Nelson Mandela, whose July 18th birthday is known and celebrated worldwide as Mandela Day, is hugely influential and inspirational to musicians, who've found it easy to wrap poetry and melodies around the leader's tragic and triumphant life since.
Seeing Allen Toussaint perform twice in the space of about 60 days -- in drastically different circumstances each time -- reminded me of why a love for musical roots can seemingly never run out of ways to discover and rediscover the beginnings of American popular music.
Okay, dig: If you're in or around Los Angeles, the charming, smart and hella talented singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith plays Largo at the Coronet tonight, the 5th of June. They don't like it if you're late. Factor in traffic. Get there.
The world's heart is heavy as we have learned of the death of the most brilliant leader the world has even known - the blessed Margaret. It was the saintly Margaret who rescued Britain from its dire position at the end of the 1970s and restored it to its former glory.
I never met Elvis, but sometimes it seems that the sentiment in Mojo Nixon's anthem -- "Elvis is everywhere / Elvis is everything / Elvis is everybody / Elvis is still the King" -- remains as true as ever.
Bringing the fine art of jazz vocals into these modern times full of anarchy for the music business is probably not the easiest gig in music today, but the work that Curtis Stigers is doing right now is important and stunning and sexy and soulful.
Will the Democrats speak for the people? Will they fill Clint Eastwood's empty chair with human beings of passion and dedication? Or will they pursue a false "centrism," cheating the country of the debate it so desperately needs?