Recent Posts

Roadie Awards: Best Single #7

This list was assembled with the help of a lot of folks who love music from every level and angle.  One of them is a college music professor, a capable musician with depth–and breadth–of knowledge and years of experience gigging around western Indiana.  Another is an award-winning international recording artist.  …

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My Relationship with Air Travel

I was 35 years old when I stepped onto an airplane for the first time.  When I tell people that, about half of them pop their eyes in disbelief.  The other half shrug their shoulders and say something to the effect of, “Yeah…I get that.”  I’ve been a rural Hoosier …

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Roadie Awards: Best Single #8

Indiana native and DePauw alumnus David McMillen propelled the Chicago-based band to prominence with their sophomore album Alio, which featured another nominated song, "Building a Wall."  But as our judge explains above, "Double Take" illustrates how both polished production values and solid musical chops results in the perfect song to listen to a relaxing afternoon.

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Roadie Awards: Best Album/EP #5

“When I sit down on a hot summer day and soak in that Hoosier humidity, I find myself repeatedly turning to Brandon Tinkler’s Open Up Your Eyes. I stare into the emptiness of the deck around me and imagine my parents and their friends, grilling burgers, drinking Blatz, and talking about Nixon.

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Albums You Need to Hear: Chad Mills’ The Refrain

Review by Tim McLaughlin Principle at Hapless Guitar Photography Chad Mills will bring songs from his new album The Refrain to Radio Radio, in the Fountain Square neighborhood, on January 25.  The night will also see music performances by The Porchmen and the Upright Willies. If you’ve seen Chad Mills …

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Roadie Awards: Best Single #9

Despite its sentimental and sometimes sorrowful tone–one evocatively sung by Tosh Everson’s powerful mezzo-soprano–“Anthem’s” strongest feature is its rocking tempo and signature guitar sequences.

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Roadie Awards: Best Single #10

This list was assembled with the help of a lot of folks who love music from every level and angle.  One of them is a college music professor, a capable musician with depth–and breadth–of knowledge and years of experience gigging around western Indiana.  Another is an award-winning international recording artist.  …

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Falling Victim to the Artful Dodger

Maybe if the thieves hadn’t pick-pocketed Wendi’s purse, my feelings about London would be different.  The fact remains, however, that they did.  London, consequently, proved a rotten place to visit. It happened in that literal “blink of an eye.”  Standing near the Wellington Arch in London’s Hyde Park, my fiancée, …

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The Roadie Awards – Best of the Decade

Hey folks,   Donovan, here. I started National Road Magazine five years ago this month. I sat in the former Swizzle Stick Bar in Greencastle, listening to War Radio on a quiet, winter “First Friday,” when I turned to my fiancee, Wendi, and told her I was going to write …

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Heartbreak at Abbey Road

Standing at Abbey Road does create a slight connection to that moment fifty years ago, but it also demonstrates Time’s power to wall us off from history. Ten years ago, I signed onto Beatlemania.  I was 40 at the time browsing the aisles at a nearby Best Buy when I …

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Three Seconds in Sweden: What I Learned About Race

I have always considered myself a tolerant, open-minded progressive.  Life in the United States perpetuated that myth, allowing me to remain ignorant of my biases, especially those regarding race.  But my first day in Sweden ripped that illusion to shreds. It happened in the span of three seconds.  Standing in …

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How the Ed-Reformers Blew It: Four Massive Screw-Ups

After arguing for decades that “schools should be run like businesses” Indiana’s education reformers simply swapped out one bureaucracy for a vastly more complex substitute.  They failed.  They blew it. Now, they’re getting you mad at me, so that you won’t turn your pitchforks on them. It was the grand …

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Vignettes: The Flatland Harmony Experiment

copy by Donovan Wheeler featured image by Amanda Cannon Photography The Flatland Harmony Experiment is one of the first bands I should have written about when I launched this site almost five years ago.  Why they never were will remain a “head-scratcher” for a long time.  At the local and …

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