The Reverb Essay: Dylan and Dad

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My dad, one hand on the wheel of a ’91 sky blue Honda Accord, one hand reaching for the volume knob on the radio, feeding my brother and I the lyrics to “Like A Rolling Stone.”

He’s spitting them out fast, really fast, before Dylan is even done with the current line. He wants to make sure we know what comes next.

Dad: “Tobewithoutahome…” (more…)

Nathaniel Rateliff: From UMS to U.K. and beyond

Tina Hagerling/Reverb

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Leaving home is hard, sure. But finding your greatest success on a different continent is something much harder.

When Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant recently called the music of Denver troubadour Nathaniel Rateliff “empty, fragmented and poignant,” he was speaking as a fan. When asked to name five artists in his playlist “right now” (last February) Plant put Rateliff at the top.

Three months later, Rateliff was performing live on “Later with Jools Holland,” the British equivalent of “The Tonight Show,” and was nearly a household name one month after that — in the U.K., that is. (more…)

Sufjan Stevens, ‘The Age of Adz’ (review)

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Sufjan Stevens, “The Age of Adz” (Asthmatic Kitty)

When Sufjan Stevens dismissed his “plan” to spend the remainder of his career making concept albums for all 50 states, more than a few felt betrayed.

Five long years came and went since the folk singer’s breakout smash, “Illinoise,” and various EPs and B-sides were not enough to quell fans’ appetites. Alas, the wait is over, and instead of an Americana postcard or recognizable skyscraper on the cover art, Stevens presents a foreboding alien robot as the welcome mat to this sprawling work that depicts a mental, rather than geographical, state. (more…)