Lisa Fisher gives transcendent performance—again!

Lisa FisherIf you’ve never heard Lisa Fisher in concert, you are missing a musical experience that will transport you to another realm. Last night, I attended my third Lisa Fisher concert since 2016, my only regret being that I didn’t know about her years earlier. Words are inadequate to describe these experiences. Transcendent, clearly. Chills, yes. She touches some nerve deep inside you, aided by her astounding backup band Grand Baton and music director J.C. Maillard. They perfectly complement her style, supporting the music with revelatory arrangements of familiar tunes that shake your soul. Continue reading →

Revisiting a masterpiece by Meshell Ndegeocello

Album cover of Meshell Ndegeocello's masterpieceThirteen years have passed since Meshell Ndegeocello released her masterpiece The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams—fourteen years if you count the five-song EP that preceded the release by a year. Despite knowing from her previous albums that she refused to be locked into one box, The World still came as a shock to many fans, including me. It took a few listens to understand her drive to defy expectations—expectations about genre, about how a pop song flows, about lyrics and meaning. Beautiful fragments, incomplete closure, fleeting moments, dissonance, shapeshifting… This is the vocabulary of The World. I explored this and other albums in more depth in Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello, co-written with Andre Akinyele. But I wanted to revisit some of those perspectives here. Continue reading →

David Crosby delivers four musical gems

David CrosbyThe last four albums released by David Crosby have been real gems. What impresses most about these albums are the gorgeous arrangements and the sensitive songwriting. No mass market banality here. Crosby has always shined when working with other writers, as he did famously with Crosby, Stills & Nash (and then with the addition of Neil Young). These moody works sound perfect for late night with the lights dim, or on a rainy afternoon (much like the moment I’m writing this post). Continue reading →

Reevaluating the legacy of progressive rock

The rise and fall of progressive rockIn the introduction to his book “The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock,” David Weigel points out that rock critics have traditionally heaped praise on punk rock while disparaging progressive rock. I’ve noticed this tendency, too, over the years. Yes, prog rock could sometimes be pretentious and bloated. But you could equally criticize punk for being crude and simplistic. Weigel aims to correct this imbalance by telling the story of prog rock. Continue reading →