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Latest from Brad Buchholz

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Humor and hurting
 Short story master George Saunders is fascinated by one of the great stories of the modern age — and it’s not climate change, not the world at war. Rather: It is the aching banality of our times. The pervasive McCulture. And how it robs us of our humanity, contorts our moral bearings, separates us from true feeling. In fiction...

6:00 AM Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013

Short story master George Saunders is fascinated by one of the great stories of the modern age — and it’s not climate change, not the world at war. Rather: It is the aching banality of our times. The pervasive McCulture. And how it robs us of our humanity, contorts our moral bearings, separates us from true feeling. In fiction...
For Darrell Royal, victory, in farewell
 As the lights dim on another football season — and we bid farewell to another year — I find myself thinking sentimentally about Darrell Royal. My feelings fall outside the context of football, outside of things orange and white. I’m thinking more about how we live our lives, the choices we make, the triumph that can come...

6:00 AM Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012

As the lights dim on another football season — and we bid farewell to another year — I find myself thinking sentimentally about Darrell Royal. My feelings fall outside the context of football, outside of things orange and white. I’m thinking more about how we live our lives, the choices we make, the triumph that can come...
Church on Monday
 Saxophonist Elias Haslanger knows how easy it is to lose touch with truth — how walking the accepted path, in the name of ambition or approval, can pull you away from the song in your heart. True in music, as it is in life. Haslanger is a jazz musician, a good one, well-versed in the legacy of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. He has...

6:00 AM Saturday, Dec. 08, 2012

Saxophonist Elias Haslanger knows how easy it is to lose touch with truth — how walking the accepted path, in the name of ambition or approval, can pull you away from the song in your heart. True in music, as it is in life. Haslanger is a jazz musician, a good one, well-versed in the legacy of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. He has...
Oldziey, Gato 6 offer sophisticated Latin jazz
 George Oldziey plays piano, writes film scores, loves jazz. He’s most renowned for his musical collaborations with Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. But deep down, Oldziey has always had a soft spot in his heart for Latin music, Latin rhythm. It’s a passion that goes back 30 years, to his college days, when he played trumpet...

6:00 AM Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

George Oldziey plays piano, writes film scores, loves jazz. He’s most renowned for his musical collaborations with Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. But deep down, Oldziey has always had a soft spot in his heart for Latin music, Latin rhythm. It’s a passion that goes back 30 years, to his college days, when he played trumpet...
From the archive: He's with Dylan

1:45 AM Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012

Originally published September 10, 2007 . Bob Dylan is about to hit the stage - and I gotta tell you, I'm really excited about this show. Not so much 'cause it's Dylan; I've seen him several times over the years. To be honest, I'm more excited about seeing Denny Freeman play lead guitar in this band. You know: Austin's own Denny Freeman....
Denny Freeman: On Stratocasters, the majesty of Ray Charles and ‘Diggin’ on Dylan’
 Guitarist Denny Freeman has a new album out — “Diggin’ on Dylan” — an album of instrumental music inspired, in part, by his experience of playing in Bob Dylan’s band between 2005 and 2009. And he’s happy to tell you all about it. Really. But larger passions keep getting in the way. First, Freeman...

1:43 AM Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012

Guitarist Denny Freeman has a new album out — “Diggin’ on Dylan” — an album of instrumental music inspired, in part, by his experience of playing in Bob Dylan’s band between 2005 and 2009. And he’s happy to tell you all about it. Really. But larger passions keep getting in the way. First, Freeman...
The First Word: Tim O’Brien on life, literature and peace
 Novelist Tim O’Brien tells war stories – and there’s nothing moralistic or romantic about ‘em. As a Vietnam veteran, O’Brien knows the horrors of war, the boredom of war, the chaos and cruelty of war, the war soldiers carry home with them. His books ache. They grieve. They implore readers to look, hard, at things...

2:53 AM Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012

Novelist Tim O’Brien tells war stories – and there’s nothing moralistic or romantic about ‘em. As a Vietnam veteran, O’Brien knows the horrors of war, the boredom of war, the chaos and cruelty of war, the war soldiers carry home with them. His books ache. They grieve. They implore readers to look, hard, at things...
At the peak of his popularity, Leonard Cohen, 78, returns to Austin one more time
 The great Canadian song-poet Leonard Cohen is passing through Austin this week, perhaps for the last time, to play shows at the UT Performing Arts Center. He brings with him his fedora, a sense of graciousness, an aura of dignity and sorrow. He brings a searcher’s heart, a love of art, a voice as deep and dark as the ocean floor. And...

11:29 PM Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012

The great Canadian song-poet Leonard Cohen is passing through Austin this week, perhaps for the last time, to play shows at the UT Performing Arts Center. He brings with him his fedora, a sense of graciousness, an aura of dignity and sorrow. He brings a searcher’s heart, a love of art, a voice as deep and dark as the ocean floor. And...
Leonard Cohen, with an Austin Whisper

3:44 PM Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012

Leonard Cohen: Poet, singer, seeker, scholar, artist. Leonard Cohen: Devout Jew, ordained Buddhist monk. Leonard Cohen: Man of elegance, man of melancholy. Leonard Cohen: Master of economy. Leonard Cohen: The voice of ire in “Joan of Arc,” the cry of renunciation in “Story of Isaac,” the ghost of Lorca in “Take...
A Matter of Perspective
 Whenever singer Jimmy LaFave talks about his new album, “Depending on the Distance,” he likes to linger in the beauty of its title. All understanding, he suggests, relates to perspective — which is forever changing, informed by the distance we’ve traveled through time, geography, maturity. “Sometimes you&rsquo...

