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Jeff Miers

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Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.

I witnessed Butch Trucks' magic in the first person more than 50 times between 1990 and 2014, and can attest to its power and to the soulful vibe it spread. Trucks, who committed suicide on Tuesday evening at the age of 69, changed the shape of rock music in his role as one of the Allman Brothers Band’s twin drummers. He brought a jazz-man’s dynamics, a rock drumm…

National Public Radio's forward-looking music programming including its weekly Tiny Desk Concert Series,  its stretching-the-envelope musical performances at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and concerts at UB's Center for the Arts that rank among my most sublime live music experiences were all made at least partly possible by government grants from the government. A…

Mary Halvorson, who brings her ensemble Reverse Blue to the Albright-Knox Art of Jazz series on Jan. 29, studied with master saxophonist, educator and music-philosopher Anthony Braxton. Which explains a lot. Braxton is the man behind “The Tri-Axium Writings,” a collection of on-point intellectual musings which, according to his web site’s explanation,  posits the…

“I hear a lot about ‘ladies nights’ happening in Buffalo, but I wanted to do something more inclusive, so the Trans/Queer/Non-binary community could be involved,” said promoter Sara Ali, who has been booking once-a-month gigs at the Gypsy Parlor (376 Grant St.) for the past year. Ali took matters into her own hands, and hatched the plan for “Ladies Night @ the…

“Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol” by Steve Jones with ben Thompson, Da Capo, 308 pages, $26.99 We’re lucky that Steve Jones fit learning to play the guitar into his busy boyhood schedule of stealing cars, picking pockets, and thuggish petty thievery in the streets of mid-'70s London. If he hadn’t, we’d never have had the Sex Pistols, we’d never have had …

Lucky Peterson’s story comes to us bathed in blues mythology. In Buffalo-born Peterson’s case, however, the mythology is rooted in cold, hard fact. Peterson was born to father James and mother Jarnelle in 1964, and he was instantly surrounded by music. The Peterson paterfamilias was a gritty blues guitarist and singer, and after amassing a then-substantial sum of m…

Ani DiFranco has released a new song and accompanying video dedicated to President Barack Obama. The song, "Deferred Gratification,” is a mournful yet defiant, New Orleans parade-tinged thank you to him. It's one that DiFranco told Rolling Stone salutes President Obama “for being not just the spiritual center of the third verse of this song, but for being the most a…

The Goo Goo Dolls, Mark Freeland, SplatCats, David Kane’s Decay of Western Civilization, the Ramrods, the Rain, the Pinheads were all active and able-bodied musical acts during 1988. And all were documented on what surely stands as one of the finest compilation recordings in local music history: the now legendary sampler “We Killed McKinley.” Now, the Buffalo Blue…

Words matter. So do notes. And chords. And the intention behind all of them. At perhaps no other time in our country’s history has it been more glaringly apparent that music can and should do much more than simply entertain us. It is here for the purpose of our elevation, to be sure, but elevation does not always take the form of escapism. Sometimes it takes …

Over the past decade, it seemed that the Flaming Lips had dedicated themselves to grabbing the whole avant garde gusto, getting good and weird and not really caring what anyone who’d fallen in love with them based on the fully-actualized, song-based genius of 1999’s “The Soft Bulletin” and 2002’s “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” thought about it. That meant …

Multi-platinum, Grammy-winning country-rock ensemble the Zac Brown Band announced its 40-plus date "Welcome Home Tour 2017" on Friday, and the road jaunt will include a June 25 stop at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, where the band has presided over a handful of jubilant, celebratory sold-out appearances in recent years. The tour's title is borrowed from the for…

She’s always had a way with words. And she’s lived a remarkable life since leaving home at the tender age of 15 to embark on a relentlessly against-the-grain career in music. It’s not surprising, then, that Ani DiFranco has inked a deal with Viking Press to publish her memoirs. Viking told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the book, tracing her “eventful and …

A suggested mock Inauguration Gala Musical Performer form letter Dear (Insert name of musical act here): I’m writing to request your performance at the Inauguration Gala for President-Elect Donald J. Trump, to be held Jan. 20 in our nation’s capital. We hope you understand that this is a great honor. We aren’t just accepting every hippie with a guitar and a …

“Mom, Bugs Bunny is playing Dad’s music!” Neal Evans stood at the head of his family’s dining room table surrounded by his mother, two sisters and two brothers, and laughed as he recalled a Saturday morning in his childhood when “The Ring Cycle,” his father Willie Evans' favorite Wagner opera, appeared in his favorite cartoon. His mother and siblings laughed…

Scene: A fit middle-aged man stands before a file cabinet, and carefully opens its drawers to reveal the contents of the files therein to the camera. He speaks. “Each of these folders is numbered appropriately, beginning with No. 1, 1974, and continuing up to 2015, in order, from January to December,” he says, looking directly into the camera’s eye for emphasis…