Tag Archives: reviews

Church-Lady meets Lars Ulrich

Music Review: “25 Organ Favorites”


Author’s Note: My great-grandmother bought me this album when I was in high school. I imagine she ventured to Tower Records and asked the clerk what kind of music a teenage boy would like. Snickering, he probably handed her the CD and said, “Try this, lady. I’m sure he’ll love it! Huh huh!”

I was delighted to find this album is now on iTunes, and to show my appreciation, I decided to pen the below review. The album is a compilation of songs played on the organ … with an inexplicably aggressive drummer providing the backbeat. Yeah.

“Thanks, Grandma!” I said, biting my lip as I examined the CD. “This is exactly the kind of music my friends and I listen to!” 

When you combine a little-old-lady organist with a heavy-metal drummer, the result is this explosive album featuring some of the most head-banging licks ever pounded out by a blue-haired virtuoso. From the opening track of “Shine on, Harvest Moon,” thundering backbeats bludgeon the listener’s sensibilities while the organist’s gnarled, arthritic fingers tickle the Hammond’s ivories in a geriatric gusto. Not since “Toccata and Fugue” has the organ mourned with such a melodramatic flair. With pulse-pounding drum flourishes reminiscent of Metallica, the rumbling percussion crashes and reverberates, providing an epic, frenzied accompaniment to the churchgoing organist. The monumental standout is “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” which swells with uncontrollable insanity as the organ’s tenacious tonewheels deliver a powerful, melodious sermon worthy of the grandest cathedral. This ain’t your Bingo-playing grandmother, here; this organist is blasting out Herculean hits like a modern-day Goliath. So loosen up your cardigan and slip off your orthopedic shoes, because with this heavy-metal hitter, the organ bellows with Bach-esque grandiosity.


‘State of Play’ and the state of journalism

Author’s Note: This piece originally appeared on my now-defunct blog, The Barren Regions. I wanted to include it here because it brought back memories of when I worked at a newspaper (and when I could still refer to myself as a “twenty-something”).

I recently rented the Russell Crowe suspense flick, State of Play. I wanted to watch it because the title intrigued me. I wish I could say the same for the plot.

State of Play

Just kidding. Actually, the movie was OK, although unrealistic. Crowe plays a hard-nosed newspaper reporter who becomes ensnared in a D.C. murder mystery. He risks his life to uncover the truth — all in the name of getting the full story and informing the public.

That was the part I found unrealistic. I mean, c’mon, a journalist who actually works for a living? Get real. The most hustling you’ll see in a newsroom happens when someone accidentally leaves a box of doughnuts in the break area.

Other parts were all too real. Ben Affleck plays a conniving congressman. Helen Mirren plays a desk-pounding editor who hollers about deadlines and corporate responsibility and sits in a big office. Rachel McAdams plays an underpaid blogger who works at the same paper as Crowe.

In one scene, Crowe and Mirren sneer at how McAdams churns out gobs of copy for little pay while Crowe dawdles on his stories and earns twice as much. As a twenty-something budding journalist, I appreciate the realism (though truth be told, I don’t churn out tons of copy; I’m too busy eating doughnuts in the break room). Keep reading…