Monday, August 4, 2008
Matt, who was the official spokesman for the MDC, in Hartford, had a career in newspapers as a reporter and editor. He was also a noted musician, performing bluegrass, blues and folk music.
Matt played the Dobro, or resophonic guitar, performing solo as well as with a variety of bluegrass and folk bands. He also performed his own compositions.
In the 1990s, Matt toured Europe as a member of Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters. He also performed with Allan Harris and the Cross That River Band, of New York City, the New England bands Charter Oak Bluegrass and The Bristol Boys, and was a frequent guest musician with The Remnants and Horizon Blue.
He was a member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Music Under New York program, for subway musicians, and performed in Connecticut for entertainment programs at Derby Hospital and Meriden’s MidState Medical Center.
In 2007, Matt took 3rd place in the 21st annual Blues Challenge, in Greensboro, N.C.
As a journalist, Nozzolio was a bureau chief for the New Haven Register, city editor for The Evening Press, in Binghamton, N.Y., and bureau chief for the Finger Lakes Times, in New York. He also worked in communications for United Technologies.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We had the privilege of playing at this annual one-day festival at beautiful Buttery Brook Park in South Hadley, Mass. Thanks, Dave, Rose and Dan for having us, providing great sound, and thanks to Michelle for staffing the well-stocked band hospitality tent.
It was a real treat to hear the other bands, as well. We enjoy Crabgrass' take on Lonesome River Band-style songs, and White Mountain Bluegrass continue to play some of the most honest, heartfelt songs.
Josh Williams is a 13-year-old singer and guitar player. You can't call him an up-and-comer because he's already arrived and has the goods; great voice and song selection, and a stage presence that belies his age.
It was definitely worth the wait to hear Travers Chandler and Avery County, who had an arduous trek, flying from Fla. to North Carolina; and then driving to Mass. (striking a deer in Virginia on the way). The boy can burn it up and tear your heart out in the space of a few minutes.
For another account and some photos, see bluegrassers.blogspot.comIt was great to see old friends and make some new ones. We're getting excited about the Danby (VT) Bluegrass and Old-Time Country fest this coming weekend.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
In New Haven, the Chapel Merchants Association is hiring musicians and performers for Saturdays in good weather. I'll be there Aug. 2 and 9.
Monday, June 30, 2008
The band competition has been under way. See the society home page for schedule information.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I wish a little more care with spelling had been shown in the the announcement's headline:
“Dobbro’s matchless contemporary master,” JERRY DOUGLAS TO LIVEN FORD THEATER as Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s 2008 ARTIST-IN-RESIDNECE
Tickets ($30) will be on sale exclusively to Museum members July 14-20 (a one-year Museum membership is $25 for adults, $10 for youths). Tickets will go on sale to the public at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, July 21 and should be purchased online at www.countrymusichalloffame.com. For more information, call (615) 416-2001. Museum doors open at 6:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. shows.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I learned a little bit more about Watermelon Slim in this Columbus Dispatch interview. Slim is one of the most interesting personalities out there - a former truck driver, Vietnam vet, farmer, newspaper reporter, member of Mensa; and he has a unique dobro style, playing it lefthanded upside down, and with a personalized method of gripping his slide.
I do a cover of his "Black Water," about Hurricane Katrina. It's on his 2007 album "Wheel Man." Slim and his band, The Workers,
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I don't know Mr. Upton, and I certainly don't want to publicly question his veracity. But 10s and 20s? The people of Chicago must have been very, very, very, very generous compared to most other cities. Very, very, very generous. Again, very, very generous.
Even if now it is "just one dollar at a time," the fine folks of Chicago are very, very generous.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
You are cordially invited to join us at the 4th annual Gathering of Resonateurs 'ResoGat 2008' at the Holiday Inn Express in Wilkesboro NC to be held July 9 through the 12th (checking out and heading for home on Sunday the 13th). Get your reservations in by June 27 at the Holiday Inn Express 336.838.1800 to get the block room rate of $85 per night. Be sure to reference the Dobro Festival event.
So who are the Resonateurs and what exactly is the Gathering of Resonateurs, or ResoGat for short? Well, the quick answer is, we're a loosely knit group of individuals who are drawn together out a love or fascination for the dobro, or resonator guitar. Invented and developed in the late 1920's and early 30's, the five Dopyera brothers presented America and the world with a totally unique instrument centered around a mechanical resonating sound or amplification system. The brothers tossed around the question of what to call this new class of stringed instruments and finally coined the term 'Dobro' which was a combination of the words DOpyera and BROthers.
Following WWII, electrified instruments appeared and interest in the Dobro subsided somewhat until bluegrass music appeared. Josh (Buck) Graves converted the Earl Scruggs style of banjo picking to the dobro and the rest is history as notable players (Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes...) made the instrument ...a bunch of 'cone heads ''main stream' .
