The Documentary Writing of Whitney Balliett
On February 8, 2024 | 2 Comments

  In the fall of 2010 I wrote the following piece for the blog on The Jazz Loft Project website, which went offline a few years later during transition at the hosting institution, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, where I was based for fifteen years.  This morning I had occasion to revisit this […]

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Ghost Writing for Lucinda Williams
On April 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

My copies of Lucinda Williams‘ new memoir arrived at our house in College Station, TX two days ago.  I was the ghost writer for her book.  I’m pleased with how it turned out, and grateful to have been involved.  Lucinda’s acknowledgments, clipped below, describe well how we originally met and our book process.  Almost four […]

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Taming the Tiger: A Conversation with Nicole Rudick
On October 4, 2022 | 0 Comments

I’ve written here before about my invaluabe, longterm collaborative work with writer and editor, Nicole Rudick.  Today I’m honored and thrilled and grateful to have an interview I conducted with Nicole about her brilliant, unusual new book on the life and work of artist Niki de Saint Phalle published by Air/Light magazine out of the […]

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“Is This Home?” Selected by Brittany Howard
On February 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

In the Winter 2020-21 issue of Oxford American magazine, the great musician, Brittany Howard (check out her 2019 album Jaime which sounds like something only Lauryn Hill, Prince or D’Angelo would or could do), has chosen my 2007 piece on Thelonious Monk’s 1970 return to his birthplace of North Carolina, “Is this Home?,” as one […]

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Feeling Nowhere
On September 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Last week the first result from my 15 months of research on the LA band Jane’s Addiction and late 1980s and early 1990’s culture at large was published by Affidavit.  This piece mostly concerns why I’m drawn to this subject.  It could be an Introduction or Chapter 1 of a book.  We’ll see.  I’m happy […]

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Interview on WFIU: Indiana Public Media
On July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

Last week WFIU Public Radio: Indiana Public Media broadcast a one-hour interview with me in their Profiles series.  I talked about some things I haven’t talked about much publicly before – my background in eastern North Carolina, my studies in Economics and the idea of value, parenting, and my new project on the LA band, […]

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2019 Guggenheim Fellowship
On April 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

Word arrived this month that I won a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship for my project on the rock band Jane’s Addiction’s original years 1985-1991 in LA and beyond.  I’m surprised and elated and grateful.  I’ve applied for that fellowship a half dozen times over twenty years.  I guess seventh time is charm.  Here is the Guggenheim’s […]

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What Wasn’t There: Gene Smith’s Sink in New Light
On January 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

A remarkable new essay about, in part, Gene Smith’s Sink was published this week by Affidavit magazine.  In “What Wasn’t There” London-based writer Emily LaBarge considers Sink alongside writers I revere including novelists Nathalie Léger, Lydia Davis, and Fleur Jaeggy.  In particular, Léger’s Suite for Barbara Loden is one of my favorite books of recent years.  I’ve read it three […]

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My Top Reading Experiences of 2018
On December 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

2018 was the year I dug deep into work of Susan Howe, spurred by this great piece by Emily LaBarge in BookForum.  I’m now using a line by Howe as an Epigraph for my new manuscript, Which Direction Home.  That line is: “I am an American poet writing in the English language. I have loved watching […]

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Jason Molina’s Love and Work
On November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

We moved to Bloomington, Indiana two years ago and one of the things I’ve done living here is research Jason Molina, whose label, Secretly Canadian, is four blocks from our house on the west side of downtown.  Some results of my research so far were published last week in two forms – first, a commissioned […]

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