Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Show Starts Now (TOTR 208)

(Our belated best-of-2013 mix)

Cloud Cult – Love, “The Show Starts Now”
Tired Pony – The Ghost of the Mountain, “All Things All At Once”
Dawes – Stories Don’t End, “Someone Will”
Steve Earle – Low Highway, “21st Century Blues”
Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic”
Amos Lee – Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, “Tricksters, Hucksters, & Scamps”
Dr. Dog – B-Room, “The Truth”
Jim James – Regions of Light & Sound of God, “All Is Forgiven”
Moon Taxi – Mountains Beaches Cities, “The New Black”
Jason Isbell – Southeastern, Traveling Alone
Holly Williams – The Highway, “Til It Runs Dry”
The Lone Bellow – The Lone Bellow, “Bleeding Out”
Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost, “New Mexico’s No Breeze”
Volcano Choir – Repave, “Dancepak”
The Lonely Forest – Adding Up The Wasted Hours, “Fire Breather”
Billy Bragg – Tooth & Nail, “Handyman Blues”
Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull, “Family Tree”
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse, “Holy”
Mavis Staples – One True Vine, “Holy Ghost”
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City, “Everlasting Arms”
Blind Boys of Alabama – I’ll Find A Way, “I Am Not Waiting Anymore”
The Avett Brothers – Magpie & the Dandelion, “I’ll Be Good To You”  
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, “Let’s Get High”
The National – Trouble Will Find Me, “I Should Live in Salt”
Phosphorescent – Muchacho, “Song for Zula”

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winter Winds (TOTR 207)

The Electric Prunes – Kylie Eleison
13th Floor Elevators – Kingdom of Heaven
The Grateful Dead – Cassidy
The Byrds – Wasn’t Born To Follow
Steppenwolf – The Pusher
Robert Ellis – TV Song
Carbon Leaf – Tombstone vs. Ashes
Phosphorescent – Ride On/Right On
The Black Keys – When the Lights Go Out
Kings Of Leon – Revelry
Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds
Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer
Damion Suomi & The Minor Prophets – The Lion, The Ram & The Fish
Dry The River – New Ceremony
Elephant Revival – Down to the Sea
The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still
The National – Fireproof
Band of Horses – Everything’s Gonna Be Undone
Lone Justice – Working Man’s Blues
Rosanne Cash – 50,000 Watts
Hurray for the Riff Raff – The Body Electric
Patty Griffin – Go Wherever You Wanna Go
Joss Stone - Eyes On The Prize
John Butler Trio – Spring to Come

R.E.M. – Until The Day Is Done

Conspiracy Theory & Beer: Yankee Tavern at BDPH - Review

September 11th changed everyone. Driving to Tennessee Tech that 2001 morning, coming from DeKalb County past the breathtaking views over Center Hill Lake, I learned about the attacks on NPR and felt a sick feeling overtake me. Yankee Tavern—the new play currently onstage at Tech’s Backdoor Playhouse—addresses the fearful years of the post-9/11 climate with an intoxicated catharsis of conspiracy theory and beer.

Tech theater director and professor Mark Creter portrays Ray, a scruffy urban squatter who launches screeds about government cover-ups and who needs shots of unpaid booze to feed his paranoid needs. Creter’s caustic genius is palpable from play’s beginning to end. Looking unruly and unkempt just for the part, Creter seems to be channeling the late Philip Seymour Hoffman with a dark dosage of uncomfortable honesty. Ray is neither conservative nor liberal but altogether angry and funny, reminding the world that the enemy always lurks within as well as without.

Student director Josh Rapp also plays Adam, who tends bar in the failing Tavern and attends grad school with a mysterious middle Eastern professor that we never see. Adam is engaged to Janet, played by Caroline Brown, the only female in the cast who is fierce in balancing all the masculine energy onstage. Rapp’s superb acting always brings some nervy kinetic jabs to the Playhouse stage which makes this edgy character perfect for him. We’re worried for Adam, even if we, like Caroline, are not entirely sure we can trust him.

As odd as all the characters are, inside the claustrophobic worry of waging war and being buzzed in the big city, Andy Davis as Palmer is the strangest of them all. Palmer is stalkerish and silent for much of the first act as he drinks Rolling Rock with an imaginary friend. He gets no less creepy when he opens up in the second act. 

Yankee Tavern, like the topics of national discomfort it addresses, is a play shrouded in ambiguity. It’s the kind of eerie theatrical text we expect from the gang over at the Backdoor Playhouse and has just enough humor to help us wrestle with its unresolved ending. Although not light fare, this excellent play will either leave you reeling or healing from the strong drink of 21st century anxiety that it pours out.

The Backdoor Playhouse is at the rear of the Jere Whitson Building, just off the main quadrangle at Tennessee Tech. The remaining shows aretoday, Saturday 2.15 at 2pm & 8pm. TTU students are Free with ID. General admission is $12. Seniors are $10 & non-TTU students are $5.  Info: