Share this article

print logo

Jeff Miers

Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.


Bruce Springsteen fans are a deeply loyal lot, but that doesn't mean they're particularly easy on the object of their rabid affection. When Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band set off on the "Rising World Tour" in early August, they had a rather strict set list in mind, centered around the powerful songs that comprise "The Rising." The shows were well-received, but har…

"Sometimes you can be shown the light/in the strangest of places if you look at it right..." -- The Grateful Dead, "Scarlet Begonias"The highway of popular music is littered with the road kill of also-rans.For every mega-platinum act, there are literally hundreds of equally, and in many cases, more deserving artists who get lost in the shuffle, unfairly overlooked, unjust…

The idea of pairing folk artist Arlo Guthrie with an orchestra must have raised some eyebrows back in 1998, when conductor John Nardolillo first broached the idea.Nardalillo, who is founder, director and conductor of the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., is a longtime fan of Guthrie's work. He approached the legendary singer, and Guthrie agreed to give it…

It's ironic that, during the "year of Elvis," the seminal recordings of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps are finally receiving the attention they deserve.A full marketing campaign in support of a slew of releases marking the 25th anniversary of Presley's death is under way, understandably if cloyingly. And while Presley's influence on rock history is all but impossible to ov…

Elvis: 30 No. 1 HitsElvis Presley(RCA)Rating: *** (out of four)It's all here, folks: the good, the bad, the ugly and the consequential. "He threw it away for a porcelain monkey/Gave it all up for a figurine/Traded it in for a night in Las Vegas/and his face on velveteen"- "Porcelain Monkey," by Warren Zevon Sadly, Elvis Presley won't be here to say "Thank you very mu…

Shhhh. Listen.Such was the mantra as Bruce Hornsby led his nimble 7-piece band through a 2-plus hour show at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Performing Arts.Blending a healthy selection of tunes from throughout his storied career, Hornsby proved an incredibly versatile, virtuosic pianist and a natural, astute band leader.Improvisation was the order of the day, a…

In May 2000, the Welsh pranksters comprising Super Furry Animals laid a new album, titled "Mwng," on their record label. Excitement at the label quickly evaporated once the suits realized the entire album was voiced in the band's native Welsh tongue. The above anecdote is delivered by way of advising you that Super Furry Animals really don't care what you think of them.Hap…

"Late Show with David Letterman" band director Paul Schaeffer, commenting on pianist extraordinaire Bruce Hornsby, offered the aside that the ivory-tinkling Virginian was one of the first musicians to use the piano to - I'm paraphrasing here - "get chicks."True, those in music in order to grab the attention of the opposite sex usually gravitate toward the guitar. Or they b…

Apparently, the "Can-Con" laws - edicts decreeing that a certain percentage of "homegrown" music be played on Canadian radio stations - haven't made the playing field level for everyone.Despite claiming a 2000 Juno Award - the equivalent of our Grammy - for Best Reggae Album, Canadian reggae artist Lazo (a k a Lazarus Jno Finn) has had to take his music to the streets hims…

And we wondered, yes we wondered, who'll stop the rain? Well, no one, in fact.But the rain, wind, and disturbingly non-summerlike temperatures -- it is, after all, mid-September now -- didn't prevent a packed "shed" and a half-full lawn section from making Incubus quite welcome.The enthusiastic audience, composed of what appeared to be primarily the under-25 set, went ball…

24 Hour Party People ****STARRING: Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Sean Harris, Danny Cunningham, Lennie James, Paddy ConsidineDIRECTOR: Michael WinterbottomRUNNING TIME: 115 MinutesRATING: R for strong language, drug use and sexualityTHE LOWDOWN: Irreverent take on the explosion of the Manchester, England music scene between 1976 and '92. "I will never interfere with …

What if you managed to move the art form of American song ahead and no one noticed?Like the time-honored philosophical conundrum concerning a tree falling in an empty woods -- does it make a sound or not? -- in the world of "popular" music, the gnawing question forever lurks: If you make great, meaningful art and few people get to hear it, does it lose some of its meaning?…

History is cyclical. Stop the presses.Any time a "movement" in popular music emerges, there are some who survive it and some who don't. In the case of the postgrunge nu-metal scene, it seems safe to bet that the majority of the bands who sought to fuse hip-hop to hard rock in the mid-'90s won't be around long enough to grow old, ugly and potentially irrelevant. But perhaps…

CD REVIEWSo Much Shouting, So Much LaughterAni DiFranco[Righteous Babe] *** 1/2 (Out of four) Don't expect Ani DiFranco to stand still for too long.Like her forebears - artists like Bob Dylan, maybe even the original train-track troubadour Woody Guthrie - DiFranco conducts a consistent wrestling match with her muse, seeking different formats within which to develop he…

From the book: "Why would the universe go through the trouble of evolving consciousness?" inquires Garcia. "If it wanted life that would succeed, just to create the most effective living thing, it could have stopped at bacteria. Or it could have stopped at vertebrates or sharks. But consciousness goes a quantum step further than just life. It might be that consciousness…