5:00 AM Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

Whenever singer Jimmy LaFave talks about his new album, “Depending on the Distance,” he likes to linger in the beauty of its title. All understanding, he suggests, relates to perspective — which is forever changing, informed by the distance we’ve traveled through time, geography, maturity. “Sometimes you&rsquo...
‘Let the People In’ looks at mercurial life of Richards

4:53 AM Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012

Long before she became nationally famous, Ann Richards — then treasurer of the State of Texas — attended the San Antonio Convention of the National Women’s Political Caucus in July of 1983. She watched with great interest as an array of famous white men, U.S. senators, delivered speeches about the power of women to influence...
A wildness beyond words

5:00 AM Saturday, Oct. 06, 2012

Louise Erdrich’s prose is spare, precise, smooth as polished stone. Yet there’s a wildness beyond her words — where spirits live, a place open to dreams and intuition, outside the lines of intent. Her books are rich with literary muscle. And infused with mystery, too. “The Round House,” Edrich’s 14th novel...
His passing wasn’t the point

4:00 AM Saturday, Sep. 29, 2012

Slingin’ Sam: The Life & Times of the Greatest Quarterback Ever to Play the Game Joe Holley University of Texas Press, $24.95 By Brad Buchholz bbucholz@statesman.com Singin’ Sammy Baugh was a star quarterback in the 1930s and 1940s, a native Texan who starred for TCU, a legend in the “leather helmet” age of the NFL...
Jazz with a Smile: Piano virtuoso Marcus Roberts takes a joyful, jazzy ride with Bela Fleck - and his banjo
 Pianist Marcus Roberts is a legacy man. His music – his jazz – celebrates the genius of Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin, George Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton, but always with an original signature. He's an earnest artist, with vision. For the past 25 years, Roberts has built a reputation on respect, discipline, virtuosity and taste...

9:23 PM Monday, Sep. 17, 2012

Pianist Marcus Roberts is a legacy man. His music – his jazz – celebrates the genius of Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin, George Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton, but always with an original signature. He's an earnest artist, with vision. For the past 25 years, Roberts has built a reputation on respect, discipline, virtuosity and taste...
A matter of nature
 I had a tough time, finding my way in Texas. Then I got lucky. When I was 11, my parents sent me to a boy's summer camp in the Hill Country, near Ingram, on the Guadalupe River. Camp Rio Vista. I spent a month there the first time, in 1967. They were days of rock and river and sky days in the elements, coming to elemental truths. The vintage...

1:05 AM Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012

I had a tough time, finding my way in Texas. Then I got lucky. When I was 11, my parents sent me to a boy's summer camp in the Hill Country, near Ingram, on the Guadalupe River. Camp Rio Vista. I spent a month there the first time, in 1967. They were days of rock and river and sky days in the elements, coming to elemental truths. The vintage...
'The Long Walk'
 Brian Castner is breaking down. The horrors of the Iraq War have overwhelmed him, but he doesn't realize it yet. He has no time to realize it. As commander of an elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, Castner's job is to disarm IEDs and inventory bomb sites after explosions, often under enemy fire. It is 2006, and there is much work to do...

12:52 AM Sunday, Jul. 29, 2012

Brian Castner is breaking down. The horrors of the Iraq War have overwhelmed him, but he doesn't realize it yet. He has no time to realize it. As commander of an elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, Castner's job is to disarm IEDs and inventory bomb sites after explosions, often under enemy fire. It is 2006, and there is much work to do...
A way of living, a way of seeing: 'The Central Park Effect'

2:14 PM Saturday, Jul. 14, 2012

Jonathan Franzen is a writer with Pulitzer-caliber powers of observation. He lives in New York, walks in New York's Central Park all the time. Yet Franzen admits he never saw the great park clearly ... finely ... truly ... for seven years. Until someone directed his attention to birds. "I thought it was a place of pigeons and sparrows...
The baseball: Sometimes, it takes a lifetime for a gift to reveal its deepest meaning

7:15 PM Saturday, Jul. 07, 2012

I'm careless. I underestimate the value of things — which is why I recklessly threw away so many literate, ruminative letters from my grandfather during my college days. Hey, I was living in the moment. I still live in the moment. I've never learned the lesson. It's amazing, the things I lose or toss away, in disrespect. I held onto...
Lovin' Loudon

7:58 PM Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2012

Loudon Wainwright III fought against his late father, and seeks to vanquish him still — even as he tries in vain to please him with every song. Wainwright is haunted by his personal failures, by a longing to redeem himself. He sometimes thinks of himself as cruel and foolish and vain, a dubious father and unreliable romantic partner...
Amid life's shortcomings, Colvin has found solace in music

1:30 PM Saturday, Jun. 09, 2012

Singer Shawn Colvin is a child of the prairie, born in South Dakota. But the emotional topography of her life is jagged and rocky and rough. Beyond the Grammy Awards, beyond the acclaim: Her story is a mountain range of pain. Colvin lays it all out in a new memoir, "Diamond in the Rough" — a book not so much about transcending...
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