• CONCERT REVIEW

    DILLON IN DODGE

    DYLAN AT THE DOLBY: OCTOBER 24, 2014

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Dylan 2Hollywood may have stopped making Westerns, but Bob Dylan hasn’t. Marshall Dillon rode into Dodge City last night and restored law and order. The good guys won without firing a shot—but by the end the bad guys were behind bars. Who were they? Political corruption and decadence (Early Roman Kings), hard times and working class poverty (Workingman Blues #2), natural disasters (High Water Everywhere (for Charley Patton)), existential despair (Tangled Up in Blue) and war and injustice (Blowing In the Wind).

    Read more: DILLON IN DODGE


    PASSINGS

    FAREWELL TO BRUCE FRANZEN

    TOPANGA BANJO•FIDDLE BOARD MEMBER

    (AUGUST 9, 1950 – OCTOBER 15, 2014)

    By Michele Marotta

    Bruce Franzen 2

    Celebration of A Life Well Lived

    Saturday, November 1, 2014 Chapel at 10:00am at Oakwood Memorial Park (22601 Lassen St., Chatsworth, CA 91311 818-341-0344)

    There will be a repast immediately following the service (until 4:00pm) at the home of Joy Felt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) .

    Jackie has requested that you bring your instruments to celebrate Bruce’s love of music.


    I received a text message on Sunday, October 19, 2014 advising that Bruce Franzen had passed away. I first met Bruce in 1972. Over time, we lost contact, and then reconnected in 1991. We were friends ever since. Bruce was an "older brother" to me, helping me move once and he must have thought he was constantly rescuing me from bad relationships.

    Bruce was past president of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, and together with his wife Jackie, the two have been organizers and volunteers on the roots music scene for many years.

    Bruce's eyes would light up when Jackie's name was mentioned, and he was the love of her life.

    Read more: FAREWELL TO BRUCE FRANZEN


    FEATURE ARTICLES

    The Redemption Road Not Taken:

    WILL TOM PAXTON’S NEW ALBUM STAND UP TO THE ORIGINAL?

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Tom Paxton KickstarterOne of the bright lights of Austin, Texas—home of Austin City Limits—is L.A. born folk singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson, who tours all over the Midwest and has created more than a dozen albums of original songs since 1997, when she released her fourth album Redemption Road. The title song is track 12 and though the lyric insert sheet can be hard to read with the fine print, there is no problem reading the lyrics to the title song—they are plastered in large print all over the CD label itself—where most artists would put a flattering photograph of themselves. Not Eliza; she thought enough of her title track to make sure you couldn’t miss the lyrics; so here they are:

    Read more: THE REDEMPTION ROAD NOT TAKEN: TOM PAXTON


    ANGEL LUÍS FIGUEROA: THE MUSIC OF SANTERÍA

    By Jonathan Shifflett

    SanteroShuffling through a record bin last month, an LP titled Santero from the famed Cuban label Panart caught my attention. The cover is beautiful but a little strange. Set against a fiery background, a conga player is frozen mid strike while a wraith of a beautiful woman billows like smoke from the drum, poised as if waking from a long sleep. In the liner notes, the writer claims it to be the first ever commercially recorded Afro-Cuban “cult music.” The strange track titles – Changó, Babalú Aye, Yemayá, Ochún, Obatalá, Eleggua - I recognized as the names of Santerían deities.

    It was not the kind of record I would have expected to resurface in a new-age vinyl shop, but I was pleased to find it having taken a semester of percussion lessons. My teacher was the renowned Afro-Cuban percussionist, Angel Luís Figueroa, who has for the past decade, endeavored to make the music and philosophy of Santería accessible to all.

