Blog

Old Ideas: Leonard Cohen’s Late Voice

Leonard Cohen's death has been announced. Cohen is the second of the musicians I wrote about in The Late Voice to have died this year. When Ralph Stanley passed away in June, we were reeling from the results of the EU Referendum. Cohen's passing was announced in the wake of the catastrophic election of Donald… Continue reading Old Ideas: Leonard Cohen’s Late Voice

And the larks they sang melodious: a Shirley Collins appreciation

In July of this year I had the honour and pleasure of participating in the University of Sussex graduation ceremony at which the great English folk singer Shirley Collins was awarded an honorary doctorate. In the days leading up to the ceremony, as I prepared the speech I had been asked to give ahead of… Continue reading And the larks they sang melodious: a Shirley Collins appreciation

Of Constant Sorrow: Ralph Stanley 1927-2016

Old-time musician Ralph Stanley has died. This morning, I'm too upset by the monumentally stupid decision my fellow Brits have collectively made to say more about Stanley, so I'll just note a deep appreciation of his music and post a link to the chapter I wrote about him for my book The Late Voice. As soon… Continue reading Of Constant Sorrow: Ralph Stanley 1927-2016

Life soundtracker: Guy Clark (6/11/1941 – 17/05/2016)

Another great musician has gone. Unlike many of the other deaths of musicians this year, Guy Clark's passing does not come as a great surprise. Anyone who had been following his progress in recent years knew he'd had a tough time health-wise and that he hadn't been in great shape for a while. Clark was… Continue reading Life soundtracker: Guy Clark (6/11/1941 – 17/05/2016)

Upcoming presentation: ‘A Blank Space Where You Write Your Name’

I will be participating in a panel with Emily Baker, Ian Biddle and Freya Jarman at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle. Our panel is on Sunday 17 April and my paper is entitled 'A Blank Space Where You Write Your Name: Taylor Swift’s Early Late Voice'. Abstract below. Taylor Swift’s songs invite listeners to… Continue reading Upcoming presentation: ‘A Blank Space Where You Write Your Name’

Thoughts on Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard has died. In a year already rife with notable deaths in the music industry, I felt this one deeply, for reasons both objective and subjective. Objectively, Haggard was a colossal figure in country music, as a singer, songwriter, hitmaker and soundmaker (by which I mean there is particular country sound that is distinctive… Continue reading Thoughts on Merle Haggard

New essay on Robert Wyatt published

My essay ‘“Words Take the Place of Meaning”: Sound, Sense and Politics in the Music of Robert Wyatt’ has been published in The Singer-Songwriter in Europe: Paradigms, Politics and Place, edited by Isabelle Marc and Stuart Green (Routledge). ABSTRACT: When we speak of singer-songwriters we tend to consider voice as both literary tool and musical… Continue reading New essay on Robert Wyatt published

New article on Van Morrison published

My article 'My Tongue Gets t-t-t-: Words, Sense, and Vocal Presence in Van Morrison’s It’s Too Late to Stop Now' has been published in a special issue of the journal Twentieth-Century Music on 'Voice'. ABSTRACT: Van Morrison’s live version of his song ‘Cyprus Avenue’ on the 1974 album It’s Too Late to Stop Now provides… Continue reading New article on Van Morrison published

Upcoming presentation: Be-bop-sh-boom-a-langa-langa-doo-wop: Pop’s Love of Nonsense

I will be presenting my current research at the University of York on Wednesday 27 January as part of the Music Department's research seminar series. My talk is entitled 'Be-bop-sh-boom-a-langa-langa-doo-wop: Pop’s Love of Nonsense' and it relates to my current research project 'The Sound of Nonsense'. Abstract below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gc4QTqslN4 In this paper I explore popular… Continue reading Upcoming presentation: Be-bop-sh-boom-a-langa-langa-doo-wop: Pop’s Love of Nonsense