New Music Writing at Salon: Son Volt, Gov’t Mule

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the respective leaders of two of America’s greatest bands.

First, I interviewed Jay Farrar, of Son Volt, about their protest record, Union. My essay relays Farrar’s insights, and takes a broader look at the importance of socially conscious songwriting.

A few weeks later, I spoke with Warren Haynes, the lead singer and guitarist of Gov’t Mule, a band I have previously called “the world’s best band.” Haynes and I discussed Mule’s upcoming concert film, and in the conversation, he provided fascinating thoughts on the spontaneous, but thoughtful magic of jam music. Read the essay.

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New Essay at Salon: My Regrettable Libertarian Romance

My new essay at Salon combines political commentary with personal reflection. I look back on my flirtation with libertarian ideology, and draw insights that apply to the 2020 race, “cancel culture,” and political tribalism.

More personally reflective than most of my political essays, it is not only an indictment of the impracticality and insidiousness of libertarian movements, but also a call for more patience and understanding with political opponents, or even political allies who have previously believed or uttered positions that have aged poorly.

New Political Writing at Salon: Trump Fascism, The Punisher Skull

My two most recent political essay at Salon complement each other as an exhibition of alarming trends in American political culture.

The first focuses on the mainstream media’s characteristically meek response to Trump’s increasingly fascist and violent rhetoric. I make the president’s recent remarks about how he would like to “turn the military loose” on refugees seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border the illustrative example of the anti-social and criminal designs of the American right, and how American culture is failing to react with adequate vigilance.

My next essay deals with the ubiquity of The Punisher skull – a popular symbol from the Marvel comic book that conservative men have adopted to symbolize their support of police and US aggression overseas. The celebration of the icon of death and murder – something to which the comic book creators object – demonstrates a dark impulse at the heart of American culture.

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Ruthie Foster, The Blues, and a Town That Needs Lifting

No Depression recently featured my essay on Ruthie Foster, the importance of the blues in American life, and the urban decay of Park Forest, IL – the setting of a recent Foster performance, as a cover story.

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In the essay, Park Forest is emblematic of countless American towns that have struggled with white flight, racial fracture, and economic decline. The magnificent and mighty Ruthie Foster becomes a songbird of hope for not only her Park Forest audience, but everyone within earshot of her beautiful music.

Read the essay at No Depression.

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New Political Essays at Salon

I recently wrote an essay about the dangers of America’s apathy toward white supremacy – an increasingly popular and violent movement that threatens to undermine the entire democratic project.

Similarly, I threw Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual, and his apologists, against the wall for foaming at the mouth over Jussie Smollett, but showing absolute disregard for the innumerable injustices against black citizens in Chicago, and other cities – large and small – across America.

Read the essays at Salon.