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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Mitch Meyers
The Boy Who Cried Freebird
Harpers Collins

Rating: 7/10 ?


May 25, 2007
As the keeper of his uncle Shel Silverstein's legacy and a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered, Mitch Myers knows a thing or two about storytelling. And it's clear from the recording artists reviewed--and sometimes fictionalized--in his book The Boy Who Cried Freebird that Myers knows more than a thing or two about pop, rock, and jazz.

A mix of music criticism, pop-culture commentary, and old-fashioned yarn-spinning, Freebird is all over the map, and while that can be a detriment, it is also part of its charm. One moment Myers is ruminating on Lou Reed's ever-divisive Metal Machine Music or shedding light on the creation of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk, the next he has a Black Sabbath tune thwarting alien invasion (no, not "Fairies Wear Boots") or a hapless protagonist traveling back in time to hang out with Hell's Angels and witness the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore in '69.

Myers' loose, easy-going writing has a tendency towards the fantastical, and sometimes this whimsical approach works--as in "The Steel-String Trilogy," which focuses on guitar heroes John Fahey and Leo Kottke and the fictional time-hopping Bundy K. Blue (yes, Myers has a thing for time travel)--while other moments it falls flat--particularly during "Taking Tiger Mountain," a willfully absurd, unfortunately awkward little ditty that presents a besieged Dr. Frankenstein discussing Brian Eno's ambient masterpiece, Music for Airports, with his loyal assistant, Igor. It's a playful mash-up that just doesn't work.

Although some of Myers' pieces are little more than brief sketches--see "Nuggets," a quick riff on the late-'60s rock industry, and "Captain's Orders," a compact tale that posits Captain Beefheart as a sure-fire relationship roadblock--the author's amiable sense of humor keeps even the shortest of threads entertaining. And for those wincing at the mere mention of the Dead, no need to worry--Myers also weighs in on Sonic Youth, the Mekons, and other non-tie-dye-wearing acts, making Freebird the literary equivalent of a highly eclectic mix tape.

Reviewed by Eric Schneider
A freelance writer and editor based in Saratoga Springs, New York, Eric Schneider is a regular contributor to LAS.

See other reviews by Eric Schneider

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