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Thursday, March 8,2012

The album that almost wasn’t

Drive-By Truckers reflect on their so-called masterpiece

By Cory O'Brien
With the release of their third studio album Southern Rock Opera in 2001, the Drive-By Truckers finally emerged from local alt-country favorites to national critical darlings. The sprawling, hard-charging, 94-minute epic masterpiece somehow weaves the band’s personal history growing up young and reckless in Northern Alabama with the rise and tragic fall of Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, all filtered through the social lens of the “duality of the South.”
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Thursday, January 12,2012

Blues to make you dance

Papa Juke shows how to make the blues work for you

By Cory O'Brien
Around the same time Robert Johnson was emerging from the crossroads with his newfound guitar-picking skills, wailing about how all his love was in vain, blues music was going through a transformation of its own.
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Thursday, January 5,2012

Genre jumper

Afronauts founder Eric Keeney has unusual background

By Cory O'Brien
Afronauts bassist Eric Keeney is a self-proclaimed music geek. For much of his life as a musician, he played in bands that cater to music geeks — complex and technically impressive, but not necessarily conducive to an all-night dance party.
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Thursday, December 15,2011

Season's greetings

Pianist George Winston's music changes with the weather

By Cory O'Brien
Growing up in rural Montana, pianist George Winston didn’t have a lot of entertainment options. “We didn’t have any TV stations growing up,” Winston says. “And we only had one radio station. The seasons were our entertainment — playing in the leaves in the fall, sledding in winter, baseball in the spring.” Out of that early isolation, Winston crafted a musical style that evokes Eastern Montana at every turn. From the stark, plaintive beauty of winter on the frigid plains to the bouncy jubilance of the first spring thaw, Winston’s compositions are deeply rooted in the rustic landscape of his childhood.
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Thursday, October 13,2011

Rebirth in Americana

Rose Hill Drive’s sound evolved during hiatus

By Cory O'Brien
After their 2008 release of the sludgy blues-rock album Moon is the New Earth, the members of Boulder’s Rose Hill Drive were beginning to feel burned out. They had, after all, been together for almost 10 years, since drummer Nate Barnes was 16 and guitarist Daniel Sproul was in eighth grade. So, like many lasting relationships, the group decided to take some time off to re-evaluate the band.
Thursday, September 22,2011

Is the Internet making us dumber?

CU professor ponders whether the digital age means the end of intellectualism

By Cory O'Brien
Never has the rift between humanity and technology been so apparent as now, in the midst of the digital revolution, when technology is evolving at a more rapid pace than in any other time in history. It is also the only time where we will be faced with a rift between Digital Natives, who came of age in the digital era, and Digital Immigrants, who remember a time when cell phones, iPads, GPS and Facebook were not a way of life.
Thursday, August 18,2011

Spirit of the '60s

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival brings people together through music

By Cory O'Brien
We don’t have those lightning rod figures that capture our imaginations anymore. There is too much going on for everyone to focus on the same part of the picture. The political climate may resemble the ’60s to some extent, but the cultural one is something entirely new. My generation has yet to have its Woodstock, and it probably never will. We don’t look to musicians to provide us with the answers anymore, and that’s probably not a bad thing.
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Thursday, August 11,2011

Music as Glue

As eTown enters its 20th year, its founders talk about what makes the program stick

By Cory O'Brien
As the eTown radio program turns 20, founders Nick and Helen Forster talk about what makes their two decades of work special.
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Thursday, July 28,2011

The tradition lives on

RockyGrass Festival takes bluegrass back to its roots

By Cory O'Brien
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about bluegrass music — more beautiful, even, than a southern accent over a banjo twang — is the way the genre blurs the line between audience and performer. Songs are passed down and shared and swapped so freely that it’s often hard to trace their origins. The phrase “Traditional — American” in the songwriter credits is one of my favorite sights in music.
Thursday, June 16,2011

How to plan what you plant

Getting started gardening is easier than you think

By Cory O'Brien
It can be an overwhelming proposition for a novice grower to start gardening in Boulder. In a city full of transplants whose idea of gardening is putting a few seeds in the ground and letting nature take its course, the frequent droughts, low humidity and extreme weather changes can prove to be a daunting challenge.