Several months ago, I did a reader survey. One of the questions was which columns you found most useful, and which you found least useful. There was a general consensus that most of the columns are interesting and useful. The one column that received a mixed reaction was CD reviews. Many readers don’t find them all that useful.
If you step back for a moment and think it over, it makes sense. In other genres of music, artists are coming and going constantly. This genre’s headliners are often constant for decades. When an artists comes out with a new recording, you don’t need a review to help in making a decision whether to purchase it.
One reader (hat tip, Dustin) suggested an interesting alternative: CD Interviews. These would feature an artist’s own insight into a particular recording—to quote from his comment, “an inside track on how groups select songs for their albums, why they chose them, what they were trying to accomplish, what they envisioned their music to do both creatively, spiritually, or if it was just time to bust out another project.”
This was too good an idea to let it slip by. So the column will launch tomorrow, with Gerald Wolfe’s insights into the new Jubilee Christmas A Cappella EP.
There is still merit to occasional CD reviews, perhaps to provide historical context for a new release or to highlight the significance of a landmark recording. There is also merit to a review when there has been a significant stylistic or personnel change in a group. So the CD Reviews column will not entirely disappear; reviews will just be less frequent.