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Andy Whitman

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About Andy Whitman

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    Web Designer/Music Writer
  • Favorite movies
    Tender Mercies Lost in Translation Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind The Royal Tennenbaums El Norte The Mission Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Favorite music
    Richard Thompson Bruce Cockburn The Beatles Bob Dylan Van Morrison Bill Mallonee U2 Steve Earle The Old 97's Lucinda Williams Buddy Miller Julie Miller Patty Griffin Gillian Welch Mark Kozelek/Red House Painters/Sun Kil Moon Nick Drake Miles Davis Bill Evans Thelonious Monk Al Green Ben Harper Neko Case A. C. Newman The Shins Beulah The Weakerthans Death Cab for Cutie The Mars Volta
  • Favorite creative writing
    Walker Percy Flannery O'Connor Graham Greene John Updike Frederick Buechner Annie Dillard Shusaku Endo Henri Nouwen David Foster Wallace Thomas Pynchon Donald Barthelme Raymond Chandler Elmore Leonard Thomas Hardy Charles Dickens Fyodor Dostoyevsky Gabriel Garcia Marquez Garrison Keillor Paul Scott C. S. Lewis J.R.R. Tolkien Anne Lamott

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  1. Andy Whitman

    Our 2014 lists

    10. The Rails – Fair Warning Richard and Linda Thompson made a half dozen of the best albums I’ve ever heard, featuring searing songwriting, jaw-dropping guitar work, and scintillating harmony singing. But that was 35 or more years ago now, and we’ll never get another one. And that’s why I’ll settle for the Thompson’s daughter Kami singing with her husband James Walbourne. It’s not much of a hardship. Together, Kami and James call themselves The Rails. Kami doesn’t quite have Linda’s breathtaking voice, but she has a good one. James isn’t quite the songwriter or guitarist that Richard is,
  2. I like this album. I suspect it's just a detour in Bird's career, but it's a pleasant one, and I like both the simplicity of the musical arrangements and the strangeness of Brett and Rennie Sparks' songs. It's a weird folk album. Nothing wrong with that.
  3. Me neither, and despite some threads here devoted to Big Star and the efforts of Michael Stipe et al. to bring Chilton wider attention, I still knew nothing about him or the band when, late last year, I gave my screener of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me a spin. I didn't last long. I think I'll try again tonight, having read a review of the new book A Man Called Destruction in today's Washington Post. The review concludes: Here’s hoping “A Man Called Destruction” can join the 2012 documentary “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me” to restore Chilton to his rightful place in the rock-and-roll
  4. Well, I love you guys, but I can't stand this album. It's a collection of old, familiar songs that have already been recorded hundreds of times, and in better fashion, by other people. And it's recorded on old technology, so it sounds horrible. Intentionally. This from the guy who keeps telling us that the problem with digital audio quality is the fidelity. The solution? Make it sound like a 1927 field recording, apparently. Neil Young, quite a card. He's going to do what he's going to do, and history has shown that he doesn't really give a rip what other people think. Okay. But this one
  5. Here are some thoughts on this album I wrote on my blog: Mark Kozelek (under his Sun Kil Moon moniker) has released a new album called “Benji.” Along with Joe Henry’s “Invisible Hour” - a very different kind of musical experience - it’s the album I’ve come back to most frequently during the first few months of this year. I dearly love it. It also irritates the hell out of me. In other words, it’s a Mark Kozelek album. Let it be noted that Kozelek can’t follow a narrative worth a damn. His songs start off in Ohio and end up in New Mexico, and he doesn’t necessarily connect the dots in between
  6. The Dire Straits comparison occurred to me, too. I agree that it's a fine album. The lo-fi aesthetic gets to me a bit. This guy is a fine songwriter and guitarist, but it's a bit hard to hear at times. Still, I'm impressed.
  7. Sad for many reasons-- not the least of which is that I honestly don't know of any other publication that engages with both CCM and more mainstream pop, rock, country, and folk music with the seriousness that CT did, for a time. I appreciated CT's music coverage, and wrote my share of articles and reviews for the magazine, but it was an uneasy alliance with the audience. Every time a review of a non-CCM album showed up on the site or in the magazine, the outraged comments would come in like clockwork. "I thought this was a Christian magazine." "How is Jesus honored by Artist <x>? I
  8. The debut album was tremendous; an arena shaker that also featured pensive, thoughtful lyrics and genuine heartbreak. And yes, a raspy, soulful lead singer. I heard some of the new songs live a few months ago, when I saw Augustines open for Frightened Rabbit. I liked what I heard, and I can't wait to hear more. Thanks for the heads-up.
  9. I feel like we covered that topic fairly recently in regards to... Bob Dylan... Plagiarist? I maintain that Bruce Springsteen's Pete Seeger tribute album is the only Springsteen album I find fully satisfying. It's the one in which production doesn't get in the way, the one in which I feel like Springsteen has tapped into the strongest material, and the power in the voices and the music and the house in which they recorded it is palpable. I'd be curious, Andy, to know what Seeger recordings you'd call essential. The World of Pete Seeger, from 1974, is a good compilation o
  10. It would be a shame if this kind of grousing was the latest word on Pete Seeger. Here's Pete Seeger in 200 words: "Seeger's career was marked by controversy. From the start, he aspired to use folk music to promote his left-wing political views, and in times of national turmoil that brought him into direct confrontation with the U.S. government, corporate interests, and people who did not share his beliefs. These conflicts shaped his career. At times, his exposure through the mass media was extremely limited, and he was even threatened with imprisonment. That he accepted such challenges wa
  11. Here are my favorite 10, in no particular order other than alphabetical, because the idea of ranking the big band music of Darcy James Argue ahead of or behind the honky tonk stomp of Vince Gill and Paul Franklin is frankly ludicrous. And my favorite album of 2013 is not listed alphabetically because it’s the best. So there. What are your favorites? Every album here has a couple flaws. I heard no 5-star efforts this year, which is a little unusual. But, as is the case every year, there were many albums that thrilled me, moved me, made me sad, made me want to jump on the couch cushions and pla
  12. Which is yet another reason why I wish this discussion wasn't framed in generational terms. Yes, at a very broad and largely inaccurate level, generations have defining characteristics. But I'd rather focus on the issues at hand rather than debating whether Rachel Held Evans is Gen Y or a Millennial or a Fringer. I know that's the way RHE framed it. But I think that's unfortunate, and detracts from the serious points she's made.
  13. Yes. Ironically, it is the Millennials (certainly moreso than the Boomers, whom I rode in with, and who wanted to tear it all down and start over again, circa AD 30 or so) who seem to have more reverence for the past than previous generations. The Christian Millennials I know are all about responsive readings from the Book of Common Prayer (without desiring to be CofE/Episcopal), fixed-hour prayer and the contemplative life (without desiring to be Catholic or Orthodox), social justice (without desiring to be mainline Protestant), the work of the Holy Spirit (without desiring to be Pentecostal)
  14. Generational labels are a handy, stereotypical way to divide people. I read Rachel Held Evans' Millennial Laundry List above and found myself nodding in agreement, and I'm either one or two generations removed from the Millennials, depending on whether X and Y really count as two, or one. But I'd like to see the same things Rachel Held Evans would like to see. Although I appreciated Evan's article, I've actually found the responses to her article more revelatory. Brett McCracken, a Mllennial, characterizes his colleagues as "today’s #hashtagging, YOLO-oriented, selfie-obsessed generation
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