No-No Boy: “Imperial Twist”

Song of the Day

No-No Boy: “Imperial Twist”

Posted by on Apr 15, 2021

Without getting too much into politics, I think we can all agree that the Asian-American experience has recently been catapulted into the national spotlight. And in concern to the historical context of that experience, nobody’s captured it in recent music as comprehensively as Nashville-born songwriter Julian Saporiti.

Appropriating the moniker No-No Boy from John Okada’s 1957 novel of the same name, Saporiti’s Ph.D. dissertation took him across the country to several Asian-American landmarks, often wrought with troubled history, to develop his concept album 1975. Saporiti’s dissection of what constitutes American folk isn’t obscured by his outspoken societal observations; rather the two march hand-in-hand across 1975’s dozen, sonically channeling the likes of Okkervil River, Shearwater, Grateful Dead, and The Avett Brothers while lyrically rising to the challenge of telling American folk tales from a different perspectives, perhaps heard best on “Imperial Twist”.


Jack Anderson

Photo: Diego Luis

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