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  • Rich Kassirer

Issue 37: What's in a Name?

When I started Modern Acoustic, way back in 2004, one of my main objectives was not to be like every other music magazine, which fills their pages with fluffy profiles of bands and overblown CD reviews in order to get as many eyeballs, website hits, and likes on Facebook.

Yes, I want all those things, but I try my best not to compromise my true intentions – to illuminate stories that interest me, and most likely you, too.

It’s right there on the cover of every issue of Modern Acoustic: “Music and Music-Related Issues That Matter.”

My favorite past issues are the ones that dealt with topics facing musicians or music listeners. In Issue. No. 7, we asked a college music professor if she thought the music explosion that happened in the ’60s could ever happen again. Issue No. 9, we mourned the loss of album liner notes; Issue No. 15 pondered the future of Internet radio; and Issue No. 21 questioned whether jazz was dead.

Each of these stories, and others like them, asked or pondered bigger questions than the standard fare churned out regularly by commercial music magazines.

And in this issue we again ask a big question: What happens when a band finds out that its name has a derogatory connotation?

Poor Old Shine, a Connecticut roots band with a punk attitude similar to the Avett Brothers, has built itself a nice following in its four-year existence. But during that time, it became apparent that their name, chosen from an old song, had an obscure but denigrating history in the American South.

What should they do? Ignore it and continue on? After all, it was obscure. Face the facts and change their name? It could bring to a halt any foothold they had gained.

Frontman Chris Freeman fills us in on how the band responded, and where they go from here. It’s a fascinating look at a complicated and stressful decision.

Oh, and by the way, while we said we weren’t ALL about music interviews and CD reviews, it’s not like we completely ignore them either.

We talk to DJ Brendan Hogan of WUMB-FM, who provides the perfect soundtrack for our post-rush hour commute home from work. As the first participant in our new Get to Know… feature, we ask Brendan about his playlists, which perfectly balance classic and contemporary tunes, while also providing a guide to new artists hitting the scene, such as Parker Millsap, Nikki Lane, and Ryley Walker, whose albums we reviewed.

And finally, aided by our faithful Facebook followers, we offer up our exclusive list of songs with dates in them, inspired by the great Bobbie Gentry’s song “Ode to Billie Joe,” which opens with the lyrics “It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day.” Happy summer, all.

To download the full issue pdf, click HERE


“Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer,” “Remedy,” Old Crow Medicine Show – The boys know how to have fun.

“Stay With Me,” “A Nod Is as Good as a Wink ... To a Blind Horse,” The Faces – Barnstar! recently covered this song and it reminded me to listen to the original again. So nasty!

“Quite Contrary,” “Parker Millsap,” Parker Millsap – When nursery-rhyme characters go wrong.

“Magnolia Mountain,” “Cold Roses,” Ryan Adams and the Cardinals – Got me psyched for Newport.

“Ode to Billie Joe,” “Ode to Billie Joe,” Bobbie Gentry – see above.

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