From The Desk Of Luther Russell: “A Quiet Passion”

You might not know Luther Russell by name, but you’ve probably heard music he’s made with the likes of Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers), Jody Stephens (Big Star), Brian Bell (Weezer), Ethan Johns (Emmylou Harris, Ryan Adams) and countless others. Selective Memories: An Anthology, out February 23 on Hanky Panky, is a two-CD compilation of Russell’s material that’s a stellar introduction for newcomers to this musician’s musician. Russell will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

Russell: Wow, this Terence Davies movie really moved me. And not just for the incredible performance of Cynthia Nixon as poet Emily Dickinson, nor the intensely tragic subject matter of her repressed life, but also for the clever and profound writing by Davies, which is alternately tender as a lamb and biting as a shark. It tells the tale of Dickinson’s remarkable and progressive family in the restrictive, regressive time that is America in the mid-to-late 1800s. Nixon inhabits the wit and intellectual independence of Dickinson, whose genius was only recognized after her death—something which the movie seems to suggest the late poet knew would happen. But something is touched upon in the movie that I feel is very timely: how the story of women has been the story of the struggle to be heard, read and seen as equal to a man in depth, imagination and creativity. Even in these similarly bleak times, although gussied-up in techno bullshit, a young woman labors to be taken seriously and afforded the same rights over her own soul that a man is so blithely handed.