Brandi Carlile Covers ‘Murder in the City’

From Garden & Gun’s First Listen: Brandi Carlile’s “Murder in the City”:

Accompanied by the tight harmonies of Tim and Phil Hanseroth—known as “The Twins”—Carlile played a mix of old and new songs, including a cover of the Avett Brothers’ “Murder in the City,” which became the unofficial anthem of the tour.

I love that she covered it, though I’m not crazy about the result. It’s definitely a song worthy of imitation and reinterpretation.

A Winter Wonderland of Porters and Stouts

Winters can be long but sufferable if you can find a comforting friend to help you pass the time. This winter, I discovered that Raleigh’s Big Boss Brewery had a direct line to my heart with their winter seasonal Aces & Ates. Brewed with locally-roasted Larry’s Beans, their coffee stout packs quite a punch (8.00% ABV) for this lightweight, making it a nice evening sipping beer during long winter nights. Aces & Ates is by far my favorite winter brew, but I’m the last person on Earth that you want giving recommendations for winter brews.

Thankfully, there are lots of other sources willing to shed their wisdom upon you. I found the Top 10 list from Food Republic mostly judgement-free, and it even features a brew from Durham’s own Fullsteam Brewery coming in at #5 (Fearrington Winter Coffee Pecan Porter). Despite what Budweiser tries to tell us, we are in the midst of a great era for beer drinkers, even in the doldrums of winter. Cheers!

I Watch Trailers for the Music

I don’t know if there has been a single more influential medium on my playlists than movie trailers the last few years1 and the latest is the trailer for Aloha, writer/director Cameron Crowe’s first movie in four years. The song is ‘First’ by Cold War Kids and it’s a great excuse to watch the trailer over and over again, which I had to do anyway to try to figure out the gist of the movie. I’m not sure I have it figured out yet, but I don’t think that will keep me from wanting to see the movie. Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, and John Krasinski sounds like a pretty compelling draw to me.

  1. Going back at least as far as Zack Braff’s trailers for Garden State.  ↩


Wednesday night’s instant classic in Durham resulted in bragging rights for Dookies until the teams meet again in a couple of weeks in Chapel Hill. Not only that, it means the rest of us are left with the insufferable whining of a select subset of Tarheel fans who think their HOF coach has lost his edge. Thankfully, there are national writers who, armed with a broader perspective and at least an average level of intelligence, are able to bring some semblance of reality back to the conversation. Here’s Chris Chase, writing for USA Today’s FTW:

Since returning to Carolina, after losing that title game with Kansas, Roy Williams has been the better basketball coach than Mike Krzyzewski. And not even the craziest at Cameron could say otherwise.

Chase certainly cites some interesting stats to support his assertion1. I don’t necessarily buy into his particular choice of statistics to compare the two almost equally great coaches. Coach K has a knock-out resume even outside of college basketball and Roy has the distinction of establishing substantial success at two different institutions, a not insignificant accomplishment even though he left Kansas without having won a title. But their respective personalities almost perfectly embody their programs2 in ways that, despite budding coaching trees, will be difficult to replace.

I think the subtext of Chase’s point is this – if you’re a Carolina fan and you’re cooing that it’s time for Roy to go, you’re off your rocker. The game hasn’t passed him by, he is a great coach and I don’t see any of that changing significantly before Roy decides for himself when it’s time to hang it up, no matter how near or far away that day is. Just cherish every game, season and ounce of success you have left with Roy because there’s no guarantee that there’s another Roy waiting in the wings to save whatever disastrous succession plan you’ve drawn up on a napkin.

  1. However, when referencing the coaches’ respective ACC records since Roy returned to Chapel Hill, Chase weirdly excludes Roy’s first year, correctly highlighting that Roy was coaching his predecessor’s players. Okay, but did Roy just roll the ball out for them and say “go play”? No. and pointing that out undermines any attempt to credit Roy with winning the national title the very next year with thos very same players.  ↩
  2. Coach K because he practically built Duke’s program, making it in his own image; and Roy because Roy is basically the perfect successor to Dean Smith – equal parts adaptable to the modern game and aww shucks good ol’ ball coach – though it took UNC a few revolutions around the earth and to Kansas and back to get him.  ↩

Tool of Tread

I got married a few years back and one of the few responsibilities I had with the wedding1 was to pick out and purchase a gift for each of my seven groomsmen. I’ve gotten a few great groomsman gifts myself, so I felt a little bit of pressure to come up with something that was some combination of practical and sentimental. I settled for pure practical and purchased a Leatherman multi-tool for each of them. I gave it to them unceremoniously as we waited outside the wedding venue getting dressed in our cars while the ladies finished up their photo shoot.

Now there’s something even more amazing coming on the market from the same genius that gave us the original Leatherman, the Leatherman Tread – a multi-tool bracelet. There’s even a version that incorporates a Swiss-made watch. Move over, poor Citizen, because you’re about to find yourself forever banished to the nightstand by not one, but two new wrist accessories.

  1. I probably should have taken on a few more responsibilities.

The Dean of Everything

When I saw the news on Twitter last Sunday about the passing of Dean Smith, my feeling of sadness was immediately followed by an urge to text JB and ask him to write something up for Notably Worthless. But after a brief moment, I realized it would mean more coming from me.

You see, I am not a lifelong Dean Smith fan. In fact, having been raised a Wolfpack fan, I was actually quite unimpressed with Dean Smith. But after he retired, the passage of time1 helped soften my hardened heart against Coach Smith. I was able to ignore the idol-worshiping noise a bit and finally absorb all of the stories that truly defined the man.

Sometimes talent, luck, hard work, and timing conspire to bring great fortune to a man. And other times, as in the case of Coach Smith, talent, luck, hard work, and timing conspire to bring great fortune to humanity. For a time, Dean Smith was measured by the players he produced and the wins he amassed. But that time has long since passed. Today, and for many generations to come, we remember Coach Smith for the men he served, the men he saved, and the men he sent out into the world better than he found them.

  1. And perhaps my own maturation.