Graham Nash, with engineer Larry Cox, listening to playback of his first solo album, “Songs for Beginners,” at Wally Heider Recording in Hollywood in January 1971.

, 28th May, 2021

“I try to find the very essence of what I am trying to say, make it as simple as possible to let people know what I am feeling … that’s what I do, I’m a writer.” Graham Nash

There’s no denying that Graham Nash’s work with The Hollies helped define the sound of British Rock and Roll. But by the end of the 1960s, it was clear that they were moving in different directions. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. When he offered up songs like “Lady of the Island” and…

American Beauty: 20 Years Later

Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham in American Beauty (1999)

Published in , Sept 15th, 2019

September 17th marks the 20th Anniversary of American Beauty (Mendes, 1999), the epic film about a man in the throes of a midlife crisis. The film features Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a middle-aged magazine executive, father, and husband looking for a change.

Lester’s voice introduces the film, narrating an aerial shot that sweeps over his suburban neighborhood. Right as the film cuts to an overhead view of Lester, alone in his bed, he delivers the line:

“I’m 42 years old. In less than a year, I’ll be dead… And in a way…

Inside The Studio With the Grateful Dead

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Published in , November 13th, 2020

The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend. Released on November 1st, 1970, it’s the second of two albums — following Workingman’s Dead — that The Dead recorded and released that year. In fitting fashion, Rhino has packaged and released re-issues with sought-after live shows for both, and extraordinarily rare outtakes and demos that give windows into the studio sessions that transformed their sound.

These streaming only studio sessions, dubbed “The Angel’s Share”, show the construction of a new sound for the band, one that would grow to define…

A fable about darkness

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“The world goes dark,” the old man said to the boy. “At night, it surrenders its light to the darkness. It’s how the night gains its power, spreading darkness to all the evil spirits of the underworld. As Autumn turns to Winter and people go inward to the hearth, these dark spirits gain strength.”

The boy listened intently to his grandfather under the light of the rustic lantern.

“But there’s one night that stands out more than others. It’s a night of total darkness, where the waning crescent moon slips behind the earth, shrouding our village in shadows.”

“On this…

Reconnecting with your Roots

In 1990, small and medium-sized farms accounted for nearly half of all agricultural production in the US. Now it is less than a quarter. - The Guardian

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I take the backroads. They open up over the rolling Midwestern farmland just outside of Wapakoneta, Ohio, birthplace of Neil Armstrong. The road signs change the farther I get from the town center, taking the names of the families that have worked the land for the last two centuries. Farming is a part of America’s DNA.

I head down Glynwood, cross over to Buckland River Rd, scoot across Fisher, and finally find myself…

Number 4: Your Butcher

Peter Sargent, The Butcher Shop; Photo: Isabel Infantes,

I don’t mean the clerk across the counter at the supermarket. I’m talking about a proper stand-alone butcher shop, the kind that makes sausage onsite, hand cuts meat to order, and won’t let you leave the shop without telling you the best way to prepare it.

The butcher is one of those old world figures that binds a community together. They have direct ties to your local farmer, your food, and the neighbourhoods they serve. You develop a rapport with them, and in return, they welcome you into this wild menagerie of goods.

When you enter one, there’s no mistaking…

Why we make the pilgrimage to the past

Published in on Feb 3rd, 2020

The upper Midwest braces for another arctic winter this year. As it does, the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly (22), Richie Valens (17) and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson (28) turns 61.

It’s widely regarded as ‘The Day the Music Died’, a phrase coined by Don McLean’s 1971 autobiographical song “American Pie”. McLean’s retrospective track is said to symbolize the end of American innocence. For McLean, this reaches back to his own experiences as a newspaper delivery boy. …

What really happens when you hit send?

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I just wrote the perfect cover letter, one that defines exactly what I’m looking for, all while carefully crafting the journey that brought me to this exact point in life. It’s the perfect ratio of whitespace to text, the right balance of professional history, company knowledge, and personability.

As I pause to convert it over into the PDF file that I’ll collate with my umpteenth CV update, I’m hopeful. It’s here where a cover letter truly lives and breathes before being sent into the incinerator.

In light of this, I sit up, place the laptop on the coffee table and…

The Man Behind the Myth

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Published in , December 7th, 2019

It’s fitting to speak of Tom Waits in milestones, especially now that the gravel-throated luminary closes in on a new decade. Waits turns 70 this Saturday. It’s a milestone that caps off a year that featured the 20th anniversary of Mule Variations and a key part in Jim Jarmusch’s latest film The Dead Don’t Die.

Waits is one of those rare renaissance figures that, regardless of the time period or the story he’s stepping into, he brings heart, honesty, and truth to it. …

How drive-thrus are changing the Midwest

The Kewpee Turntable; image courtesy of

What do we think of when we think about drive-thrus? For most of us, it’s just a quick, convenient meal on the go. It’s something we indulge in from time to time to either treat ourselves or as a simple means to an end.

If you’re like me, you drive through without a second thought as to how or why it works, or even where it came from. You take it for granted that it just is what it is. …

Andrew Clark

Writer and musician based in London, UK.

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