Dirk Hamilton: Reconsider Me
HOW WARREN ZEVON’S ROADKILL BECAME LA’S WHITE RODRIGUEZ
AT THE ALVA SHOWROOM IN SAN PEDRO - NOVEMBER 22, 2014
Nine months before the Oscar-winning movie Searching for Sugar Man was released in July of 2012 Los Angeles had its own white Rodriguez hiding in plain sight in San Pedro at the Alva Showroom, where he first performed in November of 2011. Rodriguez we now know was a hit in South Africa long before he was discovered and became a belated star in his own land—where he had recorded his first two records in 1970 and ‘71 in Detroit—and then fell off the radar screen of contemporary music.
Read more: DIRK HAMILTON: RECONSIDER ME
MICHAEL CHAPDELAINE’S GUITAR RIDES WITH HIM
CONCERT AT THE PASADENA CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014
How good was National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Michael Chapdelaine’s performance of solo instrumentals last night at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music? It was jaw-dropping, head-scratching, finger-picking good—that’s how good it was. But that wasn’t the most amazing thing about it. The most amazing thing about it was that it happened at all.
Read more: MICHAEL CHAPDELAINE’S GUITAR RIDES WITH HIM
A GREAT DAY IN UTAH
NOVEMBER 19, 1915—NOVEMBER 19, 2014
Ninety-nine years ago today the great state of Utah executed labor’s troubadour Wobbly songwriter Joe Hill by firing squad. The author of such labor song classics as Rebel Girl, There Is Power in a Union, Pie In the Sky (The Preacher and the Slave) and Casey Jones, the Union Scab went to his death with his head held high. His last known words were addressed to fellow Wobbly Big Bill Haywood: “Don’t Mourn for me, Bill; Organize.”
Read more: A Great Day in Utah
THE MAGIC OF MILTON
Milton Nascimento and the Música Popular Brasileina
I first encountered the magic of Milton Nascimento some 15 years ago. My jazz buff husband had just put on a CD he had bought of saxophonist Wayne Shorter. It opened with a full and strong yet child-like voice singing a cappella in the upper register. Suddenly the music had me riveted. I didn’t understand the Portuguese but I felt uplifted by both the melody and the quality of the sound. Several bars later, Shorter and his ensemble eased in, the saxophone melding perfectly with these opening vocals. I had not experienced such a strong reaction to a voice since my first time hearing a recording of Billie Holiday. The CD was a digital remaster of Native Dancer, first recorded in 1974 and prominently featuring not only the voice but the compositions of a musician already acclaimed in his native Brazil. The opening selection, Ponta de Areia, was by Milton Nascimento as were four other songs.
On Friday evening, November 28, Milton Nascimento will perform at Royce Hall as part of a world tour celebrating his 50 years of music-making. Born in 1942, this artist deserves the attention of anyone attracted by Latin American or world music and this concert is an opportunity to hear his unique voice in an excellent acoustic space.
Read more: THE MAGIC OF MILTON - Milton Nascimento
OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR FILMS AND WEBSITE LAUNCH!
Rafe & Clelia Stefanini DVD filmed by David Bragger, artwork by Angelina Elise.
I am thrilled to announce the dual launch of a film production company and website, both devoted to old-time music in Los Angeles and beyond: Old-Time Tiki Parlour Films and OldTimeTikiParlour.com.
The OTTP is the music and living space of yours truly. As referenced in earlier columns, it’s where I teach old-time music, host workshops and house concerts with the greatest musicians in the genre, and film them as well. A year ago, I realized that so many of the great OT players are still under-documented. Sure, there may be shaky iPhone videos out there, but very few videos exist that are shot in high quality sound and visual. We missed the chance to get attractive archival footage of Fred Cockerham, Joseph Spence, Mississippi John Hurt and many others. So, I believe the world will be a better place if we can preserve the sights and sounds of the great active musicians around today, by shooting them in a controlled environment where they do what they do best: play old-time music.
Read more OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR FILMS AND WEBSITE LAUNCH
TITLE: LAUGHTER OUT OF TEARS
ARTIST: MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO
LABEL: WHIM RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
Haunting, ethereal, and totally mesmerizing, Moira Smiley & VOCO bring an almost mystical quality to both original and traditional folk music. Drawing from a deep well of influence, their fourth album, Laughter Out of Tears, moves effortlessly from Appalachian roots to Balkan polyphony to Scandinavian folksongs; and then transcends tradition on five tracks by introducing the innovative “Choir of YOU,” a technology-empowered “chorus” of 200 voices from around the English-speaking world.
The result is a kind of magic that is both subliminal and sublime, characterized by rich, complex harmonies, other-worldly polyphonic singing and sparse instrumentation. The 8 women who contributed to this VOCO release all sing (divinely, I should add) and play most of the instruments – a minimalist banjo and accordion (by Smiley), a tender cello (by April Guthrie), and plenty of body percussion. Single tracks are also punctuated by fiddle and uke, with guest artists on guitar, trumpet and percussion.
Read more: LAUGHTER OUT OF TEARS - MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO
TITLE: YOU GOT THIS
ARTIST: HAAS KOWERT TICE
RELEASE DATE: JULY 2014
Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert and Jordan Tice are friends who, after meeting at various string band festivals in their youth, represent a new wave within the American string community. Bursting with their combined influences, You Got This is less like newgrass music and more reminiscent of works for a contemporary music ensemble. Released in July of 2014, the nine original compositions are densely packed with contrapuntal exchanges, changing meters and extended harmonies. The result: fiddle, guitar and bass at their most innovative.
Read more: HAAS KOWERT TICE - YOU GOT THIS
Lily Henley new song premiers ... check out our review of last years great CD, Words Like Yours.
Read more: THE FOLKWORKS BLOG
THE RHYMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
TITLE: THE LYRICS: SINCE 1962
AUTHOR: BOB DYLAN
EDITOR: CHRISTOPHER RICKS, LISA NEMROW, JULIE NEMROW
PUBLISHER: SIMON AND SCHUSTER
RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 28, 2014 (NYC)
The most complete collection of Bob Dylan’s lyrics we are likely to see in our lifetime has just been published, and the most notable thing about it is the juxtaposition of Dylan’s lyrical changes in many songs from their original recorded versions to the printed versions to the various live recorded versions, yielding in some cases three rather different texts. Each section is framed by a full-size replica of the original album cover, in full color front and back. The dimensions of the LP determined the size of the book.
As my rabbi pointed out after seeing Dylan’s third concert at the Dolby Theatre (I reviewed the first in these pages) Bob seemed to have altered the lyrics my rabbi knew in both Tangled Up in Blue and Simple Twist of Fate. What gives? He wondered; we are accustomed to hearing different tempos, arrangements, instrumentation, even melodies for many of Dylan’s classic songs in live performance; now must we also get used to different lyrics? At what point do we find it difficult to think we heard the same song?
So I decided to order the $200, 961 page, 13 pound book and find out for myself. It just arrived from Barnes & Noble in NYC and what can I say? Rabbi, Things Have Changed.
Read more: THE RHYMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’