Knowing the contribution his father had made to the world of music, John Dopyera and his wife Margaret threw out an open invite for anyone with a strong interest in the dobro / resonator guitar...luthier, collector, musician, connoisseur, or ?...to join them at their home in Pennsylvania for a week long 'Gathering in the Woods' during the Fourth of July week of 2000. From this beginning it has grown every year up to, and including, the recent Annual Gathering of Resonateurs held at Wilkesboro, NC.
Following the 2004 Gathering, John and Margaret made the hard decision to sell their Pennsylvania wooded retreat and a committee was formed to see if the Gathering could successfully transfer and find a new 'home.' The communities of Wilkesboro/N. Wilkesboro rolled out a 'red carpet' invite to our group which still left us with the unanswered question..."would people be willing to relocate to a new location some 600 miles from John and Margaret's home?" The pleasant answer was a resounding 'yes'...with over 100 attendees from 20 states and Canada.
So we are proceeding with plans for the 2008 Annual Gathering. It's important to note that we've intentionally maintained an informal unstructured style to the event...with the only rule being that there are no rules. All levels of players are encouraged to attend, whether an early-on beginner or a full up professional. The main 'requirement' to attend is a desire to become involved with other devotees of the resonator guitar. Most of the Gathering time is spent in totally unstructured "fun", jamming, looking at the exhibiters’ wares, sharing ideas.
Here is a description of the activities that occur at the Gathering for the pickers and non pickers alike. Among these are : Informal Workshops, Jam sessions, Bingo, Live Radio Show, Jam Sessions, Community Concert, Jam Sessions, Dinner & Awards, special guest Speedy Krise, Amazing Reso-player Johnny Bellar, Exhibitor Room, door prizes, raffles, group pictures, and let’s not forget .. Jam Sessions !!
The activities schedule will be posted on the big board in the main lobby of the hotel. We suggest that it be checked often as some schedules may change during the event. The typical tentative schedule is:
Arrive on Wednesday and jam all day with friends and Johnny Bellar
Special Guest Speedy Krise arrives on Thursday, more jamming, bingo
Friday morning you can play on the Hometown Opry live radio show WKBC
Friday afternoon everyone will get together for the group picture
Friday evening we will put on a concert for the community and a presentation to honor Speedy Krise.
Saturday will include jamming, bingo, and a group dinner in the evening with door prizes and special awards.
In addition to the planned activities the local area has many interesting attractions, historic sites, shopping and dining opportunities. Those attending for the first time will find the people of this area to be very friendly and hospitable. For those of us returning, this is like a homecoming to visit old friends. The atmosphere of the Gathering has always been very relaxed and informal. The only rule being - there are no rules. Feel free to join in the jam sessions or just sit and listen if you prefer. Enjoy the bingo or other activities as you wish.
We want to say a special thank you to this year’s sponsors. The majority of them have never attended the gathering but didn't hesitate to help us out when asked. Please show your gratitude to them and let them know how much you appreciate their contribution. They are listed on the website’s 2008 Sponsors page. To date, we have received over $3,000 worth of items donated from the reso community including a 2008 Reso Gathering custom strap made by Bobby Poff. All these items will be used for door prizes or raffles.
If you are in the market for a custom made resonator guitar, you will find an excellent selection from some of the finest luthiers in the world. The sponsors exhibiting at the 2008 Gathering of Resonateurs at this time are:
Hopefully you can plan on joining us at this 2008 Annual Gathering of Resonateurs. If so, please contact Pammy Davis so she can make names tags for your party. Please include your address and phone numbers. Don’t forget the June 27 deadline for reserving a room. If you would like to pre-order a Tee-Shirt in your size, contact Pammy with the quantity and sizes desired by Thursday, June 19 for the pre-order.
You do not have to purchase the Tee-Shirt if you do not like it but if you do, you will be assured of getting your size. Now hurry up and prepare yourself for a great time with good friends old and new! There is nothing else like the Gathering so enjoy every minute of it and plan to come back next year.
Your 2008 Gathering Of Resonateurs Planning Committee
Pammy Davis, Chair (email@example.com or 336.202.1536)
Doug Couts, Don Doggett, Carlene Economy, Larry Maltz, Jim Nagle, Jan Newsom, Bill Payne, Olivia Wittman
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
If you've ever been to Seattle's Pike Place Market, you've probably seen Jim Hinde, who's played there past 19 years. Jim, 56, died in his sleep late Sunday or early Monday. Here's a great article by Stuart Eskenazi of the Seattle Times.
Mr. Eskenazi noted that the market wanted to pay tribute to Jim by playing CDs and placing an open guitar case in the spot where Jim busked. However, Jim's wife said the tribute should last only an hour so that another busker could have the spot. They both sound like very cool people and my thoughts go out to them.
And here's where to buy one of Jim's CDs.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The teen-agers who play drumsticks on the plastic buckets at Chicago's Wrigley Field (home of the Cubs) are profiled in this feature by Lauren Ruth. The bucket boys arrive in a large group, then disperse around the periphery of the ballpark. Most do not have the $100 permit required of street musicians.
Frankly, a steady exposure to bucket music would drive me over the edge. But when passing by beaters, I can't help but lift my feet and feel a little more alive.
And the young men profiled and in the video are doing something positive, and, obviously, they have rehearsed and worked on their routine. Tim Nutt of Streetnote.org, a street musicians' advocate, is quoted as saying: “There’s a triangulation that happens between the city, the street musician, and the passerby, and that triangulation actually develops a sense of community where otherwise it wouldn’t exist. The ultimate goal of a city is to put everything in its place,” he said, “and street music adds a little bit to that otherwise isolating environment.”
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Thanks to Mike Chavel, entertainment chairman, and all of the volunteers.
The highlight to me was seeing Mrs. Price, a sweet woman from West Virginia who wants us to learn "Country Roads." We did get a couple of requests - one for Ring of Fire, which we don't do, so we did Folsom Prison Blues instead. The other request was for Spanish Eyes. I love the tune, and used to play it on the accordion. What I like about playing with Dave and Tex is that they're willing to give just about anything a try. I think that we pulled it off pretty well -- we may have to add it to the set.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
I played there Friday, which was about a perfect day as one could expect -- warm, dry, light breeze. Tony Pagliaro, market master, suggested bringing a full sound system rather than my Crate Taxi, because the green is such a large space. I was glad I took his advice.
Special thanks to the folks from Wave Hill Breads of Wilton for giving me a loaf of French country bread at the end of the day.
A pared-down version of Shoregrass will play at the market on June 6, 3-6 p.m.
I have a busy market season planned - I'll be in Madison again in September, and also at markets in Hartford, New Haven, Deep River and Old Saybrook. The schedule will be posted on my website and myspace page.
I love playing at the markets, largely because I love to watch people. When someone stops by to listen or chat a bit, that's an bonus.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Mac Wiseman, the "voice with a heart," is one of the 2008 honorees by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mac received a National Heritage Award, which was established "as a way of honoring American folk artists for their contributions to our national cultural mosaic. Modelled after the Japanese "National Living Treasures" concept, the idea began with Bess Lomax Hawes, then director of the Folk Arts Program. Since its inception, over 300 artists have received the Heritage Award," said the NEA.
Mac is joined by a diverse group of musicians, artists and craftsmen, ranging from a saddle maker to a master of the Brazilian martial art/dance form capoeira.
I've once heard that one of the signs of a great singer is whether you can immediately recognize his or her voice. That is definitely true with Mac. Here's a clip of him singing Wabash Cannonball.
I didn't know until working on this posting that Mac recorded an album of Gordon Lightfoot songs in 1977.
Monday, May 26, 2008
I came across this listing on ebay. I don't vouch for the book, but I'll probably have to take a look at it.
It is common knowledge that bluegrass festivals can provide enough material for screenplays, plays, novels, musicals and HBO mini-series.
Here's a longer description on Book Locker.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
It was a special night when Jon Swift and I played at Audubon Strings (a violin shop in New Haven's arts district. First, it's always fun to play purely acoustically, with no mics or sound system. Then, Stacy Phillips, Grammy winning dobro player for his involvement on The Great Dobro Sessions, came by with his fiddle on the way from a rehearsal. He was gracious enough to sit in on several tunes with us. We truly appreciate it.
A very special thanks to Biff Cuthbert for taking the photo. See more about some of his projects, including Zendo Tavern.
Jon and I have a gig June 14 at Cafe Atlantique in Milford.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Congratulations to fellow Conn. bluesman Dan Stevens for making the cut.
Meanwhile, I'm tired of reading articles referring to auditions for "subway idol," as if "American Idol" is the most representative and ideal collection of talent.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
Just to make it to the auditions is an accomplishment. Potential players must submit materials in advance in order to be considered for one of the audition slots.
I haven't scheduled a subway gig since early March. Tim and Scott, if you're reading this, I haven't dropped out -- we're doing a major house rehab project. I'll be back soon, I hope.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Congratulations to Emmylou Harris and Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman for their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Pop was one of the participants in the historic Bristol Sessions of 1927.
In the famous Bristol mural, shown at right, Pope is the guitar player partially hidden by the temporary stage.
I must say that reading about the film, and with spring finally arriving in New England, I'm anxious to get out and play. However, plastering and painting our new old house is taking precedence at the moment. Soon enough.
Congratulations to Andy Hall of the Infamous Stringdusters. According to CMT.com, Andy proposed to his fiance on stage at the Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC.
There's a couple of degrees of separation between Andy and myself. I formerly played with Amy Gallatin and Stillwaters. Andy played several gigs with the band in the early 2000s, if memory serves me correct.
