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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Gillian G. Gaar.

April 10, 2014 at 11:26 AM

It’s Bill Rieflin times two at Slow Music and Humans show next week | Concert preview

Bill Rieflin's music credits extend back to the late '70s. (photo: Bill Rieflin)

Bill Rieflin’s music credits extend back to the late ’70s. (photo: Bill Rieflin)

Bill Rieflin will be on double duty next week when he appears at the Triple Door on April 14 and 15. The multi-instrumentalist, who boasts a wide-ranging resume (Ministry, R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails, Robyn Hitchcock), will headline both shows with his improvisational group Slow Music, which also includes legendary English guitarist Robert Fripp, as well as playing in the evening’s opening act, the Humans, which features Fripp’s wife, English singer/actress Toyah Wilcox.

“Believe me, it’s not my idea,” Rieflin said of the double billing. It all began when Rieflin was recently out dining in London with Fripp, Wilcox, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck (another Slow Music member), and Young Fresh Fellows/R.E.M. guitarist Scott McCaughey. “We were all having a very fun dinner, drinking lots of bubbling solutions,” Rieflin recalled. “And someone began to reminisce — ‘Ah, Slow Music, that was fun, wasn’t it?’ And I won’t say who, but someone else said, ‘Let’s do it again! Let’s do a Slow Music show.’ And Toyah pipes up, ‘Yeah! And the Humans will open!’


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Bill Rieflin, Concert Preview, Robert Fripp

April 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Finally, a Mudhoney biography | Book review

“Mudhoney: The Sound and The Fury From Seattle”

Keith Cameron

Voyageur Press, $19.99


Keith Cameron's book is the first full biography of Mudhoney.

Keith Cameron’s book is the first full biography of Mudhoney.

Green River was Seattle’s seminal grunge band of the 1980s. Kim Neely’s 1998 book “Five Against One: The Pearl Jam Story” documented what happened to one half of the group after Green River split in 1987. Now there’s finally a book detailing the events that followed for the other band members, who went on to form Mudhoney.

Keith Cameron, a writer for prestigious UK monthly “Mojo,” was a young aspiring journalist when Mudhoney first toured England in 1989, and, having covered the band from the very beginning, is well-placed to take the reader through the labyrinthine twists and turns of the burgeoning grunge era.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Book review, Mudhoney, Sub Pop

April 1, 2014 at 6:31 AM

Cyndi Lauper still fun 30 years later | New recordings

Cyndi LauperCyndi Lauper, ‘She’s So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration (Deluxe Edition)’ (Portrait/Epic/Legacy)

Cyndi Lauper’s debut solo album, originally released in October 1983, made her an overnight sensation, selling over six million copies, spinning off four Top 5 singles and kick-starting Lauper on her way to picking up her first Grammy award, for best new artist.


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "She's So Unusual", Cyndi Lauper, New Recordings

March 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

New Johnny Cash album rescued from the vaults | New recordings

Johnny Cash, ‘Out Among the Stars’ (Columbia/Legacy)

New Cash album uncovers tracks recorded in the 1980s. (Columbia/Legacy)

New Cash album uncovers tracks recorded in the 1980s. (Columbia/Legacy)

This release is a real find. It’s not a collection of unfinished demos, alternate tracks, or outtakes. It’s a bonafide, brand new Johnny Cash album compiled from tracks Cash recorded in 1981 and 1984 but were left to languish in the vaults. Until now.


0 Comments | More in Americana | Topics: Johnny Cash, New Recordings

March 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Riveting performance by Agnes Obel at St. Mark’s Cathedral | Concert review

Danish musician Agnes Obel’s atmospheric chamber pop held an audience spellbound at a special appearance Saturday night at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

Agnes Obel's music was perfectly suited for the wonderful acoustics at St. Mark's Cathedral. (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Agnes Obel’s music was perfectly suited for the wonderful acoustics at St. Mark’s Cathedral. (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Obel was originally scheduled to appear at St. Mark’s the previous Saturday, March 8, but was held up by visa difficulties. She smiled as she told the audience “Did I mention it’s so fantastic to be in Seattle?” adding that the city’s climate is similar to that of her native Denmark.

