Location: West Palm Beach, FL
E-Mail: mike [at] twangville.com
twenty thirty years ago today…
I can trace my interest in music back to 1978; when my older brother dropped the needle on The Who’s Who Are You, I was hooked. Raised on New York radio (WNEW, WPLJ), nursed by Springsteen, educated by Pete Townshend, I was bred to be a disc jockey. Spinning LP’s from midnight to four, looking not unlike the battleworn image from Donald Fagan’s The Nightfly, was my dream.Times changed…fast. Mtv, compact discs, and Madonna happened, and pretty soon my music was labeled “classic.” Hip-hop became hip, and I definitely wasn’t. So I abandoned most popular song forms and withdrew into the lonely arms of Folk, Celtic, Alt-Country, College Radio, and other roads not taken.
I took the less traveled road, and that has made all the difference. I hope your journey through Twangville takes you to musical destinations you might not otherwise have visited.
You should be aware of my tastes so you can put my recommendations and other ramblings in context. I know I’ve been conned by music critics who hype John Coltrane on one page and Vanilla Ice on another. To ensure you’re not similarly duped, I announce the following known biases:
In some particular order, I’m extremely enamored of the following artists: The Who, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Genesis (pre-1980) The Beatles, Van Morrison, Nanci Griffith, Tom Russell, Jackson Browne, John Gorka, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Mary McCaslin, and Johnny Cash
Unless someone invents a 13th musical note, it’s likely most of the best songs have already been written; if I find one essential CD a year, I’m doing OK. In other words, I possess a stubborn affection for the past: the 70′s, album oriented Rock (AOR), concept albums, Karen Carpenter’s voice, college radio, and anything that was popular when I was 13.
After discovering Joni Mitchell and Richard Thompson in my teens, I was led further astray into the shadowy world of Folk: Greenwhich Village, coffee houses, Fast Folk, Irish drinking songs, Randy Travis’ voice, the dulcimer, and songs about cowboys.
Growing up, my father would ask me how I could listen to the same song over and over again. Well, the enduring songs reveal themselves over time; with age and each successive play, they reveal something new. Hence, my collection is overweight with Pete Townshend, David Massengill, John Gorka, Lucinda Williams, Jackson Browne, singer-songwriters, and numerous homages to Robert Burns.