Congratulations to Andy and his fiance, and I apologize for not knowing the young woman's name.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Being technically inept (I can't figure out how to stop my watch from beeping 20 times every day at 8:11 a.m.), so I don't know exactly how to describe Videoranch, and why I might want to wander around in a virtual world, except to hear the Jerry Douglas Band play.
The announcement below came via JD HQ, and it's legit. There's a free trial period, which would enable one to hear the upcoming concert. I have no connection with Videoranch.
Jerry Douglas Band LIVE in Videoranch!
The Jerry Douglas Band will be playing LIVE in Videoranch on Wednesday May 7th, at 3PM Pacific Time. This is a virtual concert so you attend by logging on from a computer. You do not have to leave your house! Bring the performing arts into your home and be a part of a live audience of music lovers!
Show Times Around the world:
Pacific Time: 3PM to 4PM
Mountain Time: 4PM to 5PM
Central Time: 5PM to 6PM
Eastern Time: 6PM to 7PM
UK Time: 11PM to 12 Midnight
European Continent: 12 Midnight to 1AM
New Zealand Time: Thursday, 10AM to 11AM
Sydney AU: Thursday, 8AM to 9AM
Tokyo: Thursday, 7AM to 8AM
What is Videoranch?
Videoranch is a 3D world on the internet, where LIVE musical performances are video-cast, seamlessly embedded, and viewed, in real-time, by a virtual audience made up of people logging on from all over the world. To attend the show, you need high speed internet access and newer computer with Windows on it (Intel Macs work great if Windows is installed).
WATCH IT LIVE: Go to www.videoranch.com, click Enter, then click on the "Visit Videoranch 3D" link on the front page. This will take you to a page where you can download the browser and log in as a "Visitor". You can become a "Ranch Regular" by signing up for a FREE 7 Day Trial from the same page. No payment information necessary. Ranch Regulars have unlimited access and full software functionality! Note: 7 Day Trials are set up manually by Videoranch, so please sign up well in advance of the show.
INTERACT WITH THE ARTIST: Once inside Videoranch, you can move around, dance, cheer, chat and meet other Videoranch patrons. Jerry Douglas and the band will be able to see your Avatar and read your comments LIVE, so be sure to let them know how much you are enjoying the show! Ranch Hands will be on duty to help you and will greet you the moment you log on.
Find out more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling toll free 1-866-727-2639.
KPIG radio will be simulcasting the show. www.kpig.com
Below is a blurb from Singer and Musician magazine. This might help give you a sense of what the experience is like to attend a Videoranch concert:
"Imagine a place where the air is clean, the temperature is always in the pleasenties, you are surrounded by nice folks and there's a live band that knows you by name. Plus, there are free movies and hot air balloon rides. It's VideoRanch, a virtual world cooked up by Michael Nesmith (One-time member of the Monkees and, more importantly, music video pioneer). Feel free to roam the ranch at your leisure, and then check out the event calendar for upcoming live groups. I popped in on a Sunday afternoon and was immediately greeted by name (my chosen nickname) by the house band, Ranch Dressing (these guys are great!). A bit later, The Refugees took the stage for a full hour live show. Other performers have included The John Jorgenson Quintet, Eliza Gilkyson, James McMurtry, Laurence Juber, Laura Love, Mumbo Gumbo, The Greencards, Ledward Kaapana, Tony Furtado and Jason Nesmith. What makes this so unique is that the band is actually playing in real time from a studio. And, as they know who is coming and going, they can interact with you (actually, your avatar). It's very much like just hanging with some friends and listening to some great music is in an intimate, outdoor atmosphere. And, after the band has gone home, you can stroll the ranch's tree-lined cobblestone walk-ways in search of some interesting and fun surprises or even get a look at the virtual facility from in the sky onboard a hot air-balloon." --------------- Robert Lindquist, Singer and Musician Magazine
Friday, April 25, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
We tend to be looser and the show is enhanced. We start at 7:30, and will probably do one long set.
For tickets, call 203.772.4722, or go to audubonstrings.com
Sunday, April 6, 2008
A book, "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music," by Lopez is due out soon, and will be made into a movie starring Jamie
Foxx and Robert Downey Jr., I learn from a column in Editor & Publisher.
I'm very glad for Mr. Ayers, but I hope that this doesn't reinforce the stereotype of the street musician as mentally unstable or otherwise unable to function in larger society.
But movies about street musicians are hot. In the past year, there've been Once, August Rush and High School Musical. Just kidding about that last one.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I always knew that the reporters for the Independent Mail in Anderson, S.C., were the most intelligent newspeople on the planet.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Violinist Geoffrey Castle used to play violin, albeit amplified, on the streets of New York. I don't know if he had a permit, because police generally are quick to shut down anyone playing with an amp.
Anyway, he's now made the leap to the stage. I've never heard him, but according to this advance article, he uses a loop sampler, which is used to record a short line of music and then repeats. The musician uses the loops to build layers. Sometimes, loops can result in self-indulgent, self-absorbed ventures for musicians. I hope Geoffrey avoids that; it appears that he actually plays melodies, which helps.
