When I was a record business dork in the 1990’s, I had a little gig on the side. I really had no choice, given the salary of a record business dork at a predominantly bluegrass record label. So to make a little extra scratch so I could buy things like, oh, food, I did some freelance music writing. Now, I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I am my own very worst critic when it comes to writing. I pretty much think my writing is average at best. But I could string together cohesive album reviews and I did so for several publications – Philadelphia Weekly and No Depression, to name a couple. Each review, depending on verbiage, got me about $25-50.
I was also the “Music Guy” for Digital City Boston, which was owned by AOL at the time, I think. That gig paid me $100 per week! For writing just one weekly opinion column! You may know the name Bill Simmons, who has gained quite a national following over at ESPN. Well, he was the “Sports Guy” at the same place back then. We even talked about switching roles once or twice for a week.
I did some longer pieces, most notably for No Depression, but when we started Tar Hut, there was an obvious conflict of interest, so I stopped writing for them (but continued for Philly Weekly) and I really haven’t done anything since about 1999. Until this weekend! I had mentioned to friend and No Depression owner Peter Blackstock that I had loved The Whigs first album and that I wanted a crack at writing the review for their 2nd when it came out. I got it in the mail this week and I’ve been listening to it quite a bit.
For those of you who haven’t heard me consistently repeat myself about The Whigs, they are a 3-piece from Athens, GA whose debut album, called “Give ’em All A Big Fat Lip,” may be my favorite debut of the decade. They’ve got a great singer, great songs and are just adventurous enough to separate them from the mass of garbage out there today. So I was pretty psyched when I got the package in the mail this week. I’ll post the review here when the issue hits newsstands, but for now I have to give you a taste of their new record. This is the positively anthemic “Right Hand On My Heart.” They opened with this when I saw them back in the spring and it blew my doors off. Glad the recorded version came out so well: