Category Archives: biography

Longing for that down home music? Looking for a shot of genius? Tryin’ to forget that you asked for water and your woman gave you gasoline? Order from our salesational The Best of Illinois: Vol. 1 catalog and get 40% off the good vibrations … Continue reading

Metrics used to refer to a baffling system of weights and measures that Americans refused to adopt. These days, however, sports fans quote a different kind of metrics that measure everything from K/BB ratio to Kobe’s plus-minus. We live in an age … Continue reading

On November 6, 1814 Adophe Sax was born in Wallonia, Belgium. Sax invented many musical instruments but the one for which he is best known (and has immortalized his name) is the saxophone. Somewhere along the line musical enthusiasts declared … Continue reading

Many a high school English student has turned to a video of the 1950s film adaptation of Moby-Dick when faced with writing a report on lengthy sea tale. The plot details may remain mostly the same, but the movie version … Continue reading

Name one other banjo player who wears Prada. And I don’t mean Prada overalls. —Natalie Maines The lead singer of the breakout bluegrass trio the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, was born on October 14, 1974. The singer joined the Dixie … Continue reading

Story songs had won love from an admiring public since the days when drunken Vikings flung wandering skalds into a nearby volcano. When the wireless came along, story songs filled the air in a different way. The story song “El … Continue reading

Country music superstar Marty Robbins was born on September 26, 1925. In three decades as a singer and songwriter Robbins placed a staggering 94 songs on Billboard’s country music charts. His musical style ranged from rockabilly rave-ups to pop standards … Continue reading

There is a possibly apocryphal story about Loretta Lynn’s classic “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Supposedly, Lynn’s original version of the song included ten (or eight or twelve) verses. Hearing it, her producer Owen Bradley said something along the order of, “Loretta, … Continue reading

Today, the enlightened everywhere celebrate Women’s Equality Day, commemorating not only the Nineteenth Amendment giving half of American humanity the right to vote outside of Wyoming, but recognizing all of the advances made by women—while noting what work remains to … Continue reading

Born on August 22, 1867, inventor C. Francis Jenkins was an innovator of early film and television technology. One of Jenkins’s inventions, the Phantoscope projector, led to today’s large-screen movies. However, one of his first projection demonstrations proved to be a … Continue reading