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Alex Harris Stein

(b Dayton, OH, Oct 14, 1957). American writer, guitarist, and bandleader. He was a staff writer for the Village Voice from 1987 to 2003 (a contributor since 1981) and one of a group of young African Americans writing for the Voice on black culture, politics, and identity. His work focuses on black music and culture from a postmodern, black nationalist perspective and is noteworthy for an unconventional style that Tate describes as blending academic and street culture. One of the first journalists to cover hip hop, he has written about Miles Davis, George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Bob Dylan, and others. He has contributed to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, VIBE, the Washington Post, Spin, The Nation, Down Beat, and other publications. His books include Flyboy in the Buttermilk (New York, 1992), Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience (Chicago, 2003), and ...

Article

Touré  

Beau Bothwell

[Neblett, Touré ]

(b March 20, 1971). American novelist, cultural critic, music journalist, and television host. He began his writing career reviewing records for Rolling Stone, where he became a contributing editor and has written feature profiles of artists including Jay-Z, Eminem, Beyoncé Knowles, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, and Alicia Keys. His collection of essays Never Drank the Kool-Aid (New York, 2006) includes a number of his Rolling Stone pieces on well-known hip hop artists, as well as essays on sports and politics taken from the Village Voice, the New Yorker, and Playboy. Touré’s fiction writing, in both the novel Soul City (New York, 2004) and his collection of stories The Portable Promised Land (New York, 2002), largely takes place in a magical realist African American utopia built around the musical iconography of hip hop, soul, and jazz. In his book Who’s afraid of post-blackness? What it Means to be Black Now...

Article

Daphne G. Carr

[Thackray, Jerry ]

(b Chelmsford, England, April 21, 1961). English popular music critic and publisher. True is known as an incendiary character in British popular music journalism due to his self-aggrandizing tone, his polemical attitude, and his general curmudgeonliness. His pseudonym comes from an early 20th-century comic strip of a similarly behaving character.

He is known as the Legend, after Creation Records head Alan McGee gave him the role of MC at his club, Communication Bar. McGee let him write for the club’s fanzine, but True quit after two issues and started his own fanzine The Legend! He then wrote for New Musical Express (1983–8), was fired, and went to work for its rival Melody Maker (1988–2000). A 1989 assignment to profile Sub Pop Records for Melody Maker led him to befriend Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. True was at Cobain’s house at the time of Cobain’s suicide. He later published ...

Article

Caroline Polk O’Meara

(b 1948). American music critic. Ward was an early contributor to the rock magazines Crawdaddy!, Rolling Stone, and Creem. He moved from California to Texas at the end of the 1970s, where he was on staff at the Austin American Statesman (1979–84). While in Austin, he also wrote regularly for the Austin Chronicle and worked as a consultant for the music festival South by Southwest. His writings combine personal anecdotes (often self-effacing) and historical background, dwelling less on musical detail and more on events and people. Along with Geoffrey Stokes and Ken Tucker, Ward wrote the 1986 Rock of Ages: the Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll. His contribution to the volume covered the early days of rock and roll through 1959. Since 1987, he has served as the rock and roll historian for National Public Radio’s talk show “Fresh Air.” His contributions to “Fresh Air” are most often artist profiles, obituaries, and reviews of retrospective box sets. Ward has lived in Europe since the 1990s, where he hosted a jazz radio show in Berlin and continues to work as a freelance writer....