Trace Hacquard poses a question that is near and dear to my heart, is the music genre of Rock dead, are there any bands of today that will be inspiring the next generation, are there bands today that will still be played 20, 30, even 40 years from now?

As a music reviewer I ask the same questions. I have to admit that Trace is a good deal more optimistic than I am.

Deadlines And Commitments is in part a travelogue as we follow the author on a three month odyssey of music exploration across America, it is also part reflection on rocks past and its foundations and offshoots. Trace is an aspiring Music writer and in many ways this book takes us into his inner thoughts on the subject of popular music.

Although the book is primarily music themed Trace does occasionally wander into other areas. While in Cleveland, he has this to say about the Cleveland sports fans:

Cleveland fans are the most wretched, miserable souls on the face of the earth. Especially Indians fans.

A few pages further Trace continues his diatribe when talking about his friend Spade:

And although Spade is a staunch Republican and a Cleveland Browns fan, I don’t let that interfere with our friendship

Another stop on Trace’s journey is Memphis and his brief description of being on the ‘wrong side’ of the town caused me to chuckle. I share a great deal with Trace, I love to travel and just over a year ago I persuaded my wife to go on the vacation from hell, three Canadian Provinces, and five US States in four days courtesy of Greyhound Bus, the high spot being a 12 hour layover in Memphis. This break was to allow us to get a motel, a much needed shower, and some desperately needed sleep. Somehow we ended up on that dreaded ‘wrong side’ of town. I knew something was amiss when I got carded at a gas station trying to buy cigarettes, hell I am over 50 years old. It went downhill from there, the liquor store I found was more like a high security vault with the server behind bullet proof glass. That was the first and likely last time I will be visiting that city!

Trace fared better than I, he found his way to the Stax Records Museum Of Soul, in the book he talks about the great duo of Sam and Dave that recorded on Stax. Sam Moore is still going strong, in fact my wife and I were Sam and Joyce Moore’s guests at a private concert he played last year. I don’t know how old he is, but he sang for two straight hours!

I personally am saddened by the current state of the music industry and share many of Trace’s observations. I am some 20 years older than the author, my favorite era from great rock was the 70’s, Trace is a 90’s fan. To me rock had already entered the long middle age of decline in the 80’s, never mind the 90’s.

Trace is, if not enthusiastic, is at least heartened by his findings, Rock lives, and Rock will continue being a force. For me Deadlines And Commitments was like meeting an old friend. Although my quest was far different from Trace Hacquard I did come to the same conclusion, there are glimmers of hope, small islands of music in an ocean of garbage. About two years ago I set a goal of tracking down my heroes from the 70’s and interviewing them. Many are still actively playing, and many are working on passing the baton to the next generation. A fine example of that is the Wakeman family, Rick is no longer keen on touring and his son Oliver is filling in, he is playing both with The Strawbs and Yes.

Rock will endure!

Another aspect of Trace’s sojourn that I enjoyed, and again I do relate to it, is being ‘The Press’ at concerts. It can on occasions be quite humorous and you do indeed meet the strangest people.

I enjoyed Deadlines And Commitments a great deal, I think Trace Hacquard has put together a very thoughtful book. It is one that should appeal to any lover of Rock Music.

I may not agree with some of the bands that he holds in high esteem, but music is a very subjective, and personal thing. I do hope that Trace Hacquard perseveres in becoming a music writer, he has the storytelling talent, and he has a compendious knowledge of Rock and its derivatives. In fact if Trace ever needs a forum to hone his skills, I will set him up here on BNN in a heartbeat!

I do hope to be interviewing Trace in the near future, and I have to admit that this is one interview that I am looking forward to. Deadlines And Commitments is not a long book, but he sure manages to cover a lot of ground.

You can order your copy of Deadlines And Commitments from Amazon. Trace also has a Myspace page and what and what modern person does not Twitter?

Simon Barrett

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