Gertrude "Ma" Rainey built a house for her mother in Columbus, Ga., and she herself lived in it until her death in 1939. Over time, the house began to crumble, and the city, in a split vote put up the funds to stabilize and to to restore it using matching federal funds.
The New York Times, in a notes from Columbus feature, notes: Mr. (Frank) Martin, a white trial lawyer elected with a large part of the city’s black vote, said he was motivated in part by a sense of racial equity. “You could always promote white tourism,” he said, “but when it came to something black, people were, like, ‘Why would you do that?’ ”
The house has been restored and is now open to the public.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Jerry Douglas, Bob Brozman, Derek Trucks and Debashish Bhattacharya will be presenting "The World of Slide Guitar" as part of the Savannah Music Festival currently under way.
All are certainly masters in their field. Perhaps other promoters will book the quartet for a unique presentation.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch interviewed Hank's steel player Don Helms and looked at some of the other activities this year.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville has installed a special exhibit: "Few families have had such a major impact on country music as the Williamses. This 5,000 square foot major exhibition examines the personal lives of Hank Williams and Hank Williams Jr. and explores the dynamics that inspired some of the most influential country music ever recorded."
I hope that the display, which opens March 28 and runs through the year, doesn't waste too much time on Hank Jr. or Jett Williams.
The Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel is promoting the Hank Williams Trail, from Andalusia, where he married Audrey, to Birmingham, where he spent his last night alive.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Recording King, a respected name in instruments, has assumed the Johnson (decent Chinese-made budget level) line of tricones. The company has posted information on the reso-nation bulletin board that R&D is under way in the full resonator field, including woods, shapes and sound wells.
RK has announced development of metal-bodied resonators with "champagne matte" finishes. The price point will be the entry-lower mid-range market.
Wayne, a member of the U.S. Navy band Country Current, is retiring after 21 years as guitarist and lead singer for the group. He'll be replaced by Kenny Ray Horton.
Wayne will join Bill Emerson, who started Country Current in 1971.
Country Current is bluegrass-country hybrid; the band adds a pedal steel when playing gigs more suited for country music gatherings.
I've seen the bluegrass band at Winterhawk and Thomas Point Beach festivals. One of fondest memories is having the privilige of jamming with the band on top of the hill at Winterhawk. The guys were open and accommodating, and could have been jamming with any of the world-class performers at the festival. They enjoyed kicking back at the James campsite next to the big blue bus.
Also retiring later this year is bassist Joe Wheatley, to be replaced by Joe Coats.
Wayne is a great singer and songwriter. Appaloosa is one my favorite songs.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Billy developed focal dystonia, a neurological condition not uncommon to musicians. It affects the hand's ability to play with control. Banjo players Tom Adams and Steve Dilling of IIIrd Tyme Out are among those who've been working to overcome the condition.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
A pop musician plays three chords in front of thousands of people and a jazz musician plays thousands of chords in front of three people.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
The great dobro player Cindy Cashdollar (shown here); Robert Johnson - channeler Rory Block and a slew of other great muscians are profiled in interivews by guitarst Sue Foley -- certainly no slouch herself -- in Guitar Woman.
However, I can't find if the book is completed and available yet. Has anyone heard?
Friday, March 7, 2008
Kevin's in the Saratoga Springs area, so the shows tonight at the Golding Park Cafe in Cobleskill, Saturday for the Cornell Folk Song Society in Ithaca and Sunday at the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton are relatively close.
I haven't seen Robin and Linda live since Winterhawk, 1998, maybe? It's great to see them live as the venture north from their home in the Shenandoah Valley. Catch 'em if you can.
Monday, March 3, 2008
He played his guitar on his lap, but instead of slide or steel, he fretted with his fingers. Jeff died at the age of 41. You can read about him here, and see several videos on YouTube.
Jeff was featured in Roadhouse, the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie. The movie is lightweight, but it's fun to watch on Saturday afternoon before taking a nap.
I didn't know it until today, but Jeff also gave his name Jeff Healey's Roadhouse, a rock, blues and jazz club in Toronto.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
...Or I'd better get to love it.
I'll be playing there 4 times in the next month; today, March 1, at the Fiddleheads Coop Farmers Market (indoors, thankfully) with a solo show; tonight at the UU Church, sitting in with Shoregrass in a double bill with Second Circle; solo March 15 at the Bean and Leaf on Washington Street (I'll try to persuade Jon to play bass) and then on March 28 with Jon on upright bass for the fantastic, not-to-be-missed and not-just-because-we're-playing-there Blue Collar Happy Hour at the Bank Street cafe.
I do like New London. Everytime I go there I find that people are working to create communities of like-minded folks; especially in arts and music.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Unless you're a dobro player or familiar with or care about Dobro/dobro history, the following is not likely to be of any interest. Please don't say you weren't warned.
