February 5, 2012
Pop Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It . . . (Thirty Tigers ***) Georgia-born, Philadelphia-based songwriter Adam Arcuragi calls his ramshackle folk-rock "death gospel" and makes no attempt to disguise his seriousness of purpose on his third full-length album. Like A Fire . . . shares a name with Arcuragi's favorite Cy Twombly painting, the beautiful red blot that is part of the late artist's Iliad -inspired series of paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and one of its songs, "Riverrun," takes its title from the first word of James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake . Sometimes Arcuragi's throaty vocals and impassioned strumming can be rough going, but for the most part, the spirited and spiritually minded, highly articulate racket he kicks up with his band the Lupine Chorale Society is effective at both stirring the blood and stimulating the mind.
January 16, 2012
By Craig Fehrman Rick Santorum's near-miss in Iowa provided a reminder that, for many Republican voters (and not a few candidates), religion and politics overlap. If you need another reminder, though, consider this: The Smithsonian has restored and put on display a weird and fantastic 19th-century book known as the "Jefferson Bible. " That's Jefferson as in Thomas, and this private, personal document offers a useful case study in how politics and Christianity have mixed it up in American history, right up to today.
January 13, 2012 |
OYFUL NOISE," sort of a "Glee!"-meets-gospel-music choral-competition musical, makes a pleasant-enough racket. A cheerful, not-quite-off-color crowd-pleaser that rarely breaks formula, it's the big-screen equivalent of a sloppy smooch from your overaffectionate aunt over the holidays. You grimace. You stand there and take it. And you don't let anybody see you grin afterward. Writer-director Todd Graff, who specializes in this sort of cheerful, campy musical ("Bandslam," "Camp")
January 6, 2012 |
Brian Ott shivered or sweltered during services, depending on the season, when Hope Christian Fellowship, the church led by his brother Mark, shared a 1962 Woodbury synagogue building owned by Beth Israel Congregation. Ott, a mechanical engineer, said it reminded him of his youth, when he attended school in an old building that was once part of a missile-defense complex. "We went to Gloucester County Christian School, and that was built on an old Nike site in Pitman. No one in the 1960s worried about efficiency, and the buildings were impossible to heat or cool correctly," said Brian Ott. "But now we live in different times.
January 1, 2012 |
NEW YORK - It's easy to roll your eyes at Joyful Noise, a broad-stroke dramedy about a small-town gospel choir struggling for greatness. Easy, that is, until the song "Man in the Mirror" kicks in. It's only a few minutes into the movie, as the choir at Divinity Church in impoverished Pacashau, Ga., is still reeling from the death of its longtime director (a briefly glimpsed Kris Kristofferson). The appointment of his longtime second-in-command, a mother of two played by Queen Latifah, over his widow (Dolly Parton)
December 14, 2011 |
DINA MARIE TURCHI'S parents didn't always want to know what she was up to. Like jumping out of airplanes. Her mother, Marie, doesn't even know where her daughter did her skydiving. All she knows is that when Dina invited her mother and her little niece Briana to watch her parachute from the sky, her mother said, "No way. " In addition to not wanting to see her child risk her life for thrills, she didn't want Briana, then about 3, to witness the feat because "she might want to do it. " Dina Marie Turchi packed a lot of living into a tragically short life.
November 25, 2011 |
You could call Serena Sol Brown - singer, musician, and radio personality - a triple threat, as her friends like to say. But that would be leaving out a lot. Let's see. She also writes songs. And produces and promotes artists. And did I mention deejaying and acting? What are we up to now? Octuple threat? Suffice it to say that Serena Sol's artistic journey has taken her in and out of so many facets of the music industry that that she probably could run a label herself.
October 7, 2011
Bill Toms For 19 years, Bill Toms played lead guitar for Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, the underappreciated Pittsburgh band whose muscular rock draws from the same well as that of their pal Bruce Springsteen. You'll hear some of the Boss' influence on Toms' seventh solo studio album. What sets the work apart, though, is the commanding way he charts his own course as a rock-and-soul man. As you'd expect from an album titled Memphis (though it was mostly recorded in West Virginia)
September 27, 2011 |
CHICAGO - Jessy Dixon, 73, a singer and songwriter who introduced his energetic style of gospel music to wider audiences by serving as pop singer Paul Simon's opening act, died Monday. Miriam Dixon said her brother died Monday morning at his Chicago home. She said he had been sick but declined to provide additional details. During a more-than-50-year career, Mr. Dixon wrote songs for several popular singers, including jazz and rhythm-and-blues singer Randy Crawford. He later wrote songs performed by Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and Amy Grant.
September 27, 2011 |
CHICAGO - Jessy Dixon, a singer and songwriter who introduced his energetic style of gospel music to wider audiences by serving as pop-singer Paul Simon's opening act, died yesterday. He was 73. Miriam Dixon said her brother died at his Chicago home. She said he had been sick but declined to provide details. During a more than 50-year career, Dixon wrote songs for several performers, including jazz and rhythm and blues singer Randy Crawford. He later wrote songs performed by Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.