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The web home of writer/producer Craig Havighurst.
Recent Activity
REVIEW: They Called it Music My headline is lifted from a song that the Gibson Brothers made the title track of their current album, as well as the final tune of their stylish set at Roots this week. Brother Eric wrote it (helping him earn Song and Songwriter of the... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Music City Roots Radio
March 12, 2014 by Music City Roots REVIEW: The Right Kind of Shine Our East Nashville friends Doug and Telisha Williams showcased their relatively new Americana trio The Wild Ponies this week at Roots and in doing so offered some food for thought. I loved their song “Things That Used... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Music City Roots Radio
March 05, 2014 by Music City Roots REVIEW:Gospel Truths A great storyteller can make you care about characters you’d overlook or dismiss or disdain in your daily rounds. A great songwriter conjures that empathy and sets it to a smoking groove and a tasty melody. We witnessed this play out... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Music City Roots Radio
Archival - May 29, 2013 by Music City Roots REVIEW: The Real Thing On the extremely rare occasion when we had not a single fiddle on stage all night, one of the best scene-setting songs over two-plus hours of music at the Loveless on Wednesday night was “Silver Fiddle” by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Music City Roots Radio
After six years (!?) of blogging and posting new work here at I've decided to move my web world and blog over to my new domain It'a a very flexible Squarespace account that I'm loving for ease of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2013 at String Theory Media
On January 26, 1788, a cadre of British sailors and naval officers rowed ashore in a bay they’d named Sydney and claimed the Eastern seaboard of Australia in the name of the King of England. Ah, imperialism. Life was so... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2013 at String Theory Media
See this. Be amazed. Commentary follows. A recurring theme of this blog is me worrying about my culture’s long-term estrangement from serious composed music. Never mind the reasons behind or scope of the problem. My constructive side (he’s smaller than... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2013 at String Theory Media
(catch up on the series HERE) The Fall rushed toward me and rushed past me like a wind. I’ve not posted here in two months. Egad. But to share the short list, I’ve been editing and co-producing a Music City... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2012 at String Theory Media
My upcoming String Theory live shows at Bongo Java After Hours Theater in Music City (details one post below) are dedicated in equal parts to explaining some of music's amazing inner workings and about urging music back where it belongs... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2012 at String Theory Media
I’ve been writing about my take on music and our musical culture here for about six years, and some themes and ideas have emerged that I think offer something new to the national conversation. At the same time, I’ve found... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2012 at String Theory Media
Today is release day for the label debut of Nashville's amazing Time Jumpers, and I was honored to write the liner notes for the project. I hope Rounder Records will not object to my posting them here, as long as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2012 at String Theory Media
Almost too obvious to mention I guess. And yes, we're all around broadcast music, but there's something pretty critical about having access to record collections or stashes of music that you can rifle through. One is never quite so attuned to a recording as when one puts one on out of curiosity. I.E. "I've heard ABOUT this but I've never HEARD it."
This summer, an NPR intern blogged candidly about her life acquiring free music, and a few pious musicians and commentators protested her life of crime. (The exchange and surrounding kerfuffle was summarized nicely in American Songwriter.) It was only the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2012 at String Theory Media
(Catch up on the series HERE.) We took the summer off from piano lessons. FC seemed to need a break. Her teacher was taking time away. So it just seemed natural. She had come so far on piano and music... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2012 at String Theory Media
Last week the Recording Academy announced a new campaign encouraging those who release recorded music to include album credit information – including songwriters, sidemen, engineers, producers – in digital releases. This is the latest stab at remedying one of the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2012 at String Theory Media
Our show Music City Roots had a theme this week, in that all four artists were included on the new Putumayo Presents Bluegrass compilation, released May 22 by the famous Putumayo World Music label. The company’s founder and CEO Dan... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2012 at String Theory Media
Maybe it’s the lull before the party conventions or just slow news dog days, but it seems like the stew pot of music and politics has been pulled to the front burner and turned up a notch. The regime in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2012 at String Theory Media
One of my big admonitions to people participating in the new music business is to look back at the history of the business for ideas about marketing, production and presentation. The biz stopped doing so many things that worked for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2012 at String Theory Media
I love my role as Interview Guy on Music City Roots, and we are pleased how the five-minute conversations in the Griffin Technology Chat Room help the flow and tone of the show. But as a journalist whose favorite thing... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2012 at String Theory Media
The Guardian in the U.K. is inviting people to submit six songs that shaped your life, and the setup piece from a week ago is really smart. Eric Clarke writes about the recent crescendo (to borrow a term) of books... Continue reading
Reblogged Aug 10, 2012 at String Theory Media
I'm always intending to post about new artists that are grabbing my attention, but the best laid plans... Anyway, today events and inspiration conspire to let me post briefly about SHEL, an acoustic quartet from Fort Collins, CO that releases... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2012 at String Theory Media
Not long ago, I had a geeky little fantasy/speculation in which I wondered if it might be possible to load all the charting pop songs from the 1930s to today into a computer and analyze them for harmonic sophistication. If... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2012 at String Theory Media
Nate Chinen writes in the NY Times about the changing system of mentorship and apprenticeship in jazz, which has long been one of that world’s most noble virtues and serious contributions to the culture. It’s become more difficult in a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2012 at String Theory Media
I left for vacation and didn't check in here to see several great comments waiting in the approval queue (an unwanted setting made necessary by a big spam comment problem). I'm very pleased a study author thought enough to reply and I appreciate your notes. I think I'd have been writing about this study with enthusiasm if the coverage and commentary from Leroi and co. had been more clear about its limits. I see Darwin Tunes more like a user interface than a source of insight about how music "evolves" in arts history. It's a way of teaching a computer a few basic rules, chiefly that consonance beats dissonance and rhythmic beats chaotic. (Of course those rules were made to be broken and are all the time to powerful musical effect.) I also think the general spirit of the findings use language that implies that if a composer took two successful works and actively blended them they could make something successful, even more successful than the original works. But believe me, I hear that happen all the time on Music Row, and that's why we critics treat the word "derivative" as a pejorative and not a compliment. All that said, all research is good, and heavens, maybe one day your hive mind/machine will "compose" something that truly amazes me. I've been surprised by computers before!
There’s been a good bit of coverage of and interest in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with the provocative title “Evolution of Music by Public Choice.” I’m always on the lookout for research... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2012 at String Theory Media