Dr. John and the Importance of Making Groceries

Dr. John’s most enduring mode was translator of New Orleans. He covered a few careers’ worth of musical ground and was never simply anything, but after 1972’s Gumbo, that was his gig—to help the rest of the country understand his hometown. Its history, its reality, and its romance. That role resonated in a way that psychedelic explorer of the alternative spiritual planes didn’t, and it was a role that left him room to grow.

Nicholas Payton Traces the Birth of Pop Culture Back to Satchmo

[Updated] Nicholas Payton has made himself an Internet creation. He certainly had an acclaimed career without the Interwebs, but he has adapted himself and his art well to its modes, preferences, and bricolage-like habits. He has become a brand, so that everything he says or does is an extension of #BlackAmericanMusic or #BAM.

Dr. John's Spirit is Lacking

Dr. John’s Locked Down reasserted the potency of the Dr. John persona, a hipster freak shaman whose music is sly and subversively funky in any physical, social or spiritual realm. The album presented a vocally animated and engaged Dr. John, snaking around cross-cultural grooves, and some of the live performances he gave since then suggested that this return to his roots produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach might mark a new direction.

Treme: Wendell Pierce on Preservation

This season of HBO's Treme has dealt explicitly with cultural preservation, whether it's the demolition of the projects that came up this week or the lack of respect for its musical landmarks, highlighted by DJ Davis (Steve Zahn) leading a tour of gated and razed historical sites. When one tourist observes that many historical sites in Chicago were leveled by the wrecking ball, he says, "This is New Orleans. We let it go to hell. Preservation through neglect."

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