The new issue of Mojo has a 5-star review of John Niven’s Music From Big Pink:
They’re a neat idea, Continuum’s mini-music monographs: writers expounding various half-baked theories on their all-time fave albums. However, there’s only so much studio apocrypha and weepy coming-of-age reminiscences you can take before screaming “No more!” Thankfully, John Niven has a way around this. With his “factional novella” on The Band’s MFBP, the 37-year-old author recasts himself as wannabe Canadian musician Greg Keltner, aged 23 in 1968, dealing weed to those weird-beard musicians up in the big pink house in Saugerties, New York. Like the album itself, Niven’s story occupies that 60s faultline where hedonism and optimism turn to failure and melancholy, multi-coloured psychedelia mixing with muddy heroin brown. As much as about time and place as sound, Niven’s beautifully tragic mini-novel crawls inside the lonesome core of this one-off album, penning a heartbroken postcard from a past he never knew.
I’m a wannabe Canadian, too.
There’s also a fetching ad for the series in this issue, sharing a page with an ad for Hefner’s forthcoming “Best Of” album – highly recommended!