Debbie Skolnik has been promoted to Managing Editor -- a fancy way of saying that she is responsible for much of the behind the scenes editorial work needed to keep this magazine functioning smoothly. She will continue to be the Folkways Editor and write reviews from time to time when the behind-the-scenes workload allows since she really likes reviewing!
Based on the excellence of their work we have promoted the following folks to Senior Writer: April Gutierrez, Rowan Inish, and Marian McHugh.
This week's Excellence in Writing Award goes to Cat Eldridge, Editor-in-Chief, for his review of the Tempest CD Tenth Anniversary Compilation. Lest you think he bestowed it on himself, he didn't -- the rest of the Editorial Staff (Debbie Skolnik, Brendan Foreman and Marian McHugh) all read it and deemed it worthy of this honor. If you love Celtic rock, you'll be getting yourself to your favorite CD vendor after reading this enthusiastic review.
April Gutierrez gives a us an insightful review of A Reader's Guide to William Butler Yeats, the definitive book on everything that Yeats wrote. It may not be a light read but you'll learn more about Yeats than you possibly wanted to know.
Jack B. Merry and his band The Dead Heroes of Culloden had a quiet period this past week with no gigs, so Jack wrote two reviews of Blowzabella CDs that he found worthy of your attention: Bobbityshooty and Blowzabella Wall of Sound. What does an English band named after a whore sound like? Check out the reviews and you'll know!
Jo Morrison's review of Tabache's Wave of Rush gives us a sneak peak at what appears to be a very bright future for these up-and-coming Celtic musicians.
Jazz fans will want to check out two reviews by our resident jazz expert Danny Cohen: Kenny Rankin's Professional Dreamer is a gem of a recording, and Jim Hall's Concierto CD is a great album that has a very interesting recording history.
With Star Wars: The Phantom Menace mania being in full force, Jayme Blaschke takes a look at THX 1138, George Lucas' first movie, an experience that Jayme claims is "tantamount to taking a trip in a time machine." Watch this space closely next week, since Jayme sends that "time machine" into reverse with his in-depth review of the latest Lucas effort -- yes, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace gets the Blaschke eagle eye treatment. You won't want to miss it!
Mark Cenczyk's insightful review of The American Detective: An Illustrated History is the top pick this time. If you are at all interested in this distinctly American literary genre, you owe it to yourself to check out this review. For a decidely different read, see Rebecca Swain's look at Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens -- a book that suggests that the Apocalypse might not be too bad an event. (And a hearty welcome to Mark and Rebecca who have just joined the GMR staff!)
On the musical side we have two offerings from noted Somerville, Massachusetts resident Rowan Inish. The first is a look at Emerald Rose's self-titled debut album -- a Celtic Trad undertaking that Rowan found hard to pan -- but did anyway! But Rowan was surprised to find that he actually liked Outback's Dance the Devil Away, a Worldbeat album that Rowan notes actually intelligently uses digeridoos!
Brendan Foreman gives us a taste of true roots music: Generations of Bluegrass, Volume Three: Legendary Pickers, A Vanguard Records release that gives us a look at the great banjo, guitar, and mandolin pickers of the last fifty years.
Our final music review is from Jo Morrison who reviews In Aid of the Amazonian People, a CD intended to raise money to support two charitable organizations (Fratelli Indios and Missioni Don Bosco) that are making efforts to save the forest people of Amazonia.
We have a very good issue with Debbie Skolnik's review of The Phil Beer Band at the Louisiana in Bristol, UK winning the Excellence in Writing Award. Jayme Lynn Blaschke has a review of Charles de Lint's The Newford Stories that suggests that indeed you can still find great short stories to read. And we have a new reviewer: Michael Hunter, an Aussie who publishes the Australian Fairport Convention zine Fiddlestix. He reviews Fiddlestix: The Best Of Fairport 1972-1984, an Aussie only Fairport Convention CD. Oh, and Michael Jones did a smashing good job of reviewing Chris Chandler's new CD Collaborations!
And let's all give a hearty welcome to Marian McHugh who becomes our new Book Editor -- Marian also hails from Down Under and has already written several great reviews for us. Debbie Skolnik has taken over as Folkways editor -- Thanks Debbie! And Jack B. Merry has completed his redesign of the website. Thanks Jack!
Meredith Tarr scores another featured story with her review of a 10,000 Maniacs at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts. It also gets an Award for Excellence in Writing! And Jo Morrison reviews Pig's Eye Landing's One-eyed Cat, on the Celtic Traditions page.
Michael Jones takes on The Beggar's Opera on the music-related page; this is an edition well worth tracking down. Brendan Foreman reviews Tales from the Thousand and One Nights, translated by N. J. Dawood, also an older but worthwhile edition.
Our newest staff member keeps churning out top quality reviews: check out Danny Cohen's reviews of Theme From Monterey by the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, and various Jazz artists on The Best of Organ Trio Jazz: Kickin' The 3. On the North America Roots page is Brendan Foreman's review of The Great Carl Sandburg: Songs of America.
Our featured article for this edition is new staff member Meredith Tarr's two-in-one review of Mother: Songs Celebrating Mothers & Motherhoodby Susan McKeown, Cathie Ryan, and Robin Spielberg and Mighty Rain by Susan McKeown and Lindsey Horner. This set of reviews is so good that it also garners an Excellence in Writing Award! Look for Meredith's review on the Singer-Songwriter page.
Jayme Lynn Blaschke offers us a review of The Best of Silly Wizard. Silly Wizard (1972 to 1988) was one of the seminal Scottish trad groups, and they are largely responsible for the commercial success of groups like the Battlefiend Band.