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2 items from 2008

Your flag decal won't get you into heaven any more

10 November 2008 5:20 PM, PST | | See recent Roger Ebert's Blog news »

Here I was all set to go Elitist on the country singer Lee Greenwood, and I pulled the rug out from under myself. I shared Rachel Maddow's incredulity that the limping duck George W. Bush had appointed Greenwood to the National Council of the Arts. I even had my first two sentences written in my head: "Remember how the Bush takeover squad at the White House complained the Clintonites had unplugged all the PCs on their way out the door? As he steadfastly marches toward his own sunset, it is Bush himself who seems unplugged."

Zing! Totally unfair, but snappy, Bush had two vacancies to fill on the Nca, one for three years, one for six. Greenwood got the six-year term. He'll be the gift that keeps on giving every day during Obama's first term. The Council's job is to advise the National Endowment for the Arts on how to spend its money. »

- Roger Ebert

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Brad Paisley: Play

3 November 2008 1:00 PM, PST | | See recent PasteMagazine news »

Play It Louder

By Shane Harrison

Play is a big gamble—a largely instrumental album from one of country’s most reliable hit makers. You can just hear the Nashville suits gnashing their teeth, asking, “Where are the hits?” They might be here, but only among the four vocal tracks. Play is at its best, though, when Telecaster master Paisley is tearing it up on his twangy six-string. On album opener “Huckleberry Jam,” Paisley’s guitar rolls and tumbles like an Olympic gymnast, trading licks with the pedal steel and banjo. Play is pretty (“Kim”), finger-popping (the cocktail jazzy “Les Is More”) and goofy fun. “Turf’s Up” sends country to the beach, as Paisley channels both the living (surf-guitar god Dick Dale) and the dead (country-guitar titan Chet Atkins). When guest six-string slingers James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgensen, Albert Lee, Redd Volkaert and Steve Wariner join Paisley for »

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