Carrie Underwood at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, June 11, 2022.
(Terry Wyatt/WireImage/Getty Images)
Carrie Underwood at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, June 11, 2022.
(Terry Wyatt/WireImage/Getty Images)
Guns & Drag & Dolly, Bracing for a TikTok Ban, Artists on the Border, Arooj Aftab, Jimmy Carter...
Matty Karas, curator March 28, 2023
quote of the day
If we don't sing or write important songs, what's the point? It's just noise and static. If you are scared about what people are going to ask you about something that you feel passionately about, this art, you are going to write fluff.
rant n' rave

Visions but Only Illusions

Nashville musicians react to the horror at the COVENANT SCHOOL.

There’s really nothing else worth discussing on this awful day, except maybe this short list of what governments in Tennessee and elsewhere are doing to protect schoolchildren from dangerous music and the people who perform it:

In Tennessee, it will be illegal as of April 1 for male or female impersonators to perform in the presence of children or within 1,000 feet or schools, parks or places of worship. This would include, for example, any male DOLLY PARTON impersonator who “appeals to a prurient interest,” as plenty of the Tennessee country queen’s songs do. The distance from the law, as written, to a ban on any male singer covering Dolly Parton at an all-ages show in Nashville or Knoxville—or a female singer covering KANE BROWN—is less than 1,000 metaphorical feet.

It’s legal, on the other hand, for most people over the age of 21 to open-carry handguns without a permit almost anywhere in Tennessee, and a bill that recently passed a state House subcommittee—over the objections of state police and safety officials—would expand that right to all firearms.

Dolly Parton herself remains legal in Tennessee as of this writing. But in Waukesha, Wis., elementary school kids have been told they can’t sing the 2017 song “RAINBOWLAND” by Parton and her goddaughter, MILEY CYRUS. The song’s chorus dangerously declares, “We are rainbows, me and you / Every color, every hue / Let’s shine through / Together we can start livin' in a rainbowland.” The same school district also banned the KERMIT THE FROG classic “THE RAINBOW CONNECTION” until parents—some of whom probably grew up with it—revolted. This happened last week.

“The Rainbow Connection” was co-written by the great PAUL WILLIAMS, who is currently president of ASCAP. One wonders, thinking out loud here, if Williams and his counterparts at BMI and SESAC could step in and prevent any song by anybody from being performed in any Wisconsin school setting until the school board, and the entire state, relents.

Open carrying rifles is widely permitted in Wisconsin.

Rest in Peace

Contemporary classical composer and guitarist SCOTT JOHNSON, a key figure in New York’s downtown new music scene beginning in the late 1970s. In works like 1982’s “John Somebody,” he “mixed the structural rigor of classical composition with the ebullient sound and attitude of rock,” Steve Smith wrote in the New York Times. His collaborators included Laurie Anderson, Rhys Chatham and Arthur Russell... Johnson, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021, died Friday from complications of pneumonia. The Times reported that his wife, classical music publicist MARLISA MONROE, apparently died the same day... EMAHOY TSEGUÉ-MARYAM GUÈBROU, an Ethiopian nun, pianist and composer acclaimed for the albums she recorded while living most of her life in monasteries. Her music, which freely mixed classical, religious and pop traditions, raised money for impoverished Ethiopian children, and she established a foundation that helps children in need study music. She was 99... TOM LEADON, guitarist in Tom Petty's pre-fame band Mudcrutch. He also played with Linda Ronstadt, co-founded the LA country-rock group Silver and co-wrote the song "Hollywood Waltz" for his brother Bernie's band, the Eagles... TV, film and theater composer NICHOLAS LLOYD WEBBER, son of Andrew Lloyd Webber... JOHNNY TEAGLE, guitarist for Akron, Ohio, rockabilly band the Walking Clampetts.

Matty Karas, curator

March 28, 2023