Sarah Cahill: What I Learned As a Music Critic, and Why It Still Matters

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Dave’s Coffee Shop on Broadway in Oakland was always the destination for me to meet a deadline. I started going there soon after becoming the classical music critic for the East Bay Express, an alternative weekly, in 1985. After a concert, I would take the bus to Dave’s, open all night, and sit at the counter and order fried eggs and corned beef hash – the kind that comes in a perfect oval patty, and looks and tastes like dog food – and endless refills of coffee. I would sit there and write out the whole review by hand, and then take it home and type it up on my ancient Royal typewriter. It could be five pages or eight pages – however long was necessary to go into great detail and depth.

A time for change.

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Springtime is here, and with it comes the implementation of the first major changes in this journal since we launched last October. We've worked hard during the first six months of producing The Log to establish a place and a precedent for vivid conversations with and among artists, strong and pertinent essays on topics of broad interest, timely news, and constructive criticism.

Kate Outterbridge: Fostering Creativity and Communal Presence Through Music

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“We will deepen the connection between music and mental health through a residency that offers musical performances and group exercises that inspire the creative process, fostering a safe space for openness and expression.” This ambitious statement reflects the mission of my string quartet as we aspire to design a residency program within a hospital setting this spring.

Spektral Quartet: Celebrity for a Day, Feldman for Six Hours

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I can’t think of any more profound contradiction to the Grammys than Morton Feldman’s Quartet No. 2. You may have heard that our album 'Serious Business' was nominated this year in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble category. Our good buddies (and Chicago neighbors) in Third Coast Percussion took home the prize for their superlative Steve Reich album… and we took home some indelible memories.

Musing on the fate of music journalism.

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National Sawdust has not only taken a keen interest in monitoring and evaluating the current state of music journalism and criticism from its inception, but also more recently has pursued an active role in fostering its continued health. We talk regularly with journalists, critics, institutions, and other influential figures about the state of our collective affairs – now, we'll be sharing some of those conversations with the reading public.

Finding Relevance and Revelation in Jim Crow-era Black Press Arts Coverage

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On March 10 and 11, scholars from various academic disciplines and institutions will gather at Yale University for an interdisciplinary conference that will explore coverage of the arts in African American newspapers and magazines between Reconstruction and the end of legalized Jim Crow segregation in the 1960s. Over the course of two days and 12 panel sessions, participants will delve into the many ways in which the arts appeared in a perhaps paradoxically flourishing black press during this era.

Amanda Monaco: As Serious As Your Life

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When I turned 30, even though it was going to be expensive, I felt I ought to purchase health insurance. Having heard horror stories from older colleagues about scenarios in which they had found themselves, it seemed to be the right thing to do. I could only hope it was the biggest chunk of money I would ever “throw away.” Fifteen months after I had made that decision, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

James Rhodes: Music Has Quite Literally Saved My Life

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Music has infiltrated and influenced our lives as much as nature, literature, art, sport, religion, philosophy and television. It is the great unifier, the drug of choice for teenagers around the world. It provides solace, wisdom, hope and warmth and has done so for thousands of years. It is medicine for the soul. There are eighty-eight keys on a piano and within that, an entire universe. The unassailable fact is that music has, quite literally, saved my life and, I believe, the lives of countless others.

On the Nature of Rabbit Holes

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Wondering whatever happened to a favorite jazz indie label from years gone by prompts a web search that yields unanticipated discoveries: excellent new music representing a vital young scene.

David First: How to Profit During the End of the World

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Presenting something meaningful and beautiful that has enough immediacy to address and express peoples’ hopes, fears, anxieties, etc, is always a good thing. It’s nothing less than a measured, subversive counterbalance to the outside world’s sinister forces. Does it do much to change things on a grand scale? Probably not. But as I said to a fellow musician the other day, shoemakers make shoes. We do what we do.