Obel accompanied herself on piano, muting the sound by laying a shawl over the strings. Her cool, clear voice was well suited for the delicate, haunting melodies Obel played on the piano, with a violinist and cello player providing a melancholy undercurrent.


0 Comments | More in Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Agnes Obel, Bryan John Appleby, Concert reviews

March 4, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Rufus Wainwright gets the crowd moving in Artists Den | New recordings

Rufus Wainwright, ‘Live from the Artists Den’ (Artists Den Records/UMe)

This live recording, available on both CD and Blu-ray, presents singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s poignant, memorable performance of May 17, 2012, first broadcast on the PBS show “Live from the Artists Den.”

Rufus Wainwright rises to the occasion in "Live from the Artists Den." (photo: Artists Den Records/UMe)

Rufus Wainwright rises to the occasion in “Live from the Artists Den.” (photo: Artists Den Records/UMe)

Wainwright selected a wonderfully atmospheric setting for the concert; Manhattan’s beautiful Church of the Ascension. The set list draws from his own catalogue and that of his late mother’s, folk singer Kate McGarrigle.

In fact, Wainwright conjures up his mother’s memory in the opening song, “Candles” (from his 2012 album “Out of the Night”), a heartstring-pulling number about trying to find just the right place to light a candle in his mother’s memory. Later in the set he performs “On My Way to Town,” a song his mother wrote with her sister, Anna, which features a gentle piano accompaniment. You can hear him whispering “Thank you, mom,” at the song’s end.


0 Comments | More in Folk | Topics: New Recordings, Rufus Wainwright

February 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Savant musician Richard Peterson trades in trumpet for piano | Concert review

It was a common sight to those who attended Seahawks or Huskies games; trumpeter Richard Peterson playing his horn on the street in the hopes of filling up his tip bucket with contributions from the folks passing by on their way to the stadium.

Meet the piano man: Richard Peterson and Pat Cashman (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Meet the piano man: Richard Peterson and Pat Cashman (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Peterson doesn’t play on the streets any more — the 2008 murder of fellow street musician Edward McMichael, aka the “Tuba Man,” still upsets him — but he continues to seek out new opportunities to make music. So a group of his friends and supporters, including John Maynard (of the “Robin and Maynard Show”) and Peter Barnes, co-founder of Clatter and Din Studios, arranged a “benefit show” for Peterson last night at the Feedback Lounge in West Seattle, a “general get together” in the words of Pat Cashman (“Almost Live,” “The 206″).


0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: John Maynard, Pat Cashman, Peter Barnes

February 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

A lifetime of Johnny Winter’s blues on new box set | New recordings

Johnny Winter, ‘True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story’ (Columbia/Legacy)

This terrific collection is a primer of all things Johnny Winter (who celebrated his 70th birthday in February), drawing on tracks that span over 40 years.

"True to the Blues" offers 56 tracks on four CDs. (Columbia/Legacy)

“True to the Blues” offers 56 tracks on four CDs. (Columbia/Legacy)

The main reason this four-CD set is so comprehensive is that unlike a typical “best of” compilation, which usually features the work an artist has recorded for one label, “True to the Blues” has work originally released by eight different labels, as well as two previously unreleased live tracks.



February 13, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Aberdeen’s first Kurt Cobain Day to be held next week

Aberdeen is finally getting ready to honor its native son.

Aberdeen added "Come As You Are," the title of a Nirvana song, to the city's "Welcome" sign in 2005. On February 20, the city will celebrate the first "Kurt Cobain Day" (Gillian G. Gaar)

Aberdeen added “Come As You Are,” the title of a Nirvana song, to the city’s “Welcome” sign in 2005. On February 20, the city will celebrate the first “Kurt Cobain Day.” (Gillian G. Gaar)

This past Wednesday, the city’s mayor, Bill Simpson, proclaimed Thursday, February 20, as Kurt Cobain Day, “in recognition of his artistic achievements,” in the words of the official proclamation. “Aberdeen residents may justifiably take pride in the role our community played in the life of Kurt Cobain and the international recognition our community has gained from its connections with Kurt Cobain and his artistic achievements.”

It would have been Cobain’s 47th birthday. Nirvana’s lead singer and creative force committed suicide at his Seattle home on April 5, 1994.


0 Comments | Topics: Aaron Burckhard, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic

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