My momma said nobody played guitar like him ...

... and she may well have been right. Jimi Hendrix died 35 years ago today. Get to know him through his music, his famous performance at Woodstock, or one of the many biographies written about him since his death.

Or learn to play guitar and see how you measure up to one of the masters.


2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot may be their top seller, but my favorite Wilco album has always been Summerteeth. Although their roots in country music are still apparent, Summerteeth is definitely more of a traditional pop/rock album than their previous efforts; as the All Music Guide put it, "what once were fiddles on Wilco records are now violins." As with all of their albums, though, Summerteeth is packed with great songs.

Terry's Got Her Groove Back

Reviewers unanimously agree: Terry McMillan is back to form with The Interruption of Everything, a book filled with people you'll recognize, experiences you'll relate to and plenty of McMillan's wise humor. Desiree Taylor's dead-on narration makes this mid-life journey all the more memorable.

Bonnie Raitt is kindred soul

Calling all Bonnie Raitt fans: Time to put a hold on her new CD, "Souls Alike," which is coming out this week. Soon it will be available at the library. Can't wait to hear songs including "I Will Not Be Broken," "God Was In the Water," and "The Bed I Made." I've been a Raitt fan since 1972, when her first album, "Give it Up" came out.

The Play Ground

This Monday afternoon, while driving to work, I heard an interview on Terry Gross’ Show FRESH AIR with Sonny Rollins. Rollins, who turned 75 last week, lived a few blocks from the World Trade Center and was there when the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred. On the show he talks about his new album, Without a Song: The 9/11 Concert, the attacks and the death of his wife Lucille. The Play Ground is pleased to announce that the University Musical Society is featuring ”An Evening with Sonny Rollins” on Saturday October 1, 8pm at Hill Auditorium.

A Bigger Bang - Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones just released yet another album this month titled A Bigger Bang. So far it’s gotten good reviews, showcasing this well-established group’s talent for rock n’ roll. If you take a listen, you’ll experience some decent guitar work and classic Mick Jagger vocals.

The CD is on order now, so put yourself on the hold list!

A Little Traffic Music

If you’re standing at a traffic light or driving around Ann Arbor, crank up the CD Between Here and Gone, by Mary Chapin Carpenter. The entire collection is good, but one of her best songs is “Goodnight America,” with the memorable traffic lyric: “The noise, the heat, the crush of cars just robs me of my nerve/Then someone yells and blasts their horn and pins me to the curb.” Is she singing about Ann Arbor? No, east LA, but this CD will keep you good company anywhere.

Kanye West at No. 1 Spot

Late Registration by Kanye West is this week's no. 1 hit on the Billboard 200 chart. His 2004 debut The College Dropout opened at the no. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Kanye West has been in the news lately with his comments against the president, George W. Bush during the NBC Universal Hurricane Katrina telethon. Kanye West is also embroiled in a lawsuit with a Chicago D.J. over an alleged forged recording agreement.

Hip-hop history in the making

Last week featured hip-hop history on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Several artists interviewed on the program have talent to spare. In addition to recording their own music, artists like Queen Latifah, Will Smith, the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, and Mos Def have acted in movies and television series, composed film scores, and even provided voices for animated films.

The Play Ground

The music season is opening with fanfare and September will be a busy month for The Play Ground and all music lovers.

On September 10 at 8pm the Arbor Opera Theater will open its 2005-2006 season with A Bernstein Celebration. The evening's centerpiece will be Trouble in Tahiti, a one-act chamber opera premiered in 1952 and the first opera Bernstein wrote. Set in suburban America, the story chronicles the emotional decline of a contemporary marriage. The remainder of the evening will feature selections from other Bernstein works such as West Side Story, Mass, and Candide. The performance will take place at St. Clare's/Temple Beth Emeth.

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