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Jonathan Bernstein

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On a recent Tuesday afternoon in Dumbo, Craig Finn was at his producer’s studio, learning how to play his own song. “This is kind of indicative of how things sometimes go,” he announces, after asking his producer, Josh Kaufman, to show him the surprisingly complicated guitar part to “Preludes,” a new song off Finn’s excellent new album We All Want The Same Things. “I got stuck in a snow bank / I was too drunk...
“Endless Oklahoma sky” is a phrase John Moreland has never quite been able to shake. The Tulsa singer-songwriter first sang those words in 2008, when he released a song bearing those three words as its title. “It was just about my friends and local bands trying to make it,” Moreland told me last year about “Endless Oklahoma Sky,” one of the first times he ever tried writing about his home state. https://open.spotify.com/track/3PeJULnTh9ptrf5uWKDhZh John Moreland, born in...
Heartache is pop music’s default emotion, the primary feeling described, dissected, and romanticized in thousands of songs each and every year. Every so often, an artist comes along and achieves the near-impossible, finding a new melody or turn of phrase to express anew that old, tiring feeling of heartache and once again make it visceral. For Martha, the four-piece pop-punk band from Northeastern England, it was a simple phrase in a sad-sack ode to...
“Ballads can really make a difference in people’s lives,” says William Bell, 76, of his musical tendencies. “I go uptempo some, but my forte is the soul ballad." As one of the finest American pop balladeers of the past half-century, Bell should know. His love serenades have forged romances and broken hearts in bedrooms and dancefloors for decades, ever since the Memphis-born singer recorded his very first hit in 1961 with “You Don’t Miss...

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