Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 1:49 pm
Sometimes you just know that a band isn't going to have to wait long before it reaches the stardom you think it deserves. Earlier this year, a friend sent me the new album from Shovels & Rope before it had been released. I'd requested it after seeing a video for "Birmingham," which shows the duo's members — Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent — playing the song as their dog runs around. I had to watch the video again just to confirm that the song was as great at I thought it might be. The second time confirmed it, and I immediately started playing it on my show.
Recently, I was listening to a new tribute album covering the songs of Fleetwood Mac, and thought once again how dreadful most tribute albums are: They don't add much to the legacy of the artists being saluted, while inadvertently freezing vital old music in an amber of sentimentality. Then I turned to When I'm President, an album of new songs by Ian Hunter.
Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 7:32 am
The Bab al-Salam border crossing, on Syria's northern border with Turkey, has settled into an orderly routine.
Back in July, rebel brigades wrested this border post in Syria's strategic Aleppo province from President Bashar Assad's army in a fierce battle. Now, passports are stamped and cars inspected by the rebels — polite, young, bearded men who wear mismatched military uniforms or civilian clothes.
While the military confrontation was a joint operation, bringing together many rebel brigades, the Northern Storm brigade retains exclusive control of the border post.