Isbell’s relatable songwriting

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (07.09.2015)

Online version | Print PDF

Jason Isbell print PDF

Jason Isbell print PDF

When Jason Isbell’s publicist sent me the details before my interview with the rising Americana singer-songwriter, she told me I’d have eight minutes to talk with him because he had so many media requests. Eight minutes.

So I found out everything I could about Isbell and dissected his music and lyrics so that I could make my time count. My research paid off with a great interview, and he actually ended up talking to me a bit longer than eight minutes.

Talks with fans and venue owners where Isbell was set to play rounded out the story and unpacked why his songwriting — which tackles the gut-wrenchingly uncomfortable along with the joys of life — has grabbed so many people.

Story through opera & dance

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (03.31.2016)

Online version | Print PDF

"Dido and Aeneas" print PDF

“Dido and Aeneas” print PDF

Choreographer Mark Morris’ production of “Dido and Aeneas” offered incredibly rich material for me to dive into. His version, which sets dance to Henry Purcell’s famous opera with the singers and orchestra just off stage, premiered in 1989.

So suffice it to say that “Dido and Aeneas” has been covered many times by the press. The freshest angle I could take was to write about Morris’ vision and how the current performers interpreted it and fused their performances into one point of view — even though they can’t see one another.

A sisterhood with depth

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (09.10.2015)

Online version | Print PDF

"Sisterhood" print PDF

“Sisterhood” print PDF

For this preview of “The Charitable Sisterhood of the Second Trinity Victory Church,” I received a rare opportunity — an interview with an award-winning playwright whose work was receiving its Midwest premiere.

Writing a feature about a fairly new play, without giving away its ending, is no easy feat. But I wanted to give potential audience members the playwright’s point of view so they could more easily peel through the work’s layers.

Bo Wilson proved to be a fascinating interview, and I was able to relay part of what he hoped audiences would take away after the laughs — people of faith with different beliefs who found ways to get along.

Extraordinary art and garden

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (06.25.2015)

Online version | Print PDF

Art in the Garden print PDF

Art in the Garden print PDF

Visual artists have often told me a drawback to working solo in a studio is that they miss being with people. So a causal fair like “Art in the Garden,” which encourages patrons to stop by artists’ booths and ask about their work, stands out.

Capturing that vibe, and its difference from larger art fairs, is at the center of this story along with the garden and its owner. The grounds and home in Battle Ground, Indiana, have been passed from artist to artist, and the details, sculptures and plants on the property tell that story.

Ultimately, I knew encapsulating that would grab the spirit of this popular event.

Chemistry & chamber music

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (03.19.2015)

Online version | Print PDF

Academy and Denk print PDF

Academy and Denk print PDF

As a cellist who has listened to the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields since I was a child, I could barely contain my excitement when I saw they were part of Purdue Convocations’ season.

Add to that pianist Jeremy Denk as soloist, and you have a recipe for a brilliant evening.

While the chamber music group has existed for decades, however, I knew not everyone would have had the same experience as I did. So for my preview, I set out to peel back some of the lesser-known details of performances in the genre, which included the group’s singular chemistry, sections passed back and forth between soloist and orchestra, and the flexibility and listening skills required from world-class performers.

Election Day 2016 coverage

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (11.09.2016)

My duties on Election Day 2016 were to make the rounds at the polls and then report on the mood and anything else interesting. Along with contributing to vignettes and writing a story on first-time voters at Jefferson High School, I made sure to have a strong social media presence. Here’s a sampling of my Twitter feed during the day.


New life in an old spot

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (04.09.2015)

Online version | Print PDF

JC- (w) Town&Gown

Town & Gown print PDF

While I often write features shortly after restaurants open, this one was a little different. The newly opened Town & Gown Bistro had plenty working against it — a difficult-to-access location, a previous fire, poor parking and the reputation of being a spot where businesses fail.

But veteran chef Matt O’Neill, who once worked alongside Wolfgang Puck, saw nothing but potential for the space.

To give the story context, I dug through the Tippecanoe County assessor’s records to find out about the building and talked to previous business owners about what hadn’t worked before. With this backdrop, I unfolded O’Neill’s vision for Town & Gown’s future.

Superintendent up for new job

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (04.27.2015)

Online version | Print version

JC- (w) WL Killion

Superintendent print version

One of my editors received a Google alert that the West Lafayette Community School Corp. superintendent was a finalist for another job in South Carolina.

That was on a Sunday, and, as it happened, I was assigned breaking news for the day. And our competition had no idea this had broken.

I was able to reach the president for the school corporation’s board of trustees — but that was about it. So I pulled together what information I could verify online and find in our archives. Our executive editor also asked that I include numbers to compare the sizes of the two districts, so I ferreted out those from state education departments.

Concert location questioned

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (07.07.2015)

Online version | Print PDF

JC- (w) July4

July 4 concert location PDF

The annual Stars and Stripes Concert on July 4 is an enormous draw for Greater Lafayette and the surrounding area. For years, it has bounced between two places, dodging construction in both.

After 2015’s event, my editor asked me to take a look at the two areas and figure out how they stacked up against one another. What emerged was a constructive dialogue between stakeholders that weighed the costs of the event — one location costs double what the other does — along with comfort and acoustics.

Guns N’ Roses reunites

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (12.31.2015)

Online version | Print version

JC- (w) GunsNRoses

Guns N’ Roses print version

When Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose — one of Lafayette’s own — mended his rift with Slash, the Internet went nuts. So I decided to put something together that outlined the reported situation and tour dates. Our readers rewarded the Journal & Courier with plenty of clicks and shares.

The story also offered the opportunity for one of our producers to publish a photo gallery from our archives.