KURT COBAIN WAS NOT a generation’s representative, a spokesperson, or even a rock star. Many tried to press him into these and other molds, much to his frustration, but it happens that he was a songwriter always on the search for a new sound. When he died, by medical estimation on the fifth of April in 1994, some (among them R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe) believed he was about to abandon the grunge formula for which he had become known. There is evidence he was about to quit music altogether. In any case, the posthumous album, MTV Unplugged in New York, is the best indication we have of the band’s unrealized prospects. Perhaps Nirvana’s most accessible and widely known recording, Unplugged is an accomplished example of musical understatement, disclosing Cobain’s intuitive ability to compose songs (or in the case of The Vaselines, Meat Puppets, Lead Belly, and David Bowie covers, select them) which complement his particular vocal and playing styles.
Posted in Music, Obituary
Tagged Alternative Music, Grunge, Indie Music, Kurt Cobain, Michael Stipe, Music, Nirvana, Obituaries, Obituary, R.E.M., Retrospective, The 1990s
TEN YEARS AGO, in 2003, an acquaintance of mine named Elaina Martin created Westfest. This free-of-charge Ottawa street music festival first took place on June 12, 2004, the year that Jane Sibbery was the headlining act. Elaina was then, as she would remain, what is generally termed a force. Every June since, with the help of local businesses and community volunteers, she has steered the festival to harbour. One of the highlights of my time in Ottawa was performing at Westfest 2010, on a bill with Sloan, a memory which came to the surface as the festival once again took to the stage on Thursday June 6, 2013.
Posted in Music, Personal Essay
Tagged Bloomistry. Westfest, Elaina Martin, Festivals, Flecton, Indie Music, Jane Sibbery, Kelp Records, Music, Ottawa, Sloan