On the Record


TRAVERSE CITY — It’s not too late to see the summer night sky over a Western landscape nor too early to spot a snowy owl.

This time of year, many moons ago, I was in the middle of my first semester at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, and taking a drawing class.

Matthew Mansfield can be heard across northern Michigan on any given day. Not only is he a DJ for Z93 radio Monday through Saturday, but he also performs live at several venues throughout the region. To top it off, he has two young boys at home.

Sturgill Simpson and his band recorded most of the new album “Sound & Fury” at McGuire’s Motor Inn in Waterford, just outside of Pontiac. I have no idea why he did that, or what a listener should expect from a record made at a motel in metro Detroit with an average Yelp rating of one sta…

LAKE CITY — Attracting one of the largest crowds at the Hill Stage in the 19-year history of the music festival, Traverse City-area singer-songwriter May Erlewine delivered what was undeniably the most inspiring performance on opening night of last weekend’s Earthwork Harvest Gathering.

Wow — for the last month, I have been overwhelmed with work. Getting ready for the season opener at the Old Town Playhouse has occupied me day and night. More than usual. Much more.

‘American Factory,” a new documentary available on Netflix, explores a remarkable chapter in recent history. In 2016, the Chinese auto-glass company Fuyao reopened a General Motors plant in suburban Dayton that had closed in 2008 and taken thousands of middle-class jobs with it. Fuyao hired …

Not long ago I wrote a column on music conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein as scholars and critics celebrated his centennial. Bernstein was the rebel of classical music, his defiance directed at the European titans of the orchestra and concert hall with no apology for his American roots…

Earthwork Harvest Gathering means many things to many Michigan musicians, but there’s little doubt that the music festival held every year in September outside Lake City serves as a season-ending celebration filled with camaraderie and collaboration.

Multi-level marketing companies, or MLMs, emerged in the second half of the 20th Century as a terrible solution to a real problem, which is that the American Dream, the idea that any person who works hard and follows the rules can succeed in our economy, is a miserable sham.

My high school friend Jeremy had, for no practical earthly reason, hooked his bedroom stereo up to a subwoofer that allowed him to play music at a ridiculous, foundation-rattling volume. In a gesture reminiscent of the opening scene in “Back to the Future,” he turned a series of dials as far…

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