The Dobro/dobro (I'll get into the reasons for caps-no caps in a sec) is a relatively new instrument, invented 80 years ago. However, it has a complex history of ownerships, and production rights. The Dobro is named for the Dopyera Brothers, who invented the coned, resonator guitar. Dobro also means "good" in Slovak.
For a long time, the only dobro one could buy was a Dobro. Therefore, the word became a generic term for a resonator guitar. The owners of the Dobro company vigiliantly tried to protect the name. Beverly King, a player of old-time country and bluegrass, once published a small photocopied newsletter called The Dobro Nut. Dobro made her change the name. References to Dobro had to be followed by the trademark sign.
Bluegrass Unlimited refers to dobros as resonator guitars, and will even put parentheses resonator guitar end parentheses in someone's quote if he or she says "dobro".
In the meantime, there are many luthiers making dobros, and there are several imports.
In the mid-90s, Gibson, makers of guitars, banjos, mandolins, bought the Dobro company and name and moved production from California to Nashville. Gibson even went so far as to put its own name on the venerable Dobro logo.
Complaints about quality increased, and the number of available models shrank down to only 1.
I just noticed that for several months, Saga Music has been running ads in Bluegrass Unlimited for the Regal Black Lightning resonator guitar The ads refer to the instrument as "...a new Regal dobro..." note the lower case "d" and of course, the use of the word itself.
Is Gibson working to enforce the protection of its trademark, even though the Dobro franchise is a fraction of what it once was?
I would have to think that someone at Gibson has noticed the ads. In days gone by, the company would have swooped in with a cease and desist letter.
I think it's time to freely for any maker of resonator guitars to refer to these instruments as dobros.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
I've had a drum pedal for several years (an ill-fated experiment involving the accordion) and am glad I held onto it. I've heard recently about suitcase drum kits, and they can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
For a solo musician, a $2 suitcase from Goodwill and a good drum pedal make all the difference. I tried it yesterday in public for the first time, at the Bowling Green stop on the NY 4-5 train. The rig drew considerable attention, which is the first step in getting someone to put money in the hat.
The photo below is identical to the suitcase I purchased, only the one pictured is much cleaner.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Come on, Aretha. Time to take the high road. You've accomplished enough and have had enough recognition, awards, accolades, not to mention a body of work that will last forever. I may be venturing into cranky old man territory, but I would not recognize Beyonce if I ran into her on the street, nor could I name one song of hers, nor recognize her voice. Aretha, you sure don't need to worry about what some youngster does or doesn't say about you.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Here's a Boston Globe review of Marybeth Hamilton's book, In Search of the Blues.
Here's ND's news release.
At least it will still be available on the web.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2008
Contact: Traci Thomas 615-664-1167
NO DEPRESSION MAGAZINE
TO CEASE PUBLISHING
AFTER MAY-JUNE ISSUE
SEATTLE, WA - No Depression, the bimonthly magazine covering a broad range of American roots music since 1995, will bring to an end its print publication with its 75th issue in May-June 2008.
Plans to expand the publication’s website (www.nodepression.net) with additional content will move forward, though it will in no way replace the print edition.
The magazine’s March-April issue, currently en route to subscribers and stores, includes the following note from publishers Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock and Kyla Fairchild as its Page 2 “Hello Stranger” column:
Barring the intercession of unknown angels, you hold in your hands the next-to-the-last edition of No Depression we will publish. It is difficult even to type those words, so please know that we have not come lightly to this decision.
In the thirteen years since we began plotting and publishing No Depression, we have taken pride not only in the quality of the work we were able to offer our readers, but in the way we insisted upon doing business. We have never inflated our numbers; we have always paid our bills (and, especially, our freelancers) on time. And we have always tried our best to tell the truth.
First things, then: If you have a subscription to ND, please know that we will do our very best to take care of you. We will be negotiating with a handful of magazines who may be interested in fulfilling your subscription. That is the best we can do under the circumstances.
Those circumstances are both complicated and painfully simple. The simple answer is that advertising revenue in this issue is 64% of what it was for our March- April issue just two years ago. We expect that number to continue to decline.
The longer answer involves not simply the well-documented and industry wide reduction in print advertising, but the precipitous fall of the music industry. As a niche publication, ND is well insulated from reductions in, say, GM’s print advertising budget; our size meant they weren’t going to buy space in our pages, regardless.
On the other hand, because we’re a niche title we are dependent upon advertisers who have a specific reason to reach our audience. That is: record labels. We, like many of our friends and competitors, are dependent upon advertising from the community we serve.
That community is, as they say, in transition. In this evolving downloadable world, what a record label is and does is all up to question. What is irrefutable is that their advertising budgets are drastically reduced, for reasons we well understand. It seems clear at this point that whatever businesses evolve to replace (or transform) record labels will have much less need to advertise in print.
