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  • Rich Kassirer

Issue 16: Beyond Labels


We’ve been thinking a lot about them lately. It’s just a fact that everyone gets labeled: He can’t hit a fastball; she’s reclusive and unreachable; they are a punk band.

We even label ourselves, and then – if the creativity hits us – we try to break away from that label.

A few may have noticed the subtle change of the label on the front of Modern Acoustic last issue. Where it used to pompously profess “A music magazine for really cool people,” we now claim to be a magazine about “Music and music-related issues that matter.”

Why the change?

To be honest, the “cool people” kicker was merely an inside joke – a way to keep from taking ourselves too seriously. It actually served as a reminder that when we write reviews or pick our favorite album of the year that our opinion is just that. And while we may not be fond of, say, Norah Jones’ music or Springsteen’s output with the E Street Band, it does not mean that they are without merit. It is just an opinion. In the end we thought our “cool” label might insult people who did not know or like the music within. So we’ve changed – although we promise to continue not taking ourselves too seriously.

As far as the albums reviewed in this issue, we do have a label for them: outstanding. We’ve been waiting for new albums from Sarah Borges, Josh Ritter, Lori McKenna, and Eilen Jewell for some time, and they all deliver.

And what ties them all together is that – you guessed it – they are all on new record labels.

The great thing is that while we think we know what we’re getting from these musicians… well, you’ll just have to give them a listen. Because despite what you’ve heard from them in the past, they will surprise you.

Which means of course they can’t be labeled.

To download Issue 16, click HERE.

Click HERE to read our reviews of Sarah Borges’ “Diamonds in the Dark,” Josh Ritter’s “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter,” Lori McKenna’s “Unglamorous,” and Eilen Jewell’s “Letters From Sinners and Strangers.”

ALBUMS THAT HELPED US SURVIVE THIS ISSUE 1. “Lonelyland,’’ Bob Schneider. As soon as hot weather rolls around, we have to crank up this album. 2. “Live Dead,” Grateful Dead. Ditto, even 40 years removed from their heyday. 3. “Letters From Sinners and Strangers,” Eilen Jewell. This new album is great to play on humid summer nights 4. “Black Sheep,” Martin Sexton. We’re seeing him at the Gathering of Vibes fest in August. 5. “Sky Blue Sky,” Wilco. Not a huge fan of the band, but I’m trying. This is a good one.

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