What’s Going Ahn: A NYC Big Star Tribute

February 15th, 2011

By Tom Beaujour

We haven’t made it a habit to post personal blogs on this site, but a press release that I received yesterday made think that this might be a good time to break format.

The missive, which was too long to reprint here, explained that on March 26th in New York City, the Big Star album Third/Sister Lovers is to be performed by an all-star collective featuring Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, Jody Stephens of Big Star, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills , Matthew Sweet, M. Ward and more. Tickets go on sale at 11:00 a.m., on Thursday, February 17th. I will be there.

If you’re not familiar with the music of Big Star, you should be. The group, which was only around in its original incarnation between 1971 and 1974, produced three albums of the most captivating, well-orchestrated, Beatles-influenced guitar rock that the world, or at least these ears, has ever heard. At the time, the records were largely overlooked by record buyers, but a generation of “alternative rock” musicians would soon discover the music and it would become a Rosetta Stone for artists like R.E.M., the Replacements, and countless others.

And beyond that, Alex Chilton, who passed away last March, but led the band for much of its tenure, is one of my favorite guitar players of all time. His Stratocaster tonalities, chordal sensibility, and raucous leads are unflaggingly tasteful and perfect.

The guitarists who will play his parts on March 26th certainly have their work cut out for them!

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