The decline of brick and mortar music retail means we have fewer newsstands on which to sell our magazine, and small labels have fewer venues that might embrace and hand-sell their music. Ditto for independent bookstores. Paper manufacturers have consolidated and begun closing mills to cut production; we’ve been told to expect three price increases in 2008. Last year there was a shift in postal regulations, written by and for big publishers, which shifted costs down to smaller publishers whose economies of scale are unable to take advantage of advanced sorting techniques.
Then there’s the economy…
The cumulative toll of those forces makes it increasingly difficult for all small magazines to survive. Whatever the potentials of the web, it cannot be good for our democracy to see independent voices further marginalized. But that’s what’s happening. The big money on the web is being made, not surprisingly, primarily by big businesses.
ND has never been a big business. It was started with a $2,000 loan from Peter’s savings account (the only monetary investment ever provided, or sought by, the magazine). We have five more or less full-time employees, including we three who own the magazine. We have always worked from spare bedrooms and drawn what seemed modest salaries.
What makes this especially painful and particularly frustrating is that our readership has not significantly declined, our newsstand sell-through remains among the best in our portion of the industry, and our passion for and pleasure in the music has in no way diminished. We still have shelves full of first-rate music we’d love to tell you about.
And we have taken great pride in being one of the last bastions of the long-form article, despite the received wisdom throughout publishing that shorter is better. We were particularly gratified to be nominated for our third Utne award last year.
Our cards are now on the table.
Though we will do this at greater length next issue, we should like particularly to thank the advertisers who have stuck with us these many years; the writers, illustrators, and photographers who have worked for far less than they’re worth; and our readers: You.
Thank you all. It has been our great joy to serve you.
No Depression published its first issue in September 1995 (with Son Volt on the cover) and continued quarterly for its first year, switching to bimonthly in September 1996. ND received an Utne Magazine Award for Arts & Literature Coverage in 2001 and has been nominated for the award on several other occasions (including in 2007). The Chicago Tribune ranked No Depression #20 in its 2004 list of the nation’s Top 50 magazines of any kind.
Artists who have appeared on the cover of No Depression over the years include Johnny Cash (2002), Wilco (1996), Willie Nelson (2004), Ryan Adams’ seminal band Whiskeytown (1997), the Drive-By Truckers (2003), Ralph Stanley (1998), Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint (2006), Gillian Welch (2001), Lyle Lovett (2003), Porter Wagoner (2007), and Alejandro Escovedo (1998, as Artist of the Decade).
Grant Alden, Grant@nodepression.net, 606-776-2383
Peter Blackstock, Peter@nodepression.net, 360-471-1295
Kyla Fairchild, Kyla@nodepression.net, 206-789-5807
Traci Thomas • Thirty Tigers
1604 8th Ave. South 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37203
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
There's also some great footage on Youtube.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I'm very glad to see that Moondi Klein, one of my favorite singers, is active again, teaming up with his old Chesapeake bandmate , Jimmy Gaudreau. His voice is one of those that is instantly recognizable.
Moondi and Jimmy apparently recorded before a British Isles tour last summer. That album is being released in March on Rebel Records. With Moondi's and Jimmy's connections to New England, I'm sure that we'll see them this way soon.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The film depicts street musicians in the US and led to a film looking at street musicians around the world. Several of the them were brought to the US for a concert as the Playing for Change Ensemble. The filmmakers are also promoting a foundation to benefit musicians around the world.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
I've been playing solo for a couple of years, but I've always thought that a bass player would add a lot. When I heard that Jon Swift, with whom I've picked formally and informally over the years, was interested in playing out more often, I jumped at the chance to work with him.
Jon shares my affection for the blusier side of bluegrass, and the bottom end carries a lot of weight. Our first effort was a success, and I'm looking forward to many more opportunities to play with him, including this Friday at Gallery 53 in Meriden.
I'm still with the Bristol Boys and other projects that keep me busy.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
ASCAP and BMI seem to becoming more aggressive in trying to protect their turf and the interests of songwriters and publishers. How much of the fees they collect actually go to the composers of songs done in coffeehouses?
Friday, February 1, 2008
I freqently (perhaps too frequently) visit the discussion board at reso-nation.org Someone posted a link to a Youtube video of Russ Barenberg and Jerry Douglas playing Big Bug Shuffle from the mid-90s album Skip, Hop and Wobble, which also featured bassist Edgar Meyer.
Stacy Phillips compiled a book of transcriptions from that album, but I never studied them. Watching the video has made me take another look at a new song to work on.
Because I don't play like Jerry Douglas, the song won't sound like Jerry Douglas, but perhaps the result will be a whole new song. We'll see.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Chamber of Commerce, expressing that it's not in the folk festival business, is withdrawing its support after 10 years, leaving the city to pick up the tab.
I confess -- I've not been to Summerfest, but I've tried to play there. If the chamber did an economic analysis to determine that the money spent by visitors who would have no other reason to go to New Bedford does not outweigh the investment, perhaps the business people are right.
