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Jeff Miers

Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.


YOU HAVE TO HAND IT TO TRAVIS TRITT- he knows his audience, and he gives them exactly what they want.Friday night, a packed and rambunctious Shea's Performing Arts Center welcomed Tritt and his six-piece band with all the Dixie spirit that could possibly be mustered by a late-January Buffalo crowd.Tritt took the stage with a swagger following an introduction tape that feat…

There is something deeply tragic about an artist whose legacy only flourishes after his death.The music of Townes Van Zandt is only now beginning to get its due among the world at large, though to some of the best songwriters of the past three decades and a devoted cult following, calling Van Zandt a genius is simply stating the obvious. Two recent releases - one a tribute…

Calling Waits' fansTom Waits, it has been argued, is an acquired taste. Once acquired, it is impossible to rinse from your mouth. Waits has been covered by a variety of artists, some more successfully than others. His songs, cinematic in imagery, grittily beautiful in execution, comprise one of the most dynamic, diverse and affecting bodies of work this side of Dylan. The …

PREVIEWWHO: Travis TrittWHEN: 8 tonightWHERE: Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St.TICKETS: $27.50 to $37.50INFO: 852-5000 Travis Tritt is a burr in the saddle of the contemporary country-pop machine.His name conjures fear in the hearts of the bigwigs on Nashville's Music Row. That long hair. That refusal to play the game by today's rules. That headstrong desire t…

It is not uncommon for poets to actively seek out the canonization of their work, as if they have written it with the very idea of encouraging its scholarly study.Not so Lucille Clifton, who will read, in benefit of Just Buffalo Literary Center, at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Allendale Theatre. Her writing screams to be heard aloud, to be felt, smelled, even tasted."In writing …

Saturday night, B.B. King showed a packed Shea's Performing Arts Center that he can still deliver the goods, despite a pair of bad knees and a broken foot suffered before a recent gig.Though his voice may show signs of aging -- he turned 76 in September -- King can still play the blues like nobody's business.That's no surprise, considering that King is commonly referred to…

Hollywood has never exactly been a bastion of integrity.Film soundtracks have, of late, become little more than excuses for record labels to cash in on a collection of B sides and throwaways from big name artists, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with the film they've been arbitrarily attached to.Consistently, a track will appear on a soundtrack apropos of nothi…

1. Robert Johnson, "The Complete Columbia Recordings" (Columbia/Lagacy) - A startlingly intimate voice, a guitar style that mixes rhythm and leads, and lyrical imagery that reads like a cross between the Bible and a Faulkner novel. What more could we ask?2. Mississippi John Hurt, "1928 Sessions" (Yazoo) - Masterful blues, ballads and spirituals from a subtle Delta genius.3…

Could the Joel Newton Situation be the first great jazz fusion band of the 21st century? In a word, yeah. This New York City-based quartet recalls the glory days of guitar-based fusion, a time when John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra wowed jazz and rock audiences, Jeff Beck was releasing masterpieces of the genre like "Wired" and "Blow by Blow" and Steve Morse and the D…

He started by imitating train whistles and barnyard animals as a child in rural Mississippi, using the harmonica his mother had given him. Today, he is the undisputed master of the blues harp, a living legend who still logs more road miles yearly than a handful of MTV buzz bands combined.He's James Cotton, and as anyone who's felt the power of his powerhouse tone and lyric…

Moby's got nothin' on moe. When he's not touring the planet with moe., guitarist and vocalist Al Schnier just can't leave well enough alone and take a few well-earned weeks off. Instead, he heads for the porta-studio and makes like Eno on a particularly nasty caffeine high, handling a roomful of instruments himself and manipulating sonic structures in service of that oh…

It's that tone. Timeless. Sends a shiver down the spine. Primal, yet elegant. Searing, swampy, but sophisticated, nonetheless.Hearing B.B. King - who plays an 8 p.m. concert Saturday in Shea's Performing Arts Center - wrap his soul around a note changes the atmosphere in the room. It's something akin to Billie Holiday's transformation of a Tin Pan Alley vocal melody or Mil…

Insurgent country.That's the term the uppity Chicago indie label Bloodshot Records employs as its modus operandi."What the hell is it?" you might ask, and rightly so. One might be forgiven for failing to see anything even slightly radical or insurgent about modern country music. In fact, much contemporary country has about as much in common with Hank Williams Sr. as Britne…

Thin Lizzy is perhaps the most under-rated rock act of the '70s. Relegated to the scrap heap of rock history as a minor band, Lizzy's music is, in fact, a treasure trove of literate, deeply melodic, diverse and soulful nuggets spread across the span of some 14 albums, several of which remain classics of the era to this day.The long overdue Thin Lizzy box set, "Vagabonds Ki…

Something strange happened in the mid '90s. Suddenly, rock songwriters began embracing melody again - in stark relief to the aggro-metal, poorly crafted postgrunge and cookie-cutter big rock that, at the time, ruled the roost. A strain of modern rock started to make itself visible wherein songwriters were becoming increasingly reliant on craft - both in terms of compositio…