    Read more: ANGEL LUÍS FIGUEROA: THE MUSIC OF SANTERÍA


    A TALE OF TWO DYLANS

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Bob Dylan“I did more for Dylan Thomas than he ever did for me,” replied Bob Dylan to an inquisitive journalist asking him for the umpteenth time about his relationship with the Welsh poet born October 27, 1914 whose centennial we celebrate this year. Bob Dylan changed his last name from Zimmerman to honor one of the major poets of the 20th Century when he launched his career as a folk singer in NYC in 1961 just 8 years after his namesake Dylan Thomas had died in NYCs Bellevue Hospital of a “massive insult to the brain” from consuming 18 straight whiskeys at his favorite drinking hole The White Horse Tavern on November 9, 1953. However, like many aspects of his constantly changing biography Dylan (Bob) often shied away from the obvious truth and hid behind a barrage of obscurantist tall tales, such as that he had taken his name from an uncle in Hibbing, Minnesota—yes, one of the many middle-class Jewish “Dylans” in the North Country—or had named himself after Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke fame before some reporter misspelled it in a story and it became “Dylan.”

    Read more: A TALE OF TWO DYLANS


    BLOG

    Jake Shimabukuro (born November 3, 1976 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is a ukulele virtuoso and composer known for his fast and complex finger work. His music combines elements of jazz, blues, funk, rock, bluegrass, classical, folk, and flamenco. Shimabukuro has written numerous original compositions, including the entire soundtracks to two Japanese films, Hula Girls  (2007) and the Japanese remake of Sideways (2009).

    Well known in Hawaii and Japan during his early solo career in the early 2000s, Shimabukuro became famous internationally in 2006, when a video of him playing a virtuosic rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was posted on YouTube without his knowledge and became one of the first viral videos on that site. His concert engagements, collaborations with legendary musicians, media appearances, and music production have snowballed since then. In 2012, an award-winning documentary was released tracking his life, career, and music, titled Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings; it has screened in a variety of festivals, aired repeatedly on PBS, and been released on DVD.

    Jake will be performing in Southern California at the following locations:

    October 30

    Pepperdine Univ. Smothers Theatre

    24255 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, CA 90265

    310-506-4522

    October 31

    California Center For The Arts

    340 North Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025

    800-988-4253

    November 1

    Cerritos Performing Arts Center – Lyric Theatre

    12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos, CA 90703

    562 916-8501 or 800- 300-4345


    OCTOBER 28, 2014

    Hamilton CampHAPPY BIRTHDAY

    Hamilton Camp (October 30, 1934 – October 2, 2005)

    British singer-songwriter, actor and voice actor. Camp's debut as a folk singer was at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960; and his first recording, with Bob Gibson, was Bob Gibson & Bob Camp at the Gate of Horn, from 1961.

    For more information, surf over to this page.


    DID YOU KNOW?: FolkWorks started as a hard copy newspaper. We printed 12-15000 copies every two months for 7 years. You can find the PDF versions by using the main menu and finding ARCHIVES on the right..


    Read more: THE FOLKWORKS BLOG



    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: LAUGHTER OUT OF TEARS

    ARTIST: MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO

    LABEL: WHIM RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

    By Jackie Morris

    Laughter Out of TearsHaunting, 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

    LABEL: NONE

    RELEASE DATE: JULY 2014

    By Jonathan Shifflett

    Haas Kowert Tice - You Got ThisBrittany 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


ARTIST: VARIOUS

TITLE: AMY HANAIALI’I AND SLACK KEY MASTERS OF HAWAII

LABEL: PETERSON PRODUCTIONS

RELEASE: 2010

By Audrey Coleman

Amy_HanaialiiI took one look at the cover of this CD and concluded that it was a shoe-in for the 2011 Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. After five years of awarding it to compilations of slack key guitar music, the mucky-mucks could enjoy a refreshing twist on their love affair with slack key. Celebrated vocalist, Amy Hanaiali’i, who has lost out to slack key at the Grammies more than once, had teamed up with five masters of the beloved guitar tradition: Cyril Pahinui, Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, and Chino Montero. It’s a dazzling collaboration and thoroughly enjoyable listening. Did it win the Grammy? No! This year the award for Best Hawaiian album went to a vocalist of more limited gifts than Amy and no hint of slack key guitar on the cover. Go figure! We move on...

