Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986. Arsenio resides in China. Follow him on Twitter @ArsenioOrteza.

From kitchen to bar

Music | Noteworthy new or recent releases
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 9/10/20, 02:13 pm

Kitchen Covers: The Collection by Drew Holcomb featuring Ellie Holcomb: The cover art and title say it all: The Holcombs in their kitchen with little more than an acoustic guitar, their voices, and 16 of their favorite songs. The Avett Brothers, Kacey Musgraves, Tom Petty, John Prine, and NEEDTOBREATHE covers aren’t exactly surprising. Neither is the triptych of ’60s chart toppers (Louis Armstrong, Otis Redding, Joni Mitchell).

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Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images

Affirmative reminders

Music | Three members of the iconic band Yes release new albums
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 9/10/20, 02:08 pm

Lest young readers misunderstand, the term “progressive rock” does not refer to music made in support of Antifa or Black Lives Matter.

Rather, it refers to a style that mashes up psychedelia, Western classical, and jazz, often with a dash (and sometimes dollops) of “mystical” pseudo-poetry where proper lyrics should be. It ruled the late-night FM-radio roost throughout the ’70s. New bands tend its pulse even now.  

The original generation, however, isn’t ready to pass the baton.

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Chris Larson Studio

Wise Blood as opera

Music | An enjoyable “immersive exhibition” of Flannery O’Connor’s novel
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 8/27/20, 02:49 pm

The great Catholic short-story writer and novelist Flannery O’Connor is in the news again—and for the same reason that it seems she’s ever in the news anymore: racism.

O’Connor was no racist. But you’d never know if your only information source were The New Yorker, which recently published an essay by Paul Elie bearing the question-begging title “How Racist Was Flannery O’Connor?” Feel free to skip to Jessica Hooten Wilson’s rebuttal in First Things and Justin Lee’s at Arc Digital for succinct explanations of why Elie’s thesis leaks like a sieve. 

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