From The Desk Of Scott McCaughey: Future Of Music Coalition Artist Retreat, New Orleans, Part 1 (Post-Katrina Update)

scottmccaugheylogo2Minus 5/Young Fresh Fellows frontman Scott McCaughey has been blurring the distinction between his two bands for a while, to the point where many of the songs on either group’s LPs would be appropriate for the other. Both return this week with new efforts: the Minus 5’s Killingsworth and the Fellows’ I Think This Is. The tunes are more divergent, with Killingsworth featuring a heavy alt-country vibe and I Think This Is being a typically funny garage-pop workout. When he’s not fronting his own combos, McCaughey is a sideman for R.E.M. and Robyn Hitchcock, the latter of whom produced I Think This Is. McCaughey is guest-editing magnetmagazine.com this week. Read our Q&A with him.

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McCaughey: I recently attended a retreat in New Orleans sponsored and led by the Future Of Music Coalition and Air Traffic Control, with the added participation of local organizations like Sweet Home New Orleans. There was sort of a dual purpose to the gathering: facilitating activism in the music community, as well as showing how local activism in New Orleans is helping the city and its musicians recover from the disaster of Katrina. We spent time at Ernie K-Doe’s Mother-In-Law Lounge, visited and sang with Big Chief Iron Horse of the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indian tribe and toured many of the city’s most devastated areas. I’ve been to New Orleans five times since 2005 and have been both frustrated and encouraged by what I’ve seen. As we drove around the Ninth Ward in May, we saw acres of empty lots that had once been bustling neighborhoods. Yet we also saw clusters of bright new homes, thanks to Habitat For Humanity (a “musicians’ village” where many exiles have relocated) and Brad Pitt’s Make It Right. And yes, there is still food, booze and music, and there always will be. More on that later this week!

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