• FEATURE ARTICLES

    JOHN STEWART AND THE PHOENIX CONCERTS

    A DREAMER ON THE RISE

    By Terry Roland

    John StewartThis Saturday, November 29th, there will be two intimate concerts honoring singer-songwriter, John Stewart’s landmark The Phoenix Concerts live album. The original bassist, Arnie Moore will appear along with Tim Dismang and The Chad Watson band and special guest Duane Thorin. The shows will be at The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, California at 3:00 and 7:00pm.

    In the spring and summer of 1974, singer-songwriter, John Stewart was, in the words of one his best loved songs, a dreamer on the rise and much more. He was a phoenix ready to fly.

    Read more: JOHN STEWART AND THE PHOENIX CONCERTS


    A GREAT DAY IN UTAH

    NOVEMBER 19, 1915—NOVEMBER 19, 2014

    By Ross Altman

    Joe HillNinety-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

    By Audrey Coleman

    Milton Nascimento with guitarI 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


    CONCERT REVIEWS

    Dirk Hamilton: Reconsider Me

    HOW WARREN ZEVON’S ROADKILL BECAME LA’S WHITE RODRIGUEZ

    AT THE ALVA SHOWROOM IN SAN PEDRO - NOVEMBER 22, 2014

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Dirk HamiltonNine 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

    By Ross Altman

    Michael ChapdelaineHow 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


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    November-December 2014

    OLD-TIME TIKI PARLOUR FILMS AND WEBSITE LAUNCH!

    By David Bragger

    Rafe and Clelia Stefanini
    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

    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


    BLOG

    Peter La FargeWishing you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING: Here's Johnny Cash singing Peter La Farge's Ballad of Ira Hayes. With thanks also to the Native American community.

    If you don't know who Peter La Farge was, check out the wikipedia page.


    WE ARE EXPERIENCING AN INTERMITTENT PROBLEM WITH CALENDAR DISPLAYING ON THE FRONT PAGE.

    IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE CALENDAR, CLICK HERE.

    Read more: THE FOLKWORKS BLOG


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 11/28/14


    7:00pm KAREN NASH / ANNY CELSI / TRYSETTE LOOSEMORE / SKIP HELLER & THE HOLLYWOOD BLUES DESTROYERS / DYLAN BRODY

    Presented by David Harvey

    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.


    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 11/28/14


    7:00pm - 10:00pm BELL ARTS SONG CIRCLE (SONGMAKERS)

    Bell Arts Factory

    432 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura, CA 93001


    8:00pm KATTYWOMPUS CONCERT / JAM

    Dollmakers Kattywompus

    412 S. Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016

    626-357-1091


    BOOK REVIEW

    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)

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    They LyricsThe 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’


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.