Entries by Bob Marshall

Sierra Ferrell

I’d never heard of Sierra Ferrell before Arts & Lectures added her to the program, and her one album I could find on Spotify didn’t excite me; so I worried that skipping the Oscars broadcast to attend her concert might be a mistake. Instead, both Siri and I were blown away. Her set was tight […]

Cat Power Sings Dylan

In 1966 when he performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Bob Dylan was the greatest songwriter of his (and my) generation. He was not, however, the greatest singer. Or even a very good singer. Nor did he seem to want to be. (He singing had much improved by the time he released Blood […]

Dar Williams

At last night’s concert Dar Williams sang but one song from her latest album. It was about going to Berkeley in the ’80s, “looking for the ’70s.” I think a lot of the audience, like me, was primed for the nostalgia she evoked. Peace, love, possibilities, a better world. Despite putting out seven albums this […]

Rock Cantatas

I don’t know what a “cantata” is, or what other term to use, but hearing “Jungleland” twice in one day on E Street Radio made me think of all the long-form rock songs that define an artist and elevate the genre. Many have a key change and/or tempo change or maybe seem to but are […]

Van Morrison

At 79, Van Morrison is a living legend and, as expected, he took advantage of that to give his fans at the Santa Barbara Bowl the show he wanted, not the songs they surely would have preferred. Never known for his warmth onstage, Morrison’s night was epitomized for us when we saw his car pull […]

Cowboy Junkies

Kudos to the Cowboy Junkies for staying together for 35 years, putting out records consistently along the way. Their sound hasn’t changed, a credit to Margo Timmins’s 62-year-old voice. As expected, their live show featured more up-tempo and louder songs than their best records, which can mellow you almost to sleep. They may be a […]

Graham Nash

Graham Nash brought two hours of musical memories to the Lobero Theater last night, from “Bus Stop” with the Hollies to “Better Life” from his 2023 release, Now. I give great credit to an 81-year-old who is performing five nights a week on a tour through the U.S. and the U.K., hitting the high notes […]

Diana Ross

At 79 her voice is still clear, crisp, loud and silky smooth. Diana Ross’s “Legacy Tour” was truly devoted to her legacy, with videos of her earlier career and Motown contemporaries filling the screen in place of any shots of her current self performing. Diana was in the full diva mode she rose to within […]

Turn-Off Songs

Most of my lists are songs I like. There are also songs I don’t like. And then there are songs–not necessarily bad songs–that grate like chalk on my personal blackboard (remember that cliche?) and lead me to change the station. In no particular order, this list includes… Good Vibrations, Beach Boys. Yes, it’s a classic; yes […]

Dylan’s Philosophy

If it weren’t already trademarked, copyrighted and patented, Bob Dylan’s new book could have been titled, Riffs by Bob, for that’s what The Philosophy of Modern Song is–in spades. He takes 65 songs–not greatest hits or his own favorites, just 65 songs–and riffs on a subject in, or suggested by, the lyrics. For example, “I Got A […]