A People’s History of American Songwriter: Davis Inman


Davis Inman: Gear  and Business editor (2008-2011); Contributing editor (2012-2013) A great memory from my years at American Songwriter involved writing a feature story on rock music in Nashville in the 1960s and ’70s. I think the idea for the story came from senior editor Michael Kosser and his close relationship with Nashville songwriter Curly Putman, […]

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The Business Of Jamgrass Touring


In early 2013, the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based band Greensky Bluegrass took over the tiny, 100-capacity venue Tonic Room in Chicago’s Lincoln Park for a secret, one-night-only concert celebrating the venue’s 10th anniversary. It was the smallest room the group, which formed in 2000, had played in many years – a fact not lost on the band, […]

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Arctic Monkeys, Lorde Rock Lollapalooza’s 10th Anniversary in Chicago


  Eminem, Outkast and Kings Of Leon were the big-name headliners at this year’s Lollapalooza festival, held in Chicago’s Grant Park from Aug. 1–3. But the festival offered several standout sets from other rising indie acts, including English rock quartet Arctic Monkeys and New Zealand pop sensation Lorde. Lollapalooza began as a touring festival, playing […]

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Video Premiere: Easton Stagger Phillips, “So Much In Tune”

esp tim easton

Does the world need another supergroup? On the strength on a new album, Resolution Road (Rebeltone Records), by the collaborative project Easton Stagger Phillips, I’m inclined to vote yes. On the new album, the trio sometimes dials in the kind of jammy, ski-bum vibes that will make fans of The Allman Brothers wiggle and shake. […]

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Video Premiere: Promised Land Sound, “Empty Vase”

promised land sound

When the members of Promised Land Sound first announced the formation of their new Nashville-based garage-rock band in the fall of 2012, it seemed like yet another move by Music City to find a way to mash up its major export —- country music — with a teenage punk rock ethos.

 But there was something […]

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5 Chicago Songwriters You Need To Hear

Sad Brad Smith

Chicago’s musical roots run as deep as Lake Michigan. Beginning in 1924, the National Barn Dance, a country-themed radio program that predated the Grand Ole Opry, was broadcast on WLS from the Eighth Street Theater in Chicago. In the ’60s, the folk community rallied around the upstart Old Town School of Folk Music, a sort […]

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Tom Waits, “New Year’s Eve”

tom waits

[Photo Credit: Danny Clinch] At 61 years of age, Tom Waits is still as ornery, mischievous, and lovable as he was when he quipped “I’m so God damn horny that the crack of dawn better be careful around me” on 1975’s Nighthawks At The Diner. His twentieth studio album, Bad As Me, comes out on […]

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Wax Figures: The Economics Of Vinyl


Why does a hundred-year old format still intrigue us? According to the RIAA, the recording industry trade organization that tracks record sales, shipments of vinyl records increased 36 percent in value to $163 million in 2012. Meanwhile, physical recording formats, on the whole, continued to decline, down 16.5 percent. As streaming services like Spotify and […]

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Pitchfork Music Festival Wrap Up

yo la tengo pitchfork 2013

The 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival was marked by hot and windy days and rainy nights. Each headliner’s fate was in the hands of the weather gods. On Friday, Bjork was cut four songs short, before an epic rainstorm hit the city. (Pearl Jam, playing Wrigley Field a few miles away, took a two-plus hour rain […]

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Joanna Newsom, Woods Play Pitchfork Festival

Joanna Newsom press photo_by Annabel Mehran

In a denim short sleeve shirt, white jeans and black Toms, Woods singer Jeremy Earl was a peaceful spirit among the festival chaos. Opening its afternoon set with “Pushing Onlys,” off 2011’s aptly titled Sun and Shade, Woods reveled in its folkier side, a sound more akin to ‘60s Grateful Dead or private press LPs. […]

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The Best Acts To See At Pitchfork Festival 2013


Pitchfork Music Festival, in its eighth official year, is still quaint compared to big festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Pitchfork brings about 15,000 fans a day for three days to Union Park, a mile west of the booming commerce of The Loop. As in past years, the 2013 lineup is a buzz-worthy mix of indie […]

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Pokey LaFarge: Modern Blues

pokey lafarge

This article appears in our July/August issue. Subscribe here. St. Louis singer-songwriter Pokey LaFarge has been traveling the country since he left his home in Central Illinois during his teen years. From those humble beginnings, LaFarge has gone on to play the Newport Folk Festival, record “Lovesick Blues” for the HBO show Boardwalk Empire, and […]

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