Like any city, New Bedford has its problems. Summerfest shines a favorable light on the city, and we hope that others will pick up the slack.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
One of his most distinctive musical contributions can be heard on Jeannie C. Riley’s 1967 hit “Harper Valley P.T.A,” where Kennedy’s playful Dobro licks go tit-for-tat with Riley’s bold vocals. Kennedy played on Bob Dylan’s famous Blonde on Blonde sessions, as well as on Roy Orbison’s hit “Oh, Pretty Woman.” His guitar and Dobro work also graced recordings by Elvis Presley, Ringo Starr and Kris Kristofferson, among others.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The Boston Globe, 1-28-08
"This is the first time in years there have been so many Massachusetts filmmakers here," said David Kleiler, a longtime Boston-indie mover and shaker who was in Park City.
Some of those filmmakers are no longer in the area but continue to hold onto local ties. Tom Hines, the director of the dark Alaska-set comedy "Chronic Town," has lived in Los Angeles for 16 years; the Holliston native moved west less than a month after graduating from Boston College in 1991. And yet, said Hines, "my old boss at Boston College Television Services, Lloyd Thayer - his song is the last song in the film. He's a street musician in Boston; he plays his dobro in the subways and has put out four great CDs."
Lloyd has been an inspiration to me, as a dobro player and a street musician. Though I've heard only a few tunes of his (I have to get his CDs), it's good to know that another lap-style player is making a go of it on the streets.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
My wife and I went to Real Art Ways in Hartford last night to see Honeydripper, John Sayles' latest film about a backwoods blues club trying to survive in 1950 Alabama. I'm not a film critic, and while it moved a bit slowly, I enjoyed the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the railroad depot, the cottonfields and the Honeydripper club itself.
Mason Daring was the music composer, and Keb' Mo' did a fantastic job of riffing and sliding on a National.
Gary Clark, who was recently named best new musician at the Austin Music Awards, plays the guitar slinging impersonator and does a fine job on Chuck Berry-like guitar.
Other veteran musicians featured in the film are Dr. Mable John, saxman Eddie Shaw, and harpist Arthur Lee Williams.
I recommend that you see the movie -- it's a nice story, and the music is great.
Friday, January 25, 2008
The next explosion in the reso/lap-style playing world will be in tricones. For a long time, all that were available were vintage or expensive Nationals or poorly made imports. The imports have improved, and their prices are reasonable. The best buy available is a Johnson, with the import cones replaced with Nationals. Well worth it.
Regal needs to make a square neck model. Johnson reportedly is being re-marketed as Recording King.
Randy Kohrs, show above left at the Reso Summit last November in Nashville, has announced a new line with Amistar, the Czech maker. Mike Auldridge also is shown giving it a ride. Amistars have a striking, burnished metal appearance. I can't wait to hear Randy play his tricone.
Many reso players are looking to add variety to their playing; that's why Weissenborn and Weissenborn-style instruments have taken off. Inspired by people such Kelly Joe Phelps, lap-style players are stretching out from their traditional line in the bluegrass band.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
See the FAWM site for more information -- there' still time to sign up. We'll keep you posted on our progress.
Rhythm is the foundation of music. One of the challenges as a solo musician, at least for me, is establishing the rhythm, while playing the melody. I've been working on developing my thumb patterns on the lower strings, and even use a metal pick to dig into the string.
Another way to get rhythm is with a bass player. I've gotten together with Jon Swift, a great upright bass player and singer. Another solution for soloists is with a Porchboard or Ellis Stompbox. These essentially turn your foot taps into electronic signals.
One device that I've recently heard of is called the Farmer Foot Drum.
Pete Farmer, a teacher in Washington. I believe the price is about $700, but I'll look into. If anyone has experience with this, I'd love to hear about it.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Beard Guitars LLC and twelve time Grammy Award winner Jerry Douglas announce an agreement to develop the Jerry Douglas Signature Resonator Guitar.
Master luthier Paul Beard and resonator guitar virtuoso Jerry Douglas will develop an exclusive family of signature guitars, designed around Mr. Douglas’s vision of sonic perfection.
Mr. Douglas states, “From my first meeting with Paul Beard early in our careers, I hoped we would someday work together. With a combined knowledge of the resonator guitar we have, I believe, created an instrument which establishes the standard by which all resophonic guitars are to be measured for years to come”.
The premier examples of the Jerry Douglas Signature Resonator Guitar will be unveiled at the Winter NAMM show, January 17-20, in Anaheim, CA and will be sold exclusively by Beard Guitars LLC and its network of dealers. Inquiries are welcome.
Paul Beard is celebrated for twenty three years of resonator guitar design innovation.
JerryDouglas, named a National Heritage Fellow by the NEA, is instantly recognized by his superlative work with scores of performers such as James Taylor, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Phish, and, most notably, Alison Krauss.