Aspen Times Weekly: Current Events | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly: Current Events

with Stewart Oksenhorn

POPULAR MUSIC: The double bass is the most burly instrument there is, typically outsizing the musician playing it. Still, it's not unusual to see an A-list acoustic band with the physically imposing bass being manned by … a woman. Most prominent these days is Esperanza Spalding, who has become the jazz player of the moment with her adventurous approach to bass, but it is in the bluegrass realm where the female bassists pop up most. Leading the way is Missy Raines, a West Virginia native who has taken the International Bluegrass Music Association's bass player of the year honors seven times. With her long-running band the New Hip, Raines has become a top figure in contemporary string music, fusing bebop and funk into a bluegrass base. On her album "New Frontier," released in August, Raines moves further into Americana territory, showcasing her voice as much as her instrument and earning comparisons to early Lucinda Williams and Rosanne Cash. Raines and her quartet perform Friday, Oct. 18 at PAC3 in Carbondale.

WRITTEN WORD: Emily Jeanne Miller isn't a father, obviously. And less obviously, she isn't a parent. But in her debut novel "Brand New Human Being," published last year, Miller convincingly offers the perspective of Logan Pyle, who is father to 4-year-old Owen, and husband to Julie, a pretty, hardworking attorney. A stay-at-home dad in small-town Montana, Logan is watching his life drift downward: he reacts to his son's regressive behavior with his own temper tantrums, and the distance between him and his wife is growing. Underneath it all is the specter of his recently deceased father, Gus, a huge but polarizing figure who left Logan a piece of land he must deal with. "Brand New Human Being" pulls the reader in with its tense, accurate depiction of family strife. Miller, who once lived in Paonia, is currently in residence with the Aspen Writers' Foundation, and gives a reading and talk on Oct. 29 at the Woody Creek Community Center. You'll want to read her book before hand, which should be easy — the story goes by fast.

TELEVISON: It's been two-plus weeks since the finale — long enough to see the withdrawal symptoms in hardcore "Breaking Bad" fans. Rather than go back over Walter White's moral collapse, or detail the many times baby Holly simply disappeared without explanation (invisible babysitter?), it's time to move on to another series. The suggestion here: "Rectify," by the same executive producers who made "Breaking Bad." "Rectify" tells of Daniel Holden, a Georgia man released from prison after 19 years, who might or might not be guilty of the rape and murder he was charged with. The moral ambivalence, the tension within the community, and the acting — especially by Abigail Spencer, as Daniel's fiery sister Amantha — should satisfy "Breaking Bad" fans (at least until the "Breaking Bad" spin-off "Better Call Saul" arrives). The first season is on DVD; a second season returns to the Sundance Channel next year.