Although it was recorded in a studio, Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii has the flavor of a live concert. The musicians each get a turn being center stage, accompanying Amy, in some cases singing with her or playing slack key with one another. Not only do they display their gifts as musicians; in some cases, they showcase their own compositions.

ARTIST: VARIOUS

TITLE: AMY HANAIALI’I AND SLACK KEY MASTERS OF HAWAII

LABEL: PETERSON PRODUCTIONS

RELEASE: 2010

By Audrey Coleman

Amy_HanaialiiI took one look at the cover of this CD and concluded that it was a shoe-in for the 2011 Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. After five years of awarding it to compilations of slack key guitar music, the mucky-mucks could enjoy a refreshing twist on their love affair with slack key. Celebrated vocalist, Amy Hanaiali’i, who has lost out to slack key at the Grammies more than once, had teamed up with five masters of the beloved guitar tradition: Cyril Pahinui, Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, and Chino Montero. It’s a dazzling collaboration and thoroughly enjoyable listening. Did it win the Grammy? No! This year the award for Best Hawaiian album went to a vocalist of more limited gifts than Amy and no hint of slack key guitar on the cover. Go figure! We move on...

Although it was recorded in a studio, Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii has the flavor of a live concert. The musicians each get a turn being center stage, accompanying Amy, in some cases singing with her or playing slack key with one another. Not only do they display their gifts as musicians; in some cases, they showcase their own compositions.

Prolific Dennis Kamakahi sings his delightful country-style E Mau Ke Aloha in Hawaiian and English, accompanying himself on guitar with room for a guitar solo by Chino Montero. Kamakahi shines as a slack key guitarist and vocalist, his deep rich voice combining with Amy’s in a poignant song composed by Queen Kapi’olani in the late 19th century Ipo Lei Manu.

Cyril Pahinui is keeper of the slack key tradition that his father, Gabby “Pops” Pahinui revitalized and popularized. Cyril shares vocals and plays guitar in a trademark Pahinui number, Hi’ilawe with Jeff Peterson adding his own slack key sound to enrich the accompaniment. Pahinui does a lively interpretation of Miloli’i on vocals and guitar with Sonny Lim spicing up the song with well-chosen steel guitar enhancements.

Amy sings her own composition Keawa Nui with loving attention to the art of falsetto that makes it clear why the mantles of falsetto greats Lena Machado and recently-passed Genoa Keawe have easily remained on her shoulders. A ukulele solo by Jeff Peterson kicks it up a notch.

Chino Montero gets to demonstrate his male falsetto singing and solid slack key technique in Makee ‘Ailana. Dennis Kamakahi plays one of the two slack key solos in this number, enlivening it with a contrasting style. I confess I have not followed Montero’s career as I have the other participants in this album, but I think he performs at a level that is harmonious with his peers.

An all-instrumental number, Vaqueros, brings together composer Sonny Lim with Montero and Jeff Peterson for a flamenco-flavored hats-off to the cowboys who brought the guitar to Hawaii.

I would be negligent if I did not mention the way Jeff Peterson’s talents permeate this album. No fewer than six of the sixteen cuts feature his compositions. My favorite is Pukana La on which he plays solo. He creates an otherworldly feeling with unusual chord progressions, sweet-voiced picking, and sensitive rubato. We also hear Peterson’s eclectic musicianship on eleven of the numbers, mainly slack key but also including classical guitar on Vaqueros and ukulele in Keawa Nui.

In the end, this is still Amy’s album. She opens with Fields of Gold by Sting, bringing to it heartrending nuances. Nevertheless, I find the song a strange choice for an album in which she and her friends otherwise celebrate Hawaiian culture and landscape. The mention of “fields of barley” made me wince despite the added Hawaiian lyrics. Do they even grow barley in Hawaii? Shouldn’t it be “through ponds of taro (traditional Hawaiian staple crop) or to use the old Hawaiian word kalo? Hmmm. The trouble is those ponds have you thigh deep in mud. I’ve been there. As we trudge through the sludge-ponds of kalo? Definitely not as romantic as barley fields. Enough! It’s a great album!

Audrey Coleman is a journalist, educator, and passionate explorer of traditional and world music.