• SPOTLIGHT


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: HEART OF THE MOUNTAIN, 200 YEARS OF AN APPALACHIAN FAMILY

    ARTIST: JENI & BILLY

    LABEL: JEWEL RIDGE RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: MAY 1, 2016

    By Susie Glaze

    Jeni  Billy - HOTMA new love letter has been written, this one to an entire family and its American ancestors, replete with stories and new songs: Jeni & Billy’s new CD Heart of the Mountain, 200 Years of An Appalachian Family.

    I’ve written before in these pages about the work of the Nashville-based Appalachian duo Jeni & Billy. This new entry in their catalogue released this spring is a concept piece, an historical retrospective of family history with songs written to celebrate a few generations of lives and events. The twenty-seven tracks contain both spoken word and music, illuminating the 200 year history of the Smith family in Virginia.

    Read more: HEART OF THE MOUNTAIN, 200 YEARS OF AN APPALACHIAN FAMILY


    TITLE: THE SPOTTED PONY

    ARTIST: SPENCER & RAINS

    LABEL: OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR

    RELEASE DATE: JULY 2016

    By Pat Mac Swyney

    Spencer  Rains - Spotted PonyIf you look up the definition of the Great Plains, it describes the large expanse of predominately flat prairie & steppe grasslands, stretching from southern Canada, across the American Midwest to the Texas-Mexican border; framed by the Mississippi River on the east and by the Rocky Mountains on the west. This broad geography has been home to Native American tribes, European explorers, freed African-American slaves, pioneers and homesteaders and it is from this rich musical landscape that husband-wife duo Tricia Spencer & Howard Rains take their repertoire and inspiration on The Spotted Pony.

    Read more: SPENCER & RAINS - THE SPOTTED PONY


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    July-August 2016

    Where’s the Folk?

    By Linda Dewar

    Tom Paxton album cover: "Ain't That The News!"

    Where’s the Folk? I turned 65 last week. Not a big deal, really, but it does seem to have triggered a bit of semi-nostalgic reflection. The media would have us believe that the definitive event for my age group was the 1967 “Summer of Love” when we all took virtual trips to San Francisco, put flowers in our hair, and danced to the sounds of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.

    Read more: WHERE’S THE FOLK?

    BOOK REVIEW

    TITLE: 26 SONGS in 30 DAYS

    WOODY GUTHRIE'S Columbia River Songs

    and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest

    AUTHORS: GREG VANDY WITH DANIEL PERSON

    PUBLICATION DATE: APRIL 12, 2016

    By Lenny Potash

    26 Songs in 30 DaysThere are no shortage of writings about and by Woody Guthrie but 26 Songs in 30 Days is a great contribution because it is a work focused on the relationship between the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Woody and what this massive public works project meant to him as the country was coming out of the Great Depression and preparing for World War II.

    Read more: 26 SONGS in 30 DAYS - WOODY GUTHRIE'S COLUMBIA RIVER SONGS


    FILM AND THEATER REVIEW

    THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS

    YO YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE

    By Yatrika Shah-Rais

    The Music of Strangers“Every tradition is the result of successful invention… Human beings grow by being curious and receptive to what’s around them. A lot of people are scared of change, and sometimes there’s reason to be fearful. But if you can welcome change, you become fertile ground for development.”

    This is just one of the many insightful quotes from the movie The Music of Strangers: Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble.

    Read more: THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS


    everything but ...

    DAVE "SNAKER" RAY

    (August 17, 1943 – November 28, 2002)

    DAVE "SNAKER" RAY (August 17, 1943 – November 28, 2002) was an American blues singer and guitarist from St. Paul, Minnesota, who was most notably associated with Spider John Koerner and Tony "Little Sun" Glover in the early Sixties folk revival. Together, the three released albums under the name Koerner, Ray & Glover.

    Read more: DAVE "SNAKER" RAY


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 8/26/16


    MUSIC


    5:30pm SALTY SUITES

    Festival of Arts

    650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, CA 92651


    fwpick

    7:30pm DAN FRECHETTE & LAUREL THOMSEN

    Templars Hall - Old Poway Park

    14134 Midland Road, Poway, CA 92064

    858-566-4040

    Presented by San Diego Folk Heritage


    fwpick

    7:30pm THE DENNIS ROGER REED BAND

    Alta Coffee

    506 31st St., Newport Beach, CA 90814

    949-675-0233


    fwpick

    8:00pm STEVE FORBERT

    McCabe’s Guitar Shop

    3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

    310-828-4497


    8:00pm JOHN M / THE SECRET GARDENERS

    Coffee Gallery Backstage

    2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 92675

    626-798-6236 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    6:00pm - 8:00pm MOUNTAIN MUSIC JAM

    fourth Friday

    Joel's Canyon Shack

    Silverado Canyon Road, Silverado, CA

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Joel Robinson 714-649-9084 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:30pm - 9:00pm TRADITION IRISH TUNES WITH THE QUINNS

    every Friday

    La Arcada Bistro

    1112 State St., Santa Barbara, CA

    Willie Quinn


    7:30pm - 10:00pm VENTURA BELL ARTS HOOT (SONGMAKERS)

    fourth Friday

    Bell Arts Factory

    432 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura, CA 93001

    TJ Zeiler 805-910-7565 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 11:00pm PLOUGHBOYS

    every Friday

    Tam O' Shanter (Ale & Sandwich Bar Lounge)

    2980 Los Feliz Bl, Los Feliz, CA 90039

    323-664-0228

    818-507-8445 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 11:00pm ROOTS MUSIC NIGHT (LONG BEACH)

    fourth Friday

    Alex's Bar

    2913 E. Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804

    562-434-8292


    8:00pm - 10:00pm KATTYWOMPUS CONCERT / JAM

    every Friday

    Dollmakers Kattywompus

    412 S. Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

    626-357-1091

    Jennifer Ranger 626-357-1091


    DANCE


    9:30am - 12:00pm KAYSO FOLK DANCERS

    every Friday

    Casa del Prado, Rm. 206, Balboa Park

    1800 El Prado, San Diego, CA

    Jerry Waddell 619-479-8015`


    7:15pm - 10:00pm WEST VALLEY FOLK DANCERS

    every Friday

    Canoga Park Senior Center

    7326 Jordan Ave., Los Angeles, CA

    Jay Michtom 818-368-1957 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 10:00pm MONROVIA ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE

    second & fourth Friday

    St. Luke's Episcopal Church

    122 S. California Ave., Monrovia, CA

    Todd Brun This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:45pm - 11:00pm PASADENA FOLK DANCE CO-OP

    every Friday

    Throop Unitarian Church

    300 S. Los Robles, Pasadena, CA

    Jan Rayman 818-790-8523 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:45pm - 10:45pm WEST LOS ANGELES FOLK DANCERS

    every Friday

    Brockton School

    1309 Armacost Ave., West Los Angeles, CA

    Beverly Barr 310-202-6166 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 11:00pm L.I.F.E.BALKAN DANCE

    every Friday

    LA DanceFit Studio

    10936 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

    Sherrie Cochran 626-293-8523 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:30pm - 11:00pm KYPSELI GREEK DANCE CENTER

    every Friday

    The Tango Room

    4346 Woodman Ave., Sherman Oaks, CA

    Louise Bilman 323-660-1030 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    9:00pm - 11:00pm BEVERLY HILLS ISRAELI DANCING

    every Friday

    Temple Emanuel

    8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA

    James Zimmer 310-284-3638 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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.