Highway’s Song

  • Jesse Cook: Nuevo Flamenco Guitarist Thrives in the Snowbelt

    The word “flamenco” tends to conjure images of gentle hillsides covered with whitewashed homes topped with red tile roofs, of azure beaches and balmy nights. And guitarist Jesse Cook, a leading exponent of nuevo flamenco, is hardly opposed to balmy weather. It’s just that when you grew up—and still live with your wife and two […]

  • Me and Kris Kristofferson: A 50-Year Cycle of Story, Song, and Heroes

    Wide awake and feeling mortal At this moment in the dream That old man there in the mirror And my shaky self-esteem. —Kris Kristofferson In the summer of 1970 I was a 15 years-old, a Texas-born-Southern-California-raised kid who lived in a self-built bubble of music, words, and dreams. While my earliest memories are foggy, they […]

  • Trombone Shorty: What is the Meaning of Being a New Orleans Musician?

    At the end of the day, I’m a New Orleans Musician. Whatever that means. —Trombone Shorty This is a curious comment from one of New Orleans’ most important new artists. It begs the question: what does he mean? Is the meaning of the role of a New Orleans musician that hard to define? Here is […]

  • Dhani Harrison: Here Comes the Rising Son

    At age 39, Dhani Harrison is creating a legacy of inventive and innovative music. Being the rising son of the “quiet Beatle,” George Harrison, has not inhibited him from the creative growth required to be a vital independent artist in his own right. Harrison’s musical career began in 2002 when he finished his father’s final […]

  • Putting the “O” Back in Outlaw: Waiting for the Next Stage with Shooter Jennings

    So what really is outlaw country? In an era of perpetual genre-bending, sometimes it’s hard to tell which category includes the metal band that does only Abba covers on accordions or the singer-songwriter who improves slam-poetry to the ukulele strummings of Tiny Tim. It’s also difficult to pick out the stars who were really born […]

  • Gillian Welch & David Rawlings Dig into the Heart and Soul of American Roots Music

    There is an easy slide into darkness that is captured on Gillian Welch’s now-classic album—perhaps her best—created with her musical partner, David Rawlings: 2011’s The Harrow and the Harvest. It can be heard in the retro-traditional Appalachian themes that run through the album from the opening “Scarlett Town” to the final ironic love song, “The […]

  • With Intrigue as its Theme, Tiki Oasis 2017 Could Turn “Diabolik”

    Espionage will play a major role in this year’s Tiki Oasis festival, the annual San Diego tribal gathering where Martin Denny melodies and rum consumption happily co-exist in a mythical Polynesian paradise. With this year’s theme being “International Intrigue—Den of Spies, “attendees may expect cloak and dagger imagery, convincing (and unconvincing) foreign accents, and the […]

  • Steve Earle and his Outlaw Ways

    Steve Earle may be the most productive throw-back in today’s country music scene. He’s not manufactured, postured, or out to make hits about gate parties and driving pickup trucks. He is a throw-back in the sense that, while he has no models in his approach to life and music, the mentors in his organic artistic […]

  • The High Life Cajun Band and the Secret History of Cajun Music in Southern California

    In my opinion, Cajun music constitutes some of the most remarkable music under the umbrella of American Roots Music. The fact that it is sung as part of a living tradition of French language that has existed in our country since its founding is pretty remarkable. That it’s accompanied by 19th-century German accordions and played […]