Tag Dan Todd

A Full-Tilt Tribute to the 1896 Harmonica

A harmonica? The thing’s only four inches long! All kinds of notes are missing! Harp players have to show up with a briefcase full of different keys, just to play! They’re so tinny and shrill! So why would a serious musician ever choose the harmonica to play music on? Admittedly, this is good question. But a large one. American harmonica has a long and venerable tradition. For now, this means

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The High Art of Vocal Interpretation

It started out with Bob Dylan, I think, the grand concept of the sensitive and confessional singer/songwriter. And he was very good at it, as were Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, Phil Ochs, even Carole King. Some of these folks were VERY good singers and others made do with the voices they had. But it became the mark of “authentic” to write your own songs and sing only those songs.

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LADIES SING THE BLUES: A Music Company Production

On a blustery evening not long ago, I found myself witnessing one of the greatest nights of music I have heard in my forty years of playing and following R&B. This concert featured four of the most seasoned, savvy, and inspired vocalists, backed by a cracker-jack quartet, that this listener has ever been privileged to experience. The aforementioned ladies are Lila Mori, Juanita Martin, Erica Brown and Jill Watkins, and

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The Little Giant of Blue-Eyed Soul

I saw the danger, yet I walked Along the enchanted way. . . . “On Raglan Road” More than three months now and I just can’t get the music of Van Morrison out of my heart and feet. After five full decades his voice, his songs, his high-art approach to backstreet blue ballads and stonegood rocking continues to astonish and humble and anchor. When I was young, I heard his

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