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Natalie Merchant: “Jealousy”

Jamestown, NY, native Natalie Merchant was a member of 10,000 Maniacs from 1981 to 1993. The singer, songwriter and instrumentalist has been a solo artist since then.

Salon posted an interview of Merchant by Stephen Duesner in May 2014. It provides insight into her art – which in part stems from a deep knowledge and love of movies:

Merchant’s love of cinema has informed the music she has made first as the frontwoman for the collegiate pop group 10,000 Maniacs in the 1980s and later as a solo artist in the 1990s. Her songs are often driven by character and story, with vivid, often historical settings and an emphasis on visual imagery. Often described as literary, her songs are actually cinematic, ranging from the kitchen-sink drama of “Like the Weather” (off 1987’s “In My Tribe”) to the widescreen apocalypse of “It’s A-Coming” (off her new album, simply titled “Natalie Merchant”).

Wikipedia does its usual comprehensive job of filling out the bio.

Above is “Jealousy” as performed on The David Letterman show in 1996. The immediacy of the performance — as opposed to carefully produced videos — overcomes substandard audio quality.

(Homepage photo: Gus Krol)

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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