Lily Dale: The town that talks to the dead

by Jared VanDyke

Part one of a five-part series

The winding backwoods roads of Chautauqua County, New York, are lined with churches and scrap heaps. Trailers and half-completed ranch-style homes, surrounded by skeletal cars and tire piles, fill the gaps between each Baptist ministry, farm, and family-owned garage.

It’s late February in Cassadaga and the decaying standards of the Southern Tier persist in this decrepit town. Many of the village’s half-standing houses cling to their Christmas lights to improve their image for the community breadwinners—Peck’s Sand and Gravel, May’s Place Food and Drink, and an Apple gas station. A Catholic and a Baptist church sit in the town proper, and have been since loggers established the town in pioneer times. Continue reading

The S&R Interview: 22 questions with Sarah Lewis of Jag Star

I remember distinctly how I first discovered Jag Star. I was snooping around on eMusic for new bands and was using the old triangulation method – who sounds like band X? One of my favorite bands is VAST, and Jag Star turned up as a “Similar Artist.”

That was both a great moment and a confusing one. On the one hand, I immediately liked Jag Star’s music. I’ve long loved Power Pop, and while you wouldn’t exactly slot Jag Star in with other bands in the contemporary disciples of The Beatles / Raspberries / Who / Big Star / Badfinger Pop Underground scene, they write great hooks, play really well and aren’t at all afraid to turn up the volume. Not only that, they’re doing it on their terms, the establishment and labels be damned.

On the other hand, I can’t for the life of me figure out how they got into the “Sounds Like VAST” queue. Continue reading