With the presidential campaign entering its final weeks, both candidates' celebrity supporters are speaking up. And here are competing endorsements from the twangy end of the musical spectrum. On one side, we have bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley representing the blue; and on the other, country scion Hank Williams Jr. representing the red.
We report, you decide.
What do you know, the stock market actually went up on Monday for the first time in more than a week. But before anything like irrational exuberance sets in, maybe we should hear from Brother Billy Bragg -- a little song from six years ago that still resonates today.
Rumor has it that expatriate Tarheel James Taylor will return to his onetime home state soon to play a series of shows across North Carolina, on behalf of Barack Obama's presidential campaign -- including a performance at Moore Square in downtown Raleigh. But there's no official word on either the tour in general or the Triangle in particular. Taylor's publicist did not respond to a request for comment; and Obama spokeswoman Susan Lagana said by e-mail, "I can't confirm or deny at this point."
If it happens, it will be the biggest local political-rally show since Arcade Fire back in May. And given North Carolina's status as a key swing state this year, it probably wouldn't be the only musical October surprise coming our way this month.
On the one hand, I can't help feeling creeped out and a little disappointed whenever I hear a particularly beloved piece of music in a television commercial. On the other, I have to admit it's pretty danged cool when it's done this well.
Peerless guitar god Cool John Ferguson will be back in Durham to play Saturday night at his old stomping grounds, the All People Grill. Click through for mass quantities of back-story.
It's taken Greg Humphreys nearly 20 years to do his first solo album under his own name, "Trunk Songs," an odds-and-sods collection of songs he's been holding onto for years. But since both his other bands are essentially inactive, another will probably follow pretty soon.
"I've already got another one cooking with some newer songs," he says. "'Trunk Songs' was kind of clearing the deck for me, and since I'm not road-doggin' it, I've got a lot more energy and enthusiasm for digging into these kind of projects. And the beautiful thing about this era is I did this record all myself and it didn't really cost anything beyond printing up some copies to sell at shows."
If you're out and about in the western end of the Triangle anytime during the next month, drop by Carrboro's Wootini Gallery for Minus Sound Research -- an exhibition of visual art by members of Superchunk, Schooner, North Elementary and other local bands. The opening reception is 7-10 Friday night, and the art will be on display until Nov. 10.
Check here for a story with more details.
Fresh off his success with Erykah Badu, our man 9th Wonder has been in the studio lately working with Ludacris. And they've been putting samples of and interviews about what they're doing online as they go. Check out the latest installment, about the probable album-closing track "Do the Right Thing."
We've had lots and lots of e-mail difficulties and computer trauma here in Nandoland this week, so I'm just now catching up on some things -- including this wonderful "literal interpretation" of one of the great cheesy-'80s-pop videos of all time.