The Rock Fan’s Guide to Country & Opinions on The Roots and Scissor Sisters

The Rock Fan’s Guide to Country: Tune in as Chrissie Dickinson, music writer and former editor of The Journal of Country Music, proves why country music deserves our respect. Then Jim and Greg review the new albums from The Roots and The Scissor Sisters.

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Hardcore music fans are willing to pay a lot of bucks for VIP tickets and collector's items. But $18 million? That's what Chicago-based rare instrument dealer  Bein & Fushi is asking for their recent acquisition: a Vieuxtemps Guarneri. Made in Italy in 1741, the Guarneri has been dubbed the Mona Lisa of violins, and is adored by violinists like Grammy Award winner Joshua Bell. As Geoffrey Fushi explains, $18 million is a fair price when it comes to this prized instrument. In fact, his seller is even being choosy about who gets it. Jim is waiting for this to come back on the market.

Country Music

Frequently on the show Jim and Greg like to take on a single music genre-often one that needs a little more TLC. And perhaps no genre is more maligned, especially in the rock world, than Country Music. We've all joked about the lyrical clich'es-women, booze, death and dogs. And we all know that there's a lot of bad, over-produced arena country dominating today's scene. But, this week's guest thinks country has gotten a bad rap. Chrissie Dickinson began her career as a punk rocker, but in the 1990's she had a country epiphany. Eventually she went on to edit The Journal of Country Music. She admits that "hat acts" like Garth Brooks have not been great for the Nashville sound, but doesn't think that artists should get dismissed merely because they've gone pop. Even Patsy Cline was pop-country, or "countrypolitan." Chrissie hopes that rock fans will be willing to add mainstream Nashville artists like Alan Jackson and Vince Gill to their "country cred" collection of Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn.

How I Got Over The Roots

How I Got Over

If country music isn't your thing, maybe you're a hip hop fan. The Roots have released a new album called How I Got Over. It's the Philly group's first record since becoming the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The Roots have always had a great reputation as a live act, but Jim thinks that gives short shrift to their terrific recordings. This is a dark album, but also really inspirational, especially towards the end. Jim gives How I Got Over a Buy It rating. Greg agrees, adding that MC "Black Thought" and drummer "Questlove" are as strong as ever. The Roots get a double Buy It.

Night Work The Scissor Sisters

Night Work

The Scissor Sisters became a hit with singles like "Comfortably Numb" and "Take Your Mama," especially in the U.K. But they haven't been able to translate that success to album sales in the states. Jim and Greg don't think the 3rd release Night Work will do much better. They both appreciate the camp pop elements, but hear nothing special and nothing new. Greg is willing to recommend listeners Burn It, but Jim says Trash It.


After talking with Chrissie Dickinson, Greg thought about his own country music epiphany. He got his own guide to the genre from legendary singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who formed The Flatlanders with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock. As Greg explains, no one in Nashville was buying the credibility of three Texas "Flatlanders," but their unique take on roots country went on to be hugely influential, especially to future alt-country acts. Greg chooses "Dallas" from the band's one and only release More a Legend Than a Band to add to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!