starship/Airplane, keeps the motor humming.
The New Cars make their Michigan debut Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the Kewadin
Casino in St. Ignace. They were scheduled to play this summer at DTE
Energy Music Theater in Clarkston on a double bill with Blondie, but just
days before the show the tour bus was involved in an accident and Easton
broke his arm.
 
Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hands on Fire

Music Ross Boissoneau Guitar enthusiasts can certainly get their fill this week at Interlochen, as the Interlochen Arts Festival summer concert series concludes with a three-day Fingerstyle Guitar Festival. The shows will feature noted guitarists Alex DeGrassi, one of the founders of the Windham Hill sound; William Kanengiser, a member of the acclaimed Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and one of America’s most brilliant classical guitarists; noted jazz guitarist Bruce Dunlap, and a posthumous tribute to groundbreaking Windham Hill recording artist and Interlochen alum Michael Hedges.
It’s all going down under the watchful eyes and ears of John Wunsch, director of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts Guitar Institute. Wunsch himself will perform onstage with DeGrassi, a performance he is especially keen on.
 
Thursday, July 20, 2006

4Play

Music Ross Boissoneau Richard Butler – Richard Butler (Koch)
The first solo album from the one-time lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs and its offshoot, Love Spit Love, doesn’t rock nearly as much as those bands. Instead, it’s a moody soundtrack for post-punk adults. Problem is, Butler’s not much of a crooner. While his rough-edged voice served him well on “Pretty In Pink” or “The Ghost In You,” it was always more at home with “Heartbreak Beat” or “Love My Way,” where he matched decibels with the guitars and keyboards. Here Butler only hints at that power, as on the second half of “California” or “Broken Aeroplanes.” But when he sings “One in a million” on “Satellites,” you’re left to conclude that while Butler may be that, he’s not at his best here. Onetime Fur Jon Carin provides all the instrumental backing, heavy on the keyboards.
 
Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ian Anderson Unplugged

Music Ross Boissoneau A rock band joining forces with an orchestra isn’t so far-fetched. Groups like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the Moody Blues and Yes have paired their brand of symphonic rock with orchestras over the years.
But Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson has gone them one better. He’s ditched Tull for the moment in favor of a “more flexible” rock band that works within a symphony orchestra, performing a set of Tull and Anderson solo favorites, along with a smattering of classical tunes. Anderson hasn’t quit Tull by any means, but relishes the chance to do something different.
“It’s part of the luxury I can afford,” said Anderson of this tour, which finds
him and his hand-picked group perform-ing alongside the Traverse Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen on Wednesday July 19. “I can dabble at this, dabble
at that.”
 
Thursday, April 13, 2006

4Play

Music Ross Boissoneau Robert Berry – Prime Cuts (Magna Carta)
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Berry is a prime mover on Magna Carta’s series of tribute albums, and here you can hear his versions of Yes’s “Roundabout,” “Karn Evil 9” by ELP, Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage,” even Ambrosia’s “Life Beyond LA.” Problem is, despite his brilliant mimicry of these and other famous prog artists, you don’t really hear enough of Berry. He plays everything, from drums to bass to guitar and keyboards, he sings, and produces. He even made a fun Christmas album where he used his one-man band approach to update holiday fare in the styles of King Crimson, Kansas, and others. He’s got the tools, as his previous solo discs and stints in the Three alongside Emerson and Palmer and in post-David Pack Ambrosia demonstrate, but “Prime Cuts” is just an excuse to hear him sound like his inspirations. Great fun though . . .
 
 
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