Front Porch

  • Charles McPherson: Weathering the Pandemic with New Album and Ballet Project

    As with all of us, veteran alto saxophonist and longtime San Diegan Charles McPherson has seen the ongoing pandemic rearrange his routines in ways neither anticipated nor particularly welcome. “Everybody’s affected by this, of course,” the jazz icon said by phone last week. “The pandemic has really taken a toll on us: the clubs are […]

  • Black Market III: Past, Present, and Future

    Damn! I’m inspired! I’m impressed! I’m floored! I’m blown away! And I’m incredibly proud of my and Alicia’s dear friends, guitar virtuoso extraordinaire Scottie Blinn and sister Roxanne Coverdale! I first met Scottie sometime around 1990. My band at the time, the Juke Stompers, was playing at Croce’s Top Hat in the Gaslamp every Thursday […]

  • Anatomy of a Folk Song: Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down

    Whose Deal Is It? As a songwriter, I am intrigued by what makes a song memorable. Out of all the songs that have ever been sung, why are a handful still being sung generations later? Wouldn’t it be fun to dig into some songs that have endured? Let’s do it! Here’s one called Don’t Let […]

  • Keeping the Music Alive During the Pandemic

    The Corona virus has been spreading for months with no sign of abatement in the foreseeable future, especially here in the United States. While there are differing views as to its severity and the necessity of the various measures implemented to cope with it, most would agree that not catching it ourselves and halting its […]

  • All the Bells and Whistles

    Summer Session at the UC San Diego Library is when I host some of my favorite signature events. We’ll be presenting virtual versions this season. Later in the school year,  I look forward to resuming song requests on Geisel Library’s rooftop chimes! THE UCSD CAMPUS CARILLON Yes, there really are chimes atop Geisel Library.  (It’s […]

  • Dodie Stevens Chimes in on Teen Stardom, Japanese Anime, Anti-Bullying, and Those “Pink Shoe Laces”

    What do you do for a second act? For Dodie Stevens, the former teen vocalist who originally hit the charts during a golden period for novelty records, the current status report at this juncture is that her career is still very much a work in progress. There’s her resume as an in-demand accompanying vocalist, her […]

  • Bringing the History of Music Products to Life: The Museum of Making Music Plans a Complete Renovation

    The Museum of Making Music recently announced that after several years of planning, the beloved institution will undergo a complete renovation as it continues to serve and grow its audience’s appreciation for and understanding of music products, their history, industry, and related cultural impact. Opened to the public in 2000, this is the first full-scale […]

  • Harmonica Story

    It was a hot, breezeless night, and there were no dry arm pits at the Javanican in Pacific Beach. The Grand Avenue Coffeehouse, two blocks south from the goony bar crawl of Garnet Avenue, was a location with the mutual benefits of being quieter and more isolated: you can actually hear the sticky roll of […]

  • Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads

    Book Review Author Greil Marcus made a name as rock critic by insisting that the tide of history is directly mirrored by the pop music of the period. This can make for exhilarating reading, because Marcus is, if nothing else, an elegant stylist given to lyric evocation. But it is that same elegance that disguises […]

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