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What has happened to country music?

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2010 in Music

So Josh Kelley becomes the latest soft-rock castoff to tackle the country charts. He joins Steven Page (ex-Barenaked Ladies), Jaron Lowenstein, Uncle Kracker and Jewel to name a few.

At what point does country music just change its name to country/soft-rock. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing entirely wrong with this trend or these artists. Hell, I like them all. I’m just wondering when the country got sucked out of country. Pointing the finger at these five though feels a bit too harsh though. Let’s broaden the scope, after all Jessie James’ “Boys in Summer,” sounds more like
Miley Cyrus than Pam Tillis, while Sons of Sylvia sounds more akin to Semisonic than Hank Williams. Even Billy Ray Cyrus has changed up his act. His super-group Brother Clyde channels hard-rock on their lead single, “Lately,” while Lissie tackles singer-songwriter sensibilities not unlike Carole King.

Is this a sea change? An evolution? Or just a natural progression. Either way it’s not the country of yesteryear that’s for damn sure.

 
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The Transformation of the Meatpacking District

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2010 in NYC

It’s no secret that I have an undying love for New York City. Since moving back to Long Island in 2005, I have found myself more and more inspired by stately old Manhattan. About a month ago I ventured to High Line Ballroom to see The Juliana Theory reunion show. Having not been in that neighborhood in quite some time —- roughly four years —- I was interested to see what it looked like. Last I remember, the Maritime Hotel was the only hip spot and the rest of the neighborhood felt quite scummy. My how times have changed.

Whether its the arrival of the beyond-magnificent High Line trail or the arrival of trendy new hotspots on 14th Street, that four-to-five block stretch suddenly feels chic, posh and high-end. And yet I’m almost certain when I was there in 2005 (to see Edwin McCain with my sister) the High Line Ballroom felt unsafe. Is my imagination deceiving me? Did the Meatpacking District blow up in the last five years right under my watch?

Either way, it’s become one of my new favorite spots in the city and a treasured little slice of heaven.

 
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Need some inspiration today?

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2010 in Op-Ed

My illustrious sister has posted an ever-inspiring and incredibly buoyant post about a wounded soldier and his championing spirit. If ever there was something to boost your day, this is probably it. While war films and war novels cast the culture of war in varying degrees, this simple post puts it all in perspective. God bless our soldiers and God bless this man!

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