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BETTY BUCKLEY (VanityFair.com)

LINDA RONSTADT (VanityFair.com)

DEBBIE HARRY (VanityFair.com)

RICKIE LEE JONES (VanityFair.com)

EDIE BRICKELL (VanityFair.com)

NELLIE MCKAY (VanityFair.com)

SHERYL CROW (StarPolish.com)

 

 

 

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"Fourth of July" (a Song) 

This past Thursday night I got the idea to write a song called "Fourth of July" that would reflect the difficult time we find ourselves in and what this says about the United States. I wrote a couple of verses and had an idea for the melody but wasn't sure about it and decided to let it go for a while. The next day I cleaned the apartment and did a few other things before recording a couple of other melody ideas, which varied from slow/bluesy (I imagined it sung a cappella) to rock. I thought I'd hit on a…

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Streetwise in Soho, Part 2: Say Their Names 

“Fight for a future that doesn’t need memorial murals of Black people who have been killed by racist, sexist, and transphobic violence.” —Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, artist
                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

Streetwise: photos from Soho, NYC 

New York is art, and after many windows were boarded up following looting during a few protest nights, those boards became canvases for inspiring messages, as did sidewalks, a pocket garden, and a beloved coffee house.

Pandemic Supermoon 

Nearly every morning I wake up with what feels like a literal heavy heart, even though I am very lucky in terms of my circumstances during this shocking pandemic. I live with a human (my husband, Robert Rosen) and a cat (Oiseau), both of whom are comforting, funny, and just great to have around. However, I have family and friends who live far away as well as friends who are nearby but whom I can’t see anyway. Missing these loved ones, I began to write a song called “I Can’t Touch You.” Then, in early April…

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Mustapha Khan's American Anthem 

A couple of years ago, the filmmaker and songwriter Mustapha Khan played me an early demo of his galvanizing “Song for Our People.” Not long after that, his wife, Allyson Smith, told me that Mus had booked a Brooklyn recording studio for a day to not only record the song but to film the entire process for a documentary, and that this would involve many singers and musicians—and a tap dancer! 

How amazing to see the result last Thursday night, in a film of the same title as the song, at the SVA Theatre in…

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Forever Jungr 

Barb Jungr at Joe's Pub, February 15, 2020.

Last Saturday night I took my husband, the writer Robert Rosen (Nowhere Man, Bobby in Naziland), to the glamorous but velvet-womb-like NYC venue Joe’s Pub for a slightly belated Valentine’s Day. I wanted him to hear live the fabulous British singer Barb Jungr, whom I’d seen a couple of times before at other venues. A great song interpreter, for this show she performed works by Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel, and herself. 

I especially liked her rendition of Dylan’s…

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Jesse Malin & Lucinda Williams 

“When you’re young/And you run/And you’re burning like a star/And it’s fun/And it’s done/And it leaves you with a scar” — “When You’re Young,” by Jesse Malin 

We might call Jesse Malin, who grew up in Queens and lives in the East Village, the spirit animal of New York City, or at least an underbelly segment that involves bars, the street, punk rock, non-punk rock, clubs, middle-of-the-nights, addiction, chaos, and generally the kind of edgy existence he evokes in his new album, Sunset Kids. Starting out in…

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Buckley and Brown 

Betty Buckley—she of Cats (Broadway), Eight Is Enough (TV), and Tender Mercies (film), to name just a few early achievements—shines on her own, whether playing such roles as the title one in Hello, Dolly! (national tour) or singing an eclectic mix of songs in one of her many concerts around the country. But she is also a wonderful collaborator. In 2014 she released a record, called Ghostlight (a reference to the bare bulb left on at night in theaters), that was produced by her childhood friend T Bone…

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Notes on a show 

With Graig Janssen and Joan Chew at the Map Room at the Bowery Electric. Photo by Allyson Smith.

When/where was it: Tuesday evening, July 23, in the Map Room at the Bowery Electric, a funky room at the end of the narrow bar, sometimes separated by a maroon velvet curtain (very theatrical). People who have played at Bowery Electric include David Johansen, Patti Smith, Norah Jones, and my personal dark star Lucinda Williams. Also Jesse Malin, who co-owns the BE and other East Village venues.

Who played:

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A Revved-up Alejandro Escovedo 

Alejandro Escovedo with Don Antonio at City Winery, NYC, January 19, 2019. 

The improbable pairing of Italian band Don Antonio and Mexican-American singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo made for some riveting rock ‘n’ roll at Escovedo’s concert at City Winery Saturday night (when these guys sing, “rev up the amps,” they know what to do next). Escovedo has apparently never paid much attention to the lines most people draw for themselves, mixing punk, roots, and rancheros, just for starters.